Springs of Inspiration with Myra Johnson

My apologies.

Since my family moved to a new house a week ago, I’ve had lots of trouble getting online. Unfortunately, it’s messed up my Springs of Inspiration schedule, but I’m hoping we can get back on track this week.

Myra Johnson was supposed to be my guest on Friday, so I want to share her response today. Jamie Carie should be here on Wednesday and Julie Lessman on Friday.

Let me just say that I got a ‘sneak peek’ into Myra’s WIP and I LOVE it!!!! She peaked my special interest – Autism. That’s all I’ll say unless she wants to bait you with more. It’s such a SWEET story!!!

So let’s see what Myra has to say about Inspiration!

 1. This excerpt is from my debut novel, One Imperfect Christmas. Thirteen-year-old Lissa has just confessed some very serious meddling to Natalie, her mother.  Natalie also has much to be forgiven for, and in this scene they finally reach a place of healing.

 Lissa joined her next to the library table, silently intertwining her fingers with her mother’s. Her gaze fell upon the ceramic baby Jesus, sleeping in the manger between the kneeling figures of Mary and Joseph. “I guess Jesus is the only kid in the universe who never goofed up and did something stupid.”

 “I bet Mary and Joseph would disagree.” Mom released a gentle laugh. “I can just imagine how worried they were the time they searched and searched for him, only to find him talking with the teachers in the temple.”

 Lissa’s stomach tightened. “Like you and Dad worried when I ran away and hid in Granddad’s barn?”

 “Exactly.” Mom fixed her with a sad-eyed stare and squeezed her hand. “I worried, yes, but more for selfish reasons, because I didn’t think I could handle one more problem. I was hurting so badly myself that I didn’t even try to understand the pain you were going through after your dad and I separated.”

 Lissa curled her tongue over her upper lip. “I didn’t try very hard to understand how you were feeling, either. You were so upset about Grandma, but I just wanted to find a way to get you and Dad back together. Mom, I . . . ” She drew in a shaky breath, afraid to meet her mother’s eyes. “I have to tell you something.”

 “Lissa, you know you can tell me anything, don’t you?” Mom gulped suddenly, her lips flattened into an embarrassed frown. “Okay, maybe you don’t know that. I haven’t been very easy to talk to for quite a while now.” She led Lissa to the chair and ottoman, where they sat facing each other. She clasped Lissa’s hands. “But I’m listening now. What is it, sweetie?”

 Taking courage from her mother’s reassurance, Lissa inhaled deeply and poured out the same story she’d confessed to her father two days ago. Only when she finished did she lift her eyes to meet her mother’s stunned gaze. “Are you mad? Will you ever forgive me?”

 Long moments of silence passed while Lissa tried to read the myriad expressions flitting across her mother’s face. Everything she’d expected was there—shock, disbelief, con- fusion, regret. Then, finally, understanding.

 Mom squeezed her hand. “Remember what Grandma told me the day she got so sick?”

 Lissa spoke softly as the remembered terror of that afternoon ripped a wider hole in her heart. “She said it wasn’t your fault. She told you to forgive and learn to love.”

 “It’s taken me until this morning for those words to sink in. Grandma never once blamed me for not being there to help her the day she had her stroke. But I wouldn’t listen to the truth—about what happened to her, about what forgiveness means, about how much you and your dad needed me.” Her voice became breathy. “About how much I needed your dad and you. I didn’t believe I deserved to be loved, so I pulled away from everyone I cared about most.”

 Lissa sniffled. “I kind of feel that way, too, after what I did to you.”

 “Then it’s time we both learned that’s not what families are all about.” With misty eyes Mom glanced toward the nativity scene. “God gave his most precious gift to us by creating a special family. I’m sure it was so Jesus could learn firsthand about loving and forgiving.” Her eyes twinkled. “Even when we really, really goof up.”

 “I think I get it.” A pleasant warmth spread under Lissa’s heart. “Family should mean we don’t ever have to wonder if we’re good enough or if we’re forgiven. Our family loves us no matter what.” 

2. One verse I find very encouraging is taken from Philippians 1:6.  “…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” This verse reminds me that God is in perfect control. Whatever He calls me to do, whether in my writing or in any other aspect of my life, I can trust God to provide the resources I need and to bring about the results He desires.

 Thanks so much, Myra! BEAUTIFUL reminder of God’s work in us. His Call. His Talents. Our Peseverance.

