Thursday, January 19, 2017

Thursday's Second Scene - Seducing the Baker #MFRWauthor #Bakery #romance

Grace Sutton stared at the check Tony had left on his way to the city. She’d been so involved with setting up the shop for the day’s business she hadn’t had a chance to look at the amount. She reached for her cell phone and dialed his number. Moments later she heard his voice.
“Are you out of your mind? ” she asked.
He laughed. “Not today.”
“The check.”
“Is for the cupcake display at our wedding.”
“It’s too much. I gave you a fair quote.”
“And you’re doing this at your busiest time of the year. Consider any extra as a bonus. Oh, Lauren said to use some of the money for new tires for the van.”
“I will.”
“Soon, I hope. Sorry you can’t make dinner and the play on Saturday night.”
“Too much to do here. Like figuring how to finish all the holiday orders to be filled. I need a plan. Also choosing a selection for you to taste on Sunday. Then there are the books.”
He chuckled. “See you Sunday. You are your plans. I have a friend who plans his time step by step, too. What do you do when the plan nosedives?”
“Reassess.”
She hung up and stared at the check. Enough to buy the supplies for next month and to consider hiring a part-time baker. She jotted notes for an ad.
Another idea occurred. Bonnie, her clerk, was interested in learning about decorating. There were two girls at the group home who might like to work Friday evenings and Saturdays. The money they earned could help them save for when they aged out.
Pass the opportunity forward. She’d learned to cook at the home. The high school home ec teacher had encouraged her to try for a scholarship allowing her to attend culinary school.
“Coffee’s ready,” Bonnie called.
Grace left her office and joined her clerk. She filled a cup and sipped. “Perfect.”
Bonnie pointed to the empty space in the display case. “We need refills.”
Grace carried her mug to the office, finished most of the brew and entered the kitchen. Before opening the gleaming cooler, she donned gloves. She handed Bonnie a tray of cinnamon bun cupcakes, the steadiest seller. She carried a tray with three chocolate varieties. Chocolate Milk, Chocolate Heat and Chocolate Mint. “How are the Candy Cane, Winter Snow and Ginger Houses holding out?”
“We’re good there.”
While they stocked the shelves several customers arrived. Grace joined Bonnie in filling orders. When the rush ended Grace went to the kitchen to make several small batches of cupcakes she wanted for Sunday’s tasting. She set the trays in the oven to bake. Mingled aromas soon filled the air.
Working automatically, her thoughts drifted to the coming wedding. Though happy for Lauren, Grace felt a tad envious. She had dreamed of finding her own special love. Years ago, she’d thought she had found him but he’d disappointed her the way most people in her life had.
She’d been almost sixteen. He’d been two years older. Tall with dark hair and dark chocolate eyes. He’d been labeled a “bad” boy but beneath his smoldering anger she’d seen sadness and grief. She’d dreamed about him, spun fantasies until the day he’d climbed over the fence separating the two group homes. He’d kissed her and in crude terms told her what he wanted. She’d turned him down.
He had laughed. “Your loss.”
She thought, “not mine. Yours.” Grace’s hands tightened. She couldn’t stop the roll of memories from the past from forming. Drunken screams and laughter. Her mother and her guest for booze, drugs and sex appeared. Grace had vowed to have a different life but she feared the seeds had been planted years ago. She wouldn’t be like her mother. Could she hold this determination?
A buzzer sounded. Grace pulled on her long padded oven gloves and removed pans of cupcakes from the oven and placed them on the multi-tiered cooling racks. She filled more pans and started the cycle again. When the second batch cooled she entered the sales room. The number of empty spaces made her grin.
In a small way I’m a success. She prayed nothing would happen to poke holes in her ballooning confidence.
For a moment she considered the offer from Good Eatin’ Magazine. She’d been tempted but afraid. Growing too fast would see her dreams hurtling downhill in an avalanche.
Bonnie grinned. “Been a good morning and afternoon. Five orders for the holidays and look at the empty spaces.”
Grace looked at the clock. “Go to lunch. I’ll handle the front.”
“Want me to bring you something?”
“I brought a sandwich from home. I’ll eat when you return. This afternoon I plan to tackle the fruitcake recipe again.”
“How many times have you tried?”
“Maybe fifteen.” Grace pointed to the door. “Goodbye.”
“Yes, boss.”
Moments after the door closed behind Bonnie, the chimes announced a customer. Grace turned. Her hands tightened. Charlene? Why?
The bleached blonde sauntered to the display case. She ran a finger over the glass. “Good.”
“What?”
“There are plenty of cupcakes. Mama needs two dozen. She’s entertaining some friends this afternoon.”
Tension gripped Grace’’s shoulders. Her foster sister had been a bully years ago. “What about the dozen I gave you last night?”
“The girls raided the pantry. Mama is so angry with them she’s going to punish them. I figured you would find a way to stop her.”
Charlene’s nasal voice made Grace’s stomach clench. She’d been fortunate when she’d lived at the group home never to face Mrs. Paton’s punishment. Lauren had too often been given meticulous cleaning chores and too often Charlene’s lies had been the cause.
“What do you want?”
“The cupcakes.” Charlene tapped the case with a blood red fingernail. “You owe Mama for taking such good care of you. You should make her a partner in the bakery.”
Grace shook her head. She owed the Paton’s but she’d given them money again and again. “Which ones?” She opened a large box and filled it with the other woman’s selections.
The bleached blonde carried the box to the door. “See you at closing time.”
Grace drew deep breaths. The group home had been a safe haven where she’d escaped her childhood fears. She’d learned to file nightmares in a mental storage block. Now she needed to discover a way to end the need to constantly repay the people who had saved her.


