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Archive for the ‘CD Hersh paranormal romance author’ Category

Friday Features

We talk about

How football and writing

are

Similar

Written by the C.(Catherine) of C.D. Hersh

My writing partner (The D in C.D. Hersh & my husband) and I were talking about the Super Bowl over dinner and he commented to me that the game of football was a lot like writing a book.

“How so?” I asked.

“Football is a series of scripted plays set within the rules of the game,” he said, “with the object being to win. Writers have a scripted set of plays to work within too—the basic structure of a plot—with the goal being a satisfying ending. Certain plays are designed to fool the defense. The team that does this the best, with twists in the plays the opposition doesn’t expect, ends up with the big score and wins the game. The writers who come up with the best plot twists, the ones that make you go ‘whoa, I didn’t see that coming’ are the writers who often succeed in the business. The ones who score big and win the game.”

I admit I hadn’t thought much about comparing football to writing, but after thinking about what he’d said, I can see the connection. For example, last night we watched the romantic comedy When in Rome that had plot twists that made us both say, “Didn’t see that coming.” And believe me, as writers we are always dissecting the movies we watch. See if you can figure out the plot twists in this fun movie.

When in Rome

While in Rome, Italy, at her sister’s wedding, Beth, who doesn’t believe in love, meets the best man Nick and discovers she’s attracted to him. During the reception the priest comes by and asks Nick if he’ll come play some more poker with him, explaining to a shocked Beth that he’s new to the priesthood and is still working on getting a handle on some temptations. Nick declines, saying the padre cleaned him out already and whisks Beth off to dance.

Later, giving into her attraction, Beth follows Nick outside with a bottle of champagne and sees him kiss another woman. Disillusioned, and drunk, Beth picks up four coins and a poker chip from a lover’s wishing fountain in the town square. Legend says those who throw their coins in the fountain will have their wishes come true. Love has never worked for Beth, and she decides to save the wishers from ill fated love by removing their coins.

When she returns home to the States, the men who threw the coins in the fountain begin appearing, professing their love. One of the guys is Nick, the best man at her sister’s wedding. As her relationship with Nick grows, Beth discovers the lovesick men stalking her have fallen under a spell cast by the fountain when she removed their coins. To remove the spell she must return the coins to each of the men.

While at Nick’s apartment one night she sees a poker chip on the table that is identical to the one she removed from the fountain. She breaks up with him, believing he is under the spell too. Beth returns the coins to the men and, as she does, they snap out of the spell, everyone that is but Nick, who professes his forever love for her.

At this point, any romance reader knows that Nick isn’t under the spell. It’s too contrary to the rules of romance. True love always wins out. But the writer hasn’t shown us who the poker chip belongs too. All along we are lead to believe the chip belongs to Nick. We’ve seen a poker game at his home using the same chips. He’s acted with the same lovesick impulses the other four men displayed. There’s a plot twist in the wings, but we haven’t quite figured it out yet.

A year later Beth and Nick are back in Rome, preparing for their wedding when one of the lovesick men, a magician who played sleight of hand with Nick’s poker chip, comes to her and says he gave her the wrong chip back. Beth now believes Nick is still under the fountain’s spell.

As the wedding scene plays out, it’s obvious the priest is having trouble with the wedding sermon. He draws out the invitation to object to the marriage. He gives the bride inappropriate compliments. He changes the vows to “will you have this woman as your awful wedded wife?” He’s clearly under duress performing this wedding. When he asks Beth, “Will you have this man as your awful wedded husband?” she presses the poker chip into Nick’s hand and runs out of the church. Nick follows and she confesses to him that he’s under the spell of the fountain because she removed his poker chip from the water. He doesn’t really love her.

“This isn’t my chip,” Nick say and throws it back in the fountain.

Have you figured out yet who the chip belongs to?
A throwaway line in the first half hour of the movie set this plot twist up. A line that meant nothing at the time. A line that makes you go, “Oh, yeah, now I see it.” A plot twist that makes this movie fun, memorable, and a winner.
The owner of the poker chip is the priest.

In the background, behind Beth and Nick kissing in front of the fountain, you see the priest whirling around on the square shouting, “I’m free from temptation!”

The second twist? The owner of the chip didn’t wish for love, but to be free of it.

Just like the defensive back is fooled by a play action pass, we have to admit—we didn’t see that one coming.

Do you have some memorable plot twists in stories that you consider winners? We’d love to hear them.

Visit our Amazon Author Page to check out our books to see if we have delivered the “didn’t see that coming” moment or go to our web links in the menu above to find our books.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

How to Write a Christmas Play by C.D. Hersh . We also share our Christmas novella Kissing Santa.

If you’re like us, you love a great Christmas story. In fact, last year we devoured Christmas movies well into springtime. This summer, Catherine started bugging Donald to look on Roku and Sling for new holiday movies. Being the nice guy that he is, Donald agreed. We already have several queued up for watching. So when we were approached to write a post about “How to Write a Christmas Play”, we thought about it for a bit and said, “Sure. We’ve done that.”

