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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wistful Wednesday

Seers by Heather Frost:

A Review

SeersWhen Kate Bennett survived the horrific car accident that claimed her parents' lives, she knew her world would be forever changed. But she never could have imagined how dramatic these changes would be. Feeling like a freak, Kate tries to hide her unwelcome new ability to see people's auras – that is, until she meets Patrick O'Donnell, who seems to be able to disappear at will. When Kate and her remaining family begin to be haunted by Demons, her only hope is to stay close to Patrick and other Guardians like him. Somehow, Patrick lies at the center of the mystery, and Kate soon realizes that both she and her heart are in big-time trouble. Caught up in a war she barely understands, with enemies only she can discern, Kate quickly learns that in war everybody loses something...or someone. (Blurb taken from

What I thought:

From the blurb I thought this book had promise. An interesting premise, the basis for a fascinating paranormal world, potentially engaging characters. Sounds good to me. I really enjoy this type of book. But as I delved into it, I couldn't shake the feeling that I'd read it before. Something about it was oddly familiar. The horrific car accident that killed her family but that she, somehow, survived. A new "ability" she didn't have prior to the accident. A mysterious new guy in her life who seems to know more about her abilities than she does and disappears and reappears in her life at will. Yes, this all seemed very familiar. And then I realized why: I had recently read a book by a well-known author that begins with almost exactly the same premise - horrific car crash, only the heroine survives, new psychic abilities, mysterious new guy in her life. 

I must admit that I was tempted to stop reading this book because I feared it was going to be a rip off of the book I'd recently read with the strikingly similar premise. But something about it kept me reading. As bothered as I was about the familiarity factor, I was curious to discover if this author could differentiate herself from the other one. And while I wasn't blown away by this book as I was by the other one, it still had its merits. Namely, the hero, Patrick. I have to tell you if I ever develop mysterious new abilities I know nothing about and am suddenly dogged by beings that might want to use me/them, I want a Patrick to come into my life to aid me! He is, quite simply, a drool-worthy hero and from the outset, you can't help but root for him and hope he achieves his goals - and gets a happy ending. Then there's his friend/accomplice Tony. What can I say about Tony except that he's a character and a half? He may provide a lot of the book's lighter moments, but when the chips are down, he's there to provide assistance. And Kate was okay, but not a spectacular character. Maybe that's one of the reasons I struggled with this book - because I kept wondering why I should care about this character. Still, I have high hopes for her - maybe she'll evolve more and blossom in the next book.

The villainous aspect of Seers was interesting, too, but I had my issues with it, too. Without giving too much away, I was kind of disappointed with the way it (sort of) resolved itself. I felt like it happened too quickly. The villain was steadily built up throughout the story and just didn't live up to its frightening potential. It just...stopped. I would have liked more fight, more action, more - something. Maybe more of Kate actually being responsible for saving herself. It was almost like she did so by default, not so much effort on her part. And although I'm all for the heroine saving herself scenario, in this case, I would've been more satisfied if the hero actually saved her. I love you, Patrick, but seriously, where were you?

So although the book did start out in similar territory as another, wildly popular book, Seers did manage to differentiate itself from its predecessor. Somewhat. And despite my initial reservations with it, despite its flaws, I did end up enjoying it and wishing for more Patrick and Tony. It's a good, light read for anyone who enjoys paranormal romances in the vein of Mari Mancusi, Alyson Noel, and Stephenie Meyer. Will I read the next book? Sure, I'd love to see where the author is going with this story. If nothing else, it will give me more Patrick. And Tony. Can't lose with that combo.

(ARC provided by NetGalley)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Twilight Thursday

Juggling Act: Guest Post


Heather Frost

It's been said that life is like a roller coaster; full of ups and down, twists and turns. Sometimes we scream, and sometimes we laugh—sometimes things happen fast, and sometimes we progress slowly. We can choose to face each new hill with trepidation, or excitement.

