Just Imagine

Just Imagine

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Welcome to my blog! Pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee and read what's on my mind. I've a vicious sense of humor, an apprecation for romance and a mad addiction to writing.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Celts & More. Lynn Crain's, The Haunting of Maggie Grey. Read What Happens Next!

Welcome! Though it’s the last week of my Celts and More Blog Event, expect more top-notch author interviews at A Writer’s Mind in April.

For those of you swinging in for the first time, this particular event features not only Celtic work written by some of your favorite authors, but focuses on their non-Celtic tales as well. In addition, each author is graciously sharing a never-before-read scene from the main tale being featured. Either it’s been deleted from the story or written especially for this blog event!

This week I’m pleased to welcome romance author Lynn Crain. Here’s what Lynn had to say about the skit she wrote for this blog event… “I've made it a glimpse after the story because it just won EPIC's eBook Award for Historical Erotic Romance.”

Congratulations, Lynn! I love the idea of continuing on for a peek at what happened after the story finished. Crain also donated some pictures of Scotland for your viewing pleasure. Below you'll see snapshots of Castle Dunvegan (the hero's ancestral home), the gardens around Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye, Urquhart on the banks of Loch Ness, a cathedral ruin at Nairn and the palace at Linlithgow

A bit about The Haunting of Maggie Grey

Maggie Grey had wanted to be a doctor all her life. She achieved her dream along with her husband, Justin. Together they planned to build a clinic on his ancestral home on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. But women doctors in the year 1882 didn’t have many options and even fewer if they were widowed like she had been recently. Arriving in England to visit Elizabeth Blackwell, founder of the London Medical School for Woman, she is discouraged to find that the only real health care on the remote Isle of Skye will be herself, a few aging doctors as well as veterinary doctors.

But she must build a clinic there to escape her memories and fulfill her late husband’s dream. Maggie goes by train and boat to the rather bleak Isle of Skye. The island is almost as barren as she feels and she isn’t sure if she can even fit in. Add the fact that her dead husband is haunting her with the request for her to fall in love again and she knows she’s losing her mind.

But the people of Skye need her…and she is determined not to let them down...but they are slow to accept a widowed woman doctor. Now if she were married again…that would be a different matter…and her dead husband, Justin, knows just the right man for the job, Conall MacGryman, his childhood friend and cousin, a veterinary for the island. Now all Justin has to do is to convince Maggie to give the man a chance so she can fall in love again…for both their sakes.

Never-before-read excerpt…

“Would you look at that?” Conall MacGryman folded the paper to get a better look.

“What do you have there, husband?” Maggie, his wife, peered over his shoulder as she bounced their son on her hip.

Conall smiled up at her and she remembered every reason in great detail as to why she married him. “It says that the book, The Haunting of Maggie Grey, won the prestigious EPIC eBook Award for Historical Erotic Romance. Imagine that.”

She playfully punched him on the shoulder, all the while bouncing their cooing son. “It’s a great story. I’m glad it won.” She leaned down and kissed him. “It’s very true to life and as we know it didn’t end there.”

He growled and pulled them both down to his lap. “Of course the story didn’t end there, lass. It didn’t end at the wedding, it didn’t end with the birth of our son and as far as I’m concerned, it won’t be ending till both of us are in the grave.”

She laughed as he kissed her much like he had that very first time, fierce but gentle. Their son, Justin, giggled at his parents antics as he stood on his mother lap, throwing his arms around both of them. “Ma-ma-ma. Pa-pa-pa.”

“Did you just hear our son?” Conall beamed with fatherly pride.

Maggie frowned at him. “He’s been doing this all week. You’ve just been too busy to notice.”

“Just so you know, wife, I will never be too busy for you.” He crushed them both to his chest for a few brief moments before loosening his hold.

“Aye, I know, Conall. You two are the air I breathe.” She smiled at them, a tear in her eye. Their story was special and she knew just how much yet, she was glad the rest of the world knew as well.

That was fantastic, Lynn! Thanks so much for sharing!

Click here to read another fabulous excerpt from The Haunting of Maggie Grey.

Purchase The Haunting of Maggie Grey here.

What they’re saying…

“With skillful writing, the author created main characters who were likable and whom I became invested in.”

