Thursday, October 31, 2013

Have you ever had a Haunted Vision? #HappyHalloween #flashfiction

Haunted Visions

He showed up at my sister’s Halloween party. With her. Ever since the second grade I knew I would be the one showing off the glittering two-carat diamond.

Choking on a cracker loaded with a pile of dried beef cheese ball, I pushed through the crowd and out the kitchen’s back door. Scantily clad in my Minnie Mouse costume, I hurried into the back yard. The light of the full moon guided my wooden steps across the browned grass. Dust and dry leaves scattered from my path with each gust of wind.

It was supposed to be me.

How many times had he told my sister he wanted to ask me out? Four? A dozen? I had waited for him to ask me. I was too shy—too young to go out with an older boy. I had waited too long. Now my chance vanished in the crisp cold air.

I settled on top of a crumbling stone wall and tucked my legs beneath me.

Too late. The love of my life is marrying another.

Hot tears stung, but I growled, willing them away. I swore to wait forever, for there was no other. I’d dreamed of our wedding—seen our two sons in my Visions.

How? How could this have happened?

I peered across the harvested corn field. Ashen clouds spread along the horizon, threatening the clear October night. An uprooted tree rested a hundred or so feet away, brittle cornstalks cut to knee height surrounded it and whispered their death woes.

“I’ll end up the same.” The words tore through the thickening in my throat.

Mist the color of a headstone rose from beneath the upended roots of the old oak, swirling and taking shape.

I blinked and blinked again, trying to stifle the fear creeping up my spine.

A woman dressed in a black, high-necked gown floated on the wind, the material draped around her legs fading into the mist. Long sleeves hugged her arms, their ends caressing bony hands. Hair parted in the middle and pulled back into a severe knot, she looked like a Civil War widow. A bit of wispy gauze clung to the bun and cascaded to her trim waist.

My heart pounded. I couldn’t move. A trick? Hallucination? One of my Visions?

Haunted, hallow eyes the color of a dark weeping sky met my gaze as she stopped before me, a breath away.

“Too long ….” she whispered.

I exhaled the breath I’d been holding in a puff of fog. “W-who are you?”

“A woman who waited. Who loved and lost.”

Waited—as I had. “Who did you wait for?”

Sadness filled the smile she offered. “My Yankee soldier. He went off to war and returned with a wife.”

Tears pricked my eyelids again.

“My broken heart crushed me. Smothered me.” She clasped her hands over her breast. “He was all I ever wanted.”

The fractured remains of my own heart ached. “I … I understand.”

“Don’t waste away as I did.” Empty eyes lifted to the house beyond me. “He’s found another—his fate does not match yours.”

Fate. I used to believe in it.

“And you should still,” she replied to my unspoken thought, gaze returning to me.

A tear slid down my painted cheek. I hugged myself tighter. “But I saw our sons.”
Her gaze bore into me. “You saw your sons.”

“W-what?” I swiped away the dampness from my face.

“You’ve the Sight, do you not?”

I nodded. Once I’d entered middle school I stopped speaking of the things I saw. Everyone I told thought I was crazy.

“Then you’ve seen your sons.” Another smile lifted her lips and she reached a hand to caress my blonde curls.

Understanding rushed through my mind. “They’re not his.”

She moved back and whispered, “No.”

“But they have his blue eyes. His cleft chin.”

“There are many such men walking this earth.”

She’s right. Peace washed over me as a rain-scented gust of wind fluttered her billowing gown and pushed the clouds closer.  “Please … won’t you tell me who you are?”

“Your aunt, too many greats to count.” She raised her face to the pale moon. The mist crept upward, swallowing her torso. “I must go, but I will return on this night next year. Things will be different.” Her gaze returned to me. “Meet me here?”


She faded from sight and a Vision flashed through my mind—dressed as Lucile Ball I would climb onto the crumbling wall, a baby bump resting on my crossed legs.

I gasped and the first rain drops in over thirty days splattered on the stones beside me. Closing my eyes, I lifted my face and let nature’s shower cleanse my heartache away.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

#WriterlyWisdomWednesday: Val Clarizio on Finding a Critique Partner #WritersLife

I have Val Clarizio - hunter, fisherwoman, and romance author, here to share a bit on the importance of writing groups & critiquing partners.

Be sure to check out her newest release, Covert Exposure!


