FROM THE DESK OF
DONA PENZA TATTLE, ESQ.
ASSOCIATE WRYE BALDERDASH
Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells
Reading all the way!
Oh what fun it is to read
A Champagne Book today!
Tattle and Wrye sing away, and while belting out the last note, they launch into a Love of Literature leap.
"I hear a baby." Tattle declares, brushing away melting snow from her black velvet lapels.
"But of course," Wrye says, "We're in VERONICA H. HART'S humorous thriller THE PRINCE OF KEEGAN BAY, and the baby is the prince."
"In a retirement community?"
"And so the fun begins!"
Tattle leans over and coos at the baby as Grandma Jessica feeds the wee infant, voice inundated with oooh’s and awww’s. "So sweet and quiet."
"Adorable, I agree, but babies can cause more of a diaper-stench-spit-up-crazy-raucous than Santa without Rudolph on a foggy night. Just think of the possibilities when a group of seniors, headed by Doll Reynolds, attempt to protect the prince from the Kushawan Alliance of Royal Princes who want to see the child dead."
Tattle shivers. "How horrrrrible! Why?"
"Because they're creeps to the nth and don't wish to share their wealth with yet another prince."
Reading ahead Tattle squints through half glasses once worn by Mrs. Claus. "Ahhhhh, because of tradition they don't name the baby until they are six months old, and only then do they become an official part of the family with all the entitlements. If they kill," chokes a bit on the word, "the baby after that, they and their descendents will be cursed." Stuffing her hands into her fur muff, Tattle mutters nasty things about the Kushawan princes.
"So right, m'Santa-ish elf," Wrye agrees. "So, Doll rounds up the seniors to protect the baby while the infant's mother, Moira Robbins, risks everything by becoming a decoy."
"Comedy and thrills are afoot!" Tattle does a soft shoe tap for emphasis. "And if that is all not enough, Jessica must keep the baby hidden from Carol, the park's manager, or they'll all be out on their collective bottoms."
"Mayhem, indeed! A must read for sure!"
"But not now, we're off!"
"Watch out for the..." Tattle observes Wrye as he skids directly into a Scotch Pine tree blazing with Christmas lights. "Oh, I see you found it."
He dusts pine needles off his green and white fur trimmed jacket, twitches his nose as if magic is about to happen and declares, "It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas, and here we are right in the middle of ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS by CINDY K. GREEN, a romantic contemporary Christmas story."
"Yes, yes, and there is Kathryn Graham, a writer at Redburn Weekly who has been assigned, along with the exuberant and jovial Nick Pringle, to work a story about the toy drive for the local orphanage.
"I remember now, Nick's enthusiasm for Christmas annoys Kathryn, ho ho ho ho, while Kathryn's hatred for the beloved holiday baffles Nick."
"I see connnflicccct," she says.
"And I see Nick beginning a campaign to win Kathryn over. Will he? Should he? Ho ho ho. I'm not talking just about her attitude toward the noel event. And in the Christmas alphabet there is no L."
Tattle considers, adding, "Nick has been falling in love with the woman since they first met. Is this naughty or nice? Nick decides to become Kathryn's Secret Santa, how sweet, having gifts delivered daily, and lo and behold, Kathryn's attitude begins to slowly change. Success?" She pauses and then, "Onnnly, she seems to be falling for the Secret Santa, Cyrano de Bergerac moment, and distancing herself from Nick, irony slaps, leaving Nick jealous of himself.... Connnfuuusing."
"Ut oh, said the gardener, trouble is a Hoe-Hoe-Hoe-ing about."
Tattles evades the pun. "Even a shared kiss between her and Nick, lovey dovey, doesn't seem to turn her away from the ever so perfect Secret Santa. Dang! I'm rootin' for Nick. Now, he believes he'll never be anything more than a friend, incoming and even at that, a distant friend. Tissue alert! Meanwhile, da da da daaaaa, Nina not Pina or Santa Maria Phillips seems ever so interested in Nick. Cat fight? And Nick considers that it might be time to accept reality. Heartbreak! Yet can he? Will Kathryn's heart ever open to Christmas? And will she find out the truth about her own feelings toward Nick too late?"
Smacks Wrye's hand as he attempts to read ahead. "Tsk...tsk...we'll read later, m'Saint Nick."
The duo land softly in the midst of NOELLA'S GIFT by DONICA COVEY and the mystical wonder of a romantic contemporary Christmas story. "It is so cozy here," announces Tattle as she takes in the homey warmth of Holly Harper's home. But where are Holly Harper's Christmas decorations?"
"Hates Christmas," informs Wrye, yet, ever the optimist, rummages about for Christmas candy. "However, once she finds a raggedly dressed Noella on her doorstep, a lost little six-year-old girl, her feelings slowly begin to change. Readers will be on a collision course for planet Warm Your Cockles."
"Oh, who is that yummy man?" Tattle does that hip waddle that suggests more naughty than nice.
"A police detective, Jaxon Cole. Look out, Tattle, mood grenade. He found out that Noella's parents had died, but neither he nor Holly seem to get anything more out of the child, only a growing sense of sadness. Yes, I'm crying, and yes, I am PC."
"Holly decides to keep the girl at least through the holidays, good for her, while they try to figure things out. In the meantime, a freak snowstorm traps the three of them in Holly's home. And that's when, ironically, the thawing begins. He he ho ho ha ha. The bitter detective and the woeful Holly see things through the child's eyes, yet as Jaxon grows close to Holly, she suddenly turns as frosty as the weather."
"Will this hot hunk and frigid female co-exist without getting wet? Will they ever find the Christmas spirit? Hope so. I like them! Will they ever know the love Noella seems so determined to spark within each of them for the other? YIT (Yenta in training). And will Noella ever receive the gift of her heart?" Tattle dabbles at her eyes. This is sooo...sooo...."
Wrye pats her shoulder. "There...there...hot chocolate time, I feel your angelica heart."
"Another leap, for certain," Tattle announces suddenly, "Since it is the season for giving we are jumping into two more Christmas stories, both shorts."
Tattle and Wrye land in KIMBER CHIN'S short contemporary romance, BUMPED. "Joy is in the air," Wrye says.
"And in the book!" Tattle rubs furred gloved hands together. "That is our heroine's name, Joy. This giving businesswoman tends to put others before herself and in this season of gifts, she is true to who she is."