Love it!

Songs of Christmas- O Holy Night

It’s one of the most notable carols of Christmas. A French poem set to music by Adolphe Adam in 1847, O Holy Night has become a standard – especially as a solo. The literal translation from French to English makes the words all the more poignant.

Here is the first verse as translated from the original French:

Midnight, Christians, it is the solemn hour,

When God-man descended to us

To erase the stain of original sin

And to end the wrath of His Father.

The entire world thrills with hope

On this night that gives it a Savior.

People kneel down, wait for your deliverance.
Christmas, Christmas, here is the Redeemer,
Christmas, Christmas, here is the Redeemer!

Well – we have a whole HOST of authors who picked O Holy Night as their favorite Christmas song.

My fav Christmas song (oh, do I have to pick just one!!?) would be “O Holy Night” because, when I sing it or hear it sung, I feel the glory and majesty in the music and the wording which reflects Christ’s birth. It makes me cry every time even though I’ve heard it hundreds, perhaps thousands of times. Sigh.
Laura Frantz (author of The Colonel’s Lady  and Courting Morrow Little)
 
 
 
 
This is hard to narrow down but I think my very favorite Christmas song is O Holy Night. The lyrics are a powerful picture of how everything changed when Jesus was born. When I hear it or sing it I want to fall on my face before the Lord, weeping in thanksgiving, for the gift of our Lord and Savior – Jesus. LOVE it!
Jamie Carie, who also left some wonderful links to versions of O Holy Night, is author of The Guardian Duke and Pirate of My Heart.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZ-8jYpa1-o– celtic women

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Jr-2eyRtV4 – the amazing Celine Dion

And my sister from another mother 🙂 the fabulous Mariah Carey http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEJmP8T07JU&feature=fvsr

My favorite Christmas Carol is O Holy Night.
 
O Holy Night is the essence of why we celebrate Christmas. God gave the gift of eternal life in His Son Jesus Christ when the world least expected it. Because of His perfect gift, we give to those we love. We can’t ever out-give God; His blessings are eternal. But we can symbolize the ultimate, by giving to others—the poor, the needy, the unloved. O Holy Night speaks to our souls where words and emotion fail to communicate the love of Christmas.
DiAnn Mills – (author of Attracted to Fire and Under a Desert Sky)
 
Stop by for more Christmas songs on Wednesday with Julie Lessman & Missy Tippens’ favorites!!
 
 

 

Pirate of My Heart by Jamie Carie

Swashbuckling, scurvy dogs, dashing rogues, and breathtaking romance – a midship adventure with author, Jamie Carie. Pirate of My Heart is a delightful and beautiful story of unexpected romance upon the high seas. American sea captain, Dorian Colburn, has a life long love of the sea and his current mistress is his brand new ship – but when Lady Kendra Townsend becomes a surprise passenger, everything changes.

Her faith beats against his hardened heart. Her violet eyes mesmerize him, and the current of need within him to protect her forces him into a storm of circumstances he never expected.

Running from a forced marriage, the heartwrenching death of her beloved father, and the cruelty of her uncle, Kendra embraces her future with relentless hope – but Dorian poses a new set of challenges. A dicothomy of personalities, between will of iron and tenderness, Kendra finds herself  giving her well-anchored heart over to him. His faithfulness and strength give her the courage to face the darkness surrounding her, but is Dorian strong enough to battle the pain of his past and the evil waiting to consume Kendra.

I love pirate stories. And romance. And delightful male-female dialogue – braid them together and it makes for an exciting love story exploding with romantic tension, unexpected turns, and a tangible faith to save the day.

Lovely story, Jamie. Keep them coming.

New Blog Series on the way….

Okay, so I’ve been a bad blogger.

And I have a loooong list of great excuses, but I’m sure you’d much rather hear my other news 😉

Starting next week, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I’ll start a series entitled: Love At First Thought

Stories start from somewhere and sometimes in the most unexpected places – so…

Award winning authors will let us in on the inspiration behind their first novels.

Get ready for some fun, faith, laughter, and love…and maybe a little bit of weirdness (so come with your imagination firmly intact).

We’ll hear from authors like:

Patti Lacy

Julie Lessman

Mary Connealy

Ruth Logan Herne

Tina Russo Radcliffe

Siri Mitchell

Missy Tippens

Jamie Carie

Keli Gwyn

Margaret Brownley

and more….