There are a lot of things we could say about how to write a Christmas play, or any play for that matter. The basics of writing a good book are the same as writing a play. You need a good story, good characters, and good conflict. There are some differences, however. We could talk about the nuts and bolts of playwriting, such as:

    • Formatting.
    • Making the last moment of the play a satisfying ending.
    • Always keeping the action moving forward since time shifts and short scenes that hop around don’t work well for plays.
    • Proper scene structure.
    • How a play script usually has little dialogue or action tags or setting description.
    • And so on.

However, since these elements are things that you can learn from a book, we decided to take a different approach and focus on the five lessons we found to be most important in play writing by walking you through one of our most successful Christmas plays.

Catherine has always loved Christmas, but an interest in writing Christmas stories, particularly Christmas themed plays, started in the 1990s when we were in our church’s drama group. The church leadership decided to put on an outdoor re-creation of Bethlehem set on the night of Jesus’s birth. They would build a representation of Bethlehem in the church parking lot. The village would have several historically researched shops, a synagogue, a house, an inn, animals, and the stable where Jesus was born. Originally the leadership wanted a walk-through diorama where the town’s characters interacted with each other, but not with the people visiting the event. Our drama leader knew Catherine was a freelance writer and that we were interested in writing plays, so she urged us to create a script for Back to Bethlehem, which was the name of the event.

Lesson 1: Accept the challenge
We had never done a play before, but had acted in plenty in the church drama ministry.
So when we were asked, we accepted the challenge. We dug into playwriting
books and brushed up on the nuts and bolts of playwriting.

Lesson 2: Start early
In early spring of the year the event was to be hosted, we threw ourselves into the job and read and reread the Christmas story from the Bible. We learned it’s never too early to think about Christmas when planning a Christmas story. If you’re out of the Christmas season when you need inspiration, put on the Christmas music. Put up your tree in June. Don your Santa hat and beard. Go Christmas shopping and wrap the gifts. Do whatever it takes to get into the Christmas spirit.

Lesson 3: Look for the unexpected. Find the twist. The new in the old.
Religiously, Christmas is about Jesus’s birth. Secularly, Christmas is about Santa, gift giving, charity, family gatherings, food, joy, and cheer. If you’re planning a Christmas story, play, or book, you need to figure out how to make a well-known story unique and fresh. Since most people visiting Bethlehem would know the biblical story of the virgin birth, our challenge was to create a new tale, yet keep the age-old tale intact for the hundreds of people who would travel back to Bethlehem on a mulch-strewn tar parking lot.

To make an old story new, we suggested the visitors to Bethlehem follow several characters through the town as they looked for Mary, Joseph, and a baby born in a stable. One character, Myriaden, went from shop to shop looking for Mary interacting with all the townspeople, asking if they had seen a young pregnant woman, telling them how she’d traveled with her from Nazareth. And in case some of the newcomers to the town missed Myriaden, a group of rowdy shepherds who saw the heavenly host also came through the town looking for the baby born in a stable. Another set of characters, the Roman soldiers, told a different part of the story—the part of the suppression of the Jews and their disbelief in the shepherds’ tale of angels singing in the sky.

Mary, the shepherds, and the Roman soldiers told the stories of the Bible in an unexpected way, as Christmas plays depicting Jesus’s birth normally center around Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus. The interesting thing about the Back to Bethlehem drama was that it became an interactive play. While our characters, both those “leading” the visitors and those in the shops, had set lines to say, they ended up interacting with the visitors to Bethlehem who wanted to know more about the town, the time and the story. So, we developed a set of improvisational lines for the characters to use. They always kept in character as they had spur-of-the-moment conversations with the visitors. Visitors were immersed in the drama, and that was very unexpected and very delightful for them.

It’s highly unlikely that your Christmas drama will be as improvisational as Back to Bethlehem was, but the example certainly shows the twist in this story. We broke the fourth wall of the stage and completely immersed the audience in the drama.

Lesson 4: Watch your Dialogue
As with books, dialogue is important and should sound natural no matter your genre. Plays, unlike books, are composed completely of dialogue. You have a few moments to capture your audience. They can’t go back and hit rewind or flip the page back if they think they missed something You don’t have the luxury of internal thoughts, or rambling commentaries (unless you’re Shakespeare). Plays don’t have exposition and, just like books, shouldn’t have author intrusion. If you can’t write without a lot of narrative, exposition, or description, you have a book, not a play.

Here’s an example of the importance of dialogue.
Because we were writing for a historical period in which we did not know how the people sounded, in English, we chose to use a more formal language, with no contractions or slang. It was just different enough that it gave a unique flavor to the actors’ speech. When they were interacting with the visitors, they also did not recognize modern day terms or items the visitors might say or show to them. Once when Catherine was talking to a visitor, he used the word technology while admiring her earrings.

Catherine said, “I do not understand this word, sir.”

“Where did get your earrings?” he asked.

“The goldsmith hammered them out for me,” she replied.

“If they’re made of gold, then you’d better hold on to them,” he said.

“As you wish, sir,” Catherine replied. Then she reached up and grasped both of her earrings, bowed, and walked away.

Peals of laughter followed her as she exited. In Bethlehem, Catherine would not have known the slang “Hold on to them.” So, she reacted literally. We’re fairly certain those visitors remembered their visit to Bethlehem for a long time. And that’s what you want your audience to do, too.

