Monday, June 19, 2017

Events that Shaped My Life— #OpenBook Blog Hop






This week we're talking about the events that shaped our lives.

In one of the reviews for The Marquesa's Necklace, a reader wrote " the narrator mainly had too many situations." Well, if I ever wrote out my life story, I'm sure an editor would take a red pain to it and claim I had too many "situations", that all those coincidences couldn't possibly be real.


Let me tell you about the incredible string of situations that led me to meeting my beloved husband.


I had a plan for my life after I graduated from high school, all so many years ago. I happily went off to college, my major decided and the perfect school chosen. I was going to be a librarian. But after one semester, (that's four months) I changed my mind. I was in the wrong school for my vision for my future.


I decided to take some time away from college and reevaluate my goals. I returned home, got a job, and avoided thinking about what else I wanted to do. But my mother, in  her wisdom, didn't let me off the hook for too long. She encouraged me to come to a decision about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.


So I did, with the help of a book listing colleges and universities in the United States. I'd already figured out a mew course of study, forestry, all I needed was the school to go to. And I found it. A little community college in the northwestern corner of Wyoming, near Yellowstone. Inspired by the music of John Denver, I applied and was accepted. (Hey, it wasn't Colorado, but it was close! Still Rocky Mountain High!)  When August rolled around, I piled all my clothes and a few other belongings into a small trunk and a backpack and got a ride on a cross-country Greyhound bus. Yes, I took a 1500 mile bus trip without ever having seen my destination. Remember, this was pre-internet, so I couldn't even research what the area looked like.






Where does my future husband come into this? Hold on, there's more in this string of incidents.


So I get settled into my dorm, and start classes, and everything is marvelous. One of my next-door neighbors is a local girl, who lived about 30 miles away in a small town. She decided to live in the dorm instead of dealing with driving daily and fighting the winter snows. Her boyfriend would come to visit her on a regular basis. Once day he brought along a friend, who fell for the next-door-neighbor's roommate.


Confused yet? The next night, the boyfriend's friend wanted to come back but his car was in need of repairs, so he asked yet another friend to bring him to the school. That friend agreed. The friend's friend and I met, and the rest is history. What editor is going to allow that chain of coincidences into a book?


That's just one of the many events in my life that has shaped me to be who I am. Let's find out what stories the other authors have to tell.







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Monday, June 12, 2017

Scheduling My Work Week— #OpenBook Blog Hop



This week we're talking about scheduling our work weeks.

I work a regular 9-5 type job, although how busy I am runs in cycles.That means I have to plan certain tasks for those times for those down times. Monthly reports, cleaning out my "sent" box—the non-critical parts of my job. I do them in bits and pieces when I have free moments. You'd be surprised at how much you can get done in short sprints of five or ten minutes.

But my "real" job isn't the challenge. It's finding the time and energy to write and work on publicity. After all, I have a loving family that wants to see me occasionally.



So I apply the same methods to my writing as I do to my day job. I do things in bits and pieces.

This blog post? Spread out over two evenings. Facebook? A few minutes in the morning and a few more in the evening. Twitter? A couple of times a week.

Actually writing? I can manage a few paragraphs in five minutes spurts, but it drives me crazy. That's the one thing I actually claim a block of time for. At night, when everyone else is in bed, I write. Maybe I only get five hundred words on paper, but it's progress.On the weekends, with any luck, I can do more.

So now you know why it takes me so long to write my stories.

If you have any tips to share with me, I'd love to hear them. You can share them in the comments. In the meantime, I'm going to head over to the other authors and see what they have to share.



June 5, 2017 – How Do You Schedule Your Work Week?
Walk your audience through how to schedule their work week productively. As humans, we always want to know how to get more done in a week. If you have anything that has helped you schedule your time throughout the week, put that into the post.
Rules:
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants' blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person's blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.
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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Presenting "It Takes a Cat Burgler" by Cailin Briste



99¢ Sale - It Takes a Cat Burglar, Sci-fi Suspense Romance
The first novella in the A Thief in Love Suspense Romance series is now on sale through
June 13 for 99 cents. Perfect summer reading.

