Description of Chrome Pink for Amazon

my books

Rae Lynne Grimes returns to Leeward, North Carolina to care for her dying grandfather. Together, they restore an old Harley and paint it pink for breast cancer awareness. Her grandfather succumbs before seeing it finished.
Alone, Rae must face the town of Leeward who blame her for sending her stepbrother to prison, costing their high school football team one of their champions. Now, her fate lays in the hands of the man who orchestrated her rape and shame, former football captain and elected mayor, Todd Bryant.
When she rescues Logan Birdsong from a canal, she starts to believe she can have the fairy tale but when she learns he is working for Todd, she tries to get as far from him as possible. She joins her friend’s dating club and that soon turns to disaster when her dates start turning up dead.

Logan is just trying to keep his stepfather’s company from filing chapter 13. He has over-extended and needs the new spa and hotel Bryant plans to build to put the company back in the black.
Prostitutes at business meetings and Todd’s attitude make Logan wary. He is torn between his affection for Rae and his need to protect his stepdad’s company. When he becomes a murder suspect, that choice becomes easier.
Together Rae and Logan must prove their innocence, but they must stay alive to do it. Thrust together, they soon give in to their desires but someone doesn’t want them to have their happy ending.

Do Not Let Your Fears Defeat You

inspiration, Thoughts

I have a confession to make. I’m a fraidy-cat. I am terrified of everything. I am afraid of trying and failing, but not trying is even worse, for that is definitely failure.

I tend to hem and haw, and toy with an idea until I make up my mind. Once I’ve decided on something I plow through until it is done. Right or wrong, I just put my head down and do it. I’ve made a lot of mistakes this way. Rushing through a job that would have been better planned and executed according to a specific schedule. I’ve also waited around and missed my chance because I couldn’t or wouldn’t decide. Life is about risks. If you do not take a chance, you will never accomplish anything.

My dream is to be a published author. I have written since I was ten years old. My first story was, of course, a romance written in red ink, titled, “True Love.” All through high school I scribbled stories and ideas for stories. The first time I read my work out loud for a friend she blew me off, embarrassed and hurt I didn’t share my work again for many years. I hid my stories in notebooks under the bed, afraid to let them see the light of day.

When my “adopted” sister found out I wrote stories, she encouraged me to share my work. She liked it and was surprised that I could capture her feelings on the page. Being able to describe emotions and experiences so that the reader asks, how did you know? For me, that was when I knew I didn’t just want to write, I wanted to be published.

I am a fraidy-cat, sharing my writing is like standing naked in the Walmart parking lot yelling, “Look at me!” I sometimes feel as if I’ll swallow my tongue when I try to read my work. I think, “Why do they care? I’m not that good. They’re not interested in hearing what I have written.” But I have found as I opened my mouth and shared my stories, people began to listen. They started to care about what I had to say and about my stories. They related to my characters.

I grew up believing traditional publishing was the only way to go. When I first started sending my stories to publishers and agents, they had to be printed and mailed. Does that tell you how long I’ve been working towards this dream? The past few years I’ve come close with articles published in magazines and stories and essays in published in anthologies. I’ve attracted the attention of a couple of agents even working with one for almost two years but still I’m unpublished. After breaking up with my agent, I realized I had to really get in there and make my dream happen, no one was going to do it for me.

Between my mentor, published friends and my family, I have pulled up my big girl panties, strapped on my leathers and stepped up to face myself in the mirror. I’m terrified but I’m ready. Once the story was edited (AGAIN) and my readers said it was ready to go, I began working towards self-publishing. Author-friends who have self/indie published, some of whom have also traditionally published, tell me it is the way to go. So much of the promoting falls on the writer’s shoulders so why not do it all the way you want to do it.

So, I’m battling the fraidy-cat and standing up to let my voice be heard. I am a writer and soon, I’ll be a published author. Don’t let your fears rob you of your dreams, if I can do it, so can you!

 

The Power and The Pain

inspiration, Story, Thoughts

I duck my head and hold my books close to my chest hoping to go unnoticed.