Lesson 5: Create a dramatic ending
The town of Bethlehem was noisy and crowded. Roman soldiers bellowed at the local beggar, harassed the shop keepers, and insulted the shepherds looking for a baby in a manger. Shop keepers shouted at passersby to come buy their wares. The women at the well gossiped loudly. The priest in the synagogue taught his young charges, quoting the scriptures in Hebrew. The guests at the inn complained at the crowded conditions. But when visitors passed through the small hallway into the stable, the whole atmosphere changed. Mary and Joseph spoke softly and calmly to all who approached them. Myriaden, who had found Mary, whispered and admired the baby. The shepherds bowed down and worshipped him. Even the visitors who came to see the town spoke in hushed tones as they gazed on Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus. Although you heard the sounds of the busy town, everyone in the stable was quiet and reserved, even the children. Coming from the hustle and bustle of the crowded town into the quiet stable was a magical moment. Even today, nearly twenty years later, when we meet people who visited our Bethlehem they comment on how much it touched them. As writers, isn’t that what we want to do with our stories—touch people?

We’ve written several Christmas plays—Back to Bethlehem, which ran for 5 years at our former church and was sold to two other churches; a Christmas musical that has not been yet published, and four Christmas puppet plays that have been performed at our current church. We also wrote a Christmas novella Kissing Santa, which is part of the Christmas Collection Sizzle in the Snow, published by Soul Mate Publishing.

If you want to write a Christmas play, we suggest you read a lot of plays. Study the craft of playwriting, and apply the five lessons we’ve talked about. Remember, they translate to your manuscripts whether you’re writing plays, stories, or books.

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy Playwriting Year!

While you’re thinking about your next Christmas play or story, take a peek at this excerpt from C.D. Hersh’s Christmas novella Kissing Santa.

When Sam S. Klaus, a professional Santa, has a fling with a beautiful elfette at a Santa Conference, he wants to make her Mrs. Klaus, but his intended disappears before Santa can pop the question.

EXCERPT
Anna Noel studied the trim backside of the Santa standing in front of her. He appeared younger than most of the Santas at the Santa Claus conference she’d chosen to attend this year. A lot more attractive than any Santa she’d ever met. For the briefest of moments she let her mind wander, lingering on Christmas wish number nine—make love to Santa. A heated flush climbed her chest as she envisioned the scene, and she flapped the jacket of her green elf costume to cool down.

Her gaze traveled over his hips, chest, and to the beginnings of a snow white beard. Then to his shock of silver hair underneath the white-trimmed, red Santa hat.

Yep. Definitely a Santa she wanted to know. Too bad she wouldn’t be the elf to his mall Santa. They could get to know each other and more.

The conference registrar drew her out of her Christmas fantasy with a loud, “Miss? Are you with this Santa?”

“What? No. I don’t have a Santa. I’m here alone.”

Sexy Santa turned and held out his hand. “Me, too. I’m Sam S. Klaus.”

A smile curled her lips as she took his hand. “As in Sam Santa Claus?” His warm palm sent tingles through her fingers as he gently squeezed them.

A lopsided grin slanted his cheek upward, and he flashed a brilliant smile. “You have the same warped sense of humor as my parents.” He gave her a mock bow. “Sam S., for Santa, Klaus, with a K.”

“That’s your real name?” He let go of her hand. She fought to keep from grabbing it back. A real Santa Klaus? How great was that?

“The same, and you are?”

“An—” She stopped, suddenly unwilling to reveal her name. A rollercoaster of emotions raced through her, suggesting she might hit number nine with this Santa. If she did, and it didn’t go well, she wouldn’t want Sam Klaus to know her real identity. “An elf, who needs a Santa,” she said. “How about we team up? I’ll be your personal elfette, and you can be my Santa.”

Buy Links >eBook>Paperback

Putting words and stories on paper is second nature to co-authors C.D. Hersh. They’ve written separately since they were teenagers and discovered their unique, collaborative abilities in the mid-90s. As high school sweethearts and husband and wife, Catherine and Donald believe in true love and happily ever after.

The first four books of their paranormal romance series entitled The Turning Stone Chronicles are available on Amazon. They have a short Christmas story, Kissing Santa, in a Christmas anthology titled Sizzle in the Snow: Soul Mate Christmas Collection, with seven other authors. Also a novella, Can’t Stop The Music, with twelve other authors from various genres with a book coming out each month in 2017.

They look forward to many years of co-authoring and book sales, and a lifetime of happily-ever-after endings on the page and in real life.

Find all our book here Amazon Author Page.

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Friday Features

Character interview with the

Hero of

The Turning Stone Chronicles

Moderator: Today we are talking with Rhys Temple, the hero in The Promised One and an important character throughout The Turning Stone Chronicles. There are several questions we would like to ask you today and then we will let the commenters ask some questions if that’s okay with you?

Rhys: Fire away.

Moderator: Was it difficult working with Alexi Jordan while falling in love with her?

Rhys: Difficult? No, I wouldn’t say it was difficult, especially with the way she looks and moves. Working with her was easy as we seemed to fit together very well, and as our love grew, going to work got easier each day. Things only became difficult when I found out about her secret and the Turning Stone Society.

Moderator: Did you suspect that Alexi had feelings for you?

Rhys: There were some signs, hints you might say, over the years. Alexi has a very intense way of looking and reacting when she is interested in something. I could see that appear in her when the other women in the office made any overtures toward me. Gladys said Alexi really went at a couple of the women when they were deciding who was baking my birthday cake. Glad I wasn’t in the squad-room for that.

