Guest Posts

Wednesday Welcomes – Rachel Jones!

ToDanceOneMoreDay-RachelJones-200x300_(1)

Whew! I’ve been crazy busy this past week! Family and weddings – enough said! 😉 But I’m excited to have for you an excerpt of Rachel Jones’ book To Dance One More Day. These are the kind of stories I can melt into! 😀


From her early teens, ballet has been an integral part of Jillian Russell’s life. One by one, she loses her parents, grandparent, husband and child. If being alone in the world wasn’t bad enough, a medical diagnosis takes away her chance to become a prima ballerina.

Knowing a part of her will die if she walks away from ballet, she changes her focus and builds a ballet company and opens a dance school. This endeavor takes all her resources and leaves no time to build new relationships outside her world of dance. Jillian rationalizes if she doesn’t build relationships, she can’t be deserted. And she’s not sure she would survive another loss.

Handsome trauma surgeon, Alan Armstrong has relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina for a fresh start. Until a few years ago, he had always envisioned his future to include a wife and children. But after his father died in a plane crash from lack of medical attention, his focus for the future has shifted to equip himself professionally to set up a rural clinic. A supporter of the arts, Alan finds himself on the board of the North Carolina Ballet Company. He has always had a penchant for fixing things. Realizing Jillian’s professional life could use some help, it is not long before he realizes he is drawn to her romantically as well.

They fall in love, but when Alan discovers Jillian has been misdiagnosed, he tells her she must decide between their love or a performance career in ballet.

Excerpt

Alan tuned out Jillian’s lighthearted chatter as he focused on the grand piano on the stage. Reagan was here in Charlotte! And he would see her backstage after the concert. He had had such high hopes for the night when he had heard Jillian’s news. But now to have his past collide with his future was almost comical. The house lights dimmed and a hush fell over the audience.

Reagan walked onto the stage amid the applause of the excited audience. She bowed  at her waist, a graceful bow, before taking her seat at the piano. Alan felt his breath catch in his throat. She was stunning in a muted turquoise lace mermaid gown. The neckline was sheer with beautiful beading. The skirt flowed to the ground. As usual her long, dark brown hair was swept in an updo.

She opened with Beethoven’s Sonata No. 8 in C minor. It was executed with a flawless precision, no surprise to Alan. He watched as her body moved in a familiar rhythm to the sounds she produced, movement that he remembered as clear as if he had watched her play yesterday. Her fingers flew over the keys and twenty minutes after she began, she ended the piece with a stellar finish. Reagan stood, bowed and left the stage. The house lights remained dimmed.

Jillian gave a light touch to Alan’s arm. “She’s magnificent. I can’t wait to meet her. I’ll have to get Barb a nice thank you gift for the tickets.”

Alan nodded. If the lights had been up Jillian would have seen his trans-like state as he replied, “She’s just as I remember her.”

Reagan returned and resumed the first portion of the program. Schubert’s Impromptu in G flat major was followed by Rachmanioff’s Prelude Op. 23 No. 5. As Reagan bowed, Alan glanced at the program. She’s ending the first half with Chopin. The polonaise was short, but had a powerful ending. Reagan exited the stage amid a thunder of applause as the house lights came up. People began leaving their seats to move about during the intermission. Alan and Jillian walked through the noisy lobby without attempting to talk. He took a place in line for two glasses of wine while Jillian went in search of the ladies room. How was he going to handle seeing Reagan after all these years, after all the pain he had endured? He didn’t know any way to convince Jillian to skip the backstage meeting. Should he tell her about knowing Reagan, about loving Reagan?

Buy links for To Dance One More Day:

http://www.amazon.com/Dance-One-More-Day-ebook/dp/B00L2EASUU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404154763&sr=1-1&keywords=to+dance+one+more+day

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/to-dance-one-more-day-rachel-jones/1119742718?ean=2940149747580

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/449309

http://www.kobobooks.com/search/search.html?q=to+dance+one+more+day

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/to-dance-one-more-day/id890645465?mt=11

IMG_0625_(1)In 1977 Rachel earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education and taught music for ten years. After the birth of her second child, she returned to school and in 1991 earned her Associate of Applied Science degree in Nursing and passed the state boards for registered nurses. She has been a labor & delivery and antepartum nurse since that time.

