Lemons and Lemonade

There’s an old saying that “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”.

Sometimes, there isn’t enough sugar in the world to make those lemons palatable. Lately, life has handed me a bushel of lemons and I’ve been struggling to find enough sugar to sweeten them. But you know the funny thing about sweetness? It often comes in forms we don’t recognize.

Just like in the kitchen, there are many forms of sweeteners for our lives. Though I know the usual ones, I often forget about the different ones. The ones that sit there on the shelves waiting for us to notice them and pull them out and use them.

In the case of my sweeteners, these happen to be my friends. Okay, yes, I know friends are always there. They are the plain white sugar in life. But… sometimes those friends go above and beyond and turn something sour into something a lot more drinkable. Maybe even with a new twist that you like even better.

What’s interesting to me is that these friends who are there supporting me right now are ones I would have never met had I not been a new writer looking for a local group to help me learn the ins and outs of the publishing game. Because of Central Pennsylvania Romance Writers, I have a group of friends who are amazing. They are the sugar in my lemonade. They are the ones who give me a shoulder when I need it, or a kick when that is called for. It’s not the old friends I’ve known all my life, but the newer ones who have my back.

So when you have lemons, remember that sometimes sweetener comes in different forms.

Vicky

Guest Post: Margo Bond Collins

What do you get when you mix cowboys with ghosts? A collection of eight (stand-alone) amazing stories from the Old West with haunts of every variety.

Get your love of alpha cowboys on and feed your addiction for the bizarre (and sometimes spooky) world when you download The Good, The Bad and The Ghostly.

Bestselling and Award-winning authors are pleased to save you more than 75% on this fantastic boxed set! (Price if books sold separately)

* * *

Wild, Wild Ghost by Margo Bond Collins – With everyone she loves in the grave, Ruby specializes in the dead.

 Comes An Outlaw by Keta Diablo – An outlaw returns to his childhood home to find his parents and brother dead, and the lovely widow in grave danger.

 Long A Ghost, and Far Away by Andrea Downing – Ghosts are restless souls, and Lizzie Adams is one of them.  How many lives will she get to find the perfect love?

 A Ghostly Wager by Blaire Edens – Even a skeptical detective needs a little otherworldly help.

How the Ghost Was Won by Erin Hayes – There are ghost stories. And there are ghost legends.

McKee’s Ghost by Anita Philmar – The ghost living in his house might have saved him from an unhappy marriage and brought him the girl of his dreams but when his ex- fiancé returns, the same spirit turns his life upside down.

A Ride Through Time by Charlene Raddon – P.S.I. Agent Burke Jameson wants to find out if Eagle Gulch, Colorado has genuine ghosts. But he found far more than he expected, including a horse ride that could change his life forever

The Ghost and the Bridegroom by Patti Sherry-Crews – She’s sent west to solve a case. What she finds will change her forever.

Buy Link:  http://mybook.to/GoodBadGhostly

 FEATURED: A Plague of Poltergeists

A Plague of Poltergeists in Wild, Wild Ghost by Margo Bond Collins

In my novella Wild, Wild Ghost, medium and spiritualist—and brand-new agent for the Tremayne PSI Agency—Ruby Silver is dispatched to Rittersburg, Texas to deal with an unusual haunting. When she meets up in town with her new partner, Trip Austin, they’re told that what they are dealing with is a poltergeist.

For Ruby and Trip, this is a new term. Although the idea of troublesome ghosts was certainly not new, the word poltergeist—from the German terms poltern, to create a disturbance, and geist, or ghost—was coined right around the middle of the nineteenth century. In fact, the only reason Ruby and Trip learn the term at all is that the town being disturbed by the ghost is a new German settlement.

The fictional town of Rittersburg is set in the Texas Hill Country, and is loosely based on some of my favorite places in Texas, like New Braunfels and Fredericksburg. According to the Texas State Historical Handbook, by 1850, German settlers and their descendants made up five percent of Texas’ population, and that percentage stayed steady throughout the nineteenth century. That they would have brought their new terminology—and their ghosts!—with them is perhaps no surprise.

