Tag Archives: ebooks

Liliana’s Letter by Alina K Field

Liliana's Letter ebookI’m excited to host my friend, Alina K. Field, whose new book Liliana’s Letter released today! Congratulations, Alina! And I understand you’re giving one lucky commenter an ebook copy – yay! Please tell us a little more about your story.

Alina: Thank you for hosting me today, Kitty!

Today is release day for my latest Regency novella, Liliana’s Letter! After I finished my novel Bella’s Band I went to work on another Regency series. But a character from Bella’s Band, the hero’s uncle, nagged at me to tell his story, so I put aside my other project to reveal the story of how Lord Grigsby, the dependable, conscientious, dutiful Baron, found his own true love.

This was a great deal of fun to write, also a bit of a challenge because it’s a prequel to the novel. I found myself going back and forth between the published novel and the manuscript, thanking my lucky stars that I had not gone into a lot of detail about the characters in the novel!

I love that the baron found his true love and I hope readers will enjoy the story, too! Here’s the book’s description, and I included an excerpt at the end as well.

Liliana’s Letter

The Matchmaker

Lord Grigsby wants nothing more than to retreat to his study, but a promise to his long-dead sister has forced him back into society to broker the marriage of his nephew to the heiress whose money can save the young man’s earldom. If only the young lady’s starchy hired companion would move out of the way.

The Matchbreaker

Hired to launch an heiress’s society debut, seemingly straitlaced spinster Liliana Ashford’s future as a professional chaperone depends on the girl’s successful marriage. But Liliana had her own close encounter with a scoundrel years ago, and she won’t let her charge be forced into marriage to the same kind of rogue, no matter how hard the man’s widowed uncle tries to woo Liliana around to the match.

Secrets and a Scandalous Murder

A shadow from Liliana’s past appears bearing an unfortunate letter she wrote long ago, and then the earl is murdered, evoking the scandal of the season. While she scrambles to make a respectable match for her charge before her own past can be exposed, Grigsby sets about finding his nephew’s killer—and Liliana’s secrets.

EXCERPT:

The woman at Grigsby’s side was like a lightning rod expecting a bolt to strike, or like a Fury about to deliver one. This close, scent wafted from her, roses and lemon, he’d guess. Tall, straight, and stiff, underneath her self-possession was a temper ready to unleash. He would bet on it.

Intriguing. He dared to poke her ire. “You clearly don’t approve of the match. Do you intend to openly oppose it?”

Her head whipped around, and she glared. “It’s not for me to approve or disapprove. Katie—Miss Mercer—will decide.”

Passion flashed in her eyes, sending an answering spark through him. She was magnificent—though so very mistaken. “Really? Then her father is more liberal than I expected.”

She looked him over more closely. “What do you know of this matter?”

I might ask you the same question. Her tone had been stiff, like the crystallized dome covering bubbling lava. He fixed her with his sternest glare, not entirely surprised at her cheek.

His glower didn’t impress her. She lifted her shoulders higher. Stood a little taller, proud, lovely, and filled with indignation.

Quite righteous indignation. He gave into an unmanly sigh, truly weary of his responsibility for Thomas. “I know a good deal, Miss Ashford. I have been negotiating for these nuptials. The arrangement is my doing as much as Mr. Mercer’s. Much more than it is my nephew’s. He is probably the least culpable, except for his abominable behavior.”

She clenched her hands tightly. “I see.”

“Thomas’s mother was my older sister. I made a promise to her that I would look after him.” Her gaze softened, and she bit her lip in a way that made him want to taste the part that she was nipping.

And where had that thought come from?

“And your nephew needs money and an heir.”

He nodded. As a woman of the ton, of course she would understand how marriage worked. Marriage wasn’t about love, or the bride’s approval, or a plump lower lip that begged to be kissed.

“He needs money most of all. He has a younger brother in the army who would make a far more dutiful earl.”

He covered his mouth with his hand. The words had rolled out, shocking him. He rarely spoke this frankly with any woman.

Very well, he never spoke this frankly with any woman.

She released a soft breath. “And there is the matter of the ore.”

His mouth gaped and he quickly closed it. Mr. Mercer had shared that information? Well. “That part of the county is rich with newly discovered veins of iron.”

That information brought her up straighter. She looked away, gazing intently at a thick, dark spot of foliage, making him want to pry into that sharp mind.

“I see,” she said. “I believe we should go back in now.”

Not yet. He tucked her hand over his arm but did not move. “I had hoped we were not finished talking. I’ve learned your Christian name is Liliana, but I don’t know anything else about you. I don’t know where you’re from or anything about your family.”

He sensed her bristling, and waited for some reaction, perhaps a slap, verbal, or, with a woman of her passion, even a physical one. Strictly speaking, he was importuning her, and damn if he wasn’t enjoying the nerves rippling through her.

* * *

If you enjoyed this excerpt, you can purchase Alina’s novella at Amazon, Kobo, and iBooks. You also have a chance to win a free ebook copy by leaving a comment below! 🙂 Alina will randomly pick one winner in a few days.

