Friday, November 16, 2012

Cover Reveal: Sugarplum Dreams

Are you ready for the reveal?  Sugarplum Dreams is book four of the Candy Collection anthology from Renaissance Romance Publishing. containing four romantic stories centered around the holidays. With stories from veteran authors Lisa Bilbrey and Michele Richard, and debuts from R. E. Hargrave and M. B. Feeney, readers are in for a wonderful holiday treat


A late night reunion on the beach, warm cookies fresh from the oven, the overwhelming world of online dating, and a one-night stand that changes of the lives of three people — Sugarplum Dreams, Book Four of the Candy Collection, wields a voyage of self-discovery, new beginnings, new loves, and admirable courage.

NOW - how about that cover?




Sugarplum Dreams in a word from the authors:

Lisa Bilbrey calls the collection: “Four amazing stories that will have you on the edge of your seat and begging for more.”

M.B. Feeney says, “Beaches, baking, blogs and babies — Sugarplum Dreams offers escapism for all romantics.”

R.E. Hargrave added, “Moonlit beaches, the London dating scene, broken eggs, and mistaken identity are the stepping stones to follow four distinct love stories that span months and years in Sugarplum Dreams, Book Four of the Candy Collection.”

Michele Richard said, “From beaches to bakeries, to babies, to dating blogs, this anthology has everything to fulfill those holiday romantic readers with delight!”

Sounds fabulous, doesn't it?  Sugarplum Dreams releases December 11th in ebook and print. Stay tuned for blog posts from each author and information on where to buy.


Hopefully, tomorrow I will have an update on my NaNo progress.  See y'all soon! Until next time - SMOOCHES!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Stories of Sugarplum Dreams: The Roommates


Its the final day of individual reveals for the stories contained in Sugarplum Dreams, the newest anthology from Renaissance Romance Publishing.While last, this story is certainly not least. Take a peek at The Roommates by Michele Richard.  


Spring break changes everything for Daphne Hobbs. A one-night stand leaves her pregnant and alone. She soon discovers that the father is an identical twin, and she's unsure of which one turned her world upside down. She’ll be forced to share her apartment with them until she can discover the truth. Julius and Jordan Sweet share everything in their lives — almost to the point of living one life. Will Daphne uncover who’s the daddy?


Michele Richard is a familiar name at Renaissance Romance Publishing. Besides being one of the owners, this is her third short story in the Candy Collection, and she has also released several full length novels. Keep an eye out for more in the months ahead, with several of her sequels due to release next year. 

Old Man Winter has blown some more snow away from the Sugarplum Dreams cover! Check in tomorrow for a full cover reveal and a final wrap-up of all the stories.



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Stories of Sugarplum Dreams: Sugar & Spice

It's Day Three of the Sugarplum Dreams cover reveals, and today's story, Sugar & Spice is also from a new author. R. E. Hargrave is a name to watch in the year ahead, with three full length novels slated to be released in the next 18 months.





Lacey Harrison has been dealt an unexpected hand in life: being a single mom. With her father's help and that of the residents at Royal Hills Nursing Home, she thrives and goes on to become a successful baker. She is content with her life but knows that she and her daughter Candy are missing something. Will things change for the better when Trent Childress moves into town and adds some spice to her sugar?



 I'm looking forward to reading more of what R.E. Hargrave has for us in the future!

More of the Sugarplum Dreams cover is revealed below. Check back in tomorrow for a summary of the fourth story, and for a bit more of the snow to be blown away on the cover in the reveal banner. On Friday, a full cover reveal and a final summary of all the stories. Until then -- Smooches!



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Stories of Supgarplum Dreams: Right Click, Love

It's the second day of a week-long feature of cover reveals for the stories from Sugarplum Dreams, book four of the Candy Collection from Renaissance Romance Publishing. Today's story, Right Click, Love, is from up-and-coming author, M. B. Feeney.