~ Stephanotis
Whipped Cream Reviews

Lynn also decided she’d like to promote one of her Works-in-progress which I thought was a super idea. Here’s a bit about Where's My Underwear Anyway?

Aeryn Delancie is ready to move away from corporate law and find something new. However, when she runs into her ex-lover, Logan MacKenzie, through a chance encounter she wonders if he could be part of her new life since their horrible breakup fifteen years ago. The barriers between them are immense and fraught with secrets on both sides, forcing them to overcome past wrongs as they forge a future together.

Unedited Excerpt:

“I suppose you’ve come to collect your property.” His predatory stare would make any woman squirm but then again, I wasn’t just any woman.

No ‘hello, how have you been the last fifteen years’ from this man. It was all strictly business. I’m sure this would be only the first change of many I would see. The Logan I knew really couldn’t give a rat’s ass about business or anything else for that matter. He had been warm, loving, and carefree. His attitude had caused a rift between him and his father, which was something I couldn’t understand in the least. My parents died in a car crash when I was half way through graduate school but we were always close. From the moment they were gone, my grandmother Nana, took over for my parents.

“Good…straight to the point. I’m sure your wife loves that quality about you.” I nodded my head in agreement. “If I can come in and collect my underwear…”

He cut me off mid-sentence as he opened the door to usher me in. “No wife.”

This caused me to stop even with him and look up into his smoldering green eyes. “No wife?” I murmured as my heart beat faster.

“No wife,” he whispered back and dipped his head slightly toward mine.

What I wouldn’t do to feel those lips on mine. Until I had my property back, I had to maintain focus. Maybe this working vacation would turn out better than I thought. “I – I need to get my underwear back from you.”

“No can do.” He stepped back, his hand pressed into my back, moving me inside.

I stepped a few feet away, turned and stared at him. “What do you mean ‘no can do’?”

The door shut firmly behind him, he leaned back against it. “What do you want it to mean?”

I sighed aloud this time, realizing this would be harder than I thought especially since there was no wife in the picture. Logan had never been a pushover as he was proving once again. “Logan, I’m not here to play games. I want my underwear back.”

He stared at me a moment more before he pushed himself away from the door where he leaned, watching me as his eyes meandered up and down my body. “Why don’t you follow me and then we can discuss it.”

As I followed him through the large penthouse flat, I noticed the artful blend of old and new. The sofa might have been new but the knitted blanket I recognized as one his mother had made. Past and present dotted the walls in the form of pictures and other memorabilia. “It looks like you’ve done really well for yourself.”

“I get by.” He continued to walk, not even turning to acknowledge the fact I had actually enquired about something personal.

“Boy, friendly, aren’t you?” I muttered under my breath. Suddenly, I found myself pinned against the wall. Not in a bad way mind you but in a sexual, predatory way. My heart felt like it would leap from my chest any moment now. I watched him consume me with his eyes, hot smoldering eyes that spoke of sin and sex and heaven only knew what other delights.

“What do you want me to say, Aeryn?” He leaned into my hair as if breathing in the scent. “Did you expect me to say something like ‘hi honey I’ve missed you these past fifteen years’? Or would you rather I cut right to the chase and take you right here?”

My eyes opened wide and I felt my body drip with desire as my nipples hardened. I wanted this man like no other but I couldn’t…no, it wouldn’t do to let him know that fact…not one little bit. I hadn’t expected the anger and maybe his emotion had something to do with last night. “Ah – actually – ah, I just came for my underwear.” I swallowed hard and watched him look at the workings of my throat. I realized it would take little to entice him to place his mouth there.

Slowly, he leveraged himself away from me, making sure I felt every bulge and muscle in his entire body. “Like I said, no can do.” He turned to continue down the hall and I followed him into a rather large office with a splendid view of Edinburgh Castle.

“Wow.” I could only stare at the castle dominating the scene. “You get to look at that every day?” I glanced at him amazed at the wonder I saw in his eyes. He was just as affected by what stood out the window as I was.

“I do.” He indicated a dark leather chair in front of his desk as I returned to the reality of the situation.