The Importance and Value of Joining Your Local Writers Group and Finding a Great Critique Partner

Five and one-half years ago I began my quest to become a published author.  After receiving enough rejection letters to wallpaper my house, with little to no constructive criticism, I began to doubt my ability to obtain my goal of becoming a published author.  I’d read books on the craft of fiction writing covering POV, dialogue, setting scenes, characterization, etc., but was still getting nowhere.  I’d just about given up when a wonderful lady, and experienced writer, answered my call for a critique partner.  It wasn’t until Virginia dissected one of my manuscripts, specifically pointing out the areas of issue, that I finally understood, and was able to hone my skills on the different “craft” components of fiction writing.  And voila, after just a few short months of working with my critique partner, I made my first sale to a publisher! 

Okay, so I finally made a sale and couldn’t have been more thrilled, but I quickly learned that my work wasn’t done yet.  In fact, not even close.  Outside of the edits, I had to approve a book cover, blurb, bio, and dedication.  And then….the promo.  How was I going to promote my book?  Facebook, Twitter, blog hopping, author interviews, etc.  Honestly, I didn’t know where to begin so I turned to my local writers group where I found a wonderful, knowledgeable, and supportive network.  They guided me through the processes and now here I am, my second book was just released, and I have two releases scheduled for 2014. 

Needless to say, my journey to publication has been interesting.  Looking back, I think some of the most valuable pieces of advice I received along the way were to join my local writers group and find a dedicated critique partner.  There is no doubt in my mind that without these people I would not be where I am today,            

Covert Exposure, A Nick Spinelli Mystery (Novella #1 in the Nick Spinelli Mystery Series)

Detective Spinelli’s life is tossed sideways when he is reassigned from the Homicide division to assist in the Child Services division of the Social Services Department for the holiday season.  From the beginning, Spinelli and Caseworker Shannon O’Hara generate their own kind of fireworks, causing more than the normal workplace stress.  They both have their own philosophies for dealing with the clientele.  However, the forces of nature have their own plan for Spinelli and Shannon.

Shannon moonlights as Santa Claus’ little helper at the mall, and when Santa and an elf turn up dead Shannon appears to be next on the killer’s list. Spinelli is placed back on homicide and goes undercover as Santa to help capture the killer.  He catches a great deal of grief along the way but will he capture the heart of his little Santa’s helper as well?

Purchase Links:


A little bit about Valerie:

Valerie Clarizio lives in beautiful Door County Wisconsin with her husband and extremely spoiled cat. She loves to read, write, and spend time at her cabin in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She's lived her life surrounded by men, three brothers, a husband, and a male Siamese cat who required his own instruction manual. Keeping up with all the men in her life has turned her into a successful hunter and fisherwoman.

Valerie is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Wisconsin Romance Writers of America. Additionally, she was a finalist in the 2011 Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, Novellas Need Love, Too! Contest.

Visit Valerie online at:

Twitter:  @VClarizio

Monday, October 28, 2013

Just Ella by Annette K. Larsen #BlogTour #Excerpt #Giveaway

Just Ella Tour

Just Ella

by Annette K. Larsen

A Proper Romance

Ariella was only looking for a distraction, something to break up the monotony of palace life. What she found was a young man willing to overlook her title and show her a new and vibrant way of life. But when her growing feelings for Gavin spiral out of control and clash with the expectations of her station, she will discover that the consequences of her curiosity are far more severe than she’d imagined.

I watched in helpless horror as two guards hauled Gavin to his feet and dragged him from the room. My voice was frozen, unable to protest as another guard took hold of my arm, leading me upstairs. From the confines of my room, I stared into the darkness beyond my window, hoping to catch one more glimpse of Gavin. He was gone, and I wondered if he would have been better off if he had never met me.

I write clean romance. Why? Because that’s what I love to read, but over the years I’ve discovered it’s quite a challenge to find good clean romance. I believe it’s a genre that many people are looking for and too few authors are writing. My first novel, Just Ella, took me many years to write because I wanted it to be more than just a cutesy love story. I wanted it to have depth, to feel genuine. Hopefully I succeeded, but you’ll have to be the judge.

Praise for Just Ella

"I fell in love with this book. Treat yourself to something wonderful. You can't go wrong with Just Ella!" ~Inspired Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer

"By far one of the best romance novels I've ever read. Pulls you in with great, likable characters and keeps you going with a sweet and exciting love story--plus a good plot to give it even more substance. Full of those tender moments you want to go back and read again, plus exciting moments, clever humor, and some suspense as well." ~Jana Miller

"Annette Larsen writes a love story that takes time, is complicated, and yet still sweeps you up in the romance (without the cheese, thank you). It's compelling and emotional and sweet and you will love every page." ~Kimi

Grab your copy of Just Ella for just $4.99!