Moderator: Were the consequences of admitting your love worth the risk?

Rhys: Well, that question hasn’t been fully answered yet through the four books in the series. Our authors, C. D. Hersh, don’t plan for us to come to fully grasp what all the risks are until the sixth and final book of the series. I have to say though; if you don’t take a risk on love then I’m sure you are going to miss out on a lot. Took me some time to understand that.

Moderator: How long have you known you loved Alexi?

Rhys: Ha! Everyone seems to ask that question. Of course, she looked great from the beginning, so I was attracted. But it was her drive, determination and, I think, dedication to the police work that really drew me in. If I have to pick a specific point that would be about a year after we started working together. There was a murder case, about a dock-worker, where she didn’t wait for me to get to her location before she charged in. For some reason something told me to go around to the back side of the warehouse to enter. That put me behind the guys who had tied Alexi up and were going to use her as a hostage. I was able to take one of them down but the other one almost stabbed me in the back. Even tied up, Alexi was able to block the knife, but she got sliced on her arm. From that point on I realized I loved her.

Moderator: What’s next for the two of you?

Rhys: I’m not the one you should be asking. I am aware that our authors are working on the fifth book of our series and, given what we’ve been through, I’m guessing there is more shape shifting and fighting the rogues. I’m hoping we get to settle back soon and let the youngsters take over but before that happens Alexi has to realize that our son has grown into a man.

Moderator: Okay, now that Rhys has answered some questions from us, what question would you like to ask him?

 

Excerpt from the Promised One:

No one knew what Rhys Temple liked better than Alexi Jordan. That’s what made them such good partners. That same intimacy would also make them great lovers, a thought that had crossed her mind many times.

Alexi retrieved Rhys’ birthday cake from the back seat of her car. The privilege of baking this momentous-occasion pastry had almost brought her to blows with the rest of the females in the precinct office. She scooped up his birthday gift and then dropped it as the cake box slid down her arm. A quick slap on the clear plastic lid stopped the perilous drop, but squished the yellow roses she’d so carefully crafted onto the German Chocolate cake.

She examined the decorations. Rhys’ name, age, and birthday salutation were intact. She sighed. “So much for presentation.”

A deep chuckle sounded behind her. “Need some help?”

“Hey, birthday boy.” Alexi motioned toward Rhys. “Get your gift.”

His eyebrows rose, and a seductive grin eased across his face as his arm circled Alexi’s waist.

Electricity shot through her causing her to shudder. “Not me.” At least, not for now. “The box. In the car.”

“Oh, that gift.” He released her, his hand trailing across her back.

She jabbed at him with her elbow.

He shrugged, his grin playful. “You can’t blame a guy for trying.”

He’d been “trying” for some time now. It was starting to get to her, but there was no way she could afford to give in. Too many things stood in the way.

As he maneuvered his tall body in front of her, his taut abdomen brushed against her in a way she felt was purposely seductive. Old Spice cologne mixed with a manly scent, uniquely Rhys, drifted past her. She loved the way he smelled.

She backed away. He made concentrating difficult. So much that in the year and a half they’d worked homicide, she’d often been tempted to ask for another partner. But the thought of not spending most days with him always changed her mind.

 

Now here is a little about the paranormal series, The Turning Stone Chronicles.

Three ancient Celtic families. A magical Bloodstone that enables the wearers to shape shift. A charge to use the stone’s power to benefit mankind, and a battle, that is going on even today, to control the world. Can the Secret Society of shape shifters called the Turning Stone Society heal itself and bring peace to our world? Find out in The Series The Turning Stone Chronicles.

 

The Promised One, book one:

When homicide detective Alexi Jordan is forced to use her shape shifting powers to catch a paranormal killer, she risks the two most important things in her life—her badge and the man she loves.

 

Blood Brothers, book two:

Shape shifter Delaney Ramsey’s daughter is missing, and she is bound by honor to protect the man she suspects of the deed. To bring him to justice, she must go against her code, the leader of the secret shifter society, and the police captain she is falling for.

 

Son of the Moonless Night, book three:

Thrust back into the world of paranormal huntress, Deputy Coroner Katrina Romanovski must unravel a string of murders she believes are vampire attacks. When she discovers the shape shifter she’s in love with is the murderer, she must reconcile her feelings for him, examine her life of violence against paranormals, and justify deceiving him in order to bring him to justice.

 

The Mercenary and the Shifters, book four:

A desperate call from an ex-military buddy lands a mercenary soldier in the middle of a double kidnapping, caught in an ancient shape shifter war, and ensnared between two female shape shifters after the same thing … him.

 

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Our kitchen with an avocado pudding recipe from Catherine.

I (Catherine) have recently discovered avocado puddings. Never heard of them? Well, apparently they are full of good fats, loads of fiber, have a low glycemic index (which is important for those watching their carbs, and they can be made without dairy products, if you are vegan or lactose intolerant). They have the creaminess of instant puddings without the unnatural ingredients that comes in that box. The extra bonus of avocado puddings–they taste good. The kiddos will never know they are eating something good for them. So far I’ve experimented with chocolate, which was super chocolatey and not as sweet as it could have been since I skipped a lot of the sugar. I like to see how low-sugar I can possibly go.

