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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The passing of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, who famously wrote A Brief History of Time, had me thinking about, well … time by Anne Montgomery

I teach high school and my students often complain when, upon being late to class, I am undeterred from marking them tardy.

“But I’m only a few minutes late,” they plead.

Which is all I need to hoist myself onto my soapbox. “When I was in television, I had to be in my seat when the red camera light blinked on. I couldn’t be one second late. And when I referee a football game, what if I’m late while the players, coaches, and fans are all waiting for kickoff. What if my students arrive at my classroom and I’m not there to let them in?

My young charges roll their eyes.

“You have to be on time,” I say. “If you’re the worker who’s always punctual, no one wants to fire you. It shows you care about being professional and not imposing on your co-workers.”

Here is where I admit that my nightmares consist mainly of me unsuccessfully trying to get somewhere on time. Whether it be a TV set, a classroom, a ballgame, or an airport, the scenario is always the same. I am late, horrified at the prospect, and no matter how hard I try, I just can’t get where I need to be on time.

Just a few days ago, I was revisited by the terrors of being tardy. My student reporters were in a contest with a deadline. We were six minutes out. I found myself repeatedly checking the second hand on the classroom clock … tick, tick, tick … as we tried to rectify the software glitch that was holding up delivery of our final product. I flashed back to those days when I had to run onto the news set, heart racing, and slide into my chair while pasting on a smile.

My students made their deadline, and the flashback gave me pause.

I will retire from teaching in two years, and I’d like to think those deadline dreams will diminish. But, it seems, I might have another time-related problem.

“I worry about you when you retire,” my long-time beau has said more than once.

“Why, my sweetie pie?”

“I’m afraid you will not have enough to do.”

I consider his concern.

“You don’t know how to relax,” he says. “You always have to be busy.”

“I will have plenty to do in retirement,” I say. “No worries.”

But he doesn’t look convinced.

While I do plan, upon retirement, to hammer to death the obnoxious alarm clock that has pestered me for decades, I’m not really sure just how I’ll respond to a world with far fewer deadlines.

As Hawking famously said, “Only time (whatever that may be) will tell.”

I hope you’ll take the time to peek into my latest novel.

Two Arizona teens find their fates intertwined. Are there any adults they can trust? Can they even trust each other?

Rose Madsen will do anything to keep from being married off to one of the men in her Fundamentalist Mormon (FLDS) community, even endure the continued beatings and abuse of her mother. But when her mentally handicapped baby sister is forced to strangle the bird she loves at the behest of the Prophet, Rose frees the bird and runs away.

Adan Reyes will do anything to escape the abusive foster care system in Phoenix, even leaving his good friends and successful high school athletic career behind him. Ill-prepared for surviving the desert, Adan hits the road only to suffer heat stroke. Found by a local handyman, he catches a glimpse of a mysterious girl—Rose—running through town, and follows her into the mountains where they are both tracked and discovered by the men of the FLDS community.

With their fates now intertwined, can Rose and Adan escape the systems locking them into lives of abuse? Will Rose be forced to marry the Prophet, a man her father’s age, and be one of dozens of wives, perpetually pregnant, with no hope for an education? Will Adan be returned to the foster home where bullying and cruelty are common? Is everyone they meet determined to keep them right where they belong or are some adults worthy of their trust?

BUY LINKS

Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.

When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.

Learn more about Anne Montgomery on her website and Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

A new release by Carol Browne in her Elwardain Chronicles

Epic fantasy is a passion with Carol Browne and no one writes it better. Her new release is a story deep-seeded in folklore, mysterious creatures, and fantastical beings where elves were just the tip of the sword. The Gateway to Elvendom takes Godwin on a new adventure into the world long forgotten by humans… The Elwardain Chronicles is a series you do not want to miss.

Godwin’s adventures in Elvendom left him a changed man, and now bereavement has darkened his world.

In another dimension, a new Elvendom is threatened by the ambitions of a monstrous enemy. Who—or what—is the Dark Lady of Bletchberm?

And what has become of Elgiva?

Reeling from the loss of their Elwardain, the elves ask Godwin for help.
Transported into a strange world of time travel and outlandish creatures, will he succeed in his quest against impossible odds, or will the Dark Lady destroy everything the Elwardain fought to preserve?

EXCERPT

His heart thumping in his throat, Godwin took in all the details of the goblin’s appearance. The creature was probably four feet tall at most and was wearing a sleeveless leather tunic and short leggings over his skinny frame. His arms and legs were hard with thin bands of muscle; sinews moved like taut wires beneath the scant flesh. Godwin fancied that the goblin’s skin had a sickly, greenish tint, but in the firelight it was impossible to be sure.

