The End of an Era?

valloryv:

I’m no where near the trail of glory from this author, but I feel this post. I feel this post.

Originally posted on The Intoxication of Vera Roberts:

I don’t know. I honestly don’t know.

I’ve been questioning a lot lately if I’m writing for the love or for the glory. No doubt, it’s for the love, but I would like to have just a smidge of glory.

For whatever reason, reviews have always eluded me. I will release a book and it’ll debut in three Top 100 lists in Amazon but I’ll get next to no reviews. Like none. I’ve come to accept, at first, that maybe I’m just a big seller but no one wants to review me.

Then it became increasingly hard to accept.

It’s very humbling to go on Amazon and see your book listed next to your contemporaries and fellow authors, but their books have 20, 30, 50, or even 300 reviews. And not one of your own has 100. And each release has less reviews than the one before. The more book…

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Spotlight on Private Internship

SOR Private Intership VBT 2 BannerPrivate Internship by Kisty Clare

Sequel to Model Position

Sometimes sugar isn’t so sweet and secrets can be deadly…especially with matters of the heart.

Sienna’s bestie, Harper warned her not to intern for famous bad boy artist, Casper Mason. After all, he just fired Harper who helped Sienna get the interview. But the moment Sienna sees Casper—or Caz—sweaty, practically shirtless and swinging from chains as he works on his sculpture, she’s hooked. He’s the richest, hottest artist in New York, and he lives in the fabulous Williamsburg Sugar Factory. But he’s also an incorrigible game-player, who seems to relish testing Sienna’s loyalty with a string of unsettling tests.

She knows she should get away fast. But by the time Sienna sneaks into his locked storage room and begins to unearth his dark and terrifying secret, she’s fallen way too hard for the handsome, charismatic Caz.

~Excerpt~

PrivateInternship.v1-Final.v2.2He locks his rich, hot-chocolate eyes on me, and studies my every curve and angle, seems to be piercing right through my skin into the alleys of my mind and heart. Curious, he’s so curious. I sense him asking where I’m from and why it took me so long to find him, and what kind of art I do, and whether I’ve ever sold it or gotten a review, or who I know, who I hang out with, and how much experience I’ve had in galleries, in school, in the world, in bed. My neck heats up. Did I just think that? Or was that something in his head that crossed wires and invaded mine? He’s close to me now, still staring boldly, when suddenly I feel his inner questions stop. And a wall, like one of those metal store gratings, clatters downward and slams. Closed for business, closed for questions, closed for good.

This, all before we’ve exchanged one word. When I come back into myself, I’m embarrassed to realize that I’m wringing my hands—the old-fashioned hysterical Victorian damsel in distress kind of wringing. I stop, immediately. Rub my sweaty palms on my dress. Buck up! I scold silently. And I extend my hand. “I’m Sienna. I’m your new intern.”

Casper Mason doesn’t take my hand. The nerve. He’s standing there, boldly, legs wide apart in some twisted warrior stance, arms folded across his wide chest. Jaw jutting out rebelliously, eyes daring me…to do what? So after an excruciating few seconds, I retract my hand.

“My new intern?” Caz mumbles as though an intern is a radioactive space rock or some otherworldly object and he never ordered one. “Well, it’s about time. That last one was a disaster.”

Praise for Private Internship:

“Beautiful. Amazing. A fantastic read that left me wanting more.” -XoXo Book Blog

“A juicy read full of passion and magnetic chemistry that will have you hooked from beginning to end.” -From the Purple Matter Book Blog

Buy Links: Amazon  All Romance Ebooks    B&N    Kobo

~About the Author~

Kitsy Clare hails from Philadelphia and lives in New York. A romantic at heart, she loves to write about the sexy intrigue of the city, and particularly of the art world. She knows it well, having shown her paintings here before turning to writing. Model Position, her new adult novella is about artist Sienna and her friends. Living in a Bookworld says: “Beautifully written! We get to learn things about art & painting, which is refreshing. A colorful story from a promising new adult author.” Private Internship is the next in her Art of Love series.

Kitsy loves to travel, draw, read romance, speculative fiction, and teach writing workshops. She also writes YA as Catherine Stine. Her futuristic thriller, Ruby’s Fire was a YA finalist in the Next Generation Indie book awards. Fireseed One, its companion novel, was a finalist in YA and Sci-Fi in the USA News International Book Awards and an Indie Reader notable. Her YA horror, Dorianna, launches in fall, 2014. She’s a member of SFWA, RWA and SCBWI.