Wrye nods, his Santa hat bobs. "She gives up her seat to a single mother who urgently needs to be home for Christmas."
"And in the spirit of the season, a Christmas miracle is hers...but..."
"But," finishes Wrye, "Will she be able to accept it?"
"Only Santa, his elves and those who'll read the story will know."
Sniffling from the cold, Tattle snuggles up to the book's pages. "Ooooh, we're in JANE TOOMBS' contemporary short Christmas romance, ONLY ONE OF ITS KINDS, how exciting!"
"And it seems you're not the only one who is excited. Annalee is downright wound up." Wrye helps himself to a mug of eggnog, plucked right out of the pages.
"I think the word is furious, and wouldn't you be? Her husband not only refuses to adopt a child, which is her heart's craving, but he's leaving the country to fly a friend to Central America over Christmas!"
"Scoundrel!" Wrye agrees but seems more interested in munching on Christmas cookies.
"Not really, Arno has a good heart, it just needs a bit of tenderizing. He believes bringing her back some unique gold jewelry will earn him forgiveness for messing up Christmas."
"But during this wonderful season, none can foresee the events that will result in an unexpected and a truly one of a kind gift." Wrye brushes crumbs off his green coat.
"What is it!"
"Read, m'red nose bud."
Under the office tree, the two merrily exchange their Christmas gifts of Champagne Books, of course.
In the new year, we look forward to leaping into HOT COMMODITY by LINDA KAGE and LIAR, LIAR by J. L. MCCALE.
Wishing all a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a very special and joyful New Year.
Dona Penza Rutabaga Tattle, Esq.
and Associate Wrye Balderdash
of Blather City, Wannachat
Created and written by
Angelica Hart and Zi
Monday, November 29, 2010
FROM THE DESK OF
Friday, October 1, 2010
FROM THE DESK OF
DONA PENZA TATTLE, ESQ.
ASSOCIATE WRYE BALDERDASH
"Trick or Treat?" asked Tattle, adorned in her Halloween finery, a witch's hat, a fairy's dress, angel wings, and a godmother's wand.
Eclectic being his forte, Wrye gives her a once over of approval. He strikes a pose to show off his costume, 1800's vampire Goth and a Phillies baseball cap. "Treat, of course." He adds several Champagne Books to her gathering basket.
A nod of appreciation and a thank you later, they take a Love of Literature Leap into Champagne Books e-books that celebrate the muse of October.
Landing upon a soft mattress on either side of Wren Darby they hear her say in a summoning tone, Jeremiah Ransom. "Who's Jeremiah? And where are we?" Tattle whispers even though she knows both her and Wrye are invisible to the characters.
"We're in Haunted by Debra Glass, a Young Adult paranormal romance. And Jeremiah is a ghost, a young solider from the civil war."
"Spooooky!" announces Tattle as she scans the book's pages. Her expression turns compassionate and she waves her wand as if that could change the sorrow welling up from the printed words. "Ah, poor Wren, she was in a car accident that destroyed her world, left her scarred, in her soul, spirit, and body."
"Her injuries also had another side-effect," supplies Wrye, giving his red-lined cape a twirl as he pulls a Bela Lugosi pose and wiggles brows. "Da da da daaaaaa, she becomes psychic."
Tattle ignores Wrye's drama. "Soon after, her family moves to a quaint town in Tennessee and a sprawling antebellum home where Wren hopes she can figure out her new ability and simply heal."
Wrye flings out an arm as if he were a host on a game show, introducing a new contestant. "Instead, she meets Jeremiah, the ghost who lived and died in her new home."
"Oooh, look at the chemistry between our young Wren and the courtly ghost...err...soldier." Tattle sighs and flutters lashes, "Young love, couldn't you just die."
"Actually, he did. I, personally, prefer to live rather than haunt," Wrye ends with an Elvis impersonation. "Thank you, thank you very much."
Tattle pretends to hold a microphone and speaks conspiratorially as if to a crowd. "Will Wren ever figure out how to handle her new psychic ability? How will she ever come to grips with loving a ghost? And just what is keeping Jeremiah from crossing over? Stay tuned for further updates."
"For those updates, read HAUNTED!" ends Wrye.
The duo appear in Zirconya: The Sage of Aluh'Nehn by Diana Ilinca, a Young Adult, modern urban fantasy/contemporary fantasy. Wrye frowns as he flips through the chapters, "Ut oh, trrrroobbble!"
"Do tell!" Tattle encourages, for she adores plots riddled with adversity.
And Wrye does while pretending to sit with his arm draped over the back of an invisible chair, mime style. "This lovely young girl, Caelum, who is just trying to get through life as a teenager, and we all know how difficult and theatrical that can be, has discovered she is an elf."
"How wonderfully delightful," Tattle says, applauding Caelum.
"Not so, my fine-feathered friend, she doesn't believe it. Although she had been forced from Zirconya, a magical realm into our spell resistant land, she remembers nothing. When, Maze, her guardian comes from her home world to bring her back upon her seventeenth birthday, his attempts to convince her of her true identity and her true home, fall upon a very defiant young lady. For she is equally convinced that despite being hunky and mystical, he is also annoying and most probably is the main nut in an almond chocolate bar."
Tattle produces a pair of granny spectacles as she scrutinizes prose. "Oh my, oh dear, the dimensional structure between Zirconya and Earth is being compromised, and scientist’s the world over are noticing. Maze must convince her to return home before everyone is aware of this other dimension, and before both worlds are destroyed."
With a large nod, a teacher's pointer, produced from the cape folds, appears and Wrye uses it to indicate a particular line. "Have you noticed the nightmarish creature?"
Tattle jumps behind Wyre while he banishes his pointer like a sword, but of course the creature ignores him. "Just what is a young teen to do?"
"She must remember her life on Zirconya if both worlds are to survive."
"Readers know what to do to find that out."
"Salem, witches, and Adrian's Angel by Angela Ashton, oh my," announces Wrye as they appear in the historical spine-chilling town.
Tattle falls into the paranormal romance, absorbs the intrigue, the scary, the uncanny, the frightening, and the intensity of love. "Goodness gracious and snakes on fire, Adrian Birichino is hot to the point of sizzle." She composes herself, takes a few breaths, and adds, "The dear man cannot overcome the loss of his childhood sweetheart, even though he left Salem to forget. After a string of flings, ending with Renee, a pretentious woman who believes Riley and her are destined for each other, he still pines for his first love, and no one, not even Renee, can compete."
