Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day

The Pebble…..

10 Feb

The GSP Romance Promo welcomes Amanda Tucker.


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.


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.




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.








The Birth of Races….

8 Feb

The GSP Romance Promo welcomes Katalin Nagy.


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.




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








Voice of the Forest…..

7 Feb

The GSP Romance Promo welcomes T. M. Hobbs.


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.


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.




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.







Lady of the Veils….

6 Feb


The GSP Romance Promo welcomes M. L. John.



 The first novel M. L. John ever read was Frank L. Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, and she has had a love of fantasy ever since. As soon as her handwriting was good enough to write full sentences, she started writing stories about beautiful princesses who spent their time rescuing princes and slaying dragons. Very little has changed about her writing style since that time, with the possible exception of her penmanship. She lives in Colorado with her true love, their three children, an obnoxious baby brother who still won’t let her change the television channel, and a small menagerie of yippy little dogs and cats big enough to saddle. These days, she spends most of her time explaining different mythologies to her kids until their little eyes glaze and roll back in their heads.


Her we are highlighting today is Lady of the Veils.


In a suburban town twenty minutes from the border of Faerie lives a young woman named Karen MacGregor. Though she is the daughter of an exiled Faerie princess, Karen leads an unremarkable life full of homework, punk rock and old science fiction movies. When bloody civil war breaks out in her mother’s homeland her life begins to change rapidly. Her brother is presumed dead after his fighter jet is shot down over the Enchanted Forest, and Faerie’s royal family, including Karen’s beloved godfather, has been executed. Accompanied by a Fey Prince with whom she shares a forbidden love and armed with magic she never knew existed, Karen must lead a rebel force against an ancient and powerful enemy.




