AuThursday – Jennifer Vettor

unnamedTell us a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Jennifer Vettor. I am a Canadian author living in southern Ontario. I’ve been married 28 years to my first husband (he hates this joke.) We have three grown children, two dogs, and 2 cats. I also work as a Reiki Practitioner and a Holistic Nutritionist.

How do you make time to write?

I have the privilege of working from home. This allows free time between clients to write! I also am lucky enough to make my own schedule, so I will often schedule in writing days. (I admit these days have often turned into Netflix binging and Facebook comas. I need more discipline.)

Do you believe in writer’s block?

While I have experienced blocks of time that I’ve been unmotivated, I have yet to experience writer’s block. Even when I’m not writing I have lots of ideas and stories bouncing around my unruly brain.

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.

I write spicy romance novels. I love it because it is a place for my imagination to safely wander, AND it keeps me out of trouble.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional, or something else)

I have chosen to publish independently. I’m a bit of a control freak and am not afraid to get my hands dirty. I was writing as a ghostwriter for an Indie publisher and when the time came to launch my own work, I just followed in their footsteps. I’m not opposed to traditional though. Maybe next time!

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? How does this affect your work?

I tend to be a bit of both. I do love being around others, but I prefer small, intimate occasions. Call me a “social introvert”. I don’t mind the time spent alone and generally use this time to write.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Don’t quit before the miracle happens.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

For the first draft, just write your thoughts, and don’t worry about structure. You ’ll have plenty of chances to edit. Just let your creativity flow or you’ll get hung up on form, and start nit-picking everything. Nothing kills your writing buzz faster than self-doubt. Just bang away on that keyboard!

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

jennifervettor.com

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

This is from my recent offering ‘Fated’.

unnamed (1)Meg spent her weekend sorting, organizing, and cleaning, clearing as much space as she could for Kade to move around. She was overwhelmed by the amount of work ahead of her, and several times had to calm herself on the porch with a cup of tea just to stave off a panic attack. Although she might have bitten off more than she could chew, she’d much rather choke on ambition than be swallowed by apathy. She’d just take things a day at a time.

It was late Sunday evening. She was sitting cross-legged on the floor, searching through boxes of old books, piled two and three rows high. She was hoping to salvage much of their contents for the shelves of the bookery, maybe even find a treasure or two, but much of what she found was questionable in its usefulness. Dusty, old fashioned books, perfumed with a musty aroma of decay and neglect.

She assumed most of the books were donated castaways the previous owner never had the time, or the desire, to sort through. He seemed more a hoarder than a collector, Meg thought ruefully. Most of the boxes were untouched, still sealed with yellowed, crumbling packing tape that had long ago lost its sticky residue.

She was about to push aside a box, certain she wouldn’t find anything interesting when something caught her eye. It was a vintage diary, the kind that would have been filled with the longings, secrets, and fantasies of a young girl; red leather with a gold scroll design, long ago faded. It was locked, but the leather was compromised, cracked along the flap that held the metal edge in place. She took a moment to search the bottom of the box for the key, piling the remaining books around her, but found nothing, even after turning it upside down. She placed the box down and retrieved the diary, inquisitively rolling it over in her hands. It seemed a shame to break it, almost impolite, but Meg was curious about its contents. She carried the book with her into the kitchen, hoping to find a tool to unlatch it.

“This should work,” she spoke out loud, to no one in particular. She slipped a small butter knife behind the seal and it easily popped open on the first try, as though its secrets begged to be revealed. She slowly opened the book, pleasantly surprised by the soft texture of the paper. It was quite extraordinary, made even more striking by the elegant script decorating the pages. Meg felt the familiar flutter of excitement that always happened whenever she first opened the pages of a new book; the promise of a new adventure waiting to be devoured, fresh mysteries to unfold, and
delicious characters to fall in love with.

It had been years since she’d read cursive, raised in a computer generation, but there was something mysteriously beautiful about those swirling consonants and vowels. It struck a deep chord with her, luring her into an era where things were simpler, slower, with more attention paid to detail. An idyllic world where folks really took the time to engage with each other; computers, cell phones, and Instagram just a cold, distant, impossible reality. She often felt like she’d been born in the wrong era, dropped onto the planet generations later than she should have been. She longed for those deeper connections. Excited, she opened the first page, allowing the words to transport her, like a literary time machine.

