Friday Fictioneers: HEART ON FIRE

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

Heart On Fire

A spark of interest started it. Your presence warmed my heart, quickened its beat. Now you consume my mind. I’m utterly helpless, and you’re entirely cold.

It’s embarrassing, if I’m honest. Like everyone’s just watching as I go down in flames. Except you. You don’t even look my way.

I’m done with this. Calling in reinforcements. They’ve been through this before. Know how to put a fire out.

But wait. A flicker of light. Could it be?

Go home, everyone.

I’ll burn to the ground if only for a welcome glance, an open door, a moment in your good graces.


Friday Fictioneers (n): A world-wide community of writers addicted to writing 100 word stories based on a photo prompt provided by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. 

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Excerpt and Giveaway: DANGEROUS LOVE by Kara Leigh Miller and Jody Holford

Dangerous Love banner

Anaiah Press proudly presents
DANGEROUS LOVE by Kara Leigh Miller and Jody Holford
a romantic suspense novel available on April 14!

He’s fighting to forget his past while she struggles to remember hers…
Doctor Josh Parker lives with guilt about his wife’s death every day.
He believes himself incapable of ever loving again, but when a mysterious woman arrives in the Emergency Room, brutally beaten and left for dead, he starts to feel something he hasn’t felt in far too long: hope.
Alessandra Matthews has no memory of the events that led to her being hospitalized. Worse, she has no idea who hurt her or why. Although she’s uncertain of who she is, she is fully aware of one thing—she’s falling for her doctor.
Sometimes, what you don’t know can kill you…
As Josh and Alessa work to solve the mystery surrounding her past, she soon realizes just how much danger she’s really in, but Josh refuses to let her face the darkness of her memories alone. With each of them struggling to put their pasts behind them, theirs is a DANGEROUS LOVE.
Get your own copy of DANGEROUS LOVE by Kara Leigh Miller and Jody Holford:

About the Authors:
Kara Leigh Miller

Kara Leigh Miller
Kara lives in Upstate New York with her husband, three kids, three dogs, and three cats. When she’s not busy writing romance novels that leave readers swooning, she’s spending time with her family or attending one of her many writers groups. An active member of The Romance Writers of America and the CNY Writers Haven, Kara is also Managing Editor for Anaiah Press’ Surge and Romance Imprints. She absolutely loves to hear from her fans and fellow authors, so feel free to drop her a line anytime!
Website     Twitter      Goodreads     Facebook
Jody Holford

Jody Holford
Jody lives in British Columbia with her husband and two daughters. She is a fan of Nora Roberts, Jill Shalvis, Rachel Gibson, and Rainbow Rowell. In reading and writing, she likes characters who are flawed, but driven toward the pursuit of love and happiness. In November 2013, she published A Not So Lonely Christmas with Foreward Literary. In December 2014, she published Forever Christmas through Kindle Direct.
Website     Twitter      Goodreads     Facebook


Book excerpt:

The long, drawn out beep of the heart monitor silenced the room. “Call it,” Dr. Parker said, his voice strained and low with defeat.

“Time of death, eleven twenty-four p.m.” Nurse Renee pulled the sheet over the patient’s head.

Dr. Parker walked out of the room. Once in the hallway, he leaned against the wall and lowered his head. Losing a patient sucked, but knowing he had to go tell a waiting room full of friends and family that their loved one was dead made it much harder. He rubbed his hands over his face and blew out a long breath. The smell of antiseptic and blood still permeated his senses.

“You did everything you could, Josh,” Renee said, joining him in the hallway and patting him on the back.

“Thanks.” He smiled weakly. “I’m going to go tell the family.” Dr. Parker headed down the hall toward the bank of elevators, the sound of his dress shoes clapping the linoleum. He hated this part of his job. Working in the ER was good to keep his mind busy, but it was taking its toll. It was physically and emotionally exhausting. Not to mention, it always seemed when he was on duty, there was at least one death. He couldn’t handle much more.