I love pumpkin. Donald not so much. The other day I got a pumpkin craving so I decided to play with avocadoes and pumpkin. This newest culinary invention is a Ginger Pumpkin pudding. I liked it, so I decided to share the recipe. Now I won’t guarantee this recipe that makes 4 servings is low calorie, but there is quite a bit of fiber in it to help offset some of the carbs.

Avocado Ginger Pumpkin Pudding

    • 1 ripe avocado

 

    • ¾ cup canned pumpkin

 

    • 1 ½ – 2 cups vanilla flavored yogurt, divided.

 

    • ½ tsp. lemon juice

 

    • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

 

    • 8 small gingerbread cookies, crushed, with 4 tsp. reserved

 

    • Canned whipped cream or make your own

 

    4 tbsp. shaved chocolate, from a candy bar

Cut avocado in half, discarding pit and skin. Put flesh in a food processer and blend until smooth.

Add pumpkin, and ½ of yogurt, lemon juice and spices to avocado and blend until well mixed.

Spoon remaining yogurt into small glass dessert cups, filling cups about ½ full. Spread evenly in cup.

Spoon pumpkin mixture over the yogurt, spreading evenly.

Cover dishes with plastic wrap, gently pressing the wrap onto the top of the pudding.

Chill.

When ready to serve, top the pudding with the crushed gingerbread cookies, sprinkling evenly on top of pudding.

Add a dollop of whipped cream to top of pudding. Sprinkle reserved cookies and shaved chocolate on whipped cream.

Enjoy!

While you’re waiting for the dessert to chill, check out The Promised One, the first book in our Turning Stone Chronicle series.

When month and day are the age that is the time
When day and month are the time that is the age
When time and age agree, trinity becomes unity

If a mark didn’t come out of the bar soon, he’d have to change his hunting spot.

Danny Shaw glanced at his watch. In the past hour, only two men—too big for him to handle—had staggered out of the Dew Drop Inn Bar and Grill. He needed someone rich and easy to take down. And soon. If he arrived late again, he’d get canned. And if he lost one more job, he’d lose Lulu.

The door opened, spilling crowd noise and blue haze onto the dimly lit street. He moved back into the shadow of the building. Waiting.

A slender woman walked by, her legs wobbling on spiked heels as the hem of her blue slinky dress swished around her thighs. Whiskey and perfume wafted on the air. As she reached to smooth back her blond hair, a prism flashed on her ring finger.

As his gut tightened, adrenalin pumped through him. Perfect. Tipsy and a rock too. A big haul could make this his last job this week, allowing him more time to spend with Lulu.

He pulled his ski mask down then took his gun from his coat.

Withdrawing a silencer from his left pocket, he screwed it onto the barrel, and stepped out. The woman didn’t notice him, so he scanned the street for witnesses. No one around. Closing the gap, he made his move.

Shaw jammed the gun barrel in her back and hooked her arm. “Don’t scream,” he whispered, “and I might let you live.”

Under his hold, she stiffened. Her high heels tapped rapidly on the pavement as he steered her into the dark, littered alley. When they were well into the shadows, hidden from passersby, he shoved her against the graffiti-covered building. “Gimme your purse and jewelry.”

The woman raised perfectly manicured hands above her head, her shoulder angling toward him as she started to twist around.

“Keep your face to the wall,” he ordered.

She mumbled something into the bricks and then lowered her left hand, dangling a bejeweled handbag behind her head.

“Now the jewelry.” He snatched the purse.

She unhooked her necklace, slipped off her watch and diamond ring, then held them out.

He stuffed them into his pocket. “The other ring, too.”

“That ring has no value. It’s costume jewelry my niece gave me.”

“Take it off.”

“You’ve got my cash and credit cards, and my diamond. Isn’t that enough?”

Damn. He hated when they resisted. “Give me the ring.”

She gave an almost imperceptible shake of her head. “No.”

He jerked her around to face him. “Dammit, woman. Give me the freaking ring or I’ll blow your head off.” He yanked on the band.

Without warning, she swung her hand up, connecting with his jaw. Stunned, he stumbled backward, still clutching the hand with the ring. They fell to the pavement. Her hands clawed at his, and her feet kicked his shins, scrabbling their legs together.

Fighting for control. Fighting for the gun.

Wrapping his legs around hers, he rolled her over and pinned her beneath him with his body. Freeing his hand from her grasp, he slammed her skull on the ground. Her head rolled to the side and she lay still.

Certain he’d knocked her out, he tried to remove the ring from her finger. Suddenly she bolted up, head-banged him, and grabbed his gun hand.

As he struggled to keep control of the weapon, the barrel twisted toward him. Heart pounding, he watched his life flash in front of him.

Abusive childhood. Lousy job. Lulu. The elaborate wedding plans she’d made. He didn’t want to die. Not now.

He wrenched the gun toward the woman. The metallic pfft startled him. Round-eyed shock reflected in the woman’s face.

Shaw’s heart stopped racing as she relaxed in his grip, then amped back up, pounding against his ribs. Shit. Assault, battery, and now . . . murder. Quick and easy money to pay for the wedding. That’s all he’d been after. They’ll put me away for life if I get caught. Lulu’s gonna be pissed if I screw up her wedding plans.