“After reading this author’s other novels, I had very high expectations. My expectations
were surpassed.” Wendie Nordgren
“The chemistry between Darcelle and Sebastian was hot; I didn’t want those sex scenes
to end!” D.C.
“full of intrigue and kept me guessing” Amanda N.
“I liked Darcelle Lebeau for her rebel instincts and enjoyed the story for its originality”
The TBR Pile


It Takes a Cat Burglar: A Thief in Love Suspense Romance
https://www.amazon.com/Cailin-Briste/e/B00GSX9QVW/
By Cailin Briste


Blurb:
When Darcelle Lebeau throws off the invisible chains that keep her bound to her family,
she discovers a new vocation. Tempted to enter the illegal playground of a man she
nicknames Matou, she becomes a cat burglar in training. Deeply ensnared with each
task he entices her to fulfill, she fails to discover his identity and true intentions.
Sebastian St. Croix, a wealthy businessman, has a dark side. He’s a thief, a cat burglar
who steals art and historical objects. For one year, he trains Darcelle to become his
assistant, remaining incognito, observing her from afar. His admiration grows along
with his desire for her with every phase-one challenge she completes. Phase two will
test the limits of his control. Hands-on personal training? Yes. Sex? No. With his sister’s
happiness at stake, nothing, not even the tempting Darcelle Lebeau, can interfere with
accomplishing the biggest break-in of his career.



Excerpt:
Four words. That’s all that was written on the paper in the same ornate handwriting
used on every preceding communication.
Congratulations. I’m behind you.
She froze.
How could she have missed it? The same dark, prickling tension that had inched along
her spine every time she’d sensed Matou observing her in the past was now knitting her
muscles and bones together, turning her to stone. It was him. He’d never let her see or
hear him, but her body reacted when he was near, as though when he gazed at her, a
furnace ignited inside her. It was damn spooky.
She jumped when his fingers closed on her shoulder.
“Don’t turn.”
Like a low, throbbing bass note, his voice resonated through her to the ends of her
fingers. Hell. She couldn’t move, much less turn. He trailed his hand along her
collarbone. Despite the thick layer of duracloth between her and his fingertips, Darcelle
was certain warmth penetrated the fabric.
His sudden yank startled her. Shock pulsed through her. He was undoing the seal on
the hood of her skin suit.
“No!” She batted at him, twisting to escape his grasp. He clamped her in a bruising
hold, immobilizing her.
“I said don’t turn. Stop struggling.”
Rapid inhalations of the sour combination of aged body odor and fear inside her skin
suit made her nasal passages burn. She continued to writhe, fighting to free herself.
He’s going to kill me!
“Fuck it. Stop. The air is pure. Look.”
Several moments passed before she registered the sun-darkened arm and hand waving
in front of her. Long elegant fingers twiddled. Her breathing hitched. No gloves. He
wasn’t wearing a skin suit. She stilled, allowing him to remove her hood.
“Do exactly as I say, and all will be well.”
With gentler hands he turned her toward him. She gasped. He was gorgeous. Only a
master sculptor could have formed a face of such perfect symmetry. The masculinity of
his high cheekbones, angled jaw, and straight brows was softened by his exquisite lips.
Heat flushed through her body.
From beneath black locks slanting over his forehead, pale green eyes stared at her. Was
he waiting for a response?
“Ummm.”
A smile flashed across his lips. “Are you ready to trust me?”
Darcelle pursed her lips. “I’ll try.”

About Cailin:
Cailin has been writing fiction for six years and non-fiction for two decades. Her nonfiction
work has been published in magazines and in a non-fiction anthology. She’s a
member of Romance Writers of America, the RWA Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal
Chapter, and the RWA Passionate Ink Chapter.
Cailin loves science fiction and romance, so combing the two came naturally. She is
currently writing the third book in her Sons of Tallav sci-fi erotic romance series. Shane:
Marshal of Tallav and Maon: Marshal of Tallav were released in 2016 by Loose Id. She’s
also working on a novella for an SFR Shooting Stars anthology tentatively title Educated
by the Master.

Social Media Links:
Website http://cailinbriste.com/
Blog http://cailinbriste.com/category/all-posts/
Street Team http://cailinbriste.com/cailins-street-team/
Twitter http://twitter.com/CailinBriste
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/cailinbriste/
Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/102592935378667862505
Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/cailinbriste/
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7413817.Cailin_Briste
Bookbub https://www.bookbub.com/authors/cailin-briste
Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Cailin-Briste/e/B00GSX9QVW
Newsletter http://cailinbriste.com/cailins-newsletter-sign-up/

Thursday, June 1, 2017

AnneMarie Brear & Where the Rainbows End




My latest novel is titled, Where Rainbows End, and is set in 1850s Australia. 
I set the novel in an area of the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, where I used to live.
Pippa, the main character of the story, creates a home in a valley in the middle of the wilderness, or as Australians call it 'The Bush'.
The inspiration to place her in this area was easy for me to do as several villages of the Southern Highlands still have a lot of historical buildings still standing. 
One village, used a lot in the book, is Berrima. This town was once a bustling place in the 19th century, but unfortunately it was overlooked when the railways came to the district. Without the railway, the industry fell away and so did the population. 
What remains is a quaint snapshot of a bygone era, and the perfect place to set my book.
I did a lot of research at the local historical society to help with getting the information I needed and poured over many old photos.

