News to Share

10646741_10204870944154085_8514285265217180766_nWell, so much has been going on lately that I figure it’s time for a recap…and just maybe I’ll get back on track to posting at least once a week on this blog 🙂

Ever hopeful!

God has an amazing way of surprising us with more than we expect.

I’ve been pursuing writing for the past ten years and in that time God’s done some amazing things like:

Introduced me to the fabulous Alley Cats

He brought the FABULOUS, Julie Gwinn to be my friend first – and then my agent

Brought wonderful authors like the Seekers, Janice Thompson, Beth Vogt, and so many others into my life

He’s brought teaching and resources to help hone my skills.

And now..well, I’ve joined the roller coaster of published authors.

1. I signed my first contract with Lighthouse of the Carolinas for my Contemporary Romance novel, A Twist of Faith, at the end of September. It’s a fun story that is a modern day retelling of My Fair Lady set in Appalachia. It’s scheduled to release in June 2015.

2. I signed my second contract in mid-November to co-author a Middle Reader/YA novel that accompanies a new video game releasing in 2015.

3. Yesterday I signed a three book contract with Vinspire Publishing for my historical romance series, beginning with The Thornbearer to be released in October 2015. This Penned in Time series takes place during World War 1 and follows the lives of three friends who each struggle with forgiveness and the definition of true beauty as they face a world at war.

I’m excited about these new opportunities but also nervous about how to make it all fit into a very busy schedule as a full-time speech language pathologist and mom of five. It’s great to know if God provided the opportunities, He’ll also provide the ability to complete them 🙂

Here’s to seeing what God ends up doing with MY story in the middle of writing these stories!!

Springs of Inspiration Blog Tour

Time for my ‘seasonal’ blog tour with tips, clips, and hints from some of your favorite authors.

Starting March 5th, I will be hosting authors 3 times a week to share one of their favorite inspirational scenes from their novels AND one of their favorite inspirational verses.

When times are dry, writing slow, or life is hard – what do these authors do to find encouragement?

Stop by and find out.

Fabulous authors like Rachel Hauck, Mary Connealy, Ruth Logan Herne, Missy Tippens, Siri Mitchell, Janice Hanna Thompson, and so many more!

The Yearning

Tomorrow is the first day of Advent – the time in which many Christians celebrate the ‘coming of the Messiah’.

Emmanuel – God with Us.

In celebration of this wonderful God-gift and in anticipation of His coming, our choir is singing a series of fantastic choir anthems. The first song is a new arrangement known as The Yearning by Craig Courtney. The words to this piece are absolutely beautiful.

There is a yearning of hearts weighed down by ancient grief and centuries of sorrow

There is a yearning in hearts that in the darkness hide – and in the shades of death abide, a yearning for tomorrow

Later on the piece reads:

There is a yearning for the One who visited His own and by His death for sin atoned

to bring to us salvation

Apart of beautiful words, the music stems from a feel of ‘yearning’. A call to all of our hearts that the Hope for our Salvation is not only real, but has already come. Jesus Christ

The fulfillment of every yearning in our hearts.

Follow this link and enjoy a new Christmas song for the season – http://www.jwpepper.com/10276203.item

And speaking of songs – starting in December, I will be hosting Twelve Songs of Christmas – a celebration of famous Christmas songs and some of your favorite authors with chime in as to why it is his/her favorite!

Come join me for visits from Julie Lessman, DiAnn Mills, Ruth Logan Herne, Missy Tippens, Siri Mitchell, Rachel Hauck, Mary Connealy, Deeanne Gist, and many more!

Conference Tips with Missy Tippens

With hometown hospitality and good-ol-fashion sense, Missy Tippens brings her conference tips to you today. Missy is one of the awesome 15 of Seekerville, a writing blog to inspire and entertain.

Missy’s fiction with Southern Flare are filled with a real sense of homecoming – sometimes an actual physical homecoming of the characters, but certainly a homecoming for two hearts. You can find more out about Missy’s books on her website or by visiting her blog. She’s also a contributor to the writing blog, F.A.I.T.H. girls.  

