Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Flash Fiction Challenge: Spring has Sprung

Spring is in the air. If you're a teacher, you know what I mean. Normally sweet and sane children turn into Tasmanian devils, causing chaos at every turn. For a writer, though, Spring is the perfect setting for a love story. Each week, the authors of Romance Weekly tackle tough questions, chat about the craft of writing love, and in general, have a great time. Welcome, and enjoy your stay. 

If you found me by way of Tracey Gee, you've made it to the right place. 

Veronica Forand challenged to do some Flash Fiction this week. Using 100 words, include the words: Spring, coffee, and lizard. 

Y'all know my difficulty with following rules. Technically I did use the three words within the first 117 or so words. But . . . I can't stop there. I had to see where the scene led me. Since I'm beginning to plot out Sophie and Mateo's story, I decided to let the two would-be lovers have some fun. This scene probably won't even make it into the book, but it was fun to write. 

A shriek from the playground tore Sophie's attention away from her computer screen. Heart suddenly shifting into overdrive, she bolted upright, spilling her coffee in the process as she scanned the expanse of the schoolyard through her office window, searching for a melee. But everything looked to be in order. Clumps of happy kids swung on the swings in the tepid Spring air or milled about waiting for their turn at basketball. No fight brewing, no blood flowing.  

She let out a sigh of relief and gave the yard one last cursory glance. As soon as her eyes lit upon the lizard dangling by its tail  in a kindergartener's face, she knew what had caused the commotion. She scowled, shoved her window up further and shouted, "Jimmy Wallace! You put that creature down and leave Ava alone right this instant!"

"Tough day?" 

At the sound of Mateo's rich voice, her head swiveled his direction. What was he doing here? Propped against the doorjamb, his presence seemed to fill the room, filling her body with an unexpected jolt of awareness. For a moment, she gawked at him unable to tamp down the inexplicable desire to walk over to him and taste his delicious looking lips.  

Mortified at the unbidden thought, her face flushed. The man had a wicked sense of timing, if nothing else. She looked away and shrugged. "Spring has sprung," she said by way of explanation.  

The laugh that erupted from his body took her by surprise. "Anything I can do to help?" 

A trickle of hot liquid now cascaded over the edge of her desk and splattered on her new high heels. She bit back the oath that rose in her throat. Fumbling with the soaked papers on her desk, her fingers sought out a box of tissues. 

Without waiting for an answer, he crossed the room in long strides, and dropped to one knee at her side. 

What the hell? 

To the casual bystander, the pose would almost give the appearance of an old-fashioned marriage proposal. All that was missing was the diamond bauble for her ring finger. 

He gazed up at her with an endearing look. "May I?" 

May he what? Have her hand in marriage? Hell no! She barely even knew the man. 

When she didn't answer, Mateo slipped the shoe off first one foot, then the other. He pulled a rag from his back pocket and patted her legs and feet dry, then swiped away the drops of coffee from the floor. As he worked, his fingers massaged her insole, a fluttering touch was almost absentminded on his part. 

Staring at the back of his head, a surge of naughty thoughts raced through her mind. His thick mane of hair was close enough to touch, to tangle her fingers in. All it would take would be one word, one pleading word, and she'd be willing to let him touch whatever part of her body he wanted. The zing of awareness that had started in her  heart had worked its way down her body, turning her insides into molten lava.

"There. Like new again." He stood and smiled down at her. "Better get back to work." 

Then he was gone. Sophie dropped her head down onto her desk. Oh my God! What the hell was that all about? 

I kind of like the idea of Mateo always shaking thing up with straight laced Sophie. How about you? I always welcome your comments and feedback. 

Next up? Leslie Hachtel http://lesliehachtelwriter.wordpress.com

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Interview with Ryan Jo Summers

This week I have the ever-fabulous Ryan Jo Summers hanging out with me on my virtual couch for a lovely chat. Ryan and I are Soul sisters, both published with Soul Mate Publishing. Her latest title, Shimmers of Stardust, was released in September 2014. Alright, girl. Let's get this party started!

EJ: Have you always been a writer, or was there a specific event in your life that drove you to write? 

