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A book advisory service can make or break you. Don’t let it become the latter.

A Day in the Life of… 
Louise Wise

March 8th 1999 was the day I BECAME an author.

I’d been writing a long time before that, but that was the defining moment in my head and where I received the most horrendous review on my precious novel. I’d sent it for analyst to a well-known (shall remain nameless because I’m still scared of them) book advisory service.

I paid my money (over £400) and waited for them to fall over themselves in recommending me to agents and publishers (we’re dreamers, us authors).

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Four months later, I received my ms back (in those days it was all done via the old fashion postal service) and I opened the brown package with eager fingers. The smell hit me first: cigarettes. But I wasn’t deterred. I sat down with my smelly ms to read the advisory’s review, digest their suggestions and to feel warmed by their encouragement.

What I got was wriggly red lines underlining sentences, red circles around paragraphs and lots of exclamations or question marks in the margin. There was no explanation to these marks, but there was a one-paged mockery analyst of my work. It was handwritten with very bad handwriting at that.

Of course, I was devastated, and my husband suggested I not contact the advisory until I calmed down. But name me a woman who listens to her husband! Oi, put your hand down, you.

The advisory was blunt, unapologetic: “Welcome to the writing world, dahling, this is what it’s like, get used to it.” They blamed the smell of the ms on the ‘cheap’ (their words) ink I’d used, and said the wriggly lines and circles should be self-explanatory. 


Amazon

They offered to take the ms back and re examine it ‘providing I pay the postage costs’. But I was so shocked and demoralized by their attitude I declined. 

The report could have broken me. It was more than harsh, it was nasty. In hindsight, I think I was sent the note version of the analyst although this was never admitted. But you know what, that day something clicked in my head and my backbone strengthened.


I put the ms aside and began another book. This time though, I used another advisory service: Cornerstones Literary Consultancy. This book wasn’t ready either, but the service was encouraging, patient and most of all, a learning experience.


The moral? 


There are some nasty people out there. Be strong.


Louise Wise has written two comedy romances, two science fiction novels, a collection of short stories and a non-fiction novella.



craziness assured 
A Proper Charlie 
romantic comedy
She’s losing her job.
She’s losing her boyfriend.
She can only afford to eat spaghetti hoops on toast.

She’s called Charlie… or Charlotte, or ginger, ginge, Duracell,
carrot. 


Yet with all these odds against her, she pushes forward to
take the lead story on her paper at London Core. 


Shame no one knows. Shame she’s the office general assistant and not a real journalist.
Shame
 it’s on missing prostitutes and Charlie thinks pretending to be a ‘tart
with a heart’ will get her that story.


She doesn’t just get a story.

She becomes the starring role.
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The Fall of the Misanthrope: 
I bitch, therefore I am 
dark comedy

‘So where would you have taken me on the drive?’

‘A place where we could walk along the Thames just by ourselves; it’d be beautiful watching the silver moon dance on the surface. I’d have taken your hand…’


‘Yes?’ My heart was thumping; the menu – my guard – was lowering from my face.



‘Kissed each one of your fingers, and told you how beautiful you looked.’ His honey-coloured eyes were watching me intently. ‘I’d lean in, you’d lean in and we’d kiss. Gently. Softly. You’d look shocked, maybe embarrassed, and then I’d say, let’s walk. And we’d walk along the river bank. My coat around your shoulders. We’d hold hands, you’d relax. Then, beneath the moon, I’d stop, pull you against me and kiss you again. This time you wouldn’t be embarrassed.’



I couldn’t believe this. He was doing it again!



‘Did you have lessons in seduction?’



His mouth twitched. He sat back, and picked up the menu. ‘Admit it, Velvet, you were falling for it.’


Insufferable, but correct, man. He was good, I’d give him that. Playboy at his best. I’d have to stay alert. Maybe I shouldn’t drink anything alcoholic tonight. Just in case.

Ooh, they had cocktails! I love cocktails. I snatched up the cocktail menu and, yep, they had my favourite – Fuzzy Navel.
One wouldn’t hurt.

Purchase links

Eden 
science fiction romance

Jenny was hurled to the floor. Winded, but managing to crawl out of the spaceship, she glimpsed Bodie turning to look and calling for her to run. Matt picked up a rock and threw it at the alien as it ran towards them.

She began to stand, but dizziness swamped her. Trying to ignore the sensation, she staggered away from the spacecraft, but the ground shifted under her feet. Time was measured for Jenny, yet around her things were moving fast.

‘Jen! Move!’ yelled Bodie. The alien was in between her and the two men who, by now, were at the top of the crater.



HUNTED
sequel to Eden
(new release – links to follow)



‘I’m scared’, he’d said. 


He was never scared. He was her hero. Her rugged hero made up from all the romance books she’d read. Big, bold and beautiful—in an alien kind of way.




