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Sabrina Tries to be Nice on Six Sentence Sunday

21 Oct

For this week’s Six Sentence Sunday post, I’m giving you a snippet from my upcoming release, Taming Scrooge.

Sabrina Whitlock’s gift shop shares a building with Will Holly’s ski & snowboard shop. Sabrina’s a bit of a holiday nut and tends to go all out on celebrating and decorations. She knows she drives Will up a tree, and she enjoys needling him for his grumpiness. Still, when she realizes he has worked on Thanksgiving Day, she takes pity on him and delivers a plate of leftovers from the meal she made with her brothers. He’s obviously dubious about her motives when she delivers dinner to his shop, just before closing time. But she perseveres. After all, everyone deserves a great Thanksgiving dinner, even cranky people.

She stretched her arms out, holding the plate up to encourage him. Shouldn’t a bear like him grab a food offering and rush back to his den to gobble it up? He looked positively skittish. “Come on, it’s yummy. A classic Thanksgiving feast. Don’t worry, I left the rat poison off.”

Check out more Six Sentence fun at Six Sentence Sunday!

Lucy’s #SixSentence Sunday: What Andri Needs

14 Oct

I’m back from my trip, lots to tell, but first…

For this week’s Six Sentence Sunday post, I’ve taken a snippet from Finding Refuge.

Travis Holt and Andromeda Miller both know they have too much baggage in their lives to risk a new relationship, yet the attraction pulling them together can’t be denied. When a discussion on their first date makes Andri recognize she needs to let loose and enjoy herself for a change, she decides Travis is the man for the job. Poor guy, how can he resist?

He swallowed, his voice rough when he spoke. “What do you need, Andromeda?”

She refused to stop and think. “Right this second? Travis, I need you to kiss me.”

Travis’s logic raised its head for a split second, but she dropped her hand to his chest, her lips parted slightly as she drew a breath, and all that mattered was giving her what she wanted. 

You’ll find Travis and Andri’s story at:  Amazon    Barnes & Noble    Smashwords

4.5 Blue Ribbons. “Beautifully written, with heart-wrenching emotions and real life problems, this is a wonderful story of two people struggling to find their way to forgiveness and happiness.” –Romance Junkies Reviews

Check out more Six Sentence fun at: Six Sentence Sunday

#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.

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

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?

Keeping my nose above water

9 Aug

Hi all. Oy, what a week! That seven days absolutely flew by. Sorry to leave you all for so long, but, silly me, I didn’t realize prepping for and hosting an exchange student would totally consume my life. And that’s for a temporary one. Our student is from Japan and is here with a group of 30 or so students for a whirlwind 10-day trip to the USA.

Delicate Arch at Arches National Park. Image courtesy of porbital / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We’re in the middle of the trip right now, during which all the students are gone to see the wonders of Arches National Park and Dead Horse Point in Moab. They’ve already explored Timpanogos Cave and spent time at the Olympic venues in Park City. We get our student back tomorrow, and I expect him to be too tired to go forward with our Friday evening plans (Son #3′s band is doing a show). We can do fun things on Saturday and Sunday, then Monday the students have group activities until the goodbye party. They leave us Tuesday morning for a couple of days at Disneyland before returning to Japan.

It’s been enormously fun so far. Our student speaks far better English than I speak Japanese, and as long as I pay attention I can understand him pretty well. My kids seem to do better than I do.

I was supposed to do Camp NaNoWriMo this month and get 50k words typed by the end of the month. So far, I’ve had a less than stellar start, but I think I can catch up…amid the chaos of prepping two high schoolers to start classes at the end of the month. What a way to say goodbye to the summer.

Is your summer ending quietly or in a mad rush?

Hero Hop and My Favorite Romance Hero Traits

27 Jul

A Hero Hop had to come with some sort of eye candy. And, really, look at those gorgeous eyes!

The Hero Hop is underway! Welcome to our five day celebration of yummy heroes. Join me and over a hundred other authors and bloggers as we share our favorite things about heroes, romance, and men in general. If the heroic goodness isn’t enough motivation to hit all the sites on the hop, check this out: Every stop on the hop is doing a giveaway. I’m giving away a $25 Amazon or B&N Gift Card! Even better, there are THREE Grand Prizes to be awarded at the end of the hop, and every blog you stop and comment on gives you an entry in the drawing. You can enter over 100 times! Grand prizes are: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet, a $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card, and a massive Swag Pack, full of books and other goodies.

I love a good romance hero. It takes a lot for a character to turn into an actual hero in my eyes, and we’re not talking a gorgeous face, a sculpted physique, excessive riches, and a lot of–how can I put this delicately?–talent and stamina. Don’t get me wrong, those traits are nice touches on the finished package, but it’s what’s inside a male character that turns him into a romance hero. The heart and soul are the parts that really matter.