"Eerie is the word that comes to mind," Wrye says as he takes his cape and places it upon Tattle's shivering shoulders. "Years ago, while standing at a street crossing with his best friends Jon Shelby and Riley Gail, Riley disappears. One moment she is with them, and the next, while the boys chatted, she leaned against a tree and was suddenly gone. Kaput!"
Tattle peeks ahead a few pages. "Adrian and Jon lived their lives being haunted by the incident, so much so that Jon finally committed suicide."
"This brings Adrian back to Salem," Wrye says, joining Tattle in her reading pursuit. "Where he begins to see visions of an incandescent angel, who hints at familiarity."
"He believes," Tattle trails out the last word, pauses, deliberately drawing out the anticipation, "his imagination has over-indulged. Yet, at the same time, he wonders how something unreal can leave tangible evidence."
"Meanwhile, Riley Gail, who had been propelled into the heart of the Salem witch-hunt must convince him that she is real, or she will be forever lost as one of Salem's accused."
Tattle runs two fingers across her lips as if zipping it locked, and then mutters, "That is all I'm going to say!"
Hope you enjoyed our Love of Literature Leap into the haunts of Champagne Books. Next month we look forward to peeking into books we are thankful to read, My Love Life And Other Disasters by Bernadine Darcy; Ask Aunt Emma by Carol Costa and Mark of the B*E*A*S*T* by Rebecca Goings.
Dona Penza Rutabaga Tattle, Esq.
and Associate Wrye Balderdash
of Blather City, Wannachat
Created and written by
Angelica Hart and Zi
Monday, July 19, 2010
Venus Inferno comes out very shortly and I'm very excited by it. It represents a couple of firsts for me and one second.
It is my very first - but probably not my last - novella. I rather enjoyed this shorter format, although at times it was difficult to restrain myself from dropping an element into the story that would come up later. There wasn't going to be a later so if I wanted to say something, I had to say it now. I also didn't get the chance to interweave very much social commentary into the story, which I missed more than the chance to expand on the storyline.
It is also the very first story I wrote in the first person, which was very usual. I'm used to the third person and being able to provide different vantage points to allow the reader insight into what is happening. It is also odd using the personal pronoun 'I' all the time. One can't help but to identify with the main character. Admittedly this is an occupational hazard for writers but even more so in this case.
Venus Inferno represents my second published work with Champagne books. Hopefully there will be many more but having a second story accepted and published make it seem all the more real.
One of the things that I really enjoyed about Venus Inferno was that all of the main technology there is real.
Ion drives are real. They are slow compared to chemical rockets but they do exist.
Tellurium is real. It really is one of the nine rarest minerals on earth and it really does fall as snow on Venus.
Thermoelectric Materials are also real. And tellurium - in the form of bismuth telluride and lead telluride - really is a working element of thermoelectric devices.
Who knows? Maybe one day in the future they will be as commonplace as they are in Venus Inferno.
Let's hope so.
Posted by David Boultbee
Saturday, July 3, 2010
“Blunder Woman” comes out on the 5th of July and, of course, I’m really happy about that. I thought then in honor of the release date, I’d offer some vague information that may not even be interesting.
A note, then, about the title and the things that happen in the novel. First: Where did Blunder Woman come from? I’m honestly not sure. I think the idea came when I was drinking bad coffee out of my Wonder Woman coffee cup. It’s old-school Wonder Woman where she’s all busty in her outfit, reaching out to fight crime. In the morning, especially, I look more puffy than busty, and the only thing I want to reach out to is a donut. I thought “Man, I’m more of a blunder than a wonder.” Shazam. I did some research and while “Blunder Woman” is certainly out there, no one had written a character around the term. That seemed shocking to me. Chloe Knaggs seemed to start to form then. Hmmm. That sounds like she was born or something. She really is more of a clone. Except she’s younger than I am.
So then. Is this a true story or did I research it? I will admit to you that I have been in training as a Blunder Woman my entire life. I’m incredibly awkward. I run into things; I wear a new shirt and forget to take the L sticker off my boob; when I try to ask someone out I inevitably burp. I put makeup on and at the end of the day I realize I only put mascara on one eye so I look startled…or like that dude in Clockwork Orange.
Of course, the story itself is fiction, but there’s truth there too. I was in love with a guy who I thought was The One even though I never even kissed him. And he had a derby party which I went to. I have a crazy mom and a friend who keeps me in line, although if my mom practices tantric sex it’s her secret business. I refuse to discuss that with her. Like Chloe, I obsess, I worry, and I live a spirited life. In that way, Chloe Knaggs and I could be sisters. She learns from her mistakes, though. Not to say that I don’t…I’m just really slow to learn.
Even though “Blunder Woman” the novel is finished, Blunder Woman the writer keeps going. Sometimes Chloe still whispers to me. She’s hinting she’d like another book. There’s the Soup Man too, asking for stuff, and Megan grumbling about something. These are okay voices to hear. My therapist assures me most writers do. We’ll see what happens.
Until then…hope you enjoy the book.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
I'll do anything, even bribe you with the chance to win a free e-book, to come and participate in my Author Spotlight on the Goodreads reading group Romance Readers Reading Challenges. The spotlight and contest run from June 7th -11th.
Everyone who asks me a question in the spotlight, even ones that make me squirm and blush, will be entered into a draw to win one of my e-books. Admit it, you'd like to try and win my newest release, Take A Chance where a modern day librarian must save a wizard from a dastardly curse.
I know the choice will be hard, kind of like my heroes lol.
Don’t be shy. Pop by, say hello and give yourself a chance to win.
I hope to see you there
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Friday, June 4, 2010
Wrye is startled by the flying wedding bouquet aimed at him as Tattle, dressed in bridesmaid Pepto-Bismol pink, says, "Catch. June, perfect day for a wedding...perfect month to celebrate Champagne Books romances."
Nabbing the flowers from the air as if it's a football, he sneezes as if allergic to daisies. "The wedding is today? But we have a Love of Literature Leap schedule."
"Don't forget the rings, m'best man," she advices before adding. "Always time for a good leap."