Beauty has tamed her beast. Jenny and Fly live on Eden, a planet where they were both marooned. They’ve come a long way since then: farming livestock and living a perfect life on their idyllic world.

But signs were all there that their world was changing–only they didn’t notice it at first. 

And when they did, they didn’t have much time to prepare.

Fly and Jenny become HUNTED.


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When a dream becomes reality


A Day In The Life of 
Carmel Harrington

Have you ever watched the Oscars and fantasised about one day walking the red carpet one day? Maybe you have stood in front of your mirror with a hairbrush in hand and practised your ‘Gwennie’ acceptance speech!


Or of a Friday night, while soaking in your bath do you do a ‘Jimmy Rabbitte’ from The Commitments? Remember that hilarious scene where he practiced his celebrity interview with Terry Wogan? (Ok that’s a few years ago, so now it might be Graham Norton or Alan Carr that you use, but you get the idea!)


If you are sport-mad like my husband, you may have thought about scoring the winning goal for Liverpool in the Champions League Final once or twice. (delete/insert your favourite team here!)



My point here is that for most of us, we all have a day-dream or fantasy ‘what if’ moment in our heads that we never really think will come true, but it’s fun to think about every now and then.


Well for me, my fantasy day-dream was to see a book I’d written for sale in a bookshop. Preferably not in the bargain basket! Ever since I was a young girl, a self-confessed book nerd I might add, I would marvel at the beautiful covers that adorned book shelves row after row and wonder what it must feel like for those authors to see their work displayed so magnificently. Over the years, I have spent many a happy afternoon drinking coffee in my local bookshop, flicking through new releases and deciding which book would be my next purchase. And inadvertently I would find myself day-dreaming about one day seeing my own name amongst those heroes of mine. Just thinking about it would make me smile.



November 14th, 2013 was just an ordinary Thursday for most people, but for me it was a day that will stay forevermore in my memory bank of magical moments. It was the day that I saw my book for sale in a bookshop for the very first time. I’d held the paperbook proof already and that was an amazing moment that I’ll never forget, but this was a whole other experience!


When my editor Charlotte Ledger advised me the release date would be November 14th, I cannot explain the excitement. Think back to what it felt like to be a child waiting for December the 1st to become December 25th. Do you remember that feeling of excitement and delicious anticipation with a big auld dash of impatience thrown in for good measure! Well, that’s how I felt!


When November 14th arrived I gave up all pretence of make-believing it was an ordinary day and headed to Byrnes Bookstores in Enniscorthy. Luck was on my side, I even got a car-parking space right outside the store!


Right in front of me, as I entered the store, on the very first shelf was my book. I couldn’t miss it! But then my eyes wondered to the Book Shelf entitled New Releases and there I was again. And the company I was keeping. My book was below Patricia Scanlan and Cecelia Ahern, beside Helen Fielding and on top of Nicolas Sparks. Oh My!


I stood back and discreetly watched the bookshelf for a few moments, hoping I might get to see someone buy my book. A woman walked over to the new releases and her eyes travelled over the books in front of her. Her hand reached out and touched several titles and all the while I was whispering to myself, ‘Pick mine, pick mine!’ And then oh joy, she reached in and picked up my book! Before I could stop myself I let out of squeal and she jumped at the sound and turned around to see this mad woman smiling from ear to ear and her and thanking her for choosing that book! She looked a little bit worried (understandably!) so she quickly put the book back down and legged it! 


In hindsight maybe stalking the bookshelves is not a good marketing ploy, so I shall refrain from repeating that again. Honestly.


Now I have a new daydream. Do you want to hear it? Ok, here it is, I’m walking the red carpet to the world premiere of the latest movie – called Beyond Grace’s Rainbow! A girl’s got to dream!



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Introducing…
Beyond Grace’s Rainbow 

Winner of The
Best Romantic Read eBook 2013 at the UK’s Festival of Romance.

Winner of The People’s Kindle Book Awards March 2013.


Paperback
HarplerImpulse
Amazon.UK
Amazon.com

When Grace is diagnosed with cancer her best chance of survival is to find a bone marrow transplant from a family member. Only Grace is adopted and her one previous attempt to connect with her birth mother resulted in bitter disappointment.


But with her young son, Jack, to think about, and the return of her ex Liam, Jack’s father, reminding her of feelings she’d thought she’d buried long ago, Grace refuses to give up hope just yet. 

With the help of her friends she bravely embarks on a journey of discovery. This search will bring her from her home in vibrant Dublin to the unspoilt beauty of Wexford where she must unravel a web of lies and deceit that has spanned over thirty years.

With a wonderful cast of supporting characters and plenty of charm, this will have you laughing and crying at the turn of a page.