   Chapter 1

     Vicious pounding thudded on the door of the YMCA. Surprised by the sudden noise, Karen MacGregor looked around to see if someone else was on it, but no one was. She was the youngest of the volunteers, and most of the time the others seemed annoyed to find her underfoot. But how much damage could she do by opening the door? The pounding came again, this time accompanied by terrified shouting in Fey.
     Theresa, Karen’s volunteer supervisor, looked up from ladling food and snapped, “Would somebody please get that door?”
     “Ah, get it yourself,” Karen muttered rebelliously under her breath. Theresa either didn’t hear her or chose not to respond. Karen ran to answer the door as one last shout thundered from behind it.
     As she pulled the door open, the wind nearly blew it out of her grasp. Two Seelie Fey in the green uniforms of the Summer Court, a Brownie and an Undine, stood outside with a similarly clad Sprite sagging between them. All three were soaked, muddy and bleeding. The Undine was a water Fey, and in this violent weather she appeared to be formed of the rain, skin glittering like collected dew, blood pale against her waterfall of hair. On the side of her face, a dark burn the shape of a hand marked her skin. The Brownie was about three feet tall, hairless and nut brown, and had a head wound that was turning the mud on his cheeks red. The Sprite in the middle wasn’t moving at all.
     Karen opened her mouth to speak, but the Undine gave her an indecipherable look and thrust the limp Sprite into her arms.
     “Here,” grunted the Undine in accented English, placing one silver hoof inside the door, “She is not well. Take care of her.”
     The Sprite’s weight almost toppled Karen, but she managed to keep her feet. The creature was delicate, with long hair that shifted color and bones that looked sharp against her thin skin. She looked as if she could ride the currents of a warm breeze despite the solidity of her body in Karen’s arms. The Sprite stared with flat, unblinking eyes. An unpleasant smell reached Karen’s nose as she lowered the Sprite to the mud-tracked tiles. Was the Fey bespelled? Could sorcery cause the same nauseating smell as new death?
     Karen just stared at the Sprite for a moment, waiting for a clue or an explanation. She couldn’t possibly be dead, could she? She was Fey. They were immortal.
     As Karen stared at the creature she heard Theresa’s voice from behind her shoulder cried out, “Oh my God!” The woman hurried forward, shouting, “Someone call 911!” Kneeling beside the Sprite, the older volunteer tilted the Fey’s mouth open to clear her airway and breathed into it. Karen watched the narrow chest rise in response to the rescue breathing.
     People were pushing past Karen to get at the downed Sprite, jostling her. She looked around for the Undine and the Brownie who had just come in, but they were nowhere to be seen, gone without explanation. There was a wall of people between Karen and the Sprite now, and she had to stand on her tiptoes to see over them. From the crowd around Theresa, a voice said, “I think it’s too late, Theresa, she’s gone.”
     “Gone where?” Karen exploded, loudly and more angrily than she had intended. A few people looked up at her, but none of them had any answers. “Ogres can’t kill the warriors of the Wild Hunt! She can’t be dead! Try again!”
     Theresa emerged from the crowd. She was disheveled; her dark braid had come loose during the chest compressions and strands of hair were straggling around her face. Her eyes were shadowed with weariness.
     “Karen,” she said, as if surprised that the young volunteer still existed. “Honey, why don’t you go sit down for a few minutes? The paramedics will be here in a while and I don’t want you in the way.”
     Karen almost became indignant at being dismissed again, but something in Theresa’s posture made her pause. She doubted if Theresa had anything in her soul that could be surprised anymore. She didn’t know how many dead Fey Theresa had seen. Karen had only been working at the Arborville Y for three weeks, since her Civics teacher had assigned volunteer work and a report for their final exam. Karen had chosen this out of some misguided sense of cultural responsibility. She wished fervently that she hadn’t.
     There was more commotion at the doors. Karen shook off her thoughts, found Theresa gone, and disobeyed her by going to find out what was happening. Someone shouted, “Does anybody speak Fey?”
     Karen pushed her way through the crowd. “I do. Can I help?”
     Another of the volunteers, a man named Mark with a paunch and balding head said, “What is this guy saying? It seems important.”
     Karen nudged her way through the crowd to the Dryad who appeared to be the center of the group. He had bark growing from the backs of his arms and his hair was dark green and stringy with rainwater. He wore the blue robes of a wizard. Mud had been ground into the hem. He was wringing his hands and babbling in Fey to whatever volunteer would listen. None of the other translators were nearby and Karen’s fluency was strained by his frightened stammering.
     Alarmed by his behavior, Karen shouted in Fey to get his attention. “Hey! What happened? What’s wrong?”
     The wizard noticed Karen for the first time. He turned to her with wild eyes, whites showing all around his irises, and then stammered in the same language, “The ogres are in Avalon, in the palace. They have won. We are conquered.”