It's a great metaphor, but for the purposes of this post I think there's a better comparison out there. I think that life is more akin to a juggling act. We each stand on a crowded corner, juggling more and more responsibilities with every year we age. Sometimes people toss us a quarter in recognition, but more often than not our only reward is surviving another day without dropping everything.

It's easy to feel bogged down with everything life throws at you. I'm going to use myself as an example. I'm the oldest daughter in a family of twelve. I'm a full time student, working toward my Bachelor's degree. I work as a writing tutor. I'm an author. And somewhere in there I try to fit in a social life, and some much needed me time. I realize I'm pretty lucky, and my life could be a lot crazier, but learning to balance your responsibilities is never easy. I've found that organizing your time is a lot like budgeting your money. Learning to distinguish between needs and wants is essential. If you try to do everything you need and want, you're going to end up a nervous wreck. I find that making lists is helpful, and in the end you just need to remember that there's always tomorrow.

For Kate Bennett, surviving the car wreck that killed her parents means big changes and even bigger problems. As she begins to see auras and invisible people, Kate must learn to trust Patrick O'Donnell, a handsome Guardian, or risk her life being overrun with Demons. She soon realizes that both she and her heart are in big-time trouble.

And now, an excerpt from Seers:

Lee stood, pulling her tray up with her. “Well, guess I'll see you guys later. Wish me luck.” Without waiting for a response she stalked away, leaving me alone with Patrick.

I took a quick bite of my mashed potatoes and slid a few inches away from him, pulling my tray with me.

I didn't look up when he sighed deeply, or even when he angled himself toward me. “Kate, what's the matter? Did I do something wrong?”

“What makes you think anything's wrong?” I grunted, staring at my food, propping my elbow nearest to him on the table to better cut us off.

“You. You're acting like I've got some kind of disease or something.” His voice sounded far too accusing, considering the fact that there was more off about him than there was with me. But I didn't point that out. I just shoveled another spoonful of potato into my mouth.

He sighed deeply and picked up his fork, only to stab his unfortunate piece of chicken. He didn't bother to eat it, though. “You avoided me, at Lee's party. I just want to know why. Because I thought we were getting along just fine. Did I offend you somehow? Do you like the British?”

I let my elbow slip off the edge of the table, and I turned to stare at him, fighting to keep emotion from twisting my face. “I do. I do like the British. They have a great sense of humor.”

“So, you're shunning me because I mocked the English?” The disbelief in his voice was almost comical.


“Then why?”

I bit my lower lip, knowing that I'd regret anything I blurted out at this point. Not that that stopped me, of course.

“Look,” I hissed suddenly, leaning toward him. “I know about you. I know that you're different. I know, because I'm different too. I can see auras. You know, read peoples emotions. But not you. You're different. You have a silver aura, and I can't see your emotions.” I waved my hand in the space between us, back and forth, groping for the right words. “And this, this friendship you're trying to achieve, well, it's not going to work. I was playing along because I was curious about you. But now, I just want you to stay away from me—and from all my friends. You got it?”

He was staring at me, his eyes blinked slowly. He didn't look as scared or as nervous as I sort of imagined he would, but he didn't look angry either. He just looked . . . surprised? Maybe a little unsure. I suppose he'd never been confronted like this before, but I could understand that. It was a first for me too.

“Kate . . . ” his voice trailed off, and in his momentary hesitation I stood, gripping my tray tightly as I walked away.

“Wait!” I heard him call out behind me, but I didn't stop. I dumped my mostly uneaten meal into the garbage and deposited my tray before turning on my heel and walking firmly out of the room. I wasn't entirely sure about where I was going; just away from Patrick.

I heard him stumbling along behind me, but that only caused my step to quicken. I wanted to end this conversation as strongly as I'd begun it. I was going to have the last word; even if it meant getting into my car and driving home. Forget about school. Defying Patrick in all his weirdness was worth a few absences.

To learn more about Seers, or the author, follow one of these links!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Twilight Thursday

The Value of a Good Critique Partner
(and a Giveaway!)


