Monthly Archives: September 2012
Please welcome guest author Beverley Eikli back to the blog. If you’ve read Beverley’s earlier posts here at the blog you know what an adventurous life she’s led. If you’ve missed her posts I urge you to look back and read them. Today Beverley is taking us in a little different direction and sharing some of the experiences that shaped her sense of adventure.
The things that Change Us
By Beverley Eikli
When I finished school I spent a gap year working and studying in the UK.
I was a shy, studious eighteen year old who had never been away from my family so joining friends of my parents at their holiday home in Portugal was a huge adventure.
It was the summer of 1983 and at the end of this two-week stay I activated my month-long Eurail pass at the Penedo railway station, intending to travel to Germany to meet friends of friends with whom I’d travel for the next four weeks.
It was going to be the adventure of a lifetime but little did I know how much it would shape my attitude towards the way I lived my life.
Shortly after the train began its journey, a ‘go-slow’ strike delayed my arrival by more than 12 hours – and, not surprisingly, there was no one waiting at the designated meeting point.
In those days overseas communication for most backpackers like me meant a pocketful of coins fed rapidly into a phone box or a handwritten letter. Now here I was at Cologne railway station, alone for the first time in my life, with no way of contacting these people.
It was a shock, to say the least. I couldn’t return to England and waste my Eurail pass. I couldn’t ask my parents for help – or worry them.
I think the turning point was the reaction of the German woman who asked me in the Ladies Rest Rooms why I was crying. Instead of sympathy I received a very matter-of-fact, “Vell, it is a beautiful day. The sun is shining and you have a month to enjoy it. Go and make the most of it.”
It was just the advice I needed. Within half an hour I was sailing down the Rhine being fed pieces of salami by a couple of friendly American young men. The sun was shining and suddenly I was filled with the most extraordinary sense of adventure.
Traveling on my own certainly meant I met a lot of people. At eighteen I was small and didn’t look my age and people of all ages seemed to take a protective or motherly approach towards me. I was invited back to stay at the homes of young Swiss and Germans in between making up my own itinerary that took me through Italy, East Berlin, Yugoslavia, and France. I loved the freedom.
My letters home to my parents outlined my activities using the plural ‘we’ and, all in all, I had a ball. Yes, there were some terrifying occasions, like getting off a train in the middle of the night in Germany and discovering I was in a field where the train must have stopped to pick up milk or drop off the newspapers. After trudging through paddocks I entered a forest, terrified, for it was nearly midnight and I couldn’t even find a road. Eventually I saw a light in the distance. You can imagine the shock with which I was greeted as I walked in on a hall full of beer-swilling German men.
You might also imagine my terror as I slid onto the bench seat of the car belonging to one of them while I prayed they’d drive me to the next town, as promised. They did.
And so at the end of lots of adventure I emerged, unscathed, with a healthy appreciation of what amazing things one can do on one’s own, and the wonderful freedom of making all one’s own choices.
I certainly don’t want my daughters to do as I did, and I’ve subsequently developed a very healthy attitude towards risk. There are risks in everything. But there’s also the need to take risks to reap bigger rewards. That’s mostly what I learned during this fateful month away.
In my books my nineteenth century heroines, cosseted by convention and family, often take risks, to benefit themselves or their families.
Here is the blurb for my most recent Regency Romantic Intrigue, A Little Deception – nominated Favorite Historical of 2011 by ARRA (Australian Romance Readers Association) – in which my heroine, Rose, does just that.
A one-night charade to save the family sugar plantation wins loyal and determined Rose Chesterfield more than she bargained for – marriage to the deliciously notorious rake, Viscount Rampton.
“A love match!” proclaims London’s catch of the season who happily admits he has been hoist on his own petard.
But when his new wife is implicated in the theft of several diamond necklaces Rampton wonders if her deception goes beyond trapping him into marriage. Is she the innocent she claims, or a scheming fortune hunter with a penchant for money, mischief and men?
Here is an excerpt:
‘MISS CHESTERFIELD.’ Miss Chesterfield. The name should have provoked rage; instead, Rampton was dismayed by a surge of feeling that was so far from rage as to render him no better than a slavering schoolboy when confronted with the object of his adolescent obsession.