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AuThursday – Dana Ross

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DR author photoTell us a little about yourself and your background?

Like many writers, I was born into a family of bookworms. My maternal grandmother was a librarian for seventy-five years and she was a heavy influence on everything I read growing up. My father was a jeweler, and I grew up in the industry and was groomed to take over my family’s store. I worked under his wing for almost a decade, but after I left Maryland to attend the Gemological Institute of America and earn my Graduate Gemologist degree, I was encouraged to apply for a teaching position at the school. I relocated to California and worked as an instructor at G.I.A.’s Santa Monica campus.

Later, after marriage and kids and moving to Florida, I decided to try writing. After a few poor unstructured attempts, I joined a few critique groups, switched careers, attended grad school. There, I earned my MFA in creative writing. I still have a passion for gems and I try to infuse my writing with gemological factoids whenever possible.

How do you make time to write?

When my children were young, I wrote when they napped or attended school. I knew I had only a few precious hours to get words onto paper, so I made writing part of my daily routine—as much as brushing my teeth and flossing. My kids are almost grown now, but I still adhere to my writing schedule: Coffee first. Then treadmill (to fill my head with ideas/mentally flush out stories). Then I plant myself in my writing chair and work until my son comes home, hunger pangs beckon, or the dog whimpers for attention.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

“Ugh.” Unfortunately, yes. I’ve heard people say they don’t believe such a thing exists, but I suffer from it on occasion. Recently, I started working on two novels, one story I began while participating in NaNoWriMo, and one story that “came to me” out of the blue. I love both ideas, but I haven’t been able to commit fully to either, and until the “Eureka!” or “Aha!” moment comes to me, I can’t find the momentum to write. To help speed along the process, I play songs that remind me of my imagined chapters or work on character profile worksheets or try to write the synopsis of each book until the proverbial “block” has been lifted.

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.

Great question. My true love is YA because I love teen angst and quirky characters. The first manuscripts I wrote were YA stories, because writing is cathartic and through YA, I could deal with teen issues I, myself, went through, and issues my daughter experienced. That being said, my first published book is a contemporary romance with elements of suspense. It was a lot of fun to write outside my “regular” genre.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both.)

My recent book was published traditionally through The Wild Rose Press. I’d learned they had earned an award through Predators & Editors and heard great things about the company, so I queried them and they accepted my “baby.” TWRP really love their authors and go out of their way to teach us about the writing industry, which can be overwhelming at times.

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? How does this affect your work?

I’m an intro/extrovert if there were such a thing. I love working and hanging out with fellow writers, but I’m also introverted at times. While crafting a novel, I’ll retreat into my writing cave and shun friends/society, and I can go days without contact from the outside world. Fortunately, I’m also a mom and the host of a local writers’ critique group, so I get pulled out of the proverbial cave and pushed back into society when my son is with me or when it’s time to moderate the writing group.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

That’s an easy answer. I stumbled upon this quote by Gloria Steinem and for years it has been my mantra: “Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.”

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

First, the obvious: write and read every day, even if it’s only a paragraph or a page. Second, read and write outside your comfort zone; our writer minds can get stagnant if we do the same thing every day. Third, read the craft books written by the masters. There are many but my favorites are Stephen King’s “On Writing,” Strunk & White’s “The Elements of Style,” and Browne & King’s “Self-Editing for Fiction Writers.” Last, but not least, don’t give up. Your writing might not be everyone’s cup of tea, and writing is a glacial process, but if you write because you love what you do, stick to it, toughen your skin, and be patient. Your day will come, and there’s no greater feeling than having a complete stranger love your prose.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Thanks for asking, Tina. I’m constantly on social media, and I love to connect with readers and fellow writers. You can find me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and my (under construction) web page:

Website: https://danarossauthor.com

Twitter: @danarossauthor

Instagram: mommawriter (Dana Ross Author)

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DanaRossauthor

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

Yes, thank you for offering. This excerpt comes from chapter two—a scene where my protagonist meets face-to-face with the story’s antagonist.