* * *

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Writing ABC - P is for Plot #MFRWauthor #Writing #Plot

 P is for Plot. There are probably other writing tips for this letter but for me Plot is important. A plot is a road map that takes you from point A, the beginning to point B, the end. Knowing how the story starts and having an idea of the ending. Sometimes the beginning changes as the story is explored. The ending can also change. I usually have a very general idea about the ending. This may be something like the bad guy is caught. Or the heroine gets the hero. Or the space ship reaches it's destination.

Having a general idea of where the story is headed can then be blocked out. There are times when I see the ending as a clear picture. Then I know the beginning has to have clues of the way to reach the ending.

Since plot is a road map, sketching the important points happening to take the characters from that beginning moment to the end helps. As with any story, there can be changes along the way. The initial hero or heroine may be wrong for each other as the story progresses. Sometimes while writing a mystery, I have no idea who the villain will be. This is good since mysteries need red herrings along the way.

So when you sit down to tell your story, think ahead from that beginning to what will happen at the end. For most stories, the story will flow easily. But don't forget you can change the direction, as long as you don't end up in a dead end.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tuesday's Inspiration - Reviews #MFRWauthor #reviews


Receiving a new review on one of my books always inspires me to think about what I'm writing. I received one the other day from someone who usually doesn't like the very spicy kind of books I sometimes write. She liked the book and moments of the review made me laugh.

Even the reviews I receive that are rather negative do inspire me. Not that I let them bother me but they can inspire me to write better.

What reviews do to me is make me know someone has read the book whether they love or hate what they've read. The only reviews that disappoint me are the ones who are lengthy and give the ending of the story away.

How about you? Do reviews make you happy, sad or angry? What you need to remember is that the review is one person's opinion.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Meandering On Monday with Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor #Poem #writing

Meander 1 - Poem - Baptism

The water drops onto the child
In tiny drip, drip tears.
My mind drops to a lower gear
Into unconsciousness shifts.
An ageless meaning
Coming clear
In dedication hoping
That the water symbolizes
The endless washing of our fears.

Meander 2 - Hospital visits - No longer in the hospital but in rehab, we go to visit. The room seems to be about half a mile from the front entrance of the center. And if you have to park on the lower level, it becomes a mile. But I go and hopefully the patient will gain strength and be able to come home.