Anticipating her retirement from healthcare, Rachel decided to write her first novel at age fifty-seven. For years she had experienced scenes of heroes and heroines rambling about in her thoughts and spilling into her dreams. So it was a no-brainer that she should attempt to capture these thoughts on paper.

Rachel resides in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia with her husband of thirty-seven years. She has three adult children, who help spoil their Labrador retriever. She is a member of Georgia Romance Writers, Southeastern Writers Association and is a PRO member of Romance Writers of America.

I can be found at:

https://www.racheljonesauthor.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/RachelJonesAuthor?ref=hl

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8336834.Rachel_Jones

https://twitter.com/rellenj1

http://www.pinterest.com/rjoneswriter/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJc_RH2wOYRFyUsVUyfaRtA

Guest Posts

Wednesday Welcomes – E.A. West!

Pressure453x680

I’m happy to have back E.A. West! She was a guest last year with her book, Battlefield of the Heart. I have high respect for our military and so I’m thrilled to be able to bring you an excerpt of West’s new book, Pressure. Enjoy!


Ravi Singh is a homeless veteran haunted by memories of his time in the Marine Corps. Thanks to his attempts to get a group of teenaged gang members to leave the life of crime they’ve chosen, he got shot. Now the wound is infected, and he’s too sick to move. When the teens bring his favorite nurse practitioner to him, he’s torn between anger that they kidnapped her and gratitude that they cared enough to get him help.

As Emma Johnston works to treat Ravi, searches for a way to escape, and attempts to figure out just what his relationship to the gang is, she meets the young orphan boy dubbed Twitch. The child brings out the best in Ravi and helps Emma see a side of the gang members she never expected. The more she learns about Ravi’s unconventional life, the better she understands him and the more she wishes he would quit stubbornly refusing to seek psychiatric treatment. Falling for him was never part of the plan, but neither was getting kidnapped.

Can their budding relationship survive such challenging circumstances, or will it end in devastation?

Excerpt

Emma Johnston’s footsteps echoed through the dark parking garage as she hurried toward her car. The hair on the back of her neck rose with the sensation of someone watching her, but the garage appeared as empty as ever. Why hadn’t she asked security to escort her to her car? Waiting an extra twenty minutes for a guard to show up when she was already exhausted would have been better than compromising her safety by venturing so far from people in the middle of the night.

She formed a fist around her keys, making sure the points stuck out between her fingers. It wouldn’t do much damage to an attacker, but it would likely cause enough pain to let her get away. Drawing in a deep breath, she tried to convince herself she was just paranoid due to exhaustion. The unsettled spring weather had everyone jumpy, which was why she had finished her shift in the Green Team clinic and been called to help out in the emergency room. The number of accident victims, fight participants, and psych patients had been overwhelming, causing the VA hospital emergency room to call in assistance from other departments. Because Emma had begun her career with the hospital working long hours in the ER, she’d been near the top of their list. That experience plus her skills as a nurse practitioner made her able to do whatever they needed.

Spotting her car ahead, she breathed a sigh of relief. In less than two minutes, she would be safely inside and on her way home for a well-deserved rest. The scuff of a shoe on the pavement to her left made her jump and tighten her grasp on the keys. Whirling toward the sound, she spotted two older teenage boys in baggy clothes standing much closer than she liked.

“You Emma Johnston?”

“Ye-es?” How did they know her name? She knew all of her patients and some of the family members by sight, but there wasn’t even a faint glimmer of recognition with these two.

The two teens stepped closer. “You gotta come with us.”

“I don’t think so.” She backed away, prepared to run screaming until they disappeared back into the shadows. Of all the days to forget to charge her cell phone…

They both pulled out black handguns and aimed them at her. At first, her mind refused to accept what she was seeing, but then it sank in that the weapons were nearly identical to what the police carried. Her heart leapt into her throat as the two teens advanced.

