Archive | September, 2012

#SixSentence Sunday: Victoria’s Dilemma

30 Sep

Today is my first venture into the world of Six Sentence Sunday posts. I’m diving in with a snippet from Mending Fences. The first time Victoria met Curran, at a Halloween party, she stole a kiss. Now that he’s caught up to her, months later, Curran craves another taste, and pulls out all the stops to convince her to give in. Does she dare?

His voice dropped to a rumbling whisper. “Victoria, your kiss stayed on my lips for weeks. I know this sounds terrible and I’m going way too fast, and it’ll likely insult you, but if I don’t kiss you again soon, I’m going to lose my mind.” He gave her hand a gentle tug.

A battle rose inside her, one side crying for her to run, to avoid this at all costs, to remember why allowing anything to happen again was such a very bad idea. The other side soaked up every flicker of interest in his eyes like raindrops on parched earth, craving his attention with an intensity that stole her breath.

You can find Victoria and Curran’s story at:  Amazon    Barnes & Noble   Kobo    Smashwords

Check out the links to more six sentence posts at Six Sentence Sunday.

Lucy’s Wednesday WIP Words

26 Sep

I’m trying out another theme day. Each Wednesday, I’m going to post a snippet of whatever book I’m currently writing (WIP: Work In Progress). 

Today’s words come from a novella I’m aiming to release the first part of November. It’s called Taming Scrooge. Will Holly’s ski and snowboard shop shares a building with Sabrina Whitlock’s gift shop. Sabrina’s a bit of a holiday nut and tends to go all out on decorations. In this scene, Will has arrived to open his shop the day before Thanksgiving, only to find Sabrina’s decorating has gone too far. Have a look:

A huge, inflatable turkey stretched across most of the six-foot deep walkway. It sat just to the right of the door to the gift shop he shared building space with, but the width of the damn thing meant it extended a good six inches in front of his door. If it didn’t trip anyone coming or going, it would definitely snag every snowboard or ski crossing his threshold. He glared at the door of the gift shop. Light flooded from the office in the back. Good, he could have it out with Sabrina Whitlock before any early customers came along and caught him losing his cool.

He strode to the gift shop door—which was, naturally, in no way blocked by the turkey—and gave it a yank. Locked. Anger bubbled in his brain as he pounded on the door with his cold, bare fist. “Come on, Duchess, I know you’re in there.”

He pounded again and again, until her head popped around the jamb of her office door. She jogged toward him, dodging racks and shelves laden with all the girly crap she sold, and threw the lock. He pulled open the door, ready to launch his tirade.

“Morning, Will,” Sabrina brushed a hand across her forehead, pushing her brown bangs out of her eyes, and grinned at him, sending an unwelcome ripple of appreciation through the good angry boil he had going. Her ready smile never failed to catch his eye, and only added to his frustration in dealing with her.

He jabbed a finger toward the inflatable. “Sabrina, what the hell is this?”

She laughed, a throaty, full-bodied sound that poured through his anger and pooled south. Devastating, if it came from anyone other than her. “Um, it’s a turkey.”

I’m having so much fun with these two!

Be sure to turn in next Wednesday for more WIP Words.

That place where a great marching band and pop culture collide

25 Sep

Okay, today’s post has nothing to do with anything, save that I find the subject enormously entertaining. I just stumbled upon a video of Ohio University’s marching band performing Gangnam Style for a halftime show. LOVE this! I can’t help it, that song just makes me giggle, and seeing a great marching band turn in a fabulous performance doubles the fun! Have a look…

Now…on the off chance that you are not familiar with the original, Gangnam Style is a song by a South Korean musician by the name of Psy. One look at the video, and you’ll know why his song grabbed pop culture by the throat and refuses to let go.

Hope this strangely catchy tune infuses your day with some delight!

 

Lucy’s Friday Friends: Mia Downing

21 Sep

I’m starting a new theme: Friday Friends. Once a week (or every other week, if I get lazy um, too busy), I’ll bring one of my friends over and introduce them to you. This will be a chance for my beloved blog visitors to get to know other authors and interesting people I know. Leave a comment with your email addy because I’ll be drawing a name for the winner’s choice of one of my guest’s ebooks!

Today, Mia Downing is visiting. Mia and I have known each other for ages…since before the turn of the century! Wow, that sort of makes me feel old to say such a thing. Anyway, Mia’s suddenly exploded into publishing, with three releases out so far this year and more to come. She’s a naughty erotic romance writer, so her books are far hotter than mine, but don’t let the hot and heavy sex fool you. Her books are romances, through and through, and her heroes and heroines deal with some pretty serious issues and difficulties along the way to their Happily Ever After.