‘Show her in,’ he said, struggling for the self-possession that had always been second nature to him and tossing aside the reading matter which had failed to engage his attention for the past hour.
So, she had come to state her terms.
Having been caught well and truly in flagrante delicto, he accepted he had no one but himself to blame. Experience with women had tuned his antennae finely when it came to sensing all manner of ruses calculated to inveigle him into matrimony. But Lady Chesterfield – Miss Chesterfield, as it turned out – had slipped entirely under his guard.
Stonily he faced the door while he waited for her to enter, the events of the past week flashing through his mind. For twenty-four hours after she’d been hauled off by her brother, Rampton had paced his study like a caged lion, fueling his anger with the multiple lies and untruths she’d fed him as he tried to relive exactly the moment at which he should have become aware of her deception. Any half-intelligent man would have sensed that not all was as it seemed at the very outset, he told himself.
Cynically, he had waited for Miss Chesterfield to call and negotiate the terms of his matrimonial incarceration. He had practiced all manner of snide and ironic responses, while his anticipation at seeing her again had grown steadily more unbearable.
He wanted only to tell her what he thought of her.
So he assumed.
But she had not come, and that had been worse.
After three days he had snapped. Arriving unannounced, he had confronted a pale and patently uncomfortable Sir Charles in his study and stonily dictated the terms of a marriage contract. He was a man of honour and he had compromised a lady. She was the clear victor in their final round; she had more than just pinked him. Now he must pay the price.
Rampton had been prepared for a rambling defense from Sir Charles of his sister’s behavior. And, if Sir Charles were in a robust mood, perhaps a healthy lashing of recrimination for Rampton.
But when the young baronet said only that his sister did not wish to marry him Rampton was at last moved to anger.
‘Doing it too brown, sir!’ he declared. ‘She engineered that little scene so that I’d have no choice but to suffer her joy as she leg-shackled me on her triumphant progress towards the altar!’
Sir Charles, looking white around the gills, concurred miserably, ‘I know, I know. But she’s made me tell you, expressly, sir, that she has no intention of holding you to marriage. That, in fact, she does not desire it.’
‘Does not desire it?’
He could not believe it. It was all part of the charade. There was a trick involved somewhere, though right now he could not see it.
Not want to marry him?
Why, every unmarried female participating in the social whirligig was there with only one thing on their minds and most of them saw waltzing off with him as the ultimate feather in their caps.
Not want to marry him? When she’d gone to such pains to ensnare him?
The very notion was preposterous.
He would not believe it.
Thanks so much for dropping by.
Beverley Eikli wrote her first romance when she was seventeen. However, drowning the heroine on the last page (p550!) was, she discovered, not in the spirit of the genre so her romance-writing career ground to a halt and she became a journalist.
After throwing in her secure job on South Australia’s metropolitan daily The Advertiser to manage a luxury safari lodge in the Okavango Delta, in Botswana, Beverley discovered a new world of romance and adventure in a thatched cottage in the middle of a mopane forest with the handsome Norwegian bush pilot she met around a camp fire.
Eighteen years later, after exploring the world in the back of Cessna 404s and CASA 212s as an airborne geophysical survey operator during low-level sorties over the French Guyanese jungle and Greenland’s ice cap, Beverley is back in Australia living a more conventional life with her husband and two daughters in a pretty country town an hour north of Melbourne. She writes Regency Historical Intrigue as Beverley Eikli and erotic historicals as Beverley Oakley.
You can buy the book here
Today we have romantic suspense author K.J. Dahlen with us. I decided to start things off by asking a few questions to get things rolling. Please make K.J. feel welcome by asking her your own questions or by asking follow ups to mine. K.J. will be giving away a $20 Amazon gift card to one lucky person during her blog tour. Check out other stops on her tour here.
