Tag Archives: GSP Romance Promo

Forbidden Love ……

14 Feb

Happy Valentine’s Day!

The GSP Romance Promo welcomes G. E. Stills.

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In addition to highlighting his book, Forbidden Love , Gary has kindly answers questions on the topic of romance for our readers. Over to you Gary.

1. What inspired you to bring romance into your writing?

It seems in today’s world romance is becoming a rarity. At least you seldom hear of it. I enjoy reading about it. Maybe it is an escape from reality. (laughter) I guess it is only natural that I would enjoy writing it too.

2. Do the characters reflect you, or anyone you know in real life?

I think there is always a part of you in each character. The story Forbidden Love (my first book published) was inspired by a true life experience. Being an author of fiction, I did embellish from what happened in reality though. Some of my characters are based on people I know. Not so much their looks, but how I view them personality wise.

3. As naming characters is something I always agonise over, why do your characters have the names they do?

I try to pick names that fit the characters personality for one thing. In my latter stories I’ve attempted to choose names that are uncommon. I may change common spelling of them, match them to their ethnic background, pick a nickname for them or use some other means to make them stand out.

4. Language is always important in a story to make it more real, so to speak. How do you work on the language or particular speech of the different characters?

Most of my stories have extensive dialog. I feel doing this allows the reader to form a better picture of the character. The character may have a favorite saying, or words they use and they way they use them. At the same time I try to avoid using too much local flavor in the way they speak for fear it will make it too difficult for the reader to understand. Accent is hard to portray in written words. At least it is for me.

5. To continue with question four, another thing that is important to me is the title of a book. How and when do you come up with the title?

I don’t have any set rule that I use. Sometimes I will have a book title from the very beginning. Sometimes I write the entire story before arriving at one. In the work I just finished I had the entire story written and still no title. I had to read the story again and think before I finally came up with one. At times a word or phrase in the story will provide a clue for me.

6. Lastly a fun question, if your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the main characters?

I don’t really have one favorite actor and actress. Maybe Keanu Reeves as Rodger and Sandra Bullock as Sherry.

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Sherry and Rodger have known each other since childhood. They’ve been good friends for a long time, but have lost contact over the years. Chance brings them together once more. There is an almost magnetic attraction between them. Over the course of two days they become much more than just friends. There is one problem though, Sherry is the ex-wife of Dave, Rodger’s cousin. Dave is the son of a very wealthy and powerful man and he is determined to make Sherry’s life miserable. She is very afraid of him. He would definitely not approve of Sherry and Rodger’s relationship if he found out.

Excerpt:

Rodger had just returned from overseas the week before. His enlistment in the Army ended at the same time, so he was staying with his parents until he found a job. His parents ran a dairy farm about fifty miles north of the Midwest Nebraska town of Colter where he was presently, having found nothing in the way of female company in the nearby North Scotia. Colter, with a population of about thirty thousand, was almost a huge city compared to the small ones closer to the farm.

“I’m going to Colter. Gonna do some shopping, maybe look for a job,” he told his mom just before he left the house. The first he actually intended to do, the second . . . well, he was not in any big hurry to find a job and settle into a day-to-day routine. He’d put money in savings the whole time he was overseas, so money to live on was not an immediate factor. Doesn’t take much to live on when you are restricted to base in a war zone, he reminded himself. He was just ready to relax and unwind for a few weeks.

Which brought him to the real reason for being in Colter―the night clubs. He hoped to meet a single female at one of these clubs; drink and dance and just be in her company for the evening. Of course, I won’t refuse sex either if the chance presents itself. I’ve been out of the states for almost two years. It’s been far too long since I had female company, to say nothing about sex.

The sixty-eight cherry red Mustang he drove was his baby. Thanks to being in storage most of the last four years and a lot of time spent waxing and polishing, it still looked showroom new. The inside was as spotless as the outside. It should do very well as a chick magnet. He grinned from ear-to-ear.
His grin faded into a frown when he started across an intersection and the car quit―it rolled through the intersection and he guided it over to the curb. He stepped out and looked under it to see if by chance the drive shaft had come loose or broken. It was still intact.

“Shit,” he said aloud, “I wonder what’s wrong?”

A transmission shop just happened to be about half a block away, so he locked the car and walked down to it. He told them what had happened and they agreed to have a look at it. It was close enough that several of the mechanics got together and pushed it to the shop. After the service manager told him to check back later, he left his baby to their care.

He walked around in the downtown area, mostly window shopping and killing time. Damn I wonder what is wrong with my car? A few hours later he returned to the transmission shop and got the bad news: his transmission would require a complete overhaul.

“It’ll take about two days,” the service manager told him.

So much for my plans. I guess I will try to get out to the interstate and get a motel room.

He found a payphone and called his parents to let them know the situation and that he would not be home. Looking at his watch, he realized his mom and dad could not come get him since it was getting close to time to start milking the cows.

“Why don’t you call Sherry? Maybe your cousin Dave is down there or is going down there to visit his son. You might be able to catch a ride with him. Just a suggestion.”

Sherry was his Cousin Dave’s ex-wife. Dave lived in North Scotia with his parents. Mom, if you only knew how much Dave and I dislike each other you wouldn’t even suggest I catch a ride with him. His thoughts drifted to Sherry.

I didn’t even know Sherry lived here. I haven’t seen her since we were high school kids. He had no intention of asking fuckhead Dave for a ride, but it would be a good enough reason to call her. Not that he really needed a reason, but it would serve as an ice breaker to renew their friendship.

“Thanks Mom. I’ll do that. You don’t happen to know her number, do you?”

“No, but I’m sure she’s listed in the phone book. Your dad and I can come get you after milking in the morning if he’s not there.”

“Nah. If worse comes to worst, I’ll just stay down here a couple days until my car is fixed. No sense in you coming down here just to turn around and bring me back down to pick it up. Bye Mom, see you in a couple days. Sooner if I catch a ride.” Not fuckin’ likely, if I have to ride with ‘him’. He grinned.

Rodger’s parents hadn’t always been farmers. Rodger had grown up in a large city far away from the small sleepy town of North Scotia. His parents had moved onto the dairy farm while he was in the Army.

He and Sherry had been close even though many miles had separated them when growing up. They only saw each other for about two weeks a year when he was on vacation with his parents. He was much closer to her than he’d ever been to her ex-husband, dear old Dave.

They’d talked on the phone frequently and shared all their teenage experiences over the years. Some of them had been very intimate and personal. Some of them had been silly like who their favorite bands were. Sherry had talked him through the heartbreak of teenage breakups. He had helped her get through the frequent fights she had with Dave. The two of them seemed to be drawn together like magnets. Nothing sexual, just excellent friends. When Sherry got pregnant he had been the first one she told. She told him even before she told the father.

Poor Dave. What a joke. Rodger knew better. Dave was an asshole. At least that is the way he felt about him. Sherry had gotten pregnant before getting married and now had a two-year-old little boy. Because of Dave’s insistence they not talk, he and Sherry had lost contact. Even after the divorce they’d never renewed their friendship. Partly because he was over seas. He missed the close friendship they’d once shared prior to her marriage. He picked up the phone now and called her.

A female voice answered, “Hello?”

He didn’t quite know how to start the conversation, so he just dived in and started by identifying himself, “Sherry, this is Rodger. How are you? We haven’t talked in a long time.”

After a long moment of silence on the other end of the line, the woman hesitatingly asked, “Rodger . . . Dave’s cousin Rodger?”

