Thursday, July 28, 2011

Submission Call

Rec'd this news release this morning and thought I'd share. 


Legitimate press enters ebook arena; seeks authors with ready manuscripts
Palm Springs, California—A respected small press publisher for over two decades, Event Horizon Press announces its entry into today’s fastest-growing area of publishing:  ebooks.
According to the firm’s general manager, Joseph Cowles, ebooks can be produced and published more quickly than printed books. “More books and faster turnaround means we need more writers with great manuscripts,” Cowles declares.
“EHP is presently looking for writers of action-packed novels and true stories ripped from the headlines.  Our goal is to become known in the ebook world as a legitimate publisher of well-written works that captivate, entertain, and educate readers.”
Event Horizon Press authors are paid royalties on the sale of their books.  “Ebook authors have their work exposed to the huge audiences of online retailers such as Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble,” says Cowles.   “Ebook sales are said to exceed all other book categories combined.”
“In addition to applying professional skills in design, editing, production, and marketing within the electronic publishing arena, Event Horizon Press is  also continuing to publish conventional printed books and periodicals,” Cowles affirms.
Authors are encouraged to request detailed information by emailing:  SubmissionsInfo@wildblue.net

#  #  #

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Butterfly Dreams




Butterfly Dreams is my newest creation. It's romance driven with threads of mystery and of course humor. This is a full size novel and has recipes at the end. Now to consider a publisher. Hmm....

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lets meet Elaina Lee

Dear Readers: This has been a great week. First you've been introduced to two wonderful authors, Elaina Lee and Sarah Ballance, now you're having an opportunity to know more about them. An interview of my guests is my favorite part of having a blog. (If you missed Sarah's interview and why both authors are visiting scroll down the page and read about her and their charitable cause.)

Today, we’ll interrogate Elaina Lee. I have an advantage as to knowing her writing ability because I’ve already read her latest ebook To Urn Her Love. Do we know near enough about her? I think not.

Elaina's book To Urn Her Love features a romantic story that we all can relate to — what if we had done things differently years ago? Did we miss the one? Fast forward 10 years and we find our heroine's life is an uphill struggle. Both of her parents are dead and she's trying to raise a sticky-fingered little brother. Then she comes face to face with him. Was the right decision made all those years ago? Is she glad she escaped or wish she had been caught? This is a must read for anyone who has siblings, especially for big sisters, and heartening for those who are an only child. lol

Before I launch into the nosy questions, Elaina, please tell us a bit about yourself.

Oh goodness, what to say!  I live in Alabama, with my husband and our two sons.  We have two goats, though they're rather useless, except as very 'green' lawnmowers. *grin*  By day I'm a cover artist, by afternoon, a mom, wife, chef and maid, by night I'm a writer.  Well… I try to be.

Now on for the grilling, I mean interview. Elaina, I’m curious as to where an idea comes from be it a book or a movie, so I have to ask. What was your inspiration for your release To Urn Her Love?  

I actually just blogged about this with Sarah Ballance.  *grin*  When my grandmother died, the Monday before the tornado's struck, we had her cremated.  The morning of Wednesday, April 27th, we went to pick up her urn.  The tornado's hadn't happened yet, we were in fact getting everything taken care of before the worst of the weather was projected to hit.  At the car, my mom and I debated about where to put grandma… in the backseat or the trunk?  We didn't really want to put her in the trunk, she may have been in a metal container, but she was still grandma!  However, my mom laughed and said "But how would we feel if someone stole her?"  I told her I'd been thinking the exact same thing, so into the trunk she went.  I commented to my mom what a funny story that would be, if someone really did steal an urn.  So, To Urn Her Love was born.  J

Loved the characters, especially the little brother (I’ve got one too). Are your characters based on people you know, made up or a combination of both?

Kyle (the teen brother) is a combination of all the teen information I've gleaned over the years, including the things I'm learning about sons’ behavior, LOL! 

You’re known as a romantic suspense author, is there another genre burning inside you to be written?

I actually just finished a southern romantic comedy, if you can believe it!  Now that it's completed though, I'm hoping to go back into the genre I do love writing the most, and that's romantic suspense. 

Oh boy, humor. Can’t wait to read that story. Or perhaps you have written different genres already? Share.

