The Long Road Home- #Fiction in a Flash #Challenge @amwriting


Suzanne Burke stimulates the imagination with her weekly Fiction in a Flash #Challenges!

You can read the participants entries and join in here

The Long Road Home

The creak of saddle leather and gentle sway of Maggie’s horse lulled her toward a long overdo nap. Two weeks and still no sign of the men she chased. The ruthless bastards had taken everything from her, she wouldn’t stop until they paid for what they’d done.

When she awoke, the sun had dropped behind the distant Texas hills coloring the sky in shades of magenta, burnt orange, and saffron. The air was cooler, whispering an early fall warning and she huddled into her loose-fitting jacket. She’d lost weight on this trek, lost some of her sanity, as well.

Images of her too-trusting husband swinging from a rope in the shed, face swollen, purple tongue protruding played a never-ending loop in her head. As did the attack from men they thought were friends. Men who’d dragged her to the floor and had their way with her in front of Sam and Jeff. Her boys.

The reason she couldn’t, wouldn’t, give up.

Grunting from stiff, aching, muscles, Maggie dislodged from the saddle and slid to the ground, her grip on the pommel the only thing holding her upright. Pins and needles in her feet assured her she was alive, as did the hunger gnawing at her belly. Didn’t matter though, nothing mattered except finding her sons and meting out the retribution they deserved.

***

A day and a half later, she came upon the cabin. Rough-hewn slats of gray wood made up the walls, smoke curled in a thin ribbon from the crooked chimney, and moss grew in a thick green blanket draping the eaves. A couple of beaten-down horses, she recognized as theirs, stood silently in a pen next to a dilapidated shed. She hurried to place a hand over the muzzles of her own mounts. They’d approached from downwind, but she didn’t want to take a chance on the animals announcing her arrival before she was ready.

It was dark by the time she had everything in place. The horses were tied in a ravine to the west, close enough to get to if she were injured, but far enough to keep them from panicking when the fireworks started. As she’d expected, Sam and Jeff were brought outside to use the latrine before bed. Her tired eyes feasted on their wiry frames. They looked so small next to the monsters shoving them forward. She ached to break cover and swoop them against her breasts, but reconciled herself to waiting until they were safe.

The moment the boys entered the outhouse and closed the door behind them, she set her plan in motion. Hefting a good-sized stone in her hand, Maggie sent it sailing through the air to smack the ground in the pen, startling the horses who reared up and danced away from the unseen threat. The men ducked, then ran for the nearest cover- the shed.

Next, she lit the fuses on the leftover fireworks Conrad had bought for the family to enjoy on the fourth of July. The sparks snaked across the ground and exploded, sending bright strobes of white, orange and red shrieking into the night sky. Not wasting a second, Maggie streaked across the uneven yard and dropped a heavy board over the door to the shed, sealing it closed.

The men realized they’d been tricked, and shouting obscenities, hammered the door with their fists trying to break free. Knowing she only had seconds before the flimsy structure gave way, Maggie turned to the pile of wood she’d carefully arranged near the wall of the building. A strike of a match and the oil-soaked cloth caught, the fire quickly spreading to the dry kindling. A moment later, the wall caught flame, driving her backward away from the heat and destruction. The shouts became screams, then coughing cries for mercy, echoing the weeping in her soul.

Then silence.

Instead of guilt, Maggie felt joy sweep through her chest, pushing all the hate and pain and anger away. A phoenix rising from the flames.

“Momma, Momma,” Jeff cried, his stubby little legs carrying him to her side, Sam following close behind, his eyes reflecting the funeral pyre in front of them.

Maggie wrapped shaking arms around her kids and pulled them close. “Let’s go home, my loves. Let’s go home.”

The Land of the Free- Fiction in a Flash Challenge #amwriting #WritingCommunity @pursoot


Fiction in a Flash Challenge #16

Suzanne Burke came up with this beautiful photo for this week’s prompt. Read the entries and join in here: https://sooozburkeauthor.wordpress.com/2020/09/04/fiction-in-a-flash-challenge-week-16-new-image-prompt-join-in-the-fun-pursoot-iartg-asmsg-writingcommunity/

The full moon rode a crest of diaphanous clouds in the midnight sky, turning the snow into a diamond-encrusted field stretching as far as Luna could see. A soft wind ruffled her fur and sighed through the pines, increasing her loneliness.

It had been two weeks since she’d plunged into the freezing cold river. By the time she managed to slow her headlong journey through the angry waves, she’d been miles from her family. Crawling up the bank, Luna took refuge under a fallen tree and shivered until sleep took her under.

Three frosty days later, hunger drove her from the makeshift shelter. Stiff and aching muscles protested, but she shook, sending ice projectiles flying in all directions, and hobbled into the forest. A wounded rabbit provided the nourishment she needed and strength coursed through her veins.

Now to find her way home.

Instinct sent her feet flying upriver, back toward the snow-capped peaks of the Mackenzie Mountains. Wawatay followed her nighttime journey, the spirits dancing their way into the next world, the blue and green streaks lighting her way.

A shot rang out, kicking up the powdery snow near Luna’s tail. She yelped, and dodged to the right. What was tha… Bang. The echo resounded off the trees, knocking snow from the branches. Her pulse leaping in fear, she took flight, running full out away from the horrible noise. She ran, and ran, until her breath sawed in and out of her mouth, and still she ran.

Dawn was breaking the night sky apart by the time Luna slowed to a stop, tail tucked between her legs. Hopeless, she lifted her head and howled at the gods for leaving her out here all alone. A moment later, an answering call traveled on the wind.

Could it be?

Afraid to hope, Luna watched and waited until a pack of wolves loped into view. The big male in the lead had a distinctive coat of black fur with a silver streak down the back- her father.

Luna took off at a mad dash, yipping with joy. Her family surrounded her, licking and nipping their love and affection. Somehow, some way, she’d defied the odds and found her way home here in the land of the free.

The Stories These Walls Could Tell- #FictionInAFlash #WritingCommunity @pursoot


Soooz Burke has found a wonderful photo for this week’s challenge! You can read more and join in below:

The wallpaper hangs in jagged strips from the walls, faded jacquard prints of a more dignified time. Cobwebs drap from the dilapidated ceiling, and I try not to imagine how big the spider is that created them.

Tom and I won this house at auction, before…

The floors creak beneath my sneakers and are gray with dust and grime, but they look original to my weary eyes. The drive took hours and all I can think about is a warm bath and soft bed- neither of which I’ll find here. I’ll go back to the small town I’d passed through soon, but first I need to finish what I started.

“We did it,” I tell my husband, sure he can hear me wherever he is.

The baby moves beneath my breasts and I gently rub the spot, my throat tight when I feel a tiny heel. Tom wanted this child so much. That and the home he’d grown up in. It’s bittersweet to know we’ve succeeded.

“It’s everything you said it was,” I say, continuing my one-sided conversation. “The fireplace is huge. No wonder you thought Santa got stuck up the chimney.” I trail a finger along the mantle. “Baby’s stocking will look lost on here.”

The tears that are never very far away wet my cheeks. It’s been five months, but I miss him still.

I always will.

With renewed determination, I climb the surprisingly sturdy staircase and enter the first room on the right- Tom’s childhood bedroom. A warm sensation flows over me and my tears dry as peace descends. He’s here, I can feel him.

The room is empty, other than an old blue chest shoved under the stained window. My heart flutters wildly and I’m suddenly scared of what I’ll find.

“Go,” a ghostly voice intones, his breath warm on my ear.

I startle and stumble forward. “Always so bossy,” I grouch with a smile.

The lid is heavy. I have to work to get it up, and then I sneeze as a musty fog rises from the interior. “Geez, Tom, you could have warned me.”

He chuckles from over my shoulder. I can almost feel his arms around me and baby.

His baseball hat from seventh grade sits on top the pile of memorabilia. My fingers tremble as they trace the Saints emblem. Who would have thought he’d go on to have a successful career in the NBL?

