Sunday, September 14, 2014

Fed Up




Like so many Americans, my husband and I shop at Costco. Today, my husband picked up the DVD Fed Up. The picture is blurry, so I'll tell you the sentence above the title reads, "It's time to get real about food." It is narrated by Katie Couric.

We watched it this afternoon and was surprised to learn that the experts in this film do not believe that reducing calories and increasing exercise is the cure all for losing weight. They say calories are different. I did know eating vegetables and fruits is better for you than eating chips. Aside from the health value given to differing types of food, I figured you ate a hundred calories and spent three hours burning it off no matter what it was. (Joking a little here.)

They showed how drinking a sugary soda goes to your liver and is turned straight into fat. I'm sure this may be oversimplified, but it scared me. Not that I drink regular soda, but I do drink a ton of flavored coffee creamers. In the past, I wasn't worried about Diabetes because I have great genes and in a huge family of sugar addicts, no one was ever diagnosed with the disease. On the other hand, I do have huge hips and thighs, so I am ready to try a new path.

After watching the movie, I was once again convinced I need to eat better, not perfectly, but better. My husband even offered to make my lunches. (I've made his for the past four years.) That is incentive enough. I even Googled homemade coffee creamers and found some I will try. I had tried to make my own in the past, but thanks to the exploding Internet, I now have recipes. My past attempts were a huge failure.

I believe this documentary is worth the time and effort to watch. It focuses on our children and the struggle they have in a society that promotes unhealthy foods in the media. It also shares how attempts to improve packaged foods have failed. Have you ever noticed that there isn't a % of Daily Value for sugar on food labels?

Until next week,
keep reading and writing.
Tina Swayzee McCright


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Guest Post by M. S. Spencer

I'm fortunate to have M. S. Spencer talking about her fabulous new book, Whirlwind Romance. Please be sure to leave a comment as M. S. will be giving away one free copy.

What do pirates, princes, Puritans, and propaganda have in common? Lacey Delahaye, forager and jelly maker, finds out in this romantic suspense set in the western Caribbean. If you comment and leave your email address you'll have a chance to win a copy of this romantic adventure.

Secret Cravings Publishing, 9/2/2014
89,000 words; M/F; 3 flames; Adventure/Romance
Up until my thirties, I traveled a great deal, living in many countries with amenities that many would consider below standard. So it wasn't until I married and settled down in an old farmhouse with an acre of land that I could indulge my fantasy of living off the land. I built a formal herb garden and planted all kinds of fruits, vegetables, and flowers.  The one thing I couldn't get to grow was mint. Yes, the gardeners among you will scoff, but it took me years to get a plot to flourish. When it did, it threatened to take over the entire acre. I had to do something.
So I called upon my sister-in-law, to whom Whirlwind Romance is dedicated. She directed me to an old recipe for mint jelly. Once the mint invasion was under control and I'd mastered the technique, I spent my summers working up recipes for herb jellies—tarragon, lemon balm, rosemary and more. It might have been helpful if I actually liked jellies, but they made lovely Christmas gifts. 
Florida—my new home—contains myriad ecosystems that produce exotic and interesting wild fruits, most of whom can be made into jelly. It was an easy step to make my newly arrived heroine into a jelly maker. I hope you enjoy the recipes as much as you do Lacey and Armand's love story.
<***>