“Yes, that Rodger.”

“My God. We haven’t talked for such a long time. How are you? Where are you? I heard you were visiting your parents.”

“I’ve been better. My car broke down here in Colter,” Rodger hesitated then asked, “Sherry, is Dave by any chance here, or coming here?”

“No, he’s not here and I’m not expecting him, why?”
 

He explained the situation to her. He asked if it would be possible for her to give him a ride out to one of the motels by the interstate.

“Sure,” she told him. “I’ll be there in about thirty minutes. Just watch for my battered old white Chevy II.” She laughed.

After some final words with the service manager and signing more forms, Rodger stepped out on the sidewalk in front of the shop to wait.

I wonder what she looks like now. She was always so pretty before. It’s been so long since I have seen or talked to her. Too long.

About an hour later a Chevy II pulled up to the curb in front of him. It was just as she had described, ‘battered and old’. Dings and dents, with primer in a number of places. She stepped out on the sidewalk to greet him. After they exchanged hugs, she leaned back against the car door.

She looked nice, in a proper sort of way. She’d always dressed rather conservatively, in his opinion. Most of the girls from around here dress that way. Not like the more revealing way the girls dress in the city where I grew up. She wore a knee-length print skirt and a matching button-up print blouse with all but the very top button fastened and white sandals.

She saw him looking at the car and with a shrug she explained, “This is the only thing the asshole left me to drive when we got divorced. I guess it beats walking, though.”

As if it had just occurred to her she suggested, “Rodger, you should come over to my house first, so we can visit before I take you to the motel; that is, if you don’t mind visiting with your cousin’s ex. It’s been ages since we talked and even longer since we saw each other. No sense in your spending the entire evening out there sitting in a room by yourself.”

He snorted. “I always liked you much better than I did him.” He laughed at his understatement. “That’d be great. I wasn’t looking forward to staring at four walls all evening. Getting reacquainted sounds like an excellent idea,” he agreed, and walking around to the passenger side, got into the seat.

She turned to him and introduced the child in the car seat beside her. “Rodger this is my son, Jacob. Jacob, honey, this is Rodger.”

Jacob didn’t say anything, of course; he just looked at Rodger with big green eyes very much like his mother’s. The last time he’d seen Sherry she wasn’t even pregnant and now she had this little man. Rodger made googly eyes at him and was at last rewarded with a giggle and a smile.     

Thank you so much for being part of Romance Promo. Happy Valentine’s Day to you.

Links:

http://www.gypsyshadow.com/GEStills.html#ForbiddenExc

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Forbidden-Love-ebook/dp/B00440DPFY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1360858160&sr=1-1&keywords=Forbidden+Love+G.+E.+Stills

Night Fury….

13 Feb

The GSP Romance Promo welcomes Claudia Knight.

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laudia Knight has been writing ‘forever’ and the mystery and magic of the unknown has always lured her. Night Fury is her first novella in a series about very different creature of magic. You can follow her down that dark and twisty path…if you dare…

Learn more about Claudia at her blog:
http://creaturesofmagick.blogspot.com/ 

Her book that we are highlighting in the post is Night Fury.

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Callie always had a weakness for dark and dangerous men. It was no wonder she fell so fast and so hard for the one who walked into her café one stormy night.

Nicholas had centuries to come to terms with the fact he could never have happiness. His chivalry had led him down a path that ended in his being born to darkness, and he had paid many times for his mistake.

Excerpt:

 

Callie’s eyes widened when he strode in.
    His gaze met hers. His eyes a black so bottomless she felt herself drowning in them. Black leather jacket, chin-length black hair, the dark stubble on his chin—all made him the epitome of a scrumptious, dangerous and potent male.
    He sat at the counter. She poured the requested coffee, her eyes never leaving his.
    All the while her mind was saying Oh my, oh my, oh my, oh myyyy . . . He was most delectable.
    Her thoughts were interrupted as he spoke:

                                                                                * * *

    “I met the woman at the bottom of a hill I had never climbed.
    She was probably two score years or thereabouts and had obviously not had an easy life. There was sadness in her eyes, but hope, as well. I grabbed her hands as she stumbled in front of me and I felt the calluses hard work had wrought. She said nothing—only looked at me.
    ‘Are you alright, madam?’ I asked politely, wanting to be on my way yet not wanting to appear to rudely rush off.
    ‘My children,’ she said softly, ‘I had to . . .’ The words, once spoken, increased the sadness in her eyes. ‘I will wait here.’ She moved to sit on a boulder on the side of the road.
    Mystified, I looked at her for a long moment.
    In the silence I heard screams of terror carried faintly on the summer air . . . Screams and the hint of a scent of smoke.
    I looked to her no longer, but broke into a trot up the hillside, toward the sounds. Halfway to the summit I stopped; a divergence led to the left and the well-used path continued onward. As I stood in silence, the screams came again, from the left.
    Some say man’s foremost instinct is self-preservation. A strange feeling told me to run away as far and fast as possible. I ignored it and hurried on toward the sounds.”

    He paused a moment, just looking into her eyes. A part of him already wondered if his instinct for self-preservation was again being ignored. There was something about the woman in front of him that had lowered all his defenses. Hence, here he was, spilling his story while all he wanted to do was lose himself in those stormy grey eyes.
    He continued with an effort.
    “My view was blocked by the curve of the cliff itself, for here the way led between two steeply sloped sides of the walls. As the way opened again, I saw a small hut set with its back almost against the hill, in a little vale too small to sustain more than a few sheep and some vegetables. It looked well-kept—except for the quantity of smoke belching from the chimney.
    I hurried up, broke through the door without a thought and stopped in the doorway. Three beautiful maidens met my gaze in mute surprise. They were in no immediate danger from the fire, other than the fact that the room was rather hot. A large quantity of kindling had been piled into the fireplace and set afire. It would soon spread into the room.
    No—the danger was that all three were tied to various pieces of furniture. The fact none of them looked as though they had been screaming in terror did not strike me then.
    The one who looked to be the oldest was seated calmly in a chair, her hands bound to its arms and her feet to its legs. Her bold blue-eyed gaze entreated nothing—only assessed. The second was seated on the floor, next to an old iron stove. Her hands were tied to its base and her legs simply tied together. She tossed her raven tresses in disdain, even as she struggled with the knots.
    The last was but a child. Her red-gold hair glimmered in the light of the flames as she lay tied to the bed. She was the only one who looked afraid.”

    Callie was still motionless, but her thoughts were spinning. The sound of his voice combined with the scent of him made her pulse race. Yet there was something else, too. The story he wove was compelling enough but she felt as though she could actually see the three females. If she closed her eyes she knew she would smell the smoke heavy in the air and hear the echoes of screams. Was it just her imagination? Or was it something else? His voice pulled her back to the present as he continued:
    “What monstrosity is this?” I shouted, moving into the room and drawing my sword.
    I advanced to the child first for I (rightly as it turned out) believed the eldest would be something to be reckoned with. Swiftly, I untied them. The first fled, grabbing a tattered doll on the way out. The second muttered barely audible thanks and rushed after the youngest.
    The last . . . smiled at me.
    Those blue eyes seemed to drink in my soul as she leaned toward me; I still knelt with the last of the rope in my hands. I remember her golden hair tumbling into my face, the scent of lilacs and ocean spray.
    ‘I have waited for you,’ she murmured. Then her teeth were against my neck and the world faded. When I came to my senses I was no longer human. I was reborn a predator, an immortal, a vampire.”                     

