Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Hello and Merry Christmas. As my gift to you awesome followers, you will be able to download Landlocked for free the next few days. So if you haven't already go pick up a copy, or tell your friends to!


Monday, December 23, 2013

Amazing Author and a great book!


Chevelle Donahue thought going into work would be just like any other boring day at the mall. Sure, there was her annoying co-worker Wicken Sanders, and a promotional visit from teen heartthrob Timber Hudson, to watch and keep her entertained. But who was she kidding? Working retail was lame no matter what happened. 

A terrorist attack changes everything - an attack from aliens of all things. The patrons are given two options: comply or else. Complying means giving in to a new set of rules and changing her entire life. "Or else" means she has no chance of going home again. 

She must figure out the truth behind why the aliens are holding everyone hostage. In doing so, she risks her chance at freedom - but by the time she learns what's really happening, she might not want it.

Displaced for Christmas

Timber grabbed my arm and pulled me into the bathroom, the one place safe from all surveillance systems on the Star Ship Salvation. If he was taking me back there, he had to have something important to tell me.

"Chevelle, guess what?" He was bouncing like a kid, which was funny to see a grown man do, let me tell you.

I shrugged, clueless as to what all of the excitement was about.

He pointed to our homemade calendar drawn on the wall behind the toilet. When we boarded the ship, the Achlivans took away all of our time. No hours, no days of the week, no months, nothing. It was the aliens way of playing god in the lives of us poor humans. Looking at the small squares with dates marked on them, I couldn't pick out anything in particular that stood out to me.

Sighing heavily, he pointed to one date in particular. "Christmas Eve! It's Christmas!"

"What? Really?" Already? We'd left home in October. How could it be Christmas?

Timber must have been able to read my mind. He put an arm around me and gave me a small smile. "Hey now, no being sad, okay? I'm determined to make this a good holiday for all of us. We're having a special dinner, and if you ask really nicely, I'll give you one of my famous back rubs."

My cheeks grew warm at the thought of Timber giving me a back rub of any kind. I'm sure he meant it in all kinds of innocence, but the guy was also hard to read. Famous back rub could have included a number of things. Determined to play it cool, I rolled my eyes and casually stepped away from him.

"Fine, I'll have to come up with something really great as a present for you."

"Just keep it discrete. I'm not sure how our alien friends are going to feel if they know we know what day it is today. Something tells me if we're supposed to know, they would have made sure everyone was in the loop."

I nodded. "Discrete. I can do discrete."

"Cool! I'm going to get cooking. I think we'll make sugar cookies too. Wicken and Lara will enjoy those, right?"

"Yup!" I nodded, and watched him leave. Shaking my head, I sat down on the toilet, trying to figure out what to get for the guy who was used to having everything. Timber was a movie star back home. What could I possibly give him that he would want? He'd done so much to help me during all of this business with being taken by the aliens. I wanted to make sure he had something awesome. But what?

Then it hit me. I left the bathroom and threw on my shoes. "I'll be right back!"

I had some contraband music to go lift from the storage room.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Scars of the Earth FREE promo

Free the next few days, download and share if you have the time.

Amanda is a healer.

So naturally she is accustomed to falling into nightmares. She had witnessed terrible things ever since she could remember, horror scenes that an innocent child's mind should never have to process.

Life as a healer had three rules:

Never question the Ancients.

Never stay in a scar with a demon.

And never fall in love.

As fate would have it, she was about to break all three.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Guest Post, Jeff Salter

Tribute to the Greatest Generation

By Jeff Salter


            Very much appreciate Cyndi’s gracious invitation to appear here today.


Important and timely

            Have you ever read a novel which seemed so important and timely that you could hardly contain your enthusiasm about it?  Have you ever WRITTEN such a story?

            Well I have.  At least it seems that important and timely to me.  No, not FOR me — because this novel is my tribute to the Greatest Generation … and those still living are leaving us all too quickly.  I’m a “baby boomer” — my parents and teachers (and practically every adult I knew as I grew up) were among that generation which struggled through the Great Depression and sacrificed during World War II.