“There were some of the happiest life-affirming moments in this novel which were followed by some of the most devastating moments I’ve ever read.” She Loves To Read

“Beyond Grace’s Rainbow is a bittersweet, quietly brilliant novel that will make you cry, laugh and cry all over again.” Female First Magazine

Carmel Harrington, an author and playwright, is published with HarperCollins Romance Imprint HarperImpulse.


Her début novel Beyond Grace’s Rainbow, was a bestselling eBook and is now released in paperback. It was voted Best Romantic eBook Read 2013 at the UK’s Festival of Romance Book Awards. It also won the Peoples Choice Kindle Book Awards in March 2013.

Her second novel Sleep of Dreams will be published by HarperImpulse in February 2013. She is currently working on a sequel to Beyond Grace’s Rainbow. Listen to Carmel Harrington chatting about her book on You Tube. She is married to Roger and together with their two small children Amelia and Nate, live in Co. Wexford, Ireland.
Click below for a sneak preview of an excerpt from Chapter 1.
Grace was abruptly pulled back from her
daydreaming by a demand from Gerry. ‘Right Grace, I’m in suspenders here for
too long! Why are we all here? Don’t tell me you’re preggers again!’ Gerry
laughs.
‘Nah couldn’t be that Gerry, the sperm of the
devil hasn’t been around for years now!’ Tara joked.
Tara was talking about Liam. She never
missed an opportunity to have a dig at him, never forgiving him for leaving
Grace on her own.
‘Very funny Tara. When are you going to
stop laying into Liam? He’s guilty of a lot of things, but sperm of the devil
is going a bit far I think. Remember he’s Jack’s Dad.’ Grace responded a bit
sharply.
Seeing Tara’s hurt face made Grace feel
instantly guilty for snapping at her. She was only joking after all. She smiled
lamely to try to take the sting out.
‘Gerry is right thought. I’ve put off
telling you my news for long enough now. I did get you guys around here for a
reason.’ Making sure everyone had a full glass, Grace figured it was now or
never.
‘No getting anything past you lot! I’m not
sure how to start.’ Grace faltered. ‘This is harder than I thought.’
‘Are we talking ‘It could happen to you’
kind of news? Gerry interrupted with a smile. ‘Nicholas Cage, Rosie Perez
winning the lotto. Nick gives half his winnings to a waitress played by Bridget
Fonda. Rosie goes frigging nuts!’ With every word Gerry’s voice had raised a
pitch with excitement.
‘Jaysus Gerry, you don’t have to give a
synopsis of every movie you quote – we have been to the cinema on occasion too
you know!’ Tom quipped.
‘Fraid’ not, Gerry. No lotto wins here. No
Nick Cage either for that matter! I suppose it’s more of a Terms of Endearment
moment actually.’ Grace responded.
Gerry loved it when his friends played
along with him. With a big grin he started his narrative.
‘Jack Nicholson, Shirley McClaine, Debra
Winger. God Jack was gorgeous in that movie. As for Shirley, she was simply
divine. Can you guys remember that scene in the hospital? I swear I needed
Valium because I was crying so much.’
And with that Gerry stopped. The meaning of
what Grace had just said hit him and for everyone else too. Four pairs of eyes
turned away from Gerry and looked at their friend.‘Right, I need you guys to be
strong. No tears, OK?’ They all nodded silently, so Grace continued. ‘It’s a
bit of a bitch, but I’ve got cancer.’This was the first time that Grace’s
friends had all been silent. Tom found his voice first of all. ‘Grace, this is
one sick joke. Not even a good one. See, nobody’s laughing.’ He gestured
maniacally around the room.
Grace thought this was the first time she’d
ever seen Tom look scared.
‘It’s not a joke though, is it?’ Abby asked
Grace.
‘No pet. It’s no joke. Or at least if it
is, the joke is on me.’ Grace answered softly.
Sean then spoke quietly. ‘If you guys have
any questions, I’ll answer them for you.’
Tara jumped up then, angrily pointing at
Sean, barely able to get the words out, ‘You knew about this Sean? You knew and
didn’t tell me.’


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It’s All About The Mornings

A Day in the Life of…
Elizabeth Myrddin 


I work a full time job. Thus, my writing must be scheduled so that it becomes part of my regular daily routine. A work shift of 11:30am to 8pm enables me to write in the mornings. This early-to-rise habit is easily applied to weekends and holidays, whenever feasible.

I attempt creative productivity in the mornings at least five days per week. Some weeks it is less. In other weeks, I go into the zone and amass a nice chunk of chapters, or, in the case of short stories, some workable drafts. A typical day in the life of this author goes something like the below:

6:30am: The alarm goes off. I shut it down and ignore the morning for about fifteen to twenty more minutes. My cat starts acting noisy and mischievous around the apartment because she has also heard the alarm and wants food.