 

Links:

 

http://www.gypsyshadow.com/ClaudiaKnight.html#FuryExc

 

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Night-Fury-ebook/dp/B004CYESLC/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1360776458&sr=1-1&keywords=Night+Fury+Claudia+Knight

 


Yet Nicholas and Callie were both helpless in the face of the desire they felt. Would they be able to seize their moment before evil came back and stopped them both? Or would the glimpse of it destroy them both?

Against All Gods……

12 Feb

The GSP Romance Promo welcomes Steven R. Southard.

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Growing up in the Midwest, Steven R. Southard always found the distant oceans exotic and tantalizing. He served aboard submarines and now works as a civilian naval engineer. In his stories, he takes readers on journeys of discovery in many seas and various vessels. Steve has written in the historical, science fiction, fantasy, horror, and steampunk genres. Come aboard at http://sites.google.com/site/stevenrsouthard/ and voyage with his intriguing characters in tales of aquatic adventure.

Visit Steven’s new website at: http://www.stevenrsouthard.com/

 

His book we are highlighting today is Against All Gods.

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In ancient Athens, trireme commander Theron and the woman he loves, Galene, have each earned the wrath of jealous gods. To marry Galene, Theron must voyage to all seven of Wonders of the World. At every stage the immortal gods test their love with all the power and magic at their command. While Galene suffers anguishing torment in Athens, Theron faces overwhelming challenges at every Wonder from Ephesus to Rhodes to Babylon. Theron and Galene may be devoted to each other, but it’s doubtful whether mere mortal love can survive…against all gods.

Excerpt:

 

Piraeus Harbor near Athens, 7th day of Hekatombion, Year of Archon Lysitheides (253 B.C.)

Galene loved Theron and—equally wondrous—knew he loved her, too. When he went on his voyages, she missed him each day until his return. This separation would be for several weeks, but when his ship came home this time, they could marry. Yet even that knowledge didn’t cheer her. Her sweet Theron would soon sail away from her again. She brushed away a tear before he could see it.

They stood together on a pier in the Athenian port city of Piraeus. Moored sailing ships rocked with the lapping waves; sea-birds swooped among the rocky crags of the shore; and a salt breeze wafted out of the evening sky. Behind them, servants of her father watched both her and Theron, ready to report to her father anything inappropriate such as holding hands, embracing, or—worse—kissing.

Avoiding such contact required all of Galene’s self-restraint. She’d been pursued by, and resisted many men, but this one, Theron, stood out like a horned buck among wild boars. She adored his personality, a pleasing combination of kindness, commanding presence, and wit. His handsome face framed with curly black hair and beard, his broad shoulders and powerful chest, had not escaped her attention either.

“You’re being brave,” Theron spoke in his sonorous baritone. “You grieve, but do not cry.” He smiled with warmth. “Still the most amazing woman I know.”

Gazing at his blue eyes, Galene didn’t know how much longer she could stay her tears. By the gods, she would miss him so much. “Please, just don’t speak about leaving,” she said. “I’ve cried enough about it already, alone at night. Speak only of your return when we’ll be together again. Here, I made this for you.” She held out one of her arrowheads with a leather cord to go around the neck. “Wear it and remember to return to me.”

Theron smiled and took the gift. “I will wear it always, though I need no arrow to remember my huntress. Here, take this and never forget me.” He handed her a small, spiral sea shell on its own leather cord.

Galene could hardly wait to put it around her neck and thought it looked beautiful.

“Don’t forget,” Theron said, “When I return, we can get ma—”

She felt a sudden gust of wind, strange on such a calm day. More than that, it felt as if something large had flown past her.

A tall figure appeared before them. Clad in winged helmet and winged boots, the messenger god Hermes held a golden caduceus in his right hand. He towered over them both, their heads just even with the god’s chest.

After the gusting breeze of his arrival, no other sound reached her ears. Waves and birds had halted in mid-motion. The servants appeared frozen as well.

Galene started to kneel out of respect and fear, but Hermes gave a laugh.

“Rise, Galene, daughter of Hypatos and Photine,” he said. “Theron, son of Dareios, I bring tidings for you both.”

Galene looked behind her. “Swift Hermes, what has happened to—?”

“Fear not for them,” the god smiled, showing boyish dimples. “My words are for you two alone. When I depart, all will return as it was.”

Galene had never seen a god before, and until this moment had held doubts there were any. She doubted no longer.

“There is much talk of the two of you on high Olympus among the other gods and goddesses,” Hermes said, and Galene thought she saw him smirk.

“Talk of us?” Theron asked.

“Each of you has angered a deity in recent weeks.”
Galene couldn’t believe it, and saw Theron looking at her with a puzzled expression.

Hermes smiled as if relating a joke. “Theron, you spurned Hera when she came to you in human form.”

Theron frowned, and then rubbed his beard. “There was a beautiful woman who seemed interested in me, but I turned her away, for I love Galene.”

Hermes pointed at Galene. “You rejected Zeus himself.”

 

Links:

http://www.gypsyshadow.com/StevenSouthard.html#AgainstExc

 

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/209897

 

http://www.amazon.com/Against-Gods-Wrought-Series-ebook/dp/B008R0J6CI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1360692705&sr=8-1&keywords=against+all+gods+steven+southard

 

 

 

Edith’s Journey……..

11 Feb

The GSP Romance Promo welcomes Peter Simon.

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Peter is a British social support worker. He has published many short stories and some health-based articles. He is currently working on a novel.

 

His book that we are highlighting in the post is Edith’s Journey.

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A woman returns to the village of her youth, finding it much changed. There she encounters excitement, wonder and danger. Finally, she meets her former husband—but in vastly different circumstances from how she had last seen him.

 

Excerpt:

 

When Edith first stirred from her sleep, great frowning shadows stretched across the land. Huge lakes of unbroken darkness eclipsed her whole world.

Soon, though, she became aware of the faintest light; rays from the outside world were filtering in opaque waves through the blackness, growing brighter and fuller, and bringing her at last to full waking.

Edith looked out on the world. A glint of golden fire burned on a vast blue horizon, and the shadows were retreating.

It had been a long, long sleep and she felt wonderfully refreshed.

Light had returned to the land at last. The scent of spring filled the air; a fresh thrill of dewy grass, and the rich sweetness of blossom.

She laughed. It hardly seemed a moment since the autumn!

Now as her senses sharpened, she could see the blossom flying through the air, flaming up a perfect white in the sun. A few stray pieces wafted past her, tumbling and dancing in the breeze. She wanted to catch some, to feel the moist silkiness against her fingers, but of course she could not. Instead, she just blew, and laughed as the petals whirled and buffeted.

Edith rested for a few moments, gathering her strength. It was an excellent day. The sun was full and bright, and the grass of the hilltop sparkled with millions of tiny watery jewels.

She hadn’t been out for a while. In the grey seasons, she withdrew from the world; but now she was ready to roam again. She had missed her travelling, and the heart-warming beauty of this spring day brought her a sudden wild joy.

And there, down in the valley, the village lay like a huge luscious garden, partly shrouded by a blanket of shining mist: silent, surreal, a vision.

Yet as the mist slowly began to clear, the little place seemed to solidify into reality. She could see the church steeple and its golden weather vane, the meandering rows of cottages, the plowed farmlands and the fields alive with yellow-golden crops. The village no longer seemed like a dream; it was a true, living place.

