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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Coming Soon from The Wild Rose Press....

Not even captivity can sway Southern widow Josette Beaumont from spying for the Confederacy. Under the nose of the Union army, she willingly risks her life to pass information to her sources. Until a stranger appears in her bedroom one day with a cryptic message: stop spying or you’ll die. She has no reason to believe his warnings about the future, but his company is the only solace in her long days of imprisonment and his friendship quickly comes to mean so much more. If only she could make the sacrifice he asks of her…

To hell with history, real estate mogul Jamie D’Alessandro has no intention of saving the historic mansion he’s purchased, even if it is the home of a famous Confederate spy. But when he steps into an upstairs bedroom of the old house, time suddenly shifts, bringing him face to face with a very beautiful and irate Southern lady. Against his will he’s drawn into her cause—to save the Confederacy. But Jamie has a cause of his own. According to his research the lady spy has only days to live. Should he change history to save the woman he loves—or sacrifice life in his own century to be with her for This Moment in Time?

Excerpt: (Jamie's first night in the old house is interrupted by unexplained noises from upstairs. An investigation into the source leads him to an upstairs bedroom. )

He took another deep breath to slow his heart rate. While he was out gathering tools tomorrow, he’d have to get something to put over the window. He’d never get any rest with that door thumping all night long, and the air blowing inside would only make the house colder.
Chuckling at his own ridiculous fear, he started to turn. A voice—not the howling of the wind this time— and the sudden sensation of warmth at his back stilled him.
“Honestly, Sebastian, he can’t keep me locked up here much longer. I’ll go mad.”
A woman? She sounded calm, perhaps a little angry.
“Drat it, now I’ve lost count.” A heavy sigh followed. “The last I remember was twenty strokes, I’ll have to start over from there.”
Heart back in his throat, he turned just enough to glance over his shoulder. The first thing to greet him were the windows—the very same windows he’d admired moments ago. Only they were now adorned with white lacy fabric. To the left, a warm fire crackled in the fireplace, casting a golden glow across the gleaming hardwood floor. And directly in front of him, a dark gray cat lay sprawled across an ornate canopied bed, calmly grooming itself. It paused, tongue in mid stroke and stared up at him with curious green eyes.
“Twenty one. Twenty two. Twenty…”
Swallowing, he forced his gaze from the cat to the source of the voice. A woman sat at a vanity, tugging a brush through long, dark hair. In the mirror, he watched as her gaze moved from her reflection. To him. She let out a gasp. The brush fell from her hand. She whirled on her seat to face him.
“Wh—who are you?”
She could see him!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday Friend: Meet Debra St. John!

Tell us a bit about yourself and why you write the genre you do.

Hi everyone! Thanks so much to Nicole for having me today.

I live in a suburb of Chicago with my very wonderful husband. We've been renovating/restoring an old 1920's bungalow for the past 8 years and it's been a labor of love with a lot of blood, sweat and tears involved. One of my favorite parts of the restoration was removing the storm windows the previous owner had installed to enclose the front porch. Now I have a wide open front porch, which when the weather is nice acts almost as an outdoor living room for us. In my free time you'll find me curled up in one of the rockers or on the love-seat bench with a good book. My favorite genre is romance, mostly contemporary, which is why I write what I do.

How long have you been writing?

I've been writing romance since high school, although I have to admit, I'd be pretty embarrassed to have one of those stories make its presence known. Let's just say I've learned a lot about writing in the last 20 years!

Where do you get your ideas?

I love country music and often a certain lyric will bring to mind an idea. I also try to include places I've actually visited in my books, so traveling can be very inspirational as well. Sometimes ideas just pop into my head out of the blue. You never know. I keep a pad of paper and a pencil in my nightstand in case inspiration strikes suddenly in the middle of the night. I actually scribbled notes for my free read on my checkbook register while I was waiting in line at the pharmacy one day. When the idea came to me, I didn't want to lose it. (And, no, the story doesn't have anything to do with pharmaceuticals!)

Describe your typical writing day

I wish I had a typical writing day. (LOL) I have a full-time job that I love, and writing is something I do on the side. When I am fortunate enough to have an entire day to devote to writing (weekends, holidays) I find that changing locations helps the muse to flow. I'll start in the living room on my laptop, move to the front or back porch or even outside on the patio (weather permitting, of course), then finish up back in the living room or even upstairs in bed. The best investment I ever made was my laptop. Usually I'll take a few minutes to review what I've written previously, then get to it. Often I'll have handwritten notes with ideas or scenes that I scribbled down when my computer wasn't near, and I start with those.