Okay, let’s get started with the interview, Mia. You’re now on the hot seat! What have you done while scribbling away in your garret, waiting for the publishing gods to smile upon you?

Mia: I have been a caterer, deli/convenience store clerk (Best. Job. Ever!) chef, lab animal tech, home health aide, worked at a garden center for a summer, a Riding instructor for able-bodied and disabled clients, and mom.

What amazing skills or talents do you possess besides writing?

Mia: My most lucrative talent is decorative painting. I’ve done glass, wood, tin and murals. My nonsense skills are making balloon animals, face painting and juggling. I’m a poor juggler but I rock the face painting. I’m so/so with balloons. I do make a mean sword and an excellent horse and when I had my little booklet, I could make a whole herd of things.

I always wanted to learn to make balloon animals! Speaking of which, what is your favorite animal?

Mia: Horse, but that’s really boring, so I’ll say the Three-toed Sloth. They are so ugly they are ADORABLE. They only hit the ground once a week to defecate. They won’t do it from the trees because when the plop hits the ground, the wild beasts will know its location and eat it. Other than that, they don’t do much but sit around. Wikipedia says they are good swimmers. It would be an easy pet to have because you don’t have to walk it or clean the litter box but once a week.

Okay, I can see the appeal of a sloth…What’s your dream vacation spot?

Mia: Uh. Alaska in winter. I have lupus, so the sunshine makes me physically ill, inside and out. That means most dream vacation spots are hazardous. But if I could go in the sunshine, I would go on a horseback riding vacation across Ireland. I would go to Egypt and see the pyramids (wanted to be an Egyptologist in 4th grade.)

I always worry about your health, my friend. Since extravagant vacations are out, if you could spend a day doing just what you wanted, what would you choose?

Mia: Lunch with friends, writing, reading. Doing that today! I’m a fairly simple girl.

I think I know the answer to this, but what is your favorite movie?

Mia: My absolute favorite movie is Pretty Woman. It’s the ultimate trashy romance.

Yep, not a surprise there. In romance, readers and writers tend to enjoy man candy.  Who are your favorite yummies?

Mia: Daniel Villa reminds me of Chase (Lucy’s note: one of Mia’s heroes), so we’ll go with him. And the usual suspects. Jared Leto for the great voice and body. Ian Somerhalder for just existing. Nathan Fillion for the sexy hot Canadian factor.

Oh, yeah. That list works for me! Your latest novel is Ripped, a M/M romance. What inspired you?

Mia: Ripped was supposed to be a short, fun m/m for the Boys of Summer series. I like conflict, and one of the heroes, Gavin, has a bit of baggage, which wasn’t revealed to me until I got to a certain shower scene. He’s a child of an alcoholic, and he suffers a lot of guilt and pain from that past. This wasn’t a direction I really wanted to go, seeing I am also a child of an alcoholic, and some of Gavin’s issues were my issues. But I considered it a way to purge, so I wrote it. The story is in no way autobiographical, and I think Gavin had the harder road to travel.

Two interesting things I discovered while writing Ripped. One was how I still have a very strong concept of ‘safe,’ meaning safe havens, safe people, safe jobs. When your home isn’t a safe place as a child, you tend to create these pockets of safe in your life. I had a huge upheaval of safe places this summer when I lost a job of 12 years due to sale of the company, and that was hard.

The other interesting thing was that Erik, Gavin’s best friend since preschool, never knew the extent of Gavin’s suffering. I have a friend I’ve had since I was ten, and she verified that no, I don’t talk about that aspect of my life. She knew my dad yelled, but she never knew why I practically lived at her (safer) home.

That breaks my heart, Mia, but what your past generated in Ripped is pretty amazing. What’s coming up next?

Mia: As far as releases: Spy Games: Lethal Limits, book 2 in the series, is out in late fall. If you’re not a fan of series, you should consider reading this one. Each book stands alone, and you can jump right in wherever.

Ooooh, that’s Jake and Tia’s book. That one is going to be fabulous, but, before you go, let’s give everyone a taste of the first book in the series.

Mia: Yes, Ma’am!

Spy Games: Trained for Seduction

Emma Walters didn’t choose to be a spy, but when her crazy father was caught selling bombs to the wrong people, she was given a choice–become a spy or rot in jail. Her exciting new life as agent Kate Wells becomes more so when she discovers her new boss is the agent–undercover and investigating her father at the time–who took her to third base. Emma is already half in love with the dark and dangerous Chase Sanders. Kate wants nothing more than for him to finish what he started, but he’s the devil incarnate. And one doesn’t make deals or fall in love with the devil.