Rachel Bramble

While thinking of a topic to talk about today, I drew a complete blank but then received an email from my critique partner giving me feedback on yet another chapter of my current work in progress. She loved parts of it, wasn’t so keen on others and then made a suggestion that gave me the ever-wanted lightbulb moment I knew would strengthen the entire story.

So yes, you’ve guessed it, my chosen topic today is the value and importance of a good critique partner or group – notice I say ‘good’ because if you wind up with a bad partner or group you need to get the hell out of there as quickly as possible without looking back!

I am relatively new to the concept of exchanging chapters for critique and could kick myself for not reaching out sooner. In fact, the book I am here to promote today wasn’t critiqued by anyone and it has only been my latest two books (both with my agent) that have benefited from a second pair of eyes.

The reason for this wasn’t my own ego but rather the three times I had looked for critique partners before ended in disaster for either me or them – it is not an easy relationship to form but it SO worth it if you find the perfect partner. So what are you looking for? Read on…

When you write, you are too close or too critical or even too confident about your own work to view it objectively. A critique partner is not someone who is there to rip your blessed baby to shreds, but rather feed and nurture her so she is ready to go out into the big bad world, strong enough to take the feedback of reviewers and readers alike – come good or bad!

The right partner for you needs to first and foremost understand your work/style/voice – if they don’t ‘get you’ the feedback might be unnecessary negative. You don’t want to be matched with someone who would never buy your type of book in a million years.

You also want a person who is willing to exchange work at the same frequency and amount as you. Achieving this isn’t easy but I am happy to say I have found someone (after one or two misses!) who I hope to work with for years to come. So it is possible.

In my opinion, the minimum you should expect and give when looking for a successful partnership is honesty (not to be confused with brutality), encouragement, belief and yearning for your partner’s success in an often unfeeling industry. We writers need to grow a really tough skin and it’s nice knowing you’ve someone to rely on – whether that be to virtually wipe your tears or slap you on the back.

I wish you all the luck in the world if finding the perfect fit – all together now, three cheers for great critique partners!

I’d love to hear about your experiences – both good and bad…

Rachel’s latest release Paying The Piper is available from Lyrical Press on September 19th – here’s the blurb & buy link:

Nightclub manager Grace Butler is on a mission to buy the pub where her 
mother's ashes are scattered but the owner wants to sell to anyone but her. And that owner happens to be her father...who has a secret she 
will do anything to discover.

Social worker and all around good guy Jimmy Betts needs funds to buy a house 
for three special kids before their care home closes. Time is running out 
and he's desperate for cash. He agrees to to a one-time 'job' for bad-man 
Karl Butler. But in a sudden turn of events, Jimmy finds himself employed by 
Karl's beautiful, funny and incredibly sexy daughter, Grace. Their lives 
couldn't be more different, yet one thread binds them: they're both trying 
to escape the bonds of their fathers. Maybe the only way they'll be free is 
by being together, instead of alone.

                                                                                                       Author_picRachel Brimble.jpg
Rachel is giving away a free download of any of her six novels including Paying The Piper to a random commenter – here is her website and contact addresses to find out which one you would like. Rachel has written everything from romantic suspense, to romantic comedy, contemporary and Victorian historical – enjoy!!

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Mystic Monday

Have you ever felt bound?

I don't mean physically or even spiritually and I don't mean to a person, place or thing of sentimental value either.

I mean forcefully bound by something that intrinsically felt beyond your control or ability to effect.


I have. For the past year or so, I felt this way. I felt as if my very essence had been bound, that my wings had been chained so that I could not fly.

At first, I thought the problem was the condition of the house I lived in, that I was so cramped, so stifled, that my essence - what made - just left and would never return. But I soon began to realize that wasn't the case. The problem was that I was truly bound.

Someone thought to have the right to bind my spirit and I was so distracted by life and so depressed by it, that I let it happen.

Well, recently I woke up. I realized that no one has the right to bind me, to prevent me from flying. So, I broke the chains and I'm currently in the fight for my very existence. I thought I was alone in my fight.

I was wrong. I do not fight alone.

Being bound prevented my protector from seeing me, finding me. Once I broke the chains and released my essence, he found me. He swooped in, carrying me to freedom.