Alina K FieldAward winning author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and German literature, but she found her true passion in reading and writing romance. Though her roots are in the Midwest, after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California and hasn’t looked back. She shares a midcentury home with her husband and a blue-eyed cat who conned his way in for dinner one day and decided the food was too good to leave.

She is the author of the 2014 Book Buyer’s Best winner in the novella category, Rosalyn’s Ring, a Regency novella; and the novel-length sequel, a 2015 RONE Award finalist, Bella’s Band, both Soul Mate Publishing releases.

Visit her at:
Her website – http://alinakfield.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/alinakfield
Twitter – https://twitter.com/AlinaKField
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7173518.Alina_K_Field

Bewitching Desires – A Fun Halloween Read

My RWA friend Rebekah Ganiere and eleven other writers have put together a collection of stories perfect for Halloween. The book was just released last week so it’s available to purchase now. Yay! Read on for more information.

Bewitching Desires infographicBewitching Desires: A Savannah Coven Anthology

by Rebekah R. Ganiere, Tami Lund, Niki Daninger, Jennifer Ray, Danielle Donaldson, Sheri Williams, Michele Mohr, Maria Arell, A. E. Snow, Andra Shine, Sonja Fröjdendal, and Kay Blake

Bewitching DesiresTwelve Paranormal Stories of Love, Hate, and Desire. Bewitching Desires, The Savannah Coven Anthology, is packed full of Witches, Warlocks, Werewolves, Ghosts, and even a Reaper. All based around the great holiday of Samhain – or, as mere humans call it, Halloween. The witches of the Savannah coven are all preparing themselves for their favorite holiday, but on the night when humans and spirits collide, nothing ever goes as planned.

Journey with an angel across the country, with a reaper chasing a soul hiding in someone else’s body, to a haunted hotel, with a reluctant supreme witch who’d rather give her powers to someone else, not to mention eight other wild and intriguing encounters.

Twelve interwoven tales from bestselling and up and coming authors will have you wishing Samhain came more than once a year…

iBooks Buy Link   Amazon Buy Link   Barnes & Noble Buy Link

Here’s the description of Rebekah’s story plus a short excerpt. Remember, there are eleven more stories in the book! Take a look…

Kissed by the Reaper  by Rebekah R. Ganiere
Some loves are worth a battle with both heaven and hell to keep.

Rose committed an unpardonable sin right before she died. As penance, she has been reaping souls for Lucifer for over twenty years. On Halloween night she finds herself in Podunk nowhere ushering souls back to hell when she runs into the mysteriously handsome Gabriel who’s not at all what he seems. After chasing him into a cornfield and battling an angel to get Gabriel’s soul, she leaves with more questions than answers.

Gabriel is an angel hiding out as a jumper. A soul that jumps from body to body to stay hidden on Earth. But when he finds himself mortally wounded there is only one person he can turn to for protection. The feisty and beautiful reaper who tried to kill him the year before.

With Gabriel recuperating in her bed, Rose is summoned by her boss to hell where he makes her a proposal. Find the jumper Gabriel and deliver his soul, and she will be set free. Fail and become Lucifer’s bride forever. It should be an easy choice. Problem is, Gabriel is the first person Rose has been able to touch without scaring to death in the last twenty years. And just his presence has begun to bring back hidden memories from her human life. In the end Rose will have to make the ultimate decision. Choosing Gabriel or choosing herself.

Short Excerpt:

“Did you know there’s a black guy slumped on the floor in the last aisle?” said one.

“What?” Alarm bells went off in her head. “Crap.” The guy from the back door. She’d completely forgotten about him.

Rose rushed to the side of the counter, threw the separator up and raced down the last aisle. The bell tinkled for the front door, but she kept moving.

She found him splayed on the floor, face down. “Dammit.” She knelt by his side and rolled him over. “Hey. Hey, wake up.” She patted his cheek.

His eyes fluttered open and went from hazel to golden and then back again. “Rose.”

Her heart pounded. A Jumper. “Elijah?”

He nodded. No wonder he knew her name.

She threw his arm over her shoulder and helped him into a seated position.

“How did you find me?” She glanced around while trying to get Elijah to his feet. A Jumper, especially a hurt one wasn’t the norm for her. As a Reaper it was her job to play bounty hunter and send Jumpers to hell. They didn’t usually come asking for help. Someone was on his tail.

“I’ve known all year.” Blood dribbled down his chin.

She laced her fingers between his, got him up, and leaned him on the shelf. She needed to move him out of sight and get everyone out of the store. No! She needed to get his butt out of her store. She still bore the scar from her last visit to Lucifer’s pad a year prior when she’d let him slip through her fingers.

“Did you take the angelbreath?” she asked.

He nodded. “The whole container.”

“You gotta leave. Now. At sundown I’ll have to reap you.”

He gaze connected with hers. “I’ve missed you.”

