Monday, April 30, 2012

Teaser Tuesday - Table for Five

Today's Teaser Tuesday features third-grade teacher Lily Robinson in Table for Five, written by Susan Wiggs. I'm about halfway through and enjoying the story. Here's the opening:
       "Hey, Miss Robinson, want to know how to figure out your porn-star name?" asked Russell Clark, bouncing on the balls of his feet toward the school bus.
       "I think I'll make it through the day without that." Lily Robinson put a hand on the boy's shoulder to keep him from bouncing off the covered sidewalk and into the driving rain.

Here's the book's synopsis from Amazon
      Lily Robinson and Sean McGuire have nothing in common. She guards her independent lifestyle with a ferocity that hides a fear of love and the pain it can bring. He's always been a rolling stone, making his own way. But with the sudden deaths of a couple close to them both, the two become joined in grief and a knowledge that they must step up and care for the three orphaned children.
      With little more than hope and dedication, these five embark on a cross-country road trip filled with the ups and downs, the joys and frustrations that make up a family. Along the way, Lily and Sean and these troubled children will discover that even when you've lost everything, love still remains.

A prolific author, Susan Wiggs's books always entertain, and this one is no exception.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Here's the link:Teaser Tuesday

Friday, April 27, 2012

Sweet Saturday Sample - April 28

Here’s another sample from my work-in-progress, Elly and the Geriatrics. If you haven’t read my earlier posts, you’ll need to know that Elly is staying with Granny M to help her recover from a broken ankle. But that’s against the Sunset Acres Retirement Village rules, so Elly is in disguise. 

Elly parked Granny’s golf cart near the door of the Shop ‘N Hop and grabbed a fabric tote from the orange-colored bin behind the seat. Granny had hot-glued yellow fringe around the bin’s edges and added a big glittery M on the back—M for Marge Macauley. An orange vinyl canopy covered the cart’s top. That, too, had a trim of yellow fringe dangling from its edges, inspiring Granny to call the vehicle “My Little Surrey.” To Elly, the two-person cart resembled a miniature Rose Parade float.
            Elly pulled the handwritten list from the slicker’s pocket and read the items Granny M had written in looping cursive.
            Two-percent milk (quart)
            Miss Clairol #108 (reddish blond)
            National Enquirer
            White bread
            Peanut butter
At the bottom, she saw the words,
  Buy yourself a treat.
            Elly chuckled. The kind of treat she wanted wasn’t available at a mini-mart. If she could just have a day at a spa, complete with massage, facial, manicure, and pedicure, that luxury would keep her smiling for a month. Heck, while she was daydreaming she might as well make the masseur a drop-dead gorgeous Matthew McConaughey or George Clooney clone and set the scene on a beach in Hawaii. Why not? It sure as hell wasn’t going to happen. Really, if she just had a decent apartment back in Dallas and a start toward her career, she’d be satisfied. She straightened her shoulders and pushed aside her frustration. Jobs weren’t easy to come by right now, Granny needed her, and their arrangement suited her temporarily. The rest would come, hopefully soon. She pushed open the glass door to the store.
Now where do they keep Miss Clairol?

Personally, I'd choose Matthew McConaughey. Can't resist that Texas drawl.

By the way, I was amazed at the tricked-out golf carts pictured online. Here are links to a couple of sites that include photos. 
Go, Granny. Go!

Click here to read earlier posts from Elly and the Geriatrics:

For links to more Sweet Saturday Samples, click here:

Photo sources: 
[NOTE: The golf cart photo is mine.]

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Interview and Giveaway

Check out Shannan Albright's interview today and discover how reading a high school diary led to writing I.O.U. SEX
If you leave a comment, you'll be entered to win an eBook copy of the book. Here's the link: Interview with Sandy and Sandra

Thanks a million!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Teaser Tuesday - Different Kind of Forever

Older woman? Younger man? That's A Different Kind of Forever. Here's a snippet of dialogue from the book. (Diane is speaking in the first line; then Michael.)

"I'm forty-five years old."
"I'm twenty-six."
"Exactly. Doesn't that bother you?"
He shook his head. "Not at all. I like being twenty-six."

This funny, sexy book is only 99¢ right now for your Kindle. It's also available in paperback. Here's the link: A Different Kind of Forever
(At 31% on my Kindle)

Synopsis from Dee's website: Michael Carlucci, the hot, young musical genius behind the successful rock band, NinetySeven, knows that he’s found the woman for him. Diane Matthews is not just beautiful and smart, she’s got an infectious passion for everything in her life, from her three daughters to her new play. For him, the search is over. He knows they belong together.