As it turns out, Ruby and Trip have more than just a poltergeist to deal with, and a lot of learning to do, both about the town they’re trying to save and each other—all while ducking those flying objects that poltergeists love to toss around.

Artist conception of poltergeist activity. From the French magazine La Vie Mysterieuse in 1911.

french-ghosts-for-guest-promo

Wild, Wild Ghost

by Margo Bond Collins

With everyone she loves in the grave, Ruby specializes in the dead.

When Ruby Silver traded in her demon-hunting rifle for a Tremayne Agency badge, she didn’t want another partner—losing the last one was too traumatic. But when a new case in the Texas Hill Country pairs her up with the slow-talking, fast-drawing Trip Austin, it will take all their combined skills to combat a plague of poltergeists in this German-settled town.

Excerpt:

 Realizing that all the broken glass flying past him had been swept up into the whirlwind of glass around the woman, he dropped Demonio’s reigns. “Stay here,” he instructed. The stallion rolled its eyes at him, but nickered. Trip didn’t bother to tether the animal; his horse wasn’t going anywhere without him.

If exploding glass didn’t startle him, nothing would.

For that matter, neither did various ilk of ghosts and beasts. Demonio was steady, even if he had a tendency to bite strangers.

Was this woman really supposed to be his new partner?

When he’d gotten the telegram from the Tremayne headquarters back in St. Louis, he had laughed aloud. Trip knew there were lady agents—he’d even worked with one a time or two—but they had all been stationed back east. No lone woman in her right mind would want to come out here to work.

Not when there were plenty of ghosts to be exorcised in civilized places.

Safer places.

I guess maybe this one’s not in her right mind, then.

Might not be a bad idea to remember that.

He watched the glass-cyclone sweep up the dust around her, the cloud of dirt thickening until he couldn’t see the woman at all, and reconsidered.

If she can cause something like that to happen, maybe she’s plenty safe out here, after all.

As Trip made his way toward her, the glass-and-dirt devil rose into the air. He stopped to watch it ascend. Then, with a noise like a crack of thunder, it was gone. Trip had the vague impression that it had sped away toward the wilds rather than merely disappearing into nothingness, but he couldn’t have pointed to any particular evidence that made him think that.

Smoothing her hands down the sides of the painted horse’s face, the woman murmured something soothing in a tone that made Trip realize he had been hearing her voice all along, a soft alto hum rising and falling under the whipping and tinkling sound of the glass tornado, somehow more noticeable now in its absence than it had been during the strange events on the street.

The horse huffed out a breath, and the woman laughed. The sound of it sent an odd shiver up Trip’s back—not of anxiety, but of interest.

Don’t be stupid, man. You haven’t even seen her face yet.

And he couldn’t tell anything about her body under that horror of a dress.

Reaching up, she untied the bonnet from under her chin and removed it to shake off the dirt. A silken fall of blond hair cascaded out of it and down her back, and Trip stopped to stare, frozen by the glint of midday Texas sun off its golden sheen.

By the time he moved again, she had begun brushing off her skirt in sharp, efficient motions.

“Ruby Silver?” he asked when he was close enough to speak without shouting.

As she spun around, it occurred to him belatedly that it might not be a good idea to sneak up on a woman who could turn flying glass into a tornado and make it disappear.

 About the Author

margot-photo

Margo Bond Collins is addicted to coffee and SF/F television, especially Supernatural. She writes paranormal and contemporary romance, urban fantasy, and paranormal mystery. She lives in Texas with her daughter and several spoiled pets. Although she teaches college-level English courses online, writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about heroes, vampires, ghosts, werewolves, and the women who love (and sometimes fight) them.

You can learn more about her at http://www.MargoBondCollins.net and follow her on all the usual social media outlets (listed below).