Her gut tightened and the feeling that she knew him from somewhere rushed through her again. All year she’d tried to forget him, but it was hard to forget an angel Jumper. Especially one who looked at her the way he did.

“Ah, damn. Come on.” She half dragged, half carried him toward the front of the store. It was slow and he stumbled several times but they finally made it to the curtain separating the store from the back rooms. She glanced toward the front counter. The goths were gone. So was the merchandise. Stupid girls. They’d pay for stealing from her.

She used her hip to nudge the curtain aside and helped him through the box maze over to a large red chaise lounge. She threw him down on it. He grunted and tried to pull himself into a sitting position.

“What the hell happened to you?” She looked around and located a box of tissues. Pulling out several, she dabbed his mouth, wiping away the blood.

“Reapers.”

She stopped dabbing. “Reapers plural?”

“Three.”

“Reapers don’t work together.”

He gave her a winning smile. “I’m a special case.”

Self-Publishing Class – Sample Lectures

I thought you might want to know more about the self-publishing class that I’ll be teaching starting Monday. So here are some samples from some of my class lectures.

From Lecture 1

Welcome to my class on self-publishing your book! I’m glad you’re here. There are a lot of ways to get your book out into the world, and I’m going to present only a few. Then you’ll be able to take what you learn here, continue to research and learn more about your other options, and make changes (if you choose) in the future with more confidence.

The first things you’ll need to decide are:

  • do you want to publish in ebook only, print only, or both?
  • what software will you use?
  • what distributors will you use?

Starting today, if you haven’t already started a notebook or computer file to save all the information you collect on self-publishing, do it now.

I use an ARC notebook from Staples to save everything that is already printed, or that I print out.

http://www.staples.com/M-by-Staples-Arc-Customizable-Durable-Poly-Notebook-System-Black-9-3/product_886237

I prefer these because I like how easy it is to pull a piece of paper from one section and press it into another without having to open and close a 3-ring binder all the time. But whatever you like and will find easy to organize is what you should use.

I save different information – my house style guide, some how-to blogs that I’ve saved, a list of passwords and links to the distributors I use, and much more – in a Scrivener file.

Screen shot - Style guide

From that Scrivener file, I can cut and paste links I need easier than if they were in a printed file, and I can continually update my style guide, add new books or formats (like audiobooks), and organize other information that I don’t feel the need to print.

From Lecture 2

In addition to the big choices – will I publish in ebook, print, or both formats? what software will I use? – you have a lot of detailed choices as well. This lesson will help familiarize you with some of those choices, and provide web sites where you can look up more information and/or sign up for the service.

Business Type

When you sign up for an account to publish your book with a distributor (KDP, Smashwords, etc.), you will need to provide your legal name (if you write with a pen name) and/or your business name. I chose to register a DBA (Doing Business As, also known as a Fictitious Business Name) so I could have a company name without the expense of setting up a corporation or LLC. You will have to do your own research on this, ask your accountant and/or attorney what is best for you because I am not qualified to give legal or financial advice.

If you live in California, here is a link to the state web site explaining the minimum tax if you set up a corporation or LLC. Google “[my state] minimum tax” to find out more about the tax consequences of setting up a corporation/LLC in your state.

https://www.ftb.ca.gov/individuals/faq/beMinTax.shtml

CHOICE: How will I set up my distributor accounts, and what do I need to do before I can sign up for those accounts?

Tax Identification Numbers

When you sign up with a distributor, you need to provide banking information and a tax ID number so you can get paid and so your earnings can be reported to the Internal Revenue Service.

If you run your business as a sole proprietor, with or without a DBA, you can use your social security number or you can apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). While I can’t give you legal or financial advice, here are some articles that may help you decide.

http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Employer-ID-Numbers-EINs

http://legal.answers.com/definitions/should-you-use-an-ein-or-your-social-security-number

http://info.legalzoom.com/need-ein-am-dba-23281.html

Depending on your bank and your business type, you may be able to set up a business checking account. (Your bank can tell you if they require an EIN for a sole proprietorship with or without a DBA, or if they will allow you to use your social security number.) Your royalties/earnings can be deposited there instead of your personal account to make accounting and taxes easier. Or your bank may only let you set up a separate personal checking account. Either way, you need to decide where you want your money deposited.

If you use PayPal, you may want to research how you can set up a separate PayPal account connected to your business checking so you can keep your business and personal finances separate.

CHOICE: How will I set up my banking for receiving payments and paying expenses?

ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATION: How will changing from one business type now (sole prop/DBA) to another later (corporation/LLC) affect my business? How will it affect my sales, sales rank, tax reporting, sales reporting, etc. from the vendors and distributors I’ve signed up with?

From Lecture 5

This lecture is not going to be an exhaustive how-to on using InDesign. You’ve either decided to learn it and you plan to use additional resources to do so, or you are already familiar with it to some degree. This will also help you get your book set up in InDesign if you have used Quark Xpress or Pagemaker or another desktop publishing program. There are enough similarities among the programs that knowing how to do this or that in one program gives you an idea of how to do it in another.