For Diane, it’s not as simple. She’s almost twenty years older than Michael. She’s not interested in remarrying – she’s very happy with her life just the way it is, thank you very much. But she can’t deny the growing attraction between them – and it’s not just his touch that she craves. But it’s not until Michael is gone and an old love returns that she realizes just what he meant to her. He said he would love her forever. Can she trust that? Or should she find a safer route to happiness?

A Different Kind of Forever is the story about two complicated people finding – and trying to hold on – to love.

For links to other Teaser Tuesday posts, click here:

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sweet Saturday Sample - April 21

After all the kind comments and encouragement I received following last Saturday’s post from my WIP (tentatively titled Electra and the Geriatrics), I’m moving forward with the story. Last week you met my protagonist Elly. Today’s post gives you a peek at my hero Derek.

      Derek watched the heavy gate clang shut. He’d recognized Mrs. Macauley’s distinctive ride and waved, but she must not have seen him.
      Where is she headed, all by herself? Should I have stopped her?
       He’d started to shout a greeting, then changed his mind.
       Probably not.
       Those senior citizens can be damned independent.
       He chuckled.
       Especially Mrs. M.  A real ball of fire ‘til she’d fractured her ankle.
       He shrugged, stepped back under the oak’s branches, and leaned on his shovel.
       Must be feeling better if she's running around in her golf cart.
       He wondered what had happened to the granddaughter who’d been helping her. He’d seen her a couple of times at the rec center right after Mrs. M fell off that curb. Nice-looking woman. Her relation to her grandmother was obvious—red hair, lanky build, though the granddaughter was taller. But for one reason or another, they’d never met. Probably just as well.
       Derek turned and resumed his work beneath the native red oak. The neighborhood’s gardening committee had decreed that the entrance to Sunset Acres Retirement Village be spruced up this spring, and their first project included putting flowers beneath the tree’s branches. As their landscaper, he wasn’t too hopeful of the plan’s success. He’d tried his damnedest to convince them that the roses and daylilies they wanted would never survive in the shade at the oak’s tangled roots, but the ladies on the committee wanted colorful blooms. He hoped a few azaleas, with impatiens and begonias in bright ceramic pots, would satisfy them. Of course, they would have to approve his choices. The whole thing would take on a drama far out of proportion to the importance of the issue. He shook his head and chuckled, imagining their heated discussion.
       Good thing he could find humor in his situation. By now he’d hoped to be settled down with a wife and kids, heading up a successful landscape design company. Instead, here he was, pushing thirty and still working toward those dreams.
       He put a foot to the shovel’s blade and spaded up a mound of mulch, then spread the top-dressing over the hard-packed ground. What a life. But right now, there wasn’t an alternative.

I hope you enjoyed today's excerpt. You'll find more Sweet Saturday Samples here: The Sweet List

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Love Songs Murders - Audio Excerpt

Author Kelly Marshall was a radio announcer for many years; and if you listen to her audio excerpt from THE LOVE SONGS MURDERS, you'll understand why she had a huge following. What a voice!

Here's the link: 
Love Songs Audio
Just click on the bar underneath the book's cover.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Washington State Flower

Sandra Allen lives in North Texas, so we recently posted a photo of a field of bluebonnets -- the official Texas State Flower. Since Sandy Nachlinger lives in Washington State, today we're featuring its official flower too -- the rhododendron. Both Washington and Texas are settings in I.O.U. SEX.
This dwarf rhododendron blooms in Sandy N's front yard.

And this rhodie is in her backyard.

Coast Rhododendron
In 1892, before they had the right to vote, Washington women selected the coast rhododendron as the state flower. They wanted an official flower to enter in a floral exhibit at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. Six flowers were considered, but the final decision was narrowed to clover and the "rhodie," and voting booths were set up for ladies throughout the state. When the ballots were counted, the rhododendron had been chosen as the Washington state flower. In 1959, the Legislature designated the native species, Rhododendron macrophyllum, as the official flower of the state of Washington. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Teaser Tuesday - Untying the Knot

Untying the Knot
"I stitch memories. That's what I do. Not mine, other people's. I capture them in cloth, thread and ink. I fix them, like insects in amber."