Once, that place had been her home.

Then a sudden wonderful thought occurred to her. She might see Bill down in the village. She wouldn’t intrude on him, of course, but she might come across him by chance.

That decided it. Edith dressed quickly, and began the long walk into the valley. She could have easily found quicker ways of getting there, but a walk would be lovely.

Her quickening senses detected a little sharpness in the air; the ghost of winter still lingered. Raw icy days had gouged out jagged potholes in the road. Just as well she wasn’t cycling. Mind you, today’s bikes would probably be more reliable—not like the rusty bone-shaker she used to ride.

Cirrus clouds lay in serene strands over the valley, glowing whitely in the morning light. Wisps of mists crept silently around the cherry trees, and a sudden breeze picked up the fallen blossom, scattering it across Edith’s path.

The village was nestled in the mist like a timeless bubble, yet there were changes in the landscape.

Farther off lay the foul smoky stain of the city, with its sea of ugly concrete and glassy weather-beaten skyscrapers. The sun seemed powerless to illuminate those grimy wastes, and a hazy brown line of pollution snaked along the horizon.

The city was bigger than she remembered, and its swollen blot had obliterated far more of the countryside. There had always so much corruption in those places! Probably it was even worse now. She hoped, at least, that her beautiful village hadn’t been touched by it.

A huge road circled the metropolis, its brazen line scarring the fields. A million tiny cars flickered and gleamed in the sunlight, an insane metal caterpillar. Cars, cars, cars without end! What had happened to the railways, the buses, the trams?

Edith turned her gaze away from the city, and back towards the village.

Deep in the trees, she could hear the soft woody cooing of pigeons, and the bright warble of sparrows; and from somewhere down in the village, there was a little distant laughter—children’s laughter. Her spirit leapt. Maybe the place hadn’t changed too much.

Walking seemed to be unpopular these days. The old road was unused now, and crumbling. Baked, frozen and blighted for season after season, weeds were pushing up through its tarmac. The unthinking crawl of time, patient and inexorable, would finally grind everything to dust. Time always won.

In some places, the road had been worn away to crazy paving. It would have been rough to have cycled down there. She might even have fallen off. That wouldn’t have been disastrous, but it would certainly have been unpleasant.

 

Links:

 

http://www.gypsyshadow.com/PeterSimon.html#Edith

 

 

http://www.amazon.com/Ediths-Journey-ebook/dp/B00A9JMZMS/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1360604702&sr=1-1&keywords=Edith%27s+Journey

 

The Pebble…..

10 Feb

The GSP Romance Promo welcomes Amanda Tucker.

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Of herself Amanda says: I am a young college student and have been writing for as long as I was capable of actually using a pencil rather than feeling inclined to eat it. From the distant and freezing land of Minnesota, I am solely an artist and focus most of my time on creative pursuits. I intend to write until the end of my days.

 

Her book that we are highlighting today is The Pebble.

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Somewhere, somehow, I had become submerged in darkness with seemingly no way out. No way out. I should have lost hope, but there was one memory that saved me, kept me going when nothing else mattered. You were my hope. As long as I remembered you, I would fight.

 

Excerpt:

 

A long time ago, I saw the light. I lived like anyone else—I saw the sun flickering on the waves, felt the burning sand between my toes, and tasted the wind on each breath I took. I saw the clouds slip past in the azure sky, felt the wild beating of my own heart within me, and heard the dull roar of the restless waters.

Back then, things had meaning, for every sound had a source and every voice had a face, when nothing else made sense. Your voice had a face, and it was a wonderful face, I remember. When my thoughts are still, I can almost see your face as clearly as if I weren’t asleep. You seem so close, and yet there’s an iron veil of shadows between us.

I don’t remember why. What I do remember is there once was light; and in remembering, I know all I see now is darkness.

I spend a lot of time submerged in thought, suspended in my own subconscious. I’ve lived in the blackness of the deepest part of my mind for countless minutes, feeling each memory rain down on me, like a shower of falling stars. If I had hands here, in this nothingness, I would reach out and catch one of those stars. Maybe it would light up a little of this darkness and show me a path back home—a path back to you.

I haven’t forgotten you. There are times when I’m filled with despair, wondering if I ever even existed in the first place, wondering if maybe I’m just some daydream God entertained for a moment, but I’ve never doubted you. I could have never, even in the most beautiful of dreams, created you.

But can the same be said of me? Sometimes, I fear I’ll come to forget even the light of life I once saw, and this will become all I remember. If that were to happen, could I really claim to be alive?

Maybe I’m not alive. Maybe this formless prison is death, and maybe I’ve been dead all along. In the light, I would have believed in a Heaven, as much for your sake as for my own, but now, any belief I used to have is only a memory, and only memories of you seem to shine with hope and vitality.

If I ever find my way back home, even if it’s only for a second, I’ll let you know you continue to be my hope.

Today, I felt your tears. I felt them so faintly—a slight pressure beneath countless layers of barriers—but I felt them, nonetheless. I must still be alive if I could feel, however faintly, the wetness of your tears as they dropped onto my skin from wherever you were.

I wanted, more than anything I’ve ever wanted before, to reach out to you, to reassure you, to let you know that I’m not hurting, but wherever my hands were, they would not move, and my eyes would not open. All I could do was stand silently in the space of my mind and wish you could feel me in the way I could feel your tears.

 

Links:

 

http://www.gypsyshadow.com/AmandaTucker.html#Pebble

 

http://www.amazon.com/The-Pebble-ebook/dp/B005NWRKIK/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1360505975&sr=1-2&keywords=the+pebble

 

The Haunted Spring…..

9 Feb

The GSP Romance Promo welcomes Anthony Diesso.

 

Anthony Diesso currently lives in Northern California with his wife and his two young children. He enjoys reading, playing the piano, and sleeping in (when given the opportunity).

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n addition to highlighting his book The Haunted Spring, Anthony has kindly agreeed to be interviewed for our post today. Over to you Anthony.

 

What inspired you to bring romance into your writing?

Well, I think romance is what makes so much of the human anatomy worth watching. A man sits alone at a table massaging his knuckles, and he’s got a condition or is simply waiting for the check. Sit him  near the woman he’s falling in love with, and his hand squeezing becomes the outward manifestation of a transcendent thought.  

Do the characters reflect you, or anyone you know in real life?

Yup. I’m a thieving magpie when it comes to borrowing personal traits. It’s not that I drag acquaintances in whole (you can throw your back out that way). Instead, I pluck up certain qualities of the people I know or knew, or only caught a glimpse of somewhere, and merge them to form new wholes, new characters.       

As naming characters is something I always agonise over, why do your characters have the names they do?  

I try to keep names simple, so as not to give the impression that the character’s parents knew that their son or daughter would end up in a book someday. The name “Jay Bennett”, for example, was just a combination of a family member’s nickname with Tony Bennett. The character has few of the personal traits of either. It may not be the ideal method, but when your first choice is “Liam von Bachelorinsky”, it’ll do.     

Language is always important in a story to make it more real, so to speak. How do you work on the language or particular speech of the different characters?

When it comes to writing natural-sounding speech, it’ll take some pretty good fibs to get to the truth: a lot of planning is often the key to spontaneity, and it can require real effort to avoid looking like you’re making a real effort.