I have a contemporary romance published with Decadent titled, First Kiss.  Nothing dark or dangerous in that story, just fun, and really romantic!

Love the title. Some day I hope to write about time travel, is there a genre that you hope to tackle one day?

Historical. I started out writing historical and vowed to never write anything else.  But upon critiques, I kept getting slammed for my vocabulary in dialogue. When I can figure out how to please everyone, I'll try my hand at historical again.  After all, I have seven manuscripts that need rewritten. *wink*

Historical has darted across my mind. Elaina, I know you have young children, yet not only do you write but you’re a cover artist as well, how do you manage?

Well, I have a toddler AND a teenager, LOL!  My toddler keeps himself amused when I do my cover design, as I only work for about five hours a day on it (anymore and my head begins to pound).  In the evenings I sit on the couch and write when he's not climbing all over me.  My teenager is pretty self-sufficient J

Toddler and teen!! Bless your heart. Do you have another talent we should know about?

I don't think so… I can't sing, I can't draw, I can barely keep my house clean… *grin*

Have you ever killed off a character because you were angry at someone?

Actually, I can say no to this one!  If I kill a character off it's because they have to die to progress the plot.

Sometimes names just pop into my head and other times I struggle to find a name I’m happy with for a story. Where do you get the names for your characters?

I get a letter.  My characters always want their first names to start with a certain letter.  From there I go to various baby naming  websites (don’t we all?) until I see one that just fits or my character starts jumping up and down and pointing. 

A certain letter? That’s different. What do you know now that you are published that you didn’t know beforehand and you wished you had?

Comma splices and Impossible Simultaneous Actions…  Crit partners are invaluable, but nothing compares to what you'll learn from a good editor.

Remind me to tell you about the Comma Splice & Tense Police Patrol organized just for me in my crit group. Lol What was the best writing advice someone gave you?  

My first six months in a crit group are a blur of constant professional advice… I can't remember which one was best.  J

What was the worst? Did you know it at the time?

Studying someone else's style to write by.  And no, I did not.  I was actually rather offended by the suggestion.  Don't tell me to write like someone else, just tell me what you felt was missing or how I can improve the scene. 

True, true. Your voice is your voice. Any WIP? Care to share?

I am about to start the sequel to my romantic suspense, Written in Blood, tentatively titled, Written in Fear.

Thank you for being such a gracious guest.

Thank you for being such a gracious guest and having me!!!

www.elainalee.com
www.forthemusedesign.com
elaina-lee.blogspot.com



BLURB -

Caylie Abrahms bad day gets worse when the teen brother she's responsible for proudly hands her a gift.  Just wanting to show how much he appreciates all his sister does for him, Kyle steals what he believes is an ornate glass vase.  The gift is anything but however, and now Caylie has to find the owner of an urn.  Worst yet, she has to explain her dear brother stole someone's loved one.

Against all odds she learns the urn belongs to Rick Marshall, her best friend from college, the man she'd poured her heart out to and been rejected by.  She never thought she'd see him again, let alone have to hand him back his father in glass.  Will her resolve remain strong in his presence, or will she suffer another broken heart?


EXCERPT -

In silence, they walked the corridor flanking the stairs to the second story. Kyle stayed behind, digging through the plate of refreshments. They passed two doors and Caylie began to wonder just how large his home was. She dared not look around too much, afraid she'd grow jealous and feel even more insignificant than she already did. There were no disillusions in her life, she knew she was poor. Never before though had she felt impoverished. Until now. However, she did keep a roof over hers and Kyle's head and  they never went without a meal. Those were at least things she could be proud of. He opened a door to the left and motioned inside.

“On the desk. May I ask first though, who you're calling?"

With a sheepish smile, she held up the card. “A cab, I...accidentally locked my keys in my car this afternoon."

He stepped inside and closed the door. “I can give you a ride home."

Shaking her head, she took the card between both her hands and stared down at it. Anything not to look at him and his way too handsome face and the body that proved he did hard labor. A few strands of gray stood out in his dark brown hair, slight lines
appeared when he smiled, but other than that, the man was still dangerously good-looking. Only now he had a few years that took away that fresh-from-school look and a filled out frame that came with manhood. Alone in a room with him was so not where she
wanted to be.