So…

what are the top three things that Missy says you need to bring with you to conference??

1. A list of agents and editors you’re interested in meeting. Of course, you’ve already done all your research ahead of time! You want to make sure you know who you want to tackle–er, try to meet–beforehand so when opportunities arise at meals, you’ll be ready to pounce–er, take advantage. 🙂
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2. Your good sense. Do not leave this at home. 🙂 For example, be careful what you say about other’s work…and about other people. It’s a small world out there. And don’t complain about judge comments on your latest contest (you may be talking to a judge!). Don’t talk or text during workshops or while someone’s speaking. (Yes, I’ve been in a workshop before when a woman answered her phone and had a short conversation.) No matter what I said in number one, do not pounce on editors and agents. And if you do land at a table with your dream publishing professional, do not monopolize the whole conversation. It’s not exactly the best way to make friends with other writers at the table. 🙂 So I reiterate…be sure you take your good sense with you to conference!
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3. Sensitivity. No matter how anxious or outright scared you might feel in a conference setting, be on the lookout for writers who look terrified or lonely. I assure you there are others–possibly first timers–who find conferences and social settings stressful or even painful. So try to step out of your comfort zone and make a few new friends. The best piece of advice I got at my first conference, as I stood against the wall with my stomach in knots, was to try to make 4 new friends at every conference I attended. I’ve tried to do that ever since.
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Thanks so much, Missy. GREAT points too, whether at a writer’s conference or back home, tips 2 & 3 should be out of our overflow of Christian charity anyway, right? Unfortunately, we need to be reminded way too often…heaven help us! (literally)
Anyone had an opportunity to read Love Inspired? If so, have you picked up one of Missy’s? Her newest novel, A Family for Faith, was a beautiful story.

A Family for Faith by Missy Tippens

Down here in the South, we have very high standards for our sweetened iced tea. I can have too little sugar or too much (but rarely too much ;-). It can be seasoned with mint or lemon. It can be brewed by hand or by machine. But the important part of it all (besides the perfect location to drink it) – is that it has just the right
amount of sweetness for the one drinking it.

Well, Missy Tippens has delivered a story with Southern charm and just the right amount of sweetness for the reader’s pleasure. Her newest release, A Family for Faith, is a beautiful story about second chances, letting go, and trusting God.

A cloud of failure hides behind Faith Hagin’s smile. Despite the fact that her coffee shop is doing well, her church family love her, and the handsome police chief, Gabe Reynolds, sent her heart into an adolescent pitty-patter, Faith is haunted by poor choices that alienated her son from her. Now, with the possibility of new romance, and a second chance, Faith can’t get past her feelings of failure and insecurity. Instead of focusing on the amazing opportunities God’s providng, fear forces her in the opposite direction. How could she ever be a good mother for Gabe’s daughter when she’d destroyed the relationship with her own son?

Gabe Reynolds still misses and loves his deceased wife, but raising a preteen daughter forces him out of his comfort zone to seek help. He never expected Faith Hagin’s help to transform his entire life. Her generous and joyful spirit tugs him away from his self-imposed isolation, tempting his heart to open in ways it hadn’t in a long time.

Will Gabe’s daughter succeed in finding the perfect match for her Dad? Can Gabe and Faith overcome their own wounds to see that God specializes in second chances?

Well, pick up Missy’s book to find out. It’s a beautiful story at the perfect price.

And Missy, I have to tell you that though the romance was absolutely lovely, one of my FAVORITE scenes in the book was the reconciliation between Faith and her son. I thought you wrote it in a touching, realistic, and fulfilling way. Beautiful! I cried (but don’t tell Mary I did) 😉

To learn more about Missy’s books, check them out at www.missytippens.com

Love at First Thought with Missy Tippens

Oh it’s another wonderful Seeker today. Missy Tippens, Fiction author with southern sweetness – let me tell ya.