The goblin moved in an awkward manner, not upright like a man or an elf, but slightly stooped and with bent knees, as though on the verge of pouncing. The dome of his head was as bald and smooth as a pebble, and his very long, pointed ears were attached on either side like those of a lynx. His large eyes glittered like wet malachite and between them a long, sharp nose protruded with all the aesthetic attributes of a small parsnip.

The goblin’s large eyes widened as they swivelled in Godwin’s direction, making his stomach curdle in fear and revulsion.

“Only two of you, then?” said the goblin with a smirk. “Not much of a challenge, is it?” He beckoned with his sword and others of his kind began to creep into the circle.

Godwin glanced around. There were six more of them, each carrying a sword of a curious design, the blade like a thin, metal spiral with a very sharp point. A visceral fear welled up inside him at the sight of these weapons, but he didn’t know why.

Born in Stafford in the UK, Carol Browne was raised in Crewe, Cheshire, which she thinks of as her home town. Interested in reading and writing at an early age, Carol pursued her passions at Nottingham University and was awarded an honours degree in English Language and Literature. Now living and working in the Cambridgeshire countryside, Carol usually writes fiction and is a contracted author at Burning Willow Press. Being Krystyna, published by Dilliebooks on 11th November, 2016, is her first non-fiction book.

Stay connected with Carol on her website and blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

A romantic mystery from Nancy Kay that will warm your heart and quicken your pulse.

Federal Wildlife Officer Michael Donovan faces a dilemma. Christmas is days away, a blizzard looms, and Mike must either track an injured moose or deliver bad news to Samantha Gates about her grandfather.

Samantha is determined to reach her grandparent’s cabin for Christmas. She’ll soon be off to veterinary school and this holiday is special. Hampered by driving snow, Sam ditches her SUV avoiding an injured moose. Mike discovers her aiding the wounded animal, and they get the ungainly patient to shelter, but as Sam doctors the moose the blizzard traps them.

As the storm rages outside, alone inside attraction sizzles between Sam and Mike. Outside danger escalates. Sam insists all will be fine by Christmas. Mike isn’t so sure. Will the storm end and bring a Christmas miracle? Or will Mike’s news ruin the holiday and their chance for a future together?

BUY LINKS


Nancy Kay resides near Lake Erie in Western Pennsylvania with her husband, a former member of the Marines and the Pennsylvania State Police Department who provides valuable insight for her stories. Nancy is a long time member of Romance Writers of America. Her stories are set in small towns and inland communities scattered along the shores of the Great Lakes. They focus on romance, intertwined with the love of hearth, home, and family. Yet, they are sprinkled with suspense, danger, and intrigue. Learn more about Nancy on her website and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The dynamic duo HL Carpenter sharing their latest writing adventure and a delicious recipe for breakfast bread.

During the editing of our latest book, commas turned into a major topic of discussion. Yes, well, we’re writers, what did you expect? We like commas and we also like to slice commas from our writing so we have a conflict of interest. For example, in the first two sentences of this paragraph (and this sentence too), we used commas. We could have used a comma in the third sentence before the “and,” though we chose not to. Either way would have been correct.

Another example is the title of this post, Good Morning Bread. A comma would change the entire meaning. By omitting it, we imply (or say) the recipe below is a good (delicious) morning bread. Had we included a comma (Good morning, bread) we would be saying good morning to our bread. That would also fit, since the bread is definitely worthy of salutations.

Like bread, commas have lots of uses. You can splash them around in personal and geographic names, in numbers, before quotations that indicate speech such as “she said,” and in lists. If you’re the user of a certain word processing software, you can make your commas curly or straight and either style gets the job done.

We don’t claim to be experts on commas and we would be happy to hear your take on this very important punctuation. Let’s eat breakfast while we have the discussion. If you’re not hungry, then we’ll say, “Let’s eat, breakfast.”

Breakfast Bread

    1½ cups dried mixed fruit (we used one 5-ounce package of mixed cranberries, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries, and filled in the remainder with dried cranberries)
    ½ cup warm tea, any flavor
    1 package regular yeast
    ½ cup warm water
    2 tbsp. butter
    ½ cup coconut milk
    3 tbsp. sugar
    2 tbsp. honey
    1 tsp. salt
    1 egg
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    3 cups all-purpose flour
    ¾ cup nuts of your choice (we used pecans and pistachios)

Spray 2 loaf pans with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.