About the novel

            Of the eight novels I’ve completed so far, Called to Arms Again (from Astraea Press, 2013), was my third written and my third fiction book published.

            It’s the story of a young newspaper reporter looking for a new angle for her Veterans Day special section.  Who better to give her a fresh perspective than a bunch of old war dogs who’ve been there and back.  Not only does Kelly Randall learn what the Greatest Generation was made of, but she soon discovers a great deal about her own mettle.

            My story has action, comedy, romance, plenty of the ‘can-do’ spirit, and an unashamedly healthy dose of patriotism.  You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll cheer.


I need your help

I haven’t gone ‘all-out’ with promotion of my first two novels – romantic suspense and romantic comedy – because they’re mostly enjoyed by readers of those genres.  But the sky’s the limit on promoting C2AA — this story appeals to readers of both genders … from ages 19 to 90!

If you’re the child of a Boomer Generation parent, you need to read this so you’ll understand what your grandparents (and their siblings) went through and how they prevailed.

If you’re a Boomer (born after WW2) — your parents, aunts, uncles, and teachers were members of the greatest generation.  Buy this book and read it, because you’ll recognize these characters.  And if you have living parents or other relatives, tell them about my story.  Please remember, the WW2 generation – both those who served in the military and those who sacrificed on the homefront – are dying at a rate of about 2000 per day … so there is an urgency to let them know about this story which honors them!

If you were born before about 1930, you ARE part of the Greatest Generation and you’ll find yourself (and your siblings and friends) in my story!

            Read it!  Pass the word!  Get this story into the hands of everyone who loves Freedom!

Don’t you agree that artist Elaina Lee did an outstanding job on my cover for Called to Arms Again?



Short bio

            I’ve written all my life — focusing mainly on poetry.  Published a few little things while still in school.  Through newspaper photo-journalism, I compiled some 250 bylines and became rather addicted to seeing my name in print. 

            I’m co-author of two non-fiction monographs (about librarianship) with a royalty publisher, plus a signed chapter in another book and a signed article in a specialty encyclopedia.

            I’ve published library articles, book reviews, and over 120 poems; my writing has won nearly 40 awards, including several in national contests.

            I’m a decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote tour of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland).  I’m the married parent of two and grandparent of six.


My novels

            On taking my early retirement (from nearly 30 years in librarianship), I imagined I would write poems and book reviews and haunt nearby library conferences.  But after moving to KY in late summer of 2006, I discovered (much to my surprise) that there were novels in my brain.

            I recently finished drafting my eighth complete novel.  My fourth novel (to be published) will be released in a couple of weeks — Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold (a screwball comedy with Dingbat Publishing).  I also have a short novella, Don’t Bet On It, which is under contract with Astraea Press.

            Though romantic comedy, romantic suspense, and screwball comedy are among my eight novels, I don’t think of my stories as genre pieces.  Rather, I write novels and novellas with strong, creative, resourceful females who face obstacles of one kind or another and usually don’t realize how courageous they truly are until they face a crisis that calls for it.




Here’s my Facebook Author page:


and here’s my Amazon Author page:




Called to Arms Again

By J. L. Salter




            Grit doesn’t fade away ... it just becomes crusty.  With harrowing elements right out of today’s headlines, this story reaches back into the sturdy heartbeat of people raised during the Depression and tested during World War II.  Though the old uniforms haven’t fit in many decades, their resilient spirits still have that same intensity which helped save democracy.

            Needing only a fresh angle to write her Veteran’s Day special, Kelly discovers first hand that the Greatest Generation still has enough grit to fight back.  While all the authorities are occupied during a massive Homeland Security drill, an urban gang of thieves targets an isolated retirement subdivision ... figuring the crippled geriatrics would offer no resistance.

            Though Kelly’s widowed boyfriend came along only for a post-funeral luncheon, Mitch soon finds himself leading a mismatched flanking team. Kelly’s good friend Wade has his own assignment, with a homemade mortar and lots of illegal gunpowder.