7:00am: The cat has been fed. A pot of coffee has been started. As I wait for the pot to brew, I open my laptop and review the most recent section or chapter I’ve written. And only that chapter or section. This helps shift my focus from a sleep-daze into a creative headspace and also prevents me from entering the dreaded “endless re-read and re-edit” cycle.

Does that cycle sound familiar? It was so difficult to train myself to refrain from a complete re-read of the WIP each time I sat down to write. My attention would fixate on previous chapters in a vicious circle of re-reading and re-editing, over and over. Time drifted by and no new sections were tackled. Now, only the most recent section of writing from the previous session is allowed a review for modification. Then I get a cup of coffee (or a second one, if I’ve already downed a cup) and begin a new section of the novel or current WIP.

For the next two to two and a half hours, I write.

After that, breakfast, shower, time to get ready and leave for work. On weekends, the same routine occurs before I leave the apartment for the day. I rarely write at night. I’m usually busy with other things.

What about the rest of the day? Well, if ideas for scenes or plot points or story arcs come to me during the day while at work, or just out and about, I carry a notebook so I can jot notes. These are then added to or outlined in the manuscript later. If I like them, they are expanded upon or merged into the piece.

In addition to a full-time job, I have an active social life. Over the years, I learned to limit my diversions to prevent the creative output from becoming fallow. The active social life is a tricky area for me because I am inspired and receive many of my ideas for storylines and characters through my real world interactions and social activities. To stay home, seclude myself, and focus only on the WIP would cause the well of inspiration to dry up. The stimulation required to motivate me would short-circuit, and my enthusiasm to get the words onto the paper (or onto the laptop screen), would shut off.

A balancing act. That is essentially what a day in my life is like. At the moment, I am about six days behind on my NaNoWriMo word count. (I am drafting my second novel in the Naked Eye Series using the NaNoWriMo method). That is atrocious! However, the Thanksgiving holiday looms. I intend to use those extra days off to immerse myself – to partake of the very seclusion I tend to avoid, to make the strides necessary to finish at least a 50,000 foundation draft for my current WIP.

Mornings are my creative high tides. When is your creative high tide and how do you tailor it into your everyday life? 


Introducing…
Fun is for Shallow People
Amazon.com
Goodreads
Createspace
Parlors, petticoats, and poison! 

A half-empty bottle of absinthe and a dead man in costume are found in a drifting rowboat. As Detectives Ted Rose and Alexa Sheldon unravel intrigue and ferret out motive, they bump up against the heaving bosom of theatrics that is the Laurel Bay Costume Society. Soon, a group of suspects emerge from the clique of unconventional people. 

Two beautiful women seek to influence the proceedings. One is Trina, the blond, wanna-be femme fatale. The other is Yvette, the cunning, red-haired scene queen. Yvette and Trina turn their battle for social standing among peers into an extreme sport as they try to sway the investigation. 

Ted and Alexa are determined to out-maneuver the manipulators in order to crack the case.
Elizabeth Myrddin

Elizabeth Myrddin works, lives, and plays in beautiful San Francisco. She writes for enjoyment and because the individuals and experiences that pepper her life, for good or for ill, inspire her. Although her writing tends to lurk on the darker side of storytelling, she finds the soft-boiled pulp mystery subgenre appealing. Fun Is For Shallow People is her first full-length novel. The penning of Part Two of the story is already in progress.

Excerpt One (300-500 or so Words): From the opening chapter/scene.

Detective Ted Rose sat on a bench on the dock and tried to ignore the chill mist that swirled around him as he entered notes using an iPad.

adrift rowboat on lake pulled in by mgmt. contains one dead adult male in costume.

His work partner, Detective Alexa Sheldon, studied the boat and he heard her remark, “Interesting.”

She joined him and by way of greeting said, “So we have, apparently, a dead fop. Or rather, a man in a foppish costume, but still very dead.”

Ted glanced up as she pulled on a black wool beret and opened an umbrella. He resumed typing after acknowledging her presence with a faint smile. Ted had worked with Alexa for eight months. The early weeks of their partnership had been tense. His reserved, aloof demeanor frustrated her, he knew, but he had eventually relaxed his guard. They were finally getting know each other a little better. Or rather, Ted allowed himself to be more communicative.

Alexa held out the umbrella so that it sheltered them from the sprinkling rain. “What’s the word on this situation?”

Ted felt her lean over his shoulder to read the screen. He shrugged. “I don’t have much yet. I met the owners, Martin and Eunice Caldwell. They’re married and Parrot Lake Boating has been their business for thirty years. Martin said a bunch of costumers held a gathering in the lake area yesterday. After the party, they left the park. At least one individual stayed behind with a rowboat and a bottle of absinthe. The guy was found dead in the drifting boat this morning. That’s all I’ve got except for the name of the group that reserved the gazebo and rowboats for their event – The Laurel Bay Costume Society.”

