The Yarnspinners

News of anthologies by Kim Cox, Elizabeth Delisi, Chris Grover, Elaine Hopper, Maureen McMahon, and Sheryl Hames Torres--The Yarnspinners!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Writing Workshops Online

Is your Christmas cash burning a hole in your pocket? Do you plan to make a New Year’s resolution to become a better writer? If so, check out the classes I have coming up at Writers Online Workshops:

Accelerated Fundamentals of Fiction Writing: starts March 11. Develop effective creative writing techniques, believable characters and compelling plots that can be applied to any long or short fiction form.

Advanced Novel Writing Workshop: starts January 14. Continue working on your novel manuscript with help and critiques from a published novelist, and the encouragement and feedback of your peers.

Essentials of Romance Writing: starts December 31. Learn what sets romance writing apart from other types of fiction including the hero and heroine, sexual tension, plot and conventions of the genre.

Focus on the Novel: starts February 25. Work with a published novelist to develop an idea suitable for a novel, develop a working outline for your novel, and write and revise the opening chapters.

Write Great Fiction: Description & Setting: starts Dec. 31. Learn how striking, yet credible, description is formed—and what such description allows you to accomplish in your own work.

For more information or to register, click on this link: http://www.writersonlineworkshops.com/retail/faculty.aspx . Scroll down to my name and click on the course(s) you’re interested in. Hope to see you there!

Liz

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dazzling Dialogue Workshop

Is your dialogue deadly dull? Do your characters open their mouths and put your readers to sleep?

If your dialogue could use a little dazzle, check out Writing Great Fiction: Dialogue, offered by Writers Online Workshops.

http://www.writersonlineworkshops.com/retail/courses.aspx?r=writing-effective-dialogue

I'm teaching the section starting November 19. The course runs for 6 weeks, and will give you lectures, reading assignments, writing assignments, and group critiques. Soon, you'll be the dialogue king!

Hope to see you there.

Liz

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

TEST

I'm having trouble with Blogger, so thought I;d try a test post here.

Chris

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

New Workshop at AllWriters' Workplace & Workshop

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AllWriters’ Workplace & Workshop brings two more instructors on board!

WAUKESHA – Into a studio already overflowing with creative talent, two more instructors are finding their way. Authors Elizabeth Delisi and Karlyn Thayer are joining the online faculty at AllWriters’ Workplace & Workshop!

ELIZABETH DELISI will be teaching an online course on using Tarot Cards to enhance your writing. Elizabeth has wanted to be a writer since she was in first grade, and probably would have written in the womb if she could have convinced her mother to swallow a pencil. But life hasn't always gone the way she planned, and on her road to publication she worked as a motel maid, waitress, secretary, administrative aide, substitute teacher, and newspaper reporter. Elizabeth's novels include a Fatal Fortune, first in the Lottie Baldwin paranormal mystery series; Lady Of The Two Lands, a time-travel romance; and Since All Is Passing, a suspense. She's written contemporary and paranormal romance novellas for One Touch Beyond; Enchanted Holidays; Holiday Hearts; Holiday Hearts 2; and Cupid’s Capers, and has also published two short story collections, Mirror Images and Penumbra. In addition to her writing, Elizabeth edits for several small publishers and individuals, and besides teaching for AllWriters’, she teaches for Writer's Digest. She's taught at Barnes & Noble online, and for various RWA chapters. Elizabeth lives in New Hampshire.

KARLYN THAYER will be teaching a how-to class in writing the romance and a refresher course in grammar. Karlyn has had numerous romance stories published, along with a few literary-type tales. One story was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her work has been published in the literary journal of Ball State University and many more magazines. When not writing, Karlyn takes care of seven former race horses, along with dogs and cats. Karlyn is a member of Toastmasters International and is known for presenting humorous talks. "I try to include a little humor in everything I do. I think the world needs more humor. Sometimes we have to work to find the funny side of situations, but doing so is worth the time and effort if we can bring laughter to our own lives and the lives of others. Yikes, I just realized this paragraph is way too serious!"

AllWriters’ Workplace and Workshop offers on-site and online writing courses in all genres and abilities of creative writing, as well as coaching, editing, and marketing services. A schedule of classes and registration is available online at http://www.allwriters.org or you can call 262-446-0284.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Two Exciting Writing Courses

I'm teaching two exciting writing courses, starting this month.

ESSENTIALS OF MYSTERY WRITING

Do you love reading a good mystery? Have you always wanted to write one? During the Essentials of Mystery Writing workshop, you’ll have the choice of creating a brand new mystery story from scratch or working with a story you already have in progress.

In this course you will:

* Learn how to construct a compelling mystery plot
* Develop fascinating characters
* Plant clues
* Keep your readers turning the pages, eager to find out what will happen next

Course Structure

The workshop will consist of six one-week sessions. Each session will include online lectures and associated textbook reading assignments, along with a writing assignment to be submitted to the instructor for private review. In addition, work will be posted each session for group review and feedback. Throughout the workshop you will be able to participate in asynchronous lecture discussion and be encouraged to take advantage of ongoing informal discussions and posted self-directed writing and creativity exercises. (1.2 CEUs)

For more info or to sign up, go here: http://www.writersonlineworkshops.com/retail/courses.aspx?r=essentials-of-mystery-writing


ESSENTIALS OF ROMANCE WRITING

Do you yearn to write a romantic story? If so, you need to know what sets romance writing apart from other types of fiction. This course explores why romance is the same, yet different. Some essential components of romance are unique to the genre, while some romance requirements are identical to those of any good fiction story. Neither Stephen King nor Tom Clancy could sit down and write a romance unless he first familiarized himself with the specific factors that create a successful romance. This workshop will help you to understand those specific factors that make up the specialized world of romantic fiction.

In this course you will:

* Learn how the hero of an action novel differs from the hero of a romantic novel
* Master the tricky business of putting your hero and heroine together and keeping them together-yet-apart until the story's close
* Create the sexual tension that will have your readers turning the pages late into the night
* Discover conventions must be followed and what rules can be broken for readers to embrace your work

Course Structure

The workshop will consist of six one-week sessions. Each session will include online lectures and associated textbook reading assignments, along with a writing assignment to be submitted to the instructor for private review. In addition, work will be posted each session for group review and feedback. Throughout the workshop you will be able to participate in asynchronous lecture discussion and be encouraged to take advantage of ongoing informal discussions and posted self-directed writing and creativity exercises. (1.2 CEUs)

For more info or to sign up, go here: http://www.writersonlineworkshops.com/retail/courses.aspx?r=essentials-of-romance-writing


And for those of you who read all the way down here, use this code to get a 10% discount: ED9A

Hope to see you there!

Liz

Monday, June 08, 2009

10% Discount on Writing Workshop

10% Discount on Writing Workshop

In case you've been waiting to take a writing workshop when the price comes down and you can get a good deal, your time is here.

Use coupon code ED9A when you register, and you can take 10% off any 2009 writing workshop at Writers Online Workshops, the online writing school of Writer's Digest magazine.

Here's the upcoming workshop I'm teaching:

Essentials of Romance Writing, July 23 - September 2, 2009
Description: Do you yearn to write a romantic story? If so, you need to know what sets romance writing apart from other types of fiction. This course explores why romance is the same, yet different. Some essential components of romance are unique to the genre, while some romance requirements are identical to those of any good fiction story. Neither Stephen King nor Tom Clancy could sit down and write a romance unless he first familiarized himself with the specific factors that create a successful romance. This workshop will help you to understand those specific factors that make up the specialized world of romantic fiction.

In this course you will:

* Learn how the hero of an action novel differs from the hero of a romantic novel
* Master the tricky business of putting your hero and heroine together and keeping them together-yet-apart until the story's close
* Create the sexual tension that will have your readers turning the pages late into the night
* Discover conventions must be followed and what rules can be broken for readers to embrace your work

The workshop will consist of six one-week sessions. Each session will include online lectures and associated textbook reading assignments, along with a writing assignment to be submitted to the instructor for private review. In addition, work will be posted each session for group review and feedback. Throughout the workshop you will be able to participate in asynchronous lecture discussion and be encouraged to take advantage of ongoing informal discussions and posted self-directed writing and creativity exercises.