            Maybe it’s difficult to remember everyday things like taking pills, but these octogenarians have never forgotten it was up to them to defend family, home, community, and country.  The outcome of their courageous stand depends on the resolve and resourcefulness of an unlikely ensemble of eccentric elderly neighbors, several American Legion members, and others spanning four generations.




Called to Arms Again – only $2.99 – is available at:




Barnes & Noble:


Now also available in paperback at Amazon.com


Suggested Tags:

Called to Arms, Greatest Generation, America, Patriotism, World War II, World War Two, World War, United States, Elaina Lee, grit, veteran, veterans, Veterans Day, Astraea Press, J.L. Salter, Great Depression, sacrifice, Called to Arms Again



Friday, November 22, 2013

Guest Post, Patricia Kiyono

Thank you so much for having me here on your blog! I am so happy to announce the release of my new holiday novel, Christmas Wishes. I love the characters in this story. Sophie reminds me of myself (a long, long time ago), and Mitch is the kind of guy every girl wants to meet—hard working, with a strong sense of family. The story takes place in southwest Michigan, where I grew up and where I still live. This area reflects the names and customs of the Dutch settlers who came here long ago. Zutphen is modeled after some of the villages near here – everyone knows each other, and most of the names begin with the letters in the last part of the alphabet! Growing up, I asked my dad why our last name didn't start with Van or Vander like most of my friends. He told me I was welcome to put a Van in front of our last name, but that our Japanese relatives might be confused by that!

I spent 28 years teaching elementary school (15 years teaching music and 13 years in a regular classroom), and when my kids were young I directed the Christmas programs and spring musicals at our church. So I drew from those experiences to write about Sophie's challenge in directing the Christmas pageant. And though I've never longed to live in the Big City, I've enjoyed visiting them often. I can understand the lure they have for young people. But like Mitch, I prefer the small-town sense of belonging and security for raising my kids. Both of my daughters have expressed the desire to move to larger cities far away—that's why the central conflict of this story is a personal one for me. I hope you enjoy reading about Sophie and Mitch and how they resolve their differences.




Mitch Carson is tired of the big city. In his former life, he'd been a news photographer in
Chicago, where the dangers are endless. But now, he just wants to settle down in this quiet town with his daughter, Angie. Here, his only fear is losing his daughter to his scheming mother-in-law.

Sophie Gardner wants to be a screenwriter. She's ready to leave small town Zutphen, Michigan and go to Hollywood. With a theater degree under her belt, she's busy writing scripts while helping out her sister Joanie, who's bedridden with a difficult pregnancy. Unfortunately, Joanie has somehow coerced Sophie into directing the Christmas pageant at Zutphen Community Church. 

When Sophie and Mitch meet, the attraction is instant and mutual. But each wants what the other is trying to get away from. Can they deny their feelings and pursue their dreams? Or will the holiday prove to them that their true wishes might not be what they'd thought?



Her eyes crinkled as she smiled, and he hoped his return smile wasn’t as goofy as it felt. “So, let’s take a seat and I’ll give you the low down on the teenagers in the area.”

“Right.” He spied a small table and carried their drinks to it. She raised a brow when he pulled out a chair, but said nothing as she sat. Curiosity finally got the best of him.

“You know, that’s the second time you’ve looked at me as if I’ve done something strange. Apparently, opening the car door for you isn’t normal, and neither is pulling out your chair. Is that not done in Michigan? Should I give up those habits?”


Mitch nearly jumped out of his chair at the force of her answer. And then he realized she hadn’t spoken alone. The barista who’d poured their coffee, as well as two other women seated in the cafe tables around them had echoed Sophie’s answer.

An elderly woman seated behind him tapped him on the shoulder. “Young man, you’ve been raised with good manners, and you should never give them up. If Sophie was surprised when you opened doors and pulled her seat out, it’s because she’s grown up with young boys who don’t know how to treat a lady. She deserves the best, so you just keep right on doing what you do.”

“Yeah, and maybe some of the men around here can learn something,” the barista added.

The other ladies in the area nodded in agreement. Mitch nodded too, his ears burning. He hadn’t realized his voice had carried and he murmured an apology to Sophie, who looked anything but embarrassed. She seemed fascinated with her coffee, having it raised to her lips, but her shaking shoulders told him she’d enjoyed his discomfort.