Those are the opening sentences from Untying the Knot by Linda Gillard.

Here's the synopsis from Goodreads:
A ruined castle...
A ruined marriage...
Two shattered lives...
When love is not enough, who pays the price?
         A wife is meant to stand by her man. An army wife particularly. But Fay didn't. She walked away - from Magnus, her traumatised war hero husband and from the home he was restoring: Tullibardine Tower, a ruinous 16th century tower house on a Perthshire hillside. Now their daughter Emily is marrying someone she shouldn't. And so is Magnus...
         "Everyone makes mistakes, but I sometimes think I’ve made more than most. Marrying Magnus was one of them. But the biggest mistake I ever made was divorcing him."

I just finished this book, and I really enjoyed it.

Click HERE for more Teasers.

Texas State Flower

The bluebonnet is the Texas state flower. Here's the reason why!

Thank you to my good friend Becky Nesbit Graham for this photo taken near Ennis, Texas.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Sweet Saturday Sample - April 14

Today I'm introducing you to Elly, the main character in my WIP -tentatively titled ELLY AND THE GERIATRICS. (Of course, that may change!)  

I hope you enjoy this snippet. As always, your comments are sincerely appreciated.

~ Sandy Nachlinger

            If I can just make it to the gate, no one will guess.
            Elly pulled the yellow plastic hood over her head and tucked in a stray curl. Her feet planted on the golf cart’s floorboard, she turned the key, shifted into forward, and floored the accelerator. With a look over her shoulder, she sped out of the carport and onto Bluebonnet Lane.
A light spritz of early spring rain sprinkled her face and turned the roads into gleaming pathways.  Rows of pastel-hued mobile homes lined the street like keys on a piano with blacktop driveways separating each one. Hundred-year-old oaks shaded the retirement village, giving the homes on wheels a feeling of permanence. This morning, a row of hyacinth poked through the black loam in a nearby garden, backed by orange tulips the color of a Texas sunset. Elly scanned the streets and sidewalks, relieved that no Sunset Acres residents were out and about. Once again she wondered how long she would be able to masquerade as her grandmother.
            She jammed her foot down as far as it would go, and the electric cart responded with a lurch. The surge of power pleased her—made her glad Granny had hired that retired NASCAR mechanic to improve the machine’s speed. Not exactly a Ferrari, but the cart was still better than carrying home bags of groceries on foot, especially in the drizzle. A raindrop fell from the canopy’s fringe and splashed her nose. A geezer-mobile definitely was not her style.
She pushed the button mounted on the dashboard, waited while the iron gate scraped open, and sped toward the gap. Peering from beneath her slicker’s hood, she saw a man standing under a gigantic tree, his features shadowed by the thick low-hanging branches.
            He raised his hand as she neared, and she sneaked a glance, then ducked her head. He paused and moved back into the gloom.
            Elly’s heart spun as fast as the golf cart’s wheels. She took a deep steadying breath and eased the vehicle through the gate, forcing herself to stare straight ahead. Had he seen her face? Probably not. Sweat pants and the yellow raincoat covered her from head to toe, and the only things visible were her hands. Granny said people saw what they expected to see. Elly hoped she was right.
            She listened for the screech as the gate eased closed behind her.
            “Safe.” She whooshed out a breath. With a firm grip on the steering wheel, she revved the cart’s engine and turned left toward her destination.
            What a life. Not what she’d expected to be doing at age twenty-five. Instead of a high-rise Dallas apartment, she lived in a cramped mobile home in small-town Shannon Ridge, Texas. Instead of working as an interior designer, she spent her days doling out her grandmother’s medications. Instead of driving around in a decent car, she relied on a tricked-out geriatric golf cart for transportation.
            If Granny hadn’t tumbled off that curb—if Rick hadn’t turned out to be such a shit—if she’d been born an heiress to a great fortune. It sometimes seemed ifs ruled her life. But the immediate problems were not just ifs but what ifs. What if Rick showed up? What if she got caught living in a retirement village where she wasn’t supposed to be? And if she was discovered, what would Granny do without her?
            She sighed. At least the situation was temporary, and right now there wasn’t an alternative.

Sweet Saturday Samples is hosted by J. Gunnar Grey. To read more excerpts from talented authors, click on the following link:

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Interview with Author Kelly Marshall

Today we’re interviewing author Kelly Marshall about her police mystery, The Love Songs Murders. Welcome, Kelly!