Pushing into a squat, he stared at the dark stain spreading across the dress front. He removed the ring from the woman’s finger. She should have just given it to him.

The woman stared at him, blood seeping from the corner of her mouth. “Return the ring, or you’ll be sorry.”

With a short laugh he stood. “Big words for someone bleeding to death.” After dropping the ring into his pocket, he gathered the scattered contents of her purse, and started to leave.

“Wait.” The words sounded thick and slurred . . . two octaves deeper . . . with a Scottish lilt.

Shaw frowned and spun back toward her. The pounding in his chest increased. On the ground, where the woman had fallen, lay a man.

He wore the same slinky blue dress she had—the seams ripped, the dress top collapsed over hard chest muscles, instead of smoothed over soft, rounded curves. The hem skimmed across a pair of hairy, thick thighs. Muscled male thighs. Spiked heels hung at an odd angle, toes jutting through the shoe straps. The same shoes she’d been wearing.

The alley tipped. Shaw leaned against the dumpster to steady himself. He shook his head to clear the vision, then slowly moved his gaze over the body.

A pair of steel-blue eyes stared out of a chiseled face edged with a trim salt-and-pepper beard. Shaw whirled around scanning the alley.

Where was the woman? And who the hell was this guy?

Terrified, Shaw fled.

The dying man called out, “You’re cursed. Forever.”

BUY LINKS

 

See our other books on Amazon HERE

OR

Click on the links below to find books in the various genres in which we write.

The Turning Stone Chronicles

Contemporary Romance

How about some relief from the stress and pressure of figuring out what to serve your hungry guests during holiday get-togethers, events, or celebrations? We’ve collaborated with thirteen busy authors, of various ages and genres to compile a FREE holiday-inspired cookbook. The ABCDs of Cooking with Writers will become your go-to recipe book for entertaining over the holiday seasons, hosting events, or celebrating that special day.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The importance of flowers in our award winning book, Can’t Stop the Music. Written about a time when flowers were the rage.

With the 50th anniversary of the musical festival Woodstock coming up this August 15-18, we thought it would be a great time to talk about our book, Can’t Stop the Music, which begins at the famous Woodstock Festival August 1969. What better subject to talk about than flowers and flower children, since both were a big part of Woodstock.

Experts say, “Write what you know.” For us that advice often means flowers enter the stories we create. In our award winning book, Can’t Stop the Music, we tell the story of a flower child who encounters a magic tree while at the iconic Woodstock Musical Festival. The tree promises her the soul mate of her life.

In one of the scenes, the hero brings a bouquet of flowers to the heroine, Rose, similar to the one pictured above. The bouquet contains a red rose, daises, lilies, and a sprig of rosemary, because Rose’s full name is Rosemary.

Flowers have played an important part in our relationship. Catherine loves flowers and has a garden full of them, and Donald has always given flowers to her. Sometimes they arrive for birthdays and anniversaries and Sweetest Day. Sometimes she’s gifted posies for absolutely no reason at all.

He’s presented flowers to her a single bloom at a time, brought to the table by different restaurant servers. They’ve arrived at hotel lobbies while they’ve been out of town. He even made his fellow construction workers stop by the roadside while he cut boughs of forsythia (one of Catherine’s favorite spring-flowering bushes) to bring home to her. Catherine loves this story as she envisions the other manly construction workers giving her husband a hard time for being so romantic. The best part is Donald didn’t care one bit. He knew the armful of yellow blooms would melt his wife’s heart. Gotta love a guy like that!

With a flower history like ours, we just had to put a romantic nosegay in our nostalgic romance book, Can’t Stop the Music, where a flower child of the 60s gets her own beautiful bouquet.

Can’t Stop the Music is book number 2 in the Soul Mate Tree collection. The collection has 12 books, each written by a different Soul Mate Publishing author. The sensual to steamy romance books, which span a range of genres and settings, revolve around an ancient, magical tree that grants needy persons the soul of their lives.

 

The Soul Mate Legend says:

It’s an ancient legend spanning eras, continents, and worlds. To some, it’s nothing more than a dream. To others, a pretty fairy tale handed down through the generations.

For those in critical need of their own happy ending, a gift.

For college senior and hippie wannabe Rosemary—Rose for short—a teaching job is within her grasp, but she wants more. She wants love, the kind of love that has bound her parents for so many years. When she’s dumped by her current boyfriend because her morals can’t bring her to give in to free love, she finds herself at Woodstock in the middle of the biggest free-love, music festival of the Sixties. Alone, again. Until a magical tree grants her wish and she finds the man of her dreams—and loses him before she really knows who he is.

Dakota meets the girl of his dreams at Woodstock, but a jealous wannabe girlfriend drives them apart before he can discover Rose’s last name and where she comes from. After he sees a disappearing tree that promises him true love, a frantic search to find Rose comes up empty-handed.

Short Excerpt:

In his hand he held a bouquet of mixed flowers containing a single red rose, some white daisies, a couple of lilies, and a spike of pungent rosemary.

He held them out to her. “You weren’t wearing flowers in your hair at Woodstock, so I wasn’t sure what kind you liked. I hope these are okay.”

“They’re beautiful.” Waving him inside, she took the blooms from him. “How sweet of you.”