Alongside the hat, lay an autographed baseball bat, and below that, the reason I’m here. A leatherbound journal. My husband’s thoughts and dreams in his messy script fill the pages, front to back.

The house will be baby and my future, but this journal? It’s my link to the past and is truly priceless.

The baby rolls, creating a wave across my stomach and my dearly departed husband laughs.

His family is home.

Gimme, Gimme Some of that Summer Lovin’ #Romance #Reading #BookDeals


Summer Sale Event!

When I wrote this book, it started out as a sweet contemporary, but two little kids with a nasty uncle begged me to tell their story, so it morphed into so much more than a jilted bride, second chance romance.

I hope you’ll give it a try- on sale this week for less than the price of a coffee- just 0.99!

Summer Lovin’

Will two mismatched lovers find a way past their mistakes? 

Mitch Taylor and Rebecca Sorenson share a secret. 

Rebecca’s job as secretary of Cascade Elementary, the same school she attended as a child, is rewarding. She has a great group of friends, many of whom are married now. And if sometimes she wished it were her up there in that sparkling white dress… 

Except, wait—she did get to wear bridal white. Granted, it was a slinky party dress and the justice of the peace was Elvis in a gold lame jacket, but still, the deed was done. 

She’d tied the knot. 

Mitch Taylor doesn’t do regrets. It would be a waste of energy bemoaning the mistakes he’d made in his life. The end of his promising football career taught him nothing in life was a guarantee. 

Like love. 

What were the chances two people from the same po-dunk town in Washington would end up together in a nightclub in Las Vegas? A few too many drinks later, a hasty ceremony performed by the king of rock ‘n’ roll, and they’d been hitched. The night that followed lived on in his dreams, but when he’d woken the next morning she was gone. 

Will two mismatched lovers find a way past their mistakes? 

https://amzn.com/B01GZ3YZ6A

https://books2read.com/u/4jKwGo

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29500789-summer-lovin

Recommend it on BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/summer-lovin-wounded-hearts-5-by-jacquie-biggar

Exclusive Excerpt

Tommy glanced to the right, made sure the coast was clear, and waved at his brother to hurry up. Jasper grinned. No doubt this was all a high adventure in his mind. Tommy rolled his hand at him to get a move on. Jasper nodded and stood on tiptoes to reach the shiny red apples in the bin.

Laughter rippled nearby.

Tommy’s heart jumped into his throat. He turned and peeked around the next aisle; two teenagers stood in front of a row of magazines giggling over the muscled men on the front cover.

Girls.

A thunderous boom behind made him duck until he realized the noise came from the row where his brother should be. Afraid to look, Tommy peered around the corner and his eyes almost bugged out of his head.

Jasper sat on the floor looking stunned, surrounded by a sea of red. The apple bin lay smashed on its side nearby. The two girls raced past, kicking the fruit aside until they could kneel beside him.

The one with blonde hair leaned over and gave Jasper a quick hug. “Don’t cry, little guy. Accidents happen. Mr. Lee is really nice. He won’t be mad as long as we clean it all up.”

She turned and caught Tommy’s eye. “You just going to watch or are you going to help us here?”

He straightened as though he had a broomstick shoved up his spine. Who did she think she was? He’d been taking care of his little brother all the years she was probably playing Barbie.

Embarrassed, he stomped over, picked up an apple, and took a big bite out of it; even though his stomach churned so bad he thought he might puke.

“Quit your cryin’, Jasper. It ain’t gonna help.” He avoided his brother’s wide-eyed gaze and wiped the back of his hand across his mouth. “Git up now and give me a hand. I’s told ya not to play around them bins.”

“But…” Jasper started to protest until he caught his brother’s glare and subsided into silence. He climbed sullenly to his feet and began to gather apples into a tumbling pile.

“You don’t need to be mean to him. He’s just little,” the teen scolded.

“And cute,” her friend added.

A shuffling step interrupted their happy little group. “What’s a happen here?” Mr. Lee, the store owner, came trundling down the aisle, a scowl creasing his already ancient-looking face.

Jasper dropped the fruit he’d been holding and edged behind his brother. Tommy stood taller and attempted to widen his shoulders. He hid the bitten apple behind his back and tried to look innocent. If the old guy called their uncle, they’d be dead for sure.

The blonde girl stood and moved between him and the storeowner, her ponytail swishing back and forth like a horse’s tail. “I’m sorry, Mr. Lee. I grabbed an apple from the bottom and it avalanched. I should have known better.”

Tommy’s mouth dropped open. She’d covered for him.

Mr. Lee tsk, tsked and shuffled by to straighten the bin. He wasn’t much taller than Tommy and grunted trying to force it upright. Tommy pushed the apple into his brother’s hand and hurried forward, brushing by the flowery smelling girls. Mr. Lee gave him a grateful glance—and didn’t that feel great considering he’d just been attempting to steal from the man—and they both put their shoulders to the heavy wooden crate. It crashed down and rocked for a breath-stealing second before settling into place.

“You good boy,” Mr. Lee huffed and gave him a toothy grin. He bent with more agility than Tommy expected and tossed him an apple. “You too skinny. Eat.”

Tommy caught the fruit and tried to swallow past the hard lump in his throat. He turned away from the teen’s soft brown gaze and surreptitiously wiped the moisture from his eyes. He put the apple away in his pocket for later and began gathering the fallen fruit and placing them gently in the righted bin. Jasper joined him first, then the girls.

Blondie met his gaze and smiled. “Hi, I’m Tina.”

His face turned hot. He ducked his chin. “I’m Tommy, and this here is Jasper.”

“You guys new to town? I haven’t seen you around.” She dropped an apple in the bin, dusted off her hands, and waited for an answer.

Jasper looked at him nervously and Tommy gave his head a slight shake. “Yeah, we just moved here.” He answered, and hoped she’d let it go. Of course she didn’t.

“Where are you living? I been here my whole life so I know most areas of town.”

“Tommy,” Jasper said.

“You’re kinda nosy.” Tommy tried to change the subject.

Tina giggled. “I’ve heard that once or twice,” she said good-naturedly.

“Tommy,” Jasper whined.

“What?” Tommy snapped, turning to glare at his brother. Jasper pointed, and Tommy’s stomach plunged down to his toes. A man built like the Hulk stood beside Mr. Lee, and he had a gun.

Saturday Satisfaction #amwriting #gardening


I Finished the Damn Book!

May was such a messed up month for me, I was getting seriously worried whether I could finish the book I had up on pre-order in time to fulfill my obligations.

It came down to the wire, but I got it done and feel good about the outcome 🙂

Now I can breathe again, and with views like these in my backyard- relax.

Virtually Gone Releases JUne 12 on all your favorite retail sites!

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B085PQTV69

International: https://books2read.com/VirtuallyGone

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/virtually-gone-a-mended-souls-novel-high-tech-crime-solvers-book-6-by-jacquie-biggar

Add to your TBR List: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52329219-virtually-gone

Exclusive Excerpt

Matt sat next to a middle-aged university security guard and stared at the video playing out on a desktop computer screen. It was brain-numbing work, but he held onto the hope one of these recordings carried a usable ID of their suspect. Investigators had gone over footage taken from the general area of Gina’s attack, but at the time, they hadn’t realized they were dealing with a serial offender. With the new information received, he and Connor were going back over the evidence with a fine-tooth comb.

The timestamp on the top right of the screen said it was eight pm, shortly before Gina’s final class for the night had ended. She’d told them her routine was to take a path cutting across campus in order to arrive in time to catch the transit bus she needed to get home. There were safer routes, such as the bus lane outside the security building, but at that time of the evening she would need to make several transfers, which made her nervous. It was sadly ironic her careful choices ended up placing her in the crosshairs of a criminal.

After her shock today, Connor had offered to drive Gina home and wait until someone could come over and be with her, so she wasn’t alone. Every time Matt thought about the photo and frightening message she’d received; it made his blood boil.

The cops can’t save you, sweet Gina. See you soon.

No wonder the girl was scared; the bastard was stalking her.