“Suicide ruled out?”

Ted tapped, half-empty bottle of alcohol. smells like absinthe. empty glass with absinthe residue. to lab for analysis. He powered down the device and stood. “Nothing is ruled out yet. The coroner’s office will take care of things and get back to us. Let’s finish with the owners.”

As Alexa followed him to the reservation office, Ted zipped shut his black, hooded fleece jacket. The drizzle of rain had eased and the weather was again a dense mist. Jesus, the clinging damp was more annoying than a full-on rain.

He entered the boating office and Martin, a lanky, older man with steel gray hair worn in a short ponytail, stood behind a counter writing in a ledger.

Martin looked up as the detectives approached. “All done out there or do your people need more time to do what they do with the boat and the body?”

“They’ll let you know when their work is complete,” Ted responded. He gestured to Alexa. “Martin, this is my partner, Detective Sheldon. We’d like to ask you and your wife a few questions, if you don’t mind.”


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Just an ordinary day for Karen Martin

A Day in the Life of…
Karen Martin

Well, first of all, most of my writing time
isn’t spent writing novels, and my average day of writing is never average! I
never know what I’m going to be working on next, as I get new assignments from
my clients all the time. I write both fiction and nonfiction for a wide variety
of educational publishers, such as Scholastic, National Geographic, and Oxford
University. One day, I’m writing nonsense poems for 2nd grade, and
the next day, I’m creating the index for a university’s book on bio-terrorism.
It keeps me on my toes, but I like it that way. I love learning about new
things, and my work keeps me researching constantly.

But on a typical writing/work day, here’s
how it goes:

9:36 am (approximately) – Wake up, after
having been up late last night reading some book I just couldn’t put down,
brainstorming for my upcoming novel and/or novella, or playing Jurassic Park
Builder because I was too wired to sleep. #WorldsWorstSleeper

9:37 am – Stumble 16 steps to the “office”
and prep a one-cup of extra bold, boot up computer. Proceed to social media, do
not pass go, do not collect $200. Spend way too long putzing around on Facebook,
Twitter, Amazon KDP, Smashwords, Goodreads, my blog, emails, and Pinterest.
Cook and eat breakfast in there somewhere.

10:45 am – Realize I need to get down to business
if I want to get any work done today. Sigh, and click open the folder to my
external hard drive, where I store all my current work projects. Check my work
email to make sure there are no urgent client messages I need to return, then
get down to work.

11:45 am – Make lunch for Mom. (She lives
with me in her own little suite in the house.) Back to work. No lunch for me
yet; I just had breakfast.

2:15 – When the weather is nice, take a
turn around the neighborhood with Mom to get some exercise, not to mention take
a break from computer eyestrain/get some sunlight so I don’t start looking like
one of those no-pigment-having creatures that hide away in caves at the bottom
of the sea their entire lives. Twenty or thirty minutes later, back home and
back to work.

4:30 pm – Look up and realize it’s time to
make dinner for Mom. Some days we dine together, and some days I keep working
through the dinner hour.

8:30 pm – Wrapping up work for the day
because I’m too cross-eyed to see the screen anymore. At this point, I may be doing
“work” work or personal projects:  blog
posts, writing or editing my next creative piece, formatting a new book to
upload to the internet, checking up on any marketing promos I’m currently
running (such as blog hops or Rafflecopter contests), and so on.

9:00 pm – Spend an hour or so chilling with
Mom, watching the shows we can both stand to watch together:  The Paradise, The White Queen, Two and a Half
Men, American Pickers, Castle, Chopped, and Flea Market Flip are a few of the
usual suspects.


10:15 pm – bubble bath, hot tub, and/or back
to the computer for a stretch of evening productivity that sometimes lasts
until 11:30 or midnight. Usually working on personal projects at this time, as
my brain is too fatigued to do the intellectual heavy-lifting required by most
of my work projects.

11:45 pm – head to bed with an e-book or a
tree-book. Read until sleepy, fall asleep. Or, get a second wind and read
until…

2:30 am – at which time I force myself to
turn off the light. Meditate, hoping brain will cooperate and settle down into
slumber. But some nights I’m up until…

5:30 or 6:00 am – If I’m really wired, I’ll
hit the computer again. I finally fall asleep around bird o’clock, but still
invariably wake up around 9:30. On days like this, I take a long nap in the
afternoon.

Rinse and repeat, occasionally throwing in
date night or an evening out with friends to break up the routine.

Glamorous, no? 