For updates about publications, free fiction, and other goodies, be sure to subscribe to her newsletter: https://madmimi.com/signups/209964/join

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/margobondcollins

Email: MargoBondCollins@gmail.com

Website: http://www.MargoBondCollins.net

Blog: http://www.MargoBondCollins.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MargoBondCollin  @MargoBondCollin

Google+: https://plus.google.com/116484555448104519902

Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/vampirarchy

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/MargoBondCollins

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mbondcollins/

 

 

This entry was posted on September 16, 2016. 4 Comments

Vacation?

It’s summer and for kids, that means vacation. It’s also a time when a lot of adults get time off to “relax”. Often that means packing everyone up and spending a few days elsewhere – the beach, the mountains, a resort, relatives… wherever.

But is it really relaxing? When my kids were all still at home, we went on trips, but I wouldn’t call it a vacation. Pack everything you think you might need – including food. (Because of severe various food allergies, eating out isn’t always an option). Cram it all into the van, along with “entertainments” to keep the kids occupied for the hours it would take to get to our destination.

Bucking long lines of traffic snaking at a snail’s pace, detours that took us way out of our intended direction, and directions that weren’t always clear, we would make it to our intended home away from home, then unpack and get everyone settled. Then they got to run off and have fun while I… cooked. And did dishes. And washed clothes. And… where was *my* vacation? And don’t even mention the work when we got home.

But… vacations, no matter how un-relaxing – were always something to be looked forward to. Yes, I did have fun (most of the time). And even managed to read a few good books. I got to see some amazing sights and enjoy time with my family. We’ve been in every state except the southwest and Alaska. Even managed to make it to Hawaii (my favorite!) We’ve seen sunrises in Maine and sunsets in Washington. We’ve camped in rustic campgrounds and stayed at fancy hotels. I’ve dipped my toes in the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Superior. I’ve hiked mountain trails and strolled boardwalks.

Was it relaxing? Nope. But it was fun.

Hmmm… think I’ll go plan for next year’s vacation. Wonder where we’ll go this time?

How ’bout you? What are your vacations like?

It’s Cowboy Time!

My friend Melissa Keir has a great set for you! Check it out:

CowboyTimeGroupBundle_HRCowboy Time

Spend some Cowboy Time with the bestselling authors who brought you Cowboy Up 1 and 2.

A book bundle by some of the hottest Western authors around. Each story is unique… from sweet to sizzling with a story sure to please fan of Western Romance.

https://amzn.com/B01HSKJF96

Happily Ever After, Cowboy by Allison Merritt

She’s planning the wedding of her dreams with a pretend groom and a fake ceremony. What could possibly go wrong?

After her best friend’s cousin’s wedding goes bust, wedding planner Valentine Hart receives the opportunity to use the package for her own benefit. A photo shoot to advertise and bring all her former clients back. But what to do with the wedding dress? And the honeymoon package?

Todd Dayson, buckle bunny chasing cowboy, is at the end of his bull riding career. But in exchange for a blow-out retirement party, he’s agreed to help Val put together a great shindig for her wedding business–by becoming her pretend groom. Trouble is, as much as he loves the temporary convenience of a one-night stand, after a hot kiss with Val, suddenly he’s not too sure marriage is the trap he always believed.

When Val’s ex-boyfriend comes sniffing around again, Todd’s hackles go up. Either he has to make his move and get Val to believe they’re meant to be, or he might lose her to the guy who broke her heart.

 

A Cowboy’s Magic by Leslie P. Garcia

Every cowboy needs a little Magic in his life…

Alex Thornton puts aside defending his rodeo title when his stepmother Stella sends him to spy on her estranged grandmother—and the young woman about to inherit the Alabama farm Stella wants for herself.

Retired Marine Magic Holmes left California with a broken heart, determined to honor the deathbed promise she made to her grandmother: to live. She survived war—but can she survive small town intrigue?

More importantly, can she survive Alex Thornton’s seductive charms and questionable motives?