While Connor had interviewed each of the individuals outside on the grassy rotunda with them, he’d snapped pictures to go over later. Their tech guy, Bob, had come up empty at tracing the number to where the photo originated, but they’d expected that. The perp hadn’t made many mistakes to this point, he wasn’t going to hand himself over on a silver platter. But he’d given them another clue—Bob had explained even burner phones came with a unique serial number, and given time, he could find out whether their suspect had used the phone to browse the web, make calls, or even if he carried another ‘regular’ phone with him. Phones constantly communicate with cell phone towers, whether in use or not, and therefore left a digital footprint that could be traced back to the distributor.

“Wait. What’s that?” Matt straightened and strained to see the grainy figure moving in and out of the shadows on the video. “Back it up a bit, will you?”

The guard paused the footage and rolled it back a few seconds before hitting play again. This time, they focused their attention on the hunched form in dark clothing, head covered by the hood of his jacket.

“Does it seem as if he’s waiting for someone to you?”

The guard shrugged. “Maybe he’s got a buddy.”

Or maybe he was waiting for Gina.


Thanks for reading. Enjoy your Saturday, everyone!

A Letter From Home- #FlashFictionChallenge #amwriting


February 13, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes a sugar report. Use its original meaning of a letter from a sweetheart to a soldier, or invent a new use for it. Go where the prompt leads!

Follow along or join in at Charli Mills’ Carrot Ranch- here

Unashamed tears roll down my face, words on scented paper imprinted on my mind.

Darling Ken,

I think about you every day, but never more than now.

He’s beautiful, my darling. A full head of hair, nut-brown like yours. Ten perfect fingers and toes, and a smile that fills my heart.

The nurse says gas, but we know better. He’s thinking of the day you’ll come home and take us into your loving arms.

I pray it’s soon.

Love you always and all ways,

Sara

Three long months ago, my baby wrote me a love letter- I’m a father.

A Parent’s Nightmare- #FlashFictionChallenge #amwriting


This week’s challenge courtesy of Charli Mills Carrot Ranch:

January 16, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a protest story. It can be about a protest, or you can investigate the word and expand the idea. Who is protesting, where, and why? Go where the prompt leads!

I decided to take mine in a more personal direction. This is from a WIP- hope you enjoy my interpretation of PROTEST.


“There’s no easy way to say this—” Matt met the growing horror in Mrs. Carter’s eyes, his heart hurting, “your daughter was murdered last night on the Galloping Goose Trail. We believe she was on her way home at the time.”

The poised woman who’d met them at the door disappeared in a swelling tide of despair. She vigorously shook her head. “No, you’ve made a mistake. Emily was home last night. I brought her home from school myself. It’s not possible.”

“How do you know it’s our child?” Carter asked, his voice gruff. “It could be anyone.”

Keeping up the Traditions #holidays #family


Photo by fotografierende on Pexels.com

The quote above is particularly apt as the years go by.

When I was a child, Christmas meant decorating the tree we went into the forest to collect. My mom would pack up a lunch and bundle us in warm winter coats, mitts and toques, and then away we would go, my dad driving us deep into the woods where the very best trees were hidden.

We’d traipse through deep snow, broken only by Dad’s footprints, until we found the perfect tree. Not too big, not too small, even branches and a crown made for an angel.

Photo by Jessica Lewis on Pexels.com

A few days later, we could finally decorate. Lights first, then garland, tinsel, and ornaments- some we made and some passed down through the family. Then Dad would add the tree topper and our living room was transformed into a magical place!

Years later, when I married and had my own family, we switched to an artificial tree for the holidays. They’re convenient; you don’t need to fight with the lights, and it’s better for the environment.

But, the magic was gone.

Other traditions took its place- family breakfast Christmas morning before the exchange of gifts. Afternoons spent outdoor skating or tobogganing while the turkey cooked. The passage of time marked by those who joined the festivities, and family members we’d lost.

Then my grandson was born.

Christmas is made for children. The wonder on their precious faces fills our hearts with love and joy. They remind us of the magic of our youth and the importance of family.

My grandson

Then, my daughter was given the opportunity to gain her masters degree, but it was across the country and suddenly Christmas was down to DH, Mom and I.

I’m not complaining, many people spend the holidays all alone, but I have to admit I’m floundering.

We went to look at lights last night, DH and I, (Mom stayed home) and it was nice- quiet, but nice.

It’s so different looking at lights without snow on the ground and freezing cold air in your lungs! lol

What do you do to allay depression during the holidays?

I’m trying, really, I am!

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas

Bitmoji Image

Series or Standalones- Does it Matter? #amwriting #Romance


Series or Standalones

That was the question posed by a member of The Story Empire earlier last week. You can read his full thoughts here– well worth your time.

I’ve read many great standalone books, (Cinderella anyone?) but have to admit I enjoy stories set in a series much more. There’s a deeper connection to a) the characters, and b) location- though either of those can, and often do, change throughout the course of a series.

From NY Book Editors:

Writing a book series can be incredibly challenging (that’s the bad news), but it’s also one of the best ways to develop a loyal fan base (that’s the good news).

NY BOOK EDITORS-2016

The books can follow one or two main characters through a variety of adventures- such as J.D. Robb’s In Death series or the Harry Potter franchise.

They can also be set around a location and the citizens within- Susan Mallery’s Fools Gold series or J.R Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood.

Some follow a progression of events and are best read in order, while others are self-contained stories within the series and can easily be read out of order.

Whichever style you prefer, series seem to be growing in popularity, some are even twenty books long and counting!, and readers can’t get enough.

I’m currently working on the third story in my Gambling Hearts series, My Girl. The series follows the lives, and loves, of three siblings born and raised on a Texas hill country ranch.

This is Aaron’s story:

Sometimes, the right decision isn’t the easiest one to make

Trish Sylvester knows her family and when they accept a week long stay at a rustic dude ranch, she is concerned- especially since it’s at her ex’s home.

Aaron is overjoyed at the opening of his family’s guest ranch, until he learns their first guest is his ex-girlfriend, her parents–and a fiancé.

And that isn’t the only surprise.

Excerpt

“I met your fiancé,” he said, his voice ripe with challenge. The outdoors clung to her skin, sun and flowers combining to intoxicate him more than the whiskey.

She lifted her chin, eyes narrowing. “What did you say to him, Aaron? I’d hoped we could all act like adults while we’re here.”

Aaron laughed, his hands doing the job his heart urged him to do, forcing her to come up against his chest with a soft oomph. “Darlin’, I’m definitely a man, make no mistake.” He leaned down and brushed her lips, setting up a warning through his chest. He was playing with fire, and if he wasn’t careful, there was little doubt who was going to get burned. Again.

“Aaron, stop this,” she murmured, though her lips parted on a sigh. “We can’t…”

He lifted his head and stared at her upturned face. “Can’t what, Trish? You invited yourself onto my territory and brought reinforcements. I want to know why.”

She moved out of his arms. He pretended not to feel the loss.

“We needed a break from the city,” she said. “Surely, you can understand that? Your sister sent an email to me highlighting the new business venture—congrats, by the way—and I thought it would be fun to come and check it out. End of story.”

He eyed her nervously tucking her hair behind her ear and knew she was bluffing. The question remained; why?


Box Set News

We have a new box set releasing August 30th!

Sweet and Sassy Baby Love 

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2KHEMW5

Add to your TBR list: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47873355-sweet-and-sassy-baby-love

Recommend us on Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/sweet-and-sassy-baby-love-by-suzanne-jenkins-and-jen-talty

Nine NY Times and USA Today bestselling authors offer stories of men and women who go to great lengths for the children they love.

A scent of innocence, that touch of softness, an angelic nap, and deep belly laughs. Babies and toddlers bring great joy, love, humor, and even conflict into our lives. But first, we need a passionate encounter, a romance that transcends time.

How do you feel about series or standalone stories? Let’s talk about it.

Bitmoji Image

A short Teaser from my upcoming #WomensFic #WIPWednesday


Photo by Lum3n.com on Pexels.com

I’ve had heroes on my mind lately.