He never stopped looking, never gave up on me. I will be forever in his debt. But then, I've worshiped him for most of my life, gave him whatever he asked and I'm one of the fortunate few graced by him.

While immortal, he is not the "god" so many people claim to worship. He's been around much longer.

...until next time...

- Chai-Lee

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Starlight Saturday

Book Review:Spell Bound 
by Kelley Armstrong

"Sexy, smart, and action-packed! Kelley Armstrong is truly one of the greats in this genre." 
-Richelle Mead, author of the bestselling Vampire Academy series 

"Kelley Armstrong's bewitching ability to entertain remains as strong as ever." 

"Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld goes beyond standard paranormal fiction . . . moving from one set of characters to another through the books, yet intertwining their stories to provide a rich background for the readers." 
-San Francisco Book Review 

"Armstrong is quite deft at making Savannah simultaneously formidable, sympathetic, and real-or at least as real as a girl who flings hex bolts and has a necromancer on speed-dial can be." 
-The Miami Herald 

"Savannah is a gutsy, shrewd, and accomplished protagonist who will immediately capture the reader's intelligence." 
-Library Journal 

"Armstrong is a master of suspense, romance, and bad girls who know how to kick a little badder-guy tail and look good while doing it. Getting a new Armstrong book is a guarantee that you're going to be up all night reading, because you're not going to be able to stop until it's done." 
-The Parkersburg News and Sentinel

With reviews like this, I was eager to jump into this book and immerse myself in the world the author had created, even though I hadn't read any previous books in the series. I was hoping it was one of those books that could be read as a stand-alone, and while some might consider that to be the case, I was just...lost. I felt like I had stepped into the middle of a conversation at a party where everyone knew each other except me. The book was filled with references to people and storylines from previous books, which made me wonder several times whether or not I should finish reading this book. Still, something kept me going and before I knew it, I had finished the book. One thing in its favor is that it's a fast read. If it wasn't, I probably would have given up on it because like I said, I was lost in a conversation I knew little about and felt like I was desperately trying to play catch up.

Setting aside the fact that this is part of a very long series (this is book number 12), there were things to recommend it for hardcore paranormal/urban fantasy fans. A kickass heroine, a hero who's loyal to a fault, but still very alpha, a cast of supernatural characters stirring up trouble. All the stuff you'd need or want in a book of this type, right? Pretty much. I was disappointed that the romantic elements weren't played up that much. In fact, they were written like an after-thought to the point that I began to wonder how these two characters found themselves in a relationship. And when they did, it was just kind of...meh. No sparks whatsoever, nothing to sigh for or make the reader root for them to be together. But since I didn't read any previous books in the series, I don't know whether this is just the way the author writes her romances or if they are just after-thoughts for her and she's more interested in the story.

As to that, the story itself is rather interesting. A witch unwittingly giving up her powers in a deal with some unknown force to protect an innocent child? Sounds good so far. So then said witch, Savannah, embarks on a crusade to get her powers back and leads her faithful hero, Adam, on a wild chase that has more twists and turns than a corkscrew. Okay, still with it. But even as I'm reading, sometimes I can't help but think, Who cares? Savannah is kind of bratty and likes to get her own way a lot. She's also something of a control freak, which is what, I think, freaks her out the most about losing her powers. She's no longer in control. For the first time in her life, she has to rely on her wits and her physical attributes to get out of certain situations, rather than depend on the quick fix of being able to cast a spell. The saving grace for Savannah (and this story) is that the loss of her powers sends Savannah on a journey of self-discovery. I won't spoil the results of that journey, but I will say that it made this book worth reading.

All in all, I liked the cast of characters, the story itself was intriguing, and the writing was tight and flowed so easily off the page, sometimes you forgot you were reading a book. Those are the criteria of a good book for me. Will I pick up another in this series? Very possibly.

GIVEAWAY ALERT: I'm going to give my copy away - and hey, it came with two Otherworld tattoos - to  a lucky commenter.