Tell me your best cure for writer’s block?

Music helps a lot. But I also find it helps to take a notebook outside and just start scribbling by hand. For some reason a blank piece of paper seems less daunting to me than a blank computer screen.

Tell us a little bit about your latest work.

I have a new book, called "Wild Wedding Weekend", coming out in May 2010 from The Wild Rose Press. Last week I sent my editor my latest manuscript, "This Can't Be Love" which is a spin-off of "This Time for Always", my debut release. This was a really fun book to write, since I got to bring one of my secondary characters to the forefront as the hero. Here's Zach and Jessica's first kiss:

They laughed together, then fell silent. Crickets chirped in the darkness. The scent of Zach’s aftershave drifted to her on the light breeze.

After a while, he turned toward her. “Do you?”

“Do I what? Like apple pie and ice cream?”

“No,” he said softly. His gaze dropped to her lips. “Do you kiss and tell?”

Jessica’s heart kicked into a fast rhythm and she caught her breath. “I…”

“Shhhh.” He leaned closer. “I won’t tell if you won’t,” he whispered before his mouth claimed hers.

His lips stroked over hers, not aggressively, but softly, tenderly. He didn’t touch her anywhere else, but brushed her mouth with gentle intent.

Her first instinct was to pull back, but something stirred deep inside her.. A feeling she’d nearly forgotten. Whispery shivers danced along her nerve endings and fluttered in her stomach. Without meaning to, the action was purely a reflex, she opened to him.

The kiss deepened. Their breath mingled. Her palm slid up his chest, feeling the play of muscle beneath his shirt. She fisted the flannel of his open collar in her hand.

His knuckles grazed the sides of her face.

Her body tingled with awareness. Scattered thoughts flitted through her mind, but she couldn’t hold onto any of them. Not while Zach kissed her. Not when his mouth fitted so perfectly against hers. Not when the pulse racing at the base of his throat matched the cadence of her heartbeat.

She couldn’t remember the last time she’d felt like this. Had felt anything.

Should she be feeling this way about Zach?

Almost as if sensing her conflicting emotions, he softened the kiss, tenderly brushing his mouth over hers one last time.

She waged a silent war within, trying to calm her racing heart.

She still clutched his shirt. She relaxed her fingers one at a time, releasing the twisted fabric from her grasp. Finally she drew in a deep breath, then slowly let it out.

Her eyes found his.

Zach’s gaze searched hers, then he smiled. A smile as soft and tender as his kiss. He touched his finger to her lips, then rose. “Good night, Jess.”

Anything else in the works you can share with us?

Right now I've dredged up an old manuscript from the deep depths of my computer's memory. I'm hoping to revamp it a bit and submit it to The Wild Rose Press in the near future. My first step will be to bring it to my local RWA group for a critique session. The fabulous ladies of Chicago-North always get me off to the right start on any project.

Feel free to visit me at

or at where I'm the Sunday blogger.

Thanks, again, Nicole, for having me today!

Thanks for coming, Debra, and best of luck with getting that MS polished up and sent out! Keep us posted on what comes of it!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday Friends... meet Ilona Fridl

Friday Friends returns today with special guest author Ilona Fridl. I had a little trouble on my end (my fault, not Ilonas!) with the post, she's here now so let's get started! (And thanks, Ilona, for putting up with this scatter brained author!)

Tell us a bit about yourself and why you write the genre you do.

I'm originally from Southern California and when I was twenty-two, moved to Wisconsin, which was a shock to the system! Seriously, I fell on ice and cracked the bone in my elbow the second month I was here. Not a winter fan, but I'm still in Wisconsin, since I met my husband, Mark, here. Took up writing when we got our computer in the 90's and started a novel in 2000.

I enjoy writing about the twentieth century, because there was so much happening at that time. The last half of it, I don't have to to a whole lot of research, because I was around then.

How long have you been writing?

In a way, all my life. I used to make children's picture books for myself when I was little. I loved creative writing in school and doing research for reports in high school. Occasionally, I would sell a story or article to a magazine, but that's as far as it got. When we bought a computer, I really took to it. You see, I was terrible at typewriters. I made more mistakes than there was paper, now the computer corrects all my boo-boos.

Where do you get your ideas?