From Dictionairy.com:

noun, plural he·roes; for 5 also he·ros.

a person noted for courageous acts or nobility of character: He became a local hero when he saved the drowning child.

a person who, in the opinion of others, has special achievements, abilities, or personal qualities and is regarded as a role model or ideal: My older sister is my hero. Entrepreneurs are our modern heroes.

the principal male character in a story, play, film, etc.

Classical Mythology.

  1. a being of godlike prowess and beneficence who often came to be honored as a divinity.
  2. (in the Homeric period) a warrior-chieftain of special strength, courage, or ability.
  3. (in later antiquity) an immortal being; demigod.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In my novels I try to create men/women who have many of the qualities above, along with vulnerabilities that create empathy in my readers.

It’s a fine balance to tread.

To me strength comes as much from inside a person as physicality. You have to be courageous to do the jobs they do. But more than that, is their Achilles’ heel, for want of a better name. What is their weakness? The thing that makes these strong warriors weak in the knees?

I like to think it’s compassion. Love of fellow man. Gentleness and mercy.

This week’s teaser comes from a women’s fiction novel I’m working on about two estranged sisters and the path to forgiveness and understanding.


Many evenings she and Susan would sit at his feet and listen enthralled, as he regaled them with tales of pirates and princesses, mischievous elves and buried treasure. As with every good fairytale, a dashing hero would arrive just in time to save the day. It was probably then, listening to stories at her father’s knee, that Holly began to dream of her own hero. He’d need to be strong enough to slay dragons. Charming and kind, yet able to make her laugh. Handsome and gentle; a father as perfect as her own. A good kisser; that’s as far as her nine-year-old mind would go at the time. And above all else, someone she could talk to, share ideas with.
Even then, she’d known the value of a true friend.
The rattle of a key in the front door lock jerked her back to the moment. Self-conscious, she dropped her hand from where it had been resting and turned to greet her parents.
Except it wasn’t her mother and father.
Susan hesitated on the threshold, their gazes fusing across the distance. A cold draft knifed its way between them filled with ugly words and betrayals.

© Jacquie Biggar 2019

What does a hero mean to you? Let’s talk about it!

Teaser Time #WIPWednesday #amwriting


WIP Wednesday

I enjoyed the new Wednesday theme Staci Troilo and Joan Hall came up with for sharing either a teaser or something relevant from our WIP- check them out in the links above.

I thought I’d give it a whirl and share a short teaser from my upcoming contemporary romance, My Girl. This will be the third book in the Gambling Hearts series. If you’ve read Hold ‘Em or Crazy Little Thing Called Love you’ll be happy to know this is Aaron’s story.

Photo by Alexandria Baldridge on Pexels.com



Plans for the upcoming Harvest Ball moved along at a steady pace, with Sophia in her element. Aaron did his best to stay out of the way, but his sister knew all his hideouts and eventually tracked him down in the horse barn.
“There you are, I was beginning to think you were avoiding me,” she said, entering Dickens’ stall. “I need help.”
Aaron finished filing his horse’s back hoof before patting the smooth flank. He looked at Sophia over the broad back. “I knew it couldn’t last,” he sighed. “Okay, what do you need?”
She huffed out an exasperated breath. “Don’t sound so excited. I’m doing this for the ranch, you know.”
He did know. Unfortunately, it didn’t make having their home overrun by strangers any more palatable. In all fairness, Sophia had gone over and above on the website and the hacienda. He was no tech guru but even he would pay the astronomical prices to stay as their guest. Her sales pitch was nothing short of genius.
But she looked tired.
If only the agricultural firm he’d shown his ideas to would call back with a contract—none of this would be necessary. He ducked under Dickens’ neck and came up next to his sister. “Shouldn’t you be taking it easy?”
She patted her growing baby bump and smiled. “You sound like Tony. I’m fine. It’s just there’s a hundred and one things to get done and only a few days left before the big event. This ball will give us the free advertising we need to get the guest ranch off the ground. I’ve invited some of my old contacts from New York and Trish promised to put the word out, too. She’s been great, Aaron. I would have been lost without her.”
The mention of Trish sent the now familiar fluttery feeling to his stomach. He’d spent the last few days rehashing that kiss by the fountain; the near-desperation in his voice when he’d begged her to come away with him. Her negative reaction.
He was an idiot to keep bashing his heart against the stone wall of Trish’s soul.

My Girl- Jacquie Biggar

Aaron is the middle child in a family of strong, independant siblings and he’s had trouble getting his voice heard. I come from a family of three siblings as well, and though I’m the oldest (and therefore, the boss :)) I can see now, with the wisdom of time, how hard it was for my brother to show his individuality.

Has anyone else noticed this within their families? Let’s talk about it!

Bitmoji Image

#FreebieFriday #BeachRead Edition


Summer Reading

I don’t know about you, but I find it extremely hard to concentrate on my writing in the summer. I’d much sooner be outside, in the garden, or lounging under the cherry tree reading all the amazing books on my TBR pile (which is ready to run away and hide, it’s so tall! lol).

I have deadlines I have to meet, but maybe, just maybe, they can wait another day or two. 🙂

How about you? Do you find summer distracting?

Here’s this week’s freebie links- enjoy!

A woman and child in danger teaches Nick life is worth living.

ALL SHE WANTS IS TO LIVE HER LIFE 

Abused, Sara Sheridan finds the courage to escape her husband. She has no interest in getting mixed up with another alpha, attitude-laden male. Especially with her ex hot on her trail. 

ALL HE CRAVES IS PEACE AND QUIET 

Marine, Nick Kelley prefers solitude, away from the memories haunting him. So what is it about his reticent neighbor and her child that tempts him to give it up? 

UNTIL LOVE GETS IN THE WAY 

Nick and Sara’s growing attraction  leads them down a dangerous path as her ex-husband closes in on the new life she’s made for her daughter and threatens to blow it all apart. 

Excerpt

“How did you find me?” Sara fell back as Tom pushed his way inside, followed closely by Sam, and then she caught sight of Fiona being led in by two other men. Her friend was cuffed, arms pulled taut behind her back. Her mouth, covered by a bright red handkerchief tied so tight it cut into her whitened cheeks, highlighted an obscene bruise. Her eyes, one of them black and blue, filled with tears, begging Sara to forgive her.

“GPS, my dear, you’ve heard of that I presume? I traced you from your own phone, that wasn’t very smart of you. So, this is where you’ve been hiding.” He waved the others into the room, locking the door behind them. “What, no kiss for your Husband? You do recall you have one of those, don’t you?”

He looked the same, so tall and handsome standing there in his perfectly pressed suit and tie, not a hair out of place. A wolf in sheep’s clothing. It was so obvious to her now. The narrow, cold eyes, the supercilious attitude, the rigid stance, the not-so-well-hidden-anger, had he always been that way? She didn’t like to think so. How could she have been so wrong about him? He’d pulled the wool over her eyes from the beginning.

Free Today!

Let the authors of Summer Heat tempt you with some mouth-watering recipes. Bacon-Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Pistachios, Decadent French Toast, Marinated Steak, Devil’s Food Cake, Beer-Steamed Mussels, Baked Apple with Custard Sauce, White Chocolate Cherry Scones. These are just a few of the wonderful dishes you’ll find in this unique cookbook. Each is linked to a novella in Summer Heat, a collection of sixteen sexy romances by New York Times, USA Today and other Bestselling Authors. The food is great, and each recipe will whet your appetite for one of the stories in the boxed set by giving you insights into the life of the author’s hero and/or heroine. So enjoy the fabulous food along with the outstanding prose from a seasoned group of authors.

Book Bites offers samples for 9 romance novels and novellas. We hope you will find them not only delicious but also arousing an irresistible craving for more.