RJS: I always wanted to be a veterinarian, and write on the side. (I started writing at 10, but only later realized people did this for a living) I thought being a vet for financial security and write for fun was the sensible approach. For many years, I wrote and submitted, dreaming of publication. Now, with multiple publications and regular free-lance work, my focus has shifted to wanting to retire from the day job one day and write full time for both fun and financial security.

EJ: Sounds like a smart plan. Think back to when you were in school. Did your English teachers love or hate you? 

RJS: They loved me as I was a good student and wanted to learn, except when it came to book reports. They’d usually say reports had to be a minimum of so many pages. My hand would go shooting in the air, and I’d ask what the maximum was that we could write. Looking back, I am sure the kids didn’t appreciate my enthusiasm much.

EJ: We teachers love good students like that. What was it like when you finally received an offer on your book? Who did you tell first?

RJS: I didn’t tell anyone when I received my first offer. It was a different book with a different publisher. I was too scared to say anything for fear the deal would somehow fall through before the book actually came out. When I sold my fist Soul Mate book, I was a little quicker to spread the word, but it still took me almost a month to open up. In both cases, it was my co-workers whom I told first. My family is far away and I wanted this to be a face to face experience. When I reached the third book, a phone call was sufficient.

EJ: How does your family feel about you writing romance? 

RJS: My dad is very supportive, glad for any success I have. He has lots of advice, some I take and some I don’t. My mom is glad for me. She says with all the books I’ve read over the years, it should be easy to write my own now. They both want me to be happy, and if writing makes me happy, go for it

EJ: Aww. Sounds like you have lots of support. Where do you do most of your writing? Can you snap a photo and show us where you work your magic? 

RJS: My study. Behind me is my bird, Taz. The fish give me something to shift my eyes to for a quick mental break. Tons of natural lighting. To my right is another big fish tank, so there is surround sound white noise of falling water.

The white squares on the back of the chair is double sided tape to discourage scratching from the kitties. Three cats are shown: Whymzie, Kryshnah and Aspen.

EJ:  I'm a cat person myself but we only have one cat right now. I love the idea of adding a fish tank to my imaginary office. What's your writing process like? Hopefully it's better than mine is right now.

RJS: I get up in the AM, read over yesterday’s work, and revise. I add to it and stop when the time runs out for when I have to go to work. I usually write the story as I go, scene by scene, with lots of narrative up front. I go back and add details and descriptions while I revise. Then I go back and tweak, revising again.

EJ: Where do you get your inspiration?

RJS: Songs a lot of the time. I listen to music for the stories they tell as well as the sound of the music. Songs give me lots of inspiration when I am stuck. Taking walks in nature helps a lot too, getting my mind loose so it can just filter through things to find something to write.

EJ: Me too! Music is a huge part of my process, photos to. What celebrity hottie revs your engine? Have they ever inspired the image or personality of one of your literary heroes? 

RJS: I don’t watch television shows. No protest or anything, I just prefer to use my time on other outlets. So that being said, I have no clue who the current celebrities are. I glance at tabloids in the grocery store and they’re all strangers to me. My generation is George Clooney, Pierce Brosnon and Robert Redford. I don’t think they’ve ever inspired me literarily speaking but there is nothing wrong with enjoying the eye candy. I only wish we women could go grey as stylish and sexy as the men seem to.

EJ: Sadly, I'm addicted to my TV shows. Who was your favorite character to write? 

RJS: In this story, Shimmers of Stardust, I loved writing about Logan Riley. In most my books, I connect with the male lead more so. Even when I adore the female lead, he tends to be the one I identify more with.

EJ: Tell us more, please! 

RJS: Here's the trailer.

EJ: The book sounds amazing. I was really intrigued by the trailer and can't wait to pick it up. Are you working on anything new? Can you give us the log line and first paragraph of your current WIP?

RJS: I have two of them.

Winds of Destiny
Three stories of three free-spirited sisters finding love and adventure in their small North Carolina coastal town. 

The old man was dying. He knew it without the solemn stares coming from the doctor and the nurses. Before he parted, he had one more bit of unfinished business left. It was one he should have attended to a long time ago. Looking now into the worried faces of his two friends and neighbors of the last thirty-two years, he smiled grimly. It was time.