“I couldn't possibly ask for anything more from you. We have done more than enough."

“No," he said softly and the light, musky scent of his cologne filled her nose as he moved closer. “Your brother has done enough. You did nothing but return what was stolen, hours after it happened, I might add. You did me a huge favor, especially since
my mother happened to show up to get a good look at the urn."

“Something you wouldn't have even had to worry about if my brother hadn't taken it in the first place." She shook her head and put some distance between them, moving towards the phone.I'm sorry, I can't accept anything else from you. Agreeing not to
press charges and then giving my brother an opportunity to do some good...it's more than enough, more than I could thank you for."

Before she could reach the phone, his hand wrapped around her upper arm. His touch sent waves of longing through her body. Not wanting to feel anything stronger, she brushed his hand away, thankful he released her without hesitation. His eyes darkened
with anger and something she couldn't place and wasn't sure if she wanted to.

BUY LINK -




Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Talking to Sarah Balance



Dear Readers: the interview of my victims, I mean guests, is my favorite part. Elaina Lee and Sarah Balance will be in the hot seat today and tomorrow.


Today, let’s find out more about Sarah Balance. I have an advantage as to her writing ability because I’ve already read Sarah’s latest ebook HAWTHORNE. Take my word for it, you don’t want to miss reading this yummy paranormal. But I don’t know near enough about our dear writer.  



Before I launch into nosy questions, Sarah, please tell us a bit about yourself.

How much do I love you?  You read my book and you still let me come over to play! LOL.  Okay, seriously, while not writing I am a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom to six kids ages one to thirteen.  I love my husband to pieces (sometimes I'd like that to be literal), and even after fifteen years together he's still my best friend and way better than sleep, if you know what I mean. ;c)  In addition to HAWTHORNE, I'm twice published with Noble Romance and have a new one—UNFORGIVEN—coming August 22 to kick off my suspense series.

Now on to the grilling, I mean interview. Sarah, I’m curious as to where an idea comes from be it a book or a movie, so I have to ask. What was your inspiration for your release HAWTHORNE?

This one was tough.  Elaina Lee contacted me near the end of March to ask if I'd be willing to contribute to the Astraea Press charity novella project.  I spent about two days avoiding her email, LOL, then I said yes.  A month before the deadline, however, I had nothing.  In my "What was I thinking?" lament to my husband, he came up with the idea of a ghost story.  Not long thereafter, the ending hit me (and you'll have to read the story to understand the significance there), and with that I was able to go back to the beginning. At that point, the words FLEW.  And it was a good thing.  I finished the day before the deadline, and just ten hours after I submitted HAWTHORNE I had a contract.  The entire experience, from Elaina's email to the lightning-fast acceptance, is still surreal!

Loved the characters, especially had my eye on Noah. Are your characters based on people you know, made up or a combination of both?

Aw, thanks.  I tend to draw my characters from a combination of people I've met and life experience, but Noah was truly someone from my heart.  Not to sound like a schmuck, but I didn't have to think him.  I felt him.  I believe readers have really responded to him as well, which is one big reason there will be a novel-length sequel to HAWTHORNE. 

You’re known as a romantic suspense author, is there another genre burning inside you to be written?  Or perhaps you have written number genres? Share.

Romantic suspense owns me!  My first release was a romance, but when I wrote it I never thought it would be published.  I didn't even want it to be published, LOL!  I just wanted to prove to myself I could write a book, so I did.  But as I neared the end of that first manuscript and had thoughts of subbing, it hit me I really wanted to write suspense.  Right now I have about six novels planned, all romantic suspense.  There's something extra tasty adding that element of danger to romance, and weaving clues and plot is epic for me.  I love it!

Some day I hope to write about time travel, is there a genre that you hope to tackle one day?

Right now my plate is so full of romantic suspense plots—including the new series with Noble—that I can't see around the genre, LOL.  HAWTHORNE, with the ghostly element, is considered paranormal and no doubt I'll go there again, but that's the extent of my ambition to stray from suspense. 

Sarah, I know you have several children, how do you find the time to write? Did you hear the envy in my voice? Honestly, I’m impressed that you manage to write one word.