Tell us a little bit about The Love Songs Murders.
Nick Winston and Pat Strom are two Seattle homicide detectives who dig working together. He’s straight, she’s gay. In politically liberal Seattle, that’s not a problem until…they both find the same woman irresistible. Suddenly their wonderful working relationship is intolerable.  The object of their affection is radio announcer, Jasmine James. Beautiful and sultry, James has a sexual appetite big enough to satisfy both detectives. The two officers are not the only ones obsessed with her. A crazed fan kidnaps Jasmine James while four of her male listeners are discovered dead with a single bullet to their ear as her Love Songs program plays softly in the background. The pressure is on Nick and Strom to find the murderer and locate James before her air runs out.

I’d like to know more about Winston and Strom’s relationship.
I love the interplay between Nick and Strom. He’s a tad vain and she keeps him grounded. Their dynamic is fun to work with, and they really do care about each other, not unlike warring siblings.

Your character Jasmine James is a radio announcer. You have a background in radio, don’t you?
Yes, but I always thought I’d communicate in the world through the written word. I had planned on being a journalist and envisioned myself as the next Barbara Walters. Instead, I ended up in a broadcasting school in Colorado Springs, CO. Rather than news, my first job was doing overnights at a country music radio station in Roanoke, VA. I spent close to thirty years in radio. It was never a job to me. It was fun, intense, and often exciting. Conversely, it was unstable and humbling. I feel lucky and blessed to have had that experience.

So that’s how you came up with the idea for your book?
That's right. I used to do a love songs dedication show, and I wanted to write about what I know. Besides, there is an element of contrast between love and murder. I like that.

Which chapter in The Love Songs Murders was the most fun to write?
I loved writing the first sex scene between Nick and Jasmine…a hot steamy shower scene.

What chapter was your favorite?  
Hmm. I think the culminating fight scene between Jasmine and the murderer. I worked a lot on that. The lesbian sex scenes were a challenge.  A gay friend of mine told me I did a good job.  That was an extreme compliment.

What has been the best compliment you’ve received as an author? 
Laurie Jenkins of Nite Owl Reviews wrote of The Love Songs Murders: “With enough twists to keep even the most experienced armchair sleuth guessing, this novel is an unusual and exciting foray into the seedy side of jealousy, revenge, and desire. The story remained spellbinding to the very end. Well-written, intense, and savvy; this mystery will not disappoint.” I was very pleased with that review.

If your book were made into a movie, who would you cast to play your characters?

Nick Winston: Hugh Jackman is such a manly man. I just love looking at him. And he has a great sense of humor and comedic timing. And oh my gosh, don’t get me started on that wonderful body! The only thing, he doesn’t look like I wrote Nick. There is a lesser known actor by the name of Taylor Kitsch who worked with Jackman in “Xmen Origins: Wolverine.” He looks like I envision Nick, and he’s got a sexy timbre to his voice.

Pat Strom: Emily blunt is a British actress with a great stone face. You might recall her as Meryl Streep's assistant in "The Devil Wears Prada." She's cool, calm, bitchy. She would work well as Strom: controlled, capable, and a strong match for Nick. She doesn't let him get away with anything.

What about Jasmine James?
Angelina Jolie first comes to mind, followed by Megan Fox.

I love your characters. Are you planning a sequel featuring the two detectives?
Yes, I’m working on it right now. The working title is The Innocent. Nick and Strom are back on the case trying to solve another murder. The Innocent is about the murder of a child. So there is an element of deep sadness and horror. There is one character in the book that I just love writing about—Nick’s girlfriend, Tandy. She is uninhibited, unfettered and so much fun to write. The book is dark because of the child’s death. Tandy offers a touch of lightness in an otherwise more serious book.

*** GIVEAWAY ***
Kelly is generously offering a free eBook copy of The Love Songs Murders! To enter just leave a comment below, along with your email address so we can contact you if you win. The lucky winner will be announced on Saturday, April 14. 

Buy The Love Songs Murders here:

Also check out Kelly's chilling post-apocalyptic novel:
(Also available through Barnes and Noble and CreateSpace.)

For more info visit Kelly's website:

And follow her on Twitter:
Kelly on Twitter

Angelina Jolie, Alexander-Premiere in Köln - Photo by Stefan Servos {{GFDL}}

Monday, April 9, 2012

Teaser Tuesday - River's Song

Yeah! It's Tuesday! Time to find out what everyone's been reading. My Teaser Tuesday post today is from River's Song by Melody Carlson. Anna is the mom; Lauren is the daughter. 