FullGirlfriendExperience_w11805_750

There were three things I could not stand—cheap shoes, bad wine, and the man seated across the table from me. William Drummond was staring at me like a half-starved animal. Maybe his greedy gaze was due to my dress’s plunging neckline, but the man obviously had other things on his mind—complications that involved me. And like the pan-fried calamari appetizer slowly digesting in my belly, sharing company with the man who almost killed one of my girls did not sit well.

Nonetheless, I had problems. I had to at least hear him out.

I lifted my empty champagne flute and motioned for a refill.

Drummond obliged.

The bubbly was good and dry, one that cost a pretty penny, which the sockmuppet would probably write off and charge taxpayers. It was tempting to slug my drink down and ask for a third glass, but I refrained since I was dealing with someone less trustworthy than my dry cleaners. As Drummond refilled his glass, I remembered how easily he polished off drinks without showing a hint of an altered mind. In addition to the champagne, there was a glass of whiskey with melting ice cubes by his plate.

Bells in my head rang a warning.

He was slick. Just like that suit. Which was decent, though, probably an Italian label that cost more than my rent. He also sported a rose-gold designer watch—last year’s model—and diamond pavé cufflinks that practically blinded me with their shine. His nails were trimmed and glossy, like he’d had a recent manicure, and his jet-black hair shined like an asphalt lake.

His eyes were a forgettable brown, but they revealed intellect—correction, cunning intellect.

Drummond lifted his champagne glass and aimed the rim in my direction. “Let’s make a toast. To old times.”

I leaned forward and clinked his glass. “Old times.”

 

AuThursday – Marianne Rice

MRiceAuthorPicTell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a wife and the mother of three children. Two girls (17 and 14) and a son (12). I moved from California to the east coast in high school and made Maine my home. Now, you can find me teaching high school English, writing when I can, or curled up with a romance novel.

How do you make time to write?

Ha ha ha! This is a funny one. I don’t seem to be able to “make” time, but I take advantage of the little bits I get here and there. Family watching a movie? I escape to my room to write. Stuck at lacrosse practice? I hide out in the car to write. Summer vacation? Mommy writing time!

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Nope. But maybe it’s because I have such little time to write. I’m always thinking about my stories so when I have a moment of peace at my laptop, the words fly pretty quickly. The issue is…not enough time to write it all down!

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.

I fell in love with Jill Shalvis, Susan Mallery, Kristan Higgins, Brenda Novak and many, many more. I love reading about real-life romances, especially those set in small towns. Well, the stories are made up but they could happen, right? My books are sort of a blend between contemporary romance and women’s fiction. I focus on the characters and their internal conflict and the budding romance between the hero and heroine. I also love writing about friends and families. There’s so much material there, right?

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)

I’m a hybrid. I have three series with small presses and my latest series in self-published. I like the blend; I’ve learned so much from my small presses and have gained fabulous writer friendships with my fellow authors, but it’s a whole new adventure self-publishing!

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?

Total extrovert. However, I was a major introvert–I’m talking social anxiety disorder–until my college years. I was shy in my early twenties, and then something happened. I have no idea what. I absolutely love going to writer and reader conferences and have no trouble speaking in front of a huge crowd. Which is helpful with my day job. Standing up in front of 16-18 year olds trying to inspire them to write and love literature is one of the most challenging jobs I can think of. Talk about daily rejection!

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” Confucius and “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” C.S. Lewis

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t stop writing. Ever. And reach out to fellow writers. Often. Attend local writing groups (my local RWA chapter is fabulous, even if you’re not a romance author) and conferences. NEVER stop learning. And don’t publish a book just because you “can”. Get your work in front of as many eyes as possible. And I’m not talking about your Aunt Mabel. You need advice from those in the writing community. Also, hire a professional editor and do your research!

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I’m everywhere!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mariannericeauthor/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Marianne-Rice/e/B00SICUIRM

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mariannericeauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mariannericeaut

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/MarianneRice

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/marianne-rice

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

“Sure! This is from Where There’s Hope. It’s the second book in my Well Paired novels, but each book is a stand alone.” ~Marianne Rice

Where There's HopeThe front door opened before his foot touched the front step. Hope’s welcoming smile lit up the front stoop, and he did all he could to keep from picking her up in his arms and covering her mouth with his.

Those lips, though. Julia Roberts had nothing on Hope Windward.

“Hey,” she said coyly, her voice wrapped around his heart, giving it a gentle squeeze he hadn’t felt since he was a young boy.