"So true," he agrees. After fetching a timer, he takes Tattle's arm and off they go into a new and sizzling romance.
"Oh, how lovely," Tattle says, indicating the country backdrop for the contemporary romance STONE HOUSE FARM by Rhobin L. Courtright. "What a shame that Amanda Blanchard might lose it all, the last of her inheritance, especially since she wants to raise her daughter, Kari, on the centennial family farm."
Wrye, who had landed a little too close to horse dung, takes a hopping step backward. "She is hoping she won't have to sell her father's prize Morgan horses to forestall the tax man. Having a good job helps, but it's not enough."
"Enter stage hunka-hunka, Wade Preston, her high school sweetheart and land developer. He wants her land, threatens foreclosure. She's determined to keep what is hers, and is willing to part with the foal of her pregnant mare to ensure the taxes will be paid. Sparks fly and although both would deny it openly, those embers are all about passions denied."
Tattle does a Mae West impersonation, eyeballs rolling, hips woo-wooing and hair fluffing. "Me thinks all they need is a little alone time."
"Me thinks they are going to get that and mucho more!" Wrye proclaims as he dives into a new chapter.
"Think Wade shot! Snow storm knocking out electricity and phone! Think dire trouble."
Tattle joins her literary bud and scans pages. "Oh no! The storm has isolated them. Will she save Wade's life? Will the shooter be back? Is her daughter safe?”
"Ding...ding...ding.... Time's up. Leap!" They do!
Next stop on the romance celebration finds the duet in a contemporary suspense, THE SOLDIER'S GIRL by Romona Hilliger.
Tattle accidently on purposes loses her bridesmaid's hat, a throwback to wide brims and southern belles that has no business in this story set in Northern Australia. She nods taking in the plot, "Lookie...lookie, three school friends’ lives collide in a triangle of desperation, guilt, love, manipulation, and maybe...hopefully... hanky-panky?"
Wrye does a tsk-tsk with his finger and places the picture hat back on top of Tattle's Dolly Parton like hair-do. "Naughty lady," he scolds.
"Oooh, how does one resist that smoldering, sexy eye-candy, Bryce, a man who gave up a world of love and substance to work with underprivileged indigenous children. Talk about a hero."
Wrye practices the bunny-hop and dances his way through words. "A hero without love, so sad, for he had even given up the woman of his heart, Kate." He offers a salute, heels clicking. "True sacrifice."
"Then there is Frank, the war hero, he wants Kate, he can't have Kate, so he schemes for Kate. With his mind twisted by war and his heart aching, he does whatever it takes to make her his own. Conflict...conflict... conflict!"
"And just who does Kate want?"
"Bryce...but, ah, Frank can be persistent. It is all enough to snap those bonds formed as children." Tattle looks beseechingly at Wrye. "I must know what happens."
"Too late! Time for another romantic literary date."
"We're not in Kansas 2010 anymore," announces Wrye as they find themselves in the historical romance, FLOWER OF PASSION by Rose Lerma.
"Indeed we are not," confirms Tattle, and then begins to giggle. "Oh my, this book looks like fun." She points to Aster Hampton, looking gorgeous and confident but only for a few sentences. She collides right into Adam McCallister and seemingly a predestined date with a mud puddle.
"Poor dear, this isn't the way Aster wanted her debut home to be. She had every intention of allowing her new poise to overcome her nickname, Aster Disaster. Then this lout had to walk into her path."
"For a lout, he's a hottie even covered in mud. Yummy!" Tattle winces as Aster pops him in the eye with her fist. "Hmmm, he's taken that well. Hmmm, hmmm, he is actually intrigued. Goody for him."
"He is also a man on a mission to find a wife, one that he's attracted to, one that he is compatible with, and one he doesn't love."
"What! No love, is the man insane?"
"Thinks love turns a man gutless," says Wrye as he checks his pocket, to make certain he has not lost the wedding rings, and then flips through the pages. "Ah, this is truly a fun book that yanks at sentimentality, inflames senses, brings out the flaws and endearments of not just love but of family."
Noting Wrye has the look of someone getting ready to settle down for a good read, she drags him back into a leap, singing, "Getting you to the church on time."
Hope you enjoyed. Next month we'll enjoy fireworks and CHASING...CHASING...CHASING by our good friends Angelica Hart and Zi, DRAGON'S ANGEL by Donica Covey and THE LAST LEGACY by Jenna Leigh.
Have fun in the sun!
Dona Penza Rutabaga Tattle, Esq. and Associate Wrye Balderdash of Blather City, Wannachat
Created and written by Angelica Hart and Zi
CHASING...CHASING...CHASING July 2010 Champagne Books angelicahartandzi.com
Tattle and Wrye can also be found at www.myspace.com/champagnebooks
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
It’s never over
How our issues become our characters’ problems
By Julie Eberhart Painter
In every one of my books, adoption is an issue. It’s part of my life; it is my life, and the many sides: being given away, giving away, and watching our grandchild being given away are woven into our family’s history, and thus, secret baby style, into my romance and mystery novels.
As an adoptee, it has fueled my imagination. Who am I and who were they? It’s fired my passion to examine my written characters’ motives. Such life experiences make for inflammatory prose. The adoption issue creeps into my work like murder into crime novels and love into romances.
The most recently published example is Mortal Coil, now in paperback from Champagne books, May 2009. In Mortal Coil, the main character, Ellen, a nursing home administrator, has a compassionate heart. She and her first husband adopted a child, but didn’t tell the child that she was adopted. This loving omission becomes a problem for Ellen when her husband is killed in a car crash.
Secrets ignite violence. Murders in Ellen’s nursing home strike a match under an unlikely pair who would never have met without the afore-mentioned deceptions and murders.
In June 2010, Champagne releases Tangled Web. A seduction scene drives the plot that leads the reader from 1935 to 1951. It’s my projection for my birth mother, Catherine’s, life as I hope she lived it.
Illegitimacy and adoption were tremendous moral issues during the 30s through the 60s, a time of change in our country’s mores. With war on the horizon and women reaching beyond their domestic roles to find careers and help support their families, Catherine becomes stronger. She learns that the powerful do not always win.
In my unpublished memoir, I describe adoption as being Naked in Their Gene Pool, or in the case of our lost grandchild The Lost legacy. With adoptions, it’s never over. Many adoptees feel like abandoned puppies, searching every car on the road to see if their family has changed its mind and come back for them.
