NEWS

April 18 - Kate Curran PLUS a GIVEAWAY!

April 29th-30th - join us on our Facebook Page for our 4th Blog-o-versary Facebook Party!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Lure of Small Towns by Kate Curran and A GIVEAWAY!

What intrigues me about small towns? For starters, I’m a fourth-generation small-town girl, born and bred.
Living in the boondocks has its advantages. Small towns are intimate. The clerks in the grocery store, post office, and florist know you by name. You know your neighbor and probably grew up with them.
Where I live, there are four stoplights and the first didn't arrive until the 1990s. Murders are rare, schools are small and gossip is a given.
But, there are definitely tradeoffs to living in the sticks. Shopping amounts to a dollar store and grocery store. Choices for dining out are: Mexican, pizza or burgers. Entertainment is slim to none. Everything else including movies, is a thirty minute drive.
You don’t need a smartphone to broadcast everyone’s business. You only have to walk into the local coffee house or beauty parlor to hear the latest scoop. If you’ve lived in a small town long enough there will always be someone to retell your most embarrassing moment and embellish it in far greater detail than any YouTube video.
On the plus side, people are there for you when life turns sour and celebrate with you when everything is coming up daisies. They are your tribe, your community, your merry band of brothers and sisters.
I find places like Cicely, Alaska, and Stars Hollow, Connecticut, in Gilmore Girls very appealing. There is a charm, a bit of magic, and a sense of time moving slower in these places—a nirvana of sorts—that leaves a permanent stamp in my memory. A place where problems, for the most part, are solved within the constraints of a sixty-minute television show. Real life, in comparison, isn’t so tidy. 
Feeling connected to a small town lures me in. I can’t resist the temptation to pedal my bicycle down a tree-shaded lane, or to stroll down Main Street lined with wrought iron street lamps and brick sidewalks. I’m overwhelmed by the urge to grab a mocha at the cozy coffee house on the corner, sit at the umbrella-topped table and soak in sunshine on a warm spring afternoon.
KATE CURRAN

What about you? Do you have a favorite small town?
The first three to leave a comment about your favorite small town from television, books or real life wins a copy of Falling For You...Again, set in the small northern Idaho town of Paradise Falls. 
***Be sure to include your email address in your comment!
Book two of the Falling in Love series will be out in 2016.
Kate’s newest release, Leave Me Breathless, is set in Conspiracy, a small northern California coastal town.
Kate loves and writes contemporary fiction set in small towns that are deeply emotional, feel good stories, finding inspiration from movies, songs or her very own happily-ever-after.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Hope Isn't Enough

Hello! I'm Pippa Jay, author of scifi and the supernatural with a romantic soul. And this month I had to think up a blog post on hope. Hmm...

I hope for a lot of things in life. I hope that my books will do well and people will buy and like them. I hope my family will live long and prosper, and that we never have to face heartbreaking decisions or great tragedies. I hope somebody will read this blog post!

But hope isn't enough. If there are things you want, you also have to work for them. I believe in luck and fate, but I also know you can't just sit back and wait for things to happen - you have to put some effort into them and hope that good things will follow (because no matter how hard you work, sometimes it just doesn't pay off). After 2014 got off to a really bad start for me on both the personal and publishing side, I was almost ready to quit the whole writing/publishing thing. I didn't. For one thing I'm too stubborn (and being stubborn, or perhaps determined is a better word, is one key characteristic you need to make it as a published author). One quote I always use when asked what advice I'd give an aspiring author is from the comic scifi film Galaxy Quest, used by Commander Quincy Taggart: "Never give up, never surrender!" Sometimes that's the only thing that has kept me going when things were tough.

So rather than pinning my hopes on...well, hope..., I do what I can to ensure my hopes become reality. I write the best books that I can, and pay out for good editing and cover art on those I self publish. I make sure my family eat healthily, get some exercise and fresh air, and see the doctor whenever something doesn't seem right. We have back up plans and a bit of money put aside in case of emergencies. Aside from that, you can only hope because we can't control everything in life. But I don't rely on it to fulfill all my dreams.

What do you hope for?

In the meantime, I hope you'll check out my books at my website - psst, I have a new release on the 22nd, my YA dystopia Zombie Girl: Dead Awakened - and my EPIC finalist YA scifi adventure Gethyon is 25% off at CoffeeTimeRomance for the whole of April. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

How Do You Define Success?