I turned away from the window and slowly sat in the chair when my eyes caught something above his desk. I gasped and leaned forward to get a better look. In a beautiful display case were my underwear artfully presented like any other piece I had seen while walking through the penthouse. “Just what do you think you’re doing?” I finally managed to grind out through clenched teeth. This wasn’t funny one little bit.

Sky here. This sounds like it’s going to be a delicious read, Lynn. Thanks again for sharing!

Learn more about Lynn and her work at her Website.

Be sure to pop over to The Write Life to meet another talented author and perhaps win a prize!

Cheers
~Sky

Friday, March 25, 2011

Read a VERY SEXY interview between my Vampires! Win from my Backlist!


Have you heard? My vampires, Alexandria and Salvator have interviewed one another. Let’s just say thing got a little heated…in more ways than one! With a special guest appearance from the hero of Darkest Memory, Gabriel, this is one interview you won’t soon forget. Check it out at Alisha Paige’s Blog. One lucky commenter wins their choice of a download from my backlist!

~Sky

Monday, March 21, 2011

Celts & More. P.L. Parker's, Absolution. What You Never Got To Read!

Welcome to my Celts & More Blog Event! It’s hard to believe there are only a few weeks left but I still have some fantastic authors to welcome over.

For those of you joining me for the first time this particular blog event has an added bonus. Each author is either sharing a deleted scene from one of their stories or a skit they wrote especially for this event.

This week it’s my pleasure to welcome back fabulously talented author, P.L. Parker. This visit she’ll be sharing her titles, Absolution and Into the Savage Dawn.

ABSOLUTION:

For years, travelers in the French Vosges Mountains heard the wailing of a woman echo in the hollows. Her cries went unbidden. No one was brave enough to seek out the source. Over time, the screams lessen, then stop. Eventually, even the memories slipped away, forgotten.

Six centuries later, two over-eager research assistants find and release the young half vampire, Chloe — unaware of events they unwittingly unleash with her.

Far away, other forces are aware of her awakening. Zaccarius, greatest of all the Slayers, is sent by the Council of Nine to seek out Chloe, determine her worth and render justice. Enticed by her purity and innocence, he becomes her protector. However, Jochad, the Dark Master and his army of evil vampires are eager to claim Chloe.

In the battle that ensues, Zaccarius falls beneath Jochad’s army. To save her lover, Chloe must make a choice. Ancient and dying, Jochad needs her blood to reanimate. His ultimatum—her blood or Zaccarius’ life.

What P.L. Parker had to say about her excerpt...“There is a part of my novel where Zaccarius mourns that he will never see the beauteous one. Here is a scene I might have added to Absolution."

Never-Before-Read Scene from ABSOLUTION…

Why must I be here? Zaccarius scanned the tightly packed mass of overdressed bodies, holding his breath to minimize his reaction to the smell of unwashed and sweating bodies. Bluebloods they liked to call themselves. He grimaced, running a hand under his the color of his doublet. I be here because my father hopes some money-grubbing mama will trap me for her marriage-minded daughter. He edged through the crowd finding an open spot to stand beneath a curving staircase. But at least here fresh air from the open patio circulated. He inhaled, catching the scent of poppies and new mown grass.

The sound of feminine laughter drew his attention. His eyes traveled up the staircase to the walkway above. Maidens too young to be presented lined the banister, wide-eyed with envy as they watched the ball from their virginal perch. Silly young things with no thought but sometime in the future to find the richest beau!

Leisurely, he glanced down the line, blinking several times as he viewed the last. Small and petite, shining black hair fell in a cascade beneath her hips. His mouth grew dry, his heart rate elevated. Beneath arched brows, eyes the color of violets in the spring graced a face so delicate and sensual, he could scarce breathe. Who be this wondrous creature?

As if sensing his perusal, she glanced down. Full lips curved in a winsome smile. The smooth cheeks pinked. Nervous, she chewed her lower lip with straight white teeth. Even so young, a beauty in the making!

‘Twould be some years before she be on the marriage market. P’raps I’ll return when the time is right!

Sky here. Loved it, P.L.! Thanks for sharing.

What they're saying...

"Once again P.L. Parker has done it. This is an absolutely wonderful story. The characters are wonderful and the story is well written. I loved the dialogue and each one of the characters that grew close to Chloe and help her adjust to her life and what she is. You really get involved with the characters and what they go through and you just can't help but to fall in love with them.