“You’re coming with us.” The boys flanked her, and the only one to speak so far took hold of her arm as the other one pried the keys from her fingers and took her purse. “We heard you straight, and the old man needs a doctor.”

Someone was ill or injured? “I’m not a doctor.”

“We heard you close enough.”

Buy Links:

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Pressure-E-West-ebook/dp/B00TJI5L4E

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Pressure-E-West-ebook/dp/B00TJI5L4E

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/pressure-e-a-west/1121232262?ean=2940151569484

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/520491

EAWest_AuthorPhoto_300E.A. West, award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance, is a lifelong lover of books and storytelling. In high school, she picked up her pen in a creative writing class and hasn’t laid it down yet. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, knitting, and crocheting. She lives in Indiana with her family and a small zoo of pets.

The Stone of Kings · Writing

Meet the Characters of The Stone of Kings – Jim Jam and His Troope of Faeries

I couldn’t find pictures of red foxgloves. But this is what faerie hats look like, only red. 🙂 Attribution: W.J.Pilsak at the German language Wikipedia.

When I told my husband about Irish faeries being in my book, I think it put him in mind of Tinkerbell and adventures in tiny faerie villages with smiling bugs for sidekicks.

Er, no.

Irish faeries, aka The Good People, are not Disney-esque in the least and you must treat them with proper respect. If you don’t, you may regret it.

This was a difficult post to write because I didn’t want to risk giving away too much of my story. Also, there are tons of different myths and ideas about the Fae Folk. It can be a fascinating study, and I highly recommend it. But here’s a general rundown of how I depict the faeries in The Stone of Kings.

What He Looks Like

Most of the time, the faeries are invisible. If you are worthy enough to be able to see them, you’ll find that they disguise themselves to look like foxglove (or lusmore) flowers. Like the others, Jim Jam is tiny and green. He wears clothes styled like the aristocracy of 1715, but all in green hues. The only thing not green is his hat, which is tall and pointy like a foxglove blossom. It is specifically red, because red is a magical color in the faerie world. Jim Jam also has delicate wings which is an aspect that I chose to use for my book. Some of the faerie myths have them to be wingless.

His Part To Play

Each immortal druid deals with a specific faerie troope. Jim Jam is the chief of the troope that deals with Bresal. We really only see them at the beginning and the end of the story, but they are central to the plot, nonetheless. Like with the other druids, Jim Jam and his faeries have given Bresal his magical spells. But the law stands that he must not write down the spells. Jim Jam kind of knows that Bresal will break this law, and lets it happen.

Jim Jam has his reasons…

What He Means to the Story

I found Jim Jam’s name in the story “Frank Martin and the Fairies.” I don’t think there’s any great significance to his name other than that. I just liked it. 🙂

His Failing

The Fae Folk don’t have failings, in my opinion. 😉 But if you want to call it a failing, they like to make trouble for people who don’t respect them.

Respect the faeries!

His Strength

Jim Jam and his troope of faeries are extremely intelligent. They understand human nature better than humans themselves. They gift worthy people because they recognize how these people can make Ireland a better place than it already is. If you’ve ever been to Ireland, it’s hard to imagine it to need improvements (such a gorgeous country!), but the faeries know how to pull it off.

I’d love to hear from you!

What are some faerie myths that you’ve encountered? Have you ever seen a faerie rath? Do you have a faerie inspired story to share?

Join me this week for Wednesday Welcomes! We get a sneak peek at E.A. West’s brand new release, Pressure.

The Stone of Kings · Writing

Meet the Characters of The Stone of Kings – John Grady

Journey prank kidWhat He Looks Like

Always smiling. John is a man who takes everything in stride. It takes a lot to crush his spirit. It doesn’t really matter what he looks like because he’s simply likable.

His Part to Play

Turlough knows that Bresal is right. He needs to be sober for this particular journey, but he’s not used to soberness. John’s lighthearted candor helps distract Turlough better than Bresal’s deep intellectual knowledge. But Bresal sees John’s company as problematic because they can’t tell him anything about immortal druids or faeries. But John has a secret of his own…

What He Means to the Story

John is a supporting character. Though his role is small, he is significant. He is observant and without him the story might have ended very differently.