 

A Pigskin Cowboy by Melissa Keir

It’s first and ten but will they fumble or score?

Kane Warner, the favorite tight end of his college football team, had everyone turned on him for throwing a game. Rather than explain why or face the scrutiny, Kane leaves town for his summer internship to regroup and get his head on straight.

Charley Ramsey works at Café French while going to college for accounting. Life in a small town has always suited her. No drama is her motto and she’ll do everything she can to avoid it.

Being financially secure is Charley’s biggest dream. Clearing his name is Kane’s. When the media comes looking for the big story, will Kane and Charley’s relationship survive the drama or will the football player run again?

 

 

Keep Calm and… Cowboy by Autumn Piper

Everyone knows his area of expertise falls squarely between the sheets, but nobody knows his best friend just asked him for a crash course in all things sex.

Keep calm and help a girl out:

Colin relishes living up to his reputation as a player, until his fooling around affects his grades. Losing his scholarship gets him booted out of college and lands him back home on the ranch with some strongly worded advice from his dad about staying away from women. Speaking of women, though… He’s barely ever noticed his childhood pal Violet is female, let alone one he’d like to get horizontal with, but now that he’s back, he can’t seem to think of anything else.

Keep calm and learn from the best:

When none of her relationships move past first base, Violet guesses she must be doing something wrong. Lucky for her, Colin the Casanova is back in town. He seems like a natural choice to tutor her, until she realizes he’s the only guy she’s ever wanted to get physical with. Too bad they agreed they’ll go back to being friends once the final exam is over….

 

 

Sadie’s Fantasy Cowboy by Sara Walter Ellwood

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas; that is until the heart is involved…

Jaded romance author Sadie Martin is stuck in Vegas for her best friend’s wedding. To dodge a wedding date she can’t stand, she slips out and finds herself in a honky-tonk where she enjoys the surprise performance of her favorite singer, country superstar hunk, Chris Saint James.

When a cowboy sits down beside her after the show, she wants nothing more than to stomp on his Stetson with her six-inch stiletto, until he asks to buy her a drink. She’s utterly dumbfounded when she recognizes the younger sexy man as none other than Chris Saint James. Once she gets over her star-struck moment, he asks her to dance. The desert heat has nothing on the fire they set with just one touch.

When the incredible week is over, Sadie leaves him to go back home. But will she give up her freedom to risk a relationship with Chris when he puts his heart in a country song on national TV.

 

Lily’s Summer Cowboy by D’Ann Lindun

Friendship, passion and so much more…

Afraid to love, Lily Halderman is determined to never feel despair like when she lost her husband to cancer. Left alone to continue their custom farming business, she struggles to stay afloat, both financially and emotionally. Until Will comes along to help with the farm, impressing her with his hard work ethic, and presenting a danger to her heart because he is just the kind of man she could love.

Will Wainwright is running from the pain of the past. Feeling responsible for the death of fellow soldier—the woman he loved—Will takes a job working for Lily, hoping the dawn-to-dusk labor will help him forget his sorrow. But, Lily’s grit and determination to move forward catches him off guard.

Friendship turns to passion …but can they heal one another?

This entry was posted on July 13, 2016. 1 Comment

Coming Soon!! Lion’s Heart

The first book in my Lion’s Pride series will be out and available on Monday, June 6th, from Liquid Silver Books!!! This is a contemporary shapeshifter novella (about 50 pages).

lionsheartFacing a lonely existence after the death of her mother, Healer Selena is startled when two strangers show up on her doorstep. One is badly injured, beyond her help. It is the injured man’s companion who draws her notice. She wonders how much her mother had to do with bringing him here. After all, Selena’s mother was a witch. The ruby she enchanted before she died is glowing, telling Selena that this man is her chosen mate. But he’s a shapeshifter, a being she has learned to distrust.