For more information, or to register, go here: http://www.writersonlineworkshops.com/retail/courses.aspx?r=essentials-of-romance-writing

~~~~~~~~

Hope to see you there!

Liz

Monday, May 18, 2009

Guest Blogging

Hey, everyone, just a quick note to let you know I'm guest-blogging this week at Star-Crossed Romance:

http://star-crossedromance.blogspot.com/2009/05/guest-elizabeth-delisi.html

I've posted an article on how to use your words to enhance the atmosphere and mood of your story. And if you post a comment, you might be a lucky winner of a free e-copy of my suspense novel, SINCE ALL IS PASSING. Check it out!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Developing Your Story With Tarot

PERMISSION TO FORWARD


Looking for a new way to breathe life into your outlining process, your plots, your characters? If so, have we got a class for you! Registration is now open for the Southern Tier Authors of Romance (STAR) April On-line Workshop: I PREDICT A NEW STORY IN YOUR FUTURE: Developing Your Story with the Tarot, with Elizabeth Delisi.

Elizabeth Delisi, a.k.a. Madame Liz, will teach you how to use the ancient art of the Tarot to develop stories, plots and subplots, heroes, heroines and villains. And more! You’ll learn the history of the Tarot, how to choose a deck, how to read the cards, and how to use those readings to develop and improve your writing.

THE INSTRUCTOR: Elizabeth Delisi’s novels include: Fatal Fortune, first in the Lottie Baldwin paranormal mystery series; Lady of the Two Lands, a time-travel romance, and Since all is Passing, a suspense. She’s written contemporary and paranormal romance novellas for One Touch Beyond, Enchanted Holidays, Holiday Hearts, Holiday Hearts 2, and Cupid’s Capers, and has two short story collections, Mirror Images and Penumbra. In addition, she edits for several small publishers and individuals, and teaches on-line writing course for Writer’s Digest. Visit Elizabeth’s web site at: www.elizabethdelisi.com. Registration begins March 1, and runs through April 1, 2009.

THE CLASS: The class will run from April 2 – 30, and will consist of a mix of lectures, exercises and discussions that will be conducted via a private Yahoo Groups listserv. All writers are welcome. If you know how to send e-mail, then you’ve mastered all of the technical skills you need to participate in our workshops. You will be automatically enrolled in the workshop’s listserv just before the class beings. All of the messages posted by the instructor and other students will be delivered directly to your inbox, although you may also view them from the Yahoo website.

THE COST: $20 for RWA members; $25 for non-members.

TO REGISTER: To register, send a check or Money Order in U.S. Dollars, made out to STAR On-Line Workshop, and mail to: Carol A. Henry, STAR On-line Workshop Coordinator, 90 Dry Brook Road, Willseyville, NY 13864. Alternatively, if you have a PayPal account, you can pay by going to http://www.PayPal.com. Select the “send money” button, enter the amount due, and STAR’s email address for payment: starpay@gmail.com. Then send your registration information to Carol at: carolhenry@frontiernet.net).

REGISTRATION INFORMATION: name, address, phone number, email address, RWA#

NEED MORE INFORMATION: Visit STAR’s website at: www.STARRWA.ORG, or contact Carol at carolhenry@frontiernet.net.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

10% Discount on Writing Workshops

In case you've been biding your time, waiting to take a writing workshop when the price comes down and you can get a good deal, your time has come.

Use coupon code ED9A when you register, and you can take 10% off any 2009 writing workshop at Writers Online Workshops, the online writing school of Writer's Digest.

Here are the upcoming workshops I'm teaching:

Essentials of Romance Writing, April 9 - May 20, 2009
Description: Do you yearn to write a romantic story? If so, you need to know what sets romance writing apart from other types of fiction. This course explores why romance is the same, yet different. Some essential components of romance are unique to the genre, while some romance requirements are identical to those of any good fiction story. Neither Stephen King nor Tom Clancy could sit down and write a romance unless he first familiarized himself with the specific factors that create a successful romance. This workshop will help you to understand those specific factors that make up the specialized world of romantic fiction.

In this course you will:

* Learn how the hero of an action novel differs from the hero of a romantic novel
* Master the tricky business of putting your hero and heroine together and keeping them together-yet-apart until the story's close
* Create the sexual tension that will have your readers turning the pages late into the night
* Discover conventions must be followed and what rules can be broken for readers to embrace your work

The workshop will consist of six one-week sessions. Each session will include online lectures and associated textbook reading assignments, along with a writing assignment to be submitted to the instructor for private review. In addition, work will be posted each session for group review and feedback. Throughout the workshop you will be able to participate in asynchronous lecture discussion and be encouraged to take advantage of ongoing informal discussions and posted self-directed writing and creativity exercises.


Essentials of Mystery Writing, April 23 - June 3, 2009
Description: Do you love reading a good mystery? Have you always wanted to write one? During the Essentials of Mystery Writing workshop, you’ll have the choice of creating a brand new mystery story from scratch or working with a story you already have in progress.

In this course you will:

* Learn how to construct a compelling mystery plot
* Develop fascinating characters
* Plant clues
* Keep your readers turning the pages, eager to find out what will happen next

The workshop will consist of six one-week sessions. Each session will include online lectures and associated textbook reading assignments, along with a writing assignment to be submitted to the instructor for private review. In addition, work will be posted each session for group review and feedback. Throughout the workshop you will be able to participate in asynchronous lecture discussion and be encouraged to take advantage of ongoing informal discussions and posted self-directed writing and creativity exercises.


Writing the Novel Proposal, April 23 - July 29, 2009
Description: Congratulations! For months, maybe years, you've worked diligently to craft well-rounded characters, map out every plot point and intricate sub-plot. You've researched your setting and made sure every detail is accurate. You've written and revised and revised some more and now—finally—your novel is finished. After you've taken a well-deserved break and toasted your accomplishment, it's time to find a home for your masterpiece. But just how, exactly, do you go about finding an agent or editor, and—even more important—getting one of them to say "yes"? If your goal is commercial publication, you need to know how to approach the market the way successful novelists do—with a professionally presented novel proposal.

At the conclusion of this workshop you will have developed a proposal package to submit to agents or editors—including query/cover letter and synopsis. You will also revise and polish the opening chapters of your novel (up to 12,000 words) with your instructor's feedback. In addition, you'll identify appropriate potential editors and agents to send your proposal when you're finished.

This workshop will consist of seven two-week sessions. Each session will include online lectures and associated textbook reading assignments, along with a writing assignment specifically related to your novel, which will be submitted to the instructor for private review at the end of the first week of the session. During the second week of each session, work will be posted for group critique. Throughout the workshop you will be able to participate in asynchronous lecture discussion and group critique sessions, and encouraged to take advantage of ongoing informal discussions and posted self-directed writing exercises. (2.8 CEUs)

Please note: This workshop is ONLY for students with completed novel manuscripts; it is specifically intended to help you market your finished novel with the goal of commercial publication.

For more information, or to register, go here: http://www.writersonlineworkshops.com/retail/courses.aspx?r=writing-the-novel-proposal

~~~~~~~~

Hope to see you in one or all!

Liz

Monday, February 16, 2009

It's Been So Long: Kim's Update

I'm sorry that it has been so long since I last posted. I just can't seem to get used to writing on a blog every month, every week, much less every day. It seems there's never enough time in the day, and there's not that much to update on these days, but here goes.

Well, the good news is that this is my last semester of college where I'll earn an associate's degree in office systems technology. And I have senioritis as one instructor calls it. I'm ready to be done, but I don't think I'll ever be done completely. I want to keep going part-time. I need four more classes/subjects before I can get a diploma in medical office administration an one more class for the Level I accounting certificate. I also want to take more business and Web design classes. But those classes will have to wait until I find a job.

The job--Yes, I have officially started the search. I would love to work at the VA Medical Center that is only five miles from my house. That is my goal, and I've recently applied for a job there. Both my husband and my father are veterans of the U. S. Army, and I admire the brave men and women who fight for us and protect our country. If I could afford to, I would work for free just to give something back to those who have given so much to me.

And I've started networking. I've joined a few Web sites online. They are AdminsSecret, GovCentral, and LinkedIn. I joined another one about a year ago, but forgot which one it is and haven't been able to find my way back. I've been a member of MySpace and FaceBook for a while now, but since I started classes, I haven't been very active on them.

On the writing front: I started a new Lana Malloy paranormal mystery story a while back and I've been thinking about it a lot lately. I plan to work on it this month and next, and hopefully I can report that it is finished soon.

Thank you for reading my musings . . . Kim Cox

Monday, January 05, 2009

Writing Workshop

The "How to Be Your Own Editor" Workshop is coming up on Monday, January 12.

WRDF's Online Workshop, The Tipping Point, Presents:

Bungee Jumping for Writers, or How to Be Your Own Editor

Editing for most writers is like diving off a bridge head-first with a large rubber band attached to their ankles…not a pretty sight.. Join Elizabeth Delisi as she shows you a less hazardous approach to self-editing.

In this three-day workshop, Elizabeth will cover seven areas that plague most writers.

Dialogue Dos and Don'ts
Flashbacks: How and When to Use Them
Jean's Jeans: The Difference between Possessives and Plurals
Which or That?
Do Your Chapter Endings Keep the Reader Reading?
Should the Author be a Know-It-All: Choosing Your POV
Trim (the Excess Words From) Your Prose

Join us for this terrific workshop:

Date: January 12-14

Price: WRDF Members $5.00

Non-Members $12.00

(Psst! Hint: WRDF membership is free. Go here to sign up: http://romancewriterandreader.ning.com/ )

There are still a few spots left, but they're going fast, so reserve your spot now!

Paypal Available

To register or for more info, contact Lynda at thetippingpoint@lyndacoker.com

Be there or be square!

Liz

Friday, November 21, 2008

Advanced Novel, Romance Writing Workshops

I have a couple of courses coming up that I'll be teaching for Writers Online Workshops, the online teaching division of Writer's Digest. Here are the details:

Advanced Novel Writing Workshop: Students who have completed a novel workshop now have the opportunity to continue working on their novel manuscripts with help from a published novelist and the encouragement and feedback of their peers. When you’ve completed this workshop, you will have written—and received feedback on—200 pages of your novel manuscript.

Throughout the workshop you’ll be able to participate in discussion with the instructor and the class in the Lecture Hall, and group critique sessions with other workshop members in the Critics’ Corner.

My section of this course starts December 4. For more info or to sign up, go here: http://www.writersonlineworkshops.com/retail/courses.aspx?r=advanced-novel-Writing-workshop

Essentials of Romance Writing Workshop: Do you yearn to write a romantic story? If so, you need to know what sets romance writing apart from other types of fiction. This course explores why romance is the same, yet different. Some essential components of romance are unique to the genre, while some romance requirements are identical to those of any good fiction story. Neither Stephen King nor Tom Clancy could sit down and write a romance unless he first familiarized himself with the specific factors that create a successful romance. This workshop will help you to understand those specific factors that make up the specialized world of romantic fiction. Weekly lessons will address critical ingredients of romance writing so that you may create a new romantic story or—if you prefer—work with a story-in-progress.