Subscribe to Kitsy’s newsletter so she can send the link to preorders as soon as they are live.

~Author Links~

Facebook   Twitter    Pinterest    Blog    Website 

Put Private Internship on your Goodreads TBR list

~Giveaway~

Kitsy is giving away one ebook copy of Private Internship and one ebook copy of Model Position (book one) during her tour.

For a chance to win please fill out the rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Podcast – The Drea and Milana Show

abstract grunge music backgroundJust a quick note to say that I had a great time last night on The Drea and Milana Show! If you’ve never listened to this show, these ladies are hilarious and informative.

I usually get so nervous that I don’t what I’m talking about, but they made me feel so comfortable and welcome that it was easy. If you’d like to listen to my interview, please click the link below:

Chatting with Vallory Vance: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/dreaandmilana/2014/09/27/chatting-with-vallory-vance

My Personal Challenge – Fated (The Rewrite)

authoressGetting back to writing is harder than I ever imagined. After several weeks of plotting and creating an initial outline, I tried to re-write the first chapter last Saturday. Well, I’m still working on it.

But I’m determined to get it done. I think one my biggest problems right now is trying to write the story I want to write and silencing that inner critic because she has major issues.

While it is important to think about plot holes, character consistency and grammar rules, my critic also likes to throw in random thoughts like – “Who’s actually gonna read this?” “Is anybody gonna like this?” “Doesn’t this suck?”

My answers lately have been – “No one”, “No one”, and “Yes”. So I have rewritten the first chapter each day for the last seven days. And I remain in the place where I started.

Ughh!!!!

My remedy for the time being is: Do it anyway. Maybe, this piece won’t ever be published but I will finish by the end of the year and to help me along – stay tuned for unedited chapters each week.

Here’s the synopsis for Fated (working title)

Marc Rossi is a small town detective working on the biggest case in the not only the town’s history but his career. A prominent business man is found with a single gunshot wound to his head in his office. To complicate matters – the business man is not only a member of the latest wave of post-Katrina transplants to settle into the town but a member of the growing number of immigrants into the South Louisiana region. Language barriers and general prejudice hamper the investigation as well as Marc’s growing attraction to Laurence Tomas, the victim’s former girlfriend.

Can he find a killer and love at the same time?

Hope you’ll join me on Monday for that first chapter!

Spotlight on Kismet by Serena Fairfax

SOR Kismet VBT BannerWhen a feisty 21st century girl shakes hands with 400 years of history what happens next? In London on a buying spree, Jo Farrer, who runs a fashion shop from her cottage, wanders into an ancient churchyard and is hooked by an epitaph on a gravestone immortalizing a notorious seventeenth century French highwayman and womanizer.

Pre-occupied by thoughts of him, her van skids in an unfamiliar residential area, demolishing the original cast iron railings of an upscale, Victorian town house. Dazed and shaken, she’s rescued from the wreckage by charismatic tycoon, Ed Amery who she recalls hounded Kim, her former fiancé, out of office. Further shock encounters with Ed occur at a seminar designed to provide advice to budding entrepreneurs and at the stables owned by her uncle Roger, where Ed’s filly is in training.

Subsequently, Ed reveals that Kim was a computer hacker who’d defrauded Ed and transferred millions offshore where he’d bolted.

Keen to open a conventional retail outlet, Jo rents a boutique within a luxury country house hotel complex only to learn later, to her dismay, that Ed’s her landlord and he, reluctant to accept her as a tenant, challenges her skills. She’s also jealous of Ed’s apparent romantic involvement with Cait.

An unlucky gemstone, a fancy dress ball, a fashion shoot, unsavory disclosures, equestrian sketches, a bloodstock auction and the enduring, Casanova legend of the mesmerizing highwayman, who plays Cupid, mingle to intrigue the reader in the highly charged erotic clashes between Ed and Jo. The setting is the idyllic English countryside of hawthorn hedges, bluebell woods and may blossom.

sf-kismet3

 ~Excerpt~

Here lies Du Vall, Reader, if male thou art,

Look to thy purse, if female, to thy heart.

Much havoc did he make of both, for all

Men he made stand and women fall.

