May 19, 2015

Poking My Feet Out of the Window

My publisher closed their doors, and I decided to open a window and climb out instead of waiting for another door to open. Was I upset? Yes. However, after my emotions face-planted me onto the couch and I used up my box of tissues and a roll of paper towels, I jutted my chin. Yep. Nothing, including all my books flying off of the shelves--and not in a good way--will not slay my determination.

When I started blogging, I shared my road to publication. It looks like it's time to do that again, huh?
Six books published, and now six looking for a home...yeah, another journey.

Recently, I submitted Jewel of Ramstone to a publisher. I gathered everything I needed.


My author bio was dated, the query and the synopsis in need of an update. 

Wow, I forgot how hard it was to write a query and synopsis! Not to mention talking about myself in a bio. I decided to embrace who I am, convey my love of writing and let my heart lead the query. The synopsis? Yeah, those give me hives, but I did it! Author bios come a bit easier, and I hope I got "me" across to the publisher. 

I'm keeping my nails on the keyboard, instead of of chewing them to a nub. My next book is in progress. Meanwhile, I'll check my email for  a contract...or (gulp) rejection.

Either way, I will continue on my quest--back into publication.



April 20, 2015

Left Me Breathless...

 "Breathless Press has decided to close its doors after a long year of declining sales...."

That is about all I could read before my eyes filled. Before my heart broke. Before I was left breathless.

This saddens me, and leaves me without a publisher. I had six books with Breathless Press. My first one in was published in 2009 and the last one just a few months ago.

However, unlike many troubled small publishing houses, Breathless Press did not leave authors high and dry. They closed their doors softly...slowly...and with a heads up. My publisher--well, former publisher--kept everyone updated. Then, when options were exhausted, they closed before they went broke.  This means every author, editor, cover artist and marketer gets paid.

 Too many times I've read about independent publishers closing with no notice, leaving the authors wondering how to get their right backs and collect owed royalties. Not my publisher. Breathless Press was a company full of honest, hardworking and amazing people. People who were shoved out of the publishing world by economic downfalls. Ouch.

Today I filled out the form to revert rights to me.  Damn. Yes, there were tears, and they fell hard and fast. Then, with my sister's words echoing in my mind, I swiped a tissue over my eyes and took a shaky breath. I decided to look for that door she stated would open when Breathless Press closed theirs.
 I'm still looking.
I think I need glasses. Preferably rose colored ones...

Okay time to buck up. It's a new venture. It's only been a few hours since I heard the final click of the door closing, but  though I am left out in the cold, dark world without those rose colored glasses, I refuse to give up.

I'm going to make my own path, fulfill my dreams and bring my characters to life again.



December 2, 2014

Nightmares and Dreams


This post is about a reoccurring nightmare that started when I was quite young. I would wake in a sweat, too terrified to scream. It happened so often, I actually expected it to return each time I closed my  eyes. As I grew , I sometimes knew I was dreaming and try to change the outcome. Lucid dream or not, I couldn't change it. Not one detail. 
However, I discovered a nightmare can become a dream--one to follow. Doesn't make sense? Read on.