Buy links: Christmas Wishes can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other ebook outlets.


Author links: Patricia Kiyono can be found at her website, blog, facebook, and twitter @PatriciaKiyono


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Author Spotlight, Lisa Orchard

Hello everyone! Today I'm doing a spotlight on the talented Lisa Orchard and her Super Spies series. I have read all three and loved them, if you have a tween in the household that loves reading buy these books for them. They are sure to enjoy this action and humor packed series. Check out how she deals with writer's block:

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! I’m here to talk to you about writer’s block. That horrible feeling when you stare at a blank page on your computer screen.

When this happens to me, it’s usually when I’m in the middle of a manuscript. You see I’m a “seat of my pants” writer, which means that when I get an idea about a story I just start writing. No outlines or plotting for this girl, when I get an idea I like to let my characters take the wheel.

So, when my characters get into a situation that I’m not sure how to get them out of, I get stuck. The first thing I do is reach for the chocolate. I tend to have Tootsie Rolls on hand, but if not, any type of milk chocolate will do. The endorphins start kicking in and seven times out of ten; I’ll figure out my dilemma and continue my story.

However, there are times when I have to call in the big guns. No amount of chocolate will work. This is usually during a major scene or a key plot twist. I’ll get stuck. I can see the end in sight, but I’m having trouble getting from the spot that I’m at to the end. That’s when I go for a hike or a run.

There’s something about physical activity that gets my creative juices flowing again. Not only that, the exercise is good for me. By the time I finish my run, I’ve worked the problem out in my head. Now all I have to do is put it down on paper, metaphorically speaking, of course. ;)

If I can’t run for whatever reason, sometimes I just don’t feel like it. J I’ll go for a hike. I love hiking through the woods, especially in the fall. The changing colors are so beautiful and the scent of fall relaxes me. The hike is a great stress reliever and it does the same thing as a run for me. Usually by the end of my hike, I have the problem all worked out.

So there you have it, a couple of great ways to relieve writer’s block. Something about the physical activity gets the endorphins running and the creative juices flowing. Something all of us writer’s need! ;)

Thanks for reading my post and if you have any great ideas on how to overcome writer’s block, leave a comment. I’d love to read it. You never know when I might twist an ankle and have to give up running for a little while to heal. I twist my ankles a lot. J

In addition, if you’re looking for a great Christmas gift for your tween/teen. Check out my Super Spies series. They’re bestsellers and great teen reads. The covers, blurbs, and buy links are below.
This book opens in a small town in Michigan where fifteen-year-old Sarah Cole is stuck spending the summer at her Aunt and Uncle’s with her sister, Lacey. She’s not happy with the situation until she befriends a girl named Jackie. The three girls stumble upon the ruthless murder of a reclusive neighborhood woman. One of the officers investigating the crime believes the girls are responsible for her death. Fearing that this officer will frame them for the murder, the girls organize their own detective squad. They become the Super Spies and start their own fact-finding mission.  The Super Spies can’t understand why anyone would want to murder the “Cat Lady” until they start digging into her past and discover a horrible crime that happened thirty years ago. They uncover a connection between the two crimes and attempt to bring this information to the police, only to be reprimanded for meddling in the inquest. Not only are the girls upset by the admonition, but they also struggle with the fact that their exuberant investigating could provide a legal loophole allowing the killer to go free. To make matters worse, the police don’t even believe them. Frustrated by this turn of events, the Super Spies realize it’s up to them to snare the Cat Lady killer, or die trying…
This book opens in a small town in Michigan where Sarah and her sister Lacey are now living with their Aunt and Uncle. Still reeling from the fact her parents have disappeared, Sarah starts the school year with her new friend Jackie Jenkins. When Sarah learns the school has been bombed, she’s filled with dread. Uncle Walt is a teacher, and he was in the school when the bomb exploded. Taking matters into her own hands, Sarah decides to search for him. The rest of the Super Spies are right behind her. When a fireman chases them away from the school, Sarah becomes suspicious. She decides to investigate. The FBI arrives on the scene. Sarah realizes this bombing could have even bigger implications. Searching for the bombers, Sarah is introduced to the world of terrorism. She fears that the bombing and her parents’ disappearance are connected and terrorists are involved. To make matters worse, the bombers are determined to finish the job. Can the Super Spies find the bombers before it’s too late?