I have to give MAD credit to my husband.  Although I tend to trend back and forth from waking up early to write to staying up late, right now my routine is to go into hiding after dinner.  I put the baby to bed and my husband threatens the other five with laundry or dishwasher duty should they even think about bothering me. About once an hour someone will come see if I need anything, so I have regular coffee and cappuccino deliveries should I desire them.  ;c)

Oh wow, what a husband you have. Have you ever killed off a character because you were angry with someone?

I've never changed the fate of a character for that reason alone, but I think it's fair to say I've written some parts with a great deal of enthusiasm after dealing with someone IRL. 

Very diplomatic answer. Sometimes names just pop into my head and other times I struggle to find a name I’m happy with for a story. Where do you get the names for your characters?

I'm pretty much the same way.  When they don’t hit me immediately, I spend a lot of times looking at baby name lists, which feels comfortable after naming six kids, LOL.  But I prefer to look up themed lists, like southern, redneck, and cowboy names.  I avoid uber trendy-for-now names for characters who weren't born in the last decade, and to that end I've found checking the Social Security list for a certain decade is awesome.  I also find a lot of first names I like by looking at lists of surnames, a technique I discovered quite by accident while on the hunt for a last name.  I probably spend too much time choosing, but after hours of angst finally one will be so right, and that's a great feeling.



Yes, I know the feeling. What do you know now that you are published that you didn’t know beforehand and you wished you had? 
 
There's something to be said for going through the whole process the first time that really takes the edge off.  I'm a timid, fearful person.  I don't like to be the center of attention and I have a really hard time putting myself out there.  As an author, that's ALL you do. You pour your heart into your work, and once it's out there you can't take it back.  Publishing happened as a whirlwind, unexpected experience for me; I never aspired to be an author.  It took me six months to write my first novel, which was accepted on the first query.  I enjoyed the experience, but if I could do it over I would talk myself out of the fear of it all happening and just rock out the milestones.  It truly gets better every time!

What was the best writing advice someone gave you?

Crits, crits, crits.  If not for my crit partner, I wouldn't be published at all.  I don't know how she didn't run for the hills when she saw my first draft for the first time, but her patient early corrections turned blissfully deadly as my skills grew.  Authors tend not to like crits, and it is hard to see your work marked up, but once you have a good crit partner (who isn't afraid to point out your weaknesses) the possibilities are limitless.  I'm always nervous when I see a crit in my inbox, but it's also really exciting to know when I get to the other side of my edits I'm going to have a stronger story.  A good critter is invaluable for any author.

I couldn’t agree more, I love my crit partner, except for the times I want to strangle him. But he’s good and brings out the best in me. What was the worst advice? Did you know it at the time?

I wouldn’t call it bad advice, but overall pressure (from myself—not from the publisher).  The sex in my first novel is more graphic than I was comfortable with, but I think it goes back to my extreme introvert shell.  I'm not at all embarrassed by it, but I think I pushed myself a bit out of my (admittedly limited) comfort zone in order to make that story fit some sort of mold I had in my head.  I've since matured into it, LOL, but there is something to be said about being true to yourself with your words. 

Any WIP? Care to share?

I just started the second title in my romantic suspense series with Noble.  The first book, UNFORGIVEN, comes out on August 22 so I'm challenging myself to see how much of book two I can knock out before then.  I've also got the sequel to HAWTHORNE on my radar and a short story in the works for the November Noble Authors Blog Tour.  Eeep!

Come on August 22. And I can’t wait for the Hawthorne sequel. Thank you for being such a gracious guest.

Thank you, Cassie, for hosting me!  (Um, sorry about the furniture.)  I appreciate your help in spreading the word about HAWTHORNE and the other charity titles from Astraea Press.  It's a wonderful thing to know my work will make a small difference for someone else, and at only $3 I hope some new-to-me readers will take a chance and scope me out.  Hopefully (and if nothing else) I'm tolerable for charity, LOL.  As for you and everyone else who has grabbed a copy, thank you so much for your support!