If you’ve not had a chance to read any of her books, just check out her website here.

Missy and I are in cahoots.  She’s an author (I’m an aspiring one). She’s a mom of more than two younguns. She likes her southern livin’. AND she’s a pastor’s wife. (We gotta stick together, Missy 😉

Let’s here what Missy has to say about her Love at First Thought.

I’ve recently decided that my upcoming book is my new favorite (I wonder if the new ones will always be my fav??). 🙂 And one reason is because of where I got the idea for the story! In the back of the book, you’ll see this story in the Dear Reader letter. Here’s what happened…
 
A Family for Faith was inspired while I was flying home from a writers’ conference. Across the aisle, and up one row, a dad sat by himself with a young daughter. He was trying to fix the bow in her hair and was not having any luck at all. I just ached for him and his daughter, wondering if there was a mom in the picture. But I was also touched at how gentle and persistent he was, and that he tried so very hard with that silly bow. Right then and there, I knew I had to write a story about a single dad with a daughter who was hitting an age where she really needed a mother figure.
 
And, thus, my April Love Inspired release was born!
 
Look at the cover for her new book. Doesn’t it look lovely?!? The premise is great. I can’t wait to get my hands on it.
Inspirational Thought:
Isaiah 36:9-13
8 “Remember this, keep it in mind,
   take it to heart, you rebels.
9 Remember the former things, those of long ago;
   I am God, and there is no other;
   I am God, and there is none like me.
10 I make known the end from the beginning,
   from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say, ‘My purpose will stand,
   and I will do all that I please.’
11 From the east I summon a bird of prey;
   from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose.
What I have said, that I will bring about;
   what I have planned, that I will do.
12 Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted,
   you who are now far from my righteousness.
13 I am bringing my righteousness near,
   it is not far away;
Just in case you didn’t know – this is GOD.
When I read these verses, I get a sense that God is saying “This is who I am, whether you believe it or not. I am in charge – not you. I am exactly who I said I was so… be prepared, or watch out.”
Have you ever thought about the notion that God doesn’t need us.
The first time I heard that phrase, it ruffled my pride. I thought, “well, I’m important to God. Of course, he needs me.”
But, no, He doesn’t. He’s perfectly content in who He is.
God, the Father – God, the Son, and God, the Holy Spirit find perfect communion in each other so…
we’re just the bonus!! 🙂
In the verses above, God is making sure we get a good picture of who He is. He is God. Creator, Sustainer, Time Keeper, Cosmic Planner…and so much more. Our existence, eternally, is intricately linked with who He is. He doesn’t need us, but we desperately need Him.
The two beautiful things about it all are these:
1. He WANTS us! He may not NEED us, but he WANTS us – so throughout of the span of eternity He reaches into our hearts and brings us to Himself. Why? Because of LOVE. Wow! We’re the icing on the cake! He already has the most delicious cake in and of himself, but we’re the bonus, the fringe (so to speak, of course).
We make Him glad.
Isaiah 52:5 states
 As a young man marries a young woman,
   so will your Builder marry you;
as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, 
   so will your God rejoice over you.
 
2. He is NEAR
We don’t have to search far away for God. He is near.
In the beginning of time, he was so close he took walks with Adam and Eve.
The Fall happened and broke that intimacy.
But Jesus came to reconnect us to our Bridegroom. The bridge between us and God. The chasm of sin no longer seperates us from the Father’s love.
Acts 17:26-28
26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’
Find comfort in this: You are loved extravagantly by a Bridegroom who is near.
Blessings,

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.

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photos above  from:

http://canadianuniversitymarketing.blogspot.com/

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

http://www.ideadrunk.com/

Have you hugged a Seeker in 2010?

Okay, for anyone who has followed this blog – or even knows anything about me – I’m a BIG fan of Seekerville.

What is Seekerville, you might ask? It’s a fabulous, funny, and encouraging site for writers and readers of good fiction. Though most of the authors write inspirational fiction, all readers are welcome to glean from the wisdom and fun of this site.