About K.J. Dahlen
Kim lives in a small town (population495) in Wisconsin. From her deck she can see the Mississippi River on one side and the bluffs, where eagles live and nest on the other side. She lives with her husband Dave and dog Sammy. Her two children are grown and she has two grandchildren. She loves to watch people and that has helped her with her writing. She loves to create characters and put them in a troubling situation then sit back and let them do all the work. Her characters surprise even her at times. At some point in the book they take on a life of their own and the twists and turns become the story. Of all the stories she could write she found she liked mystery/thrillers the best. She likes to keep her readers guessing until the very end of the book.
Mini Interview With K.J. Dahlen
Q: I always envision suspense authors being inspired by shows like Criminal Minds, Law and Order, CSI, 48 Hours, and other crime fiction and true crime shows. What are your favorite TV shows and do they provide inspiration for your books?
A: I have always loved forensic and the law so I watch Law and Order, CSI, Criminal Minds and NCIS.
I take what I have learned from the shows and use some of that in my stories. Most of the stories I write deal more with stopping the bad guy and how they do that rather than the blood and the gore of the actual murder. I don’t care for the gore of the kill.
Q: Please talk to us about the research you did for Blood Memories. What topics did you need to research? What were some of the interesting things you learned while researching that didn’t make it into the book? What are some of your favorite research sources?
A: Most of what I write is pure imagination. I have a library of understanding the criminal mind and other books dealing with the law. Most of Blood Memories deals with common sense things so I did very little research for this book.
Q: Please talk to us about writing villains. Do you find the villain a fun character to write? Or are they more challenging? What elements do you think go together to comprise a strong villain?
A: My idea of the perfect villain is someone who challenges the good guy. He’s good but better under pressure. Some of the bad guys in my books want to quit they just don’t know how. They are bad but they have a reason for being that way.
I try to develop my characters using elements of everyday people. Because that’s what they are. Every person starts out with the same bits and pieces. It’s how we are treated and how we react to the things that happen in our life whether we become good or bad. Most people want to be good, some just don’t know how.
Most of my bad guys use their intelligence to get by but my good guys are just a tad better. I love the intrigue of putting them together and letting them find a way out of the situations they are in.
When an accident turns out to be not an accident but murder Savannah must solve a double murder that happened over twenty years ago to find the truth. She was the only witness to her parent’s murder and now their killer is after her. She puts her trust into a man her aunt has known and all these years but evidence soon points to him being involved with the man she thinks killed her parents. Will she prove him innocent or fall prey to his intent? Her life and over two million dollars in diamonds is at stake.
An Excerpt From Blood Memories
As the dirt hit the casket, the sound it made echoed through the cemetery and caused Savannah to flinch. The sound was so final but then so was death. Savannah’s heart was breaking as she listened to the thud of the earth hitting the wood of her aunt’s final resting place. She glanced at the temporary headstone marker. Tears rolled down her cheeks when she read the name on the marker, Donna Marie Kelley.
A voice inside her head screamed at her that the name on the headstone was wrong. It should have read Donna Marie Weston, not Kelley. Donna had been the one person in her young life who protected her after her parents died. She was the one who held Savannah when she was sick or the nightmares got the best of her. Donna had been there to make her laugh and kept her safe all these years.
Donna had died four days ago in a car accident. Her car plunged off the road and down into a ravine. The paramedics said she might have lived if help had arrived right after the accident, but Donna wasn’t found until the next day. She had been all alone and in pain when death came to call.
Tears slid down her cheeks as she thought of how long Donna had suffered. The medical examiner’s report told her that Donna suffered two broken legs and a fractured rib. The rib punctured her lung and eventually her abdomen filled with blood. The coroner had determined she bled to death internally. The police were looking into the accident, but she knew there was nothing they could do. There wasn’t anything anyone could do. Donna was gone and now she was alone in the world.
Savannah glanced at the temporary marker again. She knew Donna wouldn’t want her real name on her final resting place but she was tempted to put it there. Savannah George wasn’t her real name either. She had been born Georgia Michelle Corbin, but she hadn’t been called Georgia for a long, long time, almost a life time, her lifetime.
Glancing toward the sky, Savannah could see the dark gray clouds. It looked as dreary outside as she felt inside. Donna’s death had been the result of a car accident, and Savannah hadn’t had time to think about her future yet.