His Failing

John loves a joke as much as Turlough. Sometimes, it’s a bit inopportune. He and Turlough pull a prank on Breasal and while it hinders the start of their day’s journey, it does attract somewhat helpful attention.

His Strength

John loves a joke as much as Turlough. Here again is a character who’s failing is also his strength. We would all slide into deep depressions if we could not see a glint of comedy in the most dire of adventures. It’s the fun in life that gives us purpose and makes us keep going. John reminds Turlough of this many times.

I’d Love To Hear From You!

Do you have a friend like John? Someone who always seems to smile no matter what? Do you have a friend who’s antics sometimes get in the way? How dull will your life be without them?

Guest Posts

Wednesday Welcomes – J.J. Nite!

Bruises Cover

I couldn’t ask for a more appropriate book and author for this week! In the hype of the horribly categorized 50 Shades movie coming out on Valentine’s day, I’m stoked to be able to present Bruises of the Heart on my blog just in time! Enjoy!


When Victoria’s long-time boyfriend breaks up with her she’s convinced that she will never be happy again. But after meeting the new student, Will Prescott, things start to look up. Victoria is happy again and even when a little voice tries to tell her that something isn’t quite right with her new relationship, she holds on even tighter. Before long even Victoria can’t deny that she needs to end her new relationship, but can she get out before something happens to change her forever? Or will she be lost?

Excerpt:

“You need to stop right where you are,” said Noah, stepping around me. “It’s obvious that she’s scared of you right now and I would love to know why. Then maybe I’d have an actual reason to beat the crap out of you.”

“Noah, stop. It’s okay.”

“No it isn’t,” he said, never taking his eyes from Will. “I’ve seen you change since you started seeing him, and not in a good way. I’ve already told you how I feel about the past, but this right now doesn’t feel right. You can’t honestly tell me that you feel safe.”

I just looked over Noah’s shoulder since he still hadn’t turned around to look at me. He was staring at Will.

For his part, Will had stopped when Noah had told him to. Now he was looking even angrier, though I couldn’t understand why. Then he took a few steps forward and my heart seized.

Noah mirrored his steps. I threw my arms around him to keep him from going any farther, while looking over his shoulder to gauge Will’s reaction. Noah put his hands on mine and took two steps back. I expected him to pry my hands away, which he could have done easily, but he didn’t.

“What, you’re going to let a girl stop you?” Will taunted. “Are you afraid to actually see whether or not you could beat me up?”

I felt Noah tense and I squeezed him in response. He instantly relaxed again and squeezed my hands to reassure me.

I heard a door slam and then footsteps quickly approaching. I tentatively looked over my shoulder to see my mom running to where the three of us were standing. “Hey, what’s going on here? What are you two boys arguing about?” She shot me a look full of concern and confusion.

I let go of Noah, confident he wouldn’t do anything more with her here, but he continued to hold one of my hands. I was confused, but still too worried to think about it right then.

“There’s no problem here, Mrs. Williams. I was just asking a few questions,” Noah answered.

Through clenched teeth, Will said, “Yeah, we were just discussing something is all.”

“Should I conclude that ‘something’ was my daughter?”

Noah and Will only stared at each other, and the look I was receiving from Will should have ignited me on the spot. I felt guilty standing with Noah, but right then I didn’t really care. I felt safe, and I knew I wouldn’t feel that way if I were standing next to Will.

“I’ll take it from your silence that you were. I think that both of you boys need to get back in your vehicles and go home. Victoria, go get in the truck. And Noah, I’ll follow you back to Centerville,” she said.

“Victoria, I’ll be calling you later. We need to talk,” Will said before he slammed his car door and, with wheels screaming, whipped into a U-turn and headed back to his house.

“Does he drive like that when you’re in his car?” she asked in full mom mode.

I shook my head, unable to find my voice. Will’s parting promise had sounded more ominous to me than it probably had to anyone else. Noah put his arm around my shoulders and walked me to the truck.

“I hate to tell you this right now, but I think that we should talk, too. Call me when you’re ready to do that,” he said, and then he closed my door.


