Taco Tuesday!


Chopped Onion


It’s TACO TUESDAY and look who got a post up! *Bows*

This challenge is sponsored by author A.C. Melody, and it’s not as easy as it sounds, but here we go!

Onions for Writer’s Menu: Not everyone cries when they cut onions: share an outside-influence type circumstance/object that caused a character to tear up – or – notably didn’t, when they should have.


 

Looking lost, Ranard moved towards the front door. Rubbing at his throat, he stopped and looked back at his children standing together with their arms around each other. He looked at his wife and saw her face clouded with contempt and hatred… for him.

Turning and taking the last steps to the door, Ranard reached out for the doorknob… and froze.

This isn’t what he wanted. This isn’t what he needed.

The last seven years had been one long nightmare. Always trying to stay ahead of the game at work. Hanging out with friends and coworkers he didn’t like… and who didn’t like him. Sleeping with any woman who said yes. Gilbert Porter going out of his way to find his youngest son every few weeks to tell him how worthless he was. He’d tell him how a real man would step up to the plate and reclaim his family… be the husband and father they needed him to be. Not some loser who can’t even remember his sons’ birthdays.

Ranard Porter wanted to fix his life, but he didn’t know how. He’d wanted to push his pride aside and admit his weakness. But he just couldn’t. Not to Lennie. She was so smart. Always confident and sure of herself. Even when he attempted to berate and degrade her, she rose above him and continued on. Not seeking or needing his approval. Not needing anyone’s approval… the way he did.

Approval he never found.

He turned to look at what he’d lost.

Myron stood with his arm around RJ’s shoulder and they watched their mother comfort Duncan. His teenage son who stood ready to defend his brother… from him. A man-child… already more of a man than Ranard was… or would ever be.

Ranard opened the door and slipped out into the loneliness of the night… where he belonged.

Deleted scene, Ranard’s POV, Free, a Novella

 

Onions for Reader’s Menu: Name a favorite book you read where a character was brought to tears by an outside influence (ex: poked in the eye, thick smoke, laughing too hard, etc.) -or- where a character was notably incapable of being brought to tears for any reason.


Best Interest front coverGoing with the first book which comes to mind, I’m cheating a bit on this one – but the character is Rena Averest from my own In the Best Interest of the Child. This child haunted me and was not easy to write. Rena’s situation is the catalyst which forces Olivia Chandler to confront her own childhood demons… and makes sure Rena doesn’t suffer the same fate. There had to be enough similarities to push Olivia, but not so much that Rena became Olivia – broken and hiding.

So Rena doesn’t cry.

  • Eleven years old, suffered multiple injuries in the car accident which killed her mother and left her father in a coma.
  • Rena has daily physical and occupational therapy as she heals from the broken hip and ankle caused in the accident.
  • She’s seen her father once since the accident, and of course, he was comatose.
  • Rena is living with her godparents, who absolutely adore her, yet she worries about being extra work for them.
  • When Rena speaks of her mother, whom she was very close to, it is only of her death.
  • The first time Rena meets Olivia Chandler she believes Olivia has come with news of Rena’s father’s death.
  • Rena and Olivia meet a man at the hospital who lost his best friend in the same multi-car accident which ripped Rena’s family apart. HE becomes emotional… but eleven-year-old Rena Averest does not.

Any of these situations would have made an adult weepy and teary-eyed, but Rena is stoic for much of the story.

There does come a point when Rena cries. Her tears are cathartic, releasing the pain, anger, loneliness, and sense of loss locked deep inside her for almost six months.

When Rena cries, she does not cry alone. Olivia cries… but her tears are not for Rena.


♥ Next week’s ingredient is…Tomato!

Tomato for the Writer: Embarrassment and/or ridicule often play a part in our character’s journey. What was one of your main character’s inescapable, red-faced moments?

Tomato for the Reader: Share a book you’ve read where you were so embarrassed for the main character by something they themselves did or where they were ridiculed so badly, it left a lasting scar impression on you.

