Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sweet Saturday

            Welcome back! I'm having so much fun with all the promotional events this month at Astraea Press. Today I'm the guest blogger at Seriously Reviewed. If you get a moment, please check it out and leave a comment!
            Here at Sweet Saturday Samples, I've got another scene from Aegean Intrigue. Here, the group is setting up for their archaeological dig, and Francie makes observations about some of the crew:

After the screens were assembled, Dimitri went to the food tent to prepare dinner. Soon, the scent of beef, onions, and tomatoes spiced with cumin, cinnamon, and garlic filled the air. Dimitri was evidently preparing stifado, a traditional Greek stew. Francie's stomach growled, and she remembered she hadn't eaten all day. She had been too excited about the trip to eat that morning, and lack of funds had prevented her from buying food on the ferry.
When Alex called a halt to the day's work, she was more than ready to eat. The dig site was set up, and they would be ready to begin work in earnest the next day.
Before heading to the dining cabin, the crew cleaned up. Tools were wiped off and put away. Francie noted that Yannis, again, stood off to the side, his ever-present Blackberry his only concern. She frowned.
“Something wrong?”
The man seems to be everywhere. She nodded toward the preoccupied crew member. “Yannis spends a lot of time on that Blackberry. For a graduate archaeology student, he doesn'ʹt seem to know what he's doing. And he doesn't seem willing to pull his weight in the work and cleanup.”
“Perhaps he's preoccupied with a girlfriend he left behind. But you'ʹre right. He should be helping. I'll talk to him.” Alex loped over to the other man, his long legs covering the distance in no time.
Francie scolded herself for noticing the man's legs and turned her attention back to her own work. She cleaned off her trowel, wrapped it carefully, and stowed it in her backpack. Focus, she reminded herself.
Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to check out other excerpts by going to Sweet Saturday Samples. Perhaps you'll find a new favorite!

Friday, February 24, 2012

It's a Party!

Astraea Press, publisher of my three novellas, is celebrating its first birthday. All month there have been giveaways, special blogging opportunities, and other promotional events that have kept me running – virtually, of course. I've had to create a special calendar on my laptop specifically for writing commitments.
One of the "promotional events" took place this past Wednesday night. I took part in my first author chat at Coffee Time Romance. The chat lasted for four hours, but I wasn't able to participate the entire time, since I was taking care of my one-year-old granddaughter that day. But while I was there we had a great time "conversing" through the miracle of the internet. We've had "discussions" through facebook, but this was our first real-time meeting. I don't know exactly how many participated but I'm quite sure there were at least a dozen of us popping in and out of the chat room at various times.
What struck me as fantastic was that we all participated from our homes on three different continents! Two were in the UK, one in Australia and the rest from various points in the United States. There are pros and cons to this "instant communication" but for us, at that point in time, it was wonderful. How else could such a far-flung group get together?
I continue to be amazed at the things that are now possible. When I started my teaching career, personal computers weren't around. Now I'm rarely without mine. My mom communicated with her sisters through long letters because phone calls were just too expensive. And now (once we get her computer hooked up) she can not only speak to them, she can see them through Skype.
Makes me wonder what my grandkids will be able to do. Maybe instead of virtual parties with people on other continents, they'll be able to actually go to those far-flung places and be back home for dinner.
My project for the week: My mom was so disappointed to miss Bridget's first birthday party so I made her a little album (I think I got the album from one of Cheryl's house cleaning frenzies). I made extra copies of the pictures I took and put them together for her so she can brag about her great-granddaughter to her friends.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sweet Saturday

            Welcome back! Here's another scene from my new release, Aegean Intrigue. Francie and the crew have arrived at the dig site and are ready to work:

After stowing their belongings, the crew quickly got to work. The dig area was marked with ropes, and the surface dirt had been removed. Professor Theo took charge of explaining the routine and job expectations to the newer members while Francie,
Dimitri, and Yannis built two table screens to be used for sifting the dirt and sorting their finds. Dimitri was a quick learner. Once Francie explained what was needed, he simply nodded and went to work. Yannis, however, was content to stand back and wait to be
told what to do every step of the way. Francie hoped he wouldn't continue this behavior throughout the dig.
Someone was staring at her again. She looked around her, but Alex was busy with the professor. Who else could it be? She turned her gaze up the hill, toward the mansion.
A tall lean man stood at the top of the hill, watching them work. His salt-and-pepper hair was trimmed in a professional style and his gray suit slacks fit him well. He held his jacket, his tie was loosened, and his white shirt was open at the neck. Though he was far away, Francie felt his gaze boring into her. This must be Zotis, the owner of the estate. She bent again to her task, though she found it difficult to concentrate with the man on the hill staring down. Silly, she told herself. He's not looking at you. He's just
watching over the entire crew.
But another glance upward confirmed his gaze still pointed her way. Alex ended his conversation with Professor Theo and climbed up the hill to meet with the newcomer. Their discussion was brief, and when Zotis turned away, Francie felt a sense of relief, as if a dark cloud had been lifted.
            Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to check out free excerpts from other fine authors at Sweet Saturday Samples. And if you've enjoyed my excerpts, click on the book cover at the top of this page to buy the story at Astraea Press - it's only $1.99!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Treading Water