Meander 3 - Writing. Going slowly again this past week but I have gained some on the two current projects. I will be so glad to finish both but at least I'm not bored yet. When I'm bored that mans it's time to let go.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sunday's Book - Seducing the Baker #MFRWauthor #cupcakes #contemporary #romance

Seducing the Baker (At First Sight)


She was the only girl to turn him down. What will happen when business and a wedding bring them together again.

Jules Grayson was a player as a teen and that hasn’t changed. Business and a friend’s wedding join to bring him to the place where his life had imploded and where his trust issues began. A Ponzi scheme and a suicide forced him into a group home he hated. For ten years he has avoided returning. 

Grace Sutton is faced with a dilemma added to by the appearance of Jules in her Sweet and Spicy Cupcake bakery. Years ago she turned Jules down but she had a crush. His appearance erodes the vow she made years ago. Men had used her mother and led the woman into drugs and alcohol. Grace vowed to forego relationships with men until she could support herself. Though the bakery is making money, she doesn’t feel secure. When Jules arrives with a contract for a magazine feature, she is conflicted and attracted.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Saturday's Blurbs - Books by Victoria Chatham #MFRWauthor #regency #romance

Tilly McCormack is thrilled when her application for a position at the prestigious Banff Springs Hotel, one of Canada’s great railway hotels, is accepted. Local trail guide, Ryan Blake, is sure she is the girl for him. When a bride-to-be, whose wedding is being held at the Hotel, disappears, Tilly has an idea where she might have gone. Will they find her, and will Tilly accept Ryan’s proposal?


His Dark Enchantress http://amzn.com/B00BOW42QG

Her grandfather is dying and insists she marry. Emmeline Devereux is under no illusion that her marriage to Lucius, Earl of Avondale, is one of convenience. When her past catches up with her, will the truth tear them apart or strengthen their growing love?


Ship-wrecked Lady Juliana Beamish is rescued by Captain Drake O’Hara. He serves no master and only one mistress— the sea—but undermines her every notion of what desire is. Uncertain if she is still a wife or already a widow, Juliana is unwilling to dishonor her marriage vows. Will she continue to resist Drake, or will she surrender to the unrelenting passions he has stirred in her?

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday's Guest - Victoria Chatham - Who She Was Before #MFRWauthor #writing

1. What were you in your life before you became a writer? Did this influence your writing?

I’ve always been a writer since I could hold a pencil, but along the way I’ve been many things from a groom in a hunt stables to wife, mother, and grandmother. As far as an actual career is concerned, I’ve mostly worked in administrative or public relations positions. I think the organization needed for administrative work influenced the way I organize my writing, and I know meeting many, many people has given me insight when I’ve needed it for my characters.


2 Are you genre specific or general? Why? I don't mean genres like romance, mystery, fantasy etc. There are many subgenres of the above.

I mostly write historical romantic fiction, but I have also written contemporary western romance. I have many ideas and plots for just about every genre except fantasy and science fiction. I’m not a fast writer so I don’t know how many of these books will ever actually get written.


3. Did your reading choices have anything to do with your choice of a genre or genres?

Yes, definitely. I loved the Regency romances of Georgette Heyer and was so influenced by that era that when I started writing novels that was my first choice. I also love everything western, especially books by Linda Lael Miller and Jo Goodman, which brought me to write my western romance, Loving That Cowboy.


4. What's your latest release?

My publisher, Books We Love, is promoting the Canadian Historical Brides series, one bride for every province and territory to celebrate Canada’s history and 150th birthday in 2017. My book is Brides of Banff Springs, set in Banff, Alberta. I loved writing this book. Banff is not too far from where I live, so I made several day trips and spent a couple of weekends there for my research. It’s such a beautiful area it I sometimes forgot what I was there for.


5. What are you working on now?

My next book will be the third in my Berkeley Square Regency series, His Unexpected Muse. The first two in the series had some quite adventurous action scenes in them, but this book will be a little quieter with an unusual hero/heroine. They are two characters from His Dark Enchantress, the first book in the series. He is not the strong, athletic alpha male, she is not the usual beautiful and enigmatic heroine. They intrigued me when I was writing that first book and I decided I had to write about them, too.