Buy Links:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bruises-of-the-heart-j-j-nite/1119712379

http://www.amazon.com/Bruises-Heart-J-J-Nite-ebook/dp/B00EV8LCUE

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/bruises-of-the-heart

Author Photo2J. Nite lives in North Alabama with her husband, 3 kids, 2 dogs, and 5 goldfish. She writes young adult sweet romance for Astraea Press and loves reading as much as possible. J.J.’s also found that if she doesn’t write something every day, her mood is that of a bear waking from hibernation. Don’t worry though, the children have learned to let Mommy write a little before approaching.

Social Media:

Twitter: @jjnite

Instagram: @jjniteauthor

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jjnite1

Guest Posts

Wednesday Welcomes – M.A. Foxworthy!

VillageGreen_500x750Not only does this debut dystopia look like a fascinating read, but check out the bio for M.A. Foxworthy. A full-time traveler! I’m a little jealous! 😀


Kelsey stood in a long line of ragged people waiting to receive her meager rations for the week.

Kelsey Cooper, a girl of fourteen, lives with her father in the village of Green, a ran-down community of small cob dwellings and outdoor toilets. It offers its inhabitants few comforts but many restrictions.

Kelsey and her beloved father live alone since the death of her mother, a teacher who became a threat to the authoritarian powers that be. She and her friends, Rosy and Derek, are now at the age of full-citizenship, meaning that they will be given their life-long positions in the society.

Everything in Kelsey’s life is well regulated and uneventful until the day that she and Derek decide to visit the ruined city outside the limits of their village. There Kelsey finds the journal of Henry Martin and her eyes are opened to life as she knows or thought she knew.

This one seemingly accidental event is the spark that sets her world on fire. Finding out that Derek and his family are part of an underground resistance, that her best friend Rosy has been brain-washed, and that her mother is still alive is astonishing enough, but nothing compares to finding out that she is the prophesied liberator of her people.

Does Kelsey have the courage to leave everything she knows and everyone she loves to fulfill her destiny?

Excerpt:

Kelsey stood in a long line of ragged people. She had risen at daybreak in hopes of receiving her rations before the sun reached its zenith and the suffocating heat of midday arrived. But her hopes were unfulfilled as she had been waiting for hours with the blazing sun beating down on the top of her head.

Resigned now to the long wait that still lay ahead of her she plopped down on her wagon and surveyed her surroundings. All around her stood the remains of small cob dwellings with thick walls which had at one time been painted white. They were now crumbling like a child’s mud pie left baking in the sun too long. The metal roofs that had kept out the rain were gone, having been recycled in some other village. There was a school and a child care center, but they were both empty now. Most of the residents had died when the dreaded disease flew into their village carried by the tiny wings of mosquitos. The children and the old had succumbed first and the few adults that remained were moved to other villages while this one was left to Mother Nature and the Hand-Out where Kelsey now waited for her weekly allowance of food.


Buy Links:

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/483049

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Village-Green-M-Foxworthy-ebook/dp/B00O92QV8U

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-village-green-m-a-foxworthy/1120483015?ean=2940150575226

M.A.Foxworthy

Before writing The Village Green I had never written more than a letter, contenting myself with drawing and painting. But my main character, Kelsey, came to me in what I can only call a vision and I had to tell her tale. After many hours in coffee shops and libraries writing and rewriting, the book was finally finished, that is until the edits began.

When I’m not writing you can find reading, teaching my four children, or visiting some new place. My family and I are traveling across the country full-time and learning to get along with six people in a 35ft trailer.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/M.A.Foxworthy?ref=hl

Twitter: @MAFoxworthy

Blog: mafoxworthy.com

The Stone of Kings · Writing

Meet the Characters of The Stone of Kings – Hannah

Hannah’s eyes are bright blue. But the hair. That’s her beautiful red hair and I wish it I had it. *sigh* Image attributed to Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons.

