Thursday, May 9, 2013

Guest Blogger: KateMarie Collins

Welcome author KateMarie Collins to my blog today!

Enjoy this free short story by KateMarie Collins

By KateMarie Collins

The bell rang out pleasantly as the frail man entered the shop. The young woman behind the counter barely glanced up from the fashion magazine she read. That was fine, he thought to himself. He was after a specific title and doubted she'd be much help finding it.

A thin smile broke through the deep lines in his face as his fingers absently ran over the titles on the shelves. So many thoughts, so many ideas. The bored clerk really had no clue how much of a treasure her job was. If he worked someplace like this, if his body still let him work, he would be reading from the dusty tomes and not some rag that was more concerned with being someone else than yourself.

It took him several minutes to make it the few yards to the section of the store he was looking for. By the time he reached the shelves, the smile had gotten somewhat larger. There was a smell to a used book store that always made him feel good. The combination of dust and musty old pages could permeate into his soul and bring him out of every depression.

He stood, peering through his glasses at the rows of books in front of him. There, crammed in between other paperbacks, were three well read copies of what he was looking for. He caressed the spine of each one with a trembling finger. Tenderly, he removed one of them from its prison, freeing it gently. The other books moved to fill the space. He could almost hear a sigh of relief from them, the space more than welcome.

Grasping the book as best as his arthritic hands could, he shuffled back towards the counter and the bored clerk. She put down her magazine after he placed the book on the counter, clearly annoyed at having to give up reading it to do her job.

She rang up his purchase without really noticing the title. "$6.85" was all she said to him as she finally looked up at him.

Slowly, he reached for his wallet and his credit card. "You sell many copies of this book? I saw you had several on the shelves." He kept his tone conversational.

That got her to look at the cover. She read the title and author briefly, shrugging her shoulders. "Tony Rudzki is pretty popular with the fantasy crowd I guess. When we do get his stuff in, it doesn't last long." She took the card from him, running it through the machine.

He signed the slip, handing it and the pen back to her. "Aren't you going to ask for my i.d., miss?" he inquired.

Clearly irritated about not being able to go back to her magazine, she took a cursory glance at the name on the card and his identification. "Hey, imagine that. You've got the same name as the guy that wrote this." She handed him back the cards and put the book into a small bag. Her eyes were already back on the magazine.

Tony smiled at her. "Yes, miss. And that's the kind of immortality that all the fashion tips in your magazine won't give you."

He turned and shuffled out of the store, leaving the clerk to watch his departure with amazement.

KateMarie Collins is the author of two fantasy novels. ‘Daughter of Hauk’ and the forthcoming ‘Mark of the Successor’. A third novel, ‘Son of Corse’, is also planned for a 2013 release.

Coming Soon

Dominated and controlled by an abusive mother, Lily does what she can to enjoy fleeting moments of normality. When a break from school only provides the opportunity for more abuse at home, the sudden appearance of a stranger turns her world even bleaker. Disappearing without a trace, he has left a lingering fear in Lily. His parting words to her mother, “Have her ready to travel tomorrow,” is something her mind refuses to accept.

Running away is the only answer. But before Lily can execute her plan, a shimmering portal appears in her room. Along with two strangers who promise to help keep her safe. With time running out, she accepts their offer for escape and accompanies them into a brand new world. A world in which she is
the kidnapped daughter of a Queen, and the heir to the throne of Tiadar.

Can she find her own strength to overcome both an abusive past and avoid those who would use her as a means to power?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Rachel's Legacy was just optioned for film!

Hi Everyone,

I had to share my exciting news. "Rachel's Legacy" was just optioned for film.

Rachel Connors loved her life, and her job as a manager at a ski resort in Aspen Colorado, but after learning she was ill, she decided to take a long needed vacation to her parent's home. This was when she met Kyle Landers, who in her absence had moved into her parent's lives, and before he'd even met Rachel, Kyle had decided not to like her. Kyle had been alone in the world when Rachel's parents had taken him in; and he couldn't understand why their ungrateful daughter had chosen to distance herself from them. 

