Rachel Thompson

Jack Canon's American Destiny

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Finding Claire Fletcher by Lisa Regan


I still saw her sometimes—the girl I used to be. She lived behind a locked door in my mind. The door that protected the last secret part of me. The last bastion I had that no one else could infiltrate or overcome. It was locked so securely that no one but me could force or tease it open.

Behind the door, the girl stood on the street corner waiting to cross, shielding her eyes from the sun with one slender hand. She was in the tenth grade and she was on her way to school. She had a backpack slung over her left shoulder. She wore jeans and a yellow cotton shirt.

Behind the door in my mind, I liked leaving the girl suspended on the street corner for as long as I could. Sometimes I just watched her stand there, shielding her eyes, vaguely aware of the cars whizzing by in front of her. She had a slight smile on her face. I wanted her to stay right there on the street corner forever, frozen in her peaceful beauty and teenaged innocence.

But she couldn’t stay there forever, not even behind the secret locked door in my mind. Eventually she crossed the street, walked the 30 feet or so… In my mind, however, she didn’t stop when she saw the man crouched next to his car, neck craning to peer beneath it, the backseat door hanging open next to him. In my mind, she kept walking.

She never knelt down beside him to look beneath the car as he did, attempting to coax an imaginary but frightened kitten from beneath it. In my mind, the man didn’t smash her head off the doorjamb and stuff her stunned, slack body unceremoniously into the backseat. These things never happened to the girl I used to be behind the locked, secret door in my mind.

I envisioned two alternatives for that girl. One was that she stood on the corner, shielding her eyes with one hand, and when she stepped off the curb into the street, certain that the way was clear, she was crushed by an oncoming truck and killed instantly. There she lay in the street, limbs twisted and bent at odd angles, her thick red blood congealing on the pale asphalt. Her eyes were fixed upward, blank, unknowing. I liked this scenario because it did not involve the man who unmade her and took everything pure away from her.

The second alternative was that she did not cross the street. She decided to turn left instead of crossing and she avoided the man altogether. And so she went on with her life. She knew nothing of the abject horror she avoided. She was still innocent in that way.

This girl from scenario two lived a parallel life. I imagined that she was out there, still living my life. She went to her proms and high school graduation. She had a boyfriend and went off to college. The very second I thought about her, she was out there living the life I was supposed to live.

Maybe she was making plans to get married or have a child with someone. I liked to think of her that way, as if she still existed in some other dimension. I liked to think that someday I’d run into her and see in her face that in spite of what I’ve been through, the girl I used to be is all innocence and light.

That when she smiles, it’s beautiful and not broken.

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Genre – Psychological Thriller / Crime Fiction

Rating – R

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Connect with Lisa Regan on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.lisaregan.com/

Our Little Secrets (Montana Romance) by Merry Farmer

Our Little Secrets

Chapter One

Charlotte was out of her seat before the train came to a full stop.  She’d had it with the beast.  Thirty-two days of nearly constant travel was more than enough for a woman on her own to withstand.  Especially in present company.

“Ooo!” one of the painted, preening girls packed in the train car squealed.  She knelt on her seat to look out the window as the tiny town of Cold Springs, Montana rolled into sight. “Look at all the men!”

With a roll of her eyes Charlotte grabbed her carpetbag and started for the door. She pushed past the seats full of trollops who leaned out the train’s windows waving handkerchiefs and their bosoms at passersby in the frontier town, eager to get away from them and on with her life.

“Where do you think you’re going, dear?” Miss Helen, their ring-leader, hopped up to follow her.  “The train hasn’t even stopped yet.”

Charlotte ignored the woman.  She’d fallen in with Miss Helen’s lot in Denver, figuring there would be safety in numbers.  It had seemed like a good idea at the time; a good idea she had paid for in the last week as Miss Helen tried to recruit her as a husband-hunter.

Charlotte reached for the door at the end of the car and threw it open as the brakes squealed. The train lurched to a stop.  The jolt sent her and Miss Helen both stumbling out toward the guard-rail at the back of the train.  Charlotte held her hat on with one hand and fumbled her carpetbag with the other.

“Easy there.” Miss Helen’s rouged lips parted in a smile.  “You don’t want them to think you’re too desperate.”

“I’m fine, thanks.” Charlotte did her best to be polite.  The woman had no idea what desperate was.

Miss Helen nodded to her carpetbag.  “Want me to hold that while you-”

“No thanks.”

The station porter stepped forward to offer the passengers a hand down from the train and Charlotte took it.  Once her feet were on solid ground she scurried to get out of the way of the storm of females that were ready to pour from the car.

“Well hello Cold Springs!” Miss Helen trilled over the heads of the curious onlookers, flashing into action. “My name is Miss Helen and have I got a treat for you!  Gentlemen, gather round!”