I became a Seeker-Stalker  in May of 2009 and have been helplessly and happily addicted ever since. Even had the wonderful opportunity to meet many of the Seekers at the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in September. It was one of my 2010 goals!!

So – as a tribute to some fabulous ladies of fiction, here’s a look at the 2010 Seekers Publishing list (in no particular order – except Ruthy’s ;-).

Sandra Leesmith – got the ‘Call’ to publication in July and her first novel , The Price of Victory, is set to join the world of print in Spring 2011. Woohoo!!!

Julie Lessman has had a FABULOUS year with the publication of her beautiful novel, A Hope Undaunted, and a wonderful array of awards for her writing. Awards included are #5 on Booklists Inspirational Fiction for 2010, Borders Best for 2009, and finalist for ACFW’s Book of the Year. If you’ve not read any of her previous 4 books, run to the nearest bookstore (or Sam’s) and purchase them. For a review of A Hope Undaunted follow this link.

The  news has been great for Seeker, Audra Harders, whose first novel came out with Steeple Hill, LoveInspired this month. For a sneak peek at her debut novel, Rocky Mountain Hero, follow this link. What’s happening next with the sweet Audra Harders? Hmmm, maybe she’ll let us know 😉

Along with providing helpful writing tips on her webpage, Myra Johnson’s fun novel, Romance By the Book, and beautiful story, Dogwoods in Bloom, came out through Heartsong Presents. To read a little about Romance by the Book, check out my review here.

Glynna Kaye has great news. Besides the great reviews for her debut novel, Dreaming of Home, she has a new book to release with Steeple Hill Love Inspired in February 2011. Woohoo! Congrats, Glynna, I’m looking forward to finding Second Chance Courtship in the store.

If you’re into books that alternate between life-threatening adventure, male-female banter, and belly-aching laughter – Mary Connealy is the author for you. And with her track record, you don’t have to  wait too long between books, either. 🙂 This year alone, she introduced readers to 5 new books, and had three of her previous books published in a triology. PLUS her 2011 looks very promising – with a bit of a surprise to her faithful reading audience. With three books already on the way in 2011, she’s decided to try out a new genre with a new name too. To learn more about her step outside of cowboys and petticoats, and her leap into suspense, visit www.marynealy.com. I can’t wait to find out more. (oh, she also won The Carol award at ACFW, I shouldn’t forget that 😉

Besides winning the Genesis awards at the ACFW conference and the Maggie’s Inspriational category, Pam Hillman is well on her way to joining her Seeker sisters in the world of finely printed published novels. I can’t wait to see what 2011 has to offer for her.

Cara Lynn James debut novel, Love on a Dime, graced the bookstores in 2010 and now she has TWO MORE coming out in 2011. Wow, what a fabulous start!! If you like historical romances, with vibrant characters check out Cara’s books.

Missy Tippens, with her usual sweet southern flare, ended last year with her lovely novel, A Forever Christmas, and looks forward to new newest release, A Family for Faith, coming spring 2011. I think she’s been doing a bit of book editing on the side too, isn’t that right, Missy?

Well, I’m still dancing for joy about Tina Radcliffe’s debut novel, The Rancher’s Reunion, supposedly released next month – but mine is already read and sitting on my bookshelf for all to see.  Not only that, but her second book with Steeple Hill Love Inspired is set to come out Fall 2011. Oh so happy for you, Tina!!

With a mixture of fun and suspense, Camy Tang writes a little of both. Besides keeping a very busy schedule with her Story Sensei business and coordinating the ACFW Genesis contest, Camy’s newest book, Formula for Danger, came out in September 2010. If you like edge-of-your seat fiction, you’ll want to check out her Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense novels. Learn more at her website- www.camytang.com

To stick with that Love Inspired SUSPENSE theme, Debby Guisti has enjoyed a year of GREAT news. Her novel, Protecting Her Child, won the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence and her novel, Killer Deadline, came out in February. Her new novel (and series) The Officer’s Secret, is scheduled to hit a bookstore near you in May 2011.