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“Heart of Knives” by L.V. Lewis #BookBlitz

 
Title: Heart of Knives
Author: L.V. Lewis 
Genre: ScFi/ Fantasy Romance
Release Date: June 27, 2017
 
 
The Complex Book Series.
A Lone Planet. One Complex.
Unlimited Chaos.
When an elf princess is threatened for her activism, who will come to her rescue—her fairy prince fiance’ or the handsome human bodyguard she adores?
Princess Amarie Vanyarin has a reputation for doing what’s right, no matter the cost. When she volunteers to act as Elf ambassador at the Complex—a domed community of Humans and Metas on the planet Lorn—a faceless assassin threatens her life. Soon, the civil rights activist is torn between thwarting another war and concentrating on her betrothal to Fairy Prince Erihstall Habbernock. Their plan to strengthen their mystical bond with a love spell goes awry when the magic inadvertently enchants the wrong person.
Or does it?
Amarie soon discovers that her fiancé and Gary Locke, the human bodyguard who’s captured her heart, both have ulterior motives—neither of which bodes well for her.
With the future ahead uncertain, will the headstrong princess continue to fight for Human-Meta peace, or will she choose to confront the emerging threat targeting the men she loves?
 
 
The blinders are already beginning their slow descent when Gary reaches Princess Amarie’s apartment. The moving shadows make him nervous and more alert. His boss’ voice slices through the paranoia already building up inside his mind. She’s going to need you, Sergeant. Right. I’ve got a job to do. Time to get to work.
Until a kit shows up, the only weapons Gary has are the Ama Seldova-issued segif on his gun belt and a pocket knife. The gun only temporarily knocks out an individual, and the knife won’t be useful against most Nighters. Against a single opponent, this won’t prove to be an issue. Two attackers, and Gary will have to take some chances. More than that, and the only real option for guaranteed survival is running. Hoping the attack doesn’t come tonight, or has happened already, Gary runs for the elevators leading to the top floor.
During the day, the Complex is filled with Humans and Metas moving about, each doing their job or living as best they can in what amounts to a giant tube. The same is true at night. The Human population gives way to Nighters, who are inherently quiet, which makes the atmosphere far more stifling to Gary as he passes them in the apartment’s lobby. The stares are worse. In Gary’s mind, each one of them looks hungry and thinks he is a stupid, easy meal.
Safely upon reaching the elevator, Gary smacks the ‘Up’ button hard enough to echo back towards the awakened civilians. Snickers echo around him as he turns with a silly look on his face. Hey fella, we’re all here to be peaceful. Chill out. Those words are etched on every face that turned at the sound. Fuck, Gary thinks. Why do I have to be so damned human?
An eternity of stares and seconds later, the elevator doors open. Gary forces himself to step inside with some semblance of dignity. Not too fast, not so slow as to be cartoonish. Now alone, he heaves a sigh. The doors begin to close, and he thinks, Okay, get your bearings back. Relax. You’re a goddamn soldier. Act like one.  Before the doors can fuse shut, pale blue fingers slip between them, automatically reversing open. A tall, lean man with the pallor of undeath smiles at him.
“I assume you’re going up,” the man asks.
“Yep. Straight to the top,” Gary replies.
“Perfect.”
The man pushes the button for the floor below Princess Amarie’s, then steps back and to the side so he’s flush with Gary. Side by side for the full ride, neither looks at the other. Gary decided early on this was the most uncomfortable elevator ride in man’s history that didn’t lead to someone’s death or dismemberment. So far. They reach the man’s (vampire, Gary) floor and the doors slide open. Before exiting, he looks Gary straight in the eye.
“Come and see me sometime, when being a monster hunter isn’t such a new smell on you. We’ll have more fun then,” the man says.
“Don’t do anything I need to come and see you for. We’ll pretend this didn’t happen,” Gary replies, meaning every word.
“Everybody knows that is not how this experiment will go down, Locke. You don’t have enough to lose yet, so it’s no fun to play with you. And please, feel free to visit me any time.”
The man vanishes into shadow as the doors close. Gary stares at the ceiling of the elevator, wondering why vampires were gifted with mind-reading. Willing the car to move up faster than programmed, he thinks, Just one more floor, dude, and we’ve finished the hard part.
The elevator doors open, and immediately Gary knows he’d been wrong. The hard part wasn’t over at all. A piercing scream is sounding through the thick walls of the princess’ suite on his left. What the fuck is happening to her? No time, gotta move. Gary pulls his segif from its holster and finds the nearest door leading left.
With one swift kick, he splinters the solid oak door. With a second kick, he smashes enough to duck in without his vision being impaired. From the corners of his eyes, he sees a flashing light but has no idea what it might be. To his right, however, is the princess. Naked. Her dark olive skin on display. Her arms and face are tilted up and what looks like purple smoke is weaving its way into her nostrils. Another scream escapes her mouth. Bolting from his crouched position, Gary harpoons himself into the princess in a desperate plea to stop this attempted possession.
With a heaving gasp, she falls underneath him, and the smell of her sweet perspiration invades his nostrils, saturating every pore of his being. Gary barely has time to realize he recognizes this scent before he loses all awareness in the emerald green mirrors of the princess’ eyes.
The vision before him is perfection personified. Her skin is so soft to the touch he could caress it forever. The vulnerability in her eyes slays him, and he feels himself reacting to her in a way that is not very professional, but he can’t help himself.
Perhaps it’s the fact that he hasn’t been with a woman in a while. His job keeps him busy, and fuck paying for sex. He’s old school and would rather hook up the old fashioned way. Princess Vanyarin certainly is his type—exotic brunette. Maybe it’s her Meta powers that’s got him under her spell, but it can’t be that. The device he’s wearing should protect him from that.
The fruity-looking fairy boy says something in a language Gary doesn’t understand, and his body’s reaction to the Princess goes into overdrive.
“What in the absolute fuck!”
Gary tries to turn away from the sleek, lithe body beneath him, away from the enchanting eyes, but he can’t. Within seconds, blackness covers him, the world goes cold, then nothing.