“I thought flowers for my flower child, Rose, were appropriate.”

His footsteps behind her stopped, and she turned. He stood staring at her Woodstock collage.

“This takes me back.” He tapped the glass over the Woodstock ticket. “This ought to be worth money someday.”

“Too many memories attached to sell those mementos.”

He closed the gap between them and embraced her, holding her close. “Remember when I held you in my arms at Woodstock?”

She giggled. “Technically, one arm. You held up your guitar case with the other as we slid down the hill.”

“I didn’t tell you then, but holding you felt right. Still does.”

She lowered her head. He tipped her chin up until she gazed at him.

“This date has been a long time coming, Rosemary.” Then he kissed her.

For a second she didn’t move. Then as his kiss deepened, she fell victim to its power. Her arms wrapped around his neck, the fragrance of rose, lily, and rosemary swirled around them as the bouquet rested against his back. After what seemed an eternity, he released her.

“I should get these flowers in water before the heat of passion wilts them.” And me.

Want to read more? Can’t Stop the Music is available on Amazon.

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Friday Features

We talk about

Woodstock wasn’t really at Woodstock

Woodstock 1969 is an iconic music festival that is celebrating its 50th anniversary this August 15-18. So, since our book, Can’t Stop the Music, begins at the famous Woodstock Festival August 1969, we’re taking some extra time to talk about Woodstock and our book.

In Can’t Stop the Music we mention that the heroine, Rose, has a festival flyer and her tickets hanging on the wall of her home. We thought it would be fun to show some of the various posters that were printed for the music festival.

 

We’re fond of the center poster because we think it would help Rose remember the handsome, guitar playing hippie she met at Woodstock—the one she’s believes the magic Soul Mate Tree led her to.

Notice the posters have different locations for the festival. That’s because the Woodstock organizers, had some issues with the locations they choice. Originally they wanted the venue to be near take place in Woodstock, NY. After residents opposed them, they thought they’d found a second location in Saugerties, NY. That, too, fell through. Another search brought them to the town of Wallkill, NY. But then the town board passed a law that required a permit for an assembly of more than 5,000 people. The estimated attendance the organizers were tell authorities was about 5,000, but in reality they expected 150,000 to show up. The organizers of the concert applied for the permit but ended up being turned down because the number of portable toilets were deemed to be inadequate. A dairy farmer, named Max Yasgur, heard about the festival and the problems the organizers were encountering and he offered his dairy farm, in the town of Bethel, near White Lake, NY, as an alternative site.

The concert was fraught with problems, ranging from an unexpected, massive attendance (500,000 music loving hippies showed up); running out of food; traffic jams that delayed the performers; and a weekend of rain that turned the entire field into a giant mud puddle. Even with all those problems Woodstock was a peaceful concert, which according to historic reports, has not been duplicated since.

For our heroine Rose and the handsome, guitar-playing hippie she falls for, Woodstock was an event they would never forget—thanks to the promise-making Soul Mate Tree.

Here’s an excerpt from Can’t Stop the Music that we hope will make you want to join Rose and Dakota at Woodstock.

THE LEGEND OF THE SOUL MATE TREE:

I am old, I am ancient, my purpose is clear
To give those who are needy a treasure so dear.
They who come to my roots, touch my bark, stroke my leaves
Find the soul of their lives if they but believe.
When I call and you listen, your prize will be great
If your heart remains open and you don’t hesitate.
Do you yearn? Be you lonely? Is your time yet at hand?
Reach for me and I’ll give to you. I’m yours to command.
For your trust, for your faith, keep my secrets untold
And I’ll gift you forever, to have and to hold.

As they made their way to the festival site, Rose and her friends grooved to the music coming from the stage.

When they reached the makeshift bridge over the road, someone yelled, “Hey beautiful! You with the red hair.”

She looked around to see if there was anyone else with red hair. Then she glanced up and spotted two guys, one blond and the other dark-haired, leaning over the side of the bridge.

“Yeah, you,” the blond called out as he caught her gaze.

Willow halted beside her. “He’s cute. How about him?”

Rose looked away, her gaze landing on the other guy.

He jabbed his companion in the ribs. “Quit trying to pick up every girl you see.” Then he leaned farther over the rail. “Don’t pay any attention to him. He’s high.”

“So she’s not beautiful?” Willow yelled to the hippie.

She poked her friend. “Stop it, Willow, you’re making a scene.” In spite of her protest, her gaze remained on the dark-haired guy.

He rested his elbows on the rail and stared back at her. The intensity of his expression shot heat into her belly.

“I didn’t say that, just that she shouldn’t pay attention to him.” He flapped a hand at his blond buddy, then tapped his own chest with his thumb several times as if to say, ‘Choose me!’

Does he want me to pay attention to him? Her heart thumped in rhythm to his jabbing thumb.

“Take that one,” Willow whispered. “He’s the real cutie.”

Before she could respond, the crowd pushed them forward. When they reached the other side of the bridge, she looked back, searching for the dark-haired hippie, but the spot where he’d stood was empty.

Just my luck. I see someone who’s intriguing and he disappears.

With a sigh, she continued the trek to the festival grounds.

Want to read more? Can’t Stop the Music is available on Amazon.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Can’t Stop the Music

our award winning book.