Let’s keep up the tension with author Cheryl Wyatt – who reached book 7 in her Wings of Refuge series this year. Book 6 – A Soldier’s Devotion– and Book 7 – Steadfast Soldier– both came out this year. Maybe she’ll catch us up on what’s happening for her in 2011?

Janet Dean writes sweet historical romances. Her novel, Substitute Bride, released in February 2010 and was a beautiful story of heartbreak and new beginnings. Her new novel, Wanted: A Family, is scheduled to release in March 2011 and sounds intriguing. Widowed mother-to-be and repairman (with his own secrets). ooooh, don’t you just want to read it? 🙂

Last – and certainly NOT least, is Ruth Logan Herne. WHAT. A. YEAR!!! I think she’s trying to keep up with Mary. All I have to say about that is…they’re both crazy. 🙂  Her year started with her debut novel, Winters End, and zoomed ahead to end with her third novel, Made to Order Family. They are such GREAT books. GREAT! And there is no end in site for the prolific lady. Besides caring for adorable kids and dogs, cooking like Martha Stewart, and creating snappy replies to anyone who will listen, 2011 looks to be another amazing writing year for her. THREE MORE BOOKS (Er…I stand corrected. Ruthy will be ringing in the New Year with FOUR new books – I forgot her Christmas book 😉 are on the way, starting with Reunited Hearts in April. Oooh, I can’t wait. Check out a review of her novel, Waiting Out the Storm, here.

Whew – WHAT A LIST!!! Are you excited to see what the new year has to offer? I sure am. With authors who love Jesus and love writing, there are going to be some very happy readers out there.

Seasons Change – Fall Into Love with Missy Tippens

I’m a southern girl. To the core.

I love southern stuff:

Sweet tea.

Gravy

Grits…

and Missy Tippens 🙂

Yep, that’s right. Love Inspired author, Missy Tippens, is visiting today. This Kentuckian-turned-Georgian likes to add some southern-sweet romance to her novels and a whole lot of second chance-stories too :-). We ALL need second chances, right?

 She couldn’t get approval for a scene from her April 2011 release, A Family for Faith, in time for this post-  so I’ll pull from my archives and give you a glimpse into her writing from a previous post 🙂

But Missy did answer our Seasons Change question. Let’s get to it 🙂

 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?
 I love when a hero or heroine is surprised to realize he or she is in love. But you have to lay the groundwork so the reader won’t be left doubting it. You can’t have them fighting and in constant conflict, then suddenly saying, “I love you.” There needs to be a gradual falling in like, a building of respect, a wishing to spend time together. Then a time where they start to see each other for who they really are–faults and all. They need to grow to care for each other through the book. They can deny it all they want–which can be fun! But we, as a reader, know they share true love. Then, finally, once the characters have grown enough in their arc to accept the love of the other person, you can show the declaration of love.

 In my upcoming book, A Family for Faith (Love Inspired April 2011), My heroine starts to realize she cares for her neighbor when she recognizes her desire for a man like him–who’s kind and honest and faithful. Of course, at that point, she fears she’s not good enough for his love, so she can’t allow herself to care.

 The hero’s realization is later in the book because he’s been grieving the death of his wife 5 years before and is scared to love again. All through the book, I have him thinking of his wife, what she would say or do if she were there. Then near the end, he realizes he’s been thinking of the heroine instead. He has finally moved on.

Here’s an excerpt from Missy’s 2009 release, A Forever Christmas. (And a festive reminder of the upcoming holiday too 🙂

Before he could stop himself, he took hold of her hand. At least he hadn’t hugged her like he wanted to do. “I’m sorry.”

She held tight. “I just can’t bear to see any child missing his mom or dad. And Peter’s parents… The regret. Just too painful for anyone to have to bear.”

Well, no wonder she’d been hounding him. At least he understood better now.