Above all, a story of romance should whisk the reader away to a different place, a different life, a different reality. This workshop will show how a romance is put together to do just that—to allow the reader to escape from mundane cares. You'll learn how the hero of an action novel differs from the hero of a romantic novel. You'll learn the tricky business of putting your hero and heroine together and keeping them together-yet-apart until the story's close. You'll learn how to create the sexual tension that will have your readers turning the pages late into the night. What conventions must be followed and what rules can be broken for readers to embrace your work? You may be surprised!

The workshop will consist of six one-week sessions. Each session will include online lectures and associated textbook reading assignments, along with a writing assignment to be submitted to the instructor for private review. In addition, work will be posted each session for group review and feedback. Throughout the workshop you will be able to participate in lecture discussion and be encouraged to take advantage of ongoing informal discussions and posted self-directed writing and creativity exercises.

My section of this course starts December 4. For more info or to sign up, go here: http://www.writersonlineworkshops.com/retail/courses.aspx?r=essentials-of-romance-writing

And, just because you read it here on my blog, you can save 10% on either workshop by using this code: ED9A

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bungee Jumping for Writers, or How to Be Your Own Editor Workshop

Workshop Announcement from Writers and Readers of Distinctive Fiction, WRDF

WRDF's Online Workshop, The Tipping Point, Presents:

Bungee Jumping for Writers, or How to Be Your Own Editor

Editing for most writers is like diving off a bridge head-first with a large rubber band attached to their ankles…not a pretty sight. Join Elizabeth Delisi as she shows you a less hazardous approach to self-editing.

In this three-day workshop, Elizabeth will cover seven areas that plague most writers.

Dialogue Dos and Don'ts

Flashbacks: How and When to Use Them

Jean's Jeans: The Difference between Possessives and Plurals

Which or That?

Do Your Chapter Endings Keep the Reader Reading?

Should the Author be a Know-It-All: Choosing Your POV

Trim (the Excess Words From) Your Prose


Join us for this terrific workshop:

Date: January 12-14

Price: WRDF Members $5.00

Non-Members $12.00

(Psst! Hint: WRDF membership is free. Go here to sign up: http://romancewriterandreader.ning.com/)

Payment must be received ten days prior to workshop. Limited registration, so reserve your spot early)

Paypal Available

To register or for more info, contact Lynda at thetippingpoint@lyndacoker.com

Be there or be square!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Upcoming Writing Classes

I have two new courses starting at Writing Online Workshops, that I’d like to share with you. Maybe you’ll find one to your liking and decide to sign up!

Advanced Novel Writing Workshop, starting 9/11: The focus of this workshop is on writing and critiquing. The workshop consists of five three-week sessions. At the beginning of each session, you’ll submit 10,000 words (approximately 40 manuscript pages) to the instructor for review and for group critique. There will be no lectures, reading assignments or exercises for this workshop, but we’ll give you plenty of tips and reminders along the way. Plus, you’ll have full access to the Library and the Brain Spa for all the supplemental materials and creative exercises you want to take advantage of. Because you’ll be expected to submit your work at the beginning of each session, you should have your first 10,000-word submission AND a short synopsis of your novel (500 to 750 words maximum) prepared prior to the class start date. For more information or to register, go here: http://www.writersonlineworkshops.com/retail/courses.aspx?r=advanced-novel-Writing-workshop

Writing the Novel Proposal, starting 9/18: Congratulations! For months, maybe years, you've worked diligently to craft well-rounded characters, map out every plot point and intricate sub-plot. You've researched your setting and made sure every detail is accurate. You've written and revised and revised some more and now—finally—your novel is finished. After you've taken a well-deserved break and toasted your accomplishment, it's time to find a home for your masterpiece. But just how, exactly, do you go about finding an agent or editor, and—even more important—getting one of them to say "yes"? If your goal is commercial publication, you need to know how to approach the market the way successful novelists do—with a professionally presented novel proposal.

At the conclusion of this workshop, you’ll have developed a proposal package to submit to agents or editors—including query/cover letter and synopsis. You’ll also revise and polish the opening chapters of your novel (up to 12,000 words) with your instructor's feedback. In addition, you'll identify appropriate potential editors and agents to send your proposal when you're finished.

This workshop consists of seven two-week sessions. Each session includes online lectures and associated textbook reading assignments, along with a writing assignment specifically related to your novel, which will be submitted to the instructor for private review at the end of the first week of the session. During the second week of each session, work will be posted for group critique. Throughout the workshop, you can participate in asynchronous lecture discussion and group critique sessions, and you’re encouraged to take advantage of ongoing informal discussions and posted self-directed writing exercises.

Please note: This workshop is ONLY for students with completed novel manuscripts; it is specifically intended to help you market your finished novel with the goal of commercial publication. For more information or to register, go here: http://www.writersonlineworkshops.com/retail/courses.aspx?r=writing-the-novel-proposal

Hope to see you in one or both workshops!

Liz

Thursday, August 07, 2008

School's Out!!!

Yahoo! School's out and I've been lazy. A week ago Monday was my last day, and I've not left my chair much. I did cook supper one night and washed dishes one night, but I've mostly gotten some much needed rest. Problem is I'm not sure what to do with myself. I've not had a moment to myself in ten weeks. Whoever said that the summer semester was hectic may have been understating the fact. I often find myself thinking I should be doing some homework, or something school related. Anyway, I'm happy to report, I got my report card and for the summer semester and I got all A's again. Yeehaw!

I did do some work I've had to put off unitl today. I upgraded three websites that I'm responsible for and researched more backgrounds, templates, and themes for future use. I'm pretty proud of myself for accomplishing so much. My website alone took most of the day.

There's so much I want to do while I'm off these few weeks, but I've got to get my butt out of this chair to do it. The heat hasn't been much help. But this coming week, I will get some things done. Like, late Spring Cleaning. There's so much to do, I'm not sure where to start.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer. We're still trying to get the pool water clear and go swimming. That would help the heat lots.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Learn to Write a Mystery

Do you love reading a good mystery? Have you always wanted to write one? Writers Online Workshops offers an online workshop, "Essentials of Mystery Writing," starting August 14--and I'm teaching it! So I thought I'd pass along the info to you.

This workshop helps you construct a compelling mystery plot, develop fascinating characters, plant clues, and keep your readers turning the pages, eager to find out what will happen next. During the Essentials of Mystery Writing workshop, you’ll have the choice of creating a brand new mystery story from scratch, or working with a story you already have in progress.

The workshop consists of six one-week sessions. Each session includes online lectures and associated textbook reading assignments, along with a writing assignment to be submitted to the instructor for private review. In addition, your work will be posted each session for group review and feedback. Throughout the workshop, you'll be able to participate in lecture discussion and be encouraged to take advantage of ongoing informal discussions and posted self-directed writing and creativity exercises.

To learn more or to sign up for the course, visit Writers Online Workshops.

Another upcoming workshop I'm teaching is "Fundamentals of Fiction Writing," starting August 28. Writing fiction can be an exciting and enjoyable creative outlet, giving voice to the characters who fill your imagination. Putting your fantasies on paper can be a satisfying exercise in and of itself. But at some point, if you're really serious about your fiction, you'll need to acquaint yourself with the techniques generations of fiction writers have used to bring their characters and stories to life. The goal of this workshop is to provide you with an understanding of these fundamental techniques and to encourage—-through the use of creativity exercises, hands-on writing assignments and constructive critical feedback—-the development of your individual style and creative expression.

You don't have to decide yet whether your ultimate goal is a collection of short stories or The Great American Novel, because the focus in this workshop will be on the development of effective creative writing techniques that can be applied to any long or short fiction form. You'll learn how to develop believable characters and let them speak—-and act-—for themselves. You'll learn how to set the stage, and make readers feel as if they're right there with your characters. You'll learn the basics of plot—-enough to prepare you to tackle any kind of fiction project.

This workshop consists of six two-week sessions. Each session includes online lectures and associated textbook reading assignments, along with writing assignments incorporating the techniques learned in the session, which you'll submit to the instructor for private review at the end of the first week of the session. During the second week of each session, your work will be posted for group review and feedback. Throughout the workshop, you'll be able to participate in lecture discussion and encouraged to take advantage of ongoing informal discussions and posted self-directed writing and creativity exercises.

To learn more or to sign up for the course, visit Writers Online Workshops.

Hope to see you at one or the other--or both!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Book Meme

Found something I thought would be fun to try, with a bit of modification to make it more interesting. Ready? Set? Here we go!

Book Meme:

1. Pick up your favorite book if you’re a reader; if you’re an author, grab your favorite book of all those you’ve written.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth complete sentence on that page. (Don’t count sentences that began on the previous page.)
4. Starting with that fifth sentence, post the next five sentences on your blog, along with the book info, these instructions, and link back to where you saw it.

That’s all there is to it. Simple, eh?

So here’s my try at this. It’s from my time-travel romance set in ancient Egypt, LADY OF THE TWO LANDS (available here: http://www.amberquill.com/LadyTwoLands.html ):

“What is a circus, Majesty?” Senemut asked, frowning.