So, you ask, what is this boxed set all about?
At no other point is passion put to the test as in dire times of war. From the American Civil War to WWII, from Vietnam to the War in Afghanistan to the Persian Gulf, the stories in this boxed set summon the strength of true lovers. 
Written by bestselling, award-winning, and USA Today authors, the novels and novellas in this collection tell of overcoming loss, injuries, and separation, to celebrate the victory of love. 
If you like Military Romance, Wounded Warrior Romance, Historical Romance, Contemporary Romance, or Romantic Suspense, this anthology invites you to triumph over the worst of conditions and find the courage to bring forth the best in us.

The Authors’ Billboard is proud to publish Book Bites 9. Enjoy a sampling —the first chapter or two — of a scintillating peek into the contemporary romances from award winning and NY Times and USA Today bestselling authors from two of our boxed sets: Unforgettable Heroes and Sweet and Sassy.

Can’t figure out which flavor you’d like tonight? Maybe these will fire up your appetite. After all, your Kindle isn’t completely full, right?

These seventeen teasers are for lovers of romance stories of all heat levels. They are available in their complete versions in: UNFORGETTABLE HEROES and SWEET AND SASSY

My Secret Addiction #Inspiration #Writing


Once a Gambler…

I have a confession to make- I love gambling on the horse races. I blame it on my grandma’s cousins, Betty and Mike. They introduced me to the thrill of racing as a young girl and I’ve been hooked ever since!

🙂

There’s just something about those beautiful, high-spirited animals prancing onto the track and lining up at the gate that makes my heart go pitty-pat 

Nowadays, I get my enjoyment from watching the races on TV- with the Triple Crown as the best.

In the United States, the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, commonly known as the Triple Crown, is a title awarded to a three-year-old Thoroughbred horse who wins the Kentucky DerbyPreakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. The three races were inaugurated in different years, the last being the Kentucky Derby in 1875. These races are now run annually in May and early June of each year. The Triple Crown Trophy, commissioned in 1950 but awarded to all previous winners as well as those after 1950, is awarded to a Triple Crown winner.

HTTPS://EN.WIKIPEDIA.ORG/WIKI/TRIPLE_CROWN_OF_THOROUGHBRED_RACING_(UNITED_STATES)

Last year, in 2018, I was lucky enough to watch Justify take the crown!

Justify is only the second horse to win the American Triple Crown with an undefeated record, following Seattle Slew. Justify is descended from Seattle SlewSecretariatCount FleetWar AdmiralOmaha, and Gallant Fox, all of whom also won the American Triple Crown. He is also a descendant of English Triple Crown winner Nijinsky. Of the 13 American Triple Crown winners, Justify is the first who did not race as a two-year-old.

HTTPS://EN.WIKIPEDIA.ORG/WIKI/JUSTIFY_(HORSE)

Is it any wonder I love the sport?

I decided to write a mystery set around the Kentucky Derby and added a twist by setting it in the 50’s.

Here’s a short excerpt from The Lady Said No

Gus followed the stiff-necked manservant to the door of the den, though his emotions were tugging him back to Rebecca like a starved man to a banquet.

He couldn’t believe how beautiful she’d become. She’d always been pretty, but now there was an added maturity to her features that suited her face. The tomboy figure he fondly remembered had become hills and valleys he ached to explore. They’d been best friends, then lovers, then enemies. It’d been his fault, that was the worst of it. He’d let his drive for a career ruin the only good thing in his life. He could tell himself he’d done his part. After getting his degree and returning to Bourbonville he had tried to find her. But she was right, he hadn’t tried hard enough.

Their relationship had already been floundering; it had seemed easier to let it die a natural death. He regretted that now. One glimpse of her had brought back all the old feelings. Memories of happier times.

Ernest reached for the door knob and was stopped by the officer on guard.

“Sorry, only trained personnel are allowed.”

Ernest glared at him. “I’ve worked in this household for years; I believe I am trained.”

The sergeant exchanged a helpless glance with Gus. “I’m sorry, sir. Those are the rules.”

Gus stepped between the two men before a full-scale war broke out. “It’s okay, sergeant.” He flipped open his badge. “I’m Detective Grant. The…” He waved a hand toward the butler.

Ernest lowered his brows. “Manservant.”

Gus nodded. “Manservant, was just showing me the way to the crime scene.”

The officer checked his badge, then reached back to open the door. The stench of death was immediate, a toxic mix of human waste impossible to forget. Gus turned his head to draw one last clean breath and met Rebecca’s anxious gaze.

That look gave him pause.

Why was she worried? Just how well did Rebecca know the owner of Balmoral?

“Coming, Detective?” The sergeant’s voice interrupted his musings. Gus shrugged off his misgivings and followed the man into the room, sliding past the grim-faced Ernest.

Nancy knelt by the victim, her hands covered with white gloves and booties on her feet. She glanced up when he walked in and pointed at his shoes. Gus dug through his coat pockets until he found his booties, put them on, nodded to the sergeant, and made his way over to her side.

“It’s a bad one,” she said, turning attention to her preliminary findings. “Single shot to the temple, through and through. Near as I can tell, time of death was sometime between midnight and three a.m., no sign of defensive wounds.” She stopped and gazed at him with world-weary eyes. “Who would do this, Augustus?”

Gus observed the brain matter splattered on the leather tufted chair and rich, red Aubusson carpet and his stomach churned. His first thought was crime of passion. There had been some effort made to set the scene up as a suicide. The gun rested in the victim’s open hand, finger wrapped around the trigger. A cut crystal tumbler lay on its side nearby, a stain wetting the carpet. Gus touched the wet spot and sniffed, rubbing the tips of his fingers—bourbon. The good kind. Not something a man bent on ending his own life would let go to waste.

“I’m not sure, Nancy, but I do know the brass will be all over this one, so take your time, okay? We don’t want to miss anything.”

She huffed out an indignant breath. “You telling me how to do my job, now?”

He held up a hand to halt her blistering tongue. “The Jorgensons are big news, that’s all I’m saying. Don’t they have a horse in the Derby this year?”

The sergeant, who had remained by the door, and watched their exchange with interest, piped up. “Forever Humble. Lots of money riding on that colt.” His face became animated. “You ever see him race, Detective? He’s some kind of fast. Likes to run the outside track. Gives me a heart attack every time.”

Gus smiled. “You a betting man…?”

“Fish, sir. Everyone calls me Fish.”

Nancy chuckled and the young man’s neck turned brick red.

“I’m not a gambler, no sir, but I admit I like to spend a Saturday now and then down at the track. It’s some exciting. You ever been, Mr. Grant?”

Gus shook his head. “No, can’t say as I have. Not that fond of horses, though I guess that’s the wrong thing to say in this house.” He admired the landscape watercolor on the wall, rolling hills with a herd of wild horses barreling straight at him, eyes crazy and manes flying as though they were about to burst the confines of paint and canvas.

“Augustus, there’s something you need to see.” Nancy’s voice was muffled as she stretched, shapely butt in the air, to reach something under the leather chair. She grunted and tugged until a bronze sculpture came into view. When she stood it on the carpet, he saw it was about twelve inches in height, a warrior on a horse, raised arm carrying a spear.

“There’s blood and hair fragments,” she said, turning it carefully to inspect the evidence. “I can’t be sure until I get it to the lab, but this looks like a match to our vic.”

Well, that explained why there were no defensive wounds. The poor sop probably didn’t know what hit him. Gus looked around until he found the suspiciously empty spot on the desk. He gave a wide berth to the corpse, conscious of Nancy’s critical gaze. The desk was one of those massive claw-foot affairs, mahogany maybe, rich and elegant instead of simply functional. He pulled a linen handkerchief out of his pocket and checked the drawers. An assortment of papers greeted him, some on household expenses, most on Jorgenson’s passion—thoroughbreds. Nothing that looked like a cause for murder.

Gus was about to replace the documents when a slip of yellowed paper lodged in the back of the drawer caught his eye. He reached in, using the hankie, and retrieved the handwritten note.

Do what I told you to do, or the truth will destroy you

The threat inherent on the scrap of paper chilled his blood. There was trouble brewing in the Jorgenson household, and Gus was afraid Rebecca was somehow involved.