Blurb:
In the aftermath of a hurricane, Lacey Delahaye finds herself marooned on the Gulf coast of Florida with a mysterious man. They are immediately drawn to each other, but before Armand can confess his identity, they are kidnapped and taken far from civilization to a tiny, remarkable island in the western Caribbean. With the help of her son Crispin, a small, but proud young boy named Inigo, and a cadre of extraordinary characters, Lacey and Armand must confront pirates, power-mad ideologues, and palace intrigue if they are to restore the once idyllic tropical paradise to its former serenity and find lasting happiness.
Excerpt (R): Bath Fun
She turned on the taps and poured a few drops of rose water from a small flagon into the tub. Slipping off her shorts and shirt, she sank blissfully into the water. Armand came to the door. “You look happy.”
“At this point it’s the little things.”
“Yes. I have a feeling tomorrow will not bring good news. I wish you weren’t here, Lacey.”
“Well, thanks a lot.” She batted her eyelashes at him.
“You know what I mean. This is a very precarious situation.” He sat on the edge of the bath. “I never should have let you help me.”
“You didn’t have much choice, Armand. Besides, I couldn’t leave you in the mangrove swamp. It’s not done in my family.”
He shook his head. “And then I seduced you in the first five minutes of our acquaintance. I am a wicked man.”
Lacey thought back to that night—to the smells of sulphur, mud, and sex. She’d felt guilty then, believing it was her fault, that she’d thrown herself at him. Not the other way around. She looked up into Armand’s face. Black stubble covered his chin. His unruly hair, a little long now, matched his glistening black eyes. Might as well let him wallow in his ignorance. She reached an arm around his neck and drew him toward her. Just as their lips touched his eyes went wide, and he fell on top of her. 
Bathwater spilled out, leaving Lacey half exposed and shivering. “Ack! What are you doing?”
He struggled out of the tub, his clothes dripping. “It’s your fault. You pulled at me and I slipped.”
“Well, I never. You leaned in and lost your balance.” She turned the tap on again. As the bath refilled, an idea crossed her mind. Her eyes danced. “Now you’re wet, you might as well get in. You could use a wash.”
He cast her a look from under the thick eyebrows. “Might as well.”
She moved over and he squeezed in beside her, then rolled her over on top of him. She felt gloriously sensual and rubbed her body over his, massaging the hard parts. He found the soap and lathering up his hand, inserted two fingers into her pussy. The scent of rosewater filled the room. She slowly rotated her hips while his fingers kept up their pressure. When she pulled away, his fingers slipped out. Locking her eyes on his, Lacey lowered her vagina onto his cock. The soap lubricated her opening, and he slid in to the hilt. She began to rock, slowly, then faster, as he kept his hands on the tub’s sides to steady himself. She concentrated on the thick penis scraping the sides of her vagina, nicking the tip of her clitoris, nudging her orgasm into flower. 
“Oh God, Lacey, don’t stop.” He closed his eyes, and she redoubled her efforts until she came to the tipping point. Shuddering, she collapsed on top of him. They lay in each other’s arms, water bubbling and sloshing around them.
Someone knocked on the outer door.

***

Buy Links:
Secret Cravings:

About the Author
Although she has lived or traveled in every continent except Antarctica and Australia (bucket list), M. S. Spencer has spent the last thirty years mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director and parent. She has two fabulous grown children, and currently divides her time between the Gulf coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.
Ms. Spencer has published nine romance novels. The first two, Lost in His Arms and Lost and Found, were published by Red Rose Publishing. The other six—Losers Keepers, Triptych, Artful Dodging: The Torpedo Factory Murders, Mai Tais and Mayhem: Murder at Mote Marine (a Sarasota Romance, Lapses of Memory, and the Mason's Mark —were published by Secret Cravings. Whirlwind Romance, her ninth, was released September 2014.
Contacts:


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Increase the Danger



***SPOIL ALERT***

Romance novels are often accused of being formulaic because they all have a happy ending where boy gets girl. That guaranteed happy ending is why romance novels sold well during the recession. What makes them different from one another is the journey. After boy loses girl, what must he do to win her back? What dangers must our couple face in a suspense to triumph over the bad guys?

You could say comedies are formulaic. They make you laugh and then, in most cases, have a happy ending. Last night, my husband and I watched Let's Be Cops. I expected a silly movie that would make me laugh. What surprised me was the way the writers kept increasing the danger. At first, the main characters could end up in jail for impersonating police officers. Then they bought a police car, which would increase the length of their sentence. Next, while impersonating police officers, they interfered with the illegal activities of the bad guys and humiliated them. Soon we discover one of the bad guys is a detective who wants to kill them. Although that is bad enough, they each must run for their lives without the other until they join up to defeat the evil villains.

I knew how the story would end twenty minutes into the movie. How we got to that ending was a fun ride.

That is what we must do as a romance writers. Drag your hero and heroine through hell and back until they have grown as people and accomplished their goals. At that point, they have earned the happy ending.

Until next week,
happy reading and writing.

Tina Swayzee McCright

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Last day to enter the Hot Prospects Contest



LAST CHANCE!
ENTER TODAY!