Sarah Cole and her sister Lacey are at it once again when their missing parents’ cell phone is traced to Alden, Michigan. When the FBI declines to continue the investigation, Sarah takes matters into her own hands. She calls upon the Super Spies and they delve into the situation. Suddenly the teens find themselves immersed in small town intrigue and mystery involving a menacing stranger, who Sarah dubs “The Stalker.” But when Sarah finds out he’s connected to her parents’ disappearance she’s determined to find out what that connection is. The Super Spies embark on a journey that leads them into a web of corporate corruption at its highest level that leaves innocent victims in its wake. Can the Super Spies stop the greedy corporation before it’s too late?


Friday, November 15, 2013

Guest Post, Brenda Maxfield

Hello Friends! I’m one of those adults who spend a lot of time reading books written for children and young adults. I got started reading kids’ books when I taught elementary school. I was blown away by the exciting, edge-of-your-seat, tear-jerker stories. I devoured them! My students and I had great fun chatting non-stop about whatever we were reading.

As I moved from teaching elementary on to middle school, and then to high school, I switched genres to match the age of my students. So I’ve been reading young adult books for some time. I ask my students for book recommendations, and they ask me! I love it. I guess it's only natural that I write for this age! And I must admit — seeing my students enjoy the books I’ve written is the biggest high of all!


Blurb for Seeking Christmas (an Ocean Mist short story Two):

The Christmas season has eighteen-year-old Courtney crossing the state line with her little brother Dennis to rendezvous with the man who deserted them years ago. Courtney remembers him only as
the tall man who ran away. Dennis doesn’t remember him at all.


Courtney is furious, but Denny is curious. Will their meeting result in a happy Christmas memory or another miserable disappointment? 



Excerpt from Seeking Christmas:


My phone buzzed against my leg. I pulled it from my pocket and checked the screen.


Such a stupid name.

For such a stupid man.

My gaze darted to where my mom lay slumped on the couch, her mouth hanging open and a gentle snore escaping her saggy lips. My brother Denny sat hunched over his math workbook at the kitchen table, a death grip on his pencil. His short, scrawny legs swung to and fro.

I pressed the phone to my chest and took the stairs two at a time to my room.

“What do you want?” My voice was tense, short. With a steel hold on the phone, I strode to the window and stared out. Across the street, strings of Christmas lights drooped over a fir tree, winking at me in all their sparkling glory.

I turned away.

“You know what I want. Please, Courtney.” The pleading in his voice rankled like a cat scratching at the back door.


“But it’s been over seven years. It’s time.”

“And whose fault is that?” My words cut.

“You don’t need to remind me.” A heaving sigh came across the line.

I stood ramrod straight beside my single bed and gazed around the empty expanse of the master bedroom. I attempted to shove down the lump of anger in my throat.

“Dad, the answer is no.”

“I would meet you way more than halfway. I’ve got it all arranged. There’s a motel room for you. Your own. No sharing.”

“Mom would come unglued.” I sank onto the mussed flannel sheets and impatiently kicked aside a stray slipper. It struck my dresser and lay over like a dead animal.

“Your mother won’t talk to me.”

I went quiet and listened to his raspy breath. Despite my objections, despite my bitterness, curiosity pulled. I attempted to stifle it, knowing that giving in would mean wading into quicksand.

“Court? Come on, for old time’s sake?”

Resentment ripped through me. “Old time’s sake? Are you freakin’ kidding me?”

“How’s Tiffany?” he asked, changing the subject to my sister.

“Horrid, as usual. Seeing you last year didn’t help her any.”

“I tried. I wanted her to stay.”

“Yeah, well, you had a weird way of showing it.” I grew tired of the conversation. Such a pathetic waste of time.