I once told a perfect stranger, "I’m Julie Eberhart Painter; I’m adopted; I come with a disclaimer."
Disarmed by my subconscious honesty, she answered, "I’m Jane and I can’t have children." We both had an issue-issue.
I was only nine months old when I was taken from a succession of foster homes and placed with my adoptive family—permanently. My first word was "home," not Mommy or Daddy. At four-years of age, I remember hiding when people came to the house. I ran from cars passing on the dirt road out front. In 1998, I petitioned the court to get my "story." The non-identifying information stated that at three months of age I was friendly, alert and able to stand up for myself—not fearful.
No, it’s never over. A 95-year old resident in the nursing home where I worked asked me, her volunteer: "Do you think I’ll finally meet my mother?"
Life and fiction are one when you’re adopted. It’s never over.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
As a little girl, I craved fairy tales. There was something about the heroine being saved by the man of her dreams and living happily ever after that always left me with a warm, mushy feeling. Older now, definitely not wiser lol, I still love that glow I get from a HEA. So when I decided to sit down and write my first novel, I tried to incorporate the elements I wanted to see in a modern day fairy tale. and personally, I think the outcome was magical. I hope you do to.
Take A Chance is now available to all you fantasy romance lovers out there who want to see a modern girl with curves and glasses find her prince, or in this case, wizard charming.
Here's the blurb:
Samantha's searching for a hero, but finds a wizard in need of rescuing instead.
Samantha, a shy librarian, longs to find her one true love, but in today’s modern world, finding a dashing hero seems to be an impossible to task. So Chance decides to step in and what follows is pure adventure as Samantha finds herself magically teleported to a tropical island where she meets a hunky wizard in need of rescuing.
Sinclair, is a wizard of the high council, cursed to live alone on a tropical island with little hope of rescue, that is 'til a luscious librarian is dropped onto his beach. Having been betrayed by love once, he’s leery of trusting again but as he and Samantha overcome the magical obstacles set in their way, they discover that true love awaits them if they only Take A Chance
You can read an excerpt on my site EveLanglais.com or if you want to purchase this entertaining novel you can do so by Clicking Here
I do hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Wishing you your very own HEA
Monday, May 31, 2010
I picked up "Pesto Packin' Mama" the other day and couldn't put it
down! I was on the edge of my seat (okay, the couch) when the loan
sharks were really putting the heat on Maggie.
"Maggie Duncan is 50-something but still doesn't have everything quite
figured out. Her business, Pots & Pearls, is barely bringing in enough
money to cover her expenses, her apartment is being sold out from
under her, and her boyfriend, Bruce Herring, is hiding some major
secrets, specifically the one that involves him raising his infant
brother, Jorge. Then again Maggie has secrets of her own, and she's
not quite willing to share those quite yet.
Enter Brenda, Maggie's best friend, who has an idea that they could
market and sell Maggie's fabulous marinara sauce, but who ultimately
tangles with the wrong people while trying to get their product
available for distribution. Add Mrs. Herring, Bruce's pushy mother,
and Thomas, Maggie's new widower neighbor and you have a recipe for
disaster. Maggie must conquer her demons if she wants a
happily-ever-after and a potential walk down the aisle with the man of
I couldn't put "Pesto Packin' Mama", the sequel to "Hitting the High
Notes" down! I loved that even though Maggie was technically "over the
hill" she didn't have everything all figured out. So often we women
think that we should have things all figured out by a specific age
deadline, but realistically how often do things just magically fall
into place when we want them to? Maggie muddles her way through the
obstacles that she finds in her way, and ultimately she's determined
to make the best of things, no matter what.
The characters were well-developed, and even though I found Maggie's
best friend, Brenda, to be rather grating and pushy at times,
especially when she was determined to get her way, her personality
seemed to compliment Maggie's often indecisive character. Even Mrs.
Herring, Bruce's pushy mother won me over. Despite her intrusive and
sometimes harsh behaviour, you could tell that she had her son's best
interests at heart and that at her core she remained a good, although
at times misguided, person.
Pesto Packin' Mama is a reminder that you can be pushing 50 and still
have great sex, intriguing romance, good friends, memorable times, new
business ventures, and ultimately, fun. After all, 50 is the new 40!
Nan D. Arnold has written fun contemporary fiction for what she calls
"boomer babes" and she certainly delivers on this front. Expect to
pick this one up and be unable to put it down until long after bedtime
has come and gone, because you just have to know what happens next."
Reviewed by: Jonita :)
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Time, Money, and Talent
In the current economic turmoil, do you cringe every time the phone rings? It feels as if, nine phone calls out of ten, the voice on the other end of the receiver is soliciting for a donation. Do you feel as if you’re pulled in a million different directions between school activities, family obligations, and church? I want to share the story of a group of people that rose to the challenge and gave of their time, money, and talent for my family.
The devastating blow came fast when my father-in-law, Darrel was diagnosed with stage four cancer. In his typical fashion, he was concerned about his unfinished work, which was a garage roof in desperate need of repair. Unable to work on it himself, and my husband still recovering from the semi-accident, my father-in-law mentioned he didn’t want Linda to have to worry about the roof, and his friend Erland contacted their church and expressed the need for assistance with the roof. After all my in-laws, Darrel and Linda are both diligent workers and have generous spirits. They are the first ones to volunteer to help serve soup suppers, funeral meals, and work on clean up days at the church. My mother-in-law has played the organ at church for forty-four years.
We hoped three or four men would show up to help my husband and I, brother and sister-in-law, and our boys, but we were astonished on that Saturday morning as vehicle after vehicle arrived. The eager workers brought tools for the task at hand, food and drink, and even purchased some of the supplies. I wondered if we’d have to tie my father-in-law in the chair to keep him off the roof, because under healthy conditions he would have been the first one to climb to the top of any ladder to help someone else.
I can’t imagine how many nights, and weekend’s it would have taken our small family to complete the tear-off and re-shingling of the garage roof, but many hands make light work. It took twenty-four people, men, women, kids, pastors, and a neighbor passing by, twelve hours to complete the job. The generous crew could have been at ballgames, lounging in their easy chairs, or tending to their own lists of endless daily chores, but instead they volunteered their precious time.