(Note: I received this book from the publisher for review.)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Twilight Thursday

Let’s Pretend

by Bernadette Marie

I have 5 active little boys and often in my house I hear, “Let’s pretend that…”   I can admit in my life I remember saying that phrase over and over as well.  Now that I’m an adult I still say it.  Oh, sometimes I say, “Let’s pretend this house is clean and quiet.”  Not happening.  “Let’s pretend that we can afford anything we want.”  Yep, wishful thinking.  “Let’s pretend that we are in a small town, in the mountains, and there is a snow storm.”  Now the floodgates open and I have a book.

Yes, as an author I still get to play pretend.  I create people who are just like you and me.  My heroines are never the leggy, fit and trim type.  No, usually they have at least ten pounds they think they should lose, their hair (at some point in the book) will be a mess when the hero comes to see her, and there is bound to be at least one bad habit.  My heroes don’t fare much better.  They have grey in their hair, drink too many beers, and yes, we have to throw in one bad habit.  (ie. One of my heroes throws empty water bottles in the back of his car when he’s done drinking them.  Not that my husband does that.) My characters have real jobs in real situations.  They have to buy groceries, pay bills, and worry about the nosey neighbor. So how is this still playing pretend?

My characters are real to my readers.  They identify with the single mother who struggles to make ends meet.  The man who stresses about his job.  The reader wants to pretend with me.  They want to go on the journey from where they characters start and follow them to happily ever after.

Recently I received a letter from a woman who doesn’t leave her house.  It’s been more than thirty years since she’d left her husband and that feeling of being in love went with it.  However, now, though my books she gets to fall in love all over again and have a happily ever after knowing that in a few months, she’ll be able to do it all over again when my next book is released.

Oh, I have more in store in the future.  There are a few ghosts in my head saying, “Let’s pretend,” and soon I’ll be letting them out.  There are a few more handsome heroes still lurking in my head saying the same thing.  Lucky me.

I don’t see me letting the imagination from my childhood go away anytime soon.  I’m always game for a good game of pretend.  Only my pretend games now get a little sexy and happily ever after is my favorite game of all times.



Bernadette Marie has been an avid writer since the early age of 13, when she’d fill notebook after notebook with stories that she’d share with her friends.  Her journey into novel writing started the summer before eighth grade when her father gave her an old typewriter.  At all times of the day and night you would find her on the back porch penning her first work, which she would continue to write for the next 22 years. 

In 2007 – after marriage, filling her chronic entrepreneurial needs, and having five children – Bernadette began to write seriously with the goal of being published.  That year she wrote 12 books.  In 2009  she was contracted for her first trilogy and the published author was born.  In 2011 she (being the entrepreneur that she is) opened her own publishing house, 5 Prince Publishing, and has released contemporary titles and will begin the process, eventually, of taking on other authors in other genres.  Also in 2011 she became co-owner of Seven Songs Press and will release a novella as part of an anthology with other very talented authors in November 2011.

Bernadette spends most of her free time driving her kids to their many events.  She is also an accomplished martial artist, working her way to her second degree black belt in Tang Soo Do.  An avid reader, she enjoys most, the works of Nora Roberts and Karen White. She loves to meet readers who enjoy reading contemporary romances and she always promises Happily Ever After.

TWITTER: @writesromance



Regan Keller fell in love with a wealthy and powerful man once. He was her boss. When that turbulent relationship ended, she swore she’d never again date someone she worked with. That was before she literally fell into her new boss’s lap.

Zachary Benson is the head of a successful empire and used to getting what he wants in the boardroom and outside of it – and what he wants is Regan Keller. He’s determined to convince Regan that even though he’s her boss, they can share a life together.

However, when Regan’s past threatens to destroy the architectural firm Zach has invested his entire career in, he has to make an executive decision whether to choose his business or fight for the woman he loves.