Providing each character a particular voice is, for me, mostly intuitive, though. If I can think through a character, then the speech often follows naturally. I usually keep verbal mannerisms to a minimum (catch phrases, accents, eccentricities), and rely more on rhythm and word choice. I also like using what you might call “telling omissions”, since the things that a character doesn’t say are often more informative than what he or she does. After all, how many people lose their modesty, their honor, and their plain good sense, by verbally asserting them?

To continue with question four, another thing that is important to me is the title of a book. How and when do you come up with the title?       When I was young, my folks took me to the movies to see a revival of “Bambi”. The death of Bambi’s mother affected me deeply: I remember that his suddenly being without her in the snowfall was followed immediately by an efflorescent view of spring, so that the two moods merged in a peculiar but poignant way. To be in mourning while all the world was indifferently filled with beauty and new life, suggested to me the title of “The Haunted Spring”.

Lastly a fun question, if your book was made into a film, who would like to play the main characters?        

 Well, I’m certainly available if anyone ever asks. If the makeup budget is limited, however, I’ll go with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ellen Page (who were together in “Inception”),  because they interact well and have the   right amount of pluck and vulnerability. Of course, I have the right amount of pluck and vulnerability too,  and—oh, never mind.

 

Thank you so much for sharing with us and I am sure the readers join me in wishing all the success with your book. 🙂

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The Haunted Spring

 

Jay Bennett, a comfortably maladjusted man in his early 20’s, finds Anna LaMonica knocking on his apartment door, looking for someone else. Seeing more of each other, however, they quickly fall in love. After overcoming an extended separation, as well as hostile family and friends, they marry and begin a new life together.

But Anna’s sudden death during childbirth leaves Jay to watch over their infant, born premature and requiring an extensive hospital stay. Grief-stricken, helpless, and alone, he is tormented by apparitions of his lost wife, recalling their love and ruined hopes. These apparitions, at times horrifying, at others pathetic, yet others darkly alluring, threaten to crack loose his grip on reality. Attempting to overcome such frightening occurrences, he struggles to piece together his life, to pull some sanity and hope out of the world around him, and to become a good father to his newborn son.

Excerpt:

 

Chapter One

Knock, knock, knock.

From inside, in comfortable shadows, I just stared at my apartment door.

Knock, knock.

And jogged out of a late afternoon stupor, I put a mailed catalogue aside, hastily aligned a bowl of mushed bran-flakes upon the armrest, and stood up from the sofa. Its springs creaked abruptly with relief as I called out, “Who is it?”

There was a woman’s muffled voice. “I’m very sorry. I was looking for apartment seventeen.”

Pausing a moment without considering anything, I then turned the latch, pulled the knob, and found her waiting. She had auburn hair, which as she backed up from the opening door, was glazed with sudden sunlight, and her eyes, a soft, rich hazel, chilled me instantly. We waited for me to say something, ‘til, helping things along, she stepped forward under the eaves again and into the shadows before me. She wore a dark skirt and a smoky-colored blouse, and her lips curved slightly with embarrassment. I wondered if she could see the bowl of cereal from the door; I also wondered if it was about to tip. And almost looking back, I hastily put it out of my mind, trying to think of nothing as I waited politely.

“The numbers go from sixteen to eighteen,” she said in a more intimate voice, slightly tilting her head to one side, keeping her hands behind her back.

I grinned, nodded like a bobble-head, my own hands gesturing with theatrical intensity, my lips grown a bit stiff. “Yes, it’s on the way, other side of the building. Sharon McClean. I don’t know why they numbered it the way they did. Here, let me show you.”

“Oh, I’d appreciate that. Thank you very much.”
The day narrowed my eyes, along with a surface spangle on the swimming pool; and a reflected light cast wobbly shapes across the walk. I wasn’t much interested in any of that, but it was an excuse to avert my glance, and I fixed eyes on it while speaking, noticing peripherally her slow, legato steps. “So you’re a friend of Sharon’s?”

“Yes, we knew each other in Arizona before she moved out here.”

“Mmm. Where in Arizona?”

“From Flagstaff. I’ve come down for a couple of weeks.”

The walk began to warm my brain up. “Ah, I’ve been there once. A college, mountain town, with lots of forests, all shadowed green and pine. It smelled nice.”

“Some parts better than others, yes. Why were you there?”

“I was looking for my dog.”

“Really? What was it doing in Flagstaff?”

“I don’t know. He could have gone anywhere, so I decided to try Flagstaff. I crossed it off the list.”

She laughed with a pleasant familiarity, and I met her glance, if only briefly.

“Well, here it is.”

A woman waved from the window of apartment 17, a faded shape behind the sun-glare off of tinted glass. Having grabbed our attention, she disappeared into the dark behind the reflected white. Latches worked, the screen-door creaked, and before that nasty slam they make, she had gotten in several sentences.

“Finally! Anna, I thought you were lost. Are you all right? How was the traffic, was it bad? How was the drive?” Smack! “Did you get lost?”

“Yes, no, good, no.” The woman laughed while embracing her friend.

“I was ready to drive out to look for you myself. California has wonderful freeways, but like everything else here, there’s too much to choose from.”

“No, I followed your instructions. They were good. Your neighbor was nice enough to show me to your apartment.”

Sharon was a pleasant enough woman of about 24, rather short, and blonde, with black-rimmed glasses. Like a lapdog, she seemed to have a full-sized nervous system pressed into a smaller frame, and if you didn’t know her, you would think she was looking for someone to report some sort of disaster to. I moved into the complex after her, and she showed me where the mail drop was, the laundry room, the rear parking lot, the pool, all the things the apartment manager shows you in that first grand tour. We were amiable enough, but hardly close, and she probably couldn’t consider me a friend when I was already a neighbor.

But with her visitor, she seemed to view me in a fresh light, or at least to present me in a role I wasn’t expecting: “Jay, that’s nice of you. You’re the protector of travelers, like St. Christopher in cargo pants. I don’t think I even told you she was coming. Anna, this is Jay Bennett. Jay, this Anna LaMonica.”

We smiled awkwardly, as if we had just laid eyes on each other, and whatever corner table nuance our former looks and words conveyed was now entirely lost within a banquet hall exaggeration.

“Jay, would you help Anna with her bags?”

Her friend grinned, shrugged her shoulders. “I only have one bag in the trunk and it’s on wheels, with a handle.”

“Fine. While Jay is helping you to get it out of the trunk, I’ll set out the glasses.”
We nodded to each other, and I walked a step ahead of her, guiding her toward the parking lot.

Returning from the car, the two of us entered the small front yard space, and sat at a round glass table with impressions on it, like fingerprints, that made the two sets of knees and shins and shoes seem as if under ice. Sharon emerged from the apartment with a bottle, and seeing only part of the label, I noticed, in curling, vine-like script, the name of some sort of leaf. She poured the rosé into each of the scarlet-tinted glasses, then sat and watched. I pinched the stem, lifted it, declared, “Well, salute.”

“Salute,” murmured Anna.

“May the road rise up and smack you in the face,” Sharon piped in. “That’s an old drinking toast. At least that’s what my father said.”

I tasted the wine. It was light and sweet, with a slight carbonation that pestered my tongue. It was refreshingly cold for a late, summer afternoon, and would have been just the thing for an alcoholic’s tea-party.

“Anna, I’m glad you’re here. And Jay—thank you for helping with the bags.”

“No, not at all. Thank you.” I lifted my glass again and nodded.