I threw my cell onto the covers and moved to the walk-in closet. My gray hoodie sagged on a row of pegs running above an unused shoe rack. My four pairs of shoes lay scattered across the floor, resembling lonely children in a deserted playground. Like the massive room, the closet was wasted on me. My meager collection of clothes barely took one third of the space.

I pulled on my hoodie, adjusted my glasses, and went back downstairs. Bending over, I plugged in the lights on the waist-high Christmas tree perching on the coffee table.

Denny looked up, and his face relaxed into a grin. “Thanks, Court. I forgot to plug ‘em in.”

“Finished with your math yet?”

“One more problem.”

“There are some chips in the cupboard if you’re hungry.”

Denny jumped off his chair and scrambled into the kitchen. The cupboard door slammed shut, and he returned with his arm elbow-deep in the foil bag.

I chuckled. “I’m going for a walk. And no more banging around. Let Mom sleep.”

I grabbed my heavy wool jacket and carefully opened the condo door, clicking it shut behind me. The cold December air lent a crisp clarity to the stars. They seemed near enough to gather in my pocket. I headed west toward the ocean. A biting breeze brought the sour smell of seaweed and blew my dark, feathered hair against my cheeks. I checked the time on my phone. Keegan should intercept me any minute.



Seeking Christmas Purchase Links:

      Amazon:  http://tinyurl.com/ky7oxzu

      Barnes and Noble: http://tinyurl.com/jvktfxz



Author Bio:

My passion is writing! What could be more delicious than inventing new characters and seeing where they take you?

I'm a teacher so I spend most of my waking hours with young people. I love chatting with them and hearing their views on love and life. My students are magical, and I am honored to be part of their lives.

I've lived in Honduras, Grand Cayman, and Costa Rica. Presently, I live in Indiana with my husband, Paul. We have two grown children and a precious grandbaby, special delivery from Africa.

When not teaching, I love to hole up in our lake cabin and write -- often with a batch of popcorn nearby. (Oh, and did I mention dark chocolate?)

I enjoy getting to know my readers, so feel free to write me at: contact@brendamaxfield.com . Visit me to learn about all my books and some smart and sassy, clean teen reads: www.brendamaxfield.com  Happy Reading!


Contact Links for Brenda Maxfield:

Amazon Author Page: http://tinyurl.com/psj82bj     

Newsletter Sign-up:  http://mad.ly/signups/85744/join     


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Guest post Jo Grafford


It was ever writer’s dream come true…

I was writing Breaking Ties from a perspective of blind faith – on the premise that these amazing pioneers did not simply disappear into thin air, but that they lived and laughed and loved and had a whole rest of their story to tell the world.

Then it happened. Last October – while I was still writing Breaking Ties - the British Museum released the news of a clue discovered beneath a patch on an original Lost Colony map. After many false leads and rumors throughout the last 426 years, this sketch of a fort located fifty miles inland from Roanoke Island might very well prove to be the first conclusive proof of survivors!
As a tribute to their courage and heroism, I am dedicating a fundraiser called A Thanksgiving Wish to these First Colonists. Running November 1-28, each copy sold of my debut novel, Breaking Ties, first book in the Lost Colony Series, will help fund the upcoming archeological dig of this newly discovered fort site beneath Scotch Hall Preserve in NC.

I am also holding a drawing for three gift cards to Amazon and Barnes and Noble – valued at $50, $25, and $15 - to appreciate my readers. Visit www.jografford.com to enter the Rafflecopter. Winners will be announced Thanksgiving Day.

Blurb: A cursed island, a chilling conspiracy, and an unforgettable love story. The 115 colonists on Roanoke Island couldn’t GPS, skype or twitter their ultimate destination back to their families and friends in 16th Century England. But modern laser technology has finally uncovered a clue - hidden beneath a patch on an ancient map at the British museum - that leads us to their whereabouts. Considered “lost” for centuries, these brave pioneers finally reveal the rest of their story in Book One of the Lost Colony Series. Rose Payne’s world is left in tatters after a disastrous betrothal, making her an easy target for recruiters to the Colonies. Using every cent she has, Rose sails for the New World and a fresh start, vowing to never again fall for a wealthy man. Returning from a diplomatic tour in London, Chief Manteo is bewitched by the fiery-haired ship’s clerk and determined to overcome her distrust. He contrives a daring plan to win her heart – one that forces her, honor bound, to serve as a slave to his tribe – a plan he prays will protect her from a chilling conspiracy involving murder, blood money, and a betrayal of their fledgling colony so terrifying it can only be revealed in Breaking Ties.