Noble titles buy link:  https://www.nobleromance.com/Authors/97







HAWTHORNE

Blurb:
After a terrifying encounter with the unexplained, it took ten years and the news of her grandmother’s passing for Emma Grace Hawthorne to return to her childhood home.   She sought peace in saying a proper goodbye, but what she found was an old love, a sordid family history, and a wrong only she could right.
Living in the shadow of Hawthorne Manor, Noah Garrett never forgot about Emma Grace.  In a house full of secrets, his search for missing documents revealed a truth that could cost him everything.  What he found gave Emma the freedom to walk away from the mansion, her heart free and clear, but at what price to Noah?
BUY LINK: http://astraeapress.com/#ecwid:category=1011841&mode=product&product=4810595

HAWTHORNE excerpt
Chapter One

The car slowed to a stop and a decade's worth of memories tumbled onto the sun-blanched asphalt.
Hawthorne Manor.
The hand-painted sign hadn't changed in years. In the thick, damp air filling the Louisiana landscape, the wood display remain inexplicably unaffected. There it sat—every meticulously scripted letter as crisp and clean as the stark white walls of the manor it lauded, oblivious to the passage of time.
Emma Hawthorne tensed in the seat of the Mustang convertible, staring at her past with ice sluicing her spine Anywhere else, the view would have been gorgeous. The drive, lined on both sides with live oak laden with Spanish moss, was the South personified. At the end, Hawthorne Manor held court. Pristine, proud, the boastful antebellum home beamed, lording over its acreage.
But it harbored the unspeakable. No amount of time could erase what happened to her on the other side of the expanse of green lawn. Nothing could change what she'd seen there. Some might say she was crazy—that she'd imagined or invented the whole ordeal—but her scars were all the proof she needed. Whether the shadows lurking behind the façade of the picturesque plantation were real or born of an overactive imagination, there was no way she was going back into that house.
Especially not for a dead woman.
Sparing a glance in the rearview, Emma steeled herself against a trembling in her hands that threatened to overtake her body. She released a pent-up breath, her heart settling into a less acrobatic rhythm at the thought of leaving. She didn't have to stay here.
Let the South win this one. She was going home.
A split second after she decided to go, something caught her eye. She blinked, trying to see through the swaying canopy of leaves and moss, certain a figure stood atop the widow's walk straddling the roofline of the house. But no one—
Something brushed the car, rocking it. Swallowing panic, Emma tried to tear her focus from Hawthorne Manor, but fear kept her from looking anywhere else. Time and distance hadn't done her any favors; she was a fool for coming anywhere near this place, much less with the ragtop down.
The car rocked harder. The something refused to be ignored.
Fighting the grip of panic tightening her throat—fighting the ghosts of her past—Emma forced herself to look away from the house, toward the intrusion over her left shoulder.
The first thing she saw was an aged set of gnarled fingers resting on the door, blue automotive paint showing through an ugly translucence.
The second was the face—withered, centurion, and expressionless. Haunting.
Familiar.
Her.
Emma screamed.

****

It couldn't be her.
Noah Garrett tore down the drive, slapping through a muggy afternoon haze comprised of mosquitoes and humidity. He couldn't know that scream, but he felt the connection the moment the sound of her fear pierced the thick air.
Emma Grace.
The one reason he allowed himself to stagnate on the old plantation, long after life and reason moved on without him. Long after she had.
A blue Mustang sat at the end of the driveway. He wondered if it could be hers—even as he knew it impossible—but she was nowhere in sight.
He slowed to a trot. The sprint left him drenched with sweat and not entirely disappointed his imagination had gotten away from him. His dream of one more chance to see Emma Grace had never included himself as a dripping mess. He wiped the moisture from his brow, fast concluding the car must belong to a tourist. They often parked at the end of the drive and took pictures of the condescending mansion most thought beautiful. He assumed the intrusion seemed small to their frequent guests, but the constant ding of the hidden bell announcing a visitor could drive a man to the edge.
As if losing Emma Grace hadn't already accomplished that.
Noah closed in on the convertible, giving the nearby grounds a cursory look. The lawn was meticulous, the beds overflowing with sprays of purple garden phlox which trailed around the bend in the road and disappeared. A riot of white and rust-red irises backed the smaller purple flowers, their leaves deep green and glossy. Overhead, Spanish moss swayed only occasionally atop a maze of live oak, more likely a result of a passing swarm of insects than an actual air current. The land was still. If there were tourists snapping photos of the historic plantation—or doing anything else—he didn't see them. But someone had been there, the seemingly familiar scream so real.
Wasn't it always?
Resigned to another night alone with his memories, Noah pivoted.
And found himself nose to nose with Emma Grace.
Astounded, he opened his mouth, then closed it. He wanted to reach for her, but his arms refused the notion; they hung uselessly by his sides, the effort futile. His mouth wasn't much on cooperation, either. Finally, he found his tongue. "Em—"
Her expression cut him off. Green eyes wide, skin pale, her small frame shaking, she spoke. "I saw her, Noah. She's back." The words, nearly soundless, seemed to catch in the thick air. Lingering. Threatening.
And ripping the heart from his chest.
BUY LINK: http://astraeapress.com/#ecwid:category=1011841&mode=product&product=4810595