2014 Hot Prospects Contest
Sponsor: Valley of the Sun Romance Writers

****Permission to forward****

Looking to sign your first book contract, switch from a small press to a large
publisher or simply explore another genre of romantic fiction? Turn up the heat
on your writing career with the Hot Prospects Contest.

GRAND PRIZE: The grand prize winner of the contest will have their entire manuscript (400 pages, Courier, 12pt, Double spaced) reviewed by two professional editors at Novel Needs http://novelneeds.com

Announcement by a former winner:

“After finaling and winning the hot prospects romantic suspense category with my entry The Gilded Cuff, Lauren Plude from Grand Central made a three book offer for my series. I just wanted to extend my thanks and gratitude to your chapter for hosting the contest and bringing in such great final judges! Thank you!” ~ Lauren Smith

Fee: $25 for Valley of the Sun RW chapter members
$30 for non-chapter members
Chapter website has PayPal capability. www.valleyofthesunrw.com http://www.valleyofthesunrw.com


Postmark Deadline: September 1st, 2014
E-Submit Deadline: Midnight, September 1st, 2014

Eligibility: The Hot Prospects Contest is open to any work that is not under contract and
is unpublished at the time of entry.

Enter: 3-5-page synopsis and up to the first 25 pages of story (30 pages max). Entry or
synopsis may be shorter, but neither may be longer than specified.

Categories/Judges: Trained judges for preliminary round

Final round judges

1) Historical/Regency
Editor—Esi Sogah, Kensington
Editorial Director - Angela James, Harlequin Carina Press

2) Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal
Editorial Assistant –Kristine Swartz, The Berkley Publishing Group
Editor—Amy Stapp, Tor /Forge

3) Romantic Suspense
Associate Editor- Lauren Plude, Grand Central Publishing
Editor -Tera Cuskaden, Samhain

4) Contemporary Long/Single Title
Editor at Large – Sue Grimshaw, Random House
Editor—Cat Clyne, Sourcebooks

For More Information, entry form, and rules, see website at
www.valleyofthesunrw.com http://www.valleyofthesunrw.com For questions please email Voshotprospects@yahoo.com mailto:Voshotprospects@yahoo.com

Those entries that do not final will be returned approximately October 30th,
2014 to help those who plan to enter RWA's Golden Heart.

Lena Jakes and Lisa Heartman
Valley of the Sun Hot Prospects Co-Chairs

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Interview with Sir Nicodemus Wulfson from ENCHANTING THE BEAST, by Kathryne Kennedy



Author:  “Hello, Sir Nicodemus.”
Nico turns around in the pond he’s been swimming in. The sunshine filtering through the forest canopy makes the drops of water that cling to his muscular torso glitter like diamonds. “Who the hell are you?” he says in a gentle growl at being caught unaware. 
Author:  “No one terribly important.  I’m just the one who created you.”
Nico tosses his damp hair away from his eyes, the blond strands within the brown refusing to cooperate, falling back over his forehead.  You think so? How do you know that I don’t exist in some alternate universe and I created you to tell my story?”
Author, frowning:  “Very clever, but that’s beside the point.  I came here to interview you for my readers.”
Nico shoos away a water sprite. “Ah, I see.  Then I am happy to oblige, madam.”
He emerges from the pond, and Author realizes he’s naked as the day he was born and turns her back.  Hears the rustle of clothing, takes a peek, and is half-relieved to see that he’s pulled his trousers on. 
Author:  “Um, can you tell my readers a bit about yourself?”
Nico shrugs, muscles rippling beneath smooth skin. “I’m a were-wolf, I live in a castle that my brother swears is haunted, and I have a sister-in-law who tries my patience.  Is that sufficient?”
Author, smiling:  “No, not quite.  Tell me about Philomena.”
Nico:  “The ghost-hunter?”  His dark brown eyes glaze a bit, the golden specks in them glinting with something akin to hunger.
Author shivers.
Nico:  “She really can talk with ghosts, you know.  Amazing woman.  Her companion is a were-snake and she has a spirit-guide named Tup.”
Author:  “I understand she’s a bit older than you.”
Nico:  “That doesn’t signify.”  He scowls.  “Although she uses it as an excuse to keep me at arm’s length.  Not that it will work, mind you.  I bloody well get what I want.”
Author:  “I have no doubt.”  Takes a step back from the predatory gaze in his eyes, then scolds herself for being foolish.  Despite his look, the man wouldn’t harm her.  “But you’ll have to deal with some issues before that can happen, won’t you, Nico?”
The shadow of his were-self surrounds Nico.  Know about that, eh?”  Picks up his white linen shirt from the mossy bank and shrugs into it.  “What am I saying, of course you do.”
Author:  “But my readers don’t know yet.  Can you enlighten them?”
Nico cocks his head, more hair tumbling over his eyes, as if he’s trying to hide behind that shaggy screen. “So what do you want me to say?  That I fear my very nature?  That I enjoy it when my wolf hunts, when he devours our kill?”  He paces the mossy bank like a caged beast, the movement parting his unbuttoned shirt and revealing the hard ridges of his belly, the sculpted contours of his muscular chest.  “That doesn’t mean I killed my fiancĂ©e, damn it.  I would never murder anyone.”
Author, soothingly:  “Of course you wouldn’t, Nico.  But you need to prove it.”
Nico:  “I can.” Fists his hands.  “I will.”
Author:  “Maybe Phil can help you.”
Nico stills, his handsome face calms. “Yes, she believes in me.  But I’ll solve my own problems.”
Author, smiling indulgently:  “We shall see, Nico.”
http://www.kathrynekennedy.com