 

 

Growing up, L.V. Lewis wanted to be an internationally known rock star, but unfortunately, lived in the wrong part of the country to pursue that career (and neither American Idol nor The Voice were available then). An early love for the written word gave her the plan B she sought. Now she pens romance novels that let her live vicariously through rock stars and other fascinating archetypes.
 
 

“Country Nights” by Winter Renshaw #ReleaseBlitz

 

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Sixty country days and sixty country nights—that’s all I wanted.

I needed to get away from the city, away from the hot mess that had become my life.

When I stumbled upon my childhood home on RentBnB.com, I took it as a sign, cleaned out my life savings, and hightailed it to the only place that ever meant something to me, a place I hadn’t seen since a lifetime ago.

Only when I arrived to the familiar South Dakotan farmhouse, I was met by a brooding, we-don’t-take-kindly-to-strangers cowboy by the name of River McCray, who insisted this was his house and most definitely not a rental property.

I’d been internet scammed.

And that cocky, smart-mouthed stranger had the nerve to make me a humiliating offer: I could stay in his house for the next two months rent-free, but I had to work for him.

He’d be my boss. And my roommate.

With no money and nowhere else to go, I agreed. But nothing could have prepared me for the tension, the attraction, and the bombshell revelation that changed … everything.


Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon bestselling author Winter Renshaw is a bona fide daydream believer. She lives somewhere in the middle of the USA and can rarely be seen without her trusty Mead notebook and ultra portable laptop. When she’s not writing, she’s living the American dream with her husband, three kids, and the laziest puggle this side of the Mississippi.
And if you’d like to be the first to know when a new book is coming out, please sign up for her private mailing list here —> http://eepurl.com/bfQU2j
Author Links

 

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National PTSD Awareness Day


PTSD Banner


National PTSD Awareness Day is observed annually on June 27.  This is a day to recognize the effects post-traumatic stress has on the lives of those affected by it.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has a profound effect on the lives of those who suffer from it.  The statistics alone are staggering, but can only tell a portion of the story. The trauma and anxiety associated with PTSD is a constant burden, inseparable from the sufferer. It was once a condition that was attributed only to returning combat veterans, but more and more the condition is diagnosed in those who have experienced violent crime or lived through catastrophic events.  According to PTSD United, 20% of adults in the United States who have experienced a traumatic event suffer from PTSD.