I’ll tell you what I do, and you can follow my directions, or just use them as a jumping off point to decide how you want to design your book’s interior. (You can also read along and ask yourself if this seems easy enough to learn. I think you’ll find it is.)

What I Do

Following are directions for creating a new file, making it into a template so you have all your settings saved for future books, and then adding your current manuscript to the template to create a new document.

Open InDesign
Go to File, New, Document
Under Intent on the popup screen, leave it as Print (the default)
Under Pages, make it a few more pages than you think it needs to be

Example: My superhero story is 100,000 words and came in at about 325 pages with the manuscript, the front and back matter, and the short excerpt of the next book at the end; my 8,000-word short story is about 36 pages with front and back matter and short excerpt

Under Page Size, choose Custom, then you’ll create a custom preset for all of your books

Adjust the width and height to the sizes you want for your print book (this won’t affect your EPUB if you create one from InDesign), and type in a name for the Custom Page Size.

Example: You could create one that is 4 1/8” x 6 7/8” and call it “Mass Market,” and create one that is 5” x 8” and call it “Trade Size.” Then you only need to choose which Custom Page Size you want to use this time.

Screen shot InD New Doc 1

Click on the Add button to save the name of the Custom Page Size. If you created more than one, click on the one you want and hit OK.

Screen shot InD New Doc 2

Leave the columns section as is if you are creating a novel template. Adjust your margins according to the CreateSpace guidelines. (You may have to click on the “chain” icon next to the top and bottom margins in order for your changes to save.)

Example: I use 0.75” for the top, bottom, and inside margins, and 0.5” on the outside margin

Sign Up Today!

These are just a few examples of what you’ll learn in my 4-week online class, Your How-to Guide to Self-Publishing. You will receive 8 lectures with 92 pages of information, including screen shots, to help you get your book up for sale as an ebook and/or in print by the end of the class. Everyone will be encouraged to ask questions and offer suggestions to each other so that everyone can avoid or solve problems, and gain the newest information in an ever-changing industry.

Manuscript not ready? No problem. You can go through the lectures and practice with a dummy manuscript. This will give you an opportunity to ask questions about anything you don’t understand so you can be ready when your manuscript is complete.

Check out my Classes page and sign up for the class. It starts Monday, January 12, 2015.

Book Sale Today – 20 Books at 99c Each!

PreLaunchImage2Hi friends!

I’m participating in a book sale today with 19 other writers. There’s a little something for everyone, and each of the books are only 99c today. Most books will be on sale today only, while some like mine will be 99c for a few days. Check them out! 🙂

Stuck With You by Kristy Tate

Calling All Glass Slippers by Jacqueline Diamond

Jack Fell Down by Michelle Knowlden

Heart’s Desire by Susan R Hughes

Emerald Fortune by Lou Nelson

Claimed by the Enemy by Shauna Roberts

A Deadly Denial by Kathy Bennett

Unexpected Superhero by Yours Truly! 😀

Neighbors by Michael Payne

Ghost of My Dreams by Angie Ray

Love at the Beach (3 books in 1) by Laura Taylor

Judy Uncensored by Debra Salonen

The Ring That Binds by Linda Carroll-Bradd

She Likes It Tough by Geralyn Corcillo

Shadows Till Sunrise by Chris Marie Green

The Bachelor’s Baby Promise by Barbara McMahon

The Single Daddy Club: Derrick by Donna Fasano

You Don’t Know Jack by Adrianne Lee

Big and Bright by Jan Hudson

Demon Lover by Kathleen Creighton

 

One Day Sale on 20 Romance Novels – Only 99 Cents Each!

Little Miss Lovesick_NEWSIZE_FINALI was thrilled to be invited to join a group of friends who wanted to do a fun cross-promotion for our books. For one day, today, all of our books – all in various sub-genres of romance – will be available on Amazon for only 99 cents! Yay!

If you like my books, you’ll find several in this list you would enjoy. 🙂 And if you’re reading this after Friday, my book Little Miss Lovesick (and perhaps some of the others) will still be on sale through the weekend. Plus, I’ve made Lovesick 99 cents across all retailers, so you can get it for a buck on Barnes & Noble or iTunes or anywhere you like to buy ebooks!

If you’re on Twitter or Facebook or other places, would you mind passing this information along? I’d love to feel like I helped my friends find new fans. 😀 Thanks a million!

Happy reading!