Starting Monday, February 7th!

Come join the imagination…and allow the overflowing creativity to inspire you too.

*********************************************

photos above  from:

http://canadianuniversitymarketing.blogspot.com/

http://astoriedcareer.com/2010/12/the-what-if-story-can-help-gen.html

http://www.ideadrunk.com/

Seasons Change – Fall Into Love with Jamie Carie

Well, this has just been a great week here at Words Seasoned With Salt. Btw, one of my writing friends told me I should change the title to Words Seasoned with Pepper – but I’m not so sure. I took the idea of ‘salt’ from the Bible – I don’t know that there are any ‘pepper’ references there 😉 What do you think? Salt or Pepper –  Seriously, I have all the thyme in the world. (snicker)

Okay, okay – I absolutely love my guest for today. Her writing grips the reader and moves at a brisk pace until the last page, with twists, turns, jumps, and drops all over the place. A gifted storyteller and a fabulous encourager, Jamie Carie, writes stories that sizzle, soothe, and send the reader on an amazing journey to the past.

JAMIE is giving away her newest novella just in time for Christmas music to start playing in stores. The Snowflake. Leave a comment for your chance to win this beautiful story.

To learn more about Jamie’s books, check out her lovely website at www.jamiecarie.com

Now, Jamie, so glad to have you here. Let’s see what you have in store for us today.

What are some elements that are present when a hero and heroine first realize they are falling in love with each other? What are some beautiful, interesting, unique ways of showing that realization?

Please provide an excerpt of your writing that shows this realization.

 When my characters start to fall in love it’s rather like a sickness! LOL! They have all sorts of “symptoms” that plague them and sometimes it takes a great deal of these ailments to convince them that something is wrong – or rather – very right! Some hero symptoms are: a desire to protect her from hurt or harm, a need to see that her needs are provided for, a physical desire that he must work to suppress (finding himself staring at her lips, thinking of kissing her, wanting to pull her into his arms and touch her, you get the idea), and thinking of her often and the frustration that comes with that.

While standing near her he may experience sweaty palms, rapid heartbeat and a sudden inability to put two sentences together. 🙂 The heroine may find herself daydreaming a lot and sighing without knowing it. She may also experience physical discomfort in her stomach, throat, heart and weak limbs. She might suddenly develop shortness of breath and a desire to bat her lashes, oh and melting feelings are very discomfiting. If the hero even looks at another woman she may be overcome with jealousy (this could go both ways, of course), and her emotions might swing from so happy she can hardly contain the swelling of her heart to so miserable she bursts into tears at the slightest provocation.

It’s all quite miserable, really. And so much fun! 

Here is an excerpt from my newest book, due out next summer, Pirate of my Heart. American sea captain, Dorian Colburn, and Lady Kendra Townsend have been confined on the close quarters of a ship these past weeks. Emotions have been tossed to and fro like the waves of the sea and here, in this scene, Dorian fights his attraction for the lovely Earl’s daughter:

Dorian watched with a mixture of awe and anxiety churning in his stomach, transfixed as Lady Townsend approached the railing of his ship, his ship. She was wearing the plum dress but this time her hat dangled from her hand, feathers trailing the wood boards of the deck that had been scoured with sand until they were almost white. The sun shone bright on her uncovered head. The light was rosy on her face, making her hair come alive with glints of gold. She raised her hand to her eyes and looked out over the endless gray waves toward the sunrise.

            He expelled a breath and then clinched his jaw as he realized he’d been holding it in. His view couldn’t be better, directly above her on the quarterdeck. It also afforded him a bird’s eye view of his crew. As reality returned to him, the commotion she was causing with his men became evident. Anger flared into his cheeks. Get control, man. And get control of this ship!

            His booted steps rang out on the wooden stairs as he marched down to her side. He came up behind her, leaned in and barked out a quick staccato in a tone that never failed to cause his men to pale with fear and rush to obey. “I remember ordering you to remain in your cabin.” He took a firm grasp on her elbow. The nearness of her, the touch of the silky skin of her upper arm left him rolling, reeling, like a row boat in the midst of rising thirty foot waves.

            She swung toward him, her violet gaze a rapier’s thrust. Her gaze narrowed at his tone. “But my dear captain, since you ignored my message last night I was forced to search you out myself and find the whereabouts of the mysterious disappearance of my trunks.” Her voice lowered to a soft purr. “It seems you only deem yourself worthy of their care.” 