Bio: Jo Grafford is from St. Louis, Missouri. An award-winning author at Astraea Press, Jo writes
historical fiction to spotlight unsung heroes and unsolved mysteries. She published her first poem in junior high, edited her high school newspaper while typesetting for a local news journal, and has been writing ever since. She holds an M.B.A. and has served as a banker, a junior college finance instructor, and a high school business teacher. She is a PRO member of Romance Writers of America and From the Heart Romance Writers RWA Chapter. The mother of three children and the wife of a soldier, she serves as a literacy volunteer for elementary school students.

Buy Links & Contact Info: Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00FYIYM7A Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/breaking-ties-jo-grafford/1117230076?ean=2940148412823 Email: Jo@JoGrafford.com Website: www.JoGrafford.com Twitter: @jografford Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JoGraffordAuthor

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Author Spotlight, Heather Gray

Hello everyone! Today I'm doing a spotlight on Heather Gray and her new book, Nowhere for Christmas. She is such a sweet author and knows how to enjoy life. Check out why she enjoys writing humor:

The Joy of Writing Funny

Nowhere for Christmas is a humorous novel that delves into topics such as family, faith, and taking a chance on love.  It was such a fun novel to write!  I enjoy reading a book whose characters make me laugh, and that's what I wanted to create for my readers.

I always say I'd rather laugh than yell, and I did that plenty while writing this novel!  Even though I've now been over the manuscript dozens of times, there are still some scenes that make me laugh out loud.  My hope is that the fun I had while creating the characters and story comes across to everyone who picks it up to read.

Of all the absurd situations that my characters find themselves in, only one was completely fictitious.  The rest were all based on things that truly and honestly happened to me, or to people I know.  Of course, I can't say that anybody's ever had this much bad luck on a single road trip.  (That's where literary license comes into play!)