He wanted to hold her in his arms. To comfort her like he had so many times before. But he couldn’t. It wasn’t his place now.

Gregory turned off the truck. “Come on. I’ll walk you to the door.”

She seemed disappointed. “Okay.”

When they reached the front door, he couldn’t help glancing in the direction of her upstairs bedroom window. Where years ago, he tossed rocks to get her to sneak out to meet him. Which, of course, reminded him that her parents never approved of him.

Never would, either.

Then why do I want to get closer to her? To breathe in her fragrance? To remember holding her close? To remember kissing her?

To remember all the big dreams I had when I was with her?

Before he knew it, he had moved closer. He took hold of her hand again. “You know, I should thank you for spending time with Hunter and Chase. They seemed to have a good time. Seemed happy.”

“I had fun, too.”

Frustration. Gratitude. Attraction. They all warred, yanking his thoughts all over the place.

But one thought dominated.

He wanted more. More than the touch of her hand. He wanted to look into her eyes and see that she cared. He wanted to know if she felt anything for him now.

His gaze slid from her eyes to her lips…

He took a step back to fight the temptation. He couldn’t look at her right now—too many emotions swirling around. So instead, he let go of her hand and looked up the length of the big white columns, took in the expensive furniture on the porch, to remind himself whose house he stood in front of. Then he nodded. “Good night.”

She started to unlock the door, then turned quickly, nearly running into him. “Oh, wait. The craft stuff.”

He had to get out of there before he did something stupid. “I’ll get it later.”

He hurried to the truck. As he started the engine, he noticed a shadowy figure standing at the side of the house. Just outside Winston’s home office.

Even with the sun setting, and the shadows on that side of the house, he could tell it was him.

How long had he been there? How much had he seen or heard?

His stance—legs spread wide, arms crossed in front of him, his head following Gregory’s truck as he backed out—said everything. Stay away from my daughter.

Apparently, Winston expected that the agreement was still in effect.

No threat was needed. If Gregory wanted to keep his shameful past a secret, he needed to stay away.

 Copyright © 2009 by Melissa L. Tippens

Permission

Thanks so much for the visit, Missy. And I’m so excited about your next release. What a blessing it was to meet you in Indy! You hang with a great crew over at Seekerville.

Inspirational Moment:

Psalm 103:1-3

1-2 O my soul, bless God. From head to toe, I’ll bless his holy name!
   O my soul, bless God,
      don’t forget a single blessing!

 3-5 He forgives your sins—every one.
      He heals your diseases—every one.
      He redeems you from hell—saves your life!
      He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown.
      He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal.
      He renews your youth—you’re always young in his presence.

All the things our broken lives crave are found in Jesus. Look at the list. Forgiveness, healing, redemption, love, mercy, goodness, and the vibrance & beauty of youth. He takes the embittered, broken, evil, hateful, merciless, heartless, and dead souls within us and breaths His life into us. We are reborn. Renewed.

What was old has passed away – and we are now covered in the glory of Christ. We start over, because He’s made the way.

Seasons Change- Fall Into Love with… your hostess :-)

As you guys know, it’s the last week of Seasons Change – Fall Into Love series. My hope is that the wonderful Missy Tippens will have her excerpt ready for us by Friday – we’re still waiting on a few of the logistics about approval and all that- but in the meantime, I’m going to share an excerpt from my wip.

It’s so much easier to ask other people my questions, instead of having to reflect on them myself. I guess that’s why I always add my excerpts at the ends of my series, so I can glean from all the brilliant writers who answered before me J

As a gift for one lucky commenter today, I’m giving away Sharon Gillenwater’s newest novel, Emily’s Chance. So make sure to leave a comment about your favorite movie that shows the hero/heroine recognizing a growing love between them.

What are some elements that are present when a hero and heroine first realize they are falling in love with each other?