Introducing…

Modogamous

Kate Adams has it all figured out. Five years out of college, she’s got a steady job, a home she loves in the big city, and good friends who always keep her laughing: her stylish but nosy roommate Evette, happily-married Cecie, and of course, good old Mitch, her seriously cute co-worker who’s been stuck in the Friend Zone since the day they met. 
Amazon.UK
Amazon.com
Smashwords
Everything is going just fine—until the night Kate crosses the line with Mitch, and the boundaries between friendship and love begin to blur. Things get even more complicated when hunky JP enters the scene. What’s a girl to do? Add to the mix a spunky little pug Kate never expected to fall for, and her neatly-ordered life is starting to look more like a dog’s dinner. Maybe her roommate has the right idea after all: forget the men, and stick with a canine companion instead. 


It’s time for Kate to figure out what she really wants in life. But can she dig her way out of the mess she’s created before she ends up permanently in the doghouse?


Karen
E. Martin, M.Ed.
 is a full-time freelance writer/editor. She has
been in the publishing business since 2004, working on books and publications
for major and independent publishers, universities, businesses, and private
individuals. 



Prior to entering the field of publishing, Ms. Martin worked as a
Senior EFL Fellow (English as a Foreign Language) for the U.S. Department of
State in Romania, a Junior EFL Fellow for the U.S. Department of State in
Jordan, and a teacher-trainer for the U.S Peace Corps in Mauritania, Jordan,
Romania, and Morocco.



Ms. Martin served as a Peace Corps volunteer for two
years, teaching English in the Errachidia Province of Morocco. 
Modogamous is Ms.
Martin’s first novel.

Giveaway!

Join the Modogamous Holiday Hop Giveaway
to win a fabulous Swag Pack full of prizes! The Swag Pack winner will receive a
signed copy of the paperback, tote bag, coffee mug, Christmas ornament, and
more! Additional prizes include a copy of the e-book, a signed paperback, and a
limited edition, signed art print of the book’s cover art >~>~>

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Excerpt from Modogamous



Chapter 1




Chapter 1 ~ Keepin’ It Kate: “A New Year, A New Reason to Jump Off a Bridge”





~January 3~
Crappy New Year’s, folks!
Oh, don’t mind me. It’s just been a bit of a rough week.
“Come on, Kate. Surely it can’t be that bad,” you say.
Well, that’s very kind of you. But yes, it can be that bad.
“Why’s that?” you say.
You know, the usual. I got fired. My boyfriend dumped me. And I think I may have lost my best friend, too. ‘Cause I’m an idiot like that.
Pardon me while I wallow for a moment. **sigh**
Okay, moment over.
On the up-side, I wrote a special poem to commemorate the occasion, just for you, dear Readers. It’s a bit late for the Christmas theme, I know, but what the hell. I’ve messed everything else up lately, anyway. What’s one more screw-up to add to the list?
Would you like to read it? You would? Oh, thank you! Really, you’re too kind. I don’t know what I’d do without you guys sometimes. Well, without further ado, here it is:

‘Twas three days after New Year’s, and all through the house
The bottles were empty, my feelings to douse. 

The bills were all stacked on the table with care,
In hopes that some money would soon be paid there.
Alas! There was none, for the cash had dried up,
Since my job I did lose at the store known as Pup.

And I in my sweat pants and looking like crap,
Had just settled down for a post-drinking nap.
When up in my head, there arose such a clatter,
It rattled me! But I knew what was the matter.
Away to that night, my mind flew like a flash,
It tore open my heart, and my nerves it did smash.

‘Twas the Eve of New Year’s when things came to a head,
And my heart was ripped out, and they left it for dead.

But let me explain just what happened that night,
And you’ll see, reader dear, why I’m in such a fright.
The evening began with such cheer and such glee!

On the arm of my man, as glad as could be.
A handsome young lad, and so virile and strong,
I thought I might swoon! What could ever go wrong?
Now Prada! Now Vera! Armani! Dior!

On Gucci! On, Pucci! On, Chanel! And much more!
The dance floor was swirling with such fine array,
As the young and the hip danced the cold night away.
And then, in a twinkling, my heart hit the roof.

When I nearly committed the year’s biggest goof.
The moment when everything first went awry
Was the song where I danced with another young guy.
His eyes—how they twinkled! His spirit, how merry!

Then he whispered sweet nothings that turned my cheeks cherry. 
As he drew me in close, my heart started to pound,
But the next thing I knew, he was sprawled on the ground!
I had to escape; I was ready to leave, 
But alas, I’m afraid there would be no reprieve.

I raced ‘round the club, searching through every room,
‘Til at last what I found was my own dismal doom.
I peeked through a door, and my boyfriend I spied.
Thank God! I had found him. I started inside.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, 
But a ho-ho-ho-HO who was nibbling his ear!

Then came Bachelor Two, and things really got tense,
For that’s when the shouting and cursing commenced!
Then laying a fist just below my date’s nose,
He turned words on me, and my aching heart froze.
What was there to do but to bid them goodbye?