The smell of lavender is strong while I flee through the castle gardens. Frustration mounts as the blue silk dress I'm wearing hinders my stride. I gather the skirts, kick off my shoes and run barefoot across the pebbled path. A low-hanging tree branch catches my braided hair, yanking me to a halt. Adrenaline swooshes through my veins, and fear drives me forward. Though I try to cover the distance between the gardens and the main doors of the castle, it’s as if I am running through water. My breath stutters with exertion, but I must make it inside to save a little child. I do not know if he’s my own, or why I must save him.
As I pass through the doors, my garb changes from the beautiful gown to tunic and breeches. Not only that, but quiver filled with arrows is slung across my shoulder and I clutch a bow in my fist.
 I find ruin in my path. The sweet lavender aroma turns to acrid smoke, choking me. My burning eyes fill with tears. The castle--my home--is in flames. I  search for the child. A suction of doom catches my heartbeat as I skid to a stop in a corridor. The child is in the arms of an enemy knight, my own father dead at his feet.
 I arm my bow with surety and watch the arrow meet its mark—through the man’s chest. He drops the child and I rush to the man, surprised I knock him down. Slipping a dagger from my boot, I trace a line across the man’s throat, assuring he is dead. Weeping, I damn the enemy to hell for killing my father.  
I hear the child whimper, It is a little boy. Deed done, I grab the child and flee to the lower level of the castle, recalling an escape through a door into the backfields. The lad is crying and I beg him to be quiet. I cannot pry the door open and someone...I just know it is the enemy...is clomping down the stone steps.  Vast rows of casks line the walls and I ditch in a space where one is missing. I clamp my hand across the child’s mouth and try to control my heavy breathing.
The footsteps draw near. Once again, I am clad in the silk blue gown.  The child is no longer in my arms, as if he never existed.  The hand against my lips, covered with the blood of my enemy, is my own. Now it's me the knight is after. I press my back hard against the cask when I glimpse the end of his lance.
 Dark and dank, the room smells like earth, tinged with oak. My heart pounds so hard, I am sure he can hear it, but he stalks by, his head void of a helmet. I hold my breath, waiting for him to pass...to give up his search...to allow me time to wake from this nightmare.
 The knight takes a step back, then another and slowly turns his head. We lock gazes, his squints, mine widen. I shake my head, unable to speak, to scream...to pray. 
The thud of his lance into the cask behind me takes my breath. I'm impaled. With my life slipping away, I grasp the lance in my chest, my blood mixing with ale, my breath whispering my last plea.
 Spare...the...child. 


Who is the child? I never knew. 
What a weird dream , huh?  I mean, I was a grown woman in the dream, yet a young child when I awoke--with a silent scream, clutching sweaty sheets, tremors of fear undulating from the inside out.  Certain of admonishment if I woke anyone with “that silly dream” for the countless time, I couldn't even call out for comfort after awhile. Cuddling deep in my covers,  I'd whisper it's just a dream into my pillow, but deep inside I knew it was real.
 I know that doesn't make sense, and even as a child I knew it was a contradiction, but somehow everything in that dream really happened. The familiarity of it all made me question myself and ...well, everything. 
I shared this dream with my family, but stopped doing so when I'd receive a slow smile, a shared look which closed me out. "You're being silly." A litte hug and "Now go play." I kept silent after that.
 I played imaginary games involving kings, queens, princesses and and knights that protected the people within the walls of the castle. I built some kick ass castles out of dominos, by the way. All along, I hoped my imaginings would calm the night to come. It didn't.
Somewhere along the way from childhood to adolescence, the nightmare stopped. One morning, halfway through a bowl of cereal, the realization hit.
 I didn't have "The dream" the night before.
 Odd as it seems, I simply knew I wouldn't have it again. No more knight, no more child, no more lance sliding effortlessly through my chest.
And I was right; I never did. However, the sound of the lance echoed in the recess of my mind as I drifted to sleep. That stayed with me long after the odor of smoke, blood, lavender, earth, and oak dispersed. The urgency to find the child, the fear, and death slowly drifted into a distant memory. The lance--the horrid sound of it hitting the cask behind me--was the last to leave.
 Many years later, the nightmare returned in a way. No, it didn't creep into my bedroom,intent on haunting my night. The fearful remnants which resided deep in my mind transformed into something pure and good. I suppose my subconscious was the culprit..or savior. 
I didn't plan on it, but the dreadful nightmare is a scene in my novel,  Jewel of Ramstone. This medieval romance was born from a long ago nightmare. 
So, as I stated earlier: A nightmare can become a dream--one to follow. A horrid experience made my dream come true.
 I'm a storyteller and I penned the life of Ruby in Jewel of Ramstone. A dream come true. 






November 25, 2014

Twenty-fifth Day

Weird things pop in my mind. I'm serious. Today is November 25th, so like any weird person, I decided I must do something twenty-fivish.
So, here's 25 things that make my heart smile.