“Hey fellows look who it is, city shitty,” the older boy chants. His words are mimicked by the group of boys with him. All of them are several years older than me.

He reaches out and knocks the books from my hands. I blink back tears. Like blood in the water, my weakness attracts more abuse. Like sharks they circle, chanting and touching, pushing and crowding, I gasp for breath, my heart racing, fear threatens to loosen my bladder.

“Hey, you boys, leave her alone and get on the bus,” the teacher orders.

I gather my books and smile in relief and appreciation at the teacher.

“You need to toughen up, fight back,” he tells me.

I look up at him, six-foot tall and wide as a door. Tears blur my vision as I rush to the bus. I don’t know how to fight.

I squeeze past the boys standing in the aisles. They turn to face me, blocking the seats up front where I like to sit. The move their hips suggestively and laugh at my discomfort.

“Whew, what is that I smell?”

“I bet she pissed her pants.”

I hadn’t, at least not yet.

“Nah, I bet she’s just creamed her jeans.” He stroked my arm moving close to my undeveloped breast.

Chill bumps pebble my arms. There’s a tingling in my chest and a fluttering in my tummy. I shift sideways and push past the bullies.

“Leave her alone guys or I’ll kick you off the bus,” the bus driver, a high school boy, shuts the door and eases into the lineup. “Take your seats before we get wrote up.”

Perching on their seats, they look back to where I sit just in front of the black kids who huddle at the back of the bus. “Do you know what a carpenter’s dream is?”

“A girl flat as a board.” The boys laugh.

One of the black girls, I don’t know her name, whispers, “Don’t let them know they hurt you.”

Her sister tells her to stay out of it. “If they’re picking on her they’re leaving us alone.”

“Just keep your head down and ignore them,” the girl continues to whisper.

I nod and open my book, loosing myself in reading.

The boys continued their jokes. “I think she might be a Pirate’s girl.”

The boys laughed in reply, “A sunken treasure.”

I didn’t understand half of what they were talking about and that makes it easier to ignore them.

The bus makes several stops, the girls behind me rise. We’re on the road to my house. I glance up as they pass and the girl who looks close to my age smiles at me. I return the smile. I’ll ask my daddy who they are when he gets home.

Just a few more stops and I’m almost home. I rise and gather my things.

The older boys stand up and lean out of their seats. One of them grabs my hands and puts it on the fly of his jeans. I snatch my hand away and stumble from the bus. I hear the bus driver threatening the boy but know nothing will happen. Nothing ever does.

I wish him dead.

He is killed in a car accident a few years later, I cannot mourn him. In truth, I am thankful he is gone. Over forty years later and I still feel the fear and shame, bullying has lasting effects.

 

When my grandson complained of being bullied, my first reaction was to tell him to toughen up, fight back, don’t let them see your pain. What is the answer to dealing with a bully? I still have trouble standing up for myself, being brave, finding my voice. I believe, that is why I write.

 

The Audio version of The Golden Hour

Book Review

 

The Audiobook: The Golden Hour by MK Graff and narrated by Nano Nagle

Why did I listen to the audiobook after reading The Golden Hour? I’ve said quite often that I’m addicted to audiobooks. For me listening to the book is a different experience than reading the book. It is like watching a movie but with an unabridged version, it isn’t as frustrating as seeing what they do to your favorite books in film.

As the narrator breathes life into the story, acting out scenes and putting emotion into the dialogue and thoughts of the character, I am surrounded by the story in a way that is somehow different from when I am reading the story. As I read the story I put my own inflections into the dialogue, interpret the prose and thoughts colored by my own experiences. When I listen to the story, I become a participant, acting and reacting to how the narrator interprets the emotions and events. Nano Nagle has narrated all of the Nora Tierney stories. She has become as much a part of Nora as the writer, MK Graff.