            Dorian bit his tongue, shoved what he wanted to say back down inside and took a step back. The woman was enough to make a saint curse. “If it’s only trunks that you seek, then by all means. We will fetch them this instant.”

              He turned away to order the trunks delivered to her.

            She stopped him with a hand on his arm. It was a mere brush of a touch but it seared his skin and his muscles jumped where her fingertips encountered his upper arm. It took him a moment to be able to concentrate on her tirade.

            “Captain, let us come to an understanding. I will not be locked up in a stuffy cabin during the entire voyage. You cannot treat me like a prisoner. I am a paid passenger and expect a passenger’s rights.”

            Dorian found himself gazing at her fast moving lips, thinking how he would like to take her into his arms and kiss her silent. He shook his head trying to rid himself of the sensation that someone had stuffed his mind with wool. “This, Lady Thornton, is not a passenger ship, therefore you have no rights. I am captain of this ship and you will obey my orders like the rest of the crew.” When she opened her mouth to argue Dorian cut her off. “This is for your own protection. Don’t tell me you didn’t notice the attention you are receiving from my men.” Her stunning eyes widened at the statement, but he didn’t believe her. She must be aware of her feminine charms. “I will not have my men distracted from their duties to satisfy the vanity of a spoiled English lady.”

            Kendra gasped as if she’d been slapped. “Your opinion is formed from your vast experience with the ton, I presume? Why, I’m quite certain a man like yourself,” her glance flicked down to his feet and then back up to his furious gaze with all the condescension she’d seen her Uncle Andrew use to flay someone alive, “has attended any number of social events with the aristocracy. Next, you’ll be telling me you are on excellent terms with the king. Ha. You’re little but a heathen and an American pirate!” As soon as the words flew from her mouth she stopped, eyes widening as shame filled her. Lord, forgive me. I don’t know what’s come over me!

            It’s not My forgiveness that you need to seek.

The words thundered in her ears as her face filled with heat. Taking a step back she bit her lower lip and peeked up at the captain’s face, which had turned ashen with shock and anger.

“I’m sorry. That was ill played of me.” Kendra looked at the floor, at his boots and thought she quite deserved to have to polish them.

Maybe if she offered . . .

I SOOOOO can’t wait to read this book. Oh my goodness, Jamie. With your love for epic romance and daring adventure, adding pirates to the mix is going to be FANTASTIC!! Woohooo!!

Thanks so much for sharing with us today and providing this awesome ‘tease’.

Inspirational Moment:

Ephesians 3:14-21 (The Message paraphrase)

My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.

 20-21God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

God is not afraid of our questions. Our doubts. Our challenging him. He’s practically saying – ‘Bring it on. Try me out – I will not fail. You can’t find the bottom of my well of love’.

When we recognize who we are in Him – when we understand (as much as our human minds ever can) the great depths of his love. We we become smothered by it, until it is what we breathe, then that knowledge changes how we respond to trials, difficulty, other people..everyday. We recognize ourselves as children – not slaves or outcasts, but God’s own sons and daughters.

We are loved by the King.

We Have WINNERS!

Okay – I love announcing winners, but also hate it, because not EVERYONE can win.

Of course, SOME people win much more than their fair share, no names mentioned (SHERRINDA!!!)

But for last week, let’s celebrate with our two winners.

Barb won Janet Dean’s novel, The Substitute Bride.

Barb, if you’ll send me your snail mail to pepperbasham(at)yahoo(dot)com – I’ll get the info to Janet.

Julie’s newest novel, A Hope Undaunted, goes to …. Sherrinda.

I know, I still can’t believe it. That’s 6 books she’s won from Julie in about two years. Insane – but true.

Don’t lose heart though.

Tomorrow, Myra Johnson visits, with a chance to win her novel, Where the Dogwoods Bloom.

and on Friday, Jamie Carie is here with a chance to win her new ‘wintry’ release, The Snowflake. A lovely story.

Stop by and visit – but also visit Sherrinda’s blog and tell her that she can’t enter anymore Julie Lessman contests, okay? Tell her I sent you 🙂 http://sherrindak.blogspot.com

ACFW – Homeward Bound

Here are a few more pics from the weekend. I have more, but I’ll show them off in stages.