Josh pushed the down button and waited for the elevator to arrive. The idea of opening his own practice was becoming more and more appealing. The doors slid open,
and he stepped inside, forcing himself to breathe deeply. Pushing the button for the lobby, he made a decision to take a short break and grab some coffee, maybe a sandwich from the deli across the street.

The elevator dinged, the doors slid open, and because he had no other choice, he stepped out. As soon as he came into view, the boy’s parents stood. The patient was a twenty-year-old college student who’d been out partying with his friends, drinking, and was in a car accident that left two of his friends in critical condition and him dead. It was such a senseless waste of life and a prime example of why drinking and driving, in any amount, is harmful.

“Doctor, how is our son?” the mom asked.

Josh’s stomach lurched, making the words catch in his throat for a moment. “I’m sorry, Mr. and Mrs. Sutton, but Jackson didn’t make it. There was a lot of internal bleeding. We did everything we could.” Mrs. Sutton shook her head, denying what Josh said. Her husband’s face crumpled as he reached for his wife, pulling her into his arms. She let herself fall into him, and Josh looked away in an effort to give them some privacy. After a few moments, Josh said, “I’m very sorry for your loss. The hospital has grief counselors on staff if you’d like to meet with one of them.” His words did nothing to ease their pain, and he knew it. He knew firsthand just how empty they were, how daft and cold they sounded, but they were protocol.

With a sad nod, Josh left the family to grieve. He needed some air that didn’t taste like the hospital. Stopping at the nurses’ station, he said, “Renee, I’m going to go out for a bit. Page me if you need me.”

She looked up from the chart she read and gave him a weak smile. Concern shone from her dark, quiet eyes. She knew him well, had worked beside him many times.

“You look tired. Try to sneak in a nap.”

“Thanks.” He smiled, but there was no emotion behind it. He often wondered if he had the ability to feel emotions anymore. Ever since Laura . . . He shook her name from his mind. Thinking of her would only bring his mood down even more than it already was.

He stepped out into the cool, evening air and took a deep breath, letting his eyes close momentarily. His stomach had been in knots all night, and he didn’t know why. There was a sense of unease, restlessness coursing through his body. It was wreaking havoc on his ability to concentrate, and he couldn’t help but wonder if his lack of concentration led to a mistake in the ER—a mistake that had cost that boy his life.

“I did everything I could,” he muttered to himself, not finding any solace in the words. Josh took several steps toward the road, toward the deli when his beeper went off. “Shoot.” He jogged back inside and met the EMTs as they wheeled a stretcher into the ER. “What do we got?” he asked.

“Young woman, early thirties, beaten unconscious, trauma to the head, stomach, and chest,” the EMT ticked off the woman’s injuries. “Possible broken ribs, too. Breathing is shallow.”

Josh pulled a tiny flashlight from his pocket and checked her eyes. They were reacting to light. That was a good sign. Unhooking his stethoscope from around his neck, he checked her heart. Slow, but steady. “Do we know her name?”

“Alessandra Mathews.”

“Okay, Alessandra,” Josh said in a soft voice. “My name is Dr. Parker. You’re at Metro General Hospital. Can you hear me?”

On the stretcher, she groaned in pain. Tears fell from her bruised and swollen eyes. Dried blood coated her face. Dear God, she looked horrible, so scared and weak.

“We’re going to take care of you now. You’re safe.” Josh put his hand on her shoulder in an attempt to soothe her. It unsettled him to see this woman so shaken, perhaps more than it should. He kept his hand light on her but with enough pressure for her to register that he was there, that she wasn’t alone. “Okay, let’s get her into room four. Renee,” he motioned for her to follow, “we need to get her into a gown and cleaned up.”

At the count of three, the EMTs lifted her from the stretcher and onto the bed. Josh went about checking her from head to toe. There were several deep lacerations on her face and neck that would require stitches. There were also defensive wounds on her hands and arms. Who would do this to her? And why? The depravity of mankind would never cease to disgust him.

“Laceration above her left eye needs sutures. Abrasions on her lips, along her jaw, on her cheek.” Josh lifted her eyelids, checking her pupils against the light again. “Possible concussion.” He moved down her body, inspecting for further injury. “Ribs don’t appear to be broken, but we’ll need an X-ray to be sure.”