Soak dried fruit in bowl with warm tea. Set aside.

In separate bowl, add yeast to warm water. Set aside in a warm draft free location.

Melt butter.

Mix coconut milk, sugar, honey, salt, and egg. Add melted butter and stir. Next, add yeast and water mixture and stir.

Mix cinnamon and flour. Add to liquid ingredients and mix well.

Drain fruit. Add fruit and nuts to dough. Use your hands to mix, adding additional flour by tablespoons if necessary.

Let dough rise 1 hour. Punch down, divide in half, and shape into two equal loaves. Put loaves in prepared pans and let rise 40 minutes.

Heat oven to 350° F. Bake loaves 30 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes and remove to rack.

Serve warm or cold with butter or topping of your choice.

While you’re enjoying your bread, we invite you to sample an excerpt from our soon-to-be-released mystery.

Certified public accountant Fae Childers is not an embezzler, despite the belief of the accounting firm that fires her for stealing. But proving her innocence is harder than convincing an IRS agent to allow a deduction. She’s lost her mother, her job, her fiancé, and her self-respect. She’s running out of money and the lease is about to expire on her apartment.

Then the fortune-telling grandmother Fae never knew existed, whose name and psychic abilities she now learns are also hers, issues a challenge from beyond the grave—a challenge that brings Fae face to face with murder, embezzlement, romance, and a hidden family legacy.

When the mystery of Fae’s past collides with the troubles of her present, the situation veers out of control. Her very life is threatened. Who can she trust? The man she’s falling in love with? The former fiancé who has already betrayed her once? Or only herself?

With justice, romance, and her future at stake, Fae must overcome personal and professional obstacles to save herself and those she loves. And she’s going to have to do it fast, before someone else dies.

EXCERPT

    The letter arrived on the last Thursday in April, two weeks to the day after I got fired from the accounting firm where I worked for the past decade. August Palmer, my landlord, hand-delivered the letter in person, saying, “The mail carrier stuck this in my box by mistake, Fae.”

    I took the envelope without bothering to look at it and glanced past Gus, at the patch of brilliant cloudless blue sky framing his shoulders.

    Tampa, Florida on the cusp of summer, full of birdsong and the scent of warming pavement.

    “Beautiful morning,” I said, as if I cared.

    “Afternoon,” Gus said, his voice a low rumbly growl, the product of too many cigarettes and whiskeys in his happily misspent youth. He stood outside the tiny apartment my mother and I rented from him for the past two years and eyed me. “Still mopin’, girl?”

    He had shown up on my doorstep every day since the firing with the same question.

    Adhering to our new routine, I answered the same way I always did, except this time I didn’t bother pasting on a fake smile to accompany the words.

    “Nope. Not my style.”

    “‘Scuse me.” His tone was as dry as the month he was named for. “Forgot you’ve been hidin’ in the apartment, tap dancing with glee.”

    I met his gaze. “For hours at a time. Any complaints about the noise?”

    He clicked a nicotine pellet against tobacco stained teeth and kept his silence. I regretted my sarcasm. In my forbidden childhood game of describing people in colors, I would have painted Gus early-morning-yellow, the shade of the summer sun before the friendly sheltering coolness of night gave way to the brutal heat of day.

    The description would have horrified him.

    “How are the treatments going?”

    He grunted. “They tell me I ain’t gonna croak this week.”

    “Glad to hear it. You might want to keep your distance from me, though. I’m jinxed.”

    Gus shook his head. “You gotta get over them fools, girl.”

    “That’s no way to talk about my former bosses.” Especially since I looked at the real fool in the mirror each morning. I had believed dedication, loyalty, and hard work were appreciated by the partners of Slezia + Fyne, CPA, PA.

    Ha, ha.

    “Anyway, I am over them. Way over.”

    “Yeah?” He was not convinced. “You over the suit, too?”

    “Sure am.” Once again, I stuck with our new routine and gave him the same answer I always did. “I have moved on.”

    Once again, the lie carried the bitter taste of betrayal. The suit was Scott Piper, former co-worker, fiancé, and man of my dreams. The suit dumped me the day of the firing.

    Gus snorted. “Funny how much movin’ on resembles standing around feeling sorry for yourself.”

    In my opinion, wallowing in self-pity was marginally more mature than throwing a temper tantrum. Even if it hadn’t been, I didn’t have the energy for a tantrum. I barely had the energy to maintain my half of the daily conversation with Gus.

    “Have you been watching that big bald guy on television again?”