HOW TO OBSERVE

Reach out to someone you know who suffers from PTSD.  Let them know you care and are there to help. Learn more about PTSD at NIMH. Use #NationalPTSDAwarenessDay to share on social media.

HISTORY

The United States Senate established PTSD Awareness Day in 2010 following then-Sen. Kent Conrad’s efforts to designate a day of awareness as a tribute to Army Staff Sgt. Joe Biel of the North Dakota National Guard, Davison said. Biel suffered from PTSD and took his life in April 2007 after returning to North Dakota following his second tour of duty in the Iraq War.

Biel’s birthday, June 27, was chosen to mark PTSD Awareness Day and honor his memory.


Blogger’s Note:  PTSD Awareness Day – S. Res 455 – must still be approved annually. It is not a law or constitutional amendment.
Data from NationalDayCalendar.com, US Department of Veteran’s Affairs, and Congress.gov.
Image from US Department of Veteran’s Affairs

Personality and Stress


Question Mark


I was introduced to the website, 16Personalities.com, through a blog post on Story Empire by Mae Clair early last month and it’s been an interesting journey thus far.

Today’s email – on stress – made me do a double-take because a friend and I had this conversation Saturday evening! I’ve included some of the email below – bold text is my emphasis.

***

From 16Personalities.com

Life is full of innumerable obstacles, unexpected surprises, and nasty shocks, and not even the most Zen of Buddhists can always escape the stresses of it all. There are too many potential stressors in life to cover all of them in one newsletter, so instead we’ll briefly discuss the role your personality type may play in stress management, and hopefully, provide some insights you can use.

The mental and physical strain that comes with stress affects each personality type differently. As the most likely personality type to want to be completely in control of their life’s circumstances, Architects aren’t likely to shy away from a challenge, even if it causes undue stress – but they may struggle.

According to our data, Architects are likely to:

  • Feel anxious if they have several equally good options to choose from;
  • Talk less when under stress;
  • Work hard to get their anxieties and worries under control;
  • Believe that a healthy amount of worrying leads to better results.

Architects generally do not shy away from stress, perhaps even thriving under it. Stress often acts as a catalyst for the most innovative of Architect projects.

That said, Turbulent Architects are significantly more vulnerable to stress compared to their Assertive cousins. For instance, they may have a lot of trouble controlling negative thoughts once they arise or feel completely paralyzed if they are forced to pick one of two equally good options quickly.

Here are some things Architects can do to rebalance themselves and remain in control under pressure:

  • Take the time to refocus on efficiency and long-term vision;
  • Consider looking for new, unorthodox solutions to their problems;
  • Single out one priority at a time instead of spreading their energy;
  • Remember that perfection is a path, not a destination.

Individuals of every personality type can benefit from viewing stressful situations as learning opportunities. Stress may be an inseparable part of our lives, but being aware of its triggers and effects can help you handle it better.

***

Visit 16Personalities.com and take a free test. You may find out things you already knew… or you might get a surprise!

“A Very Scary Pumpkin (Nuggies Book #3)” by Jeff Minich

It’s another Nuggies – #FREE for a #LimitedTime!


Nuggies 3 cover


“A Very Scary Pumpkin (Nuggies Book 3)”

Author: Jeff Minich

Genre: Children’s Book/Fantasy

Release Date: September 29, 2015

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With all their toys and treats packed away, Chomper and Coco learned it was moving day. After they arrive at their new home they discover they’re not alone. The house is haunted by a very scary ghost named Pumpkin. Will Pumpkin scare the Nuggies away? Or will they find a way to become friends and stay? Find out in Nuggies Volume 3, “A Very Scary Pumpkin”.