Kathy Bennett, A Deadly Justice

Kitty Bucholtz, Little Miss Lovesick 

Linda Carroll-Bradd, Capturing the Marshal’s Heart

Kathleen Creighton, The Prince and the Patriot

Jacqueline Diamond, The Cowboy and the Heiress

Gillian Doyle, Mystic Memories

Susan R. Hughes, A Baby for Christmas

Michelle Knowlden, Indelible Beats

Heather MacAllister, Counterfeit Cowgirl

Mindy Neff, The Bad Boy Next Door

Louella Nelson, Cora Lee

Lyn O’Farrell, Worth the Risk

Dee Ann Palmer, Where Eagles Cry

Sandra Paul, Last Chance For Marriage

Michael H. Payne, A Curial Quartet

Edie Ramer, Christmas at Angel Lake

Angie Ray, Ghostly Enchantment

Susan Squires, Waiting For Magic

Kristy Tate, Beyond the Fortuneteller’s Tent

Patricia Thayer, Colton Creek Cowboy

Kindle MatchBook – Buy the Print Book, Get the Kindle Book Half Off

Hello my friends!

Sorry I’ve not been blogging much. It was a whirlwind five weeks away from home promoting the release of Unexpected Superhero! Lots to tell you, but I’ll have to catch you up slowly because I’m working on getting the short story, “Superhero in Disguise,” out to you this month! More on that later, too.

MatchBook_logoPreLaunchImage2Today I want to tell you about a new program at Amazon that I’ve enrolled my books in. It’s called Kindle MatchBook, and it launches in October. (Does that mean today? See more details here.) Apparently, if you buy a print copy of my books (and lots of other books!) from the Amazon.com web site, you can buy the Kindle edition for at least 50% off.

This is what it says on the Amazon page:

For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases will soon allow you to buy the Kindle edition for $2.99, $1.99, $0.99, or free.

That means that Little Miss Lovesick would be 99 cents and Unexpected Superhero would be $1.99 as ebooks. It has to be at least half off, but I can only choose prices with 99 on the end. Since Lovesick is normally $2.99, and half is $1.50, I had to go to the next lower 99 point. A better deal for you!

I had to ask you guys on my Facebook Author page if this even sounded like something you cared about. Maybe it would be a waste of time. But Rachel said she wouldn’t mind having a print and ebook copy of the same book. And I was thinking that I’d buy a print copy of a book to give someone as a Christmas gift and keep the ebook for myself. So after discussing it with you guys, I enrolled both books.

I looked on the book pages on Amazon to see if there is a notice that says, this book is enrolled in the Kindle MatchBook program, but I don’t see anything yet. I guess we’ll figure it out together. 🙂

Meanwhile, I’m working on my short story. It’s about when Tori and Joe (from Unexpected Superhero) meet in costume on Halloween. It’s a fun story, perfect for this time of year. I’d wanted to have it available for you today, but I’m having some personal life crises (yes, more than one) that I have to deal with as well. Don’t you just hate it when life gets in the way of your plans?! LOL!

I hope you’re all having a lovely week! I’ll start catching you up on my whirlwind book tour soon!

Book Marks: I Got You Babe

51fEoVjkRwL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-70,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_I found I Got You, Babe by Jane Graves in the Book Bub email offering it at a discount for a limited time. I read the Kindle free sample and was hooked by the end. I bought it.

I really liked it for the first several chapters. It’s billed as a sexy romantic comedy, and I would say that’s pretty accurate. A woman is on the run, accused of a crime she didn’t commit, and she runs into an off-duty cop. Trouble ensues.

But as I kept reading, it seemed like things started to get repetitive. The heroine worried about the same thing over and over. Not without reason, but it was still the same thing over and over. Then about two-thirds or three-quarters through, I started to feel like the hero’s arguments were becoming the same old thing repeated.

The story was good, interesting, intriguing. But I would’ve enjoyed it more with a tighter storyline, cutting out the parts where the same thoughts and feelings appear. Other than that, it makes for a good beach read. Fun and light enough to relax with it in the sun.

3 stars, Liked It

Unexpected Superhero Teaser 3

First cover for the novel Unexpected SuperheroUnexpected Superhero is now available on Kindle, and will be available in print in just over a week. Yay!

And now for the end of Chapter One! (If you missed the beginning, you can read Teaser 1 and Teaser 2 here first.) Enjoy!

Tori pulled her fisted hands from her coat pockets, looking around, trying to decide what to do. Please help me, God. Her eyes darted to Eddie behind the counter. He saw the quiet man moving toward the gunman, too. Eddie opened the cash register and started counting the bills out loud.

“Twenty, forty, sixty–”

“Just put it in the bag, man!” the kid shouted.

Eddie shot him an angry look. “I have to tell my dad how much got stolen for the insurance paperwork, you idiot! Eighty, one hundred…” Eddie kept counting, picking up the tens and then the fives.

Tori felt her lips twitch in a tiny smile. Brilliant! The kid was so focused on the money, he didn’t see the other guy sneaking up behind him. Tori tensed, praying this would work.

Crash!

Behind her, near the women, a glass jar fell and broke. The young woman screamed.

The gunman swung around. “Everybody freeze!”

More screams tore the air. Tori ducked as the kid waved the gun. The idiot looked like he was in a gangster movie. He probably didn’t even know how to use the thing.

The gunman turned back to the cashier. “Give me the money and no one gets hurt!”