Monday, July 18, 2011

Welcome Elaina Lee and Sarah Ballance

We authors write about worlds filled with wealth, fantasy and dreams that come true eventually. And where at the end of the story, everything is perfect. Real life isn't like that.

Two top notch romantic suspense authors, Elaina Lee and Sarah Ballance, have written two great stories and all proceeds will go to help the survivors of the Alabama tornado and Japan's earthquake. Let's do our part and help those in need. Just so you know, I've purchased and read both books. Excellent stories. Only complaint -- they ended too soon.

I'll turn the floor over to my guests.


I'd like to thank Cassie for letting us share her space today as we raise awareness about the continuing struggles and needs of those affected by natural disasters. Please join us in giving to those to who need it most and consider making a small donation in return for a short story for good cause. - Elaina

BASIC CHARITY PROMO PIECE (TO BE PERSONALIZED FOR EACH GUEST SPOT)
When disaster strikes, there's a moment when we forget all boundaries. Geographic, political, and socioeconomic divisions fall, and there, for some of the most painful, beautiful moments in time, we are one.

Then—hour by hour, day by day, week by week—the vast majority of us lucky enough to do so will move on. As the headlines change our focus moves elsewhere, and save for the occasional media update, many of us don't look back.

Some, however, struggle to look ahead. Here's a glimpse at the staggering numbers and the broken realities affected residents of Alabama and Japan must face every day.

ALABAMA TORNADOES – April 27, 2011
The mile-wide F5 tornado that literally sliced the state of Alabama in half stayed on the ground for an astonishing 300 miles—a record-breaking distance, according to National Geographic. It also left a path of utter devastation in its wake, and recovery hasn't been easy, as evidenced by these facts reported by blog.al.com.
25,081 families were denied FEMA insurance, including many whose homes had been wiped completely off their foundations. FEMA's reason? Insufficient damage.
Following the April tornadoes, FEMA deployed 523 inspectors to the region. Together, they've inspected over 5,000 properties a day. That's a lot of destruction, folks.
Of the $4 million in initial FEMA aid for Alabama, $3.1 million went for temporary housing alone.














JAPANESE EARTHQUAKE – March 11, 2011
A June 29 update from Red Cross Japan reveals the following sober statistics:
75,215 people from the three most affected prefectures are still living in shelters or other temporary housing. 7,427 are still missing, their loved ones fearing the worst.
119,776 claims for unemployment were filed between March 11 and June 8 in the three most affected prefectures.
97,183 people have been evacuated from the area surrounding the stricken Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant. 35, 514 have left the Fukushima prefecture, forced to start over with nothing.
You Can Help … Today



Authors Elaina Lee and Sarah Ballance, through the generosity of the Astraea Press charity program, are proud to announce 100% of profits from their novellas below will go toward Alabama and Japan Disaster Relief, respectively. To help raise awareness, every comment on their individual blogs or guest blog posts (including this one!) from July 12 through August 8 will double as an entry into a weekly drawing for a $10 gift e-certificate or a free e-book. Winners will be announced on their blogs and contacted via e-mail. As an additional token of appreciation for your support, if you have purchased either of their titles you are invited to contact Elaina or Sarah for a free gift (while supplies last).