If someone had told Chase he’d fall in love with a certain virgin when he was on his last mission, he would have shot them dead, sniper style. She was nothing more than collateral damage, damn it. But watching the sexy new spy morph into a bombshell killing machine is too much to bear. So when the powers that be command him to train her in the art of seduction for her first–and possibly last–mission, he’s scared witless. Making love to Kate means preparing her for sex with another man.

Somehow, Chase has to find a way to get Kate in–and out–of her mission without dying. And without falling in love.

Excerpt:

“I guess it’s time for…you know. Dinner’s over.”

Chase frowned, and for once Kate could see the wheels turning behind his brown eyes. “How about I make you a deal?”

“A deal with the devil is never productive.” He grinned, and she sighed. “Tell me.”

“We have all weekend, and I’m a very compassionate, very patient man. What you lack in your life is control. I’m going to give you control over when we make love. It’s your call. I will wait patiently until you can’t resist my charms any longer.”

Control. She liked that idea, because he was right. The only things that were keeping her from jumping him now were the facts that she had to be here and she was scared as hell. If this were a date, she’d still be scared as hell, but she’d be more than willing to make the leap. “What happens if we make it to Sunday night and it hasn’t happened?”

“Then we have a problem. But I have faith in my seduction skills. It didn’t take much to get you hot for me before. I don’t need until Sunday night.”

“Ego, Chase, ego,” she whispered. But that offer took an incredible amount of stress from her, and she heaved a sigh of relief. “So how will you continue charming me?”

“Well, we have dishes to do, and since you cleaned your plate, I promised you a movie.”

“I’d like that. I haven’t really watched much in the past year.”

“Neither have I. So we’ll make popcorn, and sit on the couch, and if you’re a very good girl, I’ll let you hold my hand.”

She thought of his hand in hers, those long fingers caressing hers. She bit her lip. A deal with the devil was definitely not a good thing. “And if I’m a bad girl?”

The ego returned, and he smiled a devilish smile. “Then we won’t need to worry about Sunday.”

You can pick up Spy Games: Trained for Seduction at The Wilder Roses or Amazon.

Here’s the blurb for Ripped:

Lifeguard/artist Gavin White has been holding the ripped shreds of his life together by the seams. Facing the anniversary of his sister’s death, he fights the dark call of dependency and is at the edge of succumbing when his best friend since preschool returns to his life. Handsome geek-turned-hunk, Erik Clarke, wasn’t afraid to come out and had been bold enough to kiss Gavin the last time they were together. Damn that kiss. Gavin wants more. So much more, but he was never brave enough to tell Erik his dreams. With his future hanging by a tattered thread, Gavin must trade one temptation for another or risk ripping his life apart.

Pick up Ripped at The Wilder Roses or Amazon.

Thanks for being here, Mia! Readers, remember to leave a comment with your email addy. I’ll be drawing a name and giving away your choice of one of Mia’s ebooks! You can follow/contact Mia here:

Blog: http://www.miadowning.blogspot.com  Twitter: @miadowning007

Amazon Author Page

Goodreads

Facebook

Burst of Happiness: A new review!

16 Sep

A lovely Sunday messed up by tender sinuses, stuffy ears, and assorted body aches can be salved by a few things… a thoughtful hubby who takes care of dinner and tucks me into bed… the DVR recording of last night’s new Doctor Who episode… and finding a great new review of Mending Fences. 4 Stars from Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews! Check it out here: http://www.guiltypleasuresbookreviews.com/2012/09/review-mending-fences-by-lucy-francis.html

Mother & Daughter Tradition

13 Sep

The Princess and I look forward to the week after Labor Day (September) every year. That’s the week the State Fair opens. We like looking at all the farm animals, petting the goats and sheep, cooing over the rabbits, admiring the many varieties of chickens on display. But there is truly just one reason she and I go to the fair: mehndi.

If you’re not familiar with mehndi, it is decorating the skin with a dye, like a temporary tattoo. It originated in India but is practiced in several countries and cultures. The design is drawn with henna. The henna dries on your skin, flakes off, and leaves behind a reddish-brown stain that will last up to a couple of weeks.

We got our first mehndis at Knotts Berry Farm in California. The Princess was six years old. A few years later, we discovered a mehndi artist with a booth at the State Fair, and we’ve returned to her every year since. We went last night for our 2012 editions and were invited to share naan and chicken curry with our artist when we finished. What a great time! This year, our designs incorporated Jagua, a natural fruit dye that leaves a bluish-black stain behind. Bi-color mehndi, woohoo! As a side note, don’t ever use ‘black’ henna. It is toxic and can severely damage and scar your skin. If you want a black design, use jagua.