A lot of them come from a “what if” game I play with myself. Silver Screen Heroes came from a “what if a crime family bought a movie studio for making and distributing liquor in the 20's?” (ooooh, pardon me for interrupting, but that sounds sooo fun! Definitely just landed near the top of my TBR pile! -Nic) Others come from songs, poetry, pictures, etc.

Describe your typical writing day

Usually, I start after breakfast checking email, and taking care of any business I need to online. Then the rest of the morning I work on edits or on my work in progress. After lunch, I put in two more hours on writing. I average about four hours a day of actual work on manuscripts. The rest of the time is for any of the household chores I need to do. Although, I find I'm always working on the story in my head.

What was your “Aha!” moment—when you knew you had to be a writer?

I think I've always kicked that around, but I never acted on it. When I sold a couple of short stories to magazines, I guess that was an “Aha!” moment for me. I found an editor that thought I could write well.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?

If I was able to continue with my college education, I probably would have made a good teacher. I enjoy being around children. I got to do some of that when I worked at Old World Wisconsin as a costumed interpreter. It's a living history museum and we had many school tours.

Tell me your best cure for writer’s block?

This may sound silly, but I play some solitaire on the computer and my mind stays active about the story. Or I just get away for a day or so and a scene that was bothering me seems to work itself out.

Tell us a little bit about Silver Screen Heroes.

My first book of the Dangerous Times series, “Silver Screen Heroes,” was released July 31st. I'm working on the edits for book number two, “Golden North,” and writing number three, “Bronze Skies.”

I'll share an excerpt of Silver Screen Heroes:

Addy couldn’t shake the dread she felt for Muriel. When she hugged her, Addy said in a low voice, “If you ever need me, you know where to find me.”

Muriel smiled. “I’m all right. You take care of yourself.”

I really wish I had more time to talk to you.”

We’ll get together at work. Goodnight, Addy.”

Addy took hold of Zeke’s hand when they were well on their way back. “I don’t know what it was, but—”

Zeke touched her lips with his fingers. “Not now.” And he nodded toward the chauffeur.

They were silent for the rest of the way, for fear the chauffeur would hear them. Muriel, what have you gotten yourself into? Yes, Tony has money, but how did his family get it? Are you in danger now?

When the chauffeur let them off, Zeke offered a tip, but the man waved him away. The auto disappeared down the street while Addy walked with Zeke to his Model T.

I was going to say I didn’t feel comfortable with Tony’s family. They were kind to us, but something about Joe Giovanni was menacing. I don’t mean his eye patch, although it looks like he got that in a fight.”

Zeke nodded. “I got that impression, too. They’ve bought into the studio. I wonder whether that’s going to be a good thing. I don’t trust that man.”

They held each other in a brief embrace. Addy felt so safe in his arms that she didn’t want it to end. All the bad things of the world seemed to go away when she was with Zeke. She put her face next to his shirt and breathed in the warm scent of him, a scent that was becoming very familiar to her.

He pulled back and kissed her. “Let me walk you to the door.”

She put her hand on his cheek. “That’s all right. I can find my way.”

Goodnight, Addy, I love you.”

She smiled. “I love you, too.”

Zeke set off in his auto, and Addy had started toward the building when she heard a scuffling sound coming from the wall. “Addy!” she heard a voice call in a harsh whisper she thought she recognized.

Roxie! Is that you?” She saw two crouched figures. “Beth, is that you, too?”

Yes! We’ve run away from Mr. Rudd. He and one of his goons—” Roxie got no farther before an auto came squealing up the drive.

Stop, you!”yelled a man from the auto.

Addy grabbed both girls by the arm. “We’ve got to run inside!” She dragged the exhausted girls as she flew along the walkway. They had gotten to the corner of the building when she heard a bullet whiz past her head. Another hit Beth, who cried out, and then Mrs. Hutton was at the door, pulling them all in and locking the door behind them.

Roxie, Beth, go into the parlor! Addy, call the police. I’ll be right back!” Mrs. Hutton charged to the back room.

Addy jiggled the cradle of the phone in the lobby. “Operator! Get me the police!” When the station answered, she said, “I’m Adeline Garcia at Dormitory Number Three at Majestic Studios. There are two men with guns trying…” Suddenly, the line went dead.

Anything else in the works you can share with us?

After this series, I'm going to rework my first manuscript set in the 1960's in Los Angeles and San Francisco

The Struggle is Real Week 8: When Life Hits Back

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