Through the eye of my camera the day of my in-laws roof repair was a sight to behold. Choir members that work in an office kneeled on top of the tar paper, perhaps praying not to fall off the roof. Board members handed shingles up ladders, and the pastors where on clean up duty. The heat from the sun and the tar paper caused sweat to bead on the backs and brows of the men and women alike as they performed the physical labor of tearing off tar paper and shingles, picking up splintered wood and old shingles, hoisting shingles, hammering, stapling, and climbing up and down ladders.
Other then their modern clothing the scene reminded me of a time when neighbors worked together. A simpler time, when life didn’t seem so over-scheduled, and if your barn burnt down your neighbors came to your aid and rebuild it. That’s exactly what happened. As the group toiled away, our friends and even a neighbor saw the activity and came over to lend a hand. The sun set and darkness attempted to squelch our plans, but we labored on with the help of spot lights. With all the charitable help the task was finished in one day.
The men and women that arrived to shingle the roof aren’t a specific group, or a committee. They are just individuals that are associated through church, friends, and neighbors that have generous hearts. Each man and woman gave of their time, money, and talents to re-shingle my in-laws garage. The roof is more than shelter for their vehicles. It symbolizes generosity and a flashback to a gentler time when people came first. Perhaps these difficult times will bring out the best in all of us and remind us to love our neighbor as ourselves.
About the author: Victoria Roder resides in central Wisconsin with her husband Ron, although they have three grown sons all making their way in the world they now have a house full of misfit pets. She enjoys camping, hiking, 3D bow shooting, snowshoeing, and motorcycle riding. Bolt Action an Action Thriller will be released in April, 2010 by Champagne Books. Please view her website to learn more and read an excerpt. www.victoriaroder.com
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Fictional Heart strings
I was having a cup a coffee the other day when a female friend ventured by, tapped me on the shoulder, and continued to the counter to get her own mug of brew. For simplicity, let’s call her Joy. On her return passage by my table, Joy seat down across from me, and began to chat. I love it when my local friends and acquaintances offer idle chit chat. Joy is a sweet but mysterious young lady. She coveys a unique reflection about life and all its complexities. Behind those green eyes resides a spark and compassion that is missing in many of today’s lost souls. Finally she came to a topic we often discuss, my books. You see, she loves to read my stories. I’m not sure whether it’s because she really likes them or because I’m the only author she knows.
Anyway, she began to ask about a character in a particular story (TAINTED HERO) and discuss how touched she was at what happened to this particular person. Then she caught me off guard with the question, “Isn’t it hard to do that?” I smiled with pride, “A little.” Joy continued. “I thought so. I’m not sure I could do that. I thing I’d be crying over the keyboard.” Then I realized the insight of this young women’s inquiry. She wasn’t asking about the creativity process; she was probing into the nature of people to empathize with the plight of others, even if they were some fictional character that was conjured from their own mind. And she was right. I remembered back to when I struggled with that particular scene. I was moved, not to tears, but my throat actually tightened and I wanted to reach through the screen and help the character, and especially to strangle the villain. I was so moved, I actually changed the outcome. In my original outline the female character died, but I was so struck by her and all she had gone through, I couldn’t deal with losing her. She still suffered, but she survived.
Then I realized I had experienced this same heartstring relationship with fictional characters in all my stories. I guess they became so real I empathized with their plight. I know it sounds weird to be moved by a scene evolving out of your own head, but I really do. Some stories more then others, but always to some degree. Maybe that’s why I enjoy that first breath of the story when I initially create the scenes, and see it happening for the first time. I remember in one story (Shadow of Guilt) I was moved to such a degree, I literally had to stop and go outside to split some wood and relieve my anguish. The character was suffering so deeply, her path in life so sad, I couldn’t stand it.
I know that’s strange, especially for a big guy, and I’m not a wussy, but don’t most of us choke up when we see another human suffering. In this case I hated the outcome of the story, but I couldn’t change it. It was what the novel was all about. Without her history, what this poor girl experienced, you had no Shadow of Guilt.
I’m curious if other authors encounter this same heartstring response when their fictional characters undergo pain and sorrow. Or maybe it’s just me. Perhaps I need to get some testosterone injections to reaffirm my guyhood. My wife always did say I was too emotional (g).
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
The comfort zone
For must humans, there’s a place they go to relax, exchange some good words, or just because they feel comfortable there. For example, there’s a little hardware store near my house were all the local males come, like moths to a light. When I was six, it was Charlie’s Shack. My aunts and cousins would take me there to get a moon pie and an RC cola, and a can of snuff for my grandmother. I think most people have a comfort zone that makes them feel welcome and cozy inside.
The other day, I had an epiphany that all my romantic suspense novels possess one common property – they have a comfort zone where the characters return. For example, in FORGOTTEN CHILDREN, it’s a Bar and Grill named Tally’s. The hero and heroine spend a lot of time socializing there, especially on Goobers night every Thursday. In BLIND CONSENT, the hero focused on May’s Emporium, an old country store where the heroine worked. In TAINTED HERO, the hero spent a lot of time in ice cream parlors because he loved to watch the women in his life enjoy sweets. In VEIL OF DECEPTION, it was Ruth’s Place; a convenience store out in the middle of nowhere. In this case, it was an actual place where all the local’s hang out for coffee and a cathead biscuit.
I didn’t notice this pattern in my stories until a reader asked me, “Is there any common theme in the way you create scenes.” Then I realized there is; it’s the use of a comfort zone for the characters. Is that wrong? I don’t think so. As I mentioned earlier, most people have some comfort zone or zones in their lives where they go to get away. Come to think about it, those are the scenes I like writing the most. Maybe it’s just a “me” thing. Perhaps because I relate to gathering holes in my world, it’s just my comfort zone. I’ll have to see if the trend continues in my future stories.
Till next time, be safe.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Thursday, April 1, 2010
DONA PENZA TATTLE, ESQ.
ASSOCIATE WRYE BALDERDASH
Tattle practically floats into the office, dressed in a full yellow skirt, white ruffled blouse, an enormous frilly, flower strewn Easter hat and yellow bowling shoes. "In my Easter bonnet," she sings, ending with, "...Grandest lady in the Easter Parade. I adore April." Nine bees and one fly buzz her bonnet.