“Snifter of Death” by Chris Karlsen #BlogTour

Title: Snifter of Death
Author: Chris Karlsen
Genre: Historical Suspense (With Romantic Elements)

Release Date: May 16, 2017
Hosted by: Buoni Amici Press, LLC.

The summer of 1889 was proving to be a strange one for Detective Inspector Rudyard Bloodstone and his partner.
They had a sexual pervert loose. The man didn’t actually harm women but threatened them at knife point, fondling them, and ultimately stealing their stockings.
Far more serious were the murders of influential men, which appeared random other than they were all killed by arsenic poison. Never had he and his partner had cases with so little workable evidence.
Also, the rivalry between him and his detective nemesis at London’s other police department was intensifying. That nemesis was the boxing champion of their department and looking to challenge Rudyard, who never trained as a boxer.
Besides Rudyard’s pride being at stake, and the pride of his station, his nemesis also had in his possession a photograph of the woman Rudyard cares very much for. The new lady in Rudyard’s life had captured his heart and he’d fight the devil himself to save her reputation.

“What address do you show for the Cross family?” the Vicar asked. Her mind went completely blank. Finally, she blurted the only one that came to her, which was no doubt wrong. “Park Lane.”The Vicar smirked. Not smiled. Smirked. That meant it had to be wrong.

“I suggest you start there. In the meantime, I will have my housekeeper escort you out. I don’t know what you’re playing at but I don’t care for mischief. You’ll do your soul a good turn to drop a coin in the poor box on your way to the street.” He rang a small bell on his desk and the housekeeper came. “See this lady out.”

Graciela stood on the top stair of the chapel cursing her luck when a man’s disturbingly familiar laugh interrupted her thoughts. She took a quick step to the left and flattened herself against one of the portico pillars. The horrible laugh rippled over from close by. It sounded like Detective Bloodstone’s from the morning she’d bailed out Addy. He’d said something that sent the shine boy scampering away and had all the detectives snickering, including Bloodstone.

Taking a deep breath, she peered around the edge of the pillar expecting to see the detective. His presence would’ve been the perfect end to this entire St. Jude’s Chapel mission-turned-catastrophe. To her great relief, it came from a carriage driver. She hadn’t noticed a group of them gathered at the corner waiting to be hired. Graciela, you had no reason to be frightened. You’d done nothing wrong. Stop being such a ninny.

She left the church and headed home. Zachary would be getting up from her nap soon. The whole way home she questioned her luck. A dozen people are murdered every day in London.

How hard can it be to kill someone?

I was born and raised in Chicago. My father was a history professor and my mother was, and is, a voracious reader. I grew up with a love of history and books.

My parents also love traveling, a passion they passed onto me. I wanted to see the places I read about, see the land and monuments from the time periods that fascinated me. I’ve had the good fortune to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Near East, and North Africa.

I am a retired police detective. I spent twenty-five years in law enforcement with two different agencies. My desire to write came in my early teens. After I retired, I decided to pursue that dream. I write three different series. My paranormal romance series is called, Knights in Time. My romantic thriller series is Dangerous Waters. The newest is The Bloodstone Series. Each series has a different setting and some cross time periods, which I find fun to write.

I currently live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband and five wild and crazy rescue dogs.

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Moving Right Along

Week 25 – WOOT! 😉

Felicia Denise, Author


Desk

52-Week Writing Challenge: Week 25
Scene from an ongoing WIP and continues on from Good Morning, Mother. Quinn Landon returns to work and updates her perky assistant on her meeting with Morris Dabney, not sharing with her the Ace she’s holding to force Oscar’s hand.

Quinn breezed into her office grateful her meeting with Morris had only run twenty minutes over her one hour lunch. Dropping her handbag under her desk, Quinn was about to listen to her voicemails when her assistant, Priscilla Cooper, entered her office at near running speed. The petite, perky dynamo stopped abruptly in front of Quinn’s desk. Fighting back the urge to grin, the assistant human resources director again reached for her phone.

“Really, Quinn? Really? You’re just going to act as if I’m not standing here dying to hear how your meeting with your DIVORCE attorney went?”

Looking surprised, Quinn relaxed into her…

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