1. My very own knight, who mended my battle-weary heart
2. Every moment my children smile
3. Family--even the ones who make me grit my teeth
4. Memories of my Ma-maw
5. Phone calls from my sisters
6. Hot cocoa jokes 
7. Giggles at inappropriate times--which makes me laugh harder
8. Adventures in a different country 
9. A vivid imagination
10. The gift of storytelling
11. Editors (I swear, a good one makes the difference between celebration and dread.)
12. People who believe in me
13. Second chances
14. Hope
15. Unconditional love
16. First words
17. Last words
18. A whisper when I'm mad. (especially when his breath tickles my neck.)
19. Jumping jacks (only my sister will understand this.)
20. When someone reads my books--and loves them
21. Critiques
22. When a character appears out of nowhere
23. When a character takes over a story
24. When people  talk about  characters in my books like they're real
25. The day Jewel of Ramstone was released with Breathless Press

Tah-dah, there's twenty-five thankful things!  *Wink* I'm thankful for alliteration too. 

Before I go, here's one more thing to celebrate November 25th:
 Page 25 of my latest release, Jewel of Ramstone :

He nodded, though he was certain this was more than a
dream. “There is naught to fear any longer.” She responded,
but her words muffled against his chest. He tilted her face up.
“What?”
“I am not afraid.” She swiped her tears, but more puddled in
her eyes, destroying any validity to her statement.
He could not help but smile. “Nay, you fear naught.” He
guided her head back to his chest. Her shaky breath whispered
against his skin as her trembling slowly subsided. He savored her
closeness, nay matter that he should not. Ever. “Damnation,” he
whispered.
She peered up, her eyes widened as she searched his face.
“You are angry,” she whispered. It was not a question.
He exhaled slowly. “My anger is directed at the one who
haunts you.” And the fact he was faltering in his convictions. He
shook his head. “You are safe with me.”
“I feel safe.” She offered a tentative smile.
“As do I—now that you do not have my dagger.” Her face
turned crimson. How endearing. She stepped out of his arms. “Oh,
come now, I was teasing, fair one.”
“Cease calling me that.”
“As you wish, fair one.” He offered his arm.
She rolled her eyes and slipped her hand into the crook of
his arm. It felt natural resting there. This maiden seared his heart
with the mixture of peace and fire. Would his trothed? It mattered
not. He made an agreement. And now, he filled with regret at the
fact. Because of her. A maiden without a name.

November 22, 2014

Something for Saturday: Spotlight

Author Carolyn LaRoche's New Release!
Someone wants Angelina dead...again. Will following her heart put her in danger or in the arms of the man she's meant to be with? 

As far as the world knows, NYPD detective Angelina Ferrara died in a violent firefight on Chelsea Piers over a year ago. Living in the witness protection program as history teacher Lucy Taylor was supposed to save her life, but being alive and living were two very different things. Until she meets detective Logan James when he goes undercover in the same private school where she works. Something about the handsome man with the gorgeous blue eyes piques her interest. There’s no doubt he has secrets… but then so does she.  When the Ricci crime family discovers she’s still alive, she finds herself on the run with Logan. Her heart led her astray before. Can she trust it to let Logan help her survive?