My favorite romance heroes, the ones I fall in love with reading–from the fiercest Alpha to the sweetest Beta to the most difficult Gamma–all have four traits in common. They are:

  1. A sense of humor. I’m a huge fan of wry wit and a bit of self-deprecating humor.
  2. A sense of honor. Okay, sometimes that honor is a little twisted in a Gamma, but they all have a code they try to live by. Even if they make occasional missteps, they try to do the right thing and be good men.
  3. The ability to learn and grow. The only thing better than a heroine who grows and develops into a fuller, richer person over the course of a book is a hero who does so. I love watching a hero come to an understanding of his personal failings or flaws and take steps to improve.
  4. A willingness to love. Yes, this applies to those heroes who start out Unwilling. Refer to trait #3, the ability to learn and grow. To me, there’s nothing sexier than an intelligent, funny, genuine man who’s willing to let go and love someone with every fiber of his being.

What’s a trait you love to find in a romance hero?

Remember to leave your email address when you comment for entry into my giveaway and the grand prize drawings. Click here to Continue on the Hop!

Catching Up

25 Jul

Time for another catching up post. At some point soon, I hope to find my rhythm again and get back to posting three times a week, but I need things to return to school-year-normal. Summertime-normal is always a madhouse around here. For now, here are a few random thoughts to bring me current…

The Helvetican and I went to see Dark Knight Rises last night. He picked it apart afterward, as is his nature. No, it wasn’t a perfect film, but I’m much more willing to suspend disbelief and just go with the world the moviemakers have constructed, overlooking bits of unreality in order to enjoy the created world as a whole. And it worked for me. I enjoyed the little twists, the touches like Scarecrow having an appearance, the overall darkness of everything falling apart with redemption well earned. Seeing what a toll being a superhero takes on a person was brilliant, and Christian Bale played it so well. Loved Bane (OMG, Tom Hardy put on some serious muscle for that!). Loooooved this take on Catwoman, now one of my favorite antiheroes EVER. Anne Hathaway was purrrrfect. (I know, lame, couldn’t resist.) And Blake, what a strong character. Great development through the film and a nice setup for him. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has grown into such a fine actor. I really enjoy watching his work.

Ok, enough of the fangirl moment.

The car is still in the shop, one week after it decided to die. Why? Because the darn thing won’t replicate the problem for diagnosis. It started up fine for the mechanic all through the next day until the final time he tried, then it failed to start. That was Friday. First thing Monday, he had the car on the equipment, ready to find out what the problem was…and spent all day Monday without being able to make it fail. Started perfectly every time. The check engine light had cleared itself and no code was in the memory, so we’ve got nothing to go on. Yesterday was a holiday here (Pioneer Day) so, naturally, the shop was closed. The plan today is to run the car hard, on the platform where they can simulate driving without going on the road, with lots of turning off and back on again. If it performs all day properly, we’ll all chalk it up to some weird thing that cleared itself out. I mean, what else can you do? If the car says it is fine, and it behaves fine, it must be fine, right? If there truly is a problem, I can only pray that it shows itself while hooked up to the equipment that will tell us what the problem really is. Cross your fingers for me, okay? Being down to one car is not fun, but I’d hate to get the other car back, only to have it strand us somewhere again.

The Trio, enjoying their new room.

Finally, I don’t think I ever mentioned the latest happenings with the bunnies. Our grand old lady, Brownie, passed away a while back. She was nine and amazed us all every day that she kept going. The Princess, the Helvetican, and I were all there with her at the last, so she was loved up to the end. She was buried between the two mates she had outlived. Her current mate, Smokey, moped around and grew very cranky. We knew he was a lonely bunny, but combining him with the remaining bonded couple didn’t seem like a good option. After all, the boys had their share of fights in the common bunny yard. We ditched both of the bunny condo cages, and gated off an otherwise useless alcove downstairs by the heater/water heater closet. I haven’t measured, but it’s a good 50 square feet or so. Plenty of room for three bunnies. It was a neutral space for all of them, no one had previous claim to it. They tussled a bit, establishing warren ranks, but only the first day. The three have lived in harmony ever since, and the two boys are best friends, while Miss Chelsea is the queen of all she surveys. So, no more lonely bunnies! It was a bit of a change for the Princess, though. It’s the first time in nine years that she didn’t have a bunny living in her bedroom. She had a hard time sleeping for a while because of the quiet.

Writing-wise, I’m working toward a magazine deadline this week, and doing programs for a local theater company production. I’m trying to scribble some fiction here and there where I can, but this may be a lost week. I should add some counters so you can see where I’m at on the books in progress. I’m also trying to clear out some nagging items-that-need-doing around the house before August 1. I’m doing Camp NaNoWriMo in August, trying to put out at least 50k words. That should be fun, working around our temporary exchange student who will be here for ten days next month. More on that later.

Have a great Wednesday! Be sure to pop in Friday when the Hero Hop starts!

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