What She Looks Like

I have been trying and trying to think of someone who could be cast as Hannah. My mind keeps thinking about Shayna Rose (the original “Marina” from The Fresh Beat Band) or a young Rachelle Lefevre. Then I was thinking of who subconsciously inspired the character. You know that girl in high school? The one you only have one class with and you wish you knew her better because she seems so nice and sweet and pretty? It was that beautiful curly red hair and bright blue eyes. And she was always smiling. Yeah, her. That’s Hannah.

Her Part to Play

But don’t be fooled, she has a serious side too. She’s a nurse fresh out of school, ready to infuse society with her optimism, but so far, her patients have been far from receptive and she’s a bit discouraged.

Then she almost kills Thomas with her car.

And they show her the magic glowing book.

And the oak trees start communicating with her. Just her.

What’s a girl to do?

What She Means to the Story

According to Baby Names of Ireland, the name Hannah is an “Ancient Irish name from the noun aine that means ‘splendor, radiance, brilliance.’ Aine is connected with fruitfulness and prosperity… Aine appears in folktales as ‘the best-hearted woman who ever lived – lucky in love and in money.'”

That’s Hannah in a nutshell. Although, “lucky in love…” hmm. Well, a forbidden romance with a man who should have died 300 years ago is better than no romance at all, I suppose. 😉 But “best-hearted” that fits exactly. Hannah does everything in her power to keep Ardan and Thomas from winding up in an asylum and pumped full of anti-psychotic drugs. And yet she is very sensitive to how they must view the chaos of modern life.

Her Failing

Hannah falls in love with Thomas. She knows that she can never be with him. He was born in 1694. He’s supposed to be dead long ago. Her head knows this. So why can’t her heart figure it out?

Her Strength

Selflessness. Hannah risks everything, even her own life, to protect Thomas and Ardan and to do what she knows is right. It’s what she does. She has become a nurse because of her study of Turlough O’Carolan and how he cared for the Irish people and strove to unite them through his music. What better way to care for modern people than through medicine? She just had no idea how close Turlough’s history would come into play.

I’d love to hear from you!

Has a historical figure influenced your career? Of all the people in history, who would you most wish to meet? What would you do if you discovered that trees could communicate with you?

Join me for Wednesday Welcomes when we read about M.A. Foxworthy’s debut book, The Village Green!

Guest Posts

Wednesday Welcomes – Coleen Lahr!

Accepted_1400x2100Yay! Back to my regular schedule! I’m so happy to have Coleen Lahr for my first Wednesday Welcomes! 😀 Here’s her latest release: Accepted. Enjoy!


Ashley Smith spent her life being shipped from one family member to the next.  When Ashley’s estranged father dies, she finally has the money to go to college and the chance to find a place where she belongs.

Within days, Ashley has found the one thing she’s always longed for – a family.  She may have even found love.  There’s only one problem.  Ashley likes Colin…a lot, but so does Randi, and everyone likes Randi.  Randi’s approval is the single easiest way to belong.  Falling in love with Randi’s crush is the single easiest way to find one’s self on the outside for the next three years.

When Ashley arrived at college, she never dreamed she’d find this kind of happiness.  Will she allow herself to hold on to this happiness, and Colin, or will her fear of losing her friends, the only friends she’s ever known, dictate her actions?

Excerpt:

As I sat next to Colin in Organic Chemistry, I wondered if having classes together was actually a good thing.

Unlike my first professor, the Organic Chemistry professor comprehensively explained the syllabus, including course requirements, objectives, policies and assignments. All things I was sure were going to be important in the grand scheme of the course.

And I didn’t hear a word she said.

Once again, I was completely distracted by the man sitting next to me.

We were in another massive classroom dominated by stadium seating. We would, over the course of the semester, split our time between this room and the chemistry lab. There were no spaces between the seats, just a thin metal arm rest jutting out from the spot where the seat backs met each other.

Every time Colin moved — to grab his notebook, to turn off his cell phone, to turn the pages of the syllabus we were reviewing — his body brushed some part of mine. By the time we were on the third page of the syllabus, he had brushed me three times with his arm and once with his leg.

And I was frozen.

Every time he touched me, albeit accidentally, my stomach dropped, and my cheeks flamed. My entire face was on fire within the first twenty minutes of class, and I couldn’t concentrate on anything but the boy to my left. I was afraid to move even a quarter of an inch for fear that I would inadvertently shift myself too far away for his unintentional brushes.