Thanks once again for another great story Ms. Parker. Keep them coming."

Dana J. Simmons
Amazon Review

Purchase ABSOLUTION at Eternal Press and Amazon.

INTO THE SAVAGE DAWN

Sent back 40,000 years to the ends of the last great Ice Age, the time travelers embark on a journey of survival and discovery. The brutal and cannibalistic Cro-Magnons discover the small band and attack. Forced to flee from their high mountain encampment, the tribe heads into the dawn, towards the Pacific Ocean and their dream of ultimately reaching North America. Geena and Micah are left behind to lead the Cros away from the escaping tribe. When he is killed, she finds herself terribly alone. Severely injured and without hope or resources, she nonetheless is determined to survive and find the people. Survival of the fittest - that is the law of primordial Earth.

Purchase SAVAGE DAWN at Willow Moon Publishing and Amazon.

Visit P.L. Parker at her Website and Blog. Parker can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and Good Reads.

Interested in meeting another great author? Perhaps winning a prize? Be sure to pop over to The Write Life now!

Thanks for joining us.

~Sky

Friday, March 18, 2011

Vampire on Vampire Action. Join Me Today!


I'm kicking back with romance author, Faith V. Smith at her Blog. Pop over to read a few hand selected steamy exchanges between Salvator and Alexandria from my latest release, HEART OF VESUVIUS (Sequel to DARKEST MEMORY).

We look forward to seeing you!

~Sky

Monday, March 14, 2011

Read it For the First Time Here! Amber Leigh Williams and Bet it on my Heart!

Welcome! My Celts & More Blog Event is in full swing. First time here? If so, you’ve arrived at the right time. This particular blog event allows the featured author to share a never-before-read scene from one of their stories. Either it’s a deleted scene or one written especially for this blog event.

This week it’s my pleasure to welcome romance author Amber Leigh Williams. She’s decided to share a scene from her story, Bet it on my Heart (Book III in the Ridges of Wayback, TX trilogy)

BET IT ON MY HEART

ANTE UP! Keefe Ridge's bronc-busting days are nearly over. Despite that and the fact that he is slowly making his dream business venture a reality, Wayback's wildest cowboy doesn't see any reason to settle down. He is even willing to bet that marriage isn't in the cards at all for him.

Agent Calli Morlani came to Wayback on a mission: to bring Stella Ridge back to Hollywood. When Stella refuses, she dares Calli to take in some local color and see what Wayback has to offer. Whether that includes Stella's devastatingly charming brother becomes irrevelant once Calli finds herself in bed with him - in more ways than one…

Will it take a tough city girl to make the Wayback playboy finally fall long and hard? Or will Keefe give Calli a reason to stay? Place your bet!

A DELETED SCENE FROM Bet It On My Heart (the morning after Keefe Ridge and Calli Morlani’s infamous roll in the hay)

The fact that some time in the night Keefe had left her alone in the hay didn’t occur to Calli until early the next morning when a mournful loe from the corral outside jerked her awake. The place beside her clearly empty, she tugged the horse blanket up over her torso and frowned around the dim space. No cowboys lurked despite the low light peaking through thin wall slats and dust that turned lazy circles in the still air.

Her good-lovin’ cowpoke had been gone for some time.

It took five irritating minutes to locate all her missing garments. It was bad enough having to face the walk of shame across the barnyard, but the man could have had the decency to walk right along with her.

She exited the barn cautiously, peering around to ensure no ranch hands or other early risers were in sight. The only pairs of eyes around to see her flee the scene of the crime, mussed and rumbled, were the dull black of a heifer chewing lethargically on a sprig of grass. Pulling on one heel then the other, she picked her way through the shadows leading to the ranch house. Not so much as a whistle or a breeze cut across the yard and she breathed easy once she reached the porch steps.

There were several trucks in the drive. All she had to do was grab a set of keys from the mud room peg, figure out which four-wheel drive they controlled and hightail it back to her room at the bed-and-breakfast.

The door was unlocked so she tiptoed across the distressed floorboards. She took four and a half steps before someone cleared a throat and ruined her chances of escape.