The 50th anniversary of the musical festival Woodstock is coming up this August 15-18, and we’d like to share our book, Can’t Stop the Music, which is set at the famous Woodstock Festival August 1969.

With a title like Can’t Stop the Music, you’d expect music to be in the book, and it is. The heroine, Rose, is a college senior studying to be a music teacher. Rose loves music, in all its forms, and when the chance to attend Woodstock comes, she’s ready to go, along with her current boyfriend. But things go south with him and she ends up at the festival crammed among 500,000 people, which had originally been estimated with an attendance of 200,000. For a claustrophobic person like Rose, the elbow-to-elbow mass of humanity presents a big problem.

The Soul Mate Tree books, of which Can’t Stop the Music is number 2 in the series, revolve around a magic tree that grants deserving souls the love of their life. Here’s the tree’s legend, in poetic form.

THE LEGEND OF THE SOUL MATE TREE:

I am old, I am ancient, my purpose is clear
To give those who are needy a treasure so dear.
They who come to my roots, touch my bark, stroke my leaves
Find the soul of their lives if they but believe.
When I call and you listen, your prize will be great
If your heart remains open and you don’t hesitate.
Do you yearn? Be you lonely? Is your time yet at hand?
Reach for me and I’ll give to you. I’m yours to command.
For your trust, for your faith, keep my secrets untold
And I’ll gift you forever, to have and to hold.

The tree’s abilities span eras, continents, and worlds, which provides a wide variety of genres and settings for the 12 books in the series. Our book, Can’t Stop the Music, is a nostalgia romance that begins at Woodstock 1967 and is filled with musical references from the 60s, as well as other times eras, and a happily-ever–after that romance readers crave.

No matter what your favorite genre is, there is something for you in The Soul Mate Tree flagship project from Soul Mate Publishing.

Check out this excerpt from Can’t Stop the Music by C.D. Hersh, currently available on Amazon.

Can’t Stop the Music

By C.D. Hersh

For college senior and hippie wannabe Rosemary—Rose for short—a teaching job is within her grasp, but she wants more. She wants love, the kind of love that has bound her parents for so many years. When she’s dumped by her current boyfriend because her morals can’t bring her to give in to free love, she finds herself at Woodstock in the middle of the biggest free-love music festival of the Sixties. Alone, again. Until a magical tree grants her wish and she finds the man of her dreams—and loses him before she really knows who he is.

Dakota meets the girl of his dreams at Woodstock, but a jealous wannabe girlfriend drives them apart before he can discover Rose’s last name and where she comes from. After he sees a disappearing tree that promises him true love, a frantic search to find Rose comes up empty-handed.

Magic and music brings them together at Woodstock in 1969. Misunderstandings tear them apart. Will two flower children find one another again, or live with missed opportunities?

Bethel, New York
August, 1969

Rosemary Sterling pulled her striped, gauzy maxi-skirt to her knees, stuck her sandaled feet out the rear passenger door opening of her friend Willow’s ’51 Woodie, and wiggled her toes. Sweat rolled down the center of her back. Not even a tiny breeze tickled the air on the crowded, one-lane road to the Woodstock Music Festival.

The heat radiating from the string of cars stretching in front and in back of her only added to the hot, summer air. Most of the vehicles’ occupants lounged on the hoods, the dirt road, or sat cross-legged on the ground, smoking pot or playing their guitars, their psychedelic clothing bright spots of neon color against the deep-green grass.

“How much longer before we find out what the holdup is?” she called as she exited the steamy vehicle.

Shielding her eyes, Willow straightened from her slouched position against the side of the car and peered between the row of stopped cars. “I see Bodi coming now. Maybe he’s found out what’s causing the traffic jam.”

“Aren’t you burning up?” Rose flapped the bottom of her cotton peasant blouse to stave off the hot, humid air. When the motion didn’t cool the sweat running between her breasts, she jammed the fabric under her boobs, swiping at the damp flesh. Then she clambered onto the sun-scorched hood, careful to tuck her skirt under her bare legs.

“I shouldn’t have let you talk me into burning my bra last night.” She glanced at Willow, envying her pert A-cups. You couldn’t tell Willow’s girls were unchained. “Even that thin layer would have kept the sweat off. Bra burning might be the rage right now, and that’s fine for someone built like you. For C-cups or bigger, loose boobs are a drag. Pun intended.”

Willow laughed. “You’ll get used to it. Once you do, you’ll see the advantage.”

So far the only thing her hippie friend introduced her to that she’d embraced was the shortened flower name Willow had given her.

“Rosemary’s the name of your grandmother, not a flower child. I’m renaming you Rose,” Willow had said.

Jake and Starr, the other two in their group, came around the side of the Woodie. Jake’s tangled curls looked as if he’d just rolled out of bed. Grass stuck out of Starr’s hair in a green corona. She doubted they’d been doing anything that merited halos.

Frowning, she slid off the hood, motioned Starr over, and began picking grass from her braids. “I hope you two weren’t cavorting in poison ivy. I don’t think we packed any anti-itch lotion.”

“You should cavort sometime, Rose.” Starr gave her a friendly shove. “You need to loosen up, girl. Partake of free love.”

She couldn’t get used to free love either. “No thanks.”

Want to read more? Can’t Stop the Music is available on Amazon.

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