Right now I’m sitting in the Indy airport with a foggy brain, tired body, and thoughtful spirit. It’s been a wonderful weekend, and I’m trying to digest all the things that has happened – playing them back like a rewind button on a movie.

But check this out of debut author, Melanie Dickerson as she’s getting ready for her booksigning of The Healer’s Apprentice. You can learn more about Melanie’s book at www.melaniedickerson.com

Melanie is such a sweetie and so is Edwina Cowgill. I tell you what, the blessings of meeting these people in person are worth the BIG cost of it all.

Here’s a pic with novelist, Jamie Carie. Jamie and I have been emailing each other for a while and she’s a fabulous encourager. Her historical novels are FILLED with adventure and romance. Check out her website at www.jamiecarie.com

What a pleasure to get my picture with ACFW president, Cynthia Rutchi. Her heart for God is evident in the way she prays to him and takes care of the ministry of such a big organization.  Things ran so smoothly though, and there is such a spirit of encouragement.

More to come? Oh yeah, just wait until I get my brain back in order – or as much in order as it will ever be.

What a blessing!

Catch a Reader by the Hook – great first lines

You’re standing in front of a shelve of deliciously tempting books inside Barnes and Noble or Books a Million…or even the library. The smell of imagination cooking between fresh print pricks your curiosity and you scan the rows looking for a title or cover to push you from temptation to commitment. Finally, something snags your attention and you draw the book from the shelf, the promise of a tantalizing visit to otherworlds tingling through your body. (okay, maybe I’m the only one who gets this feeling, but I also write fantasy so it works for me.

You slide your hand across the silken cover dancing with brilliant colors and a magical picture, finally flipping to the first page.

Once upon a time….

It was a dark and stormy night…

It is a truth universally acknolwedged….

Either the book grips you in the first paragraph and delivers on its’ promises from the back cover, or you realize…this book is not for you.

So what makes a gripping first line…a first paragraph even?

Part of it has to do with personal preference, I know, but first lines have a tendency to draw us in, catch us, and then hook us like a fish in the water.

With this thought in mind, I’ve listed a few ‘first lines’ in books (old and new) as an example. See what you think.

“Scarlet O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm, as the Tarleton twins were.” – Gone With the Wind

“Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.” David Copperfield

“I have just returned from a visit to my landlord – the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with.” – Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

“A gentle breeze from the north-east after a night of rain, and the washed sky over Malta had a particular quality in its light that sharpened the lines of the noble buildings, bringing out all the virtue of the stone; the air too was a delight to breathe, and the city of Valletta was as cheerful as though it were fortunate in love or as though it had suddenly heard good news.” – Treason’s Harbor by Patrick O’Brian

“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

“A long time ago, when all the grandfathers and grandmothers of today were little boys and little girls or very small babies, or perhaps not even born, Pa and Ma and Mary and Laura and Baby Carrie left their little house in the Big Woods of Wisconsin. They drove away and left it lonely and empty in the clearing among the big trees, and they never saw that little house again.” Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalss Wilder

“There is no lake at Camp Green Lake.”  Holes by Louis Sachar

Now for some Christian Fiction examples How do they compete?

“Oh, to be a calculating woman!” Julie Lessman’s A Passion Denied

“Nice girl gone bad. That’s me: Claire Le Noyer.” Kissing Adrien by Siri Mitchell

“Nothing like running late to make a wonderful first impression.” Stand-In Groom by Kaye Dacus

“The day was gray and cold, mildly damp. Perfect for magic.” The Book of Names by D. Barkley Briggs

“Breathe not a word of my visit, Jean. not to a soul.” Thorn in my Heart by Liz Curtis Higgs

Bran!” The shout rattled through the stone-flagged yard. “Bran! Get your sorry tail out here! We’re leaving!” Hood by Stephen Lawhead

“Dragon riding isn’t all it’s cracked up to be,” Ashley grumbled. Enoch’s Ghost by Bryan Davis.

“Belle Tanner pitched dirt right on Anthony’s handsome, worthless face.” The Husband Tree by Mary Connealy

“They were coming. They were coming! Christophe shoves his little sister, twelve-year old Emile, through a hidden door in the wall, quickly following her.” Love’s First Light by Jamie Carie

Now, interestingly enough, these examples have something in common: They are out to get your attention BUT they use different means to get it.

– Some draw in the reader with ACTION. You enter the story in motion and are swept into the pages.