To make matters worse, my mind, which never wanders in class, began to drift away and I, the girl who rarely loses focus on a task, drifted with it.

As I sat frozen in my seat, waiting for the next time Colin brushed against me, I wondered what it would be like if his brushes weren’t accidental — if he was touching me on purpose…leaning his leg against mine casually as he relaxed in his seat, running his fingers down my arms, holding my hand in his, entwining our fingers together…

And as I imagined this, I felt myself smiling, my fantasy becoming so detailed that I could actually feel his warm hand, his long fingers, wrapping around my wrist. I could hear him saying my name again and again, the concern in his voice growing each time he repeated it…

Wait…what?

“Ashley?  Ashley?”

Oh no. I looked over at him. His face was filled with concern. I cringed.

“Sorry.” I smiled sheepishly. “I’m just…” I closed my eyes and rubbed my face, which was on fire, in my hands. “…You know, taking it all in. E-everything’s a little o-overwhelming,” I stuttered. I hoped that being overwhelmed was a good excuse for acting like a lunatic.

He smiled. “Don’t worry, Ash. I’ll help you.” And as he stood, he put his hand under my elbow to help me up.

Thank goodness next class is in the lab.


You can find Accepted at these retailers:

Amazon:  http://amzn.to/13CDeEB

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/accepted-coleen-lahr/1120679923?ean=2940150383920

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/490424

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/accepted-1

headshotColeen writes young adult novels, loves running, rock music, the shore, daisies and bread.

When Coleen’s not plotting or writing her next book, she can be found making sandwiches in her family’s restaurant, running (but mostly walking) Disney marathons, reading any book she can get her hands on and playing with her adorable kid. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, daughter, two dogs, cat, and lizard.

http://www.coleenlahr.com

https://www.facebook.com/ColeenLahr

The Stone of Kings · Writing

Meet the Characters of The Stone of Kings – Turlough O’Carolan

Oh! to have been one of those people in that audience! What fun it was making him a character! 🙂

I have done my absolute best to keep myself from going on and on about this fascinating historical figure for this post. It wasn’t easy. But if you’d like to learn more, other than by reading my book (which is a fictitious account), here is the link to his biography.

What He Looks Like

I didn’t have to imagine too much here. Turlough is the only character who was based on a real person hence the above image. I did TONS of research on this fascinating man from Irish history. I chose to illustrate him as a he was in his forties, fully recognized throughout Ireland and yet before he was married.

His Part to Play

The research I did for The Stone of Kings included William Butler Yeats’ book Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry. What does that have to do with Turlough? Here is the crucial line from the chapter on the Trooping Fairies, “Carolan, the last of the Irish bards, slept on a rath, and ever after the fairy tunes ran in his head, and made him the great man he was.”

BOOM!

There was my story. A “rath,” by the way, is a fairy home or fort. Ideas blossomed in my head about Turlough’s music, his relationship with the faeries and druids, and how he influences both them and his fellow Irishmen. But I tried to stay as true to who he really was as I could, so I also read Donal O’Sullivan’s Carolan: The Life Times and Music of an Irish Harper.

A big chunk of my research is found right in the prologue which is in the Amazon sample. 🙂 As a little side note, I was crushed to realize that I wrote “County Mead, Ireland” when I know there is no such place. I obviously meant “Meath,” however, after further research realized that it should have been Roscommon (the prologue was added during editing). I blame gluten. But it doesn’t change the story anyway. 😉

What He Means to the Story

Turlough is, of course, the famed blind harper of Ireland. He had many guides to assist him in his travels, and at the time of my story, his guide is Thomas. Turlough is very fond of Thomas because they have a similar background, and he treats him as family. Oddly enough, I couldn’t find a meaning for Turlough’s name, which doesn’t matter in the slightest. But he was occasionally known as Terrence, which is the alias that Hannah gives to Thomas while they stay at the Bed and Breakfast in 2023.