Chapter One

Thunder rippled through the gray clouds that loomed overhead.  Regan Keller raised her eyes to the sky.  Please, please don’t rain. As she sent up the silent prayer, she felt the first drop  hither forehead.
The nervous flutter in her stomach quickened as she looked down at her watch.  Surely her day couldn’t get any worse. But the sky opened up, and those around her crowded together in the bus stop shelter.  Her hair, tied in a tail at the base of her neck, dripped rain down her back as she hunched in her coat.  How could she have forgotten her umbrella?  Had her car been running, she’d have the one tucked safely away in the glove compartment because spring in Tennessee often meant sudden storms.  She should carry one in her bag but had suffered a lapse in memory, having opted for the sunny beaches of Hawaii for the past two years.  

As the bus arrived, those under the shelter huddled onto it ahead of her, claiming every seat.  Soaking wet, Regan wedged herself between two people and held onto the handrail above her head. She looked out the window at the commuters driving themselves to work in the pouring rain.  That should have been her.  
A bitter-faced old woman sat below her, her oversized bag occupying the next seat.  Regan bent to ask her to move it, but the woman glared up at her and gave a grunt that sounded like a dog’s bark.  Regan flinched and tried to look away.  But she was compelled to keep an eye on the woman. 

The man to the other side of the vacant seat snickered. Regan looked down at him in his long black overcoat and perfect hair.  Hemmed in between the old lady’s bag and an overweight man in a jogging suit, he was as pinned in his seat as she was to the people around her.  She would have given him a piece of her mind for laughing at her had the bus not jolted to a sudden stop.  It lurched forward then back and tossed Regan onto the man’s lap.

“I would have offered you my seat,” he said with a bright grin as the bus lurched again.

“Why, you…” She struggled to free herself, but the crowd moved in tightly around them as the bus bounced down the street.  The pace of her heart kicked into gear and she could feel the sweat bead on her brow.  

She hadn’t been this close to a man in over a year, and the panic of having him actually hold her on his lap was making her more than uncomfortable.  “I need to stand up.”

“You might as well sit.” He wrapped his arms around her.  “Doesn’t look like you’ll be standing again anytime soon.”

Regan took a few deep and cleansing breaths.  She forced down the panic that was filling her body and tried to push it away.  Alexander Hamilton thought she was dead.  There should be no danger in sitting on the lap of a nice-looking man.  She should find it within her to enjoy the experience and focus on something else.

He didn’t have an accent native to Tennessee like hers.  Perhaps the rain had caught him off guard as well.  If she didn’t relax, she’d have a heart attack, and this nice gentleman who wasn’t from Nashville would probably be blamed for her death on the bus on his way to work.

Accepting her predicament at face value would be a prime opportunity to let go of bitter feelings for the opposite gender, though after what she’d been through, she wasn’t sure she could.  The thought of ever loving another man or letting one touch her made her palms sweat and her stomach clench.

The man smiled at her, and a dimple formed in his cheek. “This is your first time on this bus, isn’t it?” He pushed back a wet wisp of hair from her forehead, and she flinched away.  “It’s always crowded, but I know I would have seen you.”

“My car wouldn’t start this morning.”  She pressed her hand to her jittery stomach and willed it to settle.  “I start a new job today. Car trouble couldn’t have come at a worse time.”  

“New job?  Congratulations. So what is this new job?”

God, he was handsome, and wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy the ride?  But she wasn’t.  “Executive assistant.”  The words shook as she spoke.

“Pretty important.” 

“You think it’s just some glorified secretary, don’t you?”  She clenched her teeth and her fists.  Why wouldn’t she be angry?  The last man she’d worked for had interpreted the title executive assistant as a license to run her life and to ruin it.

“No.  I was serious.  It’s a very important position.”  He looked sincere.  “So where is this new job?”

“Benson, Benson and Hart.”

“Real estate development.”  

“Yes.”  Her breath was becoming harder to push through her lungs. “I should get off your lap.” 
“You’d ruin my day.”  He laughed easily, so she tried to relax.  “So whose executive assistant will you be?”  

“Zachary Benson’s.” She looked around for a space to stand.

“CEO?  He must have been very impressed with you.”