September’s Song
Ivey London was told her husband died in combat five years ago. So who is this amnesiac soldier who suddenly shows up, looks just like Keegan did and has superpowers?

It was going to be cold out, Ivey decided, snapping off the weather report. Jory needed to wear his heavier jacket. The clock in the hall chimed, alerting her of the time. 

“Jory,” she called upstairs, hand on the banister. “It’s almost time for Becca. Are you ready yet?” Listening, she heard only dull thumps to tell her he was moving around. Soon he came bounding down the stairs, followed closely by his oversized black and white dog.

EJ: I really like the concept for both of the books. The beginning of Winds of Change might hit a little close to home right now for me, though. If you ever need a beta reader, I'm your gal! Alright, it's time for . . . 

Rapid Fire Questions 
Salty or Sweet? 
Coffee or Tea? 
Coffee all day, hot tea at bedtime
Coke or Pepsi?
Neither, but sprite once in a while
Chocolate or Vanilla? 
Chocolate of course. 
Cat or Dog?
Both. I prefer dogs, but don’t tell that to the five cats I live with.
Extrovert or Introvert?
Both. Depends on the situation, who is present and all that. At my core, I have always been and still am quiet and shy. My co-workers will probably disagree with that statement.

EJ: You are probably one of the only other people I have ever met that doesn't like Coke or Pepsi. We truly are soul sisters! 

Ryan Jo Summers is a bookworm and lover of words. She now even has favorite words she collects. She writes a gambit of materials, from short stories delving into mystery, romance, time travel, horror and especially Christian. She writes lots of non fiction Christian and some poetry. She free-lance writes for assorted markets. Her niche is contemporary romance with blended subgenre twists. When not writing, she likes to paint, explore the great outdoors and read. To feed her love of words, she also likes bent and twisted word find puzzles. She likes to cook, experimenting and finding new twists on old favorite recipes. She makes her home, along with several adoring pets, in the mountains of Western North Carolina, while she dreams of living on the beach lined coast of eastern NC.

Website:  http://www.ryanjosummers.com/
Blog:  http:summersrye.wordpress.com 
FB:  www.facebook.com/pages/Ryan-Jo-Summers-author-page/312875648810797

Check out these titles by Ryan Jo Summers, available now on Amazon.com.

Thank you so much for joining us today. I hope to see you all again next week! 

What's next for Elizabeth Janette?

Next Tuesday - Romance Weekly Blog Hop #LoveWriteChat 

Next Thursday - author Zen DiPietro joins me for a chat

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Romance Weekly: St. Patrick's Day

Yippee!! I'm finally back on the RWW blog hop! It's the hippest place to be each and every Tuesday. This week, author Betty Bolte challenged your favorite romance writers to spill the beans on how they celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

If you found me by way of  Leslie Hachtel http://lesliehachtelwriter.wordpress.com, welcome!

If you've been following this blog for a while, you know I'm not so great at following basic directions. In fact, once I get my hands on our assigned weekly topic, it often morphs into something altogether . . .  well . . . different.

So here's my short answer to how I celebrate today's most green of holidays.

I DON'T. I usually don't have time to celebrate St. Patrick's Day because . . . well mostly because I'm too lazy to go through all the effort it would take to find cool friends who would invite my Mr. and I to a raging party.

See? Boring, huh? That's not even worth the effort you expended to find my blog. But lucky for you, that's not the whole answer.

I love Ireland. I always have. I'm just not a big fan of Irish food. Or of getting pinched, and I look terrible in green.

Nineteen years ago, I was part of the Riverside Community College Marching Band and Colorguard. Each year, the band took a big trip to some exotic locale. One year, the college-aged kids went to Japan, another year it was France. Over the years, the group has been around the world. When the Band Director, Gary Locke announced that he'd be taking a small group of members to Ireland, I leapt at the chance to go.

Let me tell you, that trip was not cheap. My parents couldn't afford it, so I fundraised as much money as I could (which surely wasn't much). Now, mind you, I was only 19 and lacked any skills I might need to make money. The only thing I had going for me was my grandmother's recipe for Fresh Apple Cake. Each cake took a ton of time to prepare. I sold each cake for $10. Thirty cakes later, I had a whopping $300, but it was enough to convince my parents to pitch in the rest. (To date, I've only made one Apple Cake since that time.)