Eddie stopped counting and started putting the money into a paper bag. Tori thought he nodded to the other man, only four or five feet away now and gliding forward soundlessly.

When Eddie started to put all the change into the bag, the gunman interrupted him. “Forget the change! I don’t want no change! What, you never been held up before?! Get me the money from the safe, asshole, and I’m gone, and you live.”

Eddie shook his head. “I-I can’t – the safe–”

“Give him the money!” one of the women screamed.

The kid cocked his gun (okay, maybe he did know how to use it), looking back and forth between the customers and the cashier. As Tori watched from the cover of the candy aisle, the man behind the robber darted with amazing stealth first one way then the other, always keeping out of the gunman’s line of sight. How did he do that? He was over there, and then he was there, and then–

The robber didn’t see it coming – the other man closed the distance, thrusting the kid’s gun arm into the air, and shoving him into the counter! Eddie reached for the customary convenience store baseball bat, but he wasn’t fast enough. The robber twisted under the other guy. The two men tussled. The women screamed. Eddie ducked, and–

A shot rang out!

Tori flinched and ducked again. Could she do something to help? But what? She pressed a fist into her stomach, trying to keep the roiling fear down so she could think. The hot feeling in her stomach grew as she struggled between self-preservation and the overwhelming urge to help keep everyone safe.

The robber jumped away as the other man fell to the floor.

Another crash of glass. The gunman whirled again. He pointed the gun at the man with the crying baby.

Not the baby! Not if she could stop him. Tori grabbed handfuls of yellow M&Ms packages and started throwing them at the gunman. “Don’t shoot!” Tori screamed at him, hot anger bursting out. “Stop it! Put that gun down!”

The kid ducked her shots, candy hitting him in the face and shoulder, unable to keep the gun aimed any more. Tori marched toward him, too pissed off to think. Out of ammunition, she pointed her finger at him like a kindergarten teacher. “Put it down now, mister!”

The kid looked at her like she was crazy. Then with little hesitation, he put the gun on the counter.

A split second later, Eddie had the baseball bat against the robber’s throat. As the guy clawed for air, the front door burst open and police officers crashed in, flowing through the room like a dam had burst.

Tori jumped out of their way, her hand pressed to her queasy stomach. Police threw the robber to the ground and cuffed him. One officer checked the man who had been shot while another asked Eddie if he was okay. Tori noticed Eddie’s bleeding head. When had that happened? The police waved in EMTs who worked on the guy with the bullet wound.

The hero of the day. Tori hoped he was okay. That was amazing the way he just – just stepped in and saved everyone! The guy was a real hero! And so was Eddie!

“Are you all right, ma’am?” Tori felt a policeman shake her shoulder.

“The guy that was shot…” she said, still watching the EMTs. She couldn’t see the man himself. God, please let him be okay. She tried to focus on breathing, in and out, don’t look at the blood.

“They’re taking care of him. I’m sure he’ll be fine. Are you hurt?”

“No, I – no.” Tori tried to swallow but her mouth was bone dry. She noticed her hand hurt and looked down. Her fist had wrapped her purse strap in a death grip. She looked up at the policeman. “I thought he was going to shoot the baby.” There was no way she could ever, ever let someone hurt a child.

The policeman smiled and said, “The baby is fine. See?”

Tori followed his pointing finger to see the man rocking his little girl, talking to another officer. They both looked fine. Then the man looked at Tori and pointed at her as he spoke.

It only took Tori a moment to realize why. She looked down at the floor littered with peanut M&Ms – yellow, green, blue, red, brown.

The policeman laughed. “I’ve never seen anyone take down a gunman in quite that way before.”

“I’m sorry.” Tori didn’t know what to say. What had she been thinking? She never would have interfered like this a few months ago. The policeman questioned her about what had just happened, but Tori’s mind darted around like a chickadee. Since she’d stopped seeing her psychiatrist and stopped taking her medications, she felt better than ever. Freer and more alive. But maybe she shouldn’t allow herself to be quite so free. Walking up to a man with a gun!

The meds kept her from any kind of spontaneous action or uncontrolled emotional response. Maybe that was better than, than…whatever just happened.

“Are you okay?” The policeman looked at her closely.

Tori wasn’t sure of the correct response. She was alive – thank God – and she was going to see Joe again, and day eleven of married life. But…she wasn’t exactly feeling well. Her stomach was calming down, but she felt herself beginning to shake from the inside out.

“Let’s sit you down for a minute, shall we?” The policeman took her arm and escorted her outside toward his car.

The bitter cold night air helped clear her head. As they walked past the stretcher where the wounded man lay, Tori paused. Had everyone thanked him? He certainly deserved their gratitude. She bent down. But she didn’t know what to say. What words were enough?

“You’re very brave,” she murmured, touching his uninjured shoulder briefly. “Thank you so much.”

He glared back at her. “What? Your suit at the cleaners?” he whispered fiercely, “Or is this your day off?”

Tori pulled back a little. “What?” Why was he attacking her?