“Mornin’, Miz Morlani.”

Scowling, she faced the lean, masculine figure leaning against the doorjamb. He was dressed in boots, Levi’s, and a fresh workshirt. Underneath the brim of his Stetson, his blue eyes practically glittered with mischievous light and his mouth was spread wide in a smirk that made all those melting sensations from their roll in the hay rush back in full force.

“Damn it, Keefe,” she hissed, fighting a smile. “I thought you were Nuala.”

“That would have been unfortunate for the both of us. For a housekeeper, she’s a tyrant in the early morning.” He lifted the mug gripped in one wide-palmed, capable hand and cocked a brow. “Coffee?”

She sighed. It was a bribe, and a good one. “Gimme.”

Before she could take the mug for her own, his free hand snaked out and gripped her wrist, tugging her toward him. Despite her hushed protests, he managed to manuveur her back snug up against the doorjamb with his hard torso pressed close against hers and his arms around her.

“Whoa— Uh uh, mister.” She planted her hands on his shoulders and felt nothing but sinew and strength through the soft chambray. “I don’t think so.”

The smirk still dangled from his lips, a temptation she was fighting harder and harder to ignore. “You don’t get your straight shot of caffeine until I get my morning-after kiss.”

“You play a dangerous game, cowpoke. Men have died for less than coming between me and my first cup of joe.”

He lowered those full, upturned lips down to hers until a bare inch separated his mouth from hers. “For all your fancy talk and diplomas, this is one cowpoke you don’t intimidate.”

And that in a nutshell was what had drawn her to Keefe Ridge to begin with. Her heart pattered hard against her breastbone as he lowered his mouth just enough to nibble her lower lip. The joints of her knees warmed, nearly collapsed inward, as the sinuous shudders of heat she’d felt the night before assailed her.

Dangerous, indeed.

“Now…let’s try this again, slick.” Breathing deep the scent of hay that no doubt clung to her, he closed his eyes and tipped his brow to hers in a gesture of unexpected tenderness. “Mornin’, Miss Morlani,” he murmured.

Her arms came around him. She’ d have thought it was more for support than anything else…but that would have made her a fool. It might have been silly and weak, but she wanted him to hold her in this quiet, sweet morning light—and keep on holding her for a long, long time.

She kissed him deep then turned her face into a warmth of his shoulder to hide a beaming grin. “Good morning, Mr. Ridge.”

Sky here. Fantastic excerpt, Amber! Thanks so much for sharing.

Interested in reading another excerpt? Click here.

Purchase Bet It On My Heart in Ebook or Audio format.

Find Other Books in the Ridges of Wayback, TX trilogy at The Wild Rose Press.

What they’re saying about Bet it on my Heart

Long & Short Reviews:  Fantastic writing, sizzling dialogue, and an unforgettable story make Bet It On My Heart a must read. Be sure to pencil this title onto your TBR list for some quality time in the reading chair. I can’t wait for more in this series, as well as anything from the library of Ms. Williams, who has become one of my must read authors. She wrings every single emotion possible from your heart, only to put the pieces back together again with a shiny red bow. It’s an emotional journey that leaves one heck of an impression, which is what every fantastic romance should strive for.

Fallen Angel Reviews:  Tempers flare but hearts win out in Bet It on My Heart. Amber Leigh Williams does a fantastic job mixing former characters into this current storyline. They are all loveable and frustrating just like real family members. I enjoyed the chemistry and sexual tension between Calli and Keefe. This is an HEA read you can bet on.

Read another great story by Amber Leigh Williams

BLACKEST HEART

America's Sweetheart, Stella Ridge has been away from Wayback for fifteen years paving her way to the top of the acting business. When a car accident leaves her physically and emotionally scarred, the only place she wants to go is home to Texas and her family's ranch.

The changes that have taken place since her departure are enough to rock her world again. She uncovers a buried tragedy, struggles with the penetrating stares and questions from townsfolk, and comes up against an intriguing and unexpected spark with the silent cowboy and champion bull rider, Judd Black. Their wounded souls draw them together and Stella begins to realize that only in him can she find the solace she sought by leaving the bright lights of Hollywood.

Read an Excerpt here.