“I’ve never met him.  His current assistant is having a baby and leaving the company.  He was out of town when she interviewed me.”  She thought about Mary Ellen, his current assistant.  The interview had had a motherly quality to it.  She wasn’t sure whether it was because Mary Ellen was pregnant or that worried for her boss. “I think she takes good care of him.  It’ll be a hard pair of shoes to fill.”  And if that hadn’t had her stomach tied in knots, here she was having a conversation about it with a man she didn’t know while sitting on his lap.  Had she completely forgotten the last man she’d gotten this close to tried to kill her?
“I’m sure he’ll be pleased with her choice.”

“Thank you.”  She wanted to wiggle away from the hard muscles she could feel in his chest, from his arms that held her tight against him, and from the legs of a man who obviously kept in shape.  She couldn’t, so she kept talking. “I hope he likes me. I can’t imagine him not wanting to meet me first.”

“Maybe he’s ugly.”

Finally a laugh rolled from her throat. “That’s not what Mary Ellen said.” She tucked in her lips.  “She says he’s a hottie.”

“Hottie?”  His voice lit with humor.  “Well, you’ll enjoy your job then.”

“Strictly business here.  I don’t get involved with the boss,” she said sternly.  Not anymore.  This was, after all, her chance to take back her life after making such a mistake.

The bus stopped, and the old woman stood and grabbed her bag.

“Move!”  She shoved her way through the people who climbed on and made her way out the door.  Before Regan could stand and claim a seat, the crowd around her pushed her closer against the stranger, whose arms wrapped tightly around her as others dropped down beside them.

“Your stop is the next one,” he offered, and she nodded.  “So what’s your name?”


“You’re native to Tennessee, aren’t you? Your accent gives you away.”

“I was born in Memphis.  I spent most of my life in Nashville though.  I did a stint in Los Angeles and then lived in Maui for the last two years.  I missed home though.”  The more she tried to suppress her nerves, the more she talked.

“Los Angeles?  Tried your hand at Hollywood?”

“No.” She shook her head.  “I worked for a prominent lawyer who had some big-name clients.  But I wasn’t seeking fame and fortune.”

“Well, Ms. Executive Assistant, I’m glad you came home or this would have been a very boring ride this morning.”  The bus stopped, and most of the people began to move to the door.  “This is your stop.”  
She finally stood and turned to exit with the crowd without looking back.

The man caught her hand and held it.  Her very core shook, and her first instinct was to rip her hand away.  But she needed to move on and not be so damn afraid of every man that gave her attention.

“Would you have lunch with me?” he asked.

“What?” She looked back at people climbing on. If she didn’t exit the bus now, she’d miss her stop. “Oh, I don’t think so.” 

“Meet me at the hot dog stand at noon just on the north corner of your building,” he said with a wink and a nod.

She couldn’t think to speak.  She nodded as she hurried off the bus.

The rain had subsided for the time being.  Regan had almost dried off as she sat on the handsome man’s lap.  The smell of his cologne lingered on her coat.  She closed her eyes and breathed in the scent of him.
She stopped as she neared the door and turned to see the bus drive away.  He was watching her from the window, and he waved.  It occurred to her she didn’t even know his name.  

She looked down at her hands.  They were shaking. 

Get over it.  Move on.  Not everyone wanted to hurt her.  Not every man was evil with ulterior motives.  No, some were just nice men who wanted to take you to lunch.

Well, it wasn’t like he’d asked her to stay at a hotel.  He’d offered to buy her a hot dog.  Really, it was harmless.  And he’d assume she was too busy with her new job if she just didn’t show up.

But she wanted to.

Well, there was no better time to move on with her life, and no better way to get to know the man on whose lap you’d ridden to work than over a hot dog.  

A tingle of hope shot through her.  She needed to start taking back her life the way she wanted it.  No more mistakes. No more regrets.  It was her life now, and she was going to enjoy it.

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Monday, September 5, 2011

The New Author...: Self Promotion is Not a Dirty Word

The New Author...: Self Promotion is Not a Dirty Word: Perhaps the most important lesson a new author must learn does not pertain to sentence length or paragraph structure. Nor does it encompass ...