Rachel and Kyle grew closer, and she knew she was falling for him, but it wasn't until his accident when she learned that he also loved her. Rachel was scheduled to pick Kyle up from the hospital upon his release, but a call from her doctor summoned her back to Aspen, telling her parents there was a problem at work. When Kyle hears of this, he boards a plane to find her, learning the truth of her condition. Their love blossomed but it was to be short lived when on their flight back to the ranch the plane crashed. Despite an extensive search, Kyle was never found, and Rachel was forced to go on without him.
Four years had passed, and Rachel's relationship with Marcus, her new boyfriend, was moving to a different level, but at the same time, the thought dead Kyle had come out of his coma; his mind lost in the events four years earlier. After Rachel accepted Marcus' proposal, Kyle returns, leaving Rachel with a dilemma. For four years Marcus had been by her side, but now Kyle was back, wanting her just as much as he had the day of the crash. She needed to get away to make her decision, so she left for Aspen, only Kyle followed her to try to convince her that they belonged together. 
Who will Rachel Chose? Is Kyle’s love enough to bring her back to him?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Guest Blogger Nancy Wood Discusses Blogging

Keep blogging

There’s been a lot in the blogosphere lately about whether writers should maintain a blog. When I saw this headline, “It’s Time for (Many) Experienced Writers to Stop Blogging,” 

 I was all over it, like butter and sour cream on a baked potato. I have a blog

 which I started just about a year ago, when Due Date was published. I’ve kept it going all year, but it’s not easy for me.

It takes me a long time to figure out topics, even longer to write them. It’s much harder for me than writing fiction. Plus, it makes a huge dent in the hours I have available for writing. And, to top it off, the pay-off isn’t great: my blog gets maybe 100 page visits a month, in a good month!

So I dove headfirst into the article, hoping for justification to drop the blog. But the headline was a bit misleading. The gist of the article was that a blog isn’t for everyone. If your goal is purely to increase readership of your book, blogging probably won’t get you there. If you have an opportunity to write for a site that will get more traffic than your blog, hop on it.

But the comments on the article did come around in support of blogging. A blog can offer lots of other high-value qualities, including:

* Discipline: My unwritten goal is to do one blog post a week, 250-500 words in length. I probably manage 3 a month, so I’m almost there.

* Experimentation: I haven’t done much that’s non-traditional. I’ve run a series of articles on surrogacy, as the protagonist in Due Date is a surrogate mother. I’ve also blogged on setting, suspense, book marketing, backstory, characters, swearing, guns, clues, red herrings.

* Focus: My blog has given me focus, in that it makes me hyper-aware of my external presence in the world. I can’t just throw something out there. It has to be well-written, fresh, and have a crisp edge. Basically, it has to be worth the minute or two that it will take someone to read it. I also try to keep it focused on topics related to mysteries and thrillers, but often veer away if something catches my interest!

* Voice: Writing posts has also helped with voice. Nothing like taking an amorphous thought and distilling into a coherent, and short, package, all while writing in a friendly and welcoming tone.

Another benefit of a blog wasn’t mentioned in the article or in the comments: it’s all about connections. Through my blog and website, I’ve connected with so many people I would not have otherwise. In addition to my blog, I run a weekly author interview column, where I interview other authors writing in the mystery/thriller/suspense genre. That has been quite rewarding. Over the nine months I’ve been doing this, I’ve met dozens of authors and had the pleasure of reading many wonderful mysteries.

The one thing I still struggle with is the number of hours in the day. Dang those 24 hours! There’s not enough of them to write, blog, and tweet, let alone do things like work and hang out with family and friends! It’s all a process, though. Now, if I can just pay attention to my own “Keep writing” advice, I’ll be in the pink!

Surrogate mother Shelby McDougall just fell for the biggest con of all—a scam that risks her life and the lives of her unborn twins.
Twenty-three year-old Shelby McDougall is facing a mountain of student debt and a memory she’d just as soon forget. A Rolling Stone ad for a surrogate mother offers her a way to erase the loans and right her karmic place in the cosmos. Within a month, she's signed a contract, relocated to Santa Cruz, California, and started fertility treatments.
But intended parents Jackson and Diane Entwistle have their own secret agenda—one that has nothing to do with diapers and lullabies. With her due date looming, and the clues piling up, Shelby must save herself and her twins. As she uses her wits to survive, Shelby learns the real meaning of the word “family.”