“It is held in a tent…there are many strange animals and performers…food is sold and parents bring their children to see…” She waved her arms helplessly. “I cannot describe it better. It is like a festival, I suppose.”

~~~~~~~~

Hope you have fun with this!

Liz

Sunday, March 30, 2008

RESTLESS SPIRIT by Elizabeth Delisi


An Excerpt From: RESTLESS SPIRIT

Copyright © ELIZABETH DELISI, 2008

All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.

This spirit might be Laura’s only means of reaching Brian. Could she afford to turn her back on such an opportunity? Shaking her head, she decided she had to give it a try. After all, how much worse could things get? She’d already lost Clint and Brian.

She returned to the table, resumed her seat and placed her fingers on the planchette. Cautiously, she spelled out—Help you with what? She would see what the spirit wanted and decide if she were willing to help it or not. Maybe a trade could be arranged—she helped this Rafe and he in turn connected her with Brian.

Connect me with Joshua.

Joshua? Laura didn’t know anyone named Joshua. Joshua who?

Joshua Williamson. My little brother. Died last week.

Tears stung the corners of Laura’s eyes. This poor spirit, this Rafe, had lost a sibling, just like she’d lost a son. Life just didn’t seem fair, when the young ones had to suffer and die.

But why would one spirit need Laura’s help to contact another spirit? Especially a loved one. Weren’t they all supposed to be waiting for you when you died? Shouldn’t this Rafe have been waiting for Joshua when he passed over?

Why do you need my help?

The answer came through quickly. Cannot pierce the veil between worlds.

Laura considered. Rafe didn’t sound dangerous. And if she truly could help him contact his brother Joshua…well, he’d owe her one, wouldn’t he?

What do you want me to do? she asked.

Contact Joshua, came the prompt reply. Ask him if he is happy. Surely a spirit so innocent has gone straight to his reward.

A chill passed through Laura suddenly and she shuddered, letting her hands fall into her lap. If Rafe were not with Joshua…and if Joshua had gone to heaven…then where was Rafe?

She returned her hands to the planchette. Are you an evil spirit? she asked. She was afraid of the answer, yet she had to know.

No. Are you? came the reply.

No, she said, though she was confused why the spirit should ask. Shouldn’t Rafe know she was a living, breathing human, not an incorporeal soul? Maybe she should get straight to the heart of the matter. This Rafe seemed a little slow. I’m a live woman and I want you to find my son, Brian. I want to know he’s all right.

There was a pause, yet Laura felt a deep sorrow that seemed to pass through the Ouija board itself and straight to her heart.

I am sorry, she read at last, and a knife pierced her heart. I cannot help you. I am a living man. And I reckon you cannot help me.

Laura’s thoughts swirled and dizziness thrust mercilessly into her head. She slipped sideways from the chair, pulling the Ouija board and planchette down on top of her as everything went black.

If you like this sample excerpt, you can read all five stories by purchasing a copy of ONE TOUCH BEYOND, available from Cerridwen Press http://www.cerridwenpress.com/ in electronic formats.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

'NEATH HALLOWED HALLS AND IVIED WALLS by Maureen McMahon


An Excerpt From: 'NEATH HALLOWED HALLS AND IVIED WALLS

Copyright © MAUREEN MCMAHON, 2008

All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.

"Stacey, do you have any idea how Professor Donalson died?"

I sat down on a wicker chair nearby. "He...well... Didn't they tell you?"

"No. My mother called and said someone from Harvard contacted the house. She sounded upset but she wouldn't go into detail-said she didn't want to run up the phone bill."

I smiled to myself. Peter's mother never changed, even though she probably had enough money at her disposal to buy the phone company outright.

"There's a police investigation into his death," I said, "but it appears it was suicide. He was found in his car in the garage with a hose from the exhaust...you get the picture." I shuddered.

I could tell Peter was shocked too. Such an act seemed totally unexpected and out of character for the jolly, fun-loving history professor we'd both come to know and respect during our college years.

"I wonder what could have driven him to..." Peter's voice seemed even more distant and withdrawn and I clutched the phone tighter, itching to reach out and take his hand.

"Try not to think about it," I said. "We'll find out more at the funeral. Until then, there's no point in brooding. These things happen. Sometimes we just have to accept it."

The desperate, pleading eyes in the sunken face of a dying Afghani mother suddenly filled my vision. I remembered how she held her arms out for her baby. The baby was being removed to a shelter by international medical aid. The mother would remain in the broken-down, dirt-floored hut. She didn't have long. I wanted to grab the baby from the nurse and place it in those skeletal outstretched arms but instead I just backed away, afraid and uncertain.

The sudden, unexpected power of the flashback knocked the wind out of me and I had to bend over and draw deep breaths, holding the phone in my other hand so Peter wouldn't hear. Finally, I put the receiver back to my ear.

"What's wrong?" His voice was urgent, knowing.

"Nothing." It was just too complicated to explain and frankly I felt too shaken by the experience to talk about it yet. "I'd better go," I said. "I've got to get this last article in today if I'm going to meet you by Friday."

"Stace..."

"Hmm?"

"You know how much I've missed you?"

I smiled and sighed. "Yes. Yes, I do-as much as I've missed you. But Friday's only two days away."

"Yes. Two days." He let out his breath audibly.

"See you Friday."

"See you then."

I replaced the phone on its hook on the wall and turned to look out the kitchen window at the Manhattan skyline. It was sunny but cool, with a cloud haze moving in.

A crow landed on the black balustrade of the balcony, tilting its head this way and that as it eyed me through the closed sliding door. Suddenly it let out a piercing squawk, lifted its wings and flew directly into the glass pane of the door. The sickening crack as it hit the window made me cry out in shock, the impact leaving a stain of blood and down on the glass.

I was out the door in an instant but there was nothing I could do. The bird's neck was broken and it lay in a messy heap of feathers on the concrete balcony. I squatted down and reached out a tentative hand. Its breast was still warm but its eye, a mustard-yellow, stared sightlessly up at me. For no reason I could logically name, I drew my hand quickly away, shivering-overwhelmed by a feeling of mortal dread.

If you like this sample excerpt, you can read all five stories by purchasing a copy of ONE TOUCH BEYOND, available from Cerridwen Press http://www.cerridwenpress.com/ in electronic formats.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

GET OUT OR DIE! by Kim Cox


An Excerpt From: GET OUT OR DIE

Copyright © KIM COX, 2008

All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.

Lana walked Dan out, glass from figurines, picture frames and a mirror splintering beneath their feet. "Look. I know you don't want to leave but please, take Ellie somewhere else just for tonight. I'll call you tomorrow and let you know what's going on. I hope by then I can reason with him."

"It really is Uncle Adam, isn't it?" Dan asked.

"Yes, it is."

"This means that my father did...my father is..."

"There's still no real proof."

"Why else would-"

"I don't know. Give me twenty-four hours to find out. I want to sleep here tonight, try to calm Adam down and see if he'll talk to me. Hopefully by tomorrow, regardless of what happened between him and Sean, he'll realize you're not his father."

Dan's sullen face appeared doubtful. "Do whatever you have to do."

Behind them, the sounds of crashing continued. Lana smoothed her wrinkled clothes, patted down her hair and trekked back into the once beautiful home, trying to force a calm she didn't quite feel.

I can do this. The crashing stopped as she entered the chaotic room. "Adam!" she called out. "Let's talk." Only silence answered her plea. Was he ignoring her? Or had the energy his anger fueled within his spirit faded? Run out?

Lana took a break and used the downstairs bathroom to splash water on her face. As she brushed her hair, the faucets turned on by themselves. Hot water splashed into the sink, steam filling the room. Lana turned off the water and opened the door to let out the fog. Then, she read Adam's large script on the mirror, GET OUT OR DIE!

If you like this sample excerpt, you can read all five stories by purchasing a copy of ONE TOUCH BEYOND, available from Cerridwen Press http://www.cerridwenpress.com/ in electronic formats.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Developing Your Story With Tarot Workshop

***Permission to Forward Granted***

Celtic Hearts Romance Writers Academy is proud to announce an upcoming online workshop for March.

Workshop Title: I Predict A New Story In Your Future: Developing Your Story With The Tarot

Presenter: Elizabeth Delisi

Date: March 17 - 31

Description: Are you looking for new ways to breathe life into your outlining process, your plots, your characters? If so, have we got the course for you! Elizabeth Delisi, a.k.a. Madame Liz, will teach you how to use the ancient art of the Tarot to develop stories, plots and subplots, heroes, heroines and villains, and more. You'll learn the history of the Tarot, how to choose a deck, how to read the cards, and how to use those readings to develop and improve your writing.

There will be four lectures, four assignments to be posted to the list for all to comment on, and naturally all questions will be answered.

Outline: Lecture One: History of the Tarot, and Choosing a Deck;
Lecture Two: How to Read Tarot;
Lecture Three: Using Tarot to Develop A Plot;
Lecture Four: Creating Characters With Tarot

About the Presenter: Elizabeth Delisi has wanted to be a writer since she was in first grade, and probably would have written in the womb if she could have convinced her mother to swallow a pencil. But life hasn't always gone the way she planned, and on her road to publication she worked as a motel maid, waitress, secretary, administrative aide, substitute teacher, and newspaper reporter.

Elizabeth's novels include a FATAL FORTUNE, first in the Lottie Baldwin paranormal mystery series; LADY OF THE TWO LANDS, a time-travel romance; and SINCE ALL IS PASSING, a suspense. She's written contemporary and paranormal romance novellas for ONE TOUCH BEYOND; ENCHANTED HOLIDAYS; HOLIDAY HEARTS; HOLIDAY HEARTS 2; and CUPID'S CAPERS, and has also published two short story collections, MIRROR IMAGES and PENUMBRA. In addition to her writing, Elizabeth edits for several small publishers and individuals, and teaches online writing courses for Writer's Digest.

Elizabeth lives in New Hampshire with her husband, dog and cat. She enjoys hearing from her readers at elizabeth@elizabethdelisi.com and invites everyone to visit her website at www.elizabethdelisi.com.