“You’re beautiful.”

Hope looked down at her feet then back up at him, scrunching her nose in that adorable manner she did when she was confused. “I’m wearing jeans and a sweater.”

“I didn’t notice.” And he hadn’t. It was her rich hazel eyes and her sunshiny sparkle that brightened his dark world. She wore her hair down tonight, soft ribbons of dark blonde hair flowing just past her shoulders. Hair he longed to run his fingers through.

Cameron walked up the steps, stopping in the open doorway.

“Well, I’m noticing you. And you look very handsome. I don’t know what I like better, though. Sexy whiskers or the soft skin.”

Cameron rubbed his cheeks with his fingers. He’d shaven tonight for her family, thinking the clean look was more presentable to her parents and her daughter than the usual scruff on his face.

“You name it, beautiful, and I’ll do it.”

Hope raised an eyebrow and her gaze dropped to his lips. “You should probably come in and meet my parents first, don’t you think?”

 

AuThursday – Madeline Smid

FF MS BannerMS Author photoTell us a little about yourself and your background?

I am married and live with my husband in a small development on the South Saskatchewan River, in Saskatchewan, Canada, surrounded by ancient rolling hills. We have two grown children and three granddaughters. My husband is a retired pilot and Air Traffic Controller and has worked around the world. We have a wonderful life, flying, sailing, skiing, and adventuring together.

How do you make time to write?

I consider myself a full-time writer because I usually have three or more books in various stages of publication at all times. I write a book a month (well now I can do it in two weeks). I form the story in my head until it is ready, then sit down and write between 5,000 and 10,000 words a day. I put the completed story away for two weeks or more and then go back polish and submit. I do this about three times a year. In between, I am editing drafts or galleys on other submitted books, or editing an anthology for my writing group, or downloading one of my nonfiction books into my blog, chapter by chapter. I keep busy year round.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

No. I think that is just an acceptable name for being paralyzed by fear—that you’ll fail.

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.

My last nine books have been romantic suspense, re-categorized to action suspense. I like this genre because it lends itself well to plot-driven books, which I prefer. I also believe in the power of love—agape, familial, narcissist, erotic, romantic as an influencing agent in all motivation and action. I love to explore how love becomes the cause and effect for my characters.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)

Fatal Flight is published by The Wild Rose Press and marketed worldwide as both digital and print books.

Are you an Introvert or Extravert? How does this affect your work?

I am able to act extroverted for short periods with a lot of people, but at heart, I’m an introvert. I get my energy from ideas and being alone in nature.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

I did the best I could, with what I had, at the time.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t think about writing, talk about writing, or take endless writing courses. If you want to be a writer – write.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.madelonasmid.com

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

FatalFlight_w12058_300[Sky] “You consider going to Max behind my back being upfront?”

[Adam] “Max came to me. I was interested and after crunching the numbers, researching your top-notch standing on the circuit and talking with my father, thought this was a great PR opportunity for our corporation. I didn’t know you were against the idea. My experience is that as soon as someone knows what I’m worth, they want something from me.”

“And you assumed I was sticking my hand in the pot.” She stopped at the entrance to the big tent, where oceans of food were served all day. “Okay, I see where you were coming from. Pax.” She offered her hand.

She took quiet satisfaction in the fact he looked like she’d turned him on his head. Good, keep him off balance, and he couldn’t do the same to her. He took her hand, his long fingers warm and dry, just the lightest of squeezes. He’d never used his size and strength to intimidate, she realized. He was a true alpha male, for only the strongest, fastest and smartest protected the vulnerable. A weaker male took advantage of them.

“Thank you got this wonderful opportunity to share my joy in writing, and pleasure in this story with your readers.”~Madeline Smid

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AuThursday – Suzanne Jefferies

Watched banner26-IMG_0088Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

 I’m originally from a valley in Wales that rains sheep and folklore about dragons. But right now, I live in South Africa. I’ve done everything from writing press releases about powerboating to trading futures on the South African futures exchange. I love chocolate, rainy days, and jiu-jitsu.

How do you make time to write?

 A thousand words a day squeezed in between meetings or deadlines or waiting for the wash cycle to end.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

 I believe in story block. Sometimes, the story takes a while to show up. When it does, I can write. Until then, I read.

 Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.

 Contemporary and paranormal are my preferred genres, with varying heat levels in each. I love to write erotica, for me, it’s poetry about the body and soul.

 How are you publishing your recent book and why?

Wild Rose Press are my publishers. With every new book, I learn from the pros – that’s what traditional publishing offers, and it’s invaluable.

 Are you an Introvert or Extravert? How does this affect your work?

 Totally an introvert. It means my work is best suited to me; writing is lonely, it’s just you, your machine/notepad, and the story.

 What is your favorite motivational phrase?

 “Just do it.”

 What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

 The road is long, winding, with slopes and inclines. Sometimes it’s tough, and sometimes you’re freewheeling. Sometimes there are road bandits, other times a wise sage. But it’s a journey – keep one foot in front of the other.

 Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

My website www.suzannejefferies.com, or Facebook SuzanneJefferiesAuthor or Twitter @suzannjefferies

Watched_w12142_med Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

 “His gaze on me is like a caress on the back of my neck; my senses alert to the pleasure that’s to come. He likes to walk behind me. His shoes scrape against the tar—the sta-stop rhythm.

I know he’s there. Waiting.
I know he’s there. Watching.
His face flashes in the reflection of a car window. In the reflection of a paned-glass window. Distorted night lights, strangers, and him. Sometimes I try to give him the slip. Turn a different corner. Run up a different pathway. But, after a beat or two, he’s there. That same sta-stop rhythm.”

AuThursday – Elizabeth Meyette

Elizabeth MeyetteTell us a little about yourself and your background?

I wrote my first book, Love’s Destiny, on a dare many years ago. Life threw me a few curves, so I had to return to college, get a teaching degree, and find a job. I taught secondary English and journalism for most of my career, though I did a delightful stint as an elementary media specialist (school librarian). As an English teacher, I never had time to pursue my own writing, so my novel gathered dust under my bed until I retired. My friend said I didn’t retire, I refired, and she is right. I started writing full time, and Love’s Courage is my fifth novel since I left teaching.

How do you make time to write?

I am fortunate to be able to write full time. I so admire authors who juggle a job, young children, and other responsibilities and still commit to their writing. I tend to become so focused on writing that I let other things go like exercise, meditation, reading, and just plain fun. My husband Rich is very understanding though. He says I get cranky when I’m not writing. He’s right.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I do, but I have been fortunate to evade it thus far. My problem is too many ideas and too little time.

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.

I write in two genres—historical romance and paranormal mystery. I love historical romance because I love to research what it was like to live in earlier times. The Brentwood Saga (Love’s Destiny, Love’s Spirit, and Love’s Courage) is set during the American Revolution, an era I adore. Rich and I have gone to Colonial Williamsburg, VA and New York City to do research and for him to take copious photographs for me to use.

I also love paranormal mystery. Mystery has always been my favorite genre, and while I was writing my first one, The Cavanaugh House, suddenly this ghost appeared. Readers wanted more of my characters from The Cavanaugh House, and the characters had more to tell. Buried Secrets came out in 2016, and the third in my Finger Lakes Mystery series will be out in 2018.  The rest is history, or rather, mystery.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)

I am a hybrid author. My first two books, Love’s Destiny and Love’s Spirit, are with Simon & Schuster/Crimson Romance. All my other books are indie. I like the control I have over my indie books. I get to choose my own cover (Rich created both my mystery covers), my publishing schedule, and my marketing strategies. I have my indie books professionally edited and formatted, and the cover for Love’s Courage was done by a different cover artist. I guess I’m a control freak, but it works because my indie books outsell my traditionally published books by thousands.

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?

I am an extrovert. This works well for me because I am in several writers’ groups, so I interact well with people. I also love to do book talks and give presentations at workshops and conferences. After teaching for so many years, I feel very comfortable speaking to large groups, especially if they don’t throw spitballs.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“She believed she could, so she did.”

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write, write, write. Read, read, read.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.elizabethmeyette.com

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

I sure do! This is from my latest novel, Love’s Courage.

LovesCourage_CVR_MEDShe glanced at the shore again as the ship passed the end of the wharf on its journey up the York River to Chesapeake Bay and out into the Atlantic Ocean. A flash of color along the ridge caught her eye. Her heart thumped as a rider careened along the road that ran down the Great Valley leading from the ridge to the port. Even from this distance, she recognized Andrew. How could he possibly have made that journey so quickly?