Berrima 1912


19th century Berrima

A slab hut - something similar to what Pippa would have lived in when first building the stud in the valley.



The White Horse Inn - still standing since Victorian times, and the same inn Pippa visited.

To learn more about Berrima visit this link; http://berrimavillage.com.au/historic-berrima/

Where Rainbows End:
Where Rainbows End
Blurb
I’m not a man, but that won’t stop me. Just you wait and see.”
It’s 1850 and the Noble family have arrived in Australia to start a new life after scandal drove them from their native England. Headstrong Pippa Noble is determined to reclaim their honour by making her father’s plans for a successful stud farm a reality.
Pippa is immediately spellbound by the untamed outback landscape, although she learns the hard way about the unforgiving nature of the bush – sometimes with devastating consequences. When circumstance leads to Pippa tending the new farm alone, it is the steadfast friendship of neighbouring country estate owner Gil Ashford-Smith that helps her through.
Then an unexpected visitor from England arrives, putting Pippa’s dreams in jeopardy. But she refuses to let go. She will hold onto her family’s land and make her mark, even if it means losing everything else …



Excerpt:
Miss Noble!’
She whipped around at the urgency in Robson’s voice and blanched at the strain on his face. He skidded to a stop in front of her and pointed to the ridge. ‘Bushfire. From the west. I’ve sent Colin to saddle a horse and ride up to the road to see how far away it is. But we must prepare.’
Pippa’s mouth went dry. ‘Bush … Bushfire?’
Esther hurried back to them, her hand clasped against her chest. ‘Oh, my dear lord. What will we do?’
Robson took off his hat and scratched his head, his expression revealing his concern. ‘We must fill every bucket and wet down the buildings, starting with the grain store. I’ve already got Peter and Barney digging a hole to bury feed and harnesses. The water in the creek is too low to last for long. We’ll need to put valuables in the sawpit and cover it with wet sacking.’
Pippa’s mind went blank. He talked too fast for her to absorb his meaning. ‘Robson, please, what are you saying?’
He took a deep breath and then glanced away sharply as Colin galloped across the valley floor, the hoof beats thundering. ‘Miss, try to understand. If the fire gets into the valley, it’ll wipe out everything in its path. We must bury what we can. Once the fire reaches, if it reaches the valley ridge, we’ll all have to escape from the other side, and there’s no track there, so we can’t take the wagon. I’ll get the horses saddled. The ladies must pack only lightly.’
Escape?’ Esther swayed just as Hilary and Davy joined them.
Running his hands through his hair, Robson’s eyes implored Pippa to take action.
But she couldn’t move or think clearly. Bushfire. Escape. ‘It  it may not even come this way, Robson.’
I hope to God it doesn’t, miss.’
She swallowed, but her throat was suddenly dry. ‘But you think it will?’
He looked up at the large gum trees, their top branches swaying in the warm breeze. ‘If the wind doesn’t change, the fire will sweep over that ridge and head straight for us.’
But it’s not summer yet. You said bushfires came in January or February.’
Miss, we’ve had very little rain, and dead grass will burn whether it be the middle of winter or summer. We were spared fires last year, but all it takes is one spark to set the bush alight, and this wind will not help us.’ He shifted from foot to foot. ‘Please, miss, we cannot waste time talking. We must prepare—’
What of the horses? The mares are due to foal within weeks, they mustn’t be scared into bolting.’
I’ll get Peter to take them to the far side of the valley. If the fire breaks the ridge, he’ll take them out and head towards Mittagong.’ He gave another nervous glance at the widening plume of smoke on the horizon. ‘Please, Miss Noble, we need to act now.’
Yes, go. Do what must be done.’ Pippa waved him away and turned to her family. On seeing their scared and worried expressions, she hid her fear and straightened her shoulders. ‘Come, we must do as Robson says. Pack lightly or bury what you cannot carry. Quickly, now!’
As the others turned and ran back to the house, her mother stepped forward and gripped Pippa’s arm. ‘This valley, the stud, is all we have, Pippa.’
Yes, Mother.’ Distracted, Pippa nodded, looking beyond her towards the scurrying men.
Esther’s hand clenched Pippa’s arm like a vice. ‘No, listen to me!’
Pippa stared at her, shocked.