Miss Helen in her maroon and pink petticoats floated down the train’s steps, as audacious as any queen.  Her painted face and startling red curls only just covered her true age.  When she reached the platform she turned to gesture to the parade of ladies that followed her.

Charlotte took cover in the shadow of the station-house with a wince. A crowd was already gathering.  She had more important things to do than watch the spectacle yet again.

“Gentlemen of Cold Springs, let me introduce you to the finest and most cultured ladies this side of the Mississippi.” Miss Helen spoke above the din of the station in a voice that must have been trained on the stage.  “Fair young maidens come all the way from St. Louis to the frontier with the expressed purpose of making a few of you the happiest men alive.”

One by one the silly girls stepped down into the morning sunlight as if they too were on stage, stifling fake yawns and batting their eyelashes at the growing assembly.

“What, are they whores ‘r sumthin’?” The blunt question was followed by a chorus of rough laughter.

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Genre – Western Historical Romance

Rating – R

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Website http://merryfarmer.net/

How To Find Your Vital Vocation by Brian Cormack Carr

It is vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign? I’m exploring several different options here:

  • I’m in the process of constructing a “virtual blog tour” where I’ll guest on other related blogs about the book and about the process of becoming a self-published author.
  • I’ve engaged a blog tour company – Orangeberry Book Tours – to syndicate some of my articles to other blogs in my niche.  My hope is that this will not only help me gain SEO exposure, but also some positive reviews for my book.
  • I’ve sourced some advertising through Facebook and also through some indie publishing sites, such as World Literary CafĂ©, The Kindle Book Review, and Digital Book Today.  This is as much about SEO as it is about sales, but I’ll be closely monitoring the outcomes of these adverts to see what effect they have.
  • I’m using my own author platform through my blog (http://www.cormackcarr.com), as well as through the specific Vital Vocation blog  (http://www.vitalvocation.com) which relates directly to the book.  I’m tweeting from my author Twitter feed (https://www.twitter.com/cormackcarr) and from the book’s Vital Vocation Twitter feed (https://www.vitalvocation.com). I also have a Vital Vocation page on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/vitalvocation) which is doing well (1000+ fans and growing).
  • I’ve announced the blog to my own mailing list.
  • I’ve constructed a set of Vital Vocation “memes” featuring a collage of the book’s cover with other photographs and some quotes from various parts of the book.  These are proving popular on Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/cormackcarr/) and are being shared on Facebook.

Tell us about your new book? What’s it about and why did you write it? My new – in fact my first – book is How To Find Your Vital Vocation: A Practical Guide To Discovering Your Career Purpose And Getting A Job You Love (http://www.viewbook.at/vitalvocation)It’s a career guide, designed to help readers discover what they were designed to do with their lives – and then to help them go about getting it done.

I believe everyone has a talent (several in fact) and a happy life and career become possible when they start using those talents.  I don’t just mean the big dramatic talents that famous people have.  I mean the things we’re naturally good at.  For some, that will be singing opera.  For others, that’ll be flower-arranging.  It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it’s your talent and you can find a way to put it to use.

I’ve been in the position of being unhappy in my work, and I’m now very happy in my work.  I got from there to here by identifying and using my talents, finding the values I wanted my work to support, and moving into an environment that allowed me to express myself in the most constructive way.  It’s a process that I discovered as much by accident and instinct as by design, but I’ve been able to package it into a process that others can use to do the same thing.  I continue to use it to refine my own career, and I use it to coach and train my clients.

Many others have now used this process now and I’m happy to report that all of them have moved closer to their ideal work as a result. It’s simple, but very effective – and a lot of fun. The exercises in the book are revealing and creative and I’ve had fan letters about the exercises alone!

If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask? There are so many great people I admire.  I’d be a bit nervous to do this, though.  You never quite know how people are going to be in real life. What if they turned out to be horrible?  My favourite dinner party guests are the ones I invite now – good friends and family.  And maybe the Buddha.  He’d probably help everyone keep calm and not get stressed.  We could all do with some de-stressing, right?

When you are not writing, how do you like to relax? By being with friends and family, listening to music, watching great American sit-coms, practising yoga, going for walks in nature, reading…and thinking about what I’m going to write next…

Do you have any tips on how writers can relax? That’s a very individual thing, isn’t it?  For me, I have to make sure I schedule breaks.  I can easily sit and write for hours at a time and that’s not always healthy.  Of course, when inspiration strikes, you sometimes just have to go with the flow…

How often do you write? And when do you write? I don’t agree with the old chestnut that “you must write every day”.  I do write every day (sometimes several times a day) when I’m working on a project, but when I’m not, I’m happy to take a break and let my writing muscles have a rest.  When I do write, I tend to find that I write best later in the day – but I’m pretty disciplined when I have a deadline, and if that means writing at 6am, that’s when I’ll be writing!