The walk lamps clicked on, producing frail, golden auras. The dusky mood and, of course, the wine, stirred shadowy but pleasant thoughts in me, at least: a number of peculiar and buried recollections, like odors not inhaled for many years. When the conversation drifted toward our childhoods, I mused, “Oh, the things that I believed when I was small: that coins shook in the sunlit trees, and boughs were crooked spider legs. I’d peek out from the window and see those dangling things, and plead with Ma to sweep them from the tree. She’d take a broom, go outside, then come back in to say that everything was fine.”

I stopped talking, conscious that I might be drifting in my conversion, amusing only to myself. I glanced at Anna tenuously: her face was lowered in reflection, its expression cast upward from the table toward me, a lit veil of fixed eyes and slightly parted lips. She traced her finger in the moist imprint left by the base of the wine-glass, and spoke almost in a whisper, “My parents had a small statue of the Virgin, and at night, by the dim candlelight, she would move her eyes or change expression. I told my parents, and they smiled and said it was a miraculous sign.”

“At least they didn’t have to take a broom to it,” Sharon laughed.

“Have you outgrown it?” I asked Anna, after smiling at Sharon’s quip. Given the opportunity, I lingered over her delicate, oval face, her supple, curved lips, her brightly dark and almond eyes; her look turned upward from her finger, gliding as if on ice, to me.

“Mostly,” she replied. “Have you?”

 

Links:

http://www.gypsyshadow.com/AnthonyDiesso.html#HauntedSExc

 

http://www.amazon.com/The-Haunted-Spring-ebook/dp/B009FDY9C8/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1360416583&sr=8-7&keywords=The+Haunted+Spring

 

 

The Birth of Races….

8 Feb

The GSP Romance Promo welcomes Katalin Nagy.

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I was born in Budapest Hungary. I left Hungary when I was 23 and came to Australia as a refugee. Learning English and being a mother took up much of my time. Eventually I completed a Bachelor of Health Science in Complementary Medicine and now for the last eight years I’ve practiced as a naturopath and nutritionist. I am married with a very supporting husband and an adult son. I have two beautiful oriental cats spoiled by the whole family.

Her book that we are highlighting on this post is The Birth of Races Image

 

Many centuries in the past, a fraction of humanity left the Solar System to settle in their new home forming a united empire, the Federation. The accidental finding, by Firl and his friends, of an alien digging on one of the Federation settlements, led to the discovery of altered human genetic material in a number of people visiting the site.

Soon Federation is torn apart by political and personal turmoil caused by the friction arising between the affected and the non-affected. The affected split to form the Elites, eager to find out about their alien heritage and the Morphiks, keen to embark on their own evolution. Eventually Federation breaks up and in its place three separate empires form populated by the three races.

 

Excerpt:

 

Chapter One

“You should be ashamed of yourself, Captain—Getting drunk with the crew!”

Firl pushed his face just far enough from under the covers to squint at Veta, standing opposite his bed, watching him with a prim expression on her pretty face. Assigned Chief Health Authority to the ferry convoy, she was a stickler for rules; and in his and the crew’s opinion, in need of some special male attention.

“What are you doing here?” Clearing his throat and running a thick tongue around his teeth, he sat up, making no effort to cover his body. He pressed his hands to his throbbing temples, grimacing with pain.

“I am making sure personally that I interpreted your readings correctly. They indicate you are in pain. Do you have a headache, Captain?”

Firl squinted at her between his hands. “Go away, Veta,” he said, rising unsteadily and waving a waiting servbo aside, heading to the bathroom. The squat servbo skimmed after him, settling near the bathroom entrance, ready when needed.

Confused at the sudden feelings the sight of his body caused, Veta quickly left the room without further comment, wishing the doors were conventional. She felt like slamming something.

The convoy of four freighters carried supplies and equipment, and delivered merchandise between Federation Settlements and the outer colonies. Garry Hablock, the Federation-appointed inspector, contracted to investigate the routine renewal of Seven Belts and Halem Company’s mining license, was accompanying them to C-3. The inspector often travelled the route with Firl’s convoy and was well known to Firl.

Firl grabbed a chance to have some coffee, before meeting Veta and the inspector near a shuttle bay.

A jovial and fleshy man, Garry sought out whatever entertainment he could on the normally monotonous trip. Discovering Veta, a recent addition to the crew, provided all the distraction he needed on this trip. He stood a few steps away from Veta, openly admiring her figure. Seeing Firl, he winked, angling his head in Veta’s direction.

Any other time, Firl would have found his candid appraisal of Veta amusing. Right then, however, he was too hungover to care. He strolled past and the two of them trailed him into the waiting shuttle.

Veta strapped in near Firl, pushing her harness clips into place with unnecessary force. Irritably, she waved away a servbo gliding over to check on her. The inspector strapped in next to Veta, still gawking at her, oblivious to her frustration. “Captain, you will be suspended if you continue this behavior,” she said, energetically readjusting her straps. She turned to glare at the man seated beside her. “Inspector, if you don’t mind, stop staring at my breasts.”

Smiling pleasantly, the inspector looked up into her face. “I’m sorry, my dear, I didn’t mean to offend you. It’s just they are hard to avoid.”

Veta’s head snapped around to Firl, who was snorting, then said, “You must admit that was funny.”

“I am sorry you find it amusing, Captain.”

“You take yourself too seriously, Doctor.”

“The health and safety of the crew are my responsibility. You’re endangering both.”

Officially, Firl’s was the higher title, but he couldn’t pull rank over Veta. She reported directly to the company and the Federation authorities.

“Lighten up, Doc. We had a little fun last night. That’s all.” He turned his head carefully toward her and, seeing her tight lips, he could not help but add, “You should have been there. You know how much we all appreciate you.”

He heard a snigger from the inspector that stopped suddenly when Veta’s head snapped back in his direction. Personally, he was thankful for the ensuing silence; and a short time later they settled at the port on C-3.

“Here we are.” Firl unstrapped himself. “I’ll meet you back here in a few days, Doc,” he said to Veta. “Inspector, follow me please.”

Veta scowled at him and then at the inspector, who was again ogling her breasts.

Firl mentally shrugged. The inspector was a pig, but Veta’s curvaceous body invited attention. Her physical appearance was totally at odds with her prudish attitude—but he didn’t want to think about her now. His head still throbbed.

“Inspector, this way,” he called, leading him to a waiting dock-cab and stating the destination as the Department of Company and the Federation Relations. He held the door open. “They will look after you, as usual. We will see you again at departure.” And since the man seemed reluctant, he gave him a light shove, shutting the vehicle door almost on his heel.

Finally alone, Firl looked around. The artificial sun glared down from the sky of the dome of C-3; the traffic appeared thinner than normal. The darkened glass panels of empty offices surrounded the building of Port Administration. When he stepped into Marten’s office, the other man interrupted a consultation to greet him. Firl flinched when Marten stepped up to him and slapped him on the back affectionately.

“Good to see you, Firl,” he said.

“It’s good to see you, too.” Firl sank into one of the seats in the room.

Marten signalled a servbo to bring some refreshments, offering Firl a glass of clear, yellow liquid.

“Sit and relax for a while. I won’t be long. Some assholes just don’t understand deadlines,” he muttered, turning back to his desk.