Deadline to sign up for this workshop: March 14


Fee: $10 CHRW members; $15 non-members. RWA Membership isn't required; anyone can take our courses. Celtic Hearts members receive 2 free workshops a year.

Where to sign up: http://www.celtichearts.org/chwksp.html Please fill out the online form.



Liz

Monday, March 03, 2008

Fallen Angels Review gives ENCHANTED HOLIDAYS 5 Angels


Enchanted Holidays
Enchanted Holidays is filled with a wonderful collection of stories set around various holidays. Six talented authors each offer their own version of a holiday romance and all are worth reading.

According to an ancient prophesy Alexis Hart is fated to marry the Egyptian god Seth and be murdered so that he may take over the world in the Curse of Osiris by Elaine Hoppe. Zane Ryan has no intention of allowing that to happen; he has come to protect her and he will sacrifice anything to save her. How can a simple man defeat an evil god and why must it be this man that comes to save her; the man who broke her heart four years ago? This tale reminds me of some of the mythology tales I had to study in school, except I found this on more entertaining. Ms. Hoppe has a sense of humor but you must read this story to find the irony!

In Fate's Little Trick by Sheryl Hames Torres, Gemma McKenzie Fuller doesn’t like Christmas, everything bad that has ever happened to her has occurred around Christmas. First she lost her first love and then years later her husband and daughter and her hearing. Gemma’s parents are gone and she is all alone running a small country store and renting vacation cabins. Jared Mittchel and his deaf daughter Emily are on the run. His wife is dead and he believes his in-laws are trying to take his daughter away and they have more money than he can afford to fight. Jared finds Gemma’s cabin and hopes it is out of the way enough that they can’t be found. He loves his daughter and will not just turn her over to his in-laws. Fate’s Little Trick is a wonderful, poignant, story about the hurt some people can inflict on other people. Both Gemma and Jared are wounded souls and none of their pain is of their making; they were wronged and robbed of the opportunity for happiness by the selfishness of another person. Although parts of this story are really sad, it is also filled with hope; hope that love can heal broken hearts. I really liked this tale!

A New Year’s ghost story is an unexpected holiday tale but that is exactly what Ghosts of Auld Lang Syne by Maureen McMahon is. Stacey Christian’s friend Holly and her brother have inherited their grandmother’s old lake house and property and invited their friends down for the New Year’s holidays. Holly tells Stacey an old family ghost story and talks Stacey into trying to help her solve the mystery so the ghost can rest in peace. But something more sinister seems to be going on; there are just too many accidents happing to the people at the lake house. Will Stacey, Holly and their friends figure out what is going on before someone is seriously injured or worse? I always like a good ghost story and this one does not disappoint. The ghost is a sad woman who lost her true love unexpectedly and all the couples at the house have love issues to deal with too. Could this be why the ghost is appearing now? Ghosts of Auld Lang Syne is an appealing story about the power of true love so expect to be charmed but it is also a tale filled with suspense for someone alive now is attempting to harm the people at the lake house! Very well done!

Haunted Hearts by Kim Cox is a charming Valentine’s ghost story. Lana Malloy is a newly licensed private investigator and her great-aunt Lucy wants to hire her to solve a 20-year-old double murder that happened on Valentine’s Day. The only problem is Lucy and her fiancé are the people who were murdered. Lucy has figured out that if Lana can solve the mystery by Valentine’s Day then she and her fiancé will finally be able to leave and be together for eternity otherwise they have to wait another year for this opportunity. I loved this unique Valentine’s story. The ghost characters and their living relatives were all delightful and fun. And of course it is a Valentine’s story, so there is romance as well as the mystery.

Mistletoe Medium by Elizabeth Delisi is a Christmas romantic suspense tale. Lottie Baldwin is new in town and has met and started dating the local sheriff’s deputy Harlan Erikson. Lottie is a psychic and gets periodic images about things, so when Harlan starts investigating a string of strange burglaries, Lottie wants to help. Can Lottie and Harlan work together and solve the crimes; will Harlan be able to believe in Lottie? This is a very cute story. Lottie and Harlan seem like complete opposites. Lottie is a silly, flighty, flirt to Harlan’s serious, straightforward type of personality yet they are attracted to one another. I grinned all the way through this lighthearted romp while these two opposites muddled along trying to solve their mystery. This is a fun story!

In Valentine's Inn by Chris Grover, Rianna Gordon is trying to decide what to do with her life now. She was injured in an auto accident that killed her three best friends and law buddies so she has no desire to return to that life. What Rianna would really like to do is just disappear and hide away for the rest of her life, but first she has to decide what to do with the old family inn. The inn has been in Rianna’s family for over 100 years but she has an offer from a developer who wants to tear it down and build luxury condos for wealthy retirees. The money would allow her to buy the house of her dreams where she could live comfortably and hide from life, but is that what she really wants? Can she let someone tear down over 100 years of her family history? Valentine’s Inn is a really sweet, yet poignant story. I liked Rianna’s character and it was interesting to follow her decision making process as she tries to come to terms with what she really wants to do now. And of course there is a little mystery and romance thrown it to make it an even better tale!

All of the stories in this holiday anthology have a paranormal twist and yet are sentimental romances that anyone would enjoy curling up to read.

Reviewed by: Stephanie B.
http://fallenangelreviews.com/2008/February/StephanieB-EnchantedHolidays.htm

Romantic Times Review of ENCHANTED HOLIDAYS


ENCHANTED HOLIDAYS
by Kim Cox, Elizabeth Delisi, Chris Grover, Elaine Hopper, Maureen McMahon
and Sheryl Hames Torres

RT Rating: 3 stars
Category: PARANORMAL ROMANCE
Publisher: Cerridwen
Published: December 2007
Type: Paranormal (Anthology)


This collection of tales from six authors who know how to please sets the
tone for several romantic holidays. The blend of ghosts, mediums, prophecy
and tragedy -- most of which take place during the Christmas season -- is a
pleasant read.

Summary: Kim Cox's "Haunted Hearts" pits private eye Lana against spirits as
she strives to solve the decades-old murder of her aunt. In "Mistletoe
Medium," Elizabeth Delisi brings together psychic Lottie and the deliciously
hunky Sheriff Harkin. Chris Grover's "Valentine's Inn" uses a ghost to
convince Rianna to keep her inheritance.

Alexis must defeat a demon-god in Elaine Hopper's "Curse of Osiris." Maureen
McMahon's "Ghosts of Auld Lang Syne" has journalist Stacy in a fight to
discover who's haunting her new home. Sheryl Hames Torres' Gemma is a
first-rate Scrooge until a tragic accident gives her the most important
Christmas wish of all in "Fate's Little Trick." (Cerridwen, Dec., 378 pp.,
$9.99) HOT

-Faith V. Smith

http://romantictimes.com/books_review.php?book=34420

Saturday, March 01, 2008

ENIGMA by Sheryl Hames Torres


ONE TOUCH BEYOND - Second Excerpt
An Excerpt From: ENIGMA

Copyright © SHERYL HAMES TORRES, 2008

All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.

Opening his eyes, he turned on the water to rinse blood from the porcelain before lifting his gaze to the mirror to inspect the damage. What he saw there, however, frosted the blood in his veins. She was there, the silver lady who’d enfolded Amy. Now she floated in the mirror, smiling icily at him, her eyes flashing white fire as she stared at the blood dripping onto his chest.

“I believe I told you to go away.” Her voice was like a blizzard, whirling, icy and absorbing the oxygen from the air. It mixed with the storm outside to create a vortex of panic inside him.

His throat felt paralyzed. A chill rose up his spine and threatened to overtake his shivering body. It wasn’t fear exactly. More deep sadness, hopelessness, as if she were sucking all joy from him.

“I assume you imagine yourself in love with her?” Her voice dripped with mock sympathy. Her heavy dramatic sigh wrapped around him like music, transfixing him, seducing him despite its menacing tone.

Brace shivered again. The term “two places at once” came instantly to mind as he watched her image peel, almost as if it split in half. While one layer threw her head back and laughed, horrible and shrill, another layer rocked back and forth as if listening to a beautiful melody. Still another more terrifying layer stared with winter-white eyes hungrily at the cut on his chin. Brace couldn’t lift his fingers to wipe away the blood that fascinated her. She reached toward him and though she never left the mirror, he felt her touch and watched in horror as she raised her bloodied fingers to her lips, closing her eyes as if the taste of him satisfied her every need. He felt her threat rise around him like a velvet sheet, suffocating and heavy. He had to fight her. He had to push against her force.

“I do love Amy.” His voice sounded strangled, harsh to his ears, ineffective in the roaring storms, inside and out. “And she loves me. I won’t let you hurt her.”

With startling speed, the images melded and her eyes flashed at him. “Fool!” she hissed. “Do you think you can play with me, little man? I’ll crush you like the meddlesome flea you are.”

He followed her gaze as her eyes darted to the scissors lying on the cabinet, then shot back at him. Her laughter sounded like shattering glass. The pressure in the room rose to a crushing level, squeezing against his skull. Blood trickled from his right nostril and dripped on the floor as he bent over from the excruciating pain. It felt as though he was being wrung out like a dishrag. The pressure on his eardrums threatened his consciousness. He concentrated on his breathing, battling her and gasping. “You…won’t…win.”

A scream tore through the house. Amy.

If you like this sample chapter, you can read all five stories by purchasing a copy of ONE TOUCH BEYOND, available from Cerridwen Press http://www.cerridwenpress.com/ in electronic formats.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

New Release: ONE TOUCH BEYOND


First except from the anthology: ONE TOUCH BEYOND

An Excerpt From: BELIEVING IN DREAMS

Copyright © CHRIS GROVER, 2008

All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.

Since Mom's death, I've felt a desperate urge to know more about her and the people who gave her life. This year will be my first Christmas without her and I've been holding on to the thought that by spending the holiday here in St-Stephan, the loss won't seem quite so bad.