So tell me – what's the most absurd thing that's ever happened to you on a road trip or commute?  (It didn't make it into this book, but I once passed a motorhome parked on the freeway.  PARKED.  With nobody in it that I could see.  On a VERY busy freeway during rush hour.  Traffic was backed up for miles.  It took an hour to get through the ten miles leading up to where the motorhome was sitting.  I've always wondered if it were the cause for the traffic delay or if the driver had been stuck in traffic like us and decided to take a pit stop right there because he just couldn't hold it anymore…)
Nowhere for Christmas
Back Cover Blurb:
Anything can happen on the road to Nowhere…
A journalist and single mother, Avery is used to being in control, though she tries to remind herself to let God take lead in her life. Eli, her teenage son, is happy as long as he has his music, plenty of food, and the occasional adult on which to practice his rapier wit.  Gavin, a virtual stranger, is a photojournalist who mysteriously disappeared from the scene a few years ago.
The trio ends up together for a Christmas road trip to the small town of Nowhere.  An eight hour drive in a rental car turns into two days of misadventure and calamity as bad luck stalks them.  They get a flat tire, the bumper falls off, the car overheats – and that's only the beginning! Along the way they meet some interesting people – from a bait shop owner who moonlights as a mechanic to a chatty preacher's wife and a highway patrolman whose wife and mother can't agree on the best way to remove a skunk's stink.
Hungry, cold, and tired, the three finally arrive in Nowhere only to discover the town is nothing like they expected. Reaching their destination, it turns out, doesn't necessarily mean the journey has ended.
Some women are satisfied with one man in their life. There are even women who would say that's too many. Not me, though. Oh, no. Not me. I get to juggle two.
Avery Weston stormed into her editor's office and slammed the door behind her. Mitchell peered up from his catastrophe of a desk. The newsroom had been battling mice off and on for two years now, but Mitchell's office had remained rodent-free. Her theory? The little beasts are terrified of getting squashed under a falling stack of paper, or worse, getting lost in this mess and starving to death.
Mitchell, bushy black eyebrows raised, inspected her and asked, "Yes, Avery?"
She threw herself into the only chair not filled with file folders, books, and other paraphernalia. "I got your memo. You didn't have the guts to tell me in person?"
His eyes returned to the article he was reviewing, red pen in hand. Mitchell was old enough to be her… big brother… but he insisted on doing things old school. There was no way he'd ever get caught editing important articles on his computer. He wanted a printout in one hand and his red pen in the other. "I thought your temper might cool down during the walk from your desk to my office."
"You thought wrong."
"I see that." Mitchell laid his red pen down on top of the printout he'd been studying. "Has it occurred to you this might be fun?"
"Has it occurred to you I might look for a job elsewhere?" She'd worked for Mitchell more years than she could remember. He'd given her the start she'd desperately needed, and because of him, she was able to provide for the other man in her life. They both knew she wouldn't be looking for a job elsewhere, but that didn't stop her from voicing the empty threat now and then.
"Think of it as an adventure."
Yeah, right. "Have you spent much time with teenagers recently?"
Mitchell removed his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose. "Is that the problem? You don't think Eli will want to go?"
Avery sighed and sank back into the chair she occupied. "He's fifteen, Mitchell. I told him we'd go north for Christmas so he could go skiing. Now I'm going to be hauling him across three states to a Podunk town in the middle of nowhere. Nowhere! Do you have any idea exactly how not happy he is going to be with me?"
Mitchell opened his mouth to say something.
Avery, ignoring him, continued her monologue. "He's not going to blame you, either. Eli won't think Mom has such a rotten boss. How dare he ruin my Christmas plans?" She let out a sigh and said, "This is all going to be my fault as far as he's concerned. I will have broken my word to him, and he will have one more reason to resent me for the rest of his life."
This time Mitchell lifted a hand to stop Avery so he could say something.
Again dismissing his action, she said, "Do you have any idea how hard it is to raise a teenage boy alone? Or to raise any child alone for that matter? He wasn't always a teenager, you know. Eli started out as a baby, and I thought how hard it was to be a single mom to this tiny little thing that cried and pooped all the time. I never slept. No matter how hard it got, I provided a home for him because he was my responsibility, my joy. Then he was in grade school, and I thought that was as hard as it could possibly get. I worked ten hours a day for a tyrant of a boss, then came home to fix dinner for my finicky son and spend three hours working on homework with him so he could pass to the next grade."
Mitchell cleared his throat.
Avery kept talking. "You know, when I was in school, we didn't start working on algebra until I was in junior high. Eli started working basic algebra equations in second grade. Who does that? Algebra in second grade! Sure, it was easy stuff, but whatever happened to being a child? But I did it. I wanted the best for my son. I looked at it as an exercise in building confidence as he put in the hard work and saw it pay off, so I sat there with him for hours and hours every night. Because I'm his mom. Has he ever noticed any of that? Of course not! He notices everything he doesn't get in this life. And now, thanks to you, he gets to add skiing trip to the list of things to hold against me. You're a peach, Mitchell! An absolute peach."
As her voice wound down, Avery eyed Mitchell and saw he had gone back to editing the article he'd been looking at when she'd come in.
"Are you listening to anything I say?" When Mitchell said nothing, she leaned forward and slapped her palm against the edge of his desktop. She didn't use much force, but the impact still vibrated up her arm and echoed among the stacks of files and papers around the room.
Her editor neither jumped nor reacted. Instead, the picture of calm, he put his pen down, took his glasses off, and set them next to the pen. Taking his time, he looked up and asked, "Are you done yet?"
Author Bio:
Aside from her long-standing love affair with coffee, Heather’s greatest joys in life are her relationship with her Savior, her family, and writing.  Years ago, she decided it would be better to laugh than yell.  Heather carries that theme over into her writing where she strives to create characters that experience both the highs and lows of life and, through it all, find a way to love God, embrace each day, and laugh out loud right along with her.
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