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Hot Prospects Contest



2014 Hot Prospects Contest
Sponsor: Valley of the Sun Romance Writers

****Permission to forward****

Looking to sign your first book contract, switch from a small press to a large
publisher or simply explore another genre of romantic fiction? Turn up the heat
on your writing career with the Hot Prospects Contest.

GRAND PRIZE: The grand prize winner of the contest will have their entire manuscript (400 pages, Courier, 12pt, Double spaced) reviewed by two professional editors at Novel Needs http://novelneeds.com

Announcement by a former winner:

“After finaling and winning the hot prospects romantic suspense category with my entry The Gilded Cuff, Lauren Plude from Grand Central made a three book offer for my series. I just wanted to extend my thanks and gratitude to your chapter for hosting the contest and bringing in such great final judges! Thank you!” ~ Lauren Smith

Fee: $25 for Valley of the Sun RW chapter members
$30 for non-chapter members
Chapter website has PayPal capability. www.valleyofthesunrw.com http://www.valleyofthesunrw.com


Postmark Deadline: September 1st, 2014
E-Submit Deadline: Midnight, September 1st, 2014

Eligibility: The Hot Prospects Contest is open to any work that is not under contract and
is unpublished at the time of entry.

Enter: 3-5-page synopsis and up to the first 25 pages of story (30 pages max). Entry or
synopsis may be shorter, but neither may be longer than specified.

Categories/Judges: Trained judges for preliminary round

Final round judges

1) Historical/Regency
Editor—Esi Sogah, Kensington
Editorial Director - Angela James, Harlequin Carina Press

2) Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal
Editorial Assistant –Kristine Swartz, The Berkley Publishing Group
Editor—Amy Stapp, Tor /Forge

3) Romantic Suspense
Associate Editor- Lauren Plude, Grand Central Publishing
Editor -Tera Cuskaden, Samhain

4) Contemporary Long/Single Title
Editor at Large – Sue Grimshaw, Random House
Editor—Cat Clyne, Sourcebooks

For More Information, entry form, and rules, see website at
www.valleyofthesunrw.com http://www.valleyofthesunrw.com For questions please email Voshotprospects@yahoo.com mailto:Voshotprospects@yahoo.com

Those entries that do not final will be returned approximately October 30th,
2014 to help those who plan to enter RWA's Golden Heart.

Lena Jakes and Lisa Heartman
Valley of the Sun Hot Prospects Co-Chairs

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Killer Romances Box Set

I'm thrilled to be included in a box set with 9 other romantic suspense authors. Killer Romances comes out on September 15th and includes USA Today Bestselling & Award-Winning Authors. Authors include Dana Delamar, Tallulah Grace, Sandy Loyd, Kristine Mason, Nina Pierce, Chantel Rhondeau, K. T. Roberts and Susan Vaughan. These are full length novels and the entire bundle will be on sale for only 99 cents for a limited time.

There something for everyone. If you like good guys, we've got them. If you like bad boys, we got them, and if you like a really good thrill, you won't be disappointed. Also, you really can't beat the price.