Whether it will or not remains to be seen. The real reason I'm here is because I want to find my roots. On my birth certificate, there's a line drawn through the box where the father's name should be and it's always made me feel like I appeared out of nowhere, like my mother bought me in a store. I never told Mom how I felt because after the one time I asked who my father was, just the way her expression changed from happy to sad told me the circumstances of my birth was a subject she didn't want to discuss.

I have no idea why. Maybe it had something to do with breaking with her family; maybe it was because she never got over being taken in by a handsome face. And just maybe she didn't handle the unwanted pregnancy the way society expected back then. I've read the books and seen the movies, so I know that even as recently as thirty years ago, life for a pregnant, unmarried teenager was far from easy, especially in smaller communities. Girls were sent away on some pretext or other before their condition became obvious. This way, by the time they returned home, their bodies were back to normal and their babies given away to new families.

I've often wondered if something like that happened to my mother. If her parents sent her away to one of those unwed mothers' homes that were all the rage back then but instead of going along with the program, she decided to keep me. Or maybe she ran away with my biological father and things didn't work out. Either way, there would have been no going back home to her family. And no better way for her to cut herself free from her old life than by changing her name, pretending her parents were dead and saying she had no other relatives.

I'll never know now what really happened, so I go back to the dream and try to think if the elderly woman could have a reason other then family or friends for bringing me here. If I knew who she was, then perhaps it would offer me a clue or-

"Can I help you?"

The question, posed in English in a husky, masculine voice, catches me by surprise. I turn around fast, my heart thumping so hard against my ribs, I feel like I've been caught doing something wrong.

The owner of the voice starts down the path toward me, then stops. "I realize the place doesn't look like much but it is private property."

I hadn't heard the arrival of the expensive-looking black car parked at the curb and I hadn't heard the sound of the man's fancy Italian leather boots on the frozen ground. But there he is, standing less than six feet away, dressed in slim-fitting dark blue jeans and a sheepskin-lined coat. A tall, tanned, very handsome stranger whose dark brown hair is attractively mussed in the new spiky style and whose eyes are so exactly the same blue as his jeans, I immediately wonder if he's wearing colored contacts.

"I'm...I'm just looking."

If you like this sample chapter, you can read the rest and 4 other stories by purchasing a copy of ONE TOUCH BEYOND, available from Cerridwen Press http://www.cerridwenpress.com/ in electronic formats.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Haunted Hearts by Kim Cox


Sixth sample chapter from Enchanted Holidays - Valentine's Day - HAUNTED HEARTS by Kim Cox

Chapter One

"How do you like it?" Lucy Ann Malloy, standing at the top of the stairs, turned to the right, then to the left as she modeled the blue and green pastel dress. "I found it in the attic with some of my old things." She lingered in the doorway on the main floor. "Well?"

Lana Malloy glanced up from editing the ad for her new PI business. "Nice," she said and returned to her work.

Lucy moved to Lana's side and gazed over her shoulder. "What are you working on?"

"The ad for the newspaper and magazines. I've got to figure out how to attract some business, or I'll never make it through the first month."

A chill filled the air surrounding Lana and she shivered, pulling her sweater tightly around her.

"I have an idea and it's actually a pretty good one. I know who your first client can be."

Without even glancing away from her paper, Lana asked, "And who would that be?"

"Me."

"You?" Lana looked up, her interest piqued. "What are you talking about?"

Lucy's white hair shone with blue highlights as if she'd just had it rinsed. She was very well preserved for someone who'd been dead twenty years. "Find my murderer so I can rest in peace. How about it?" Lana's great-aunt had been with her since she moved into the old beach house in Charleston, South Carolina, five years ago.

"And who would be paying for my services?" Lana smiled, pulling her reading glasses off and laying them on her desk. She loved her great-aunt, but she could be a card. Lucy had always been a rebel, always tried to be different from everyone else. "Besides, you died over twenty years ago. That's a cold trail for sure."

"I got money, smarty-a lot of money that no one has found yet." Lucy covered her mouth with both hands then removed them. "Oh, well, the cat's out of the bag now. I can't spend it anyway."

"But you died-"

"Let me finish. Shows how much you, or any of those pigs know." She glided back and forth across the room as if she were dancing at her coming-out ball.

"Well?"

"Get out your pen and pad and take notes."

145 Kim Cox

"Not until I'm sure what you're telling me is the truth." Lucy sometimes changed details to suit herself and the moment, but she'd never talked about her death before. Lana never questioned her because she thought it may be too painful for her aunt.

"Have I ever lied? Never mind, don't answer that." Lucy laughed as she stopped in midair, lowered herself down to the desk and hovered in a sitting position just above the surface. Then she crossed her legs. "It was Valentine's Day. The last thing I remember, I was helping Davide eat his dinner. He had been sick the last few days and I went over to visit. He didn't eat much of his potato soup and I love potato soup on a cold winter's night. You know, that kind your mother used to whip up?" Lucy licked her lips. "I miss that since I've been dead. There's no need to eat anymore...no appetite."

"Get on with your murder case."

"Oh, yeah. I tend to get sidetracked now and then." She giggled. "Anyway, I never left that room until I woke up in this house dead and looked down on my body lying on the living room floor, right in front of my sofa. The next morning, your mother came to see me and found me...I mean, my body. That's it."

"Right. You were poisoned, but your murderer was never caught," Lana mused.

"You call yourself a private investigator? Elementary, my dear Lana. Use some logic. How did I get from Davide's house to my house?"

Lana chewed the eraser on the end of her pencil. "So...you believe you were poisoned at Davide's, but someone brought you back here either before or after you died?"

"By golly, I believe she's got it."

"Are you sure you didn't just forget going home?"

"I didn't forget. I was only sixty and not senile. Someone must've moved me while I was unconscious. Can't you see that?"

Lana stood and paced the room. "It's a possibility, I guess. What did the police say?"

"They said, 'the old broad croaked. No suspects.' And they looked no further." Lucy moved up behind Lana. "Clue number two, I've been reading up on my ghostly position as well. Did you know there are specific reasons why ghosts haunt places?"

"No. What are they?"

"According to this, my reason is..." Lucy took out a book, opened it to the bookmark and started to read. "When someone is murdered and the murder goes unsolved, their spirit must wait around until the mystery is solved, usually around the anniversary of their death."

"Where did you get that book?"

"Here, in this house."

Lana sauntered into the library and fingered through the books on the shelves. "I didn't know we had all these books on ghosts." Lana smiled until she saw the look on

146 Haunted Hearts

Lucy's face. She was serious about this and Lana felt badly she hadn't realized it sooner. She loved the woman dearly, but often, Lucy kidded around so much it was hard to tell when her aunt was genuine.

"I found them in the attic, dusted them off and put them on the shelf last night. You believe me now?"

"I don't know. I'll read over these today and see." Lana brought a book back to her desk as Lucy followed. "What exactly did you figure out? And if you've solved it, why do you need me?"

"Not everything. Just what I need to do to get to my resting place. I was killed on Valentine's Day, 1982."

"So?"

"I need to find my murderer by Valentine's Day, or I'll be stuck here until next year, same time."

"Why?"

"Because that's when I died." Lucy placed her hands on her hips. "Haven't you been listening? Anyway, the book says it's the only time I'll have the opportunity to claim my eternity. It's on page fifty-two."

"Do you have any suspects?" Lana flipped through the pages. "This looks interesting."

"That old buzzard I was trying to help."

"Davide? Your fiancé?" Lana glanced up.

"That's the buzzard."

"You two were going to be married in a few weeks. Why would he want you dead?"

"That, I don't know. But I think he's as good a place to start our search as any. If it wasn't him, it was someone in his family. They were against us marrying. Especially his son, Anthony."

"Our search? But you can't-"

"But I can. I read about it in that book. I can leave anytime I want. I just haven't wanted to badly enough until now. Plus, I need to attach myself to something in order to leave. That something, or rather someone, is you."

A few hours later, Lana looked from her book as Lucy drifted in with a tray of food-a tuna fish sandwich with pickles and chips.

"I thought you could use something to eat. Seafood is brain food, you know."

When Lucy floated back across the room, Lana glanced toward the window and glimpsed a terrified face in the window. It was her neighbor, Roxie Thomas, with curlers in her strawberry blonde hair and cold cream still covering her horrified face. When the dress glided toward a filing cabinet, Roxie's eyes widened and her jaw dropped. The closed window muffled her screams.

147 Kim Cox

* * * * *

"Get back! Roxie saw you. I mean, she saw your dress. I'll see if I can talk to her." But as Lana reached the door, Roxie ran away, her screeches fading as she widened the space between their houses.

"Fix this situation before I bring her back." Lana slammed the door behind her.

Lana's house sat on stilts, but the one room joining the carport sufficed as her new PI office. Trotting across the yard, she caught up with Roxie on the other side of the hedge. "Roxie, wait up." Roxie dashed for her house anyway.

"Stay away from me, you...you...you witch! I'm calling the cops." She stumbled up the steps sideways and sank slowly to her knees on her front porch.

"Don't be ridiculous! It's not what you think. Please, come back and see. Besides, how will you explain to the police that you were peeping in my window? They don't like peeping Roxies around here, you know. They've already warned you about it." Lana leaned down to help her up, but Roxie snatched her hand away.

"Don't touch me!" Her eyes glistened with unshed tears. "I know what I saw. They'll believe me this time."

"Okay, okay, now, just calm down. I only want to help you. Where's Ralph? Can I get him for you?"