     Karen’s mind chattered insane questions, but her mouth was still. The thought of the Ogres inside the palace seemed impossible. If there was one thing she knew High King Thael Quintinar was capable of doing, it was holding his house against attack. The High Queen, his wife, had served with Karen’s mother in the Wild Hunt for centuries, and Karen had grown up playing with their youngest son. Each of Thael’s children was a stronger wizard than the last. When they all stood together, no Ogre could cross their threshold. Briefly, she wondered if she had misunderstood.
     But Karen hadn’t learned Fey in school. She had learned it from her mother, who spoke it natively; she had even been placed in special classes as a child because she came from a bilingual home. It didn’t matter that the wizard’s dialect was more scholarly than the language she spoke with her family. She knew what she’d heard.
     “No.” Karen shook her head with denial, held up her palms to ward his words away.
     “What is it?” Mark demanded. “What’s going on?”
     Karen ignored him. The Dryad continued, “I saw the flames of funeral pyres before I escaped the city. They came from the courtyard.”
     Karen felt her heart stop for a second and gasped, “It’s impossible.”
     “I wish it were,” the wizard said. He shook his head, sadly, and pushed through the ring of onlookers.
     Karen watched him go. “I really don’t think this is funny,” she called, voice high and near hysteria, but he did not look back. Karen watched one of the volunteers try to give him a cup of coffee, but he ignored it and made his way to the windows.
     Mark surprised her a little by placing his hand on her shoulder. Karen’s thoughts felt foggy, as if she was watching herself through a badly out of focus movie camera.
     “What did he say?” Mark asked again.
     Karen blinked, struggling to bring her thoughts back under her control. “I think he said the war was over,” she replied. “He said the Ogres are in Avalon, and he said he saw flames from the palace courtyard.”
     Going pale, Mark whispered, “Dear God.”
     Karen nodded and walked away from him without speaking. Dear God, she thought. She started to cry. Her sobs were painful, burning her throat and her face as they tore loose. If she’d had a moment to prepare, she would have found somewhere to hide her grief. But it overcame her too quickly for that.
     “Karen?” Theresa said. She sounded frightened. “Karen, are you okay? What’s wrong? What happened?”
     Funeral pyres. It could not be so. What did all of this mean for her brother? She wondered if Julian would stumble into the YMCA, another refugee, soaked with his own blood and haunted with the nearness of his own death. Or was it really possible he had died when his fighter jet was shot down over the Enchanted Forest, as his Colonel claimed? She had spent four months refusing to believe it. But now . . . this war was over. He would be coming home. Or he wouldn’t, and that would be her final answer.
     She doubted Beri would ever leave his home, even while it burned. He’d rather die. She had begged him last summer to come out to California. She’d couched it in terms of a vacation, keeping her fear for him secret, but he had told her he could not be spared. She had wondered at the time how he could have suddenly become so dedicated to his homeland. Now, with his house burning, that newborn sense of responsibility might have proved fatal.
     For a moment, she hated her brother, whom she’d worshiped, and her best friend, who should have been safe in his palace, protected by his father’s knights and his own strong magic. Why hadn’t Julian stayed home? He hadn’t needed to join the Air Force and become a fighter pilot; he could have taken the VP spot at Dad’s firm. And Beri should have swallowed his pride and fled for Earth last summer when Karen has begged him to.
     Karen cried harder. She wanted to go home. She thought she would, actually, they didn’t really need her, and there were enough bilingual Fey in the room to translate the Avalon library into English.
     “I’m going home,” Karen announced to Theresa, who was still looking at Karen with frightened concern. “You don’t need me . . .”
     Theresa nodded, eyes understanding. She patted Karen on the shoulder as the younger volunteer moved past her. Karen didn’t think she would return tomorrow. She had chosen a community service for her civics assignment that was far too close to home. She could have cleaned up trash along the highway, but no. Karen had wanted to ‘make a difference’ in the world.
     She hunched her shoulders in anticipation of the cold rain and walked through the back door into the parking lot. Her father’s silver Mercedes was dull as a closed eye in the filtering illumination from the street lamp above. Rain plopped into her hair and slid down her spine in oily slug tracks. Karen pulled on the thin gloves that would protect her hands from the steel in her keys, then unlocked the door and started the engine. The car started with a pleasant hum as she put it into gear. It made her think of Beri, who had been an awful driver and crashed three of the nicest cars she had ever seen.
     Karen sobbed, horrified as her thoughts of him became past tense. She almost wished she had never loved them, those missing boys that would leave her empty if they passed. She wished she could be any other girl, one who might realize in passing that the Ogres had conquered Avalon, and then quickly forget.
     Karen scrubbed at her face and put the car in gear. The weather was getting worse.