The second Conqueror of the Norman race,

Knights to his arm did yield, and ladies to his face…’

Who were you? Jo nudged her white minivan through the press of traffic, her thoughts tantalized by the mildewed epitaph she’d glimpsed just an hour earlier on a ravaged headstone. The shade of the ancient London churchyard had been a welcome respite from the unseasonably hot May day and her haggling with veterans of the rag trade. She glanced in the rearview mirror, her cobalt-blue eyes dancing with pleasure at the pile behind her that semaphored contemporary and classic labels. And what would Du Vall have made of it, she mused. If she half closed her eyes, she could see him now, a virile bandit, and her lips curved in a wry smile that this man, long dead, long forgotten, could stir her blood. I’ll Google strip-search you, she resolved, running a hand through her ribbons of golden hair, as she itched to unlock him from the dusty pages of history.

“Dammit—should’ve taken a left at the lights,” Jo muttered. Her ditzy preoccupation with lady-killer Du Vall had diverted her into unfamiliar territory, an upscale residential area where cream, stucco-fronted Victorian villas, edging a tree-filled garden square, soared behind gleaming black railings.

The dusty road suddenly glistened with a treacherous oiliness. The van began a wild tango. Jo’s hands tightened over the steering wheel. Her heart pounded as she closed her eyes in the grim realization she was skidding. In a space of seconds, there was a crunch of metal as the van surged through cast iron railings, the windscreen raced to meet her as she was flung forward, shards of glass raining down. She slammed the brakes and the vehicle shuddered to a stop, straddling a steep drop across a basement well. This isn’t meant to happen. But the seat belt had saved her from a gory end. Slowly she opened her eyes, nausea creeping over her as she started to shake.

“A woman driver—surprise, surprise.” It was a deep male voice tinged with sarcasm and, emerging from a kind of fog, it took Jo several moments to grasp what was happening. The nearside door was wrenched open—strong hands reached across, unbuckled the seatbelt, and slowly tugged her into the solid muscle of his chest. She could feel the heat of his body, smell his musky male scent mingled with the sharpness of aftershave. Desperately trying to keep a fragile hold on herself, Jo’s heartbeats almost sped off the radar as the Good Samaritan’s eyes, silver-gray in a lean, sun-bronzed face, collided with hers as he steadied her upright on the sidewalk. And although she was five foot seven, he was all height, broad shoulders, rock-hard body and sensual mouth. He hadn’t shaved and was simply gorgeous.

Buy Links: Bookstrand Amazon

 ~About the Author~

Serena Fairfax spent her childhood in India, qualified as a lawyer in England and joined a London law firm.

Romance is hardwired into her DNA so her novels include a strong romantic theme. However, she broke out of the romance bubble with IN THE PINK, a quirky departure in style and content. She’s also written several short stories that feature on her blog.

Fast forward to a sabbatical from the day job when Serena traded in bricks and mortar for a houseboat which, for a hardened land lubber like her, turned out to be a big adventure.

Apart from writing and reading (all kinds of books), a few of Serena’s favorite things are collecting old masks, singing (in the rain) and exploring off the beaten track.

She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists Association, which is a very supportive organization. Serena and her golden retriever, Inspector Morse, who can’t wait to unleash his own Facebook page, divide their time between London and rural Kent. (Charles Dickens said: Kent, sir. Everybody knows Kent. Apples, cherries, hops and women).

Author Links: Site     Blog      Facebook      Twitter

 ~Giveaway~

Serena is giving away a eBook copy of Loving That Feeling.

For a chance to win please click here for the rafflecopter.

Sometimes Life Gets in the Way

I had great hopes for this summer. I was going to polish the rest of the Rose Gold Collection. I was going to complete the follow-up novella to Scent of a Woman. I was going to finish a Christmas novella.

Then life happened.

After six months, I was unable to find a full time job and my savings had taken a serious depletion.

Writing and publishing is now a dream while I deal with the real world.

I’ve moved in with my in-laws a state over from where I began my writer’s journey.

magic pen (series C)And my kids are undergoing a journey of their own. If you are a parent then you’ll understand that their struggle is paramount to your own. So when my daughter looked up her new school online and saw 0.3% of the enrollment who classified themselves as one or more races, she was concerned. Which led to my younger daughter being concerned which led to me being concerned.

I’m an African-American woman in her forties married to a White man. I’m used to being one of the only few in a crowd whether it is one of his family’s functions or one for work, so I no longer think in those terms.

But for a child who identifies herself as biracial, who does she gravitate towards? In our former hometown, it was easy. It was like we were a minority population of those who were interracial couples – White/Asian, Black/Latina, Black/ White, White/ Latina/o and the list goes on. But here on the North Shore (about thirty minutes outside of New Orleans), we don’t even qualify as a minority. It’s more of an anomaly.