Tristan had been against the journey with his godfather, Jacob, but a promise is a promise. An attack by outlaws sealed his fate. Injured and on the run, they come upon a secluded cabin and a beautiful woman. When she shows powers that go beyond the imagination, he is certain he’s been bewitched, but for some reason, he doesn’t mind as much as he thought he would. When he finds out she is actually the daughter of his mentor, he knows there are forces at work that go beyond the realm of normalcy. His lion recognizes her as his mate, it takes the man a little longer.

Why do you want to be a writer…

This question was recently posed in one of the loops I belong to. It came into play afte a new writer had written in about keeping going in the face of constant rejections.

Why do I write? The simple answer is… because I have a story to tell. Or, rather, lots of stories. And I can’t let them go. Several times over the years I’ve tried to quit, but as soon as I make the decision, I hear something, or see something, or… something and the ideas start coming and I’m off and running again.

I also enjoy seeing my name on the cover of a book. I can’t describe to you how exciting it is – which is funny since I’m supposed to be a wordsmith. But when I see that cover art and it has my name on it… there is no feeling like it in the world. Especially when it’s coming from a publisher – someone who liked my stuff enough to actually give me a contract for it.

I love creating my own worlds and characters. To be able to build an entire world from scratch… what can be more exciting than that?

Yes, there are times when I want to do something – anything – else. Writing is not a profession for the thin-skinned or faint of heart. You will be rejected. You’ll get awful reviews. You’ll spend hours in front of the computer instead of having fun. But then you see your name on that book. On that thing that you created… and there is no better feeling.

Vicky

Tips and Tricks

As authors, we all need a little help now and then. There are hundreds of websites that can help you with anything from grammar to picking names for fantasy characters and sites. You can find inspiration or technique; crit partners or idea generators. “The Write Life” (http://www.thewritelife.com) has a listing of what they consider to be the top 100 sites for writers. http://thewritelife.com/100-best-websites-for-writers-2015/

Writer’s Digest also does a yearly listing of those sites they consider to be the best: http://www.writersdigest.com/wp-content/uploads/101-Best-Websites-for-Writers-2015.pdf

There are even more. All you have to do is google something like best websites for writers. But no matter what you look at – all of these top ones have something in common – they are there to help us. So take a look and maybe you’ll find something that can make your writing life a little easier.

Guest Post: C. Kennedy

Tharros - Quote - Michael would make sure they wonRelease Day! Thárros by C. Kennedy is Out!
Θάρρος
Thárros. Greek. Meaning courage
Courage. n. /ˈkərij/
1. The ability to do something that frightens one.
2. Strength in the face of fear, pain, or grief.
~*~
Courage is resistance to fear,
mastery of fear,
not the absence of fear. ~Mark Twain
High school senior Michael Sattler leads a charmed life. Almost. He has great friends, parents who love him just the way he is, and he was a champion hurdler until someone took out his knee when they kidnapped his boyfriend. Yet, Michael is determined to make the USATF tryouts in spite of his injuries.
Christy Castle is Michael’s entire world. Healing from years of abuse, his abduction by a predator has left him hiding a new secret as he tries to start his life again. Together, Michael and Christy work to recover from their wounds in time to make prom and graduate high school. To complicate matters, Christy is astonished to learn a fellow victim from his native Greece has survived. Christy will stop at nothing to bring him to the US to keep him safe.But the prosecution of Christy’s kidnapper looms large in their futures and the struggle to return to normal only worsens. Christy’s past continues to haunt them and, when the prosecution turns ugly and Christy’s new life is torn apart, only their unrelenting courage and determination can save them from the nightmare that threatens to destroy their future together.

Add Thárros to your Goodreads and BookLikes Lists!