I gathered my things, and I held my head high.
But they heard me exclaim, ‘ere I tramped out of sight,
“Crappy New Year’s to all, and you all can me bite!”

A New Yorker in London

A day in the life of…
Lynn Marie Hulsman



The manner in which books are made today
differs starkly from half a century ago, starting with the point of
acquisition.
In those days of face-to-face appointments and the gentleman’s
handshake, my initial “virtual” meeting of my editor would have been
unimaginable. Even now, the majority of authors physically walk into their
editors’ offices to seal deals and sign contracts early in their partnerships.
Since I’m in New York and my editor, Charlotte Ledger, lives in London, our
initial meeting was a long time in coming.


On the morning of the big meeting, I felt
nervous and out of my element. I’d flown to England to attend The Festival of
Romance in Bedford, at which my editor would be representing my publisher,
HarperImpulse at a romance fair and writer’s conference. I’d arrived in the
town the night before, later than I’d hoped. It had been dark, and my brain had
been exhausted from the strain of negotiating foreign maps, currency, and
customs. Jet-lagged and unfamiliar with both town and event, I missed the first
attraction of the festival: A costumed reading of excerpts from historical
romances that took place in a local art gallery.


Determined to start fresh and get it right,
I woke bright and early. I breakfasted alone, despite the fact that the Park
Hotel’s dining room was filled with festival attendees. Shy and self-conscious,
I ate quickly and was among the first to arrive at The Corn Exchange, the venue
for the authors’ and publishers’ stalls. Many of the HarperImpulse writers already
knew each other, adding to my feelings of awkwardness.
On top of that, some
were seasoned in the skills of presenting at these gatherings. I tried to pitch
in as the others set up their table tents, laid out their bookmarks, and
arranged dishes of chocolates to lure in curious romance readers. Feeling very
much an extra wheel, I kept my eye on the door for any sign of my editor. She
would be my lifeline, I hoped.
I’d soon feel at home.


Despite the miles between us, I felt I
already knew her on some level. It had been a leap of faith to hand my romance
novel, Christmas at Thornton Hall, over to a stranger for a critique.
I
consider it act of intimacy. Charlotte had made it possible for me to do by
giving me permission, in the form of buying my book. Her welcoming letter was
filled with the promise that she already liked what she’d read, and would help
me make it even better. When I received my revisions, I couldn’t bear to open
them for nearly two weeks. When I overcame my fear, I found that I agreed with
99.9% of her suggestions, and was giddy that I’d made such a match in the form
of an editor. How could we not have a warm connection in person?


At last, I saw Charlotte sweep into the
room. Unfortunately for me, she was all business as she approached our table.
She was in problem-solving mode: The shipment of POD books meant for the
display had never arrived. 



She greeted me, and was cordial, but it wasn’t
exactly the moment of hugging like long-lost sisters I’d dreamed of
. Feeling fragile as a newbie author and a
fish out of water, I succumbed to my demons, and allowed myself to feel uncomfortable
and out of place.



Things could not have felt more different at
that night’s awards ceremony. Unburdened and relaxed, Charlotte apologized for
her earlier distraction. Cutting me off at the bar, she insisted on buying wine
to toast. Throughout the presentation, we joked and laughed and when HarperImpulse
won an award for innovation, Charlotte shared the honor with the team,
including me, whose book hadn’t even pubbed making me feel included.



After, I retrieved my coat, planning a solo return to the hotel. I exited the building to find Charlotte waiting for me. She kindly spent the walk back telling me point by point what she liked about my book.

That day, a dream came true. I had an editor. I felt seen and valued by her. It had been worth the trip.

Introducing…
Christmas at Thornton Hall
Need a fun, festive treat to warm you up on cold winter nights? Don’t miss this terrific début from a witty new voice in romantic comedy!


When Juliet Hill unwittingly discovers a most-definitely-not-hers-rhinestone-studded lace thong in her high-flying lawyer boyfriend’s apartment, this usually feisty chef is suddenly single and facing a very blue Christmas – with only a ready meal for one to keep her company!

   So when she’s personally requested to cater for the family at Thornton Hall three days before Christmas, it’s not long before Juliet’s standing at the (back) door of the impossibly grand ancestral pile.

   The halls are decked, the guests are titled, those below the stairs are delightfully catty, and all-American Juliet sets to work cooking up a glorious British Christmas with all the trimmings.

   But other flames are burning besides those on the stove… Sparks fly with Edward, the gorgeous ex-soldier turned resident chef, and are those sidelong looks Juliet’s getting from her boss, the American tycoon Jasper Roth?


As the snow starts to fall on the idyllic Cotswolds countryside, so does the veneer of genteel high society and there are more than a few ancient skeletons rattling out of the Hall’s numerous dark cupboards!