Fortunes Told….

5 Feb


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.


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.




  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?” 







Georgia’s Smile……

4 Feb


The GSP Romance Promo welcomes Lee-Ann Graff Vinson. This is what Lee-Ann says about herself.


  Thirty-nine years and two children later, my life finally came back to my passion—writing. Every author knows it is passion, perseverance and a thick skin that breeds success. Hell, that is what breeds success in every walk of life. Success to me is the completion of a rather good piece of writing, if I do say so myself. Luck is the ability to have it published for everyone else to read.
     So, to hurry along my passion of becoming successfully lucky, I entered into the Winghill School of Writing, joined various writing groups, and follow diligently the advice Writer’s Digest sends to my email box almost daily. It is safe to say that the pipe dream of becoming a professional writer is no longer just that. I have worked in various fields in my life, some fulfilling, some not. But, as you know, a career is not what makes you. It is the full aspect of family, friends, loved ones and work that give you your joy or edge. All gave me insight into the way in which the world, and the people in it, revolve. Now that I am, dare I say, older, I am able to look at these “experiences” and channel them into a therapy like no other—writing.
     Life is full of mysterious, romantic, hurtful, joyous, painful encounters. What would the world be without its pain and suffering or its ecstatic happiness? Real life occurrences are what make us who we are. They also make up the majority of my writing style. I can create fantasy and spiritual as well. Let’s face it, life without a little fantasy now and then can seem quite daunting, and we are all spiritual creatures, whether we like it or not. What intrigues me most is the ability of the human mind and heart to overcome.
So, here I sit in my suburban home office, watching all the trials and tribulations of life, and living some of them, forever in hope of creating the next best-seller. Until then, I am enjoying all the bumps and rejections I receive along this journey and am a firm believer in “what doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger.”

Her book we are highlighting today is Georgia’s Smile.


Georgia parked in front of the flower shop where she worked. Her eye throbbed behind her dark sunglasses. She knew she had to leave her husband, Philip, but after last night’s threat of what would happen if she did, she was even more scared to go. Little did Georgia know that when she opened her car door to go to work that morning, she would run into the man who was willing to change all of that.

Marc Ramos was a man, a very handsome, but married, man. A man who made Georgia’s heart beat again after years of neglect. His mere touch sent chills through her body and took her breath away. Never before had Georgia felt such passion for a man, and definitely not a man she had almost brought to his knees with her car door.







On Tuesday morning, Georgia Robinson drove her usual route to her job at the floral shop. One eye was almost swollen shut behind her dark sunglasses, making it difficult for her to see the road. She came to an abrupt stop at a red light and watched as a young couple crossed the street in front of her. They were holding hands and laughing as they walked, as if to a single melodic beat. Georgia startled at the sound of a car horn honking behind her. She looked at the now green light and stepped on the gas.
    Her life was not going the way she had intended. At thirty-six, Georgia sold bouquets to men and women wanting to surprise their loved ones. Her dream of university after high school and becoming a lawyer ended when her father died and she’d gone to work to help her mother pay the bills.
    She met Philip the day after she turned nineteen. He had entered the flower shop and asked Georgia to give him the biggest and best bouquet of flowers she could create and send them to his mother for her birthday. When he came back to the shop the following day to ask her out on a date, she thought her struggle had finally ended. The day she brought him home to meet her mother, Philip told her she would marry him someday. He was handsome in a Phi Beta Kappa sort of way and worked at his father’s investment banking firm handling the investment loans department. He was successful and four years her senior; he looked out for her.
    When Georgia’s mother passed away from alcohol abuse three years later, Philip proposed to her while standing at her mother’s bedside. Two weeks later, at city hall, Georgia stood beside Philip and exchanged vows. He moved into Georgia’s childhood home and assumed the mortgage, making changes to the décor here and there as he saw fit. Georgia didn’t mind because she thought she would finally be able to go back to school to fulfill her dream. Philip would take care of her now.
    Stopped at another light, Georgia almost choked on the memory. The only person Philip took care of was himself. When Georgia had asked Philip if she could go back to school to become a lawyer, Philip made a guffaw sound first and then, when he saw she was serious, he let out a giggle that turned into a riotous laugh. In between fits, he told her no one as stupid as her would ever make it in the world of law. You needed intelligence, you needed animal instincts, and you needed a backbone. All of which, Philip informed her, she didn’t have.
   Georgia tried to end her marriage to Philip shortly after his degrading verbal attack. That was when the first beating occurred. The backhand was unexpected and hit her square on the jaw. Now the violence was a regular occurrence. Typically, the marks were in areas that could be covered up but last night’s warring had left Georgia with a large shiner to her left eye, one she knew her boss, Natalie, would hit the roof over.
   Georgia pulled into her parking spot and sat with the engine idling, staring ahead into the window of the flower shop. Her eyes scanned the jargon below the business name ‘Petunia’s Flower Shop. If she was good enough for Porky, she’s good enough for you’. Georgia reread the words and stopped on the phrase ‘good enough’.
    “That is something I will never be if I stay with you, Philip,” Georgia said aloud. She let out a heavy sigh, shut off her vehicle and swung her door open.
    “Whoa!” said a masculine voice in alarm. Georgia looked up and saw she had almost knocked over a man. On closer inspection, she noticed he was a very attractive man and he was smiling down at her.
    “Oh, I am so sorry!” Georgia said. “Are you alright?” From behind the protection of her sunglasses, Georgia looked into the stranger’s eyes and felt a slight buzz shoot through her body. Her chest felt funny and then she realized it was the pounding of her heart.