This story is part of the upcoming boxset, Unforgettable Power- Love and Intrigue, releasing May 5th!

Seven suspenseful page-turners will captivate you with breathtaking stories and intriguing characters you’ll find positively unputdownable! If you enjoy heart-stopping, engaging novels, then you must read UNFORGETTABLE POWER – Love and Intrigue.

Pre-order your copy today!

https://amzn.to/2UJtMy4

International- http://books2read.com/UnforgettablePower

Recommend on Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/unforgettable-power-love-and-intrigue-by-mimi-barbour-and-jacquie-biggar

Spinning Tires #WritersLife #amwriting


Spinning My Tires

Lately it feels as though my writing has come to a standstill and I’m just spinning tires without going anywhere.

We were talking about this at my local critique group meeting and I realized- thankfully- that at least I’m not alone with this dilemma.

Some call it writer’s block or writer’s slump, maybe winter doldrums, but whatever you name it, it can lead to depression and feelings of anxiety. I know I’ve been questioning why I put myself through this lately.

But, this is the thing… If you’re a writer, you write. It’s almost as important as breathing, so I’ve decided to search the internet for some inspirational quotes to help me (and you) feel better.

Cooking is like painting or writing a song. Just as there are only so many notes or colors, there are only so many flavors – it’s how you combine them that sets you apart.

Wolfgang Puck
BrainyQuote.com

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.

Benjamin Franklin
BrainyQuote.com

Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.

E.L. Doctorow
BrainyQuote.com

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.

Ray Bradbury
BrainyQuote.com

Today, I’m celebrating a landmark birthday and rather than allowing myself to dwell on getting older, or the fact my pen seems to have temporarily run dry, I’m going to concentrate on the positives- I have my health, a supportive family, fantastic writing friends, and it’s spring- anything is possible!

Newsletter Goodies

If you like deals and steals, check out my newsletter here: https://app.mailerlite.com/g7j1r2/

The #Blogging World is Alive and Well #Reading


Blogging is alive and well.

I’m surprised by how many writers feel they’re wasting time by building connections within the writing community. Where do they think book reviewers hang out?

As a reader, I’ve found many fantastic new reads thanks to the reviews I’ve read on blogging sites.

As an author, I follow blogs like Writers in the Storm and Story Empire to learn my craft. I’ve also learned the blogging community is open and friendly- always happy to welcome newcomers into their midst.

It’s a good way to build SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for your website, too! By commenting on other blogs, you’ll soon find your own stats will grow, along with your connections, so… win-win 🙂

A good way to do this is to make use of the WordPress Reader- you can find this on the top left of your website.

 

 

You can choose the posts you follow or do a search for those you’re interested in. I even follow the local news stations from there!

 

 

One of the best benefits to blogging are the friends you can make from all over the world. I’ve met people from South Africa, Sicily, England, France, the U.S and Canada. And the amazing thing is- we all love books!

One such friend recently read my new release, Skating on Thin Ice, and posted an amazing review. Here it is- in part from Staci Troilo’s awesome blog:

When a romantic suspense (one of my favorite genres) set in the hockey world (one of my favorite past times) was released by one of my favorite authors (Jacquie Biggar), I had to bump it in the queue. And like Letang’s slapshot through a goalie’s five-hole, I blazed through it. Here are my thoughts:


★★★★★ She Shoots and Scores!

Jacquie Biggar has done it again. I have yet another new book boyfriend—Mac Wanowski, captain of the Victoria WarHawks hockey team.

Mac is the perfect guy—a body that won’t quit, a quick wit to match, intelligent, chivalrous, and just damaged enough to tug your heartstrings without wanting to bash him over the head for his stupidity. (Well, not too often, anyway.)

Sam is his perfect match—strong, smart, quick-tempered, sassy, big-hearted. And she has a past with true heartache and a present with secrets that make her just a little mysterious.

If they gave a Stanley Cup to authors, Biggar would deserve one for this story.

⛸🏒⛸

Blurb:

Sam Walters has made a deal with the devil.

In order to win a much-needed contract as physical therapist to one of the NHL’s leading hockey teams, Sam must delay the recovery of their sniper, Mac Wanowski. The trouble is, the more she gets to know the taciturn hockey player, the more she aches to help him.

Mac ‘The Hammer’ Wanowski chased the Stanley Cup dream for too many years. Last time he was close it had cost him his wife. As injuries continue to plague the team, Mac works to catch a killer and keep the woman he’s come to love from the hands of a madman.

Hockey can be a dangerous sport, especially when millions of dollars are at stake.

Amazon Purchase Link

⛸🏒⛸

As you can see, the blogging community is a valuable resource. One you, as a writer, cannot afford to ignore!

 

You can also read Skating on Thin Ice in an upcoming anthology published by authors from The Authors’ Billboard- A Night She’ll Remember

Available March 31st!

Lives change as passions flare when nine USA Today Bestselling Authors share tales of intrigue, hints of suspense and new romance guaranteed to keep you reading.

Second chances, broken engagements, accidents, misled information and opposites attract are just some of what you’ll find within the passion-filled pages of A Night She’ll Remember.

 

Be sure to check out our Authors’ Billboard Monthly Contests for free ebooks, gift cards, and paperbacks.

 

Skating on Thin Ice by @jacqbiggar #RomanticSuspense #NewRelease


Skating on Thin Ice is Here!

This project began as a contemporary opposites attract romance, but it soon took on a life of its own and morphed into a fast-paced suspense instead!

Blurb

Sam Walters has made a deal with the devil.

In order to win a much-needed contract as physical therapist to one of the NHL’s leading hockey teams, Sam must delay the recovery of their sniper, Mac Wanowski. The trouble is, the more she gets to know the taciturn hockey player, the more she aches to help him.

Mac ‘The Hammer’ Wanowski chased the Stanley Cup dream for too many years. Last time he was close it had cost him his wife. As injuries continue to plague the team, Mac works to catch a killer and keep the woman he’s come to love from the hands of a madman.

Hockey can be a dangerous sport, especially when millions of dollars are at stake.

International: http://books2read.com/SkatingonThinIce

Add to your reading list: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43293227-skating-on-thin-ice

Recommend on BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/skating-on-thin-ice-the-men-of-warhawks-book-1-by-jacquie-biggar

Exclusive Excerpt

Sam lay on the ground at Mac’s back, mewling cries of terror crawling up her throat and blocking any possible clues of their assailant’s location. Someone was freaking shooting at them. Who got up in the morning and decided, I’m going to shoot someone today. Couldn’t he tell they weren’t deer or moose or whatever the hell he was aiming at?

Shaking, she ran trembling fingers over Mac’s torso, praying like she’d never prayed before that he hadn’t been hit. “I’m sorry I knocked you over,” she sobbed. “Please, M… Mac, talk to me. I’m so sc… scared.”

“Shh,” he snarled, throwing a hard glance over his shoulder. His gaze narrowed. “Are you hit?”

Shocked into silence, she dabbed her brow and lowered her hand to stare blankly at the reddish-brown streak staining the threads of her white mitt. “I….” She swallowed hard. “It’s a scratch, I’m fine.” They had bigger problems at the moment.

He considered her for a moment, then gave a short nod. “Probably some dumbass hunter. We’ll stay low for a bit, see if he moves on.” He turned his attention to the trees, searching out the monster in their midst.

Sam ducked her head to make a smaller target. Her cheek brushed the sandpaper-like surface of the snow and she inhaled the crushed pine needles under their bodies. Her mind filled with images of her family; Dad teaching them to fly fish, Kevin racing his tricycle to keep up to her and her friends, Mom encouraging her to go after her dreams. She covered her mouth to hold back the sobs. Would she ever see them again?

When she’d seen that gun pointed their way, her heart stopped. One second, she’d been contemplating the best place to hit Mac with her snowball and the next she’d seen that hunter and instinct had taken over. If he’d been shot… well, he wasn’t. If they got out of this in one piece, she was calling Uncle Thomas to pick them up. A mountain cabin was no place to be during hunting season—unless your name was Davy Crockett.