We both worked silently for several minutes until he spoke abruptly. 

“I’ve been wondering something.”

I looked up to see him kneeling at the edge of the stream, peering over his shoulder at me. “What’s that?” I asked. He was very selective about the things he asked me. 

“Do you remember the first time you realized you were royalty?”

I replied without giving it much thought. “I suppose I’ve always known.” 

“There was never a moment when it hit you that you were meant for greater things than most people?”

His question was humbling and made me a little sad. Truthfully, I had never seen myself that way. Being royalty had become tedious and I often resented it, which was precisely why I was sitting out in the forest with him. “No, I never had a moment like that.” Strictly speaking, it was a truthful answer. I had never felt I was meant for greater things. 

“You just always knew what you would become?” 

I looked out at the forest. I wanted to answer his question, but found my answer difficult to put into words. I suppose it would be simplest to say I dreaded what I would become.


I focused on Gavin and tried to answer. “I suppose I have an idea of what I am expected to become, but,” I smiled to myself as I admitted, “I think I’ll end up disappointing everyone.”


Author Annette K. Larsen

I was born in Utah, but grew up in Flagstaff Arizona and St. Louis Missouri, the fifth of seven children. I attended college at Southern Virginia University and Brigham Young University where I studied English and Theater. I now live in Idaho with my husband and four children.

I have Charlotte Bronte to thank for the courage to write novels. After being bombarded with assigned reading about women who justified abandoning either their families or their principles in the name of love, I had the great fortune of reading Jane Eyre. And that was it: finally a heroine who understood that being moral and making the right choice was hard, and sometimes it hurt, but it was still worth it. After rereading it several years later, I realized that if I wanted more books to exist with the kinds of heroines I admired, then I might as well write a few myself. My books are about women who face hard choices, who face pain and rejection and often have to sacrifice what they want for what is right. The consequences are often difficult or unpleasant, but it the end, doing what’s right will always be worth it.

I believe there is no substitute for good writing or good chocolate. Fortunately, one often leads to the other.


Blog Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 11/5/13

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

#EotS Tour Week 3 Wrap-Up: Another #Giveaway!

Tour Schedule

For those of you who might have missed out this week ...
October 21st
From the Bootheel Cotton Patch - Promo / Giveaway
Reader Girls - Tens List

October 22nd
Emaginette - Guest Post

October 23rd
Musings About the Writing Life - Character Intervew
The Dreamweaver's Cottage - Guest Post

October 24th
A Dragon's Love - Guest Post

October 25th
Boyce's Blog - Tens List
Long and Short Reviews - Guest Post

Be sure to enter the three giveaways if you haven't already! 

Giveaway #1

Tour-wide giveaway where TWO winners each will receive:

Signed paperback
EotS Journal
EotS Pen
Signed bookmarks

Giveaway #2:

I'm giving away ANOTHER ebook of EotS! Share the news of my release found wherever you network ...

Google +

Leave the link to your post in the comment section below and in two weeks - on November 8th - I'll have my 3 yr old daughter draw a random winner!

Easy Peasy!

Giveaway #3:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Eye of the Soul by Terri Rochenski

Eye of the Soul

by Terri Rochenski

Giveaway ends November 15, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

#WriterlyWisdomWednesday: #Romance Author, Barbara Barrett #WritersLife

A special welcome to fellow TWRP author, Barbara Barrett!


Water, Water Everywhere

Near the end of my latest release from The Wild Rose Press, Driven to Matrimony, the hero and heroine stage a water fight in the massive, three-tiered fountain behind the heroine’s movie star mother’s summer home to entertain a reporter who shows up to interview the missing parent. With all due respect to the fountain scene in “La Dolce Vita” and “Three Coins in a Fountain,” the idea seemed to come out of nowhere. Yet, when I stopped to wonder about the source, I realized my fascination with fountains goes way back.  

When I was growing up, one of the highlights of my summers was to attend band concerts in Crapo Park in Burlington, Iowa. The music was accompanied by the park’s magnificent fountain behind us, which shot crystals of water into the air while illuminated by changing colored lights. What a precious memory.

A few years passed, then along came the television sitcom, “Friends.” I’ve been watching a lot of its reruns this summer, enjoying this gem yet again. Though the show ran for ten seasons, the opening credits for every show featured the sequence from the first season which included umbrellas, a floor lamp, a sofa and a fountain. That fountain is a both a unifying force, bringing together the six friends, and also their playground, which would underscore the whimsical nature of their relationships and the crazy situations that would befall them.