We landed in Shannon, Ireland and traveled around the southern tip of the country, performing nearly everywhere we went. I distinctly remember performing in in a shopping mall in one city and even had the privilege of marching in the St. Patrick's Day parade in Dublin, Ireland. While I was technically part of the flag team, because I could play the piano, I was asked to play keyboards for one of the songs. At first, it was all so new, so exciting. I'd expected Ireland to look like this:

And it did. Sorta. There were lots of rolling green hills. Only the castles I saw looked nothing like in the pictures. What I saw were less impressive crumbling ruins of castles. Still beautiful, but after the tenth one, they all start to look alike, especially from a fogged up charter bus window.

And the sheep usually had been tagged by their owners with something like spray paint.

And it rained. All. The. Time.

And the food? Let's just say I spent a lot of time eating at McDonalds.

I was young and dumb. I know. Nineteen was way too young for me to actually appreciate the opportunity I'd been given. To make matters worse, I was a lousy photographer at that time, so none of my photos came out.

However I did manage to take something away from my trip (besides a handful of Irish coins and terrible photos). My parents loved me enough to send me on a trip of a lifetime, surrounded by friends who watched out for me, despite any fears or reservations they felt. I may not have truly appreciated the trip then, but my memories I'll always keep with me. Someday, I hope I'll have the strength to watch one of my kids board a plane for an adventure of their own.

And next time I go on an international trip? I'm taking a better camera!

Next up on the blog hop? J.J. Devine http://definingjjdevine.weebly.com/ramblings-of-a-writer

It's a crazy busy week for me. Thursday and Friday I'm off to the CUE Conference (Computer Using Educators) and Saturday, my family will celebrate my father's life. Sometime before then, I'm supposed to write the eulogy, so you may not hear much from me until next week.

In the meantime, I hope you come back and join me on Thursday, when I interview author Ryan Jo Summers.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Broken Chords by Carrie Elks

Title: Broken Chords
Series: Love in London #2
Author: Carrie Elks
Genre: Adult Romance
Release Date: February 26, 2015
Cover Designed by: Okay Creations


Lara knows she should feel lucky. Married to the man of her dreams, with a gorgeous new baby, she should be enjoying her happy-ever-after. But she never expected motherhood to be so difficult, or for her life to change so dramatically.

Alex has it all: hot, tattooed looks, a beautiful wife, and a band that's finally getting noticed. A lucrative offer of a US tour should be the icing on the cake. But as he leaves the country, distance isn't the only thing that starts to pull their relationship apart.

With half a world dividing them, Alex and Lara have to battle for a marriage they once took for granted.

Broken Chords is the second story in the Love in London series but can be read completely as a stand-alone. 

Though it's a series, it's not a serial and there are no cliffhangers, each book features a different couple!


“You want one?” he asked, cupping his hand to shade his match from the slight breeze.

“I don’t smoke. It’s a disgusting habit.” I smiled, letting him know I was flirting more than anything. Trying to wind him up.

He stared at me, throwing the burnt-out match into the ashtray. Already, I’d noticed Alex had this intense way of making me feel as if nothing else mattered. That I was the only interesting thing in the room—or in this case, the street.

“You’re one of those, then,” he said.

“One of what?”

“A crusader.” He inhaled deeply, then let the smoke drift out of his lips. Even I had to admit he looked sexy.

His words made me grin. I was anything but; smoking rarely bothered me at all. “I don’t kiss boys who smoke,” I said.

The corner of his lip twitched up. He leaned forward, still staring intently. “That’s good. I don’t want you kissing them.”

“You’re a boy who smokes,” I pointed out.

This time a full-on smirk broke out on his face. “I’m the exception that proves the rule, sweetheart.”

The way he said it made my heart hammer against my chest. There was something about Alex Cartwright that made me feel breathless. I wasn’t used to boys like him, ones who oozed sexuality out of every pore. Until then my boyfriends had been more friend than boy. Low key, almost feminine

Alex didn’t have a feminine bone in his body.

“What makes you think I want to kiss you, anyway?”