I love the moments when the attraction comes as a surprise to one or both characters. There are so many great ways to watch ‘romance’ happen between two characters. The hostile-attraction – like Darcy/Elizabeth or Just Like Heaven ; the slow-growing attraction – like Anne Shirley and Gilbert; the sweet attraction – like My Big Fat Greek Wedding; the forbidden attraction – Jane Eyre or Romeo & Juliet; and the timid attraction/or fear of falling – Persuasion.

I like to watch all of them unfold – especially if the tension or conflict is high.

So, here are two excerpts from two of my wips:

The first is from my Speculative Fiction (hostile-attraction) 🙂 Heartless:

Sophia stumbled forward, the foliage a tangled barrier of vines and bush, pinching her palms as she pushed through them.  A clearing opened up among the trees, filled with angle high grass, twigs, and three bodies. Two lay splintered with wood and Ethan bent over the third. He spoke with his back to her, hands resting on the head of, what appeared to be, a teenage boy.

“Have trouble finding your way?”

                Maybe she should do herself a favor and kill him now. He kept provoking her.

                He turned then and his gaze locked with hers for a brief moment before he shot to his feet. “What happened?”

His aqua eyes scanned her face, her body, focused concern so intense she lost her train of thought.  Raw emotion, pure and uncovered, exuded from him as evident as the twin trail of blood from the teen’s neck.  She fought the connection, the offering, and looked down at the boy.

Ethan stepped nearer. “You’re bleeding.”

It took a moment for his words to register. She followed his darkening gaze with her hand to her forehead, finger gliding from her wet hair to a sticky substance. Her lips closed around a wince. “You left your partner behind.”

Ethan’s brows shot heavenward, and then, with the ease of a sunrise, his lips tilted slightly. “Partner, is it?”

Sophia pushed past him and knelt beside the boy. “I obey orders.” She tossed a grin over her shoulder, but not the nice kind. “That’s why you’re still alive.”

This second excerpt is from my contemporary romance, A Twist of Faith, set in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mtns

He checked over his shoulder to see if Doc was still following. Nope, she stood stone still at the bottom of the porch steps with Haus sniffing at her heels. Their gazes locked. He offered a smile. She grimaced. Seemed ‘bout right.

“That’s Haus, my grandpa’s hound.”

Reece adjusted the keys in the door and clicked it open.

“Where does he live?”

“Here.” Reece turned to her and leaned against the doorframe. “We ain’t been able to get him to understand that grandpa’s dead. So he hangs around here and someone usually stops by once a day to check on him. There’s no better dog in all of Virginia.”

“Wh…what’s he doing?”

Reece cocked his head and studied the old dog. “Well, he must like you. He’s smilin’ at ya.”

Doc visibly shuddered. “Smiling? Is that what you call it?”

Reece looked from Dee to Haus. How else could he describe it? The dog was smilin’. Hadn’t the woman every seen a smilin’ dog before?

Doc shrugged past Reece, her attention so focused on Haus, she stumbled over Reece’s foot. In one fluid motion, he steadied her in his arms. Her hands gripped his shoulders and momentum pushed her forward until her nose grazed his chin, fanning warm breath down his neck. Explosions erupted in his stomach, and if she hadn’t pushed him away so fast, he’d have beaten her to it. He had to get out of there. Quick.

“I’m not much of a dog person.”

Reece backed out the door, half falling, and hoped for an easy grin. “That’s alright. He don’t mind none.” The threshold of the door stood between them like a visible wall, but it couldn’t hide the faint bloom of color in her face. Ignore it. It didn’t make her look that much more attractive.  He cleared his throat and nodded toward the staircase inside. “There are two bedrooms upstairs and a ladder  to the attic. Not much room for storage up there, cause it’s full of old stuff of my grandparents Mom ain’t gotten around to piddlin’ through yet.”

He had to look passed her to point toward the study, and caught her gaze fastened on him again, for a minute, till she quickly turned away. His words almost got stuck in his throat. She did have pretty eyes.

Hope you enjoyed today. Don’t forget to leave a comment for your chance to win Sharon Gillenwater’s latest release.

Blessings,