Renee efficiently scribbled each one of them down, nodding to confirm she’d heard and noted them.

“A rape kit will need to be done.” He hated having to even think that let alone say it, but in this type of situation, it was a bleak reality. “And get a tech up here with a portable X-ray, STAT.”

He would not lose another patient tonight. He couldn’t.

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Book Marketing Can Be Fun!—Right?—Maybe?

Today on the blog, Linh Nguyen-Ng, author of the newly released picture book MOMMY’S LITTLE WORDLINGS, talks marketing. Be sure to scroll down for information on Linh’s work and a Rafflecopter giveaway. Thanks, Linh, for stopping by!

Author Pic_Nguyenng_32315

Writing a complete book deserves celebration. Getting a book published is even more special. The publishing industry is complex. The process involves so many different people before the finished book is in your hands. (So, thank you to everyone at Anaiah Press!)

Even after the book’s birth, there are still important things to do. One of those things is the book marketing.  Book marketing can be fun, at least for me it is.

My book marketing plan started when I first finished the book. I had all these ideas planned—ideas that would take some time to accomplish. But sometimes due to deadlines and other circumstances that emerge, you have to narrow down to what is the most efficient and cost-effective way to promote your book.

Here is what I’m doing:

Bookmarks

I created the front cover of my bookmarks with similar artwork from my book cover. On the back side, I left it simple, just my contact information, a small artwork and some space for a signature. For those who do not want to sketch or don’t have time, you can get a JPG or PDF image of your cover to use for your bookmark. I don’t think you need to go overboard. Less is more, right?

What do you do with these awesome bookmarks that you just spent your life savings on?

  1. You give them away! Hahaha!—at book signings, at conferences, at libraries, hair salons, etc.
  2. Make sure you sign everything. (That’s what I was told.)
  3. People love bookmarks. Not only are they like book/author IDs, they’re also functional.

Postcards

I created postcards that reflected my book in some way. I designed an image similar to my book cover on the front. On the back is my contact information.  I left enough space for the address and a personalized message to whomever. (The postcard looks similar to my bookmark.)

Where do you send the postcards to?

  1. Independent bookstores that are around your region. Let them know your book is releasing and that you would be honored if they would consider your book for their stores.
  2. Schools, but make sure you have a contact name on it and not just the general school address. Otherwise it might be considered junk mail and end up in the trash.
  3. Any other organizations that might care about your book.

Giveaways

This was fun for me. I designed a cute image that I’m screen printing on T-shirts as giveaways. They can get expensive, so make sure you do your research on prices.

I wanted the T-shirts because my family/friends and the winners of the giveaways will be my adorable walking billboards. (Or you can choose to look adorable wearing it to bed.)

I heard swag bags are good. Add your swag and author friends’ swag into the bag. This way, you get to promote your book but also help out other authors too. If I have time, I will definitely do this.

Where will I be posting these giveaways? Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and on my website.

Swag Tips:

Do not overspend. You’ll be tempted, but I suggest if you need more stuff, buy it later.

Most importantly, have fun! Marketing is supposed to be fun!

Bloggers, Thank you!

I want to say THANK YOU to all the Bloggers who are spotlighting me and my book.

Bloggers will always be your best source of pre-launch promotion and even after it launches.

Bloggers do what they do for FREE, for the love of books, and when one loves your book, they will champion it with their whole hearts.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for the opportunity.

MLW_Bookcover_Front

Mommy’s Little Wordlings by Linh Nguyen-Ng

Adventures, Anaiah Press

Little words hold big meanings. The Little Wordlings are children who use their simple words to express their feelings for loved ones. No one is more adored than the first person who made them smile. No one is more cherished than the person who gave them life. There is no one like Mommy. Join the Little Wordlings as they show Mommy how much she is appreciated and loved.