"He's right inside, he is." Her voice trembled. "He'll be out here any minute, so don't you try anything. I've always known there was something weird about you...about your whole family."

"What's going on out here, Roxie?" A big-bellied man with thinning hair stood in the doorway.

"Ralph, oh, Ralph, I'm glad you're here. She's a witch. I-I saw her."

"Mr. Thomas, I just came to explain to your wife that what she saw was a new gadget I've invented to dry clothes." Lana smiled. "Your wife thinks I twitched my nose or something to make a dress float across the room."

Ralph scratched the sprigs of hair left on his balding head. "Roxie, you been snooping again? How many times-"

"I'm sure Mrs. Thomas wasn't snooping. Were you, Roxie?"

When Lana offered her a helping hand this time, Roxie accepted it. "That's right. I wasn't snooping. I went over to borrow some coffee when I saw that...that thing flying all over her office."

"See? I knew she had a good reason for being there," Lana said.

"Yeah, but she didn't have to spy on you before knocking on the door. Get in the house, Roxie, before someone calls the cops on you again."

Roxie made her way to the door, never taking her eyes off Lana.

"Wait a minute. Don't you still need that coffee?" Lana asked, innocently.

148 Haunted Hearts

"No. I'll just get some at the store," Roxie said in a defeated tone as she reached for the screen door handle.

"But I wanted to show you the gadget. It's nothing, really. I hate to think you're frightened of me. We're neighbors and I really want to show you that what you saw wasn't what you thought." Lana walked up the steps.

Roxie opened the door and moved behind her husband. "Don't let her hurt me, Ralph."

"Stop this nonsense right now! Go with Lana, get the coffee and see the thing that's making you act like an idiot."

Lana felt sorry for Roxie, living with a man who belittled her at every chance. No wonder the woman was a basket case half the time and Lucy acting up didn't help either. Unfortunately, Lucy enjoyed scaring Roxie. Said it served the old snoop right and just might stop her busybody ways.

But Lana suspected Roxie was just lonely-stuck in the house all day with nothing to do but wait on Ralph hand and foot without him showing her any appreciation.

"Really, come on and let me show you."

"Well..."

"Please. I promise you'll be relieved."

"Go on, woman." Ralph pushed Roxie out the door and shut the screen behind her.

Roxie tried to get back inside, but Ralph held the door tight and then flipped the lock so she couldn't escape back into the house. He chuckled when she pulled desperately on the door handle.

Lana's heart went out to her. She eased her way to Roxie's side and took her by the hand. "Come on. I'll bring you right back. If I don't, Ralph will come and get you. Won't you, Ralph?"

"Yeah, sure, I will." He laughed again. "Stupid bitch is afraid of her own shadow, she is."

Lana wanted to yell at him, "You ignorant ingrate, you're not helping. Can't you see your wife's had a terrible fright?" But she kept her mouth shut, knowing it wouldn't help and might only worsen the situation. Roxie's body trembled, causing the curlers on her head to jiggle.

As they entered the doorway, Lana saw the dress hung on a thin clear line and thanked heaven her aunt had known what to do. Sometimes she thought the two of them occupied one mind when it came to fixing things.

Lucy made herself visible to Lana and winked at her, then stuck her tongue out at Roxie. Lana rolled her eyes upward before speaking to Roxie. "See, the dress is hung on a line."

"But...but, how did it move from there to here and over to there."

149 Kim Cox

"See here?" Lana followed Lucy to the desk on the far side of the room. "I pull the string here and move it wherever I want." She pointed above them. "And the line runs from here to the doorway over there, going right by the file cabinets."

Roxie's face turned a bright shade of red. "I'm such a numbskull, just like Ralph says."

"No, you're not. Anyone would've been scared of what you saw. But you know, you really shouldn't peep into other people's windows like that." She glanced at Lucy, who was nodding her head and laughing as she glided by them.

"I know. I don't know why I do things like that. I just wanted to make sure you were up before intruding."

"You're never an intrusion. Feel free to visit any time." Lana crossed her fingers behind her back to counter the little white lie.

"Thank you, Lana. I'm so sorry I acted like such an old fool." Roxie shivered. "It's cold in here. How can you stand having that air conditioner on in winter? It's cold outside."

"Oh, but it's not..." Lana stopped herself, realizing why the room was chilled. "I turned it on instead of the heat by mistake and the darn thing is stuck." She tightened her already crossed fingers. "I was just getting ready to fix that after I finished hanging the clothes."

"Let me send Ralph over to fix it for you. He's pretty handy at fixin' things, you know. It's the least I can do."

Lana edged Roxie to the door. "Oh, no, that's not necessary. The button just fell off and rolled under something. I can turn it off as soon as I find the knob. Or if I don't, I'll just use some pliers to turn it off. But thank you for the offer. I appreciate it."

Lucy put her finger in her mouth and pretended to gag-something she'd learned recently and overused.

Lana pursed her lips and narrowed her brows, giving Lucy a quelling look. When they got to the door, Roxie turned around. "I almost forgot. Can I get that coffee now?"

"Yes. It completely slipped my mind, too. Follow me." Lana turned toward the kitchen.

"I'll wait here," Roxie said, backing up.

* * * * *

Lucy watched as Roxie slipped over to Lana's desk and glanced over the papers stacked there.

Oh, busybody! Lucy hated nosy people more than anything.

Roxie turned the corner of a sheet up with two fingers and tilted her head to one side so she could see what was written on the paper under it.

150 Haunted Hearts

Lucy noticed one drawer wasn't completely closed on the file cabinet. She flew over and pushed it with all her might. The drawer slammed shut with a bang.

Roxie jumped, her eyes wide as she looked around the room for the source of the noise. Lucy whooshed by so fast, the breeze lifted one of the curlers from Roxie's head. Then, she hurried over, opened and slammed another drawer shut.

At this, Roxie ran for the door. "Oh, God! Let me out of here," she cried and struggled with the knob.

"What in this world? Roxie! Here's your coffee."

Without a word, Roxie reached for the cup with one hand and grasped the doorknob with the other.

Lana gave Lucy another narrow-eyed look. "Here, let me help you with that."

Lucy shrugged her shoulders. Could she help it if the woman couldn't handle loud noises? It wasn't her fault. The old biddy shouldn't have been snooping.

Roxie's teeth chattered. The cream on her face now appeared dry and cracked. "What do you have here? Ghosts? Poltergeists?"

"Well, I never. Can you believe she called me a poltergeist? The nerve of that idiot woman."

"Lucy!"

Lucy clasped her hand over her mouth when she realized Lana had said her name aloud without thinking. As Roxie struggled, Lana was able to open the door only after she pried Roxie's hands off the knob.

(c) 2008 Chris Grover - Do not reproduce in any form without the permission of the author/owner.

If you like this sample chapter, you can read the rest and 5 other stories by purchasing a copy of ENCHANTED HOLIDAYS, available from Cerridwen Press http://www.cerridwenpress.com/ in both electronic and print.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Valentine's Inn by Chris Grover


Fifth sample chapter from Enchanted Holidays - Valentine's Day - VALENTINE'S INN by Chris Grover

Chapter One

To Rianna Gordon's annoyance, the rain that started earlier in the morning had now turned to sleet. Pulling up the hood of her winter jacket, she shoved the copy of the developer's offer into the back pocket of her jeans and limped around the perimeter of the lakefront property, trying her desperate best to imagine what it would look like a year from now. After the inn her great-great-grandfather had built on the shores of Lake Ontario over a hundred years ago had been replaced with the condos and other facilities she'd seen on the developer's plans.

Provided, of course, she went along with those plans and agreed to sell Wilton Homes the property.

She sighed sadly, her gaze lingering on the familiar, large, gray fieldstone building with its high slanted roof of cedar shingles, the old-fashioned six-pane windows and solid wood doors. The summer she graduated from high school, she spent part of her vacation helping her Uncle Bill repaint that white trim around the windows. They also painted the solid wood doors a cheery apple red and for as far back as she could remember it had always been her job to keep a brilliant shine on the brass door fittings. This place had been her family's home for more than a century. All her childhood memories revolved around Valentine's Inn and the last thing she wanted to do was let it go. But there was no way she could keep it and that was that. The sooner she made up her mind about the offer, the less painful it would be.

The real estate salesman said Max Wilton had looked at several other properties in the area and was eager to make a decision, so he gave her exactly forty-eight hours from five o'clock yesterday evening in which to make up her mind.

Sell and the moment the sale went through and all the legalities were taken care of, Valentine's Inn would be bulldozed into extinction and she could buy that cute little cottage in the Muskokas. The one with its own private lake. The one that the owner was willing to-

"Hello? Excuse me, miss, could you please give me a hand here?"

Rianna turned, surprised to see a dark-haired man hurrying toward her from the direction of the lake. Tall, broad-shouldered and probably in his late forties, he appeared to be cradling something inside his black leather jacket.

"Help you with what?" She started edging back toward the inn. "You realize this is private property?"

"Yes, I know." He smiled, his dark blue eyes unexpectedly warm and friendly as he opened his jacket. "Actually, it's this little guy who needs your help."

221 Chris Grover

Against her better judgment, Rianna stepped forward to look and felt an almost forgotten stirring in the region of her heart. With both her life and her emotions in tatters, the last thing she needed was involvement with anyone or anything. But a small black kitten, its fur so wet and full of ice crystals it stood up in stiff points, was nestled against the man's chest.

"I found him a couple of minutes ago huddled under a bush. I think someone must have dumped him."

"Poor baby." Rianna reached for the kitten. Tucking him securely inside her own fleece-lined jacket, she headed for the inn. "We need to get you inside where it's warm and dry."

When she reached the large, old-fashioned kitchen that had once been the nerve center of the inn, she realized the man was right behind her. But it was too late for her to worry about that now. Anyway, a man who saved abandoned kittens couldn't be completely bad, could he? If the kitten had been warm and dry on a day like this, she might have reason to think he was using the animal as a ploy, but it wasn't and-