            It's been a rough few weeks. I've been working lots of extra hours at one "part time" job, and trying to keep up grading papers for the two classes I teach. And GRRWG began its annual Novel Writing Challenge, fondly referred to as Winter NaNo. I committed to write thirty-two thousand words on a new project in twenty-eight days. That's 1143 words per day. Today is the fifth day of the challenge and so far I'm on track. But if I keep up this pace with my other jobs, I'll burn out quickly. I'm cautiously optimistic things will be better next week. Anyway, I'm treading water here!
            So because I'm kind of tired, I'm going to refer you to some writing I've done on other blogs. Astraea Press authors are a wonderfully supportive group, especially when one of us has a new release. So these are all people who have featured me and my new book. Click on the author's name to see the post:
On February 4, I was a guest at JF Jenkins' blog. Well, actually the main characters from Aegean Intrigue were guests. They did a couples' interview. If you look at the blog you'll see pictures of Alex and Francie (or at least what they looked like in my mind as I wrote).
            On February 8 Lindsay Downs had me as a guest at her blog. We chatted about my trip to Greece and how it inspired me to write Aegean Intrigue.
            Nell Dixon was kind enough to feature Aegean Intrigue at her blog on February 11. 
            I've got other guest interviews coming up later this month, so I'll probably post a notice here directing you to them. In the meantime, take a look at the "eternity scarf" I put together using directions I found online and some more fabric I had lying around. I got my daughter to model it and see if she'd wear it. It got a lukewarm reaction. Maybe she'll get it, maybe not…

            I also made a little fleece hat for my youngest granddaughter. The other seven grandkids got their hats for Christmas, but Bridget's hat needed to be taken in a bit to fit. It's still a little loose but she doesn't seem to mind wearing it!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sweet Saturday

Welcome back! This week I'm continuing the scene from Aegean Intrigue in which Francie has boarded the ferry from Athens to Paros. She finds herself seated next to Alex, the Project Director of the archaeological dig she is working on:

Taking the packet from Alex, she began to read. Thankfully, he allowed her to read on her own rather than pointing things out to her. It was unnerving enough to have to sit next to the man. It would be worse to have those dark brown eyes focused on her, his melodic voice sounding in her ear…
She blinked and brought her mind back to the page in front of her. When she got to the page describing the sleeping accommodations, Francie frowned. “You’re staying with us the entire time?” she asked.
“Of course. Why do you ask?”
“I’ve never known a Project Director to stay on site. You’ve probably got a half dozen other projects you’re working on, don’t you? I expected you would just take care of the planning, the designating, and then leave.”
His eyes narrowed. “I don’t operate that way.”
The sudden coldness in his expression unnerved her. She merely nodded and looked back at the page, but the symbols made no sense to her. She could read English, Greek, and French, but in her agitation she couldn’t decipher anything on the page. Why had he become so angry?
He cleared his throat and his tone gentled. “Our sponsor is an exacting man. He expects detailed reports each evening. I don’t have any other projects going in Athens at the moment, so…” He paused and shrugged before continuing, “I decided to take a working vacation.”
Francie felt her tensions drain away. Maybe she had misread his facial expression. At least he wasn't angry with her. She looked at the document again, and this time the words made sense.
Thanks for stopping by! Please leave a comment, or better yet, check out Aegean Intrigue by clicking on the book cover at the top right of the page. It's available at Astraea Press, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.
More samples are offered from other authors at Sweet Saturday Samples.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Leibster Blog Award

About fifteen years ago when I decided I wanted to write a book, I joined a group called the Mid Michigan Romance Writers of America. I soaked up all the knowledge I could at their monthly meetings and met some really cool people, including real authors - people who had actually published books that I could buy or get at the library.
My kids started getting older and I encouraged them to be involved in activities. They complied and my weekends got full, so I wasn't able to make it to a lot of meetings. But I kept up my membership and I still attend sporadically. The email loop has allowed me to keep in touch. Still, I sometimes feel like a peripheral member, lurking on the outside.
So I was thrilled and pleasantly surprised to find I've been the recipient of a special award from a fellow MMRWA member, Teresa Blue. She's a newly published author at The Wild Rose Press. Her first novel, Night Bird, will be released in early May. She presented me with the Liebster Blog award, which is supposed to be given to "up and coming bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers".  Teresa's blog, Thingfinder, is an eclectic collection of thoughts. I love to peruse and see the various things (and thoughts) she collects. Thank you so much, Teresa!
All that's required to accept this award is:
1. Thank the person who gave it to them and link back to that person's blog.
2. Copy and paste the award to your blog. (It's up at the top!)
3. Choose 5 blogs to award in kind and break the news by commenting on those blogs.
4. Hope those people pay it forward in turn by accepting and awarding "The Liebster Blog Award" to blogs they'd like to honor.
So for #3, I'm choosing these five bloggers (my apologies if you have more than 200 followers!):
Stephanie Michels at Chunking up the Page, one of my savvy critique partners and a fabulous proof reader
JC Hanks at AWriter in the Making. JC is an author with a million story lines and a fascinating collection of sewing machines. If had all those machines I'd never have time to write!
Lynn Doezema at A Writer's Whimsy. Lynn is a very energetic and supportive writer. She's just getting started, but I know she'll go far!
Cheryl Sterling at Cheryl Sterling Books. Cheryl creates unique worlds and entertaining stories, like Tall, Dark, and Slayer, The Apprentice Fairy Godmother, and What Do You Say to a Naked Elf?
Mrs. VanAmberg at Just the Five of Us. This lady is a former collegue and amazes me with her talent as a photographer, her savvy with technology, her creativeness at crafts, and her involvement with her children - on top of her full time teaching duties. I wonder when she sleeps.