– Some use INTRIGUE…something’s ‘not quite right’, so your curiousity is peaked.

– Some use HUMOR and brings you in with a smile.

– Others use the UNEXPECTED – something is stated (kind of like intrigue) which is out of the ordinary so to keep from teetering on the brink of confusion, the reader must read on.

-Finally some capture you with WORDS, magically descriptive, palpable words which ensnare the senses.

Any way you choose to write it, SOMETHING has to happen in that first paragraph which captures the readers attention to keep them reading…wanting more, inescapably attracted…

and then –

hopefully

You’ve caught yourself a reader. 🙂

Sizzling First Encounters from the Amateur ;-)

Well, I’m still trying to get some other newbies to post their first encounters, but I think they’re a bit shy (SHERRINDA) and Casey’s not back from vacating yet. So no worries, I’ll keep bugging people to see who my next vict…er…guests will be.

Announcement!! – Miss Kallie won Jamie Carie’s novella, The Snowflake. Congrats, Kallie. Please email me at pepperbasham(at)yahoo(dot)com.

Okay – my turn. (gulp)

So what do I think makes a great first encounter?

One word:

Explosions. (With three boys in my house, it’s a very common word too)

Explosions of wit, anger, attraction, danger…oh about any kind that automatically puts the hero and heroine into discomfort 🙂 Even though most of my guests didn’t use the word ‘explosion’, it’s really what many of them meant. Something between the characters ignites! Fireworks are going off externally, but definitely internally.

Now, I’m always incredibly nervous when I post my own writing for the world to see, especially among such wonderful authors as the ones who have stopped by, but here’s a try

From a BRAND NEW BOOK – Heartless

And it’s my first attempt at a Christian Supernatural – so here ya go. I envision Rachel McAdams as my heroine and Ethan Hawke as the hero (I didn’t mean for the names to match so well 😉 The heroine has just come from rescuing a teen in the forest of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Something…er…someone was chasing her.

******

Rose had been gone half an hour. Too long.

Sophia closed her eyes, allowing her senses to reach beyond the bookshop to locate Rose, but another feeling sliced into her thoughts with sickening familiarity. Black. The soul of her purpose. His scent clawed the shadows of her mind like a foggy dream.

Why would a Forsaken come so close?

She raced down the stairway and into the front room, the jingling of bells pulling her attention to the front door. The full aroma of his essence breathed through her, igniting fire in her chest. One look solidified her assumptions. He was perfect. His honey-colored hair fell over his forehead in waves, his skin glimmered too pale in the afternoon sunlight, and his eyes… Blue? Pale blue, even, almost taunting the soulless black she’d expected. How was that possible?

“Afternoon,” he said, closing the door behind him, his stance relaxed – almost friendly.

Friendly? Her voice lodged in her throat. Friendly? When had a Forsaken ever been friendly?

He quirked a honey colored brow. “You’re not exactly what I expected.”

“No?” She fingered her cross necklace and steadied her breathing, waiting for the opportune moment to strike. She didn’t like games, especially this kind.

“When the others mentioned you were coming, I thought you’d be older.”

Sophia stared at him, trying to make him out. His gaze trailed the room and finally came to rest back on hers, a distracting blue. Unearthly.

“I didn’t expect to be chosen, but I told them I’d make sure to take care of you.”

She stepped back and lifted to her full height. “That won’t be necessary.” Her voice vibrated in the back of her throat like a growl, every muscle tensed to alert. “I can take care of myself.”

Heat radiated from underneath her skin, pulsing through her as rapidly as her heartbeat. The change of his expression cleared any confusion his behavior might have caused her. He was a Forsaken.

His pale eyes darkened, slowly, like light fading at dusk, moving from baby blue to aqua and ending in a navy. He gravitated forward, almost robotic, his gaze glazed like a drug induced stare. “What are you doing?”

His raspy voice secured her power. Her gift. The scent of her pure blood captured him and with one taste would burn through him, slowly killing him. The same desire he used to prey upon the innocent would destroy him. Watching him writhe would be a benefit.

Sophia’s nails bit into the palms of her hands, gaze locked with his, willing him forward. Closer. He took two steps.

“Don’t. Do. This.”

His request shook her. Her skin cooled a few degrees. “What are you?

His darkening gaze intensified. “I’m not your enemy.”