    He stuck out his chin. “Don’t get smart. You know I’m right. You’re mopin’.”

    “Only because I can’t tap dance.”

    He was right. In the eight months since my mother’s death, I had slogged through an ever-darkening morass of the malady Gus called moping, and what his favorite celebrity psychologist might consider the early stages of depression. The firing and the accompanying fallout shoved me even closer to the edge of a black abyss.

    My moping was self-absorbed, given the burdens others faced, but what could I say? One woman’s detour was another’s stop sign.

    “You ought to call your girl pal, that one you worked with. What’s her name? Sarah? Have you heard from her?”

    No. And I didn’t want to hear from her, much less call her.

    I shook my head.

    “Your ma would have been annoyed with you.”

    A lump in my throat closed off my voice and I could only nod. He was right about that too. My irrepressible mother believed in taking the positive approach to life. To her, saying negative words or thinking negative thoughts was the same as asking them to come true. She had little patience for pity parties.

    Focus on your strengths, Fae, and always keep moving.

    My ability to follow her advice vanished with her death. I was slowly turning into the type of recluse the Japanese call hikikomori. Even the simple task of cleaning out Mom’s bedroom was beyond me.

    “So? You gonna open the letter?” Gus asked.

    I turned over the envelope in my hand.

    Heavy, officious, dirty white, and mildly threatening, the envelope shrieked of the intimidation perfected by lawyers and the Internal Revenue Service and jolted me right out of my apathy. My breath hitched in my throat.

    Had Gary Slezia and Richard Fyne gone back on their word? Had they decided to forego their distaste for publicity and press charges against me?

Murder by the Books, a mystery novel, will be available at Amazon.

Mother/daughter author duo HL Carpenter write family-friendly fiction from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, they enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit their website to enjoy gift reads and excerpts and to find out what’s happeni
ng in Carpenter Country.

Stay connected on Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, Google+, GoodReads, and their Amazon Author Page.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Our guest Dianna Gunn sharing her thoughts about stories about the dead and her latest captivating book Moonshadow’s Guardian. Be sure to get your advanced copy today!

Few things are as universally human as our fascination with our own deaths. Stories about the dead, and what happens to them when they leave this realm, have permeated every human culture. And although they haven’t always been called necromancers, there have always been tales of people who could communicate with the souls of the deceased. Many cultures even have festivals to celebrate the dead, like the Day of the Dead or early Halloween celebrations.

In the many of the most well-known tales, these necromancers are cruel, evil people who abuse the souls of the dead. People who raise undead armies or use secrets they learn from the dead to blackmail the living.

Surely communicating with the dead is not inherently evil? These powers could be used to provide families with closure when a loved one dies suddenly, or if resurrection is possible to grant a second life to one dead too soon.

As someone who lost my father to cancer at the tender age of twelve, I have obvious reasons to be drawn to this idea. I can’t begin to explain what it would mean to me to actually communicate with my dad, to show him the books I’ve finally put into the world and see his big smile, to hear him tell me how proud he is of me.

So in Moonshadow’s Guardian, necromancy is a complex thing. It has potential to be evil, and indeed the greatest evil known to this kingdom is a necromantic curse. But necromancy also has the power to be used for good. Necromancy allows people to enjoy second chances at life, to communicate with their loved ones, and to gain closure. In some instances, it’s even used as part of murder investigations.

There may be no clear answers on the ethics of necromancy in Moonshadow, but one thing is for certain: they have the same fascination with death known throughout human cultures right here on Earth.

All Riana has ever wanted is freedom. Unfortunately, that’s the one thing her kind cannot have.

Bound by the curse in her demonic blood for millennia, Riana has tried several times to bend the rules and live out her life in the mortal realm. Now her consistent rule breaking has drawn the attention of Loki, God of Mischief, the main tormentor of Riana’s kind. But instead of punishing her, he offers her the escape she has always desired. All she has to do to is save the kingdom of Moonshadow from a mysterious magical plague.

Armed only with the inherent power of her own blood and Loki’s pet dragon, Riana is determined to fight for the right to create her own destiny.

However, when her mission forces her to destroy the last remnants of an ancient culture, Riana must ask – what is freedom really worth?

Moonshadow’s Guardian is a tale about the meaning of belonging, and the struggle to create a future not defined by your past.

Pre-order your copy on Amazon and Kobo now! Your copy will magically appear on November 17th.