"On April first I'm always tired after the long March to it." Dressed just as dapper, including a top hat, tails, ascot and diamond tie-pin, Wrye questions with a grin, "We're off to a parade? A parade with rabbits in the heat of the day. Would that give us hot cross bunnies?"
"No, we're off on our Love of Literature Leap." She holds out an Easter basket filled with books. "All our favorites!"
Out of Wrye's top hat, as if a magician's, a hare pops two lengthy lopped ears. He extends his crooked elbow, hands her a fancy colored egg and they leap, letting anyone who notices that on the seat of his pants is a bunny tail.
Wrye picks a book, flips it like a coin, and the two leap into FLAWLESS by Kimber Chin, a romantic suspense.
"Oh my, he looks familiar," Tattle says, spying a dangerous but handsome man, fanning the spontaneous flash of heat. "My, he swelters! Killer looks...hubba, hubba...the man has reformed." She waggles her tushie.
"Hadn't noticed. Ah, yes, yes, Tavos Santos, he was introduced in Kimber's best seller INVISIBLE. Tavos is a known killer." He bites the butt off a chocolate bunny and the ears of another, turns them to face each other, and as if two puppets he speaks for them, one saying, "My, my, my butt hurts." The other bobs. "Huh?" Wrye puts the rabbits back in his pocket and as if his play had never happened, turned to Tattle. "He's a killer."
"I can see that my April showers...hunks."
"As for being a reformed killer, Grace Williams, however, thinks differently, for upon meeting him, she believes he has been sent to...da...da...da...daaaa!" Runs a finger across his throat, making the appropriate slitting sound. "You would think she’d flee in fear, bunny hop away! But obviously smitten, she kisses him instead. It was one of the things on her list. List! Am I on her list? How do I get on the list?"
Tattle points to the paragraph about the list, "Ah, yes, one of the many things she'd like to do before she dies, kiss the scarred stranger sent to..." Tattle emulates Wrye's gesture. "Risky is she? You sure you want to be on that list?"
"Tavos wasn't there to do Grace harm, so it is said, but to protect her from her psychotic father, or was he? The father was recently released from prison...plot twist...and at the behest of a mysterious green-eyed woman, head of the relocation service Grace had contacted, Tavos had been solicited."
"Does green-eyed foreshadow jealousy?" Flips over a few more pages. "I know not, but she decides to take a stand against her father, and Tavos decides to help." And the plot coagulates.
"By kidnapping her?" Wrye looks incredulous. Pulls cell phone out, it attached to a pigeon and enters 911, pigeon giggles, but Tattle persuades him to return the techno-bird back to his pocket.
"To keep her safe. After all, Grace can be stubborn." By now she realizes his Easter suit was that of a magician's.
"As her father, for he comes after her, but not before they...." Wrye whispers into Tattle's ear, and wiggles brows.
Cooing, she again emulates his response. "If this book got any hotter, it would smoke!" Picks Wrye's pocket and uses a flapping pigeon to fan herself.
"Yup, smokin' with sensuality, suspense, and intrigue, a down-right page turner. Weooo, away we go, hot, hot, hot!"
"Question is, just who will survive. Was that shots I heard?"
"Let's leap so as not to give any more away!"
She returns the pigeon and grabs the chocolate bunny, noshes as they leap.
Their next hippity-hop leap takes them to FLAHERTY'S CROSSING by Kaylin McFarren, a woman's contemporary, where Tattle instantly blots at tear wet lashes. "So sad...so very sad."
"We've entered the scene where Kate Flaherty's estranged father is dying," he whispers reverently, pulling a pocket handkerchief, he hands it to Tattle. She takes it and unreels seventeen more attached to it. Tattle shrugs a so-sorry.
They both stand at a respectful distance, and hear the father's bedside confession about his part in Kate's mother's death." Has he foredoomed himself? The plum of possibility sweetens. "Do you have a dictionary in your bloomers?" Wrye looks at Tattle's butt for big book protrusion, "You seem to be a smarty pants."
"Ouch!" Tattle says, "Add this on top of her marriage falling apart. Her husband Drew mentioned something about separation! Sword of Damocles moment!" She looks at the bunny she is eating and wonders if her butt is huge-ing. Shrugs her shoulders and bites off a leg.
"Not good...not good at all." Wrye leans over, fingering the book pages, to peer further into the story, tickling Tattle with his bunny ears. "There is no lull in the suspense tonight, da da, on her way home, da da, there is, da da, a detour, da daaaaaa!"
Not realizing her lips are chocolate smeared, she garbles and drivels, "Read further along, it's not all bad, it gives her a chance to talk to a stranger, to think through some of her emotions about her marriage and herself, before she ends up fleeing for her life, searching for faith and forgiveness." Using the wad of hankies, she towels her mess then tries to return the mass into his top pocket, leaving a uni-boob.
"Huh?" Tattle shakes her head. "Oh, yes, she is a sweet dear, emotionally suppressed perhaps, artists can sometimes have greater depths of feelings."
"No, I meant...." He points a few pages back, "There is a deer in the road and she is motoring straight for it."
Both read swiftly. "Watch out!" Reads more. "She swerved!"
"She can't see anything but darkness!" Reads further, "Oh no!"
"She's going to...." Wrye holds a finger to Tattle's lips. "Time to go."
"But...but...but!" She is dragged into the vortex of literature.
"It's foggy in here," Tattle says, blowing at the white mist as they appear in HEATED DREAMS by Julie Grissom, an erotic fantasy/paranormal time-travel. (Carnal Passions Publication) She egg-spected (Easter humor) the fog to be chilled but it was more steamy, thus foretelling.
"A dream," Wrye responds just before his jaw drops, eyes bulge, pulse races, and the bunny ears erect.
Tattle follows the direction of his glance, puts a hand to her chest oh so lady-like and grins oh so salaciously. "Oh my, what are they doing? Mmmm...oooohhh...ahhhhh!" Was it lust? Were they...?
The GQ of gentleman, Wrye covers Tattle's eyes, she peering through the gaps in his fingers, as he big-bunny-knows-better drags her to another page, "This is a private dream, wow it is, Tattle, m'gal." At this point, he notes in his Blackberry the page number.
A door chimes as they arrive in Roxy's bookstore, which seems normal enough, but the air sizzles and sparks! Foreshadow? Maybe. Foredoom? Could be. Foreplay? Hopefully.