Read Chapter One or Read en français

About Cody

Cody is an award-winning author who lives, most of the time, on the West Coast of the United States. Raised on the mean streets and back lots of Hollywood by a Yoda-look-alike grandfather, Cody doesn’t conform, doesn’t fit in, is epic awkward, and lives to perfect a deep-seated oppositional defiance disorder. In a constant state of fascination with the trivial, Cody contemplates such weighty questions as If time and space are curved, then where do all the straight people come from? When not writing, Cody can be found taming waves on western shores, pondering the nutritional value of sunsets, appreciating the much-maligned dandelion, unhooking guide ropes from stanchions, and marveling at all things ordinary. Among many other awards, Omorphi was a runner up in the 2014 Rainbow Awards, and Slaying Isidore’s Dragons was a finalist in the 2015 Rainbow Awards. Cody does respond to blog comments and emails because, after all, it is all about you, the reader.
Find Cody on Facebook, Twitter @CodyKAuthor, Pinterest,
Booklikes, and read a free serial story, Fairy

Cover Reveal

Yippee! Once again, the fantastic artists at Liquid Silver have done an amazing job for my latest cover. The story, Lion’s Heart, will be coming June 6, 2016 from Liquid Silver Press. It’s a short (novella length) book and if you love shapeshifters, you’re sure to like this one. Oh, and it’s the first of a three book series called “Lion’s Pride”.

Facing a lonely existence after the death of her mother, Healer Selena is startled when two strangers show up on her doorstep. One is badly injured, beyond her help. It is the injured man’s companion who draws her notice. She wonders how much her mother had to do with bringing him here. After all, Selena’s mother was a witch. The ruby she enchanted before she died is glowing, telling Selena that this man is her chosen mate. But he’s a shapeshifter, a being she has learned to distrust.

 Tristan had been against the journey with his godfather, Jacob, but a promise is a promise. An attack by outlaws sealed his fate. Injured and on the run, they come upon a secluded cabin and a beautiful woman. When she shows powers that go beyond the imagination, he is certain he’s been bewitched, but for some reason, he doesn’t mind as much as he thought he would. When he finds out she is actually the daughter of his mentor, he knows there are forces at work that go beyond the realm of normalcy. His lion recognizes her as his mate, it takes the man a little longer.

lionsheart

Piracy

I’m on a lot of author loops and there has been much discussion about copyright laws and piracy. So today’s blog is about this serious topic.

My comment is a question to you as regards copyright and whether places like Google Books should be allowed to post my entire book for anyone to read for free. Why should the books I produce be given away free unless I want them to be free? I work hard on my stories. They are a commodity like anything else manufactured. Sears does not give away their tools for free. Starbucks doesn’t give away their coffee for free, so why should the right to sell my work be given to someone else so they can give it away for free? I work hard on each story. They take years of my life. And Google and other pirates want to just give that away? So… if I want to advertise on Google, will they give me that for free? Yeah, I didn’t think so. These pirates are taking money out of my pocket the same as any thief stealing from a store. They think they have a right to my work – to give it away. But why? Why do they have the right to give away what I produced? It is *my* work – not theirs. I make almost no money off my work as it is, and giving away copies takes money away from me.

To illustrate this a little better, let me use an example. One of my friends recently self-published a book. It’s a really good action-adventure romance story and the second in a series. She has been following sales and checking “free” sites frequently. So far… she’s had three sales – all of them to friends of hers (yes, I was one), and over 2000 free downloads from various sites. Two thousand! That’s two thousand sales she is out of.

And yes, back years ago, when the internet was new, things like free downloads didn’t garner much attention because people didn’t know about copyright laws back then. But we do now. It’s common knowledge that, unless the person who made the product agrees that it can be free, they should be paid for it. Pirate sites who blatantly ignore copyright laws and ethics should not be allowed to continue with their thievery.

On occasion, sellers and authors do offer their works for free. That’s fine. That’s legitimate. But be sure the site you’re getting it from is a legitimate site and not a pirate.

Please think, the next time you go to download something. Is it free because the seller and author offered it for free? Or is it free because the site owner grabbed a copy and doesn’t want to pay for the work?

Thanks – I’ll get off my soapbox now.

Vicky