I love the Nora Tierney series. Nora is fallible yet likeable. She is real. The Scarlet Wench gave us the love story of Nora and Declan. The Golden Hour shows us the love story of a family. While these are sold as cozy mysteries, the Nora Tierney stories have become so much more. Each story has given us a glimpse of England from an American’s perspective. They have showed friendship and family, and even shown us that family isn’t always those who are related to us by blood.

In The Golden Hour Nora becomes a victim and for the first time, she has to sit and wait, something she is not good at doing. As this story unfolds, listening to the audio, I discovered or remembered things that didn’t appear important to me as I read the same words. Again, Nano’s inflection gave importance to things I’d previously overlooked.

If you are a mystery buff or you hope to become a writer, I suggest listening to audiobooks as well as reading the books. It opens your senses to more of the story and helps you see more of the pattern and design of the books. With The Golden Heart I believe I have a better understanding of the first book, The Blue Virgin.

For a little darker, more thrilling Nora Tierney story, read or listen to The Golden Heart. But don’t think Nora will sit on the sidelines, behaving for long. In true Nora fashion, she has to be involved in the solving of the mystery.

I highly recommend this series, each one is better than the last although, it’s a tie between The Scarlet Wench  and The Golden Hour which one like best.

 

Christmas Revels IV, another successful anthology

Book Review

Christmas Revels IV : Four Regency Novellas

by: Anna D. Allen, Hannah Meredith, Kate Parker, and Louisa Cornell

I have been a fan of all the Christmas Revel Anthologies. Each year I am surprised by the excellence these authors exude.

Anna Allen captured my heart with her story, The Sergeant’s Christmas Bride. Ms. Allen managed to give her readers a heroine who was both strong and vulnerable. Elizabeth FitzWalter is a woman of courage and determination and Sergeant Jacob Burrows is the hero she doesn’t realize she needs.

After her brother dies she inherits the title and all the burdens and responsibilities that come with it. Jacob is surprised by her proposal but he is determined to live up to what his friend, Matthew FitzWalter would want him to be.

This couple should not be together and yet, they are a perfect fit. A truly beautiful love story.

I have enjoyed reading Ms. Allen’s stories but I feel this has been her best so far. I can hardly wait to see what she writes next year.

 

Home For Christmas by Hannah Meredith was a fun story of second chances and hope. Charity Fletcher was doomed to be a spinster dependent upon the largesse of her family until a surprise inheritance gave her the prospect of a different future.

When Colonel Lord Gilbert Narron rented a house in the wilds of Bristol he didn’t expect it to already be occupied. The new owner isn’t willing to give up her independence and he is unwilling to leave this temporary haven.

They manage to find a way to share the old house. While Gil devotes time and money into making the much-needed repairs, Charity searches for clues as to why she was named in a stranger’s will.

Adventure and attraction become too great a temptation. Ms. Meredith has us flipping pages to learn whether they allow themselves to be pulled apart or they give into the desires simmering in the fires of winter.

I’ve been a fan of Hannah Meredith’s for several years and she hasn’t let me down. I look forward to Christmas Revels V and whatever else these ladies write.

 

I was not surprised that Kate Parker’s novella, A Memorable Christmas Season started with a dead body. I was surprised that she had three romances intertwined in this wonderful holiday story.

Like an onion, we peel off another layer to learn the juicy details of this rich romantic mystery. Young love, first love and undying love are all represented. Susanna Dunley is the Dowager Countess but when her first love, Will Marsden the Earl of Keyminster sees her with a dead man in her parlor, she is once again the young girl who loved him.

Will Marsden has spent years as a spy and now he is a master of the art. He knows Susanna is hiding something but he is still willing to risk it all to save her. The story is revealed with seduction and banter as old friends rediscover each other and learn what has led to the murder of a traitor.

A mother’s love, friendship and the power of true love overcome all the evils to bring hope to a new year. Kate Parker is the master of layering plot and character to lead us through the maze to discover the truth of the story. I am a fan of her mysteries, especially her “Deadly Series”.