6. Where can we find you?


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Thursday's Second Scene - Seducing the Attorney #MFRWauthor #law #occupationaltherapy

Tony stood at the foot of the stairs. What had just happened here? He would have taken her like an animal in rut. The moment she stepped into his arms and cried an urgency to claim her had driven every thought but possession. Not his style. Slow seduction with every move orchestrated brought great rewards. His body throbbed with desire and frustration. He wanted her beneath him while he pounded his way to completion.
Whoa! What had brought on these thoughts? He didn’t know her. He didn’t like her. There’d been a single meeting four years ago at Jim’s and Carrie’s wedding. Granted Lauren had changed, at least in appearance. Still he wondered if a runaway rebellious teen changed into a solid citizen. Not likely.
Sure her blonde hair no longer had blue and green streaks and didn’t flow to her waist. The nose and lip rings were gone and she didn’t wear skirts so tight and short little was left to the imagination. The first time they’d met she’d dressed like the hooker he believed she was. He’d been sorely tempted.
Still was. He had to fight this insane attraction. Why had Jim allowed her to be named as one of his son’s guardians? From all he’d seen she seemed to have a rapport with the boy he didn’t have. Babies had never been his thing. But he couldn’t permit Lauren to have custody of the child. Not with the lifestyle he believed she followed.
On Wednesday and Thursday evenings he’d called the condo. Both times the phone had been answered by a person claiming to be the sitter. When he’d asked when Lauren would return, the answer was late. He definitely knew what that meant especially when the sitter refused to give him Lauren’s location.
The opening notes of Beethoven’s Fifth sounded. He pulled the phone from his pocket. “Mark…You heard the message. Thanks…I wish I could…Matt or Jules can take my place…Tell them the teacher and the shopkeeper are hot…Good luck…Call me when you return.” He laughed. “I’ll be playing Daddy…Not sugar…To my nephew…Ciao.”
He broke the connection and sank on the couch. He would miss his best friend’s wedding but leaving here before his right to the baby’s custody was established wouldn’t do. He groaned. Visions of the hot babes he’d met the last time he’d stayed at the inn in Vermont danced in his thoughts. While he was stuck here instead of scoring with one or both women Matt would enjoy the pair. That was an event to regret.
No sense thinking about what might have been. He called the number of the agency he hoped would provide an instant nanny. The second one was in place the happier he would be. The moment the news about the accident and the deaths had reached him, the search for a nanny had begun.
"Tony Carlin calling for Mrs. Bunche.”
A moment later the pleasant voice greeted him. “Mr. Carlin, I’m sorry there’s been no action taken on your request. You haven’t visited the agency to complete the paperwork so I can finalize the choices.”
“Why can’t I do this over the phone and through emails?”
“Agency policy. If you can stop by the office on Monday at one we can complete your application and I can arrange interviews with our current available candidates.”
“One PM, I’ll be there.”
“Just to warn you. Since the nanny will be a live-in she must have her own room, one separate from the child. Most of our employees insist on either Saturday or Sunday off plus one other day during the week.”
The moment she stopped talking he hung up. He had no choice except to accept the agency’s demands. How soon would the boy be ready for nursery school? When that day arrived the nanny would only be needed for evenings and nights. He found paper on the counter and made a to- do list. There was another option. He could let Lauren share custody.
He nodded. She could have the kid every weekend. A frown tightened his forehead. Was that a good idea? Might put a spike in her ability to earn a living. He leaned against the back of the sofa. Perhaps another arrangement was possible. Like the one she had fled from moments before.
Laughter reached him. Lauren appeared with the infant in her arms. She dropped a blanket on the deep blue carpet and crouched to straighten the cloth. She added toys and rattles.
“Watch him while I start laundry.” She ducked upstairs and returned with a basket. She entered the area near the door into the garage.
“We need to talk,” he said.
She peered around the wall. “I know.”
“I’ll be staying for the weekend. Since I must be at the office Monday morning I’ll leave Sunday evening. You should plan to move out of here by next weekend. I want to sell the condo and put the money in the bank for the boy.”
The look on her face puzzled him. She stepped toward the couch. “I don’t live here. I’ve stayed because it’s important for Jamie to be in familiar surroundings. I’ll ask my landlady if she minds having a baby in the apartment. I can move his crib and dresser there.”
“Wrong. I’m taking the boy to the city. I’ve arranged for a nanny.”
“Jamie. His name is Jamie.” She strode forward. “Did you forget we have joint custody? I refuse to allow my nephew to be in a dark cell with a strange woman so you can forget he exists.”
Tony clamped his lips together and sought an answer. He didn’t trust her. He knew what she was. “I refuse to allow you to drag a different man into his life every night.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I know how you earn a living. If you’re hurting for cash I’ll pay you for tonight and tomorrow night.”
“Excuse me.” She fisted her hands on her hips. “You know nothing. You’re making assumptions and that makes you an ass.” The words shot like bullets.
The baby cried. Lauren scooped him into her arms and held him close.
“Mama. Dada.”
“No love, not today. Just Auntie.”
His sobs slowed. “Tee.” He buried his head against her shoulder.
Tony stared at his hands. He didn’t understand her anger. Couldn’t she admit the truth? Guilt for making the infant cry swamped him. “We’ll discuss this later.”
“Just remember I want what’s best for Jamie. If I must I’ll fight you.”
“I want the same for the child. If you fight I’ll win and you’ll be exposed.”
“His name is Jamie.” She whirled and walked away. Her black slacks fit perfectly showing her narrow waist and delectable rear. His cock surged to attention. He rose and then sank back. He wouldn’t chase her and prolong the argument. He gulped deep breaths. No way would she win the battle over custody. He would have sole charge of the baby and he would have her body where he wanted it.
The phone rang. He grabbed the receiver on the first ring. A man spoke. “See you tomorrow at eight.”