Not her enemy? His words seared any confusion or mercy she might have felt a few seconds before. She had been born to rid the world of his kind, of his evil. His kind had taken enough from her. Not her enemy? Liar.

He was within touching distance now, eyes half-glazed, almost black, and unblinking. She pushed back her hair from her neck and felt her pulse beat against the cool air.

His gaze flickered to her throat and his mouth dropped open, his breath pumping with the rapid rise and fall of his chest. One more step and it would be all over.

“God help me,” he gasped and closed his eyes, a visible shiver quaking his shoulders.

His plea doused her spell and confidence. She stumbled back to grip the counter, lost in this impossibility. A prayer from him?

A crash of the back door shattered into her thoughts followed by Rose, arms laden with two brimming bags. Sophia stepped between Rose and the intruder, blocking his access. One step and he’d be picking his teeth from the back of his head.

“Hey, Ethan. I see ya met our new neighbor.”

Sophia’s skin cooled to ice. “Ethan?” Her contact’s name was Ethan.

Rose stepped around her and set the bags on the counter, but the man’s gaze remained fastened on Sophia’s as he loosened his jaw. “Ethan Taylor.” His Adam’s apple bobbed with an effortful swallow. “I think we have an appointment?”

**********

Well – there ya go. Hope to have another for you by Wednesday. In the meantime, I’m keeping my wordcount on track for ACFW Novel Track for the month of July.

BTW, speaking of Christian Supernatural fiction – what do you guys think about that? I never imagined wanting to write one, but (much to my surprise) the idea came. Ever had the urge to step out on the edge in your writing? 🙂

Sizzling First Encounters with Jamie Carie

Well, if you want some first encounters with sizzle, today’s guest will provide you with some. Not only that, but one lucky commenter will win her newest book, a novella entitled The Snowflake.  

Jamie Carie is an award winning author who writes romantic tension with as much passion as she writes adventure. If you want a book that doesn’t make you tense from shoulder to shoes, or grab you from page one and hold you to the end, then  DO NOT pick up one of her books. Seriously.

But…if you want adventure, intense romantic tension, and constant peril – she’s the type of author for you. I LOVE her books. It’s kind of like Indiana Jones in print, but with a lot more romance 🙂  She’s quickly becoming a good friend too. You can learn more about Jamie and her books at her website – www.jamiecarie.com

And as far as first encounters go? Whew, just keep reading.

So Jamie, what makes for a good first encounter?

For me, I love it when the hero and/or heroine is slammed with the impact of the other person. This could be an instant attraction or something deeper, like that feeling that they’ve just met their other half. In Love’s First Light, Christophé feels a mysterious, almost supernatural connection with Scarlett which leaves his already delicate emotional balance teetering on the edge of rational behavior ( i.e. he becomes somewhat of a bumbling, mad scientist in her presence). Here’s an excerpt of their first encounter.

Woohoo! You picked my favorite of your books to use as an excerpt, Jamie. Oh my, it’s soooo good.

1794—Carcassonne, France

        The mist rose above the circle of the earth. The air was crisp, deadly quiet as it always was in the old graveyard at dawn. Christophé St. Laurent grasped his dark cloak against his chest with one fist, the other holding a knurled walking stick. He didn’t need it to walk—only to swirl the mist when the mood suited him.

His gaze tripped over the headstones as he passed. Robert Barret, born 1732, died 1765. A small stone. A short life, his. Madame Genevieve Montaigne rested on the laurels of goodwife to ten children, and yet not a plant or flower graced that simple edifice. And then there was Captain Fontaine, with a headstone so tall, the etching so old and proud, the moss so thick—a hero in some long-ago history lesson. Christophé’s lips grew taut as he contemplated the ghostly eulogies.

A small yellow glow started on the horizon. He stopped his morning walk, stilling the clip of his heels to turn eastward and watch the second-by-second display of a planet’s rotation. It never failed to fill him with wonder and he found himself taking a deep breath, feeling the mist move into his mouth and throat and chest.

It was turning pink.

Joy rose from his chest to his throat. “Thy kingdom come,” he whispered into the fading mist. “Thy will be done.”

He turned, his pace brisk now, knowing the way like a child knows the path home. Energy flowed from the earth, through Newton’s gravity, to rise up from his legs and cause a sweat to break between the sharp planes of his shoulders. His legs pumped faster as a sense of power rushed through him.

He could run.