Dianna L. Gunn is a freelance writer by day and a fantasy author by night. She knew she wanted to be a writer since she was eight years old. Dianna wrote her first novel for Nanowrimo at eleven years old. As an adult, Dianna quickly discovered writing books is not an easy way to make a living. So she decided to broaden her horizons, seeking another career that still allowed her to work with words.

Her freelance writing career started when she became a marketing intern at Musa Publishing in September 2011 and quickly became a staff writer in charge of multiple imprint blogs. Since then she has worked with a variety of small businesses and non-profits to improve their online brands and create long term marketing strategies. Some of her most notable work has been for the tech education non-profit STEAMLabs and natural dog care company ProPooch. She is dedicated to helping her clients build successful brands and making their dreams come true.

Need help creating awesome content for your business? Send an email to diannalgunn@gmail.com explaining what your needs are, and she will help you.

When she isn’t helping her clients bring their dreams to life, Dianna can be found working on her own dream of being a successful fantasy author.

Dianna blogs about writing, creativity, and books at The Dabbler.

Learn more about Dianna on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Book Two in the Deadly Triad series by Nancy Kay is now available on Amazon! This romantic suspense is filled with intrigue and plenty of twists to satisfy every reader. And the terrific thing is the books do not have to be read in order. Be sure to get you copy today.

A former Marine is captivated by an alluring widow until a sniper’s bullet shatters the illusion his covert past is behind him.

Culinary herb gardener Ada Blaine lost her husband at a tender age. To survive she channeled a family tradition into a successful business. Former Marine Rich McConnell left behind a nasty divorce and traded a promising military career for a hardware store with no complications.

After Ada shows up at a Christmas Eve bash looking drop dead gorgeous, Rich finds his can’t keep his hands off the elusive gardener, and his subtle charm weakens the wall around Ada’s heart.

Then a sniper’s bullet shatters a quiet spring morning. Rich fears his covert past has come back to haunt him, and Ada fights paralyzing fear to salvage their love amidst life threatening danger.

Nancy Kay resides near Lake Erie in Western Pennsylvania with her husband, a former member of the Marines and the Pennsylvania State Police Department who provides valuable insight for her stories. Nancy is a long time member of Romance Writers of America. Her stories are set in small towns and inland communities scattered along the shores of the Great Lakes. They focus on romance, intertwined with the love of hearth, home, and family. Yet, they are sprinkled with suspense, danger, and intrigue. Learn more about Nancy on her website and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Pumpkin lover Dominique Eastwick who takes over the blog with her recipe and novel The Billionaire Trap. Be sure to get your copy today!

Pumpkin is one of my all-time favorite foods. No matter how it is prepared, I love it! My recipe below will give you a new appreciation for that unique fruit.

Dom’s Morning After Pumpkin Waffles

    2¼ cups all-purpose flour
    ¼ cup brown sugar
    1 tsp. baking powder
    2 tsp. pumpkin spice
    ½ tsp. baking soda
    ¼ tsp. salt
    2 large eggs
    1⅓ cups milk
    3 tbsp. butter, melted
    1 cup fresh or canned pumpkin

Topping Suggestions

    Butter and maple syrup, always buy the real stuff
    Pecans
    Whipped Cream
    Powdered Sugar

Preheat waffle iron.

In large bowl mix dry ingredients. In a second bowl stir together wet ingredients *except pumpkin*. Mix well and then incorporate pumpkin.

Combine your wet and dry ingredients until just smooth.

Spray hot waffle iron and follow iron instructions.

Top with Pecans. Whipped Cream, and/or Maple Syrup.

Now that you’ve enjoyed a delicious hot breakfast how about settling in with a thigh-clenching book?

Billionaire Connor Rankin has only two things on his mind—food and skiing. A beautiful set of hazel eyes make Connor change his priorities. The young woman in question is in trouble, so he has no choice but to help out.

What’s a woman to do when her sister is left heartbroken and jilted?

Level headed, human lie detector Breanne Scott is going to make sure her sister’s boyfriend pays, but Connor isn’t what she expected. How do you know what’s true when everyone is telling a different story?

Can they negotiate a field of lies and deceit to find love on the other side of The Billionaire Trap?

Award-Winning author Dominique Eastwick currently calls North Carolina home with her husband, two children, one crazy lab and one lazy cat. Dominique spent much of her early life moving from state to state as a Navy Brat. Because of that, traveling is one of her favorite pastimes. When not writing you can find Dominique with her second love…her camera.

Learn more about Dominique Eastwick on her website, blog, and Amazon author page. Be sure to join her Newsletter for up to the minute info on new releases, contests, and more.

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, Tublr, and Pinterest.

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