“There’s no need.” Tony hung up and chuckled. He would handle the situation when she learned she had no date. But the lady wouldn’t be disappointed.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Writing ABC - O is for Organize #MFRWauthor #Writingtips

There are a lot of writers who might disagree with me about this. O is for Organize. These are the writers that don't do an ounce of planning but sit down and let the characters take over. But do they really not plan. I think they don't put their plans or organize their books on paper but they do in their heads.

Or they don't. Then they end up with a draft that goes every which where and they have to sit down and look at the book from the beginning and try to decide what works and what doesn't work. Why not try to organize?

Organizing a book isn't hard and doesn't take much time. First you need to know what kind of book you're writing. Say you decide on romance but there are many kinds of romance. Is this a  contemporary, historical, paranormal or other kind of romance. Say you're writing a romantic suspense and then you decide if it will be a sensuous or a sweet kind of romance.

Next comes the characters and if you've chosen the romantic suspense sensual or the sweet, you know you'll need a hero, a heroine and a villain. Once you know their names and their motivations, you're well organized but you need a bit more to be organized

You need a setting and this includes time, season as well as the place.

Your organization is nearly done. You need to know how the story begins and how it ends. This is important, al least it is to me. When you have both of these, you can sit down and write remembering that you need to stay on the road that takes you to the end.

So organize whether on paper or in your head and you'll find you won't be tearing up page after page.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Tuesday's Inspiration - Lemons #MFRWauthor #inspiration

There's this cliche I've often heard. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Now that does take a bit of work. First you need a knife to cut the lemons and either your hand or a gadget to squeeze the lemon. Water and sugar need to be added. Or you can open a can of frozen lemonade, or buy some in a bottle at the supermarket. One is easy and the other is hard.

Which do you choose? Let's put this in the mode of writing. You can reach a point in your writing when you think the story has become a lemon, sour and unappealing so you need to sit down and decide what to do. Of course you're going to make lemonade out of this story.

Maybe the plot needs tightened. Then give it a squeeze. Or the characters arne's the best you can add water to dilute those traits you don't like or add some sugar to make the character a more rounded one. Sometimes you need to slash scenes where you've gone off track. So you get out your knife and slash those scenes. You finally sit down and attempt to squeeze every bit of drama or comedy from your story and

Like magic, you have made lemonade from that sour unappealing story.