 We’re blogging about Hope this month, apropos as Springtime is the season of hope as well as rebirth.  Before starting my post I decided to look up the word hope and one definition stuck out for me: the likelihood of success. Recently, the word Success has been on my mind. Why? Because in August my high school class is having its 35th class reunion. I don’t usually attend my reunions, they have them every five years for some reason and the last one I went to was the 25th.  
The other day, one of the committee chairs posted a list of reasons why many don’t go to their reunions, one being “because I’m not successful enough”. Which got me thinking….what is success? Is it a six figure salary? Is it seeing your name in lights? Is it being financially independent. Having a family? 
As children we all have dreams of being successful, maybe a famous actor, musician, supreme court justice, president even. But are these dreams really for us or because we want to be able to go home one day and say “Look at me. I’m not the nobody you thought I was!”
I’ll admit, I always wanted to be one of those people who could go back home and prove I was a success. I thought, by the time I was thirty I would be someone important. Someone people would admire. Someone my family would be proud of. And it’s taken me thirty-five years to realize who cares what other people think? I don’t need the money, prestige, fancy material things to prove my worth. So what if I’m fifty pounds overweight, my writing career isn’t in the same vein as Nora Roberts, and my hair is grey (ish). I have a loving husband, four beautiful children, a roof over my head, and lots of friends I enjoy hanging out with who enjoy hanging out with me.  (always a plus)
Success is something to aspire to, but it doesn’t need to be the end-all of your worth.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Hope for Hedley Sinclair

by Vivienne Lorret

Our theme this month is all about hope. In my latest book, THE DEVILISH MR. DANVERS, hope is the only thing Hedley Sinclair has. She’s been abused and locked away for her entire life, and her first opportunity to escape is with a sudden, unexpected inheritance.

But like all romances, it isn’t that simple. Hedley soon discovers that Rafe Danvers intends to take the dilapidated Greyson Park from her. All she has to cling to is her own determination and hope.



(available April 21st, 2015)

For the first time in her life, Hedley Sinclair holds the keys to her own future. She's inherited the crumbling Greyson Park, but the disrepair does nothing to dissuade her. No one will ever lock her up again or attempt to take away what's hers. No one except Rafe Danvers—the charming, fiendish man from Fallow Hall. He's determined to claim Greyson Park, but if Hedley isn't careful, he'll claim her heart as well.

Rafe has every intention of ridding Greyson Park of the conniving Sinclairs once and for all. The last thing he expects is to find the beguiling Hedley—the younger sister of his former fiancĂ©e—standing in his way. With drastic measures called for, he plans to marry her off in order to regain control of the estate. The only trouble is, he can't seem to stop seducing her. Even worse, he can't help falling in love with her.

~USA TODAY bestselling author Vivienne Lorret loves romance novels, her pink laptop, her husband, and her two sons (not necessarily in that order ... but there are days). Transforming copious amounts of tea into words, she is proud to be an Avon Impulse author of works including: Tempting Mr. Weatherstone, The Wallflower Wedding Series, and The Rakes of Fallow Hall Series. For more on her upcoming novels, visit her at www.vivlorret.net

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Diamond Hunter 99 cent Deal, April 13-19, 2015

by Madelle Morgan


Perilous, real life incidents in Canada's far north inspired events in Diamond Hunter, my romantic suspense available for $0.99 on Amazon.com and for £0.99 on Amazon.co.uk this week.

The RTG theme for April is hope. I had my share of nerve-wracking and downright terrifying moments as a passenger in bush planes when I was a junior project engineer based in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories in the early 1980s. However, a planeload of men I worked with endured hours of terror. Their tale illuminates how keeping one's cool and holding on to hope in a life or death situation is all that separates the brave from the... well, not so lucky.



I took notes thirty years ago when two middle-aged consulting engineers described their traumatic experience to me. Here's their story. 

The territorial department of Public Works had hired Montreal-based engineering consultants to design fuel storage facilities in the Arctic. One afternoon the two engineers and a construction contractor boarded a twin engine plane in Baker Lake to fly to Yellowknife, a distance of about 600 miles west as the goose flies. The Twin Otter was loaded with nine passengers and a lot of construction gear. The pilot had been flying since six a.m. and was tired when they took off.

There was no GPS satellite navigation back then. The magnetic north affects compasses. Pilots relied on visual identification of landmarks and radio, if and when in range. It's important to understand that there were no communities, no airports, no roads, not even a mine landing strip between Baker Lake and Yellowknife. 

The pilot and copilot flew over endless miles of tundra and water battling heavy crosswinds. At some point they lost their bearings and strayed from the flight path. They were lost.

People who've traveled extensively in small planes over long distances know very well how long a particular type of plane can fly before refueling. Four or five passengers realized one hour beforehand that the plane would run out of fuel before they reached Yellowknife. Darkness closed in.

Eventually an engine cut out and the plane's nose dropped. One consultant grabbed his partner's arm in a vice grip. Even those two city boys knew they were in terrible trouble.

The pilots took the plane up to 15,000 feet on a single engine. Twin Otter cabins are not pressurized. As the minutes ticked by, the plane steadily lost altitude. Ten miles out of Yellowknife the second engine sputtered and died. 


Yellowknife in the distance
Photo credit: Clayton Whitman
Yellowknife is built on granite and surrounded by water. There were no paved roads or streetlights beyond the town of 12,000. Everyone on the silent plane held their collective breath as the plane glided down in the pitch dark towards a terrain unforgiving to dead stick landings.

Then the pilots spied tiny lights on top of hydro towers and adjusted the heading to aim for them. The pilot had radio contact with the Yellowknife airport tower by this time, but he'd no hope of making it as far as the runway. Yet he kept his cool and didn't give up.

Orienting himself by the lights atop a string of towers, and by memory more than anything, the pilot prepared to land the plane without power. The copilot later admitted he didn't see the dirt road until two or three seconds before the wheels touched down.