The thought struck him as new. He hadn’t allowed himself that freedom in so long. An image flashed across his memory—he and his brothers and sister running through an ornate garden . . . a palatial dream. He saw their bright faces in stark relief. The light was too bright. Something in him wanted to shield it away, but he couldn’t. Every blink brought a remembered face. His brother, Louis, with hair so dark and eyes that flashed back a challenge at him. Jean Paul, a year older than Christophé, quiet and solemn, quick and encouraging, quick as moonlight, but willing to forfeit the race to see any one of them smile.

Then he saw Émilie. She reached her hand out toward his, her shorter legs unable to keep up. She was as bright as the braids that had tumbled loose, bouncing upon her shoulders.

Christophé blinked hard several times but could not rid himself of the image of her face, so alight with laughter and . . . life.

“Thy will be done,” he choked through sudden tears.

He stopped, realizing he’d been running. He bent over his legs, felt his long hair fall forward like a dark curtain, heard his grievous cry—waves of sound that made no difference. He lifted his head and watched as tears dropped in liquid pools, scattering the dust on the stone path into tiny puffs.

 It was like that sometimes. A sudden memory swept away all but this core of grief. No matter how he fought, it knew his weakness. It sought him out in the sane moments when his mind wasn’t obsessed with the physics of light and color and the complexities of a mathematic scheme that shouldn’t work but, somehow, always did. When his mind was a silent crypt it crept in, an insidious rotting, a ruin, and then simply . . . overwhelmed him.

 With nothing short of grace, he pulled himself up and together, took a bracing breath, and continued on this morning-ritual walk of blurted-out prayers and nonsensical thought. It was the only thing that kept the thread holding his mind and soul from snapping.

 He turned another way. It was frightening, this varying from routine, but this morning he found himself running. This morning, he found he could do anything.

 He moved smoothly, his legs and feet pushing against the stone path, up a slow rise, his breathing soft and even. He ran with the cool wind blowing back his hair, the remains of the dead flashing by like glowing stones. He ran and felt he could keep running forever.

 He saw her and stopped. She was crouched low, her head down, her shoulders curled within her, stiff and unmoving. He couldn’t help but stare at her long, unbound hair. It was dark but alive with color, the pink glow of a morning’s glory reflecting in each strand.

 Gold and amber and bronze and the color of glowing coals. Bright, white light. He saw the prism in his laboratory. Blinked and saw the split of white into the colors of the rainbow. Saw them reflected on his old castle’s walls. Brilliant but cold. So brilliant.

 So cold.

 He wanted to tell her of it. His chest heaved with the effort not to blurt it out.

 She stood suddenly and whirled around—long, dark cape and glorious hair, flowers still clutched in her hand. Christophé’s gaze dropped from her frightened face to her rounded stomach and then the gravestone that glared chalk-white in the mist behind her.

 “Color,” he thought as he stood transfixed. No, not a thought.

 Heaven help him, he had said it aloud.

*********

 Scarlett stared at the tall man on the path before her, hoping he wasn’t everything he looked to be. Murderer. Maligner of women everywhere. Dark and dangerous stranger. Everything her mother had warned her might happen on these early morning visits to a husband’s grave suddenly rose up as real. She clutched her cloak to her throat, wishing, for once, she had listened to reason and put on something besides her nightgown before leaving the house.

 “Stay back,” she heard herself whisper and then wished she’d stayed silent. She backed away, slowly, one step after another. The lilies in her hand dropped to the sharp green earth. She turned to run and then heard his deep voice.

 “Did you love him?”

 She turned her head back toward him and stared. No one had asked her that question. What right did he have to ask it? What right to make her feel afresh the guilt in that answer? She turned fully toward him, felt the flare of her anger and her cape.

 “Comment est-il mort?” His eyes were dark and hooded. “How did he die?” He murmured again, this time in English.

 She tilted her head into one shoulder and closed her eyes. “For the Révolution. In Paris.”

When she opened her eyes . . . she saw nothing but the mist.

 Color, indeed. Bright and beguiling – just like the story. Thanks so much for sharing this, Jamie, and what a wonderful opportunity to introduce people to your writing.

 And don’t forget to leave a comment for your chance to win Jamie’s novella.

Like Christophe in Jamie’s novel, Love’s First Light, may we marvel in the Creator of so great a creation.

 Up Next – Author, Kaye Dacus