You must not let all that we have slip from our grasp. Not now we are finally finding our way out of the depths of despair. I’d not survive another disappointment.’
I promise I won’t let that happen.’
Her mother’s gaze remained fixed on hers. ‘If we lose the stud, that will be the end of us. The Nobles will be finished forever.’
I know. I’ll do everything I can to prevent it. Trust me.’ She kissed her mother’s cheek and gently pushed her in towards the house. ‘Go help pack. Take only the most important things and hurry!’
Robson, bless him, sprang into action. He ran about issuing orders that everyone instantly obeyed; even her mother showed extreme courage and did as she was told without complaint.
Pippa knew all kinds of fear. The fear of being turned out of their house when her father squandered their money, the fear of being unloved and rejected by Grant, the fear of being in the middle of a vast ocean on an insignificant ship. Yet nothing eclipsed the fear she was experiencing now.
The terror seemed tangible, as though she could taste it, reach out and touch it. She wasn’t one to panic and hated being vulnerable, but as the wind carried the smell of smoke and the sound of crackling wood, her throat closed up through pure dread.
Astounded by the enormity of losing everything she’d worked for and dreamed of, Pippa stood trance-like, unable to move or think. The noise and confusion around her dimmed.
Pip.’ Davy tugged at her skirts, his face pale.
For a long moment she stared at him. She didn’t realise she was frightening him until his bottom lip quivered.
Will we die, Pip?’
Wrenched out of her daze, she blinked as his words sank in. ‘No … No, darling.’ His hand inched into hers and she squeezed it tight. ‘We’ll be fine. I’ll take care of you.’
A shout made her jump. Colin rode like the devil towards them, waving his hat in the air. Everyone stilled and then quickly joined Pippa and Davy near the creek as Colin pulled up his horse to a skittering halt before them.
Well?’ Robson demanded, his body tense as he ran towards them.
Colin winced as he swallowed, his lips dry and face coated with dust. ‘It’s heading this way about four or five miles from here, maybe a mile more, but that’s all.’ He sagged in the saddle. ‘It’s coming from the direction of the Merediths’ property.’
Time froze for a second and then everyone started talking at once.
Millie stared in horror at Pippa. ‘Oh, no. Amelia and the baby, and Douglas.’
They might be safe. Don’t worry.’ Pippa patted her arm and then looked to Robson for direction.
It’s closer than I thought.’ He frowned, rubbing his fingertips across his forehead. ‘Right, we’ve got to leave the valley now. Colin, bring the work horses here for the ladies to ride.’
Can we not fight the fire, Robson?’ Pippa felt her heart would explode from the pain of losing it all. ‘I mean, we’ve got water at our feet. Can we not—’
Miss, a few buckets of water will not stand up to a bushfire. You’ve never seen one before. It’s a wild beast feasting and growing in front of your very eyes. There’s no stopping it.’
Her frustration burst into anger. ‘I will not lose this place! I will stay and fight.’
Don’t be silly, Pippa,’ Millie scoffed, returning to her side with a large canvas bag bulging with clothes. She took Davy’s hand. ‘We’ll do as Robson says. We must get out of harm’s way. Nothing is worth putting yourself in danger.’
A rifle shot echoed across the valley, sending birds screeching from the trees.
Pippa wheeled around to stare at their entrance into the valley, but no vehicle or horseman came dashing out of the trees at the base.
Robson scanned the slopes, shading his eyes with his hand as the sun burnt down relentlessly. ‘Someone needs help. It’s a signal.’
A shiver of trepidation ran down Pippa’s back. ‘Father,’ she whispered.
No!’ Esther jerked. ‘He’s in Berrima.’

Hilary, eyes wide, stepped closer to her mother. ‘But what if he had started to journey home?’

Buy links for ebook:
All Amazon Kindle sites; myBook.to/WhereRainbowsEnd




Australian born AnneMarie Brear writes historical novels and modern romances. Her passions, apart from writing, are reading, researching, genealogy, roaming historical sites, buying books and gardening. She is an author of historical women's fiction, contemporary romance and several short stories and is currently living in England.
AnneMarie Brear on the web:
http://www.annemariebrear.com
http://annemariebrear.blogspot.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/annemariebrear

Twitter @annemariebrear.