Excerpt 
Her little car had an engine about as powerful as a hamster wheel. There was no way she was going to outrun the truck that was accelerating with lightning speed. On one side of her was a deep ravine, the other the steep slope of a mountain towered high and tree covered. The steering wheel shook violently as she pushed her little car to its limits, sheer adrenaline keeping her focused on the winding road. As she rounded a sharp curve, the back tires spun and fishtailed out from behind her. The tiny car shook violently as Lucy struggled to maintain control. The SUV caught up with her then, ramming into her rear bumper. The car groaned but held on. Lucy spun the wheel to make the next sharp curve, all the while her eyes searched for a way off the dangerous mountain highway. Another crash from behind jolted her car forward with such force Lucy lost her grip on the steering wheel. The car veered right but she managed to straighten it out before hitting the tree line.
"What the hell do you want with me?" she screamed at the truck in her rearview mirror.
The driver responded by slamming into the back of her car again. Metal ground against metal, gravel flew everywhere, and the car careened toward a thick bank of trees to her left. Straightening the car once more, Lucy crushed the gas pedal to the floor and watched as the speedometer climbed quickly. Lucy felt the little rush of excitement she always got in a good pursuit despite the fact that she was the one being pursued.
She whipped around yet another curve, and the SUV caught up with her. Just as she managed to get her little car under control again, the SUV crashed into her back end again with such force Lucy thought her car might shatter there in the middle of the road. The little car veered to the right, aiming straight for the side of the road and the ravine beyond. Lucy tried to regain control but the effort was in vain. She braced herself as the car plowed through thick vegetation, hit something, and started to slide down the steep embankment.
She heard the growl of the SUV's engine roaring away over the revving of her own engine as the tiny car crashed through the underbrush. The car flew over a log and landed on the slick vegetation covering the incline. The car lost its hold on the ground and rolled its way down the slope, finally landing up against the trunk of a large pine tree where the engine died. Lucy's head smacked against the steering wheel knocking her near to senseless. Everything fell deathly silent as she fought to remain conscious.
A loud crack broke the silence. As she watched through the broken windshield, the tree in front of her began to wobble. Blood trailed from her forehead into her left eye blurring her already shaky vision. Rubbing at it with the back of her arm, she used her other hand to desperately claw at the seat belt release.
If she didn't get out of the car, the tree was going to fall right on top of her.
The giant pine swayed once and then began its descent toward Lucy and her crumpled car. Yanking hard at the jammed seat belt, her head swimming and her stomach churning, Lucy finally freed herself. Just as the tree crushed the roof of her car, like it were nothing more than a tin can, Lucy pulled her body through the opening that used to be the driver's side window.
Cracking wood and crunching metal stirred up a cacophony of birds and small animals protesting the intrusion in their habitat. Lucy lay on the damp moss and rotting leaves, her heart banging against her chest wall. The sound of her pulse racing in her ears muted the sound of the creaks and groans as the tree settled against what was left of her car. Every inch of her body hurt, but her head ached most of all.
Release Date : 11/28/2014     Pre-order Today!



Carolyn LaRoche grew up in snow country but fled the cold and ice several years ago. She now lives near the beach with her husband, their two boys, two finicky cats and one old dog. When she is not at the baseball field cheering on big hits and home runs, she is busy teaching science to unwilling teenagers.  She is co-author of the book The Crazy Lives of Police Wives and hangs out online at both Carolyn La Roche - Author and carolynlarocheauthor.blogspot.com



November 15, 2014

Something for Saturday~ What's better than a book?


  Seriously, what's better than a book? You open the cover and words take you to a place you've never been.



That's what I love about writing as well. I create characters, settings, and places for a reader to escape to--if for but a while. (I escape too. Just saying.)

My main genre is historical fiction. Especially medieval. I haven't a clue as to why I've always been fascinated with that time period. I even had a reoccurring dream that I was a medieval maiden running from an enemy knight--well, I guess that's more of a nightmare, but that's another story. (If I remember right, I posted about that nightmare a couple of years back. It actually inspired a scene in Jewel of Ramstone.) Maybe I'll re-post that later this week.

Anyway...where was I? Oh yeah, medieval times. I researched the era to assure the clothing, food, weaponry and such are accurate in my stories, be it Jewel of Ramstone or my Magic Stone Series.

Fantasy is fantasy, but I used what I gleaned from medieval research in the Magic Stone Trilogy as well. I was unable to research the time-travel element in that series. (I really wish I had a Tardis...or Dr. Who.) Luckily, someone or something blessed me with storytelling ability, and I wrote the first book, For All Time. Cade travels from medieval times to modern day where he meets Sage. And her dog, Tex. I didn't intend to have my very own dog in the story, but he nudged his way in, and nearly stole the story with his typical mischief. 

The second book, Timeless Valentine, is filled with the wonderment a medieval sorcerer can bring to a teller at a bank. Kerry, the teller, and Wren, work magic of their own. Enough said?

The third book, Stolen Time, was kind of a surprise to me. I didn't even know the first book would start a series. Though I am the author, my characters tend to take over my writing. There's a secondary character, Margery, from book one, For All Time. When I wrote the word END, I thought that was the end of her. However, Margery refused to give up her fight. She nagged at me, and refused to quit until I gave her a chance to snag the man she loved. Little did Margery realize I was going to tear her away from everything familiar...but I left her in the arms of a man. Maybe she'll stop fighting now.