Disheartened about not being able to find “Mr. Right” on the London dating scene, best friends Jodie Lynch and Louise Hewson create a blog to not only document their disastrous dates with the numerous “Mr. Wrongs” and “Mr. Okay-for-nows” but also to help those going through the same experiences and to see where they’re going wrong. How will they deal with everything the dating scene has to throw at them planned or otherwise?




While Right Click, Love may be M. B. Feeney's first published story, I sincerely doubt it will be the last. Stay tuned for more from this talented author! 

More of the Sugarplum Dreams cover is revealed below. Check back in tomorrow for a summary of the third story, and for a bit more of the snow to be blown away on the cover in the reveal banner. Until then -- Smooches! 



Monday, November 12, 2012

The Stories of Sugarplum Dreams: Broken Hearts & Dusty Dreams

 It's time! All this week, I will be hosting blog posts that highlight the upcoming release of Sugarplum Dreams, book four in the Candy Collection from Renaissance Romance Publishing. Today, I'm featuring the first story from the compilation, Broken Hearts & Dusty Dreams, by Lisa Bilbrey.  


Riley Farris and Natalie Sloane were the best of friends who spent every summer together on the sandy beach of Mustang Island. Then, just when Riley’s getting set to spend another
summer with Natalie, she disappears. As the years pass, he struggles to understand what happened to the girl he knew. Until, one night while walking on the beach, he stumbles upon a woman who is broken and lost.




 Broken Hearts & Dusty Dreams is the first of four stories from the Sugarplum Dreams anthology, and the fourth short story Lisa Bilbrey has written for the Candy Collection. Check back tomorrow for the second story, and a bit more of what to expect for the cover of Sugarplum Dreams. See you soon!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Behind is STILL Behind

So . . .

It's been an interesting week.

My dad has been in the hospital, and unfortunately, I am apparently the only one who can't get any information.

One of my dearest friends, and closest confidante, also had to take her father to the hospital, and the news was less than favorable. 

I've watched people on my assorted social media accounts rip into each other with a vehemence typically reserved for mock WWE battles, all over the simple process of electing the next President of the United States. 

I slipped into a blue funk over my characters, and spent two days accomplishing ZERO writing on my NaNo story, because I couldn't figure out what was wrong. So, in a fit of desperation, I ACTUALLY left my house . . . during the daylight . . . and met up with a complete stranger to write for a few hours. Yes, for my writing I will actually break from my self-imposed mimicking of drunken, reclusive authors (ala Kerouac, Hemingway, and Faulkner), and venture into society to find a new stream of thought. It worked, and I solved a significant sticking point in my plot.

Unfortunately, work and school also conspired to interfere with my writing, leaving me now over 5600 words behind where I should be. That is, of course, why I m writing a blog post instead of working on Price of Valor - because the post also is not going to do anything to increase my word count.

However, on a Publishing House - related note, book four of the Candy Collection will be released on December 11th, and will feature four authors, two of whom are newly signed with Renaissance Romance Publishing. Beginning tomorrow, we will reveal each of the solo ebook covers, culminating in a reveal of the actual anthology cover on Friday. Stay tuned for more on these fabulous stories and authors.

NOW, I have just been given two pictures that have Harvey, my rabid plot bunny, chaffing at the bit to resume playing with the fates of Trace and Lynne.


found on Facebook

discovered by my friend Lisa while we discussed how the first picture could tie into the story. 


Wish me luck! 





Sunday, November 4, 2012

Procrastination and Progress

I have a huge motivation problem.

Scratch that . . .

When I am struggling with something, I allow myself to be easily distracted. Yeah, that's more like it.

I could blame the kids, my ADD, the phases of the moon, the pending zombie apocalypse, or any other number of things . . .

SQUIRRELS! 


. . . but the truth of the matter is, I still ALLOW myself to be distracted. I snuggle in to my writing nook, laptop in hand, with every intention to hammer out a few thousand words, but instead I am reading the news, answering emails, talking to friends, . . . everything BUT writing.