“I think he’s gone. We should be safe now.” Mac rolled onto his back and winced.

Contrite, Sam laid a hand on his broad chest. “Did I hurt you? I’m sorry.”

He turned his head to meet her gaze. “Who taught you to tackle like that, an old boyfriend?”

She smiled. “My brother, actually. He went to college on a football scholarship.”

“Ahh. Remind me to thank him sometime.” He closed his hand over hers and squeezed. “You’re quite the woman, Samantha Walters.”

Sam melted under the warmth of his regard. “Maybe you can meet him after we get off this mountain.”

He stiffened. “I’m not going anywhere.”

She sat up, oblivious to danger. “Are you nuts? You can’t be serious. What if something happens and you’re up here all by yourself? Who’s going to help you then, you big oaf?” Frustrated, she rose and dusted off her pants, keeping an eye out for any movement in the forest around them.

Maybe because of the gunshots, or maybe it was due to their little squabble, but the cheerful chirping chickadees and raucous squawks of jays had been replaced by an eerie silence. The shadows had lengthened since they’d started out just after lunch, and now stretched long, dark fingers through the broad branches of towering hemlock and fir trees. It all served to reinforce Sam’s decision; she was going back to the city where she belonged—with or without Mr. Tough Guy Wanowski.

“Can you get up on your own?” she asked, reaching for the discarded crutches. When she turned back, it was to see Mac, powerful arms braced, balancing his weight on the palms of his hands. In the next instant, he pushed upward, as smooth as a puma’s pounce, and landed on his feet with barely a wince.

Show off. Still fuming, Sam tossed him his crutches and clumped toward the cabin, wishing she could ditch the awkward snowshoes and sprint to safety. They walked in silence for about ten paces before Mac had to ruin it.

“Are you always this tempestuous?”

The dulcet tone of his voice scraped on her last nerve. “Aren’t you the least concerned? That hunter had a scope, he had to see us.” She stomped her foot, sending a puff of snow into the air.

“I know,” he said, so quietly she stopped to hear him better. He met her gaze and shrugged. “It’s not the first time.”

Celebrating a Milestone- Realizing a Dream #Romance #Writer #eNovAaW


Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Celebrating a Milestone

Five years ago, I decided to quit feeling sorry for myself and do something about it. You see, I’d recently moved away from home and was lost and lonely.

But, I had a dream.

One I’d carried in the back of my mind for years. I wanted to write a book. Deciding the genre was the easy part. Romance. I was an avid reader of romance novels. They took me to faraway places, fed my spirit and thrilled my heart.

Yep, romance it was.

Okay, now what?

I had a computer that I used for my bookkeeping, but had no idea how to use it as a writing tool. I needed to learn though, my lefty handwriting was atrocious- that wouldn’t work.

I searched online and found RWA® Romance Writers of America, a group of thousands geared toward helping authors better their craft. I also managed to find a local writing group and gathered up the courage to go to one of their meetings where I immediately felt at home. I joined both and began to take classes to learn the art.

It took time (I’m still a work-in-progress) but finally, FINALLY I published my first book in September of 2014.

Pride.

I could barely contain the excitement blooming in my chest to see a book with MY name on it for sale. But then came the realization. People were going to read it. My heart and soul on those pages and they were all out there– I felt sick.

The reviews trickled in, some good, some not so much, but the addiction was born. I loved to write!

This week I’m celebrating that momentous moment by sharing my first book with you- free!

Jan 11-15

Click the picture to go to Amazon

Excerpt

Nick jogged through the early morning streets, Jake trotting by his side, enjoying the peace and quiet before the town woke for the day. Little songbirds greeted him as he passed a cedar hedge on his way to the park. The air was fresh and cool at this hour. He was glad his strength had returned, his breathing even and stride long. It’d been an uphill battle. For a while after the ambush he’d shut down. Closed everyone out. He wished now he’d made it his business to keep in touch with all his old teammates. The faint sounds of a dog’s bark had Nick looking down at Jake, loping alongside. He’d healed up well, and only flinched at sudden loud noises these days. His hip had taken the brunt of the damage. When the explosion had thrown them, Nick worried he’d need to put him down, but he’d pulled through. Tough mutt.

After his run, he would head over to Sara’s and have a look at those files, see what they were looking at here. Nick had a bad feeling that Tommy boy was into some heavy shit. They needed to solve that first, before there could be a chance for him and Sara.

A sudden sharp pain stabbed him behind the eyes, causing him to falter. Jake whined, sensing his distress. Squinting through slit eyes he spotted a nearby bench, and slumped onto the seat. He pushed a shaky hand through his hair, and then using his thumb and middle finger squeezed in towards his nose, relieving the pressure. “It’s okay, boy. I’m fine. Let’s just take a little break, hmm.” The doctor had explained in excruciating detail while he lay in that hospital in Germany, how lucky he was. The explosion had hit him and sent him flying right up against the stone wall of a nearby house. Shrapnel had gouged a deep line on his forehead, right above his old bullet wound. A centimeter farther to the left and it would have been lights out, of the forever kind. Unfortunately, it’d taken his short-term memory away from him. He’d been told it would come back in dribbles, or one big slam––or maybe not ever. Nice. It angered him that he couldn’t break through the fog to discover the truth of what happened to him and his team. There was something there he could feel it.

He supposed he should be grateful he could remember his childhood, though those memories he could have lived without. Years of mental and physical abuse at the hands of his old man had sent him down nothing but a path of trouble during his high school years. Alcohol, substance abuse, vagrancy, you name it he tried it. His motto had been if you’re not living on the edge, you’re just taking up space.

Then he’d met Kendra in one of the few classes he’d decided to show up for and they’d fallen in love. She’d been the only child of lawyer parents, sweet and innocent. The odds had gone against him when they’d had unprotected sex on a hot summer’s night. She’d gotten pregnant. At least he’d done the right thing and proposed. And though her parents of course hated him, they agreed the marriage should take place. Maybe if they’d stopped it, or if he’d just walked away, Kendra and his son would still be alive today.

They’d been too young, and in the end, it tore them apart. He couldn’t even recall what the fight had been about––no doubt his lack of a ‘respectable’ job. He’d been working at a local garage at the time––all he did remember was getting up to answer the door, only to see two uniforms on the other side. Devastated, blaming himself, he spent the next couple of months shit-faced drunk. Coming out of an alcohol-induced daze one day he saw a poster for enlisting in the marines. Not caring much whether he lived or died at that point, he’d signed up. They sent him to Lackland Airforce Base in San Antonio, where he met Jake. They’d been inseparable ever since.

The searing pressure eased enough for him to open his eyes. Jake sat with his head cocked to the side, his ears laid back in commiseration. Nick nudged him with his knee and gave his sides a good hard rub, Jake groaning his thanks. “Okay, big guy, what do you say to finishing our run?” He’d learned a long time ago that pushing through the pain was often the best medicine.

He had that in common with Sara. She’d gone through both a physical and a mental trauma that would have crushed most. She was doing great, but he bet a violation like that was something from which no woman ever fully recovered.

It humbled him that she had trusted him enough to allow him to make love to her last night. Nick would never hurt a hair on her head, but there was no real way for her to be sure of that. He hoped and prayed no one would ever crush her again, and swore to do everything in his power to make sure of that, starting with Sheridan. If those files contained half of what Sara had intimated they did, he’d need some help. Checking to make sure no one was around, he pulled his cell out of his sweats and made the call.

“Hey, Chief, how are you? It’s Nick, Nickolaus Kelley. Long time, sir, too long. Shit, I’ve missed the team. How’s the whizz kid?” A big grin split his face as he listened to Frank describing Jared’s latest and greatest.

“No kidding, trust Martin to take the term, Land of opportunity, to a whole new level, right?” He laughed. Man, it was good to talk to the chief again. Why did people always let the important ones in their lives fall to the wayside, while they went about the business of life?