Grateful, Firl sat, idly listening to Marten. They had been friends since Marten took Firl under his wing during the younger man’s maiden journey. Both Firl and Lara worked under Marten’s Captaincy at the time, but after Marten and Lara partnered, they took a position on C-3, just opened for mining. That was twelve years ago

 

Links:

http://www.gypsyshadow.com/KatalinNagy.html#Races

 

http://www.amazon.com/The-Birth-of-Races-ebook/dp/B0090R3HH2/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1360340908&sr=1-1&keywords=birth+of+the+races

 

 

Voice of the Forest…..

7 Feb

The GSP Romance Promo welcomes T. M. Hobbs.

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T.M. Hobbs lives in a small town in Northeast Texas, with her husband and son. She has always enjoyed reading stories with a strong romantic undertone and now has discovered her own voice through writing fiction.

For her, writing is a way of traveling to places and times that would otherwise be impossible to touch and feel. She has found the ability to create new characters and form their lives rewarding, and it brings her a feeling of accomplishment.

Through writing, she has found she not only feels better about herself, but she also has a great sense of satisfaction knowing she has created something others can enjoy, which makes her very happy.

Ms. Hobbs had her first short story, “Crystal Tears Forever,” published in December of 2010. “Crystal Tears” has also been featured as a part of the Fantasy Paranormal Anthology Volume One.

Her first novel, Wings of Fate, was published in March of 2011 by TWCS Publishing House.

Her book we are highlighting in this post is Voice of the Forest.

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Elissa seeks sanctuary among the forest veil from a cruel stepmother, until she finds herself lost and alone. The shadows stretch long and ominous around her. She finds comfort in a stranger’s voice; the voice of a man who sought shelter from the world in that same forest.

The days pass and a friendship develops that blossoms into something much deeper. Elissa, however, has never seen her friend’s face and quite possibly never will. Charles has hidden in the forest for good reason, and even though his feelings have grown for Elissa, he fears they can never be together.

 

Excerpt:

 

My story begins at the beginning, or I should say the beginning of what matters most. I entered the great forest of Toshan near my home, as I often did, to escape being belittled by my stepmother on days when my father had to work away from our cottage, which was nestled at the edge of the forest.

Father was a brave and noble man, but he knew not what sort of woman he had married. For me, it was difficult to understand how he could love a woman who could be so cruel to me.

Often, she would scream at me; once she even lashed out at me with her broom, muttering cursed things about me, saying I did not deserve the love of my father. So I made myself scarce, more often than not occupying myself with fantasy and pretend friends. That is until the day I encountered someone; unlike the images which danced in my head, this someone spoke to me.

It was late, and I let the time get away from me as I sat under a large tree reading an old book of stories I had found at the cottage. When I stood to make my way back home, the sun had already dipped below the tree line, and the forest was darker and more menacing than usual.

I stood still for a few moments, trying to regain my bearings, but in every direction I looked, there was nothing but long, black, forked shadows. I closed my eyes for just a moment and took a deep breath. I heard the faintest of whispers, which caressed my ears and offered me comfort.

Upon opening my eyes, I looked around, but the source of the delicate whispers was nowhere to be found. The voice became clearer, however, and I noted that it was that of a young man. As it came closer to me, its deep, rich tone filled me with rapture in a way I had never known before.

“Who is there?” I asked, and waited for a reply.

“Do not be frightened. Have you lost your way?”

“Yes, I have. I live in the cottage at the edge of the forest, and I must find my way back there.”

“Then listen to the sound of my voice, and I shall lead you home,” the voice replied, and I was compelled to obey. I listened carefully and focused on the rich, lucid voice, letting him lead me home.

When I neared the cottage and could see the dim light through the remaining trees that skirted my home, I turned and whispered an offering of thanks to the mysterious voice that had been so kind as to aid my return to safety.

The next day, I returned to the forest and sat upon the dried moss near the brook, which gurgled melodically as it snaked its way through the trees. I had not brought a book with me today, but rather hoped I might have a chance to hear the voice—the voice from the day before.

 

Links:

http://www.gypsyshadow.com/TMHobbs.html#VForestExc

 

http://www.amazon.com/Voice-Forest-Voices-Abound-ebook/dp/B006GKARBK/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1360253231&sr=1-1&keywords=Voice+of+the+Forest

 

Fortunes Told….

5 Feb

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The GSP Romance Promo welcomes Julie Stahl.

Julie Stahl writes fiction, creative nonfiction, children’s books and poetry—just about anything, really. She has held (with varying degrees of fear and loathing) numerous jobs over the years, including, but not limited to, research assistant, waitress, secretary, college instructor, pre-school teacher, tutor and bartender. Somewhere along the way she managed to acquire some formal training in French and Experimental Psychology. She has come to the conclusion that Life is one big experiment, a concoction of perceptions we gather up as we go, shaped by chance and choice; trial and error. She takes refuge in laughter whenever possible. 

Her book that we are highlighting today is Fortunes Told.

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Ava Brooks is wrestling with the realization that her love for Frank Mazzini—the first deep and potentially meaningful relationship she’s had since college some 19 years ago—is quickly turning into a trite monologue. Despondent at first, then bordering on desperate, Ava seeks to ratchet up her desirability quotient in Frank’s eyes, turning to any number of sources, including (but not limited to) a prescription for Viagra; self-help books she peruses on her breaks at the bookstore where she works; her hair dresser who happens to be Frank’s sister incognito; hypnosis; Lasik surgery; and last but not least, her best friend, Trudy, whose own personal life seems to be falling apart even as she attempts to help Ava spice up hers. Chapter by chapter and fortune by fortune, Ava begins to realize that love, like luck, comes in many disguises.

 

Excerpt:

 