Here is my design:

This is an hour or so after getting the design. The henna paste and jagua gel are still in place on my skin, with glitter added to make it even more fun.

This is my design today, the stain left behind after the henna and jagua flaked off. The henna will continue to darken until tomorrow, and over the next week, the jagua will likely fade to a lighter blue-gray.

Here is the Princess’s design:

For both designs, we asked the artist to make something up rather than pick something specific. The Princess did ask for the Nerdfighter slogan DFTBA in her design. It means Don’t Forget To Be Awesome.

Do you have a tradition with a parent or a child?

Do you remember?

11 Sep

My mother called that morning, eleven years ago, waking the Helvetican and me on a rare day off. “Turn on your TV,” she said. “A plane just hit one of the twin towers.”

The first channel visible when the TV came on showed the smoke pouring from the torn side of the tower. My heart lodged in my throat. How could such a terrible thing happen? It must be an accident, a horrible, impossible accident… And then the video filled with a second plane and the horror engulfed us, watching the plane deliberately fly into the side of the second tower.

I remember wishing fiercely that I could wake up for real and escape the nightmare.

I called my best friend, with whom I’d lived in upstate New York years before. With whom I’d explored the amazing, singular borough of Manhattan. She turned on her TV as I related what I knew so far, which was little. Together, linked by the phone, we watched the towers fall and cried for the city that held such a special place in our hearts. Later, as the magnitude of the day registered, as we learned this was far bigger than New York, that it was the Pentagon, and the field in Pennsylvania–that it was our country–the emotions grew into something encompassing and surpassing sorrow and fear. Patriotism took hold, but more than that: a binding of countrymen that gave us all strength, and, for a while, made us all better, a collective loving and lifting one another.

We live directly under the flight path for planes landing at the airport. The silence felt so wrong. I’d tuned out the sounds of jets passing overhead long ago. To have them absent spoke volumes. Days later, when the first plane finally took that path, the whine of the engines shook me. Life returned to something resembling normal with the passing of that plane, though true ‘normal’ would never really come back.

And now, we find ourselves in an election year, each side tearing down the other, politics as usual. The economy has left us with yet another semblance of normal, while, for too many, true ‘normal’ has not returned, and may never return. And on this anniversary, when we mourn those lost, when we mourn all that followed, when we rub at the scars left behind, I can’t help but wish we could have held onto that sense of love and concern for one another, as fellow Americans. I wish we could grow that again, without suffering a tragedy first.

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Public Affairs 2nd Class Mike Hvozda (Public Domain)

Another Birthday Gone and Blog Hop Wrap Up

4 Sep

Birthday flowers from my boys!

Hi everyone! What a great Labor Day weekend. Things were truly hopping around here with the blog hop. Locally, after a huge thunderstorm rolled through here and cleaned out the air, we finally got a refresher course in what the mountains and blue sky look like without wildfire smoke haze obscuring everything. Ahhhhh! As an added bonus, the weather has cooled off, FINALLY. Sooooo done with summer heat. Bring on fall!

Thanks for all the lovely birthday wishes! The birthday stretched to three days this time, to accommodate everyone’s schedules. The Helvetican and I went for sushi on Saturday, yummy, then the family party was on Sunday, with my sister and dad hanging out with us for grilled chicken and ribs. My mom called and her hubby sang a birthday song he wrote.

The kids all remembered my birthday this year, and it was so much fun. The Princess wrote a song about my birthday with ukulele accompaniment. She also made me a Doctor

Tardis card, made by the Princess.

Who Tardis card, complete with the Tenth Doctor inside. Perfect nerd-girl gift! The boys went all out, with cards, coupons for free household chores, cards, flowers, Diet Coke, dark chocolate of several varieties…yes, I’ve trained them well. Then last night, we hit our favorite Mexican place, whose chile verde-smothered chimichangas are divine. I’m calling it a successfully completed birthday.

Inside the Tardis card…The Doctor, of course!

Romancing the Hop ended last night, and I have winner announcements! I plugged all of your comments into the Randomizer to come up with a winner. Miriam Roman wins her choice of a $15 Amazon or B&N gift card. Congrats, Miriam!

FYI, there were 9,000 comments left across the blog hop! Wow! The Hop Grand Prize winners are:

Kindle Fire Winner:
Laurie Goudge
(from It’s the Journey that Counts’s Blog)
$130 Amazon Gift Card:
Ellie
(from Carrie Ann Ryan’s Blog)
Swag Pack:
Cassandra
 (from Dana Delamar’s Blog)

Today’s plan? Get a magazine article out the door because today is deadline, and maybe sneak in a nap. Anything else is a wonderful bonus accomplishment.

What did you do this weekend? Any big plans for your week?

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