What they’re saying about Blackest Heart

This story is absolute perfection! From the beautiful setting to the well thought out plot to one of the sexiest heroes I've had the pleasure to read in a long time. I loved everything about this story. My only complaint is that it was too short...I wanted it to go on and on! And I'll never be able to hear that silly phrase "I tapped that" without laughing myself sick. Sexy, funny, and wonderfully heartwarming, Blackest Heart is a definite keeper. And the best part? There's two more stories in this incredible series featuring Stella's yummy brothers!! - Donna Marie Rogers, author of Meant To Be and Golden Opportunity

In this touching contemporary story, when a young actress returns home following a car accident that has left her scarred she finds healing and love in the arms of a quiet cowboy… Blackest Heart is a wonderful story with characters that will touch the heart and I for one am glad I got the chance to read it. —Long and Short Reviews

The tensions and conflicts with others made the couple seem even more real. The sensuality was super charged and dynamic. I could not put this book down. It was mesmerizing to read. I truly enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend it to everyone. —The Romance Studio

Purchase Blackest Heart in Ebook, Audio Book or Paperback.

Visit Amber Leigh Williams’ Website.

Enjoy blogging? Follow Amber’s Blog. (Where readers can join her exclusive mailing list)

Follow Amber Leigh Williams on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.

Don't forget to pop over to The Write Life to meet another author and perhaps win a prize.

Thanks for joining us this week!

~Sky

Monday, March 7, 2011

Celts & More. Kris Tualla's, A Woman of Choice. Comment for a Chance to Win Big!


Welcome to my Celts and More blog event! For those of you joining me for the first time this particular event highlights not only the Celtic work written by some of your favorite romance authors but also something they’ve penned from another genre. Basically, it’s all about expanding your pallet!

As an added bonus, each and every participating author will be providing a never-before-read scene from their featured story. That means this scene has not been published. It’s either a deleted scene or one written especially for this blog post.

This week it’s my pleasure to introduce internationally published best-selling author Kris Tualla.

Before we continue a quick word from Kris… "For every 10 people who comment here EVERY DAY, I will give away one free e-copy of A Woman of Choice – the beginning of the trilogy. And, yes. Commenter #11 warrants 2 copies! Comment #21? I’ll give away three."

Wow, very generous! Thanks Kris!

A little bit about each book…

A WOMAN OF CHOICE

A woman is viciously betrayed and abandoned by her unfaithful husband. She is rescued by a widower uninterested in love. In desperation, she becomes engaged to his best friend. One woman, three very different men. Life is about choices.

A PRINCE OF NORWAY

American-born Nicolas Hansen has been asked to candidate for his great-grandfather's throne. His new wife Sydney isn't about to let him go to Norway and face that possibility alone. The moment they arrive at Akershus Castle, the political intrigue and maneuvering begin. Can Sydney trust anyone? Will Nicolas resist the seduction of power? Or will he claim the throne for himself? Most importantly: will their young marriage survive the malicious mischief of the ambitious royal family?

A MATTER OF PRINCIPLE

Nicolas Hansen has returned from Norway determined to change the world. But when he runs for State Legislator in the brand-new state of Missouri, the enemies he made over the past two years aren't about to step quietly aside. Sydney has made enemies of her own, both by marrying Nicolas and by practicing midwifery. When a newspaper reporter makes it his goal to destroy them, Nicolas must rethink his path once again. But this time, it's a matter of principle.

Deleted Scene from "A Woman of Choice"

May 25, 1819

People acquainted with Nicolas considered him a man who was adept at hiding his emotions. In truth, what Nicolas had become good at was not having emotions. After his wife died, he practiced daily until it became second nature to him. At least until this unsettling woman, Sydney, tumbled into his life.

Lily sat silent beside Nicolas, eyes narrowed, lips pursed. She jumped up when the song ended and shouted, “Let’s play charades!”

“We’ll draw for sides.” Rickard broke twigs into two different lengths and arranged them in his hand. “Each person who wants to play needs to pick a stick!”

Seven players stepped forward, five drew short sticks and two drew long ones.

“I’ll go to the other side,” Nicolas volunteered. “That makes it four and three.” He stepped to the smaller group and stood right next to Sydney.