  As I approach the table with my cue stick, I ask myself which shot will set me up for another, rather than which shot I can make. This is a new way of thinking for me, a big picture perspective. Since I met Frank Mazzini I seem to have adopted this attitude not only toward my pool game, but my life in general.
    I look over at Frank for reassurance, like I always do when I’m in a tight spot. He’s in a corner and seated, but even in the shadows his presence is gripping, his bold good looks irresistible. Though not a tall man, Frank is sturdy and vibrant, with broad shoulders, a strong Roman nose, and a wide, slightly furrowed forehead. He’s the swarthy, Italian type, and at almost fifty years old, he radiates a kind of confidence that one can only accumulate with age and experience, encompassing everything from sexuality to professional expertise.
    He nods slightly, almost imperceptibly in my direction, as if to say, “You know what to do,” though we both know I don’t. I don’t have an intuitive understanding of the game the way Frank does. I chalk my stick and decide to wing it, my dilemma being the placement of the nine ball, in the way of the five just enough to make a nice, clean shot impossible.
    Frank, a pharmacist by day, is the team coach tonight. As I point to the five ball then the pocket with my stick, I feel his light touch on my arm. Momentarily I’m distracted by a warm tingling sensation deep inside my navel.
    “You’ll want to put some right English on that,” he says softly, and walks away. I do and make the shot, then two more before I scratch, giving my opponent a ball in hand.
    “Bad luck, Ava,” Frank says sympathetically. In a matter of minutes the game is over. My opponent, a wizened, grizzly-looking fellow who managed to mention by way of introduction that he started playing pool on his 63rd birthday, easily sinks the eight ball. I drop onto a bar stool to watch the other members of my team play. I’ve only been playing league pool for about six weeks. A year ago I never would have pictured myself doing this.
    The first time Frank and I played pool together, about a month after we started dating, Frank said, “You’re a natural.” He winked at me as he said it, an endearing trait that has grown on me since then.
    I laughed; sure he was either being facetious or had confused me with the blonde bombshell in tight jeans and low-cut sweater at the table next to ours who had just sunk three balls in a row effortlessly. But Frank had thus far displayed no talent for sarcasm, and a quick glance in the mirror over the bar removed all but the merest likelihood of anyone mistaking Anna Nicole over there for me. He said it again the next time we played and while I didn’t necessarily believe him, I did believe he meant it. That’s one of the things I like best about Frank: he’s probably the most honest person I’ve ever met. This has its pitfalls, as you might expect. For instance, if I wear a dress that I think is the hottest thing on the rack and I’m feeling all sexy and glam when he comes to pick me up, then he casually remarks that the bust line is off-centered, or the fabric too clingy around my ass (thereby accentuating the whole side-of-a-barn impression I’m forever attempting to eliminate), the dress comes off and the next day is hanging back on the rack at the store. He means no harm and actually, he’s doing me a favor. I mean, who wants to be seen in public wearing some dress that doesn’t flatter you, or a pair of shoes that cause your legs to look like Elmer Fudd’s, or worse yet, Bugs Bunny’s?
    Tonight I think how Frank has taught me everything I know about pool; that I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for him. I imagine myself winning a BCA championship, making a speech to a cheering and adoring audience as I accept the trophy. “I don’t deserve this, really. Frank is the one who knows how to play; I just do what I know he would tell me to.” They would applaud my modesty and look admiringly over at Frank, as I do, and think what a good fit we must be.
    By the time we get back to Frank’s place we’re both exhausted. I fall asleep instantly and awaken toward dawn from a bizarre dream where I keep phoning Frank but he doesn’t answer. I want to believe he’s deathly ill, or lying paralyzed in a hospital bed as a result of road rage―someone else’s, naturally―but the nagging thought that he simply doesn’t want to talk to me keeps rearing its ugly head. Meanwhile, I’m being pursued myself; well, stalked would be more accurate, by Donald Trump. The man keeps hounding me, telling me to forget about Frank, that he’s nobody and can never give me the kind of life I deserve. He’s relentless and finally I agree to go out with him. On our first date he proposes, presenting me with an enormous, dazzling diamond that I’m sure I’d be afraid to ever even wear for fear of damaging the tendons in my ring finger. Courageously, I slip it on and hold my hand out in front of me, admiring the grandeur of the thing. Trump, on bended knee, is waiting for my reply, gazing adoringly up at me and holding his breath. I should feel lucky, I tell myself, and I open my mouth to say okay, “Sure, I’ll marry you, Donny,” but no words come out and all I can think about is Frank. Finally, on the brink of passing out, my suitor gasps for air, and when he can manage to speak again, asks me, “Why, Ava? Why do you love this man so much?” 

 

Links:

http://www.gypsyshadow.com/JulieStahl.html#FortunesExc

 

http://www.amazon.com/Fortunes-Told-ebook/dp/B00440DP9K/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1360079083&sr=1-1&keywords=Fortunes+Told

 

Calamity Jan and the Russian ……

3 Feb

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Today we welcome Jan Pierson to the GSP Romance Promo and highlight her book Calamity Jan and the Russian – a darkly handsome one! 😉

Jan says of herself:

I’m the author of nine books for young readers and occasionally freelance for magazines including “Trip of a Lifetime,” published January 2010 in Arizona Highways magazine and “Art Soars on Nature’s Wings,” published in the Winter 2011 edition of American Style Magazine. I hold a degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice from the Evergreen State College with post graduate studies in Psychology. Since the publication of my latest ghost town book series, I often speak to educators, community organizations and students about mining our own personal gold from the wealth of our inner resources. In classrooms and school assemblies I encourage young readers to go for that gold that lies buried in their wild and wonderful imaginations. I was an instructor with The Institute of Children’s Literature and later taught independent writing seminars for aspiring writers throughout the state.
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When a 61-year-old woman marries a darkly handsome Russian physicist nine years her junior, East and West collide. This multicultural love affair brings it all together with some earthy explosions of humor when this ex-communist lands in her empty nest and makes menopause feel like the measles and “starting over,” close to facing Siberia with candle in one hand and Preparation H in the other. This true story of one woman’s journey into primitive Russia with a charismatic Russian lays the Orthodox groundwork for their return to America where he begins to set up his fiefdom in her house and her life. The May-December, intercultural challenges launch two lovers on a spirited dance (not Swan Lake), a dance familiar to men and women of every age and culture who struggle against obstacles and iron curtains because they still believe in Destiny, and dare to risk everything in order to find it.

 

Excerpt:

 

PROLOGUE

19 January, 1999

Glass partitions separated those of us in the outer waiting area from the immigration lines at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. I scanned the lines moving slowly through security, watching for the face I’d seen only from photographs.

Suddenly I saw him moving closer to the final gate. I braced myself against a person or a wall (I can’t remember), hoping I had the strength to keep from fainting. It’s him. Oh God, it’s him . . . I can’t remember anything else, except that he was slender and dark like his pictures and his eyes were blue. Baltic blue. He smiled and walked toward me, his chestnut-brown hair illumined by the glare of glass and lights from the security platform above. God, I’m going to faint . . .

But I didn’t. He set his hand-held luggage down and we embraced, then drew back and faced each other. His blue eyes didn’t hold mine as I’d dreamed they would at our first meeting. There was no spiritual connection.

None.

Nothing.

I reeled, listening to his charming accent, listening to his words fall like broken glass on the hard tile beneath our feet. I tried to speak, but my words jammed against the back of my throat.

What was wrong? Was he nervous? Afraid? Disappointed? He was good-looking, charming, energetic, but it was as though I was in the presence of a stranger from Siberia. Suddenly I wanted to run. Did he feel the same? His eyes are empty. Cold. Where was the man I’d been corresponding with for over a year—the man I’d begun to love through his tender, poetic letters?

Valentin, where are you? I cried out in anguished silence, feeling a wall that was colder and more ominous than the Iron Curtain. We walked toward the baggage claim; his wide smile, charming Russian accent and animated demeanor helped in a way, but once we gathered his luggage and entered the parking garage, the truth hit like a slab of gray cement. This Russian man—this stranger—is coming home with me and I’m not sure I’m ready for this.

Had we both made a terrible mistake?

Oh God, what have I done?

CHAPTER ONE
The Volga in Springtime

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart.
Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.
Carl Jung (1875—1961)

We met by accident, believing it wasn’t an accident at all.

Fate. God. Destiny?

He was slender, ruggedly good-looking and well educated, a Russian man nine years my junior. Valentin Gudkov. I even loved his name. I loved everything about him, including his Russian-ness. Our phone conversations enchanted me, his accent and charm threw my sensibilities into a spiral downward. Or up. I didn’t know and frankly, it didn’t matter.

The Miracle is with us, Kiska, Valentin had said in one of his letters a few months before. I love you.

My eyes filled as I held his letters against my soul. The intoxicating new dance had begun, much to the dismay—even warnings—of a few friends and family members. He’s younger and he’s a Russian. Do you have any idea what it’s like living with someone from another culture? It’s vodka and cabbage, Jan. Are you sure you’re ready for this?

I’m ready. Don’t you know I’ve been waiting for this all of my life? 

 

Links:

http://www.gypsyshadow.com/JanPierson.html#CJanExc

 

http://www.amazon.com/Calamity-Jan-Russian-ebook/dp/B0090R3ATC/ref=sr_1_7?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1359885876&sr=1-7&keywords=Jan+Pierson