TO URN HER LOVE | Elaina Lee | romance | BUY LINK | BLOG




BLURB -

Caylie Abrahms bad day gets worse when the teen brother she's responsible for proudly hands her a gift.  Just wanting to show how much he appreciates all his sister does for him, Kyle steals what he believes is an ornate glass vase.  The gift is anything but however, and now Caylie has to find the owner of an urn.  Worst yet, she has to explain her dear brother stole someone's loved one.

Against all odds she learns the urn belongs to Rick Marshall, her best friend from college, the man she'd poured her heart out to and been rejected by.  She never thought she'd see him again, let alone have to hand him back his father in glass.  Will her resolve remain strong in his presence, or will she suffer another broken heart?


EXCERPT -

In silence, they walked the corridor flanking the stairs to the
second story. Kyle stayed behind, digging through the plate of
refreshments. They passed two doors and Caylie began to wonder
just how large his home was. She dared not look around too much,
afraid she'd grow jealous and feel even more insignificant than she
already did. There were no disillusions in her life, she knew she
was poor. Never before though had she felt impoverished. Until
now. However, she did keep a roof over hers and Kyle's head and
they never went without a meal. Those were at least things she
could be proud of. He opened a door to the left and motioned
inside.

ʺOn the desk. May I ask first though, who you're calling?"

With a sheepish smile, she held up the card. ʺA cab, I...
accidentally locked my keys in my car this afternoon."

He stepped inside and closed the door. ʺI can give you a ride
home."

Shaking her head, she took the card between both her hands
and stared down at it. Anything not to look at him and his way too
handsome face and the body that proved he did hard labor. A few
strands of gray stood out in his dark brown hair, slight lines
appeared when he smiled, but other than that, the man was still
dangerously good-looking. Only now he had a few years that took
away that fresh-from-school look and a filled out frame that came
with manhood. Alone in a room with him was so not where she
wanted to be.

ʺI couldn't possibly ask for anything more from you. We
have done more than enough."

ʺNo," he said softly and the light, musky scent of his cologne
filled her nose as he moved closer. ʺYour brother has done enough.
You did nothing but return what was stolen, hours after it
happened, I might add. You did me a huge favor, especially since
my mother happened to show up to get a good look at the urn."

ʺSomething you wouldn't have even had to worry about if
my brother hadn't taken it in the first place." She shook her head
and put some distance between them, moving towards the phone.
ʺI'm sorry, I can't accept anything else from you. Agreeing not to
press charges and then giving my brother an opportunity to do
some good...it's more than enough, more than I could thank you
for."

Before she could reach the phone, his hand wrapped around
her upper arm. His touch sent waves of longing through her body.
Not wanting to feel anything stronger, she brushed his hand away,
thankful he released her without hesitation. His eyes darkened
with anger and something she couldn't place and wasn't sure if she
wanted to.

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HAWTHORNE | Sarah Ballance | mystery, romance | BUY LINK | BLOG





HAWTHORNE

Blurb:
After a terrifying encounter with the unexplained, it took ten years and the news of her grandmother’s passing for Emma Grace Hawthorne to return to her childhood home.   She sought peace in saying a proper goodbye, but what she found was an old love, a sordid family history, and a wrong only she could right.
Living in the shadow of Hawthorne Manor, Noah Garrett never forgot about Emma Grace.  In a house full of secrets, his search for missing documents revealed a truth that could cost him everything.  What he found gave Emma the freedom to walk away from the mansion, her heart free and clear, but at what price to Noah?
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HAWTHORNE excerpt
Chapter One