Lily was in the larger group. “No, Nicolas! We should all draw again!”

Rickard scoffed, “Nonsense, Lily. This is fine. And I’ll pick the category and be the judge!”

Lily’s irritation was clear to Nicolas. He wiped a grin away.

“Oh, very well,” she huffed. “Here’s how the game goes: each side chooses something for the other group to figure out. One person on that side pantomimes and the others try and guess.”

“Will there be a winner?” Lee Matthews asked Rickard.

“The group that discerns the answers fastest, of course. And the category shall be…” Rickard steepled his fingers and tilted his head. “Shakespeare’s plays!”

The two groups huddled. After a minute, Rickard spoke up. “Lily, your group will decide who acts first, and then Nick’s group will tell you what to act out.” Rickard turned to Nicolas. “Ready?”

Nicolas nodded. Lee approached and Nicolas gave him the challenge. Lee thought a minute, and then faced his group. He began to wave his hands in the air, pointing at the sky.

“Stars!”

“Moon?”

“Dark…”

Lee shook his head. He placed his palms together, laid them alongside his head and closed his eyes.

“Sleep? ‘To sleep, perchance to dream’?”

“Hamlet!” Lily shouted.

Lee shook his head again; Nicolas and his team stifled their snickers. Lee pointed at the sky again, and then mimed sleep once more.

“Sleep? Dream?”

Lee nodded and pointed to the night above them.

“Black? Night?””

Lee nodded again and mimed sleep.

“Night and dream? A Midsummer Night’s Dream?” Jess guessed.

“Yes!” Lee shouted. His group clapped their hands.

“Alright, now it’s Nick’s turn.” Rickard directed his attention to the smaller group.

“I’ll go first,” Sydney volunteered. She crossed to the other group to hear her challenge. Nodding, she turned to face her team, and smiled. Sydney sat on the edge of the brick fire ring with her legs straight out in front of her. With her arms, she pantomimed rowing a boat.

“Rowing?” Margaret looked puzzled. “What play is about boats?”

“Not rowing, row.” Nicolas winked his compliment at Sydney. “Romeo and Juliet!”

The small group applauded while Lily’s group, stunned by the rapid resolution, consoled each other.

“Well played!” Rickard commended.

Beth McGovern was next. She faced her companions and held her hands up, all fingers splayed. Then she folded all but two. Faced with blank looks, she did it again.

“Oh!” Lily hopped up and down. “Twelve! The Twelfth Night!”

Her group clapped.

“Right, then!” Rickard looked to Nicolas’s team. “You’re still ahead based on the first challenge. Who’ll go next?”

Margaret Brown looked at Nicolas. Her expression shouted she’d rather die than take the next turn. Resigned, Nicolas walked to the other group to receive their challenge. When he heard it, he paused, frowning.

“Are you ready, Nick?” Rickard asked.

Nicolas nodded and made deliberate eye contact with Sydney. She was smart enough to catch his clues. He raised his right fist and slashed it down as though stabbing something in front of him.

Nothing. He did it again.

“Murder?” Sydney deduced.

Nicolas nodded enthusiastically and pointed at her.

“Murder? That’s not much help, sir. What Shakespeare play is not about murder?” Margaret laughed.

Nicolas shook his head and tried a different approach. He began to hop from one foot to the other around the fire. Sydney started to chuckle and clapped her hand over her mouth. Nicolas tucked his thumbs and set both palms against the sides of his head, fingers in the air. He continued to hop around the fire.

“What’s that? A crown? Feathers?” Sydney laughed.

Nicolas nodded and increased his rhythmic stomp.

Margaret turned to Sydney, baffled. “Is he an Indian?”

Nicolas pointed at Margaret. Sydney didn’t hold back her amusement. Watching a six-foot-four-inch Norwegian hop around the fire with his hands on his head was, apparently, extremely funny to her.

“You’re—an—Indian?” she whooped.

Nicolas nodded, grinning widely.

Seeing he was getting nowhere, he moved on. He lifted his hands higher, indicating a much larger cranial addition. Then he leapt around the fire as gracefully as he could, toes pointed. Sydney was laughing so hard, she couldn’t speak.