"Do you have something we can use to dry him off? Maybe an old towel?"

"Try those cupboards over there." She pulled off her stocking cap, then jerked her head in the direction of the far wall as she put the kitten down on one of the steel-topped counters and started checking him over for signs of physical injury. "As far as I know, whatever we have is in there."

The kitten gave a tiny plaintive meow and tried to clamber back inside her jacket. "And hurry up. Spiky here is freezing his tail off." The ice on the kitten's fur had started to melt. Grabbing a handful of paper towels from a roll on the counter, she tried to absorb some of the moisture as she continued checking the cat for injuries.

"All I could find are these." He dropped a couple of thin bar towels on the table. "Don't you have anything thicker?"

She pointed to an open door leading off the kitchen. "The living quarters are through there. Grab whatever you can find from the bathroom."

A moment later, he was back with two fluffy pink bath towels. "How is he?"

"Cold, wet and scared, but otherwise okay. At least as far as I can tell." Taking one of the towels, she rubbed vigorously at the kitten's fur.

"Maybe you should take him to a vet."

"Why didn't you?"

He shrugged. "I'm on foot and the nearest vet is at least five miles away. Anyway, I saw you."

"And the word ‘sucker' written on my back?" She smiled wryly.

He looked a little shamefaced. "You could've said no."

The kitten gave another small cry and made a weak attempt to struggle free. His fur was still damp, but he looked a little less bedraggled. Putting the towel she'd used aside, she quickly wrapped him in the dry one and picked him up. "There's milk in the

222 Valentine's Inn

fridge. Can you find a saucepan and warm some up? He might be hungry. And his fur is going to take ages to dry. How do you think he'd feel about my hair dryer?"

"Terrified, I would imagine."

After putting the milk on to heat, the man turned on one of the big restaurant-size ovens that lined one wall and pulled down the door. Positioning a kitchen chair in front of it, he beckoned Rianna over. "This will help to dry him off. Cats love the warmth."

As she opened the towel, the kitten immediately reacted to the heat by stretching out a paw and giving a faint but appreciative meow.

When the milk was ready, she dipped the tip of her finger in it and brought it close to his tiny pink nose. He sniffed at it a couple of times, but that was all. Curling himself into a ball, he closed his eyes and went to sleep.

The man frowned. "I guess he's not interested in milk."

"I think he's more tired than hungry. I don't have a lot of groceries. But there's canned chicken and canned tuna and also some bread. I'll let him sleep for a while, then try him again with something else later."

"You're sure he's okay?"

"His fur is still damp, but he's far from starving. Plenty of meat on his little bones. He could've gone for a walk and gotten lost."

"I suppose."

The man's hair had started to dry and Rianna felt a stab of compassion as he pushed his fingers roughly through it in a vain attempt to control the mass of curls. Same problem she had when her hair got wet.

"By the way, my name's Josh. Josh Byford."

"Rianna Gordon." She hesitated. "It's none of my business, of course. And whatever the reason, I'm sure you have Spiky's undying gratitude for saving his life. But what were you doing out here? Miles from anywhere and in this awful weather."

"Walking. When I'm not working, I come this way most days. I love walking along the edge of the lake. Gives me a wonderful feeling of being halfway between heaven and earth." He smiled. "Hope that's okay with you?"

"Be my guest. You're the one who's likely to die from exposure. Not me."

He chuckled. "Don't worry, that's not going to happen. But since you brought the subject up, what's your excuse for being here? Have you bought the inn?"

"No. I inherited it from my Uncle Bill. He was my mom's brother."

A look of eager anticipation appeared on his face. "You mean Bill Valentine? That's great." He suddenly sobered. "What I mean is, I'm really sorry to hear he's gone, but glad to know the property will be staying in the family."

"You knew him?"

223 Chris Grover

"Of course. I worked for him here at the inn for several years. But after the fire, when he closed up and moved to Hamilton, I'm afraid we lost touch. So, now the place is yours. Does this mean you're going to fix the old place up and reopen?"

"Sorry, no. As a matter of fact, I'm thinking of selling. A developer wants the property to build a retirement community and I'm just camping out here for a couple of days while I make up my mind."

His eager expression changed to outright horror. "Why would you sell?"

"Because..." She took a deep breath and tried to stretch her injured leg without disturbing the cat. "There are a number of reasons. None of which I really want to go into."

"Your property, so it's your call. I suppose the new owner could always convert the inn into a clubhouse or something like that."

"If I sell, I understand the inn comes down to make way for a fitness center."

"But the inn is over a hundred years old. A genuine piece of Canadian history. If you need the money that badly, surely you can find someone interested in preserving it? If not as an inn, maybe as a restaurant? Even a bed-and-breakfast."

"From what the real estate salesman said, I was lucky to get this offer."

"I don't believe that."

"I do. The fire that forced Uncle Bill to close down ten years ago did a lot of damage. A complete refit would cost a fortune. Anyway, why do you care whether I sell or not?"

"Because I'd hate to see the place disappear unnecessarily. The worst damage is in the reception and lounge areas. I realize it wouldn't be cheap to fix, but surely not that expensive."

"Upstairs suffered a lot of smoke damage, so there'd be the expense of new furniture and linens."

"But the building is structurally sound."

"So the insurance company assured Uncle Bill. But after ten years, there's a great deal that would require either repairing or replacing. Probably cost two fortunes to get it even halfway back to its former state. Then, there're startup costs for inventory and supplies and all new furniture and accessories for the bedrooms and lounge area. And you can just bet the health authorities would insist everything here in this kitchen be ripped out and more modern equipment installed. It's hard to find anyone who has that kind of money to speculate with these days. And what about staff? Who would want to work out here? And where would the customers come from?"

"I'm sure you'd have no problem arranging a loan to cover all that. And people worked here before," he said stiffly. "I'm also sure some of the old employees would want to come back. As for customers, the inn is on the main Toronto-Niagara Falls highway. The dining room never lacked for trade before the fire and it wouldn't if you reopened tomorrow."

224 Valentine's Inn

"Sorry. That's not going to happen, so I won't start cooking," Rianna shot back unable to keep the sarcasm from her voice. What did Josh, whatever his name was, think he was up to trying to bully her like this? "In any event, I can't cook."

"Can't or don't care to?"

She stared at him in surprise. "Excuse me?"

"My mom learned from her mom. She loved to cook...especially for her family. Of course, I realize women today have cutting-edge careers and don't have time for old-fashioned domestic skills."

"If it's any of your business, I don't have a family. Not anymore. But I know how to turn on the microwave, plug in the electric kettle and fry an egg. And for one person living alone, that's bordering on culinary information overload, in my opinion."

"What do you do? I mean, do you have a job?"

"Not at the moment. But I'm... I was a lawyer."

"Was?"

"Was. Not disbarred or discredited, just was."

"As in disenchanted?"

"No. As in retired."

He looked at her for a moment then laughed. A deep, booming belly laugh that set her nerves on edge. "You can't retire at your age. You have to do something. Even if it's only to relieve the boredom of turning the microwave on and off and staring at the walls."

"Not necessarily."

"Okay. So you're financially independent, you'll get a nice chunk of cash from selling the inn, then what happens next?"

"Why are you so concerned about me?"

"From the sound of it, I think someone needs to be."

She gritted her teeth and glared at him. "I intend to buy a winterized cottage on a remote lake in the Muskokas and read, watch TV and generally indulge myself. You have a problem with that?"

"Can't imagine it being much fun if you're by yourself."

Her leg was aching badly from being in one position for too long. Another legacy from the accident that the doctors said she had to learn to live with. She needed to stand up and walk around to relieve the pain. Getting to her feet, she handed him the sleeping cat. "Take care of Spiky for a minute. I have a cramp in my leg."

"I thought perhaps you'd injured it. I noticed you limping earlier."

"Actually, I broke it in a couple of places. But it's fine now, provided I don't sit in one position for too long."

On her second tour around the big kitchen with its long, central island, green-tiled floors and steel-topped counters, she noticed the sleet had changed to snow. Big fat

225 Chris Grover

flakes were whirling in the wind and covering the landscape with a mantle of white. She picked up the electric kettle she'd brought with her and filled it with water. She was being a lousy host and while Josh was hardly a guest, he had saved Spiky from certain death.

"Want a cup of tea?"

"I should be going."

"I don't think so. Have you looked outside recently?"

He went over to the window and grimaced. "When did that happen?"

"While we were talking. Where do you live?"

"A couple of miles east of here."

"Well, you can't walk that far in a blizzard. As soon as it eases up, I'll drive you."

"That won't be necessary. It's only a snow shower. We get lots of them this close to the lake. Wait an hour or so and it'll be like it never happened." He returned to the stove. "Think you can find a box or something to use for a cat bed? Put it here in the kitchen near the stove, where the little guy will be warm and comfortable."

And let him think he's found a new home?

"First, I'll make the tea, then I'll go look. I need to fix up a temporary litter pan for him as well. I noticed there's still some sand in one of the fire buckets. He'll have to make do with that until I go to the store."

(c) 2008 Chris Grover - Do not reproduce in any form without the permission of the author/owner.

If you like this sample chapter, you can read the rest and 5 other stories by purchasing a copy of ENCHANTED HOLIDAYS, available from Cerridwen Press http://www.cerridwenpress.com/ in both electronic and print.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Announcements


I'm a guest author at www.ashleyladd.blogspot.com Thursday, January 31st. Please join us!

Our (4 other authors and myself) anthology, One Touch Beyond (see cover below) will be released at www.cerridwenpress.com February 21st.

Kim Cox