The car slowed to a stop and a decade's worth of memories tumbled onto the sun-blanched asphalt.
Hawthorne Manor.
The hand-painted sign hadn't changed in years. In the thick, damp air filling the Louisiana landscape, the wood display remain inexplicably unaffected. There it sat—every meticulously scripted letter as crisp and clean as the stark white walls of the manor it lauded, oblivious to the passage of time.
Emma Hawthorne tensed in the seat of the Mustang convertible, staring at her past with ice sluicing her spine Anywhere else, the view would have been gorgeous. The drive, lined on both sides with live oak laden with Spanish moss, was the South personified. At the end, Hawthorne Manor held court. Pristine, proud, the boastful antebellum home beamed, lording over its acreage.
But it harbored the unspeakable. No amount of time could erase what happened to her on the other side of the expanse of green lawn. Nothing could change what she'd seen there. Some might say she was crazy—that she'd imagined or invented the whole ordeal—but her scars were all the proof she needed. Whether the shadows lurking behind the façade of the picturesque plantation were real or born of an overactive imagination, there was no way she was going back into that house.
Especially not for a dead woman.
Sparing a glance in the rearview, Emma steeled herself against a trembling in her hands that threatened to overtake her body. She released a pent-up breath, her heart settling into a less acrobatic rhythm at the thought of leaving. She didn't have to stay here.
Let the South win this one. She was going home.
A split second after she decided to go, something caught her eye. She blinked, trying to see through the swaying canopy of leaves and moss, certain a figure stood atop the widow's walk straddling the roofline of the house. But no one—
Something brushed the car, rocking it. Swallowing panic, Emma tried to tear her focus from Hawthorne Manor, but fear kept her from looking anywhere else. Time and distance hadn't done her any favors; she was a fool for coming anywhere near this place, much less with the ragtop down.
The car rocked harder. The something refused to be ignored.
Fighting the grip of panic tightening her throat—fighting the ghosts of her past—Emma forced herself to look away from the house, toward the intrusion over her left shoulder.
The first thing she saw was an aged set of gnarled fingers resting on the door, blue automotive paint showing through an ugly translucence.
The second was the face—withered, centurion, and expressionless. Haunting.
Familiar.
Her.
Emma screamed.

****

It couldn't be her.
Noah Garrett tore down the drive, slapping through a muggy afternoon haze comprised of mosquitoes and humidity. He couldn't know that scream, but he felt the connection the moment the sound of her fear pierced the thick air.
Emma Grace.
The one reason he allowed himself to stagnate on the old plantation, long after life and reason moved on without him. Long after she had.
A blue Mustang sat at the end of the driveway. He wondered if it could be hers—even as he knew it impossible—but she was nowhere in sight.
He slowed to a trot. The sprint left him drenched with sweat and not entirely disappointed his imagination had gotten away from him. His dream of one more chance to see Emma Grace had never included himself as a dripping mess. He wiped the moisture from his brow, fast concluding the car must belong to a tourist. They often parked at the end of the drive and took pictures of the condescending mansion most thought beautiful. He assumed the intrusion seemed small to their frequent guests, but the constant ding of the hidden bell announcing a visitor could drive a man to the edge.
As if losing Emma Grace hadn't already accomplished that.
Noah closed in on the convertible, giving the nearby grounds a cursory look. The lawn was meticulous, the beds overflowing with sprays of purple garden phlox which trailed around the bend in the road and disappeared. A riot of white and rust-red irises backed the smaller purple flowers, their leaves deep green and glossy. Overhead, Spanish moss swayed only occasionally atop a maze of live oak, more likely a result of a passing swarm of insects than an actual air current. The land was still. If there were tourists snapping photos of the historic plantation—or doing anything else—he didn't see them. But someone had been there, the seemingly familiar scream so real.
Wasn't it always?
Resigned to another night alone with his memories, Noah pivoted.
And found himself nose to nose with Emma Grace.
Astounded, he opened his mouth, then closed it. He wanted to reach for her, but his arms refused the notion; they hung uselessly by his sides, the effort futile. His mouth wasn't much on cooperation, either. Finally, he found his tongue. "Em—"
Her expression cut him off. Green eyes wide, skin pale, her small frame shaking, she spoke. "I saw her, Noah. She's back." The words, nearly soundless, seemed to catch in the thick air. Lingering. Threatening.
And ripping the heart from his chest.
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If you'd like to receive free promotional materials, please contact Elaina @ forthemusedesigns at gmail dot com or Sarah @ sarah at sarahballance dot com. Available while supplies last.


SOURCES: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/04/110428-tuscaloosa-birmingham-alabama-news-tornadoes-science-nation/ | AL.BLOG.COM http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2011/06/alabama_tornado_recovery_fema.html |RED CROSS JAPAN http://www.jrc.or.jp/vcms_lf/kokusai_290611.pdf | Photos by Elaina Lee (July 9, 2011)