Do you have an organized process or tips for writing well? Do you have a writing schedule? When I’m working on a big project – like my book – I plan the process, but I never treat a plan as being written in stone.  Plans are sometimes more fiction than reality, but they can be really helpful in getting us into action.  I tend to set myself some sensible deadlines including publication dates, and work back from that to look at the milestones I need to achieve to get there by that time.  I also break things down into word-count targets too, although I find I don’t often to stick to these.  Sometimes I write much less than my word-count, but that balances out with other days when I write four times as much.  I wrote about the process of planning my first book on my blog: http://www.cormackcarr.com/2012/08/20/how-to-plan-your-first-book/


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Genre –  NonFiction / Careers

Rating – G

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Connect with Brian Cormack Carr on Facebook  & Twitter

Website http://vitalvocation.com/


Colleen Connally – A World Filled With Romance!

A World Filled With Romance!

by Colleen Connally

I love romance. Of course, I do. I write it. But there are some scenes in books and movies that never leave you. I’m not talking about the typical grand gestures where the hero gives the heroine expensive, elaborate gifts or takes her to the far corner of the world to propose. No…I’m talking of a grand gesture which defines the love between the hero and heroine.

One of my favorite books, Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, has the classic line…in the book it was a tad different…in the movie…Rhett tells Scarlet.

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

Every time I watch Gone With the Wind or read it, I get goose bumps. I know what you’re thinking—while Gone With the Wind is a great book…a classic…it isn’t one that you would fantasize about the love story. I mean Rhett and Scarlet don’t end up together, but, I believe, it’s their journey that touches you. Even with the ending, don’t we still hope that eventually they will get back together?

When women fantasize, it is because we dream of the perfect love. So does perfect love exist? Or is it only in the imagination of us romance authors?

I believe in romance…I believe in love at first sight…I believe in the power of love. I couldn’t write it if I didn’t believe in it. I do believe in love. We all want a love to last forever.

My favorite epic fantasy is the Lord of the Rings trilogy! While I would never classify J R R Toilkien as a romance writer in any form of the imagination, I would classify one of his character’s deeds as the ultimate romantic gesture. Arwen gives up immortal life for Aargorn. She decides that the few years she would have with Aargorn would be more precious to her than an eternity without him. That is a love to fantasize about.

Literature is littered with grand romantic gestures. Romeo and Juliet, Lancelot and Guinevere, Cathy and Heathcliffe are examples of true love taking a tragic turn.

But I have a list of my all-time favorite romances gestures.

1) Arwen gives up immortal life.

2) Jane Eyre returns to Thornfield because she hears Rochester calling for her.

3) Love Story. I have never cried harder as I did when Jennifer dies in Oliver arms after he gave up his family’s fortune to be with her.

4) The Notebook. Allie chooses Noah over Lon.

5) Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara. Even without the happy ending…that one gesture defined one of the classic love stories of all time.

What are your favorites? Do you believe in that one special love?

My latest book, Broken Legacy, Book Two of the Secret Lives Series, is a story filled with intrigue, secrets and romance. Thrown into the midst of the Reign of Terror that the French Revolution has become, Lady Eloise has long struggled with the questions arising from her birth. Forced into a marriage she neither wanted or desired, she finds herself drawn to the man who is now her husband. Lord Gerard puts into place a plan to save his children. Marrying Lady Eloise gives him the leverage he needs. Soon, he realizes the woman he married is nothing like the woman she has been portrayed. Never did he consider she would risk her life for him nor did he consider that Eloise would evoke feelings within him he did not know existed. Thrown into a terror few escape, Gerard and Eloise discover a connection that will bind their lives forever—love. That is if they survive.

Hope you enjoy! Have a good one! Keep reading!

Broken Legacy

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Genre - Historical Romance

Rating – R

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Connect with Colleen Connally on Twitter

Blog http://colleenconnally.blogspot.com/

Diary of a Beverly Hills Matchmaker by Marla Martenson

Quit-witted Marla takes her readers for a hilarious romp through her days as an LA matchmaker where looks are everything and money talks. The Cupid of Beverly Hills has introduced countless couples who lived happily ever-after, but for every success story there are hysterically funny dating disasters with high-maintenance, out of touch clients. Marla writes with charm and self-effacement about the universal struggle to love and be loved.

Martenson’s irresistible quick wit will have you rolling on the floor.
—Megan Castran, international YouTube Queen

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Genre – Memoir

Rating – PG13

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Website http://marlamartenson.com/