The letter she had sent him should not have arrived in time for him to see her off. She had never intended it to. His presence would make her departure impossible, and she could not bear that. So, she had delayed sending her letter.

That had been first of her lies.

Snatching his hat off his head, he waved it and whistled, piercing the heavy air as he reached the base of the hill and thundered along the riverbank. He pulled the horse up causing it to plant its hooves, its rigid front legs angled straight out. As he slid from the saddle, he again whistled shrilly, waving his cocked hat.

“Jenny!” The sleeves of his white linen shirt billowed as he signaled to the ship.

How could it be? He must have ridden at break-neck speed.

“Jenny! Jonathon, turn back!” Andrew ran along the wharf until he reached its end.

Would his brother-in-law hear Andrew’s plea? But neither Jonathon nor anyone in his crew looked up. They would not hear him over the sails slapping the wind, arcing and spreading high above the deck, or over the bosun’s piping Jonathon’s orders. The crew were all occupied with raising the sails and navigating the departure from Yorktown.

She did nothing to call their attention to Andrew.

She could see errant strands of his light brown hair blowing about his head. The disheveled look of his shirt, untucked, flapping in the breeze was quite a contrast to how he had looked the last time they’d been together at a formal dinner at Brentwood Manor. Then, he’d worn a cream-colored long coat and russet breeches, his cravat billowing at his neck. His tawny hair had been tied back in a neat queue, as usual. He’d swept off his wool cocked hat in a regal bow, his blue eyes smoky with passion as they shared a secret smile. He’d pulled her to the empty parlor and wrapped her in his arms.

As the ship continued its slow passage along the York River, she leaned against the rail, Andrew’s form ever more distant. She stretched out her arm toward the shore as if, somehow, she could reach him. But it was no use. She dropped her arm to her side. This was what she had hoped for.

This was what she had dreaded.

“Andrew.” His name escaped her throat in a moan. How she had wanted to hold him and kiss him goodbye. She would never hold him again.

“Jenny. I love you, Jenny.”

Although he bellowed the words, they floated over the water to her in a shimmering, faint declaration. Tears ran down her cheeks, and she hugged herself to stop the sobs that shuddered against her ribs.

“I love you, too, my dearest Andrew,” she whispered against the catch in her throat.

 

“Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog today. It’s been delightful visiting with you.”~Elizabeth Meyette

 

 

 

AuThursday – Kathleen Rowland

ONIH Bannerkathy2(1)Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I grew up in Sioux City, Iowa.  My dad was the first psychiatrist in town and mother was a nurse.  I’m married to the love of my life who is a CPA.  Our five children have flown the coop.  We have four grandchildren and one on the way.

How do you make time to write? 

Writing is a fun emotional outlet, and I write about four hours a day.

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Yes, and that happens when I have something else must do.  I am chairing a writers’ contest this year.  My chapter, OCCRWA, is depending on me.

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.

I love the combination of mystery and romance. There’s a time clock. Urgency adds to the impact of the entire book.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)

Traditional with Tirgearr Publishing in Ireland. What an amazing publisher, and I feel so lucky with great editors and cover artists.

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert?

How does this affect your work? I’m an extrovert and people person. I like socializing with family, friends, and other writers.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“Just do it.” I had to remind myself to find judges for the Orange Rose Contest before the date of publicizing the contest.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Take classes.  Join a chapter for writers. Maybe join a critique group if inclined.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/786656.Kathleen_Rowland

http://www.amazon.com/Kathleen-Rowland/e/B007RYMF7S/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1450835163&sr=1-2-ent

https://twitter.com/rowlandkathleen

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OneNightinHavanabyKathleenRowland200 (1)One Night in Havana

Through binoculars, Carlos Montoya had been watching Veronica when she’d had a conversation with a security guard from the cruise ship in question. As a part-time Cuban border enforcer, he was aware of all of the different ways dirt-bags smuggled crap into and out of Cuba. He worked this job to stop them.

Something made her nervous. Now onboard, he’d smothered a smile when she watched the action heat up across the water. Time for a bit of fun. She was a fish out of water when it came to drug transport via cruise ships.