Hell, Hurricane Sandy alone has provided unlimited fodder for distraction, while I worried about friends and family who hadn't checked in, tuned into news sites for updates, and sought out images of the destruction in my native New Jersey. Even from a distance, I have felt the impact of Sandy, so I can only imagine what those in the thick of it must be going through.  But the undaunted American Spirit will get us through this disaster, just as it has every other time we needed it.
You see, the internet is my playground. As I've mentioned in the past, my closest friends live on my Facebook pages.  Being inveterately curious, rather than call a friend to check in, I open Facebook and read their status updates, peruse their recent uploads, and indulge my snarky sense of humor in sharing things that amuse me. And then there are the games . . .

Thus, I become as mesmerized as a 2 year old watching Christmas lights.

OOOOOHHHH Sparkly!

Despite my efforts to the contrary, I have still managed to log in nearly 7500 words. Of course, in between games of Bingo Blitz, I do wonder how much further I could be if I were more focused. Then the caller announces the first number, and I forget what I should have been doing.

B7 

Gotta go!

Friday, November 2, 2012

. . . aaaannnnddd They're Off!

After spending ten days without a laptop due to a fried motherboard, and being forced to rely on an ancient desktop so out of date it took me the better part of five days to get it operational, my precious was returned to me shortly after noon yesterday. That's right, just in time for me to get some writing in for the first day of NaNoWriMo.

I'm off to a pretty decent start, logging over 2700 words for day one. I'm going to have to spend some time over the next couple of days playing catch up on the school work I missed out between the dead computer and the power outages during Hurricane Sandy, but my goal is to still log at least 1700 words a day to stay on track.

My darling children helped contribute to my NaNo Chocolate Stash from their Trick-or-Treat haul, giving me all the candy bars they don't like, that just so happen to be my favorites.  I think a trip to the grocery store may still be in order though, just to make sure they aren't stuck with any unwanted bags of candy. Can't beat those 50-75% off after holiday deals!

On a more serious note, in order to help fund the efforts of the Office of Letters and Light, the motivating force behind NaNoWriMo, as well as provide inducement to not disappont my friends and family, I have set up a sponsorship page. You can check it out here:

I hope you will consider making a donation to help keep these wonderful, inspiring programs alive - not only for adult would-be authors, but also for those brilliant, untapped talented future authors still waiting to be developed in schools all around the world.Who knows, your donation may help encourage the next J.K Rowling.


So, anyone interesed in a taste of what I wrote yesterday? Here is the prologue of The Price of Valor, my NaNoWriMo project:

 Lynne never wanted to be the one left at home, the one wondering if everything was okay, if letters and packages were making it through, if feelings had changed. After seeing the mess the Navy had created in her parents' lives and marriage, she'd known it wasn't the life she wanted for herself. Even with all of the problems, fights, and hard times, her mother had willingly waited at home, the dutiful spouse content for the crumbs of time the Navy allowed her to have with her husband. But Lynne wasn't her mother; she wasn't cut from the same cloth. She believed she needed someone who would be more committed to her than they were to any job -- especially one that would take them away for months at a time. After eighteen years of living a life whose very fiber was determined by the needs of the military, she'd welcomed the escape that going to college and starting a life on her own had given her. For almost eight years, she'd been comfortable with the choices she had made. While opting to avoid military men in a Navy town may have limited the dating pool, she had never once questioned her decision. At least, not until that fateful August afternoon, until him.

    Swept away in the unexpected tidal wave of meeting Trace, Lynne had been forced to re-examine every belief she'd ever held sacrosanct in her life. Sitting in front of the television, the horrifying scenes flashing across the screen in chaotic technicolor, she fought against the long forgotten feelings of foreboding she'd lived with throughout her entire childhood.  How could one person have had such a drastic effect on every belief I’d held sacrosanct in my life?  If I’d known one trip to the beach would change the entire direction of my life, I don’t know if I’d have taken it. Yet, even now, watching the news with her heart in her throat, hands twisting in her lap, and his ring on her finger, she also knew that she wouldn’t have traded the last eight months for anything that had come before, no matter what the future held.


