Heartache in a Fur Coat

Leo, FurBaby Extraordinaire. My Muse

Many of you who know me know about my fur-baby, Leo, whom I was blessed with about six months ago. Instant love. This furry little worm dug his way into my heart and set up housekeeping. We have shared lots of hours cuddling, playing, cherishing.

Three days ago, crisis hit. Leo began acting strange, aloof and unwilling to cuddle. His appetite waned. Then he stopped eating altogether.

My vet saw him yesterday and diagnosed him with an infected liver, possibly also gallbladder and pancreas. Chills ran from the top of my head down. Too much of a coincidence.

Leo lives a very, VERY sheltered life. Indoors, monitored constantly, either in my lap or snuggled in a protected bed in my air-conditioned office.

In February, my husband nearly died of an infected gallbladder. Just this month, his brother fell ill suddenly: infected pancreas, gallbladder, and liver. Unfortunately, Bradley did not survive.

I’d like to blame it on the water, but Bradley lived in Florida, over 1000 miles away. We haven’t been together in over three years.

So what is this? Some weird karma thing? A fluke? Somebody put a curse on me and my family?

I’m going to put it down to some, strange synchronicity that we don’t yet understand. My husband survived his illness (thank God). It’s very sad that his brother did not. I hope and pray my precious fur-baby gets through this crisis.

Reaching out to friends, fans, and family for positive thoughts and prayers. Leo has become my muse. I’m not sure what I would do without him.

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Exploring German Culture

One of my favorite tasks in writing a new book is the background research. In my current work-in-progress, TimePeace, my hero is from Germany, freshly immigrated only three years ago. My heroine is an all-American, Boston-born girl of Irish descent. One of the many conflicts between the characters stem from their cultural differences.

In performing my research, I had not only the Internet (which one cannot always trust), but also a sister-in-law who lived in Germany for eight years. She has numerous friends there still and has been my go-to person to fact-check.

Plainly put, I’ve been bugging the hell of her.

Some of the interesting things I’ve learned, though, have been easy to weave into my story to pump up the conflict. Here are only a few:

1. Germans stare. They aren’t big on small talk, but can stare at you unabashedly when they have nothing important to say. To a German’s way of thinking, Americans are too loud and talk too much.

2. Dogs are welcome everywhere, including restaurants. No special assistance-dog permits needed there.

3. Going Dutch is the German way. If you dine out, expect to pay your own way–even on a date.

4. Over-the counter medicine is not readily available in Germany–even aspirin. If you go into an apotheke you must speak with a pharmacist (in German, of course) to secure whatever medication you need. This service comes at no cost.

5. The German word for “guilt” is the same as for “debt” – schuld. Credit cards are not widely accepted, but debit cards are.

These cultural tidbits will help make my hero, Tomas Heissler, not only more interesting for heroine Kim Gallagher, but more challenging as well!

Coming late September: TimePeace.

Visit my website to see more about my books and the latest Haunted Voices novel, ELECTRICITY.

I’ve Been Bitch-Slapped

Yes, it’s true. She didn’t mean it, I’m sure. But multi-published, award-winning author and artist Lisa Shea bitch-slapped me today. In a good way.

I was perusing my fellow New Englander’s website (one of her many) and when these words crossed my vision, I literally rocked back in my chair.

Unfortunately, I cannot locate the link tonight. But what she basically said was (this is NOT a direct quote, I cannot find the link), “If your characters are all Caucasian, middle-class, and heterosexual, you are going to be alienating a huge majority of your readers. I live near Boston, and that world, unless it’s a fantasy one, will definitely include minorities, gays, and the homeless. If not, it’s not realistic. If you don’t depict these in your book, you’re alienating readers.”

Wow. I’ve just been bitch-slapped. She had described the characters (well, most of them) in my books. Not by intention. By ignorance, I guess. I’m one of those Caucasian, middle-class, heterosexuals who, although I hold absolutely no discrimination against other classes, races, sexual orientation…well…ignorance.

That’s my only excuse.

Bad on me.

It’s gonna change. You have my word on it.

Congratulations, Marian Lanouette! Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence Finalist

The Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence is an RWA-sanctioned competition to recognize outstanding achievements in the mystery & suspense genres. This year, my fellow “sister” from the Sisterhood of Suspense, Marian Lanouette, made the finals with her Jake Carrington Thriller, All the Pretty Brides.

Praise for Marian Lanouette’s Jake Carrington Thrillers

ALL THE PRETTY BRIDES
“Tense and authentic—a suspenseful page-turner!”

Leo J. Maloney, bestselling author of the Dan Morgan thriller series

ALL THE DEADLY LIES

“All the Deadly Lies is a rawly rendered thriller that toes the line between feisty and fierce without ever losing its underlying sense of fun.”

Criminal Element

Blurb (back cover)

Homicide detective Jake Carrington has an engagement that can’t wait—with a killer. 
 