Miraculously, the plane landed safely, although it ended up in a ditch. No one was hurt. Everyone jumped out and shook hands.

A pickup truck happened to come along and pulled up. A man got out and approached. "I usually have a case of beer for situations like this," he said.

The RCMP arrived. "I don't have a form for this situation," an officer admitted.

I have no idea what happened between the time the plane landed and the next day in my office. However, I strongly suspect the passengers headed straight for a bar and drank to that pilot's skills and courage.


Is her life worth a fortune in diamonds?

Geologist Petra Paris, on a mission to clear her father's name, disrupts a smuggling op at a Canadian diamond mine in the arctic. When escape by air is cut off, desperate smugglers escalate to murder. RCMP cop Seth Cooper, undercover as a bush plane pilot, needs to capture them before Petra becomes the next victim.

Seth sank onto the double bed, shock crowding disbelief. Why the hell couldn't the woman stay rescued?

Diamond Hunter is only $0.99 on Amazon the week of April 13-19. To be reminded of this and future Kindle deals, "Like" my Facebook page or subscribe to news and deals on my website.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Small Town Girl

By Jenn DeCuir

I grew up in a small town on the coast of Maine. One of those everyone-knows-everyone-else’s business type of places. And much like my character, Cady Eaton, in Trapped in Tourist Town, I couldn't wait to get out.

I met my now-husband over the internet (through a friend who had actually met him in person, so I knew he wasn't an ax murderer), dated long distance for a year and then decided to join him in Los Angeles. I packed up my car with as much as I could stuff in it, brought along my cat and his prescription downers, and I was off. Los Angeles, was an amazing experience. As was San Diego, where we moved about a year after we were eventually married.

I thought I’d be thrilled to see the last of my hometown. Instead, I pined for it. Especially when I had my first child. I wanted her to have the kind of childhood I had. The safety of riding a bike all around the neighborhood, joining other families at the local swimming hole on a hot evening, picking blueberries in the woods behind the house and not knowing whether you’ll encounter a skunk, a porcupine or a deer on this particular outing.

So we were beyond excited when the opportunity came to move to the Pacific Northwest for my husband’s work. Driving toward our temporary rental, I marveled at all the evergreens. It reminded me of home.

It wasn't Maine, but it would do.

My kids might not be able to explore miles of woods behind our house, but there are TONS of forested areas and state parks really close by where we do explore. Every 4th of July we attend the town parade. Not everyone knows us, in this slightly bigger town, but that’s okay. Downtown is still one charming two lane road full of family run businesses. We might not get the more exotic wildlife out here, but the rabbits and possum that stop by to visit in our yard are more than welcome.

Jennifer DeCuir
And if I want to visit Maine on a daily basis? I start a new book in my series. Scallop Shores is a quaint little town on the coast of Maine. There is a cast of quirky characters, plenty of town gossip, old loves and couples just starting out. And if I throw in a happy memory or two from growing up in my own hometown, well, that’s just my way of staying in touch with a town that has a special place in my heart.

Learn more about Jennifer at  www.jenniferdecuir.com
Connect with Jennifer on her favorite social media site  

 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Hope is a Funny Word


Hope is a sad word to some, as in “I hope I recover from cancer.” The outcome of treatment is not a guarantee of a cure.

“I hope the tornado does not hit our house.” This is hopefulness the weather does not take a turn towards the house.
Copyright : Olga Lyubkin

We can hope for ourselves, our family, our country or the world. Hope can be felt with confidence, expectation, optimism, anticipation, faith and courage.

At one time or another we have all experienced some form of “Hope”. I know I’ve experienced all of the above various feelings of hope.

I’ve lost hope, too. When my Father was dying from cancer I hoped with all my heart and prayers that by some miracle he would be saved. It wasn’t to be. When I arrived at my parents’ house two days before my Dad expired, I went into the bedroom where he lay on a hospital bed provided by Hospice. He looked like he was sleeping. I knelt down on the floor and brushed his forehead with my fingertips. Dad opened his weary eyes and said, “Di, you’re here.” He closed his eyes, and hope fled from my heart.

Those were the last words my father spoke to me.

I try to be optimistic and look at the bright side of life. Last year I was hopeful I’d get a book published and I did, along with Sister Sarah and Judith. But along with hope were perseverance, dedication and co-operation to make it happen.

Glacier Park picture by Diana McCollum
I hoped my husband and I could go on a long vacation. We had not been on one in three years, and we did! Visiting Montana, Idaho WA and British Columbia, again, it took planning and confidence and anticipation to pull it off. Husband has severe back problems so we had to plan to only drive 3 to 4 hours a day. I
had to ask my Sister Sarah to leave her husband and stay with our 89 year old Mom so she wouldn’t be alone while we were gone. I had to withdraw money from my IRA. Everything came together and our hope of a vacation became a reality.

Copyright : Marek Uliasz
So my conclusion on HOPE is you can hope for something all you want, sit back and it may or may not materialize.


Or you can HOPE for something with confidence, optimism courage, faith and participation. One still may not get what they hope for, but wouldn’t you rather be “doing” than “sitting”?