Release Date: April 7, 2015

Book Links

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25221646-mommy-s-little-wordlings?from_search=true

Buy Links: 

Amazon: http://amzn.com/0990556247

Rafflecopter code (US entries only):

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Author Bio:

I live with my family in Massachusetts where I get to enjoy the four seasons. I love unique and interesting things—things that make a lasting impression. I am constantly looking for inspiration that I can use in my writing. Everything has a story to tell.

Website: http://www.linhnguyenng.com

Twitter: @linhnguyenng

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/lnguyenng

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/29730214-linh-nguyen-ng

Google: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/29730214-linh-nguyen-ng

Good Friday and the Last Enemy

The following post may be familiar to some, but I’m taking this Good Friday easy… and it all applies as much as it ever did. May you rejoice this Easter weekend, whether with laughing jubilation or tearful trembling.

Good Friday typically does not top the list of favorite holidays, probably because it’s not really human nature to celebrate Death with warm fuzzies and marshmallow fluff.  Deep down, I think we all pretty much despise Death.  I sure do.  Yes, because of Christ’s death and resurrection, we have the hope of eternal life in heaven when we die, but until then…

Until then, Death steals from us without remorse.  Though defeated, Death lashes out, like a dying despot trying to destroy as many in his demise as in his reign.  Death takes ones we love and leaves us swimming through a flood of emotions ranging from horror to anger to fear to emptiness and finally to surrender.  A shadow of sorrow remains, even as Life brings new joys to celebrate.  So when Good Friday comes around, and I think about Christ’s death on the cross, a bit of my soul rejoices in the knowledge that someone, namely Jesus Christ, took on Death.  And won.  While it may not be entirely reverent, I picture myself on the sidelines of an epic boxing match, shouting, “Yes!  You’re going DOWN, Death!”

And then comes Easter, with pastels and bunny rabbits, pretty clothes and special music.  The meaning of Easter sometimes seems a bit hidden under all that clutter, but it is a beautiful day no less.  Easter is that day when we learn Good Friday worked.  Jesus won.  We win.  Easter is a day of rejoicing.

For some though, rejoicing may not take the expected form.  Rejoicing may not be a jubilant laugh bursting forth from a glad heart, but a choking cry, wrenching its way from the deepest recesses of a broken heart, for whom Christ’s death and resurrection are not only one’s greatest hope, but one’s only hope, the fine thread keeping one’s nose above the flood of grief, sorrow, and agony.  For those acutely suffering Death’s dying sting, rejoicing is more gritty, more desperate than a pretty pastel Easter morning.

But this sort of rejoicing is just as beautiful as glad faces raised toward Heaven. The Newsboys have this song, “He Reigns.” I like the entire song, but the last verse especially stands out:

And all the powers of darkness

Tremble at what they’ve just heard

‘Cause all the powers of darkness

Can’t drown out a single word

When all God’s children sing out 

Glory, glory, hallelujah

He reigns, He reigns

All God’s people singing Glory, glory, hallelujah

He reigns, He reigns.

All God’s children sing out “Glory, glory.  Hallelujah.  He reigns.”  Whether in jubilation or desperation, this song silences the powers of darkness.  It rises above the dying shriek of Death to give glory to Him who defeated Death once for all.  I guess the point I want to make today – besides expressing appreciation for the raw wonder of the cross – is that whether your heart is moved by the softer side of Easter or stinging from the agony of Death, whether you feel more attuned to Easter or to Good Friday, you have a part in the worldwide choir of God’s children.  Don’t wait till Sunday to sing, and when you sing, sing nothing but the song He’s planted in your heart, however much it hurts.

Friday Fictioneers: THE PROPER STEPS

Lauren Moscato

PHOTO PROMPT © Lauren Moscato

The Proper Steps

Maybe we didn’t take the proper steps, but what are the bricks and mortar of tradition when love gives you wings? That’s what you said when you picked me up in your old blue pickup.

I told you I’d be gone in the morning. Gone like all my girlhood dreams. Gone and never coming back.

I didn’t count on falling asleep first. I didn’t count on you tearing down the steps.

You’re a fool, you know. Never take the proper steps. Now you’ve taken the steps clean away, and you’re standing there with the same smile that gave me wings.