Haunted by the murder of his sister, Lieutenant Jake Carrington struggles to control his personal demons as he stands over the brutalized body of a young woman found dead on the railroad tracks. The victim disappeared on July 6th, the fifth woman in as many years to go missing on that date. The fifth happy bride-to-be. The only one whose body has turned up. 
 
Soon the killer is sending personal messages to Jake. They refer to an unidentified brother he believes Jake hates as much as he does. With his partner distracted by turmoil at home, Jake is on his own. Drawn deeper and deeper into a murderous family feud, his mission is to find out who the killer’s brother is—and stop him before another innocent woman’s life is cut tragically short. 

You can find All the Pretty Brides HERE for Kindle and in paperback.

Congratulations, Marian! I’m raising a glass to your luck in the final round!

The Stepford Stepmother

For the past forty years, I have been in the somewhat unique (perhaps) position of being a stepmother to several generations of boys. My oldest stepson is only four years younger than I am. There are three more, ranging in age from there…..to, well….let’s put it this way. My youngest stepson was two years old when I married his dad. That was forty years ago.

Talk about a slippery slope. I’ve felt, over the years, that I’ve been walking a tightrope between two high-rise buildings. I could never be the best stepmother–whatever that means–to these boys. The years skidded by, and when their father suffered a life-threatening illness these past few months, of course, I was lax in keeping the family informed.

I have failed. I admit that. But this past weekend on Mother’s Day, I got a message from one of my “other” sons that I hope they carve into my headstone. Here is what he said:

” I don’t know if you realize how I’ve always felt about you. From day one you always treated me as your own, cutting my hair, great Sunday breakfasts, introducing me to great music like Rush ( I will never forget you tickling Susie to the beat of the bells in ” Closer to the heart” ) , & I don’t remember you ever yelling at me. It’s tough being a step parent ( I hate that term ) but I want you to know you were a blue print for me when I got in that role. I love you & enjoy your day :-)”

This from a man who was but a boy when I barged into his life, sweeping his father away from him. I can’t tell you, Todd, how much your words mean to me. And always will.

Yet now, here I am, still making mistakes. Just last night, I stumbled on my own words with my own son. One of my stepsons is expecting a child with his significant other. I couldn’t be happier! But my antiquated, old-school memory didn’t record such things as they are.

“So, they’re getting married? When?”

“No, Mom. They’re having a child together, though. How could you not get this right?”

I didn’t. Sorry. Crucify me. I got it wrong.

“Oh. I get it,” my son said. “It’s not important because he’s not YOUR son.”

No, no, no. How can I ever explain this? How can I ever be exonerated from the guilt?

Life gets crazy sometimes. And complicated. Oh, how complicated.

Their father–ALL of their fathers–has suffered a life-threatening illness recently. Only in the past weeks has it become real to me that I will not be a widow this year.

THANK GOD.

Family, sons of my beloved, please forgive me my shortcomings. I never meant to make you feel less important. But I can only bear so much and still keep everything straight. I can only be the bearer of so much uncertainty, so much worry, so much pain and not lose my sanity.

I love you all. You may not be of my blood, but you all carry a big part of my heart–the biggest part–within you. I’m sorry if I don’t express the love I feel for you the way I should.

Without that, without family, there’s no point in my living.

#MFRWAuthor – The Home Stretch – Electricity is Nearing Completion! #MFRWhooks


After months–hell, it’s been over a year since I last released a novel–ELECTRICITY is coming down the home stretch. These last 25,000 words have been literally bleeding out of my fingertips onto the keyboard. What a great feeling to have gotten back my author mojo!

Since I still like to take breaks about every 5000 words or so, I’ve gotten busy designing my cover (sneak preview coming soon!), writing my blurb, and searching for the elements of a book trailer. I’m THAT CLOSE.

I’m shooting for a release date of June 8th–that’s my grandson’s birthday, and I always release a book on a special day 🙂

In the meantime, stay tuned for news of a box-set–yes, you heard me right. Haunted Voices Vol. I will be a box set of all three of the previous novels in this series (One related by genre only. They are not sequential and can read in any order). That would be HEARTS UNLOCHED, SPIRITS OF THE HEART, AND CIVIL HEARTS, all together in box set.

Check out all my books on Amazonhttp://www.emotionalcontemporaryromance.com
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New Release by Amber Daulton: Lyrical Embrace

Today I’m pleased to welcome romantic suspense author, Amber Daulton, to my blog to give us a sneak peek at her new release, Lyrical Embrace. This is Book 4 in the Deerbourne Inn Series, and I can’t wait to learn more about it!

Lyrical Embrace

Out-of-work violinist Erica Timberly decides enough is enough. She leaves her abusive boyfriend and flees the big city, but then her car breaks down in the middle of the night. Though wary of men, she accepts help from Dylan Haynes, a stranger driving by on the road, and soon recognizes him as the sexy former drummer of her favorite indie rock band. Maybe, just maybe, her run of bad luck is finally turning around.

Music teacher Dylan Haynes knows Erica is in trouble, and her black eye is only the first clue. The stubborn yet vulnerable woman needs a friend, but he’s determined to give her everything she deserves.