Calamity Jan and the Russian ……

3 Feb


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.

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.





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.



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?

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? 







Love is like a Rainbow….

2 Feb

Welcome to the GSP Romance Promo. With Valentine’s Day approaching we just couldn’t resist sharing our books with you. :). This is special, as not only do we have exciting romantic reads to tempt you, but three of our authors have given their time to be interviewed and tell you why they write romance and will feature during the promo. First up is Dawn Colclasure.
Dawn, we are so happy to feature you on our first post for this promo. Over to you:

What inspired you to bring romance into your writing?
Romance is not a genre I typically write in, but when it comes to poetry, of course there is room for some romance! Poetry itself is, after all, romantic. So after I noticed I had a lot of love poems, I decided to put them all together into a book.

As this is book of poetry there are no characters. Are any of your poems inspired by people?
There are no characters, but some of the poems I wrote were inspired by people I knew and know in real life.

Language is always important in a story (or poem) to make it more real, so to speak. How do you work on the language of your poems?
Since my book is a poetry book, I will discuss language from a poetic perspective. I know that archaic language often appears in romance poetry (such as “how do I love thee?”), but I strive to keep the language modern. That is, unless the poem calls for it in some way (such as if it is fantasy or part of a story-poem in which a character speaks in such a way). I know some people don’t mind archaic words and obsolete expressions in a poem, but I really don’t like them

Another thing that is important to me is the title of a book. How and when do you come up with the title?
The title of my book, Love is Like a Rainbow: Poems of Love and Devotion, is based on a poem in the book. I usually title poetry collections with a title from one of the poems in the book. The subtitle is not a part of the poem’s title, of course, so I worded the subtitle to reflect what kind of book it was since the main title was so vague. (And I feel that love really IS like a rainbow! 🙂 )

Thank you so much Dawn. So readers, do you agree that “Love is like a Rainbow”? We would love to hear from you.
Love is…
…a reminder there is still hope in this world.
…a gentle whisper to guide you and give you strength in hard times.
…a neverending bond that transcends death.
…a promise of forever when two people become one.
…a brand new day after life’s most turbulent storm.
Love, romance and eternal devotion come to life and restrengthen a bond through the power of verse. With words written from the heart and speaking to the soul, Love is Like a Rainbow contains love poems to remind readers to ”  let love come in.”

I Loved

“Time passed you by,” said the judge.
“You let life pass. Without a grudge.
You let yourself be pushed and shoved.
What say you?” Said the soul, “I loved.

“I knew the warmth in my heart love gives.
You say I didn’t live. I lived! I lived!
I tasted the passion of love, its voice.
I let love move me, and by choice.

“I knew sorrow, I knew pain.
I let it hit me again and again.
I saw things in ways none other could.
I let love rule my life as it would.

“I opened my heart and gave my all.
This I’d do even after I’d fall.
I journeyed to the ends of the earth.
Knew the joys that came with birth.

“Faced each challenge with my heart so strong
Because love made it that way for so long.
Knew myself in ways I never would otherwise.
Saw true beauty in my beloved’s eyes.

“It was because of love I worked, helped and would create.
I would love first before I’d hate.
Love was there to make sure I’d give a helping hand.
Love taught me how to better understand.

“Love filled my heart more even after it burst full.
Because of love, my life was never dull.
No other feeling did as much for my life or make me feel so moved.
For this, I truly lived, because I loved.”