Well, heck. I guess I've rambled enough. 


OH! I almost forgot the whole reason I started this post! This weekend only, you can purchase the Magic Stone Collection for...drum roll please.....50% off. That's a  $2.50 time-travel trip; a price even Travelocity can't top.

Buy link



Woman reading a book by stockphoto at freedigitalphoto.net   
sale ad by J.M. Powers


November 7, 2014

Friday Fun

Jewel of Ramstone November 2014 Blog Tour




Click on each link on designated dates for interesting tidbits, reviews, and giveaways!

November 5
November 7

November 8 
November 9
November 10
November 14 
RELEASE DAY!
Karenna Colcroft


November 1, 2014

Something for Saturday~ Oh Lord. What have I done?

I sent out a few advance reader copies of my novel, Jewel of Ramstone


Oh Lord.

What was I thinking?


 I love the characters. I'm satisfied with the events in their lives; love interests, family secrets, deaths and battles--you name it. Why then, do I bite my nails after sending copies of the book to reviewers? 

I took a lot of time thinking about this while studying my now non-existent finger nails, and I think I've figured it out. 

I want the reader to love the characters. I want the character to stick in their minds after they turn the last page...and refuse to leave their hearts. I want the story to be REAL. I bite my nails because a tiny part of me...a teensy-weensy part of me...is afraid I won't accomplish the most important thing.

The reader is transported.


That pretty much sum's it up, Right? If I can accomplish that, then my characters haven't lived and died, laughed and cried, battled and won, for nothing. 


 Yep. That kind of thinking leads me to my personal worry dungeon. Do other writers go through the same kind of torture?  I wonder.


Despite all the nail biting and over-thinking, something magical happened.





A FIVE STAR REVIEW WAS BORN!


Jewel of Ramstone is one of the best books I have read in a very long time. From the first page to the last, I was completely taken in by the story and even now, nearly a week after finishing it, I find myself wishing there were more pages left to turn. READ MORE HERE







 

October 25, 2014

Something for Saturday~Cover reveal tour!

Once again, award winning cover artist, Victoria Miller, has worked her magic.


Breathless Press Cover artists work closely with authors to capture the essence of the characters, story and setting. This is no exception. I couldn't be happier with Jewel of Ramstone's cover! Kudos to Victoria Miller!

Thanks to everyone who helped share this cover reveal. Take a peek at their blog, maybe even join!

Boys, Badges and Writer's Block
Musings By Mandy
Reading, Writing, and Me
The Shrew That Tames
Cover Lover Book Review
Authors, Books and Chocolate
A Mad Woman With a Magical Sword
Jo Marsh's Book Folly

Jewel of Ramstone is currently up for pre-order on Breathless Press and Amazon.

October 15, 2014

What's for Wednesday?

Each Wednesday of this 30 day countdown will spotlight whatever tickles my fancy.



Today, I'm pretty damn tickled with the great staff at Breathless Press. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you all.

Justyn Perry: Publisher. Thank you for giving my books a second life, and giving me hope when I thought I'd hit a dead end. Because of you, my creativity has a perfect outlet, and my future is brighter...all because you believed in me.
.

Victoria Miller: Cover Artist extraordinaire. She takes my ramblings and odd descriptions and somehow creates a perfect hug for my books. I just called a cover a hug, but that's how Victoria makes me feel. The art is a perfect compliment to the story inside. You know the old saying, don't judge a book by its cover? Pffft. Cover art is what draws me to a book. Thank you Victoria, for your amazing talent.


Allie Kincheloe: It takes a special someone to sift through a three hundred page manuscript, and know just what needs tweaking, a change of point of view, or a change in timeline...and more. Allie is that special someone. She's my editor, friend and go-to-girl for the gazillion questions that come up during round after round of edits. I love edits. I swear I do. I even share my chocolate with my editor now. Thank you, Allie for your gentle guidance. (And the crack of the whip at deadlines.).


My heart smiles at Breathless Press.