“You’re the one who brought up kissing, not me.” Another cocky response. “Not to mention the fact you keep looking at my mouth and licking your lips. I can tell you want to eat me for breakfast.”

The image his words conjured up made me choke on my coffee. I spluttered the hot liquid out. Alex started to laugh.

“Kissing. I was still talking about kissing.”



Carrie Elks lives near London, England and writes contemporary romance with a dash of intrigue. At the age of twenty-one she left college with a political science degree, a healthy overdraft and a soon-to-be husband. She loves to travel and meet new people, and has lived in the USA and Switzerland as well as the UK. An avid social networker, she tries to limit her Facebook and Twitter time to stolen moments between writing chapters. When she isn’t reading or writing, she can usually be found baking, drinking wine or working out how to combine the two.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Safe at Home by Christina Kirby

Watching my dad's health quickly decline over the past few weeks -- and more so over the past two days -- naturally my thoughts have turned to reflecting on my family and home. Which just so happens to the be subject matter for the novel Safe at Home by fellow Soulmate author, Christina Kirby. Home is supposed to be the one place where you'll always be safe and loved. But when that safety is threatened . . .


Driven by fear and desperate to protect her family, Samantha is forced to leave Chicago and everything she’s worked to achieve, only to start over by tossing a dart-at-the-map. The Georgia townsfolk’s true Southern charm is the unexpected prescription needed to heal her soul, and the sexy carpenter who touches her heart are distractions she didn’t plan on, but they might offer her a chance at a new life, if she can let go of her past.

Town heartbreaker, Spencer Malloy, isn’t looking for anything serious. His days are perfect working as a contractor, attending his nephew’s baseball games or taking him fishing. He never expects to fall for the big city girl, Samantha. She’s not his type, timid and closed off, but in her unguarded moments, he’s intrigued by the woman he can’t get out of his mind. The urge to get closer to her grows stronger each day, and when the shadow of evil resurfaces, he vows to protect Samantha, even if it means abandoning his home and joining her on the run.

When confronted by the man who’s bent on revenge, Samantha must choose between running again to save the people she loves, or if she has the strength, to stay and fight for her new life.

Sounds like my kind of story. I adore love stories with a dark danger lurking around the corner.   More, please! Can't wait to read the excerpt Christina sent. 


“Here it is,” Jenny announced. She stopped the car in front of an old white house with peeling paint and looked over at Sam whose eyes began to fill with tears.

“Like I said, it needs some work. When Pete got sick, no one really paid much attention to the house. It’s been sitting here idle for a while. His boys just couldn’t bring themselves to sell it at first, and then...”

“No, it’s perfect,” Sam’s voice sounded watery. “It’s the first house I’ve ever owned.”

After fighting off the foolish tears, Sam climbed out of the car, strolled through the freshly cut grass, and up to what could be a beautiful porch. Jenny unlocked the door as she chattered away about the house, but Sam wasn’t listening. This was it, her new home.

Entering through the wood and glass front door, Sam stepped into a little hallway and felt her heart swell. The inside was small and cozy. The perfect place to sit and feel safe from the outside world.

“Excuse me, earth to Sam. Do you want to see the rest of the house?”

Sam turned, face warm. “Yes, sorry. Lead the way.”

Jenny led her down the hall to show her the kitchen, which had a wonderful view of the backyard, they moved through the dining room and then the upstairs before returning to the den. It was a wonderful little house, so much more than what she imagined for herself.

A car backfired out on the main road and Sam jumped.

“Are you okay?” Jenny’s blue eyes widened, her voice threaded with concern.

“Fine.” Sam let out a shaky breath and waited for her heart rate to return to normal. “I must’ve been so lost in all my plans for the house that I was in another world.”

Jenny gave her a warm smile, but continued to watch her with a crease between her perfect eyebrows.

“Should we be off to your office now?” Sam tried to sound relaxed.

Jenny beamed. “The papers are ready for you.”

Relief washed through Sam as the thrill of the sale seemed to distract Jenny from Sam’s nervous behavior. She led the way out the door and took a deep breath of country air. It was going to be okay here. No one knew where she was. Not her family. Not her best friend. No one. She glanced over her shoulder at the little white house, which for her, symbolized so much more than a new house. She was home.