"That was Roxy's dream," Tattle says, as she notes in her Blackberry the afore page. "And he..." points to the mega desirous male who had just entered, "...was in it. She looks shocked. Why? Whereas, he looks likes his boots belong under my bed!"
"She is shocked. Boots!! She has only met Brett Sperry in her spicy dreams." Wrye wonders if Dreamscape technology is available. Bites into a peanut butter egg, likes it, forgets about the dream. Peanut butter tints the ponder of his knowledge of Roxy, "She had a disastrous unfulfilled marriage, drat, and thinks she is flawed, poor kitten, can't...errr..." Flashes red face.
"What?" Tattle asks, watching Wrye's strange expression, remembers Roxy's dilemma and goes, "Oh...the big O?" She turns red faced.
Nods with the support of another bite, composure returns, "Brett takes an interest..." Wrye straightens his ascot, in a manly act strokes his rabbit ears. "In her...or...." The red returns. "He's from the 45th century, and is magical. I guess they've matured and deal with that stuff."
Tattle tilts her head to check Brett out from behind. "I'll say! Magical! He could make my randy disappear." Catches herself and says, "What is he doing here?" Starts searching for the pigeon again, flapping needed.
"His mission is to find a missing runaway VIP from his century and bring him back. The plot hardens in so many ways." Wrye is so egg-centric. (Easter humor) "But he can read Roxy's thoughts and finds them simultaneously stimulating and distracting...simultaneously...I'll repeat, simultaneously, 'nuff said!"
"Does he find the VIP? Does she find her Oh YES, YES, YES!? Just what does the future hold for these two who ignite passion across time? Do you have any more peanut butter eggs?"
"Read and find out." The bunny married the chicken and was the first rabbit to lay an egg was Wrye's final Easter thought.
With a hop and leap, they appear back in the office.
What a hoppin' good time! Next month we'll spring forth with enthusiasm into TAKES A CHANCE by Eve Langlais coming June 2010, BOLT ACTION by Victoria Roder, and THE ENTRANCEMENT by Carolina Montague.
Dona Penza Rutabaga Tattle, Esq.
and Associate Wrye Balderdash
of Blather City, Wannachat
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
WRITERS ARE STUDENTS OF PEOPLE
BY: Angelica Hart and Zi
When at a party where there are people I don't know, I am in an element that instigates my imagination. What to say becomes the direct pay-off of how people I meet make me feel or the situation of the moment. It can be like an improv class. Of course it is appropriate but unexpected by most. But does it start out that way? Nope! I sit back and study the group. I ask myself questions. Why are those two together? What is she wearing beneath that dress... what could she possibly be wearing... it is too sheer... could she be... naked? She has to be naked. I know I could tell if she hadn't bikini waxed.
Friday, March 19, 2010
At long last, my book has a cover! I am pleased - very - with it. Although, it does take some getting used to. The girl on the cover isn't quite how I imagined my star-girl to look like. But, that's okay.
So, now that the cover is born, I can now proceed with promoting myself to the masses and set myself up for the April release. Of course, where to start?
Facebook...that handy, user-friendly site that gazillions flock to every morning, noon and night to stay in touch with the rest of the gazillions. Whether its to chat with buddies, search out long lost friends, play Farmville and Bejeweled, you name it...every next person including yourself has a Facebook account. And even those that don't will soon start to feel the enticing pull as the Facebook pheromones tickle the senses. It's as addictive as that first cup of coffee in the morning...right up there with checking your email.
So, why not start by advertising on Facebook - a dedicated page to promote The Lancaster Rule and let people Become A Fan. This week, I did just that, created a page and invited all my friends to follow me - oh wait, that's a Twitter phrase. Oops, my mistake. Speaking of which, Twitter is my next step. I've already an account with them, but try as I might, Twitter is a lost cause to me for the moment. I must be an old fashioned Twit since I'm yet to grasp the full benefits of Tweeting and Twittering, that I feel like a right old Twat! Never mind, I'm digressing here.
Facebook, I understand. However, it did take me the whole day and then the next to figure out how best to launch myself. If you've been following my blog from the very beginning, you'll understand that I've an aversion to 'public nudity' like so many out there. Launching yourself onto a public network for the world to see, well, that's pretty borderline exhibitionist there. But, I had to remember that it was for the sake of the book, and not really about me. The story is an interesting and engaging tale with unforgettable characters, if I do say so myself. The world at large needs to meet them and forget about whinging teenage vampires and the lives of troubled celebrity biographies that all start to sound the same.
Anyway, for those interested, simply type in the book's name and hit search. And become a fan like you've become a fan to almost anything that deems following or being associated to...yes, even you who will eventually become a fan of 'We Don't Care About The Lancaster Rule Blogs...' But in the event that that does ever appear on Facebook...uhm...just click ignore, thanks.
A website is my next step. Creating and designing, I understand - actually creating and designing a website, I don't. I may have been in the graphic arts world for half my life, but websites are like a foreign entity. Thankfully, I have a dear friend who has decided to help me out there. Its slow going, information-wise and what I deem to be worthwhile for a webpage, but it's getting there. Pretty soon, you can click to a link called: www.tktoppin.com. I can't guarantee you'll be transported to a whole new world with amazing vistas that you'll have to write home about, but you will be kept up-to-date with Lancaster Rule 'stuffs' as well as up coming books that are on my plate. At present, the sequel is being self-edited and a few bits and pieces are being added to it.
And so, there it is...the next step to becoming a household name (oh, please-please-please buy the book!!) and hopefully establishing myself as a writer. A real writer, I must stress.
However, when the first bad reviews come in...if you never hear from me again, don't be alarmed. I'll still be on Facebook, cowering under an assumed name and living somewhere in Farmville with no neighbours.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Ouch that does hurt. That screen needs a time-out. Bingo... that is what you need to do. Take the time to figure out what you want to say. There is a study out there, it might have been done by someone from Penn. This person polled famous and accomplished authors and asked what was the most important thing. The preponderance of responses were similar. To distill that... have something to say. That is right. Have something to say. There are plenty of people that craft well, many superiorly but if what they create is shallow or without an audience... then to what end? Pretty prose without purpose is like having cheese cake without sugar, just doesn't sit as well on the palette.