He could well believe Jared had almost shut down the strip; the man was scary good with electronics. “I understand that you’re out of the loop these days, sir, but I was hoping I could ask you, and Jared if he’s still with you, for a helping hand. I have a situation here and could really use your input.”

Relief coursed through his veins at the quick response to his plea. “I’ll tell you all about it when you arrive. Tomorrow then, and thanks—Frank.”

January’s Featured Blogger: Jacquie Biggar




I’m thrilled to be interviewed on artist and friend, Rob Goldstein’s wonderful #blog!

Art by Rob Goldstein

Jacquie Biggar has a wonderful gift for writing hot and extremely likable military men!

Jacqui Nelson

This month’s featured blogger is Jacquie Biggar

. Jacquie is a writer of romantic suspense novels.  She writes tough, alpha males and strong, contemporary women.  Jacquie lives on Vancouver Island with her husband.

When did you start writing?

I wrote a few short stories in middle school that were well received by my teachers and fostered my dream of making it a career one day.

Unfortunately, I set it aside for many years while working and raising a family. I didn’t get serious about writing until 2012. I signed up to Romance Writers of America, took numerous classes to learn my craft and joined a couple of critique groups. One year later, I published my first suspense novel, Tidal Falls.

Did you always have a gift for writing hot guys?

Lol, I don’t know…

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Something a Little Personal #Goals #Inspiration #FamilyFirst


Time to Make a Change

Do you ever look back and wish there were things you could change? I’m sure we’ve all been there at one time or another.

2018 is a blur for me. I was caught up in the write more/ write faster hampster wheel and took the things that are the most important for granted. I wrote and published six books and participated in twelve box sets and book bites.

I’m so proud of these accomplishments, but they came at a steep cost.

Time.

Time to spend with those important in my life. My daughter and grandson, who moved across the country in August. My husband, who works nights and therefore has limited daylight hours awake. My mom, who lives next door. My cat and dog, who would appreciate a little one-on-one time. My overflowing Kindle, filled with stories I’ve yet to read. My garden, that got by mostly by luck and little care last year. My family back home, who I rarely call. My friends, whose lives I’ve lost touch with.

A couple of months ago, I lost a relationship with an online book promoter who I’d considered a friend. Her reasoning: I hadn’t remained in contact with her. This hurt more than probably warranted, but it also served as a wakeup call.

Time is a precious commodity for all of us. We can’t afford to waste it, even if we are chasing our dreams. The cost may be more than you want to pay. One of my critique partners lost her husband not long ago. A friend lost her husband and her father this year, while another had a stroke on Boxing Day. These are all signs telling me life is precious, don’t waste a single moment.

I’m making 2019 my year to slow down.

I’m going to spend less time worrying and more with enjoying life and what a true blessing it is.

Instead of a resolution, I’ve picked a word to live up to: BREATHE

Do you have a word to inspire change?

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New Releases and Giveaways too!! ☕❄☕🎉 #Reading #Romance #AuthorsHelpingAuthors


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Photo by Eftodii Aurelia on Pexels.com

 

One Month Until Christmas!

I happened to glance at the calendar today and almost had a heart attack; Christmas will be here before I know it!
I’m so ill-prepared this year. Normally, I begin shopping as early as June (I know :)) but I hate trying to come up with ideas at the last minute. There’s nothing worse than spending hard-earned cash on a gift you just know is going to end up in a corner or under a bed somewhere, right?
I considered going the gift card route- easy, safe- but my daughter would probably disown me, lol.
So this is what I’m going to do:
Tell me your best gift ideas ( not too expensive- struggling writer here! ) and I’ll choose three of the best to receive $10 Amazon gift cards, winner determined in next month’s holiday update post.
Good luck!

PS. Follow me on Bookbub and see which books I recommend!

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Unforgettable Thrills

It’s Release week!
Get captivated by Unforgettable Thrills, a bundled set of saucy, mind-blowing suspense stories of Passion and Power that will stoke your desire, build a hunger for thrills, and then feed you with a banquet of romantic delights you hope will never end. Our strong, savvy heroines conquer overwhelming odds with their ingenuity and skills – their protective heroes bringing pleasure beyond expectations. This unsurpassable mix by NY Times and USA Today bestselling authors will have you cheering alongside them as they triumph over life’s challenges.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JMHB9ZW

International: http://books2read.com/UnforgettableThrills

 

 

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A Holiday Romance Novella

Mistletoe Inn- Available December 3, 2018

One of my favorite childhood books was about a lonely man trapped in a beast’s body who meets and falls in love with a beautiful woman, but feels unworthy of her heart.
Of course, this is the story of Beauty and The Beast, a classic that has been retold many times over the years.
Mistletoe Inn is my version of this tale, I hope you’ll enjoy this sweet and heartwarming story.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HY69RPL

International link: http://books2read.com/MistletoeInn

TBR List- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42204464-mistletoe-inn

 

 

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On Sale Today!
Silver Bells

Will a Christmas wish give a lonely author a family?

Mystery writer, Joel Carpenter, has no time for romance. He has a deadline to meet, and too many skeletons in his closet to trust the slightly spinny artist renting his house.

Christy Taylor has her hands full dealing with an ailing business and a diabetic daughter, she doesn’t need the temptation that is her landlord, Joel Carpenter.

Can a Christmas wish bring two stubborn souls together and give a little girl the gift she wants most?

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N58D23M

http://books2read.com/Silver-Bells

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31345617-silver-bells

 

GIVEAWAYS

Find a Comfy Spot and Fall in Love with these Great Books and enter our giveaways!

RomanceByFirelightGiveaway

November 05-25
ROMANCE BY FIRELIGHT GIVEAWAY

Enter for Your Chance to Win Nov 5-25!!
https://bookwrapt.com/romance-by-firelight-giveaway/

Whether staring up at the stars or lounging on a soft, furry rug in front of a hearth, nothing is more romantic than snuggle-time beside a roaring fire. Join us for a celebratory giveaway of the season. You could win a Kindle Fire, ebook prize pack, or Amazon gift card!

https://bookwrapt.com/romance-firelight-book-fair/
Enjoy every minute of fall’s romantic days and nights with our page full of discount books. Over 40 titles, every one of them 2.99 or less, plus don’t miss out on the FREE Shortie Download and bonus giveaway!

 

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November 01-30
Authors’ Billboard November Contest

2 X $10 Amazon Gift Card Special Giveaways
Plus…The Billionaire Werewolf’s Princess by Michelle Hauf
The Lake House Secret by Debra Burroughs
3 free box collections the winners can choose from the Authors Billboard Books!

Enter Here

 

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Love Audio Books?

Start Listening Today

Haven’t joined the latest craze yet? Join here and get a free book!- https://www.audible.com/pd/B0799XFY23/?source_code=AUDFPWS0223189MWT-BK-ACX0-106676&ref=acx_bty_BK_ACX0_106676_rh_us

And check out my other #audiobooks here: https://www.audible.com/author/Jacquie-Biggar/B00MSIJQBG

 

 

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Review Team

Are you an avid reader? Would you like to be a member of my Reader Team? You would get advance copies of each book before it is released, with a chance to be first to leave a review.
There’s still room!
Email me at the address below with the topic – Reader Team.
Reader Team

 

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Sharing is Caring

Here’s a sample of new releases and deals from my friends. Just click a cover to learn more, enjoy!

On Sale Today!
Just .99 Pennies!

 

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Whispers of Winter: A Limited Edition Collection of Winter Romances
Winter may be rolling in, but that doesn’t mean your days and nights must be cold.

 

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The Pam of Babylon Boxed Set: A Contemporary Romance Series
At last, the bestselling series starter collection! Contains the first five full-length novels plus two additional stories!

 

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New Release
Tales From the Irish Garden by Sally Cronin
The queen of Magia and her court have fled their sun filled Spanish homeland and the palace beneath the magnolia tree.

 

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New Release
Atonement in Bloom by Teagan Geneviene
“Atonement in Bloom” continues the urban fantasy from the point where “Atonement, Tennessee” ended.

 

See you next month!

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