So there are my five nominees. Now I just need to notify them. Thanks again, Tereasa, for the nod!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Sweet Saturday Sample

Welcome back! I'm jumping back into the present with an excerpt from my newly released Greek island novella, Aegean Intrigue. Here, Francie is boarding the ferry to travel from Athens to the island of Paros:

Stepping off the escalator, she made her way past the café and gift shop to the reserved seats. Whoever is funding this dig certainly has deep pockets, she thought. The heavily padded “airplane-style seats” would be a special treat. She could snuggle in and close her eyes.
“Good morning.”
Turning toward the voice, her gaze met that of the very man who had haunted her dreams the last few weeks. As usual, Alex looked crisp and well rested, unlike the majority of the passengers on the early morning shuttle. A light blue polo shirt fit snugly over
his muscled shoulders and arms, and crisp khaki pants completed his outfit. He looked as if he had stepped from a gentleman's magazine. The battered brown satchel lay across his lap, a sheaf of papers lying on top of it.
“Good morning,” she managed. Breaking eye contact, she glanced down at her ticket to check her seat number and nearly groaned. Her seat was right next to his.
So much for the relaxing trip, she thought. What had she done to deserve four full hours seated next to this disturbing man?
Her face must have reflected her dismay. “I apologize if my presence distresses you. I had hoped to go over some of the details of the dig while we had time before our arrival.”
“Why would you want to go over them with me? Professor Theo is in charge of the dig.”
“On paper, yes. But you are his assistant. Has he shared the details with you?”
She frowned. “No, he hasn’t.”
“I thought not. He is known for his forgetfulness. I have made an extra copy of his materials for you, including a dossier on each of the other participants.”
She made no move to sit, and he sighed. “I can move to another seat once we have gone through the details.”
She unlooped the straps of her backpack and sat, chiding herself for appearing so childish.
Thanks for stopping by! Aegean Intrigue can be purchased online at Astraea Press, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble (click on the company names to go to their websites).
Continue reading excerpts from other authors by going to Sweet Saturday Samples.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 2, 2012


I am so pleased to announce the release of my third novella, Aegean Intrigue! This story is also published by Astraea Press, but it's a bit different from the other stories in several ways. Unlike The Legacy and The Christmas Phoenix, Aegean Intrigue takes place in Greece. I had the pleasure of visiting that country almost four years ago when my daughter did a semester abroad on the island of Paros. I talked a friend into going with me to "check out" the school she attended and see that she was safe. We spent a week on the island, and then two days in Athens before flying home. It had to be one of the most fascinating times in my life. If you ever have the opportunity to go, take it! There is so much to see and do. Of course I'm a history buff so I had a wonderful time checking out the ruins and reading about the places we visited.

I had to do quite a bit of research for this book, because the story line takes the characters on an archaeological dig. Since I don't know too much about archaeology, I had to read about how a dig was set up, who the major characters are, and how they do their jobs. I hope I represented the job accurately. And then I threw in a romance - because I love a happy ending!

So I would be ever so grateful if you would do a few things for me:
1. Go to Amazon and "like" my book. Click on the work LINK (you can buy it there, too!)
2. Buy the book (you can get it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or from Astraea Press if you want a different format) and read it!
3. Tell me what you think by giving it a rating (at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Goodreads - or all three!

Actually, I would be happy if you would do ANY of the above - but if you could do two, or three, I would be ecstatic! If you click on the picture above it should take you to the page where you can purchase it from Astraea Press. Later on today (or maybe tomorrow), it will be available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

You can actually have a chance to win a free copy. I've been participating in blog hops, and almost each time I give away a free book. The next one is the Valentine's Day Hop. Watch my facebook page for details. Oh, you haven't seen my facebook page? Well, there's a facebook "badge" here on this page that you can click and "like" and then you'll see news about my writing life as soon as it happens. Isn't technology cool? Well, most of the time it is. When it works. But that's another story.