“I’d think a guy with a gun would be enough that you could use your powers before someone gets shot,” he spat at her. “But no, had to be the hero, huh? Had to wait till you were the only superhero who could save the day! That’s why I work alone. Superheroes like you are just superegos. You don’t care about anything but your media image!”

The EMT moved Tori out of the way. She heard the man moan as they hustled him into the ambulance.

What was he talking about? When she called out to the gunman she was just…worried, scared. That’s all. It was probably a stupid thing to do, but it distracted him enough so that Eddie could grab him.

The policeman put his arm around Tori as she swayed on her feet. He tucked her into the back seat of his police car. “Why don’t you put your head down?” he suggested.

Tori shook her head. She just needed to get her bearings. The car was warm, and she closed her eyes, leaning back into the seat. She let her mind wander as she tried to relax. She tried not to think about what kinds of people had been sitting in the back of this police car lately. Could lice survive the winter? Ugh, best not to think about it.

Her thoughts returned to the conversation with the man who’d been shot. It hit her then – was he saying he was a superhero? Tori’s eyes flew open and she turned in time to see the ambulance pull away. She’d met a superhero?

She flopped back against the seat. No! Impossible! Her parents had always insisted the “superhero” stories in the news were publicity stunts. Crime was on the rise and the city government would say anything to look like they had it under control.

She’d heard her mother’s voice saying a hundred times over the years, “There’s no such thing as superheroes. A few freaks out there who want to be more than they are, but no one has any kind of supernatural power.”

Tori accepted this version of the world. It made sense. It was logical, orderly. To believe that people might have supernatural abilities opened the door to possibilities Tori didn’t want to consider. She and her sister Lexie had enough freak factor with the strange things that sometimes happened around them.

This guy accusing her of being a superhero did seem a little freaky, that’s true. Of course, he’d been shot, lost blood, was probably out of his mind with pain. But that other guy…

Tori’s mind drifted back for a moment to Halloween. Some kid had grabbed her purse and taken off. Tori chased him, but she tripped and fell. Moments later a man dressed as Zorro appeared, gorgeous and thrilling. He helped her get her purse back, and picked her up like she weighed no more than a doll. Then he kissed her like–

Tori shook her head and opened her eyes. Sure it was a great kiss, but she never saw him again. She met Joe a couple days later, fell madly in love with him, and married him on Christmas Eve.

She straightened her shoulders. She had no intention of thinking about another man now that she was married. But she wondered if her parents were wrong. Maybe superheroes did exist. If so, they weren’t all freaks. Not Zorro, anyway.

Still, why would this possible “superhero” accuse her of being a superhero? Maybe in the pain of getting shot, he…got confused. In her mind’s eye, Tori saw the look on the robber’s face as he put the gun down. There was something about it, something familiar. Her mind tripped and twisted with roiling emotions and panic-infused imagination. She needed to stop this crazy thinking.

But her brain wouldn’t stop working on it. Now she remembered. Last night when she and Joe had stopped over at her sister Lexie’s and little Ben wouldn’t go to bed, she’d put on her Aunt Tori voice and forcefully insisted he go to bed. He’d looked at her with that same funny look on his face. Then he did. The barely-three-year-old turned and went to his room without another word.

And a few months ago. When Lexie told her that it wasn’t just that Tori could convince people of things, but that she could force people to do things. And Lexie had only said that because – oh my gosh, that’s right! – Tori had insisted that Lexie tell her what she was thinking.

Tori felt her breath coming quicker but she couldn’t catch it, she couldn’t breathe. She kept trying to breathe, but the air just kept going in and out of her mouth without hitting her lungs and she couldn’t get a breath and–

The door opened and the policeman said something but Tori couldn’t catch his words and then he was pushing her head onto her knees and still talking and she thought she heard, “That’s it. Breathe.”

Tori gulped in air, then tried to slow down and get the blood to stop pounding in her head. It’s not possible. It simply wasn’t possible to live for twenty-seven years and not know…not make the connection.

She’d test it. Then she’d know. It wouldn’t work, and then she’d know her mother was right. There is no such thing as superheroes. No such thing as super powers.

Tori looked up at the cop. “I need some M&Ms. I went in for M&Ms and I need them please.” She knew she was jabbering, but she had to know. “Please get me some.”

“Just take a deep breath and–”

She glared into his eyes, hoping and terrified and feeling very, very alone. Her gut burned with heat. “I need M&Ms! Please!”

The cop stopped in the middle of his sentence. He looked at her for a moment, then stood up and turned back toward the store. When he came back with every kind of M&Ms flavor the store sold, Tori fainted.

Little Miss Lovesick Is In Print!

Finally!! LOL!!

I have been looking forward to this day for years! And now it’s arrived! You can buy a print copy of Little Miss Lovesick now by going to my CreateSpace store page on Amazon. It will take a few weeks for it to filter through to other web sites, but it’s available now in my store. Yay!!