Friday Fictioneers (n): A world-wide community of writers addicted to writing 100 word stories based on a photo prompt provided by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. 

Read or Join here:

Why Fantasy?

While my little novel is making the rounds on its blog tour, I thought I’d take a few moments to share why I write Fantasy, of all genres.

  1. The weird looks. Seriously. Tell someone you write fantasy. People don’t always know what to do with that, especially if you look like a generally respectable human being. There’s nothing wrong with dressing up for the Renaissance Faire, mind you, and if I were a more outgoing girl who wasn’t married to her jeans and black tee shirt collection, I might do so. As it is, I feel like sometimes I ought to assure people, just so they don’t spend the rest of their lives wondering, that though I write fantasy, I’ve never even tried on a corset, nor do I have a medieval sword collection hidden somewhere in my house. Although, to be fair, there may be a magic portal we haven’t discovered yet.
  2. The creativity. When it comes to fantasy world-building, anything is possible. Yes, you have to make sure everything in your world is logical, that it all fits together. You can’t just throw a bunch of ideas into a world and expect them to fall into reasonable place. You have to work to make your world consistent and believable. But if you want purple suns and transfiguring villains and disappearing bridges, you can have them and more. It’s your world. Go wild.
  3. The escape. Going back to the last point, there’s nothing quite like entering another world, where things work so differently than in our own. Little is as wonderful as puzzling out the intricacies of a brand new world, marveling in the subtle beauties and blatant peculiarities. (Oracular pig, anyone?) Okay, this may be more a readerly response to the “Why Fantasy?” question, but whatever. Whether reading or writing, exploring a new world is sheer delight.
  4. The freedom. I have a sneaking suspicion that fantasy gives characters freedoms they don’t always get in more realistic genres. Fantasy cultures are often structured quite differently from ours, presenting opportunities that the modern seventeen-year-old just doesn’t get. Seriously, when was the last time you met a real-life teenager who defied curses to trek across a dangerous country at war against magical monsters and the like? Practically – and impractically – anything can and does happen in fantasy.
  5. The battle. G.K. Chesterton writes, “The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.” In fantasy, we often encounter dragons and other such monsters. And what I love about these treacherous creatures is that they can represent anything. The real-life monster could be a looming test, a broken friendship, the death of a loved one, or just plain, old self-doubt. Rather than writing about one specific evil, fantasy presents a dragon that is any and every evil, all wrapped up in one terrifying body. But it’s a body that can be conquered through courage, love, and faithfulness. That right there is what I love most about reading and writing fantasy – the proclamation that evil can and has been and will be defeated by good.

Keep the conversation going by sharing why you love fantasy!

Mother & Son Book Review: THE FALSE PRINCE by Jennifer Nielsen

Every now and then, a book passes through my hands that I just want to hold onto a little while longer. Jennifer Nielsen’s The False Prince is one such book. Not only does Nielsen construct a vibrant world covered with webs of political lies and allies, but – and here’s where I love this book in a heart-aching sort of way – she crafts her characters with a rare tenderness. Even minor characters seemed to have been handled with tenacious care, so that they seem as real and deep as your closest friend. Protagonist Sage develops gradually, yet dramatically. By the story’s end, I was as in love with the deeply thoughtful young man as I was with the swaggering street urchin I met on the first page. I strongly suspect a second reading of this book would only enrich the reader’s experience and enjoyment.

My almost 13-year-old son loved this book as well. In his words, “It had the right blend of action and dialogue. Well written. Twist was pretty well hidden. It was a great book. Final words: If you’re reading this review, you’re wasting your time. Just go get the book!”

You can find The False Prince on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/The-False-Prince-Ascendance-Trilogy/dp/0545284147) or discover more at Jennifer Neilsen’s website: (http://www.jennielsen.com/books/ascendance-trilogy/the-false-prince).

If you need us, the kid and I will be fighting over the sequel, The Runaway King.

*I did not receive any compensation of any sort for this review, except the pure enjoyment of reading the book.