So over the next few weeks, I’ll let you know how we are doing. Especially the kiddos. And I’m going to write again.

I promise!

~Val

Something Different

I posted this on my Wattpad page and thought I’d share it on the blog as well. I dabble in different kinds of writing and this is one of my general fiction pieces with a southern flair.

Summary: Irene Gooden is facing the final moments of her life. As her breathing slows she remembers the days of light and darkness.

Lord Forgive Me for the Azaleas

By Mike James from Reston, VA, USA (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Mike James from Reston, VA, USA via Wikimedia Commons

It was a dream. A dream of cane syrup, of floured hands and rolled out biscuits.

Irene Gooden drew in a deep breath trying to smell them…real biscuits. It had been so long.

She broke into a fit of coughing only opening her eyes because of the concern in Liza’s voice.

“Rene, drink this.” The younger Ms. Gooden, as she was known in the little community of Battlecreek, Mississippi, pushed the straw between her sister’s lips.

Irene drank a few tiny sips and closed her eyes again. Biscuits and cane syrup.

When was that Liza? We must have been just girls. You and me and mama and papa.

Remember the fields? Mornings and afternoons in the fields. Bent over the cotton. Back strained and hands torn apart. Praising the Lord that we had been given another day.

Evenings in the front room rubbing down mama’s legs in the foot tub. The knots so hard it took both our hands to rub one of them loose. Papa sitting back reading from his Bible. Us trying to figure out the words at his knee. Boys all gone. Just the four of us left.

Going into town on Saturdays. Lowered eyes and ‘Yes, sir. No, sir’. Penny candy after the cotton was sold. Afternoons washing Dr. Lee’s clothes. He would give mama a nickel or two.

That was where Jack Butler was working. That’s when he seen us.

That’s when it was done written in the Book in Heaven.

There was a voice. A man’s voice. What was he saying? Ohhh. Drink this. Irene took a few more sips and opened her eyes. It was Dan. Liza’s son. Sweet man. He would often sit with her and read for a few hours. Dan, do you remember how you would read to me and your Uncle Dan when you was just a little boy?

Her Dan loved Liza’s son. They never had no children of their own, just Liza and Bill’s son. Love and Pride didn’t know that he wasn’t their natural born son. The four of them raised him up in the church and made sure that he got his lesson out. They was there when he graduated from high school and college. Dan didn’t live to see him make a doctor.

Did you know about Jack Butler, son? I was married to him before your Uncle Dan. He was an old man when I married him. He came looking to marry your mama and she was just a girl. Come to my papa one evening asking about her. Papa said she was too young to be getting married. Said I was the right age if he was set on Gooden gal for a wife.

So I married that old man and went to live outside of town. It was a cold place. It was all Jack’s doing. Nothing was ever right for him and he brought in the cold and the dark. He lived outside of the Word in all he said and all he did. I…I…shall not speak of it. Tears spilled from her closed eyes. She felt Dan’s hand on her own. “Aunty, Aunty? It’s alright darling. I’m here with you.” Dan was here. He would keep her safe.

Safe. Irene opened her eyes and smiled. She could see Dan and Liza next to her. She breathed in easily. She had been breathing easily for most of her life. It was this sickness. This last sickness that had taken her breath again.

Jack Butler had taken her breath. He had made sure that she didn’t know how he would behave. Didn’t know how badly he would hurt her or if this time would be the last time. I accepted that, Liza. I told you that before. This body was dust and dust it would return.

It was the azaleas. The only pretty thing out there on the edge of them woods. Those azaleas that grew without tending. Just grew cause they was my gift from God.

He tore them down. All over the yard. Into the wind and they was gone. I screamed and screamed. It was night before I went on in and started making something to eat. I just put as much rat poison as was in the shed into the cornbread. Jack Butler was a big eater and he had a belly full. It took him a while to die and two or three days for me bury him out in the woods.

It was for the azaleas, Irene gasped. He was tearing down the beauty in my soul. He was trying to kill my Spirit. Take my Joy. Lord, forgive me. Forgive me.

Irene could feel her body shaking. Feel the wetness on her cheeks. She wanted to cry out but there was no sound. It was Dan’s voice that calmed her. A voice so sweet. He was saying that it was alright. No more crying now.

Irene was able to sleep again. Dan sitting up on their porch. A yard full of azaleas. Mama rolling out biscuits and Papa reading his Bible.