Sounds like Sam has a deep, dark secret that's about to catch up with her. Okay, so maybe I already knew that from reading the blurb, but this scene definitely helps drive that point home. 

To purchase this title, you can click on the links below. 

Soul Mate Publishinghttp://www.soulmatepublishing.com/

Let's meet the author behind the story. 


Christina Kirby holds a degree in Public Relations from Auburn University. She worked in banking for four and a half years before deciding to become a stay at home mom to her two sons. Moving every couple of years because of her husband’s job, Christina has had the opportunity to meet all kinds of people and live in many different states. Fortunately, writing is something she can take with her no matter where she lives. Christina is an avid reader of romance, young adult and anything having to do with pop culture. She also knows a copy of Entertainment Weekly and a chocolate chip cookie can cure anything.


Twitter: @CKirbyWriter
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/christina.kirby.395?fref=ts
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9791223.Christina_Kirby
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/authorchris0192/

Sign up for her newsletter on her website: www.ChristinaKirbyBooks.com

Thank you so much for joining me today, Christina. Please let us know when book 2 in the series hits Amazon's virtual shelf. I'd love to have you come hang out with me again. 

What's up for me next week?

On Tuesday's Romance Weekly Blog Hop, your favorite romance writers will be describing their perfect writing retreat. 

Next Thursday, Carrie Elks will join me to talk about her newest release. 

See y'all soon! 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Romance Weekly: A Space to Write

I'm finally back on the blog hop train! For those who don't know, each Tuesday, the fabulous authors at Romance Writers Weekly spend the day chatting about love, writing, and pretty much anything under the sun. To join in on the fun, simply hop from blog to blog and listen in as we spill all of our secrets . . . trade or otherwise!

If you found me by way of Eden Ashe http://edenashe.com/, welcome! I hope you enjoy your stay.

This week, I posed a question to the group. I want to know where everyone works their writing magic. How many authors have cozy little writing caves they hole up in while they plot their stories? Are they taking up residence at their local Starbucks? Or do they have the luxury of writing on location, traveling around the world on a whim?

I would love to say I have an office to call my own, a place where no one would complain if I plastered my walls with photographs and sticky note reminders. A whiteboard filled with plotting notes and character analysis would line one wall, while I sit at a huge desk with plenty of space to spread out. Of course I would have to have a cute, comfy couch tucked under a bank of windows where I could read or zone out at will. Of course, my view from my cave would be overlooking a sparkling lake or ocean, or even a forest. I'm not all that picky about this. Outside, a cute guy, would periodically wander by, shirtless, of course, and I'd have a new muse to inspire me each day.

But I don't.

Instead, this is where I do most of my writing.

I usually sit on the bed, surrounded by snacks, laptop open, noise-canceling headphones on, and try my darnedest to avoid any and all distractions. Which I usually fail at doing. But once I get in the zone, I can easily spend the entire day here, hopefully capturing my characters' conversations.

On a side note, the afghan at the bottom of the bed is one my mom crocheted. It use to hang over the back of our couch when I was a child. Just a little thing to keep her close to me.

While searching the net for cool images for my post (which I never did find), I managed to stumble upon a nifty link on setting up a writing space. http://stacyennis.com/5-tips-for-setting-up-a-writing-space/

Someday, I'll get my cool and cozy writing cave, but until then . . . . You can find me locked in my bedroom, surrounded by unhealthy snacks, chatting it up with waylaid lovers and killers on the run.

Next up on the blog hop? Dani Jace http://www.danijace.com. Swing on by to see how her writing space stacks up against mine!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Charlotte S. Huck Children's Literature Festival

Out of all the conferences I attend each year, the Charlotte S. Huck Children's Literature Festival is quite possibly the best one, the one I look forward to all year long. For me, it's the best of both worlds. I get to be writer and teacher at the same time, which is rare. To top it all off, I was a presenter for one of the breakout sessions!

Over the past two days, I've learned a ton, met new friends (including a new critique partner for my kid's lit stories), and reaffirmed that yes, I still get horribly nervous presenting in front of adults and am rather bad at it. Fortunately, I had a roomful of nice teachers who took pity on me.

Here's a short recap of the some of the authors I met, and the lessons I learned from them.