Just for fun, I thought I’d share some silly trivia with you about the book. 🙂

  • I came up with the idea in 1998 when I was chatting with an editor from Tyndale House Publishers about some upcoming anthologies they were getting ready. I sent them the first few chapters, and they liked my writing but chose someone else’s story.
  • I tweaked the idea when I went to my first Romance Writers of America (RWA) regional conference in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1999 or 2000, and pitched it to an editor at Silhouette Books. By the time I had the proposal ready for her, she’d moved on to another publishing house.
  • I tried working on it again when I was at a writing retreat with my friends Lauraine Snelling and Kathleen Damp Wright. They responded neutrally, which was the kiss of “boring” to me. Then Lauraine asked me if I’d heard of “chick lit,” which was still rather new. We went out to a bookstore and I nearly screeched, “This is what I would write if they didn’t tell me to write ‘their’ way!” I was so excited! That was the beginning of me relaxing and writing the way I want to write. I think that was a turning point for both me and Kathleen. 🙂
  • On that same writing retreat, I rewrote the first chapter and read it to Lauraine and Kathleen again. This time they were cracking up. Score! Lauraine called her agent that day and asked her to read it. A few months later, I’d signed with her and felt like my career was finally getting some traction.
  • I took a research trip up to Ontario, Canada, where I planned to set much of the book. My mom came with me and we had a great time, saw so many interesting things. More than I could’ve ever put in one book. 😉 I’ll have to use some of that later. In fact, I had to move the heroine Sydney’s fly fishing vacation to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan instead of a few hours north in Canada. There were several “logic” issues that weren’t working for the story if Matt was in Ontario.
  • I wrote the rest of the book at night, on the weekends, and at lunch time in the NBC cafeteria in Burbank where I worked. I sent it to my agent in the summer of 2004, and she sent it to several editors at the big name publishing houses in New York. Best. Day. Ever.
  • But just as I was figuring out what my “voice” was, the publishing industry began to feel chick lit was on the way out and they didn’t want to buy any more. The same summer that it seemed everything was beginning for me, everything seemed to end.
  • The next few years I tried to figure out what to do with my newly discovered writing voice now that people were telling me that that style of writing was no longer popular. This was not a good time for me. I almost quit several times, and once I did quit. But within a few months, I couldn’t help myself, and I started writing again. 🙂
  • Then we moved to Sydney, Australia, for John to work on Happy Feet. I put this book on the shelf and wrote the first draft of Unexpected Superhero. (Look for it in 2013!) I loved it, but my agent didn’t think it fit in the current market.
  • We moved back to California. I started and stopped a couple different projects, but I couldn’t find something that interested me that also interested my agent. Eventually, we parted company as friends. I mentally wiped down all the white boards in my mind and started again with a blank slate. What was I going to write? And what would I do if no one wanted to read it?
  • We moved back to Sydney again for Happy Feet 2. (Note: a lot of moving and packing and waiting months for your things to arrive is not an easy way to have a home-based business.) I applied to graduate school and was accepted into the Master of Arts in Creative Writing program at University of Technology, Sydney. I was so excited because I’ve always wanted to go to grad school – since I was a freshman at University of Pennsylvania and met a grad student who worked with microwave technology. I know, weird. LOL!
  • I wanted to go to UTS over other writing graduate programs because it sounded very hands on, very creative, and the program seemed to be aimed at taking you to the next level in a writing career, not just studying Shakespeare. I was disappointed that on the one hand, it was just another academic program. We didn’t delve deeply into the nuances of writing that really make your work stand out from others. And it seemed that I knew more about how to get published in a global market than most people. (Thanks to the Romance Writers of America! They are all about teaching their members how to have a career in writing.) On the other hand, I’m still glad I went. I have a better credential now for teaching, which I love to do. 🙂
  • The morning after my last grad school class, I flew from Sydney to New York to attend the annual RWA conference. I told myself that if no one was interested in my romantic comedies, I was going back home to Sydney and publishing them myself. No one was interested. I went back home and published Little Miss Lovesick as an ebook! Yay!
  • Then we moved back to California. Then we moved again. Then my mom died. This has not been a good year for getting work done.
  • Finally – I don’t know what happened – everything in my world lined up so that I suddenly started getting a lot of work done! (Thank you, God!!) I finished Unexpected Superhero and sent it to Harper Voyager. I wrote a book proposal for a romantic suspense book. And John and I got to work on the time-consuming process of turning Lovesick into a print book.
  • John did the cover design, and created the template I used for the interior. He did a great job! I received the hard copy “proof” on Friday (I about exploded from excitement when I held my first book in my hands!) and went through it looking for errors. None! So I hit “approve” on the CreateSpace site and voila! A book was born!

There it is, the whole story. If you have any friends who like funny love stories, or friends who live in Michigan who would enjoy a book set in Traverse City, you might be able to check a few more people off your Christmas shopping list now. 🙂 Maybe you want a copy for yourself, too! I hope it makes you laugh. Then I’ll know I did a good job. 🙂

Thanks for sharing my adventure! More adventures ahead!