Will Erica listen to the music in her heart and trust Dylan, or will her past always threaten her future?

~~~

Read more about Lyrical Embrace on Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43225610-lyrical-embrace

 Buy Links

Amazon – https://amzn.to/2ChIhNT

Barnes and Noble – https://bit.ly/2ChIhgR

iTunes – https://apple.co/2M3T9mW

Kobo – TBA

Google Play – TBA

The Wild Rose Press store – https://bit.ly/2AIkSFk

Books2Read – http://books2read.com/u/m0MYaV

And now, a little more about Amber!

Amber Daulton

Amber Daulton is the author of the romantic-suspense series Arresting Onyx and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through The Wild Rose Press and Books to Go Now, and are available in ebook, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats.

Amber lives in North Carolina with her husband and four demanding cats. Feel free to visit her at http://www.amberdaultonauthor.blogspot.com.

Social Media Links

Facebook Author Page – www.facebook.com/amber.daulton.author

Twitter – https://twitter.com/AmberDaulton1

Pinterest – http://pinterest.com/amberdaulton5/

Goodreads – www.goodreads.com/author/show/6624921.Amber_Daulton

Amazon Author Page – http://amzn.to/14JoZff

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/amberdaultonauthor/

Book Bub – https://www.bookbub.com/profile/amber-daulton

Book Gorilla – https://www.bookgorilla.com/author/B00ALQITWY/amber-daulton/kcc

Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/amberdaulton

LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com/pub/amber-daulton/87/538/368

Google Plus – https://plus.google.com/u/0/+AmberDaulton

The Wild Rose Press – https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/2362_amber-daulton

As a special treat, Amber has shared an excerpt. Enjoy!

Erica leaned up and combed her fingers through her hair. “I’ve never made love outside before. It’s a surreal experience.”

“We can do it wherever you want. In an elevator, in an alley, in my car. I’m game anywhere and everywhere for as long as you want me.”

“I want you so much it hurts.”

Dylan thumbed her knuckles and hoped she meant that. “I don’t know how you feel about labels, but I haven’t had a girlfriend in years. I’ve just had flings, but I want more than that with you. I want us to be with each other and no one else. I want a relationship with you.”

Tears welled in her eyes. “I feel divided in two. A part of me thinks we’re moving too fast, but another part says to jump in with both feet. I want something real with you too. I don’t want to feel dirty after we fool around. Just make me happy. Will you do that, Dylan?”

Her soft, pain-filled words struck Dylan like a dagger in his gut, and he bit the insides of his cheeks to steady his features.

Her ex-boyfriend had probably called her names and degraded her after they would find release in each other’s body, and the bastard likely never cared if she reached climax at all.

“I understand, Erica. I promise to treat you with nothing but respect, and I will do my very best to make you happy. I swear you will always scream your head off in pleasure every time I touch you. I’m not the sort of man to get my jollies off and leave my girl hanging.”

Her lips twitched up in a grin. “That’s good to hear.”

“So are you my girl?”

“Yeah, I’m your girl.” Erica giggled and tapped her fingers on his chest. “How could I not be? You make a very compelling argument, but I will have to hold you to it. I’m definitely looking forward to screaming every time you touch me.”

“Let’s rest, and then we’ll play again. The night’s early, and I’ve only just begun.”

~~~

Thank you for being my guest today, Amber, and best of luck with this very exciting love story!

 

 

 

#BookReview – Between Sisters by Kristin Hannah

BetweenSisters
Meghann and Claire are sisters – well, half-sisters, more or less abandoned by their fame-seeking actress mother when they were just kids. When the food ran out and Meghann, the older, feared “the system” would come in and take them away, she calls Claire’s father. Turns out poor Sam didn’t even know their mother was pregnant when they split years ago. But Sam takes them both in, even though nobody knows who Meghann’s father is.

The arrangement doesn’t last long, because Meghann feels like an outsider, is jealous that Claire has a “real dad,” and is a rebellious teen. She leaves her sister and strikes out on her own. Now, twenty-five years later, the two rarely speak. Claire doesn’t understand what she did to make Meghann leave, and Meghann can’t face the guilt that haunts her to this day.

An eloquently written family saga, “Between Sisters” touches on issues many families deal with, but few like to talk about. The self-centered mother who cares less about her children than her own career and fame; the adult older sister who, having been burned by family and love, cynically wonders why her life is so empty. The younger sister who, an unwed mother, has struggled to be a better mother to her daughter than their own mother was for them. Poignant stuff, well-written.

The shortcoming of this novel lies in the extremes that border on the cliche and unrealistic. Ellie, the girl’s mom, is a cartoon character with a fake Southern accent and outrageous behavior that’s way over the top. Claire’s meeting of her soulmate – a true “love at first sight moment” – in a country bar also stretches the limits of believable. The story, however, is engrossing and once Ms. Hannah gets the reader’s heart on board, she doesn’t let go.

I listened to the Audible version of this book and was very impressed with the talent of the narrator to differentiate character voices and instill emotion into the narration. Great job!