He had his eyes where hers were, on tonight’s final loading of drugs across the channel. Some shady characters he’d encountered through the past few years made regular nocturnal visits. Each night, a variety of activities took place with a procession of scantily clad women. Not that he’d get an opportunity to try them out. He was stuck here on his boat until he nabbed the bad dudes. When this stint ended, he’d catch up with his grandmother’s tenant, a woman with an edgy, artsy vibe that suited her business of running a hair salon. If she weren’t available, he’d find a pretty vacationer looking for fun. Too bad Veronica would be heading home in twenty-four hours.

Tonight’s boredom had disappeared when his competitor in the black silk dress had dropped in and inched along to the back of his boat.

Carlos had stood inside and watched from the hatch as she leaned against the side of the cabin so close to the hatch, he could have reached out and touched her with a hand. Sometimes people under the influence stepped onto the wrong boat. There were plenty of drugs if someone knew basic operations. This wasn’t the case. She made her way to the back of his boat with purpose. She sat her adorable ass on an old life jacket for a perfect vantage point.

Veronica was a looker without the jaded appearance of the many women he’d seen wandering from her cruise ship. Most of the time she dressed in business attire, but her curves smoldered underneath. Her high heels fit with Cuban fashion. The moonlight highlighted her shoulder-length blonde hair. While scuba diving, he’d forced himself to look away from her long, bare legs for fear he’d run his hands up them and tuck his fingers beneath her thighs. At the restaurant, he’d enjoyed a little banter, but tonight he’d gotten another glimpse of her toned body as she crept across the deck. The short dress plastered against her and she hitched it up to move around. The light sway of her hips brought him to his knees. He shuffled around the cabin, his dick pressing against his zipper. Cruise vessels were being monitored by Border Protection, and he’d make sure no harm came to her. He glanced across the water and reminded himself to be useful.

It’d been the same since he and his buddy, Alberto, from the military police put two and two together. They’d sat on a rooftop deck of a bar overlooking the harbor, watching local criminals getting on and off her ship, the Ecstasy.

“That operation needs extra eyes,” Alberto had said with a swig of beer.

“What’s going on?”

Alberto had glared at him. “Crims are dealing from the cruise ships. Your boat has—”

“A perfect location?” The next day, with military cameras and other equipment installed, Carlos started his surveillance job. Same drugs, different participants and ways of operation. Stuck on his cabin cruiser with no company was tough on the libido. Before leaving in the early hours of the morning, he connected his recording device to a landline provided by the port authority. At his house, he filed reports, uploaded photographs to support his narrative, showered, and then changed into his usual garb.

Most days he taught students studying abroad in English at the University of Havana. Cuban students interacted with American, South American, and European exchange students. Socializing made them seek a better life. New hopes and dreams threatened to divide their insular Cuban community. Now, during winter break, he attended the Oceanography Conference.

Every session had been a snore until he’d learned Veronica was pitted against him for the same grant. Stiff competition brightened the experience. The daughter of the late Cephalopodiatrist, Ronald Keane, didn’t churn out an article a month for ten plus years without honing in on the power of eight. Octopuses changed shape and color at will, squirted ink, vanished through tiny cracks, and even tasted with their suckers. The predators reminded him of himself, but everything about Veronica put her in the guileless category.

Did she not know he’d invited her to scuba dive with a handful of judges to even out the playing field? He’d won a handful of grants. Networking was about making connections and building mutually beneficial relationships. Instead of joining the crew afterward for drinks, she’d assisted his eighty-year-old abuela off the boat and down The Malecón seawall. That day a cold front blew in, and massive waves crashed against her chances to expand her sphere of influence. Too bad Bela had lit on her like a sticky butterfly. His heart skipped with Veronica in the midst of a beat.

He was aware of the routine when anyone researched and wrote scholarly articles. She had to plan. Make predictions. Envision. Check data, and then double-check. On paper everything was perfect. But in reality, when competing for a grant, something went wrong. She didn’t sell herself. Perhaps he’d frostily point that out, later, somehow, and help her future efforts.

Movement on the deck outside his cabin brought him back to the present. Veronica stood and turned toward the dock, and he followed her silently to the front of the boat.

A guard in a light blue uniform stormed down the dock. Will she jump toward him?

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