“Are you a deer?” Margaret ventured.

Nicolas waved at her. Then he pretended to gut himself. He pointed at his limbs.

“Butcher?” Margaret guessed. “Meat? Venison?”

Nicolas nodded and pointed again.

Sydney collapsed to her knees in hysterics, of no discernable help whatsoever. “Murder Indian Venison!” she wheezed. “One of Shakespeare’s finest!”

Nicolas laughed out loud at that, breaking the rules. He wagged his finger at the two women, trying to indicate that it was something like that.

“Do that ‘Indian’ part again,” Rickard suggested, a wide grin betraying his motive.

Nicolas shot him a look but, in the spirit of the game, took great one-footed hops around the fire. Knowing they had already lost this round, Nicolas added sound to his display, grunting in rhythm with his footfalls.

“Chanting!” Margaret surmised.

Now Nicolas’s laughter was louder than his grunts.

“Murder Chanting Venison?” Margaret was clearly stumped.

Sydney was doubled over, laughing so hard she wasn’t making any sound. Tears ran down her cheeks and Nicolas was she was afraid she might lose bodily control and embarrass herself.

“Mur—chant—of—Ven—is!” she managed to gasp.

“Yes!” Nicolas dropped to his knees, grateful arms high in the air.

“Merchant of Venice?” Margaret looked puzzled. “Oh! I understand! Just use part of the words!”

Sydney seemed out of control, and Nicolas was right with her. He climbed to his feet and stumbled over, intending to help her up. Instead he dropped in front of her and roared. His loud guffaws echoed off the house.

“Murder Indian Venison!” he whooped. “That’s the one where the Raj of India’s pet deer is killed!”

Sydney nodded and waved her hands. “And he talks to the antlers… Alas, poor Buck, I knew him well!” By now, the entire party joined the hilarity. The game was clearly over.

“We concede,” Nicolas croaked to Rickard. “We have been bested.”

“We won!” Lily clapped her hands.

But no one else heard her over their laughter.

Excellent excerpt, Kris! Thanks for sharing!

What they’re saying…

RT Book Reviews - 4 Stars!

"A riveting novel showing that dirty politics have been around for a long time. The story is quite emotional with plenty of action. Nicolas and Sydney may have serious problems, but they also share a deep love and lots of laughter!"

Read another excerpt HERE.

Purchase A WOMAN OF CHOICE at Goodnight Publishing.


Visit Kris Tualla’s Website and Blog.

Find Kris on Twitter and Facebook.

Kris Tualla’s YouTube Channel.

Don’t forget, for every 10 people who comment here EVERY DAY, I will give away one free e-copy of A Woman of Choice – the beginning of the trilogy. And, yes. Commenter #11 warrants 2 copies! Comment #21? I’ll give away three.

Interested in meeting another great author? Then be sure to pop over to The Write Life!

Best Regards,
~Sky

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Time to Remix this Drink! Calling all AUTHORS! Promo op.

Big news for possible future featured authors. I want you!

As many of my regulars know, I typically follow a protocol of quarterly blog events. In 2011, things are changing here at A Writer's Mind. Why? Well, change is good and I feel introducing a new format would be more entertaining for readers at this time.

To my blog followers, I know 2010 was a blast! We had fun, didn't we? However, I'd really like to provide more variety for you!

So, calling all authors....if you're interested in learning how you can reach more readers and promo click HERE.

For those of you following my Celts & More event, see you Monday!

~Sky

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sharon Donovan & Nancy Lee Badger's Contest Winners!

Yet another fabulous week has passed and my Celt’s and More blog event is more than halfway through. I’d like to once more thank author Nancy Lee Badger for joining me and sharing a never-before-read scene from her latest work, Dragon’s Curse.

Today I’ll be announcing a few contest winners…

A huge congratulations to Deb Thomas. You won Sharon Donovan’s blue sapphire earrings!

Another round of congrat’s goes to Beth Caudill who won Nancy Lee Badger’s, Celtic Warrior bumper sticker!

Please contact me at SkyPurington@live.com to collect your prizes.

Wishing everyone a fantastic weekend. Don’t forget to pop back in Monday morn as I welcome author Kris Tualla to my Celt’s and More blog event.

~Sky