Until next time, SMOOCHES! 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Guest Post: Becky Banks Kicks of Forged Book Tour

I'd like to welcome author Becky Banks to the blog today. I had the pleasure of reading Becky's first novel, The Legend of Lady MacLaoch, when I won a copy of it during her last blog tour. When the opportunity came up to host her for her new book, Forged, I jumped at it. My apologies to Becky for not getting this post up sooner, but apparently technology hates me this week - or it was just a Monday kind of thing.  Either way, here's Becky: 

Hello everyone! Thank you, Laura, for hosting me today as we go on tour for my second book, Forged which launches this Friday! To kick off the tour I take a look at comparing my first two books to giving birth. :0)

A writers work, much like her children vary from child to child; book to book. 

A close girlfriend of mine recently gave birth. It was a difficult labor, 54 hours with 4 hours of that as pushing. Most of you will probably gasp at this and say oh my god, how is that possible? As a woman who is looking to someday embark on that voyage I took her experience to heart and as I sat down to write this blog post I realized, it’s quite easy to find yourself in 54 hours of labor. Especially if you’re strong in mind, and strong in body and have an excellent support network, you can do anything that seems impossible. My first book came about in a very similar fashion. 

Much like the 54 hour labor marathon, you don’t enter it with the intent to do nearly three days of laboring. You enter it thinking, we can do this, others have done it before. Sure, it will take time and effort, but I’ve got both of those things. On my first published book, The Legend of Lady MacLaoch, I started it by saying I’m going to write a short story about a woman who goes to Scotland. Next thing I knew I’d written a novel. Little did I know, at the time, that that was the easy part. It felt flush and exhilarating; I was energized because I believed I was nearly done. But, in fact, I was only halfway there, I had yet to embark on the most brutal part of my publishing journey, editing and professional review. 

The last four hours of labor, when my friend was pushing her baby girl into this world, were the most physically strenuous. For fifty hours before those last four, she had maybe a cumulative of an hour or two worth of sleep, had stood, squatted, and focused her breathing all to be ready to “push”. Just when the last of your edits are completed, you enter this phase. The Push. You cannot rest, your mind is weary from reading your novel for the one hundredth time. And for the first novel, you’ve got a heavy dose of panic because you’ve no idea of what to expect. Will the print version have an edit that everyone missed? Will readers even like it? Maybe the editor was right, maybe I do need to rewrite chapter 25, paragraph 7. How do I get the word out? And will I ever want to put pen to paper again? 

Then it happens. You’re published, and like Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird says, 
“There is something mythic about the date of publication, and you actually come to believe that on this one particular morning you will wake up to a phone ringing off the hook and your publisher will be so excited that they will have hired the Blue Angels precision flying team to buzz your squalid little hovel, which you will be moving out of as soon as sales of the book really take off. . . then I waited for the phone to ring. The phone did not know its part. It sat there silent as death with a head cold…”
It is silent on the date of publication. Much like a baby slipping into the world, or at least that holds true for the first few seconds that it slips into the world. The quiet seconds before her sweet voice fills the birthing room with her first auditory declarations: I have arrived! 

The second novel though, is much easier than the first. It is much more deliberate in a writer’s actions, because you know what’s coming. You know what to edit out, you know when to cut off your sentence before it becomes a run-on. You know how to make your point sooner, and spend less time being flummoxed at the amount of red ink on your edited document and simply make changes and move on. My second book, Forged, arrives October 26th, and I’m ecstatic. This journey, much like laboring a second child came with more calm and ease than the first. 

Thank you Laura for hosting me today, and from one writer to the next: may you have days filled with brilliant insights and unequivocal eloquence.  

***

Becky Banks is the award-winning author of The Legend of Lady MacLaoch. Her newest novel, Forged releases October 26th. Get it FREE all week on the Kindle, October 22nd - 26th.

Available through Amazon Oct. 26.