HarperImpulse novelist Lynn Marie Hulsman’s varied employment background includes stints as a copywriter for a direct marketing agency specializing in casino advertising (Free buffets! Loose slots!), ushering at Manhattan Theatre Club where she ran smack into Steve Martins’ chest, irritated Jeremy Irons’s agent, and saw John Slattery naked over 50 times, editing materials for major pharmaceutical companies (Ask her anything about the prostate: She knows.), creatively ideating to re-brand major household products for huge corporations, and passing out cheese cube samples (a decided low point).

As a performer she’s been seen onstage at Caroline’s, Stand Up New York, and headlining with her sketch group Hits Like a Girl at The Big Stinkin’ Comedy Festival in Austin,TX. She can’t tell you what she’s ghost written (obv!) but she’s co-written two books on cookery, and is sole author of the forthcoming cookbook The Kentucky Bourbon Dessert Cookbook. She does not believe in white chocolate.


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GUESS WHAT? YOU’RE AN AUTHOR!

A Day in the life of…
Cindy McDonald

Over the course of twenty-six years I was very
comfortable with my title: Miss Cindy—dance teacher/choreographer, and after a
long and successful career, I decided to make a change. In 2011 I published my
first book,
 DEADLY.COM. I became an author, a writer, a storyteller. Problem
was that I still thought of myself as a dancer/choreographer.
Nothing had
changed and I didn’t give it much thought until I attended a wedding—it was the
day that everything changed…


I had just retired from my dance school in May to
focus on writing my books, and on a very hot day in June, my husband and I
attended my dear friend’s daughter’s wedding. It was an outside wedding and we
took our seats waiting for the ceremony to begin when another friend sat down
next to me. She asked about my new release and how it was going, and we chatted
casually until it was time for the bride to make her appearance. I didn’t give
it another thought. After all, I was still just Miss Cindy the dance
teacher/choreographer, and then as I approached the cookie table a woman tapped
me on the shoulder.


“I didn’t mean to listen in on your conversation,” she
began, “but did I hear you say that you are an author?”


I probably looked at the woman like she had just grown
another head. What? Am I a what?
It
was the first time anyone had called me that! It was the first time anyone had
even uttered the word. Author…author…
I must’ve stood there for well over fifteen seconds staring at her like an
idiot because she cocked her head to the side and said to me, “I could have
sworn that I heard someone ask you about a book that you’ve written. I love to
read, and I’ve never met an author.” Skeptically, she repeated, “Are you an
author?”


It wasn’t computing. Yes, I wrote a book, and I had
said book published. But I’m a dance teacher, a choreographer, I couldn’t
possibly be an …um… author.
Finally, my husband spoke up, “Yes, Cindy wrote a
book called, Deadly.Com. It’s a murder suspense book. Do you like murder
suspense books?”


The woman’s face lit up. “I love murder suspense
books! Where can I buy it?”


Yet still I stood there like a total moron, still
contemplating her very first question: are you an author? At last I managed to
speak. I said, “Amazon… you can buy the book on Amazon.”


Tickled pink that she had actually met a real-live
honest-to-God moron… I mean, author, the woman gathered some cookies and
returned to her table. My husband turned to me and said, “Well you totally blew
that. If she’d have asked you about the dance school, you would’ve given her a
business card, directed her to the website, and told her all about it. She
asked you about your book and you were clueless. You’ve got to get better
prepared, Cindy. She was a potential customer.”



He was right. After I came out of my funk, I went
straight to the task of getting prepared. Nowadays with five published books
under my belt, I actually admit to being an author. When someone asks me about
my books, I whip out that business card, I direct them to my website, and yes I
bore them to tears as I tell them all about my books. Yep! That’s what I am: an
honest-to-goodness, real-live, in-the –flesh author.


Hmmm, now I’ve just got to figure out something snappy
to say when people ask, “Are you on the New York Times best seller list?”


Introducing…
INTO THE CROSSFIRE
First Force Series
Amazon.com
Amazon.UK

A notorious killer leaves Jack Haliday’s
world in shambles.


It has been four years since ex Navy SEAL,
Jack Haliday, had an explosive run-in with a biker gang wounding their leader,
Gunner. During those years Jack had acquired everything he ever wanted: a
beautiful wife, an adorable daughter, and a lovely home in the
suburbs—everything was just about as perfect as it could get, until Gunner
returned to twist Jack’s world inside-out with a vengeance that he could never
have prepared for.

Now Jack has a score to settle and he’s
got some friends to help him do it!










Cindy McDonald was born and raised in the Pittsburgh, Pa area. For 26 years she was a professional choreographer,she taught ballet, jazz, and tap. During that time she choregraphed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards. 

Most recently she has retired to write her novels. She resides with her husband on their Thoroughbred farm know as Fly By Night Stables near Pittsburgh.

See more of Cindy’s posts on
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