Savannah had turned her head to watch the sound when she felt someone walk up behind her. Spinning around she saw a man she didn’t know standing there. He was tall and blonde with a full beard. His dark grey eyes were somber as he glanced at the grave in front of him. He turned to look at Savannah before he spoke. “Hello, my name is Jack Russell. I’m sorry to disturb you at a time like this, but I was your aunt’s attorney.”
Savannah grimaced. She stared at the older, well -dressed man standing in front of her and couldn’t help but wonder why Donna felt the need for an attorney. “I wasn’t aware she had an attorney,” she finally said.
Jack tilted his head. “I haven’t had contact with her for a number of years but she first came to see me nine years ago. She told me she had just moved to Seattle, and she wanted me to keep something for her. She gave me this package to give to you upon her death.”
Savannah accepted the package from him and glanced at it. She raised her gaze back to Jack’s face. “Did she tell you what was in this package?”
Jack stared at her for a moment. “She told me to say you would find the answers to all the questions you wanted to know growing up in there. She said you would find out why she had to keep you safe and a mystery only you could solve.” He hesitated, “I didn’t know your aunt very well, but I’m sorry she died.”
Savannah watched as he turned and walked away. The package she held was heavy, and her curiosity was getting the better of her. She caught her breath as she glanced at the package and saw Donna’s handwriting on the outside. She had written her name on the package.
Please welcome today’s guest author Genie Gabriel to the blog. Genie is here to share her novel Chasing the Legacy. Genie will be giving away a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour and a $10 Powell’s Bookstore GC to one commenter at every stop. Leave your comment here for your chance to win, then check out the rest of the tour stops and leave a comment there to increase your chances of winning.
Cover Blurb From Chasing the Legacy
A jaded reporter with a penchant for flashy shoes stumbles onto an explosive story when a beast-man blows up her hometown. She hides her own secrets as she digs for a truth hidden deep in the past of this small mining town. When she turns to a soft-spoken bomb tech for help, they uncover evidence that could shatter lives and defuse their budding love.
An Excerpt From Chasing the Legacy
“There you are.” Grady approached the car. “We were starting to worry about you.”
“She and Collin went home to rest. I’ve never seen my big brother smile so much. Where did you find the dog?”
“Actually, she found me. The restaurant owner said she’s a stray. So I thought I’d just–you know…”
“Take her home with you.”
The admiration and respect in Grady’s eyes looped and swirled in Layla’s belly like a roller coaster. “Well, she’s not so big, so she can’t eat much, right?”
“Right. That’s what we told Tallie every time we brought home a stray.”
Their smiles met and held for a long moment.
“Say, do you mind giving me a ride back to Halo?” Grady asked. “I told the others to go on home…”
Layla laughed as lightness filled her heart. Had she ever been as guileless as this man? She didn’t know how someone who had been through as much as Grady surely had been could still look for the best in people. But her heart lightened when he turned that gaze on her.
“Just watch out for my dog–she might drool all over you.”
Layla gathered Grady’s laughter in her heart and held it close, letting it drift over her body like the sun on a summer’s day. If only for the next few hours, she vowed to let joy into her life in the form of Grady O’Shea.
About Genie Gabriel
For years I’ve been fascinated by the puzzle of why some people collapse under life’s traumas and others emerge triumphantly stronger. These triumphs of the human spirit over the ugliest of adversities became the basis for my stories. Yet my dramatic stories have always contained touches of humor, and sometimes I have great fun writing romantic comedy novellas. However, in all my stories, my passion for writing romance is an outlet for the powerful messages that people can overcome great difficulties, and true love can turn life’s heartaches into happily ever after.
I’ve been wanting to update my Facebook presence for a long, long time. For those who hadn’t found me on Facebook before (that’s most of you) I had a hybrid Facebook presence. I had one account under my real name which did double duty as a page for BVS and a page for me personally–no…I didn’t know you could have BOTH when I started out. That never really worked very well as it didn’t serve well as EITHER a personal page or a business page.
Midweek last week I got a wild hair (or developed some bravery – take your pick about which) and decided to jump into the fray and just DO IT ALREADY!