Her daughter had only graduated from high school a week ago, and yet Lauren already knew everything there was to know about everything, and she was quick to point out how much her mother didn't know. Anna had begged Lauren to join her on this trip. She thought it might improve their strained-to-breaking relationship. 
(pg 11)

Synopsis from Melody Carlson's website:  
Following her mother’s funeral, and on the verge of her own midlife crisis, widow Anna Larson returns to the home of her youth to sort out her parents’ belongings, as well as her own turbulent life. Her relationship with her daughter is in shambles, and the tension between Anna and her vicious mother-in-law escalates daily.

Anna's unique family home sits on a picturesque coastal tributary and is filled with years of memories. For the first time since childhood, Anna embraces her native heritage and river roots. But Anna soon learns that more than just her past resides along the banks of the Siuslaw River.

By transforming her old family home into The Inn at Shining Waters, Anna hopes to create a place of healing—a place where guests experience peace, grace, and new beginnings.

Starting with her own family . . .

This is Book One in the Inn at Shining Water series. I'm looking forward to reading Book Two -- River's Call. 

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Here's the link: Teaser Tuesday

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Sweet Saturday Sample - Apr 7

For the past several weeks, our Sweet Saturday Samples from I.O.U. Sex have focused on June’s back story from the 1960s. Pregnant and unmarried, her options were limited to four choices. She could:

1.  Marry Denny ~ But she discovered Denny had already married someone else, so that possibility was scratched off her list.

2.  Have an abortion ~ Illegal and dangerous, this wasn't something June wanted to do.

3. Give birth and keep the baby ~ Illegitimacy would bring untold heartache to both mother and child, and June never wanted to burden a child with that stigma.

4. Give the baby up for adoption ~ Young women usually ended up in a home for unwed mothers under this option, and that thought frightened June beyond belief.

However, help came from June’s Aunt Betty, who lived near the UC Berkeley campus.

Then Betty offered a solution. "Why don't you stay here with me and continue going to school? You could finish the spring semester and tell your parents you want to stay here for summer classes. That way you can keep your scholarship. And if the doctor's right, the baby will be born in early July. Maybe you won't start to show right away. Then we can arrange an adoption."

This was what June chose to do. Why? Because she cared more about the baby’s life and future than she did about her own, even though this choice broke her heart.  She wanted this child to have the love of two parents who would raise him or her in a safe and nurturing environment. She decided to sacrifice her own love for this baby to see that he or she had the very best life possible.

June decided not to tell Denny about any of this, given the fact that she was in California and he was in Texas, where he had recently married and was expecting a baby with his wife.

So when we return to the present in our story, it’s no wonder June is now grappling with whether or not she will tell Denny her lifelong secret.  Will she? And if she does, how will he react?

This concludes our posts about June. We hope you have enjoyed getting to know her and glimpsing a time in history when women did not have the autonomy and rights that are recognized in today’s world. We have enjoyed sharing a part of her story.

For more Sweet Saturday Samples, click here: Sweet Samples

Photo source (baby):

Monday, April 2, 2012

Teaser Tuesday - Simple Twists of Faith

Another Tuesday; another Teaser. Every week I look forward to this day. Why? Because so many great authors and their wonderful books are represented. I can't wait to see what new books today's posts will bring. 

My teaser today is from Simple Twists of Faith by Judy Dearborn Nill. It's one of only 250 books in the quarterfinals for Amazon's 2012 Breakthrough Novel Award for young adult fiction. (The 100 semi-finalists will be announced April 24.) Good luck, Judy! I love this story, and I think you will too. 

Here are two (okay, three) sentences from the book (approx. Page 9):

I’m not sure what Fay means by silk purses and sows’ ears, but I can’t mistake her tone. She doesn’t believe in me like Jeffrey does. Nobody believes in me like Jeffrey does.

Here's the synopsis from Judy's website:
Emma's in love with her married pastor, but she never expected him to kiss her. The kiss sets off a chain reaction of events that leaves her breathless and at odds with her best friend--wannabe boyfriend--Cal. When scandal rocks the church, Emma must decide how much of her experience to reveal, and at what cost.

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Miz B of Should Be Reading. 
You'll find more 2-sentence book excerpts here: Teasers