The most important thing about Turlough is that he underscores the idea of uniting the Irish despite creed, which is a major theme of the story and his own history. Turlough was a person I would LOVE to have known. He was a friend to anyone who did not oppress people. My kind of friend!

His Failing

He is a bit of a drunk and has a temper. In the story, he forgets that there is a time and a place for drowning your troubles in the drink, and not when you are on a rescue mission with an immortal druid. His temper, while justified, gets him in some tight spots. He also doubts his own usefulness while they attempt to rescue Thomas and Ardan. After all, he is merely a blind bard…right? Hmm…

His Strength

Like the others, he is loyal. Both to his friends, especially Thomas, and to his country. He also harbors no prejudices. He is kind and courteous to the English family they encounter, despite the fact that the English government continue to oppress him and his people. He allows the English family to prove that they are not an oppressive sort, and therefore judges them to be kindred spirits.

And, of course, there is his magical and mysterious music. But how can music bring Thomas and Ardan back to the year 1715 or save Bresal from the judgement of the druid council?

Have you ever heard of Turlough O’Carolan? Do you find him to be a fascinating character too? Are you familiar with his music? What is your favorite Carolan song?

Next week…meet Hannah!

The Stone of Kings · Writing

Meet the Characters of The Stone of Kings – Thomas

This is a farm that was abandoned during the potato famine in 1845-49. But I can imagine that Thomas could have farmed such gorgeous, dramatic landscape in the 1700’s. It would build his physique and admiration of his country. Then it was taken from him. Ugh. Image attributed to Kevin Danks via Wikimedia Commons.

Sorry for the delay. Life got in my way yesterday. 😉

What He Looks Like

I am unashamed going cliché for this – Thomas is tall, dark, and handsome. He is by trade a farmer, but was forced to try his hand at becoming a blacksmith until Turlough O’Carolan came along and offered Thomas a job as his guide. Naturally, all that manual labor buffed him up. So yeah, he’s got some serious muscular action going on. Just wait till he ditches his 1715 garb for a modern-day T-shirt and khakis. 😉

His Part to Play

Thomas is illiterate and has no desire for higher learning. He has a tendency to live in the moment because the English have taken his family’s land. He LOVES his homeland. This is why being a guide for Turlough O’Carolan is a pretty cool consolation for not having land to farm anymore. He’s happy where he is at the start of the story, so he’s pretty livid when that world is turned upside down by Ardan’s curiosity. But when he meets Hannah… hmm. Well, maybe he should start thinking more about his future and his role to play in the history of the country he loves.

What He Means to the Story

Thomas’s name actually means “twin.” I could say, “Yeah, I used it because he has a dual life. He has a strong impact on Ireland’s past and future.” Because…he does.

*giggle*

I was probably more influenced by my four-year-old’s infatuation with a certain steam train character when choosing a name for Thomas. While Irish readers may not have an issue with names like Ardan, Bresal, Turlough, or even Taichleach, my hubby reminded me that American readers would probably trip over too many of those kinds of names. So Thomas, it was. 🙂 The fact that his name means “twin” is coincidental.

He is the male romantic figure in the story, the trouble is, he falls in love with Hannah who lives three centuries after him. He struggles to keep his emotions in check while he and Ardan are dependent on her for their survival of the twenty-first century.

His Failing

Thomas is too complacent. He is comfortable with his illiteracy and he is comfortable being the guide for Ireland’s greatest harper. He fails to realize that he has more to offer the country he loves. He thinks he is just a simple farmer and cannot do anything about the unfairness of losing his land. But everyone has something important to bring to the table…

His Strength

He is unfailingly loyal and trusting. He obeys his instincts and they almost never fail him. He is not so stubborn that he cannot switch roles. He starts out as the guide for a blind bard, and has no qualms when he needs guidance himself from Hannah. This proves an important quality when he faces a certain member of the modern-day IRA.

And there is the obvious, his old-fashioned strength, which comes in handy against leering scoundrels and brainwashed gunmen. 😉

Do you find yourself being too complacent? Would it take a wild faerie spell to wake you up to your talents? 😉 How would you feel if the land you loved was taken from you and you couldn’t do anything about it? 

Next week…meet Turlough O’Carolan!