I set up a new personal page and a new dedicated BVS page. Both are now operational and have enough goodies on them to warrant sharing them.
My goal with the Black Velvet Seductions Facebook page is to build a community there around the books we all love. In that vein you’ll see lots of posts about books and authors published by companies OTHER than Black Velvet Seductions as well as posts about our own titles and authors. I find so much great information on the web, that I’d like to share but most of it isn’t really suited to be a blog post (since most of it is on someone else’s blog). A post I shared tonight on the Black Velvet Seductions Facebook page is a good example. It’s a post about Daddy Doms. An interesting topic for those of us who read or write erotic romance with a D/s element. I urge you to visit the page and read the post. It’s worth the time.
You’ll find largely different content on the Black Velvet Seductions Facebook Page than you’ll find here on the blog so be sure to check us out. Like us, comment, share us with your friends if you like our posts. You’ll find the new Black Velvet Seductions Facebook Page here.
My personal account is also welcoming friends! My personal account is where I hang out with my family, friends, and the kids I mentor. It is a more PG rated atmosphere. You’ll find a lot more pictures of quilts, kitties, nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews. I post a lot more motivational quotes, pretty pictures, funny cat pictures and videos on my personal timeline than I do on the BVS timeline. Pretty much if I think something will appeal to one of my friends I will usually post it. There is a fair amount of political discussion too. I am a Democrat. I’m married to a political junkie who is also a Democrat, so I’m naturally going to share political posts from time to time. You’ll probably not find much if any BVS news on my personal timeline. I am much more active on the new Facebook pages than I ever was on the old one. I think that’s because I have finally taken the time to learn my way around Facebook enough to know how to post, comment, like, and share. If you’d like to follow me personally you can do that by going here. I’d love to see you on my personal Facebook friend list.
I hope to chat with you on one or both of the new Facebook pages.
Please welcome Margie Church. She’s joining us again, this time with a sweet treat inspired by the song THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT and a super giveaway. Please leave your questions and comments for Margie. If you’ve read her books please share with us what your favorite was and why. If you’re an author, which songs inspire books or story ideas? If you’re not an author which songs do you think would make a great starting point (or middle or ending point) for a book or story?
The way you look tonight….
…played softly in the room while Jess and Kyle danced. His hand, so much larger than hers, cradled her against his chest. Moving slowly in candlelight to the music, she listened to the love song. So many years had passed, yet being in his arms this way erased them.
The first time Jess heard this song, she had been a junior in high school. Wearing her first floor-length dress, she was escorted by the hottest guy she’d ever met. She couldn’t believe her luck when Kyle invited her to the prom.
Years ago, he wore a black tuxedo with a dark blue cummerbund that matched her dress. Jess had looked at her in that awkward way guys do on a first date. He’d cleared his throat. “Would you like to dance?”
His sparse chest hairs tickled her cheek as she rested her face against his bare skin. He smelled like soap and sex. He moved his hand up and down her back, seeming to memorize the contours of her body, which by now, had to be as familiar as his own name.
He leaned back a little and with the knuckle of his index finger, lifted her chin until their eyes met. His hair, still tousled after their vigorous lovemaking made him look so much like that handsome teenager she fell in love with.
never, ever change,
keep that breathless charm
won’t you please arrange it, cuz I love you
just the way you look tonight.”
I’m a die-hard romantic, and I hope that short piece swept you off your feet. If you’re a fan of the song, here’s a link to a version I enjoy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDh4GC7n0ig
And if you’re a fan of romances, please visit my page on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or your favorite ebook retailer. I had two short stories Night Music (M/M/F) and Executive Decision (M/M) plus a novel, Razor (BDSM ménage), come out this summer. There are 15 titles on my back list. I hope you’ll find something that entices.
CONTEST: I’m running a contest until October 7 – Fall into Love with Author Margie Church. You can win a CD loaded with my entire back list, gift cards, and autographed books. Click here to get started. It’s fun and easy.
Find out more about Margie:
Margie’s website: Romance with SASS
Margie’s blog: http://blog.RomanceWithSASS.com
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