 

Louisa Cornell makes me laugh and makes me cry and keeps me turning pages well after my bedtime in her novella, A Perfectly Unforgettable Christmas. Ms. Cornell weaves mystery and romance with the added twist of a great supporting cast.

Viscount Debenwood, Lucien Rollinsby’s butler, Redford and his dog are only outshined by the little girl, Lily who steals his heart (and mine) and brings her mother, Lady Caroline McAlasdair into his seclusion.

Lily is precocious and unable to stay away from the grumpy viscount nor his little dog, Bonaparte. Like her mother, she is able to see the good man hiding in a haze of alcohol and guilt.

Love heals and Caroline McAlasdair has the Midas touch turning even the worst situation into a chance for happiness and beauty. Without even trying, she and her daughter give Lucien new hope but she too holds a secret and it might be the very one to send him over the edge.

This ensemble of rich characters makes the story come alive. I can hardly wait to see what Louisa Cornell does next. I am a fan, I hope I don’t have to wait a whole year to read another of her fabulous stories.

 

 

Nanowrimo Inspiration

inspiration, Thoughts

November is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). For those who have never tried NaNo, it is an amazing experience. You push yourself to see how much you can write in a month, the goal is to finish a novel. A couple of years ago I tried it and succeeded with over 60,000 words. It was hard work and the month of November isn’t the best month for me to do a project of this magnitude. By December first, I was exhausted and spent much of the month trying to catch up with all my holiday plans. But I’m glad I did it. It proved to me that I could work on a time limit, plan out a novel and stick with a goal.

How did I succeed? Well, I’m a pantser and I hate to outline but because I write suspense and I wanted to stay on task, I needed to do some planning. A writer friend, Kate Parker gave me the idea of using sticky notes and a folding board. I wrote everything I wanted in the story: 1) characters’ names and a brief description of them (looks, emotional baggage and ticks or tells or picture), 2) places/settings with a brief description or even a picture, 3) plot points (i.e. Jack will fall down, Jill will tumble after, Mom wraps his head in brown paper, etc.). I even wrote out red herring ideas and clues.

No matter what genre you write, if you are a plotter or pantser, it doesn’t hurt to have a few ideas planned out. I love the idea of the sticky notes because I can move them around to suit my changing mind. If you’re thinking about NaNoWriMo, go for it and don’t forget to plan it out.

Never Christmas Without You

Book Review, event

Never Christmas Without You a two-novella Christmas anthology from Nana Malone and Reese Ryan is a must read for anyone who loves contemporary romance with fabulous characters. I love holiday romances but these two stories brought the magic of Christmas and the love of family and friends deep into my heart.
I have a confession to make. I hadn’t planned to read Nana Malone’s story. I’ve never read her books before and I’m so busy right now but I thought I should read her story, Just for the Holidays so I could review Reese’s story since they are together in this anthology. I mean, really, a review of half the book seemed wrong. So…
I read the first few pages and fell in love with Grandma Lucy. I know she is a California woman but she could be a southern grandma. She’s the grandmother I want to be. She is a take charge and tell it like it is character and while she is secondary to the story, she is the main reason I read the whole story! I love to read and as a writer, I look at story and form and character development. Sometimes, being a writer can ruin the reading experience. When I fall in love with the characters and the story is so good I forget how it’s made, that is a great story and that is what these two authors did for me. Their stories gave me so much joy I forgot about tense, point of view, and all of the things I’ve been taught. I simply fell into the story and experienced being with best friends Alex and Justin as they discover what has been right beside them all along. Nana Malone wove together a story that had me feeling the characters’ passion, pain and confusion. I rooted for them and commiserated with them. I laughed at Grandma Lucy’s manipulation and the attitude of strong women who aren’t afraid to make things happen.
Nana Malone has a new fan and I will definitely be looking for more of her books.

Reese Ryan will be hosting a two-part workshop for the Pamlico Writers’ Group Saturday, October 14th, 2017 in Washington, North Carolina, “Building Believable Characters” and “Creating Functional, Yet Compelling, Secondary