A favorite day trip has been a visit to Kansas City, Missouri. Besides great shopping, one of the primary reasons for this destination is to admire the city’s many fountains. It is said only Rome, Italy has more fountains. Many of these treasured artworks of water can be found in Country Club Plaza, an open air shopping district just south of downtown, frequently called America’s first shopping center. Built in 1922 to reflect the style of Seville, Spain, the Plaza boasts beautiful examples of Spanish-style architecture, mosaic tile artwork and the fountains. On my visits, when I wasn’t browsing the many high-end clothing stores or sampling the great food, I was admiring those incredible waterworks. Of particular note is the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain by Henri Léon, which dominates the east entrance.   

The more I write, the more I wonder at the incredible ability of the brain to store memories and images, sometimes for years, then suddenly bring them forth as part of the creative process. I suspect that, buried in the recesses of my memory bank, is the unmet desire to climb into one of those fountains of my past and be a child again. One of the joys of writing is to search those vaults, withdraw those yearnings and let our characters experience them for us.


About Barbara Barrett

Barbara Barrett spent her professional career as a human resources analyst for Iowa state government, and that training has stayed with her in her writing of contemporary romance fiction. Now retired, Barbara spends her winters basking in the Florida sunshine and returns to her home state of Iowa in the summer to “stay cool.” Her first two books, The Sleepover Clause, Crimson Romance, and And He Cooks Too, The Wild Rose Press, were published in the past year. A third, Driven to Matrimony, TWRP, is available on Amazon for Kindle and will be released worldwide on January 15, 2014. 


Driven to Matrimony
Release Date:  Jan. 15, 2014

Dina Maitland spends almost as much time extricating her movie star mother from personal messes as she invests in her forensic accounting job. So much time, she may no longer have a job once she cleans up her mother's latest fiasco, her engagement to a twenty-something film student. Vowing it's the last time she puts herself on clean-up duty, Dina sets off for South Carolina to stop the pending nuptials, and along the way, almost literally, runs into the father of the groom.

Ben Cutler has troubles of his own with his business under attack from competitors and a government audit looming. Not one to trust women, he must team up with Dina to balance his books as well as stop the wedding.

Though unwillingly thrown together Dina and Ben are surprised to find their interest and passion for each other growing. Can they face their pasts in order to create a union of their own?

The Sleepover Clause

And He Cooks Too

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

#FREE on #Kindle through Saturday: Alone No More #HistoricalRomance

In the mood for a quickie read? 

Alone No More, my historical romance novella is free - that's right - FREE from now until Saturday the 27th on Amazon. You can find it HERE.

Click on image to add on Goodreads

Sweet Historical Romance Novella
OFFICIAL Release Date:  December 18, 2013
Format:  ebook
Publisher:  The Wild Rose Press

Dismissed from her job as a scullery maid and cast aside by her lover, pregnant Cara Morland has no choice but to return to her father’s farm. While lies of widowhood keep her from disgrace, Cara is faced with a local landowner’s unwanted attentions. Without the social status to do much more than avoid the vile man, she loses hope of ever finding happiness.

A friendship based on mutual loneliness blossoms between Cara and James Elliot, a young farm hand hired by her father. He offers his protection, and one shared kiss reveals his heart, but propriety and her feigned grieving period hinders what they both desire.

When Cara’s stalker learns the truth of her circumstances, he gives her an ultimatum—submit to his possession or he’ll ruin her second chance at love with James.


No kindle? 

No problem. 

Download the kindle for pc app - also FREE found here.

If you like what you read, feel free to leave a review on Goodreads or Amazon. I will be forever grateful! 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

#EotS Tour Week 2 Wrap-Up: Winner Announced & Another #Giveaway

Congrats to Karen N. on winning my first 'official' giveaway!

Tour Schedule

For those of you who might have missed out this week ...
October 14th
WIP It - Guest Post

October 15th
Julie Reece - Author Interview
Rebecca Hart Writing - Guest Post

October 16th
The Jeep Diva - Author Interview
Moonlight Gleam - Guest Post

October 17th
Laney McMann - Author Interview
Where Fantasy & Love Take Flight - Tens List

October 18th
Illusions of Intimacy - Author Interview

Be sure to enter the ongoing giveaway if you haven't already! The 2nd ebook giveaway begins next Monday, so stay tuned!

Giveaway #1

Tour-wide giveaway where TWO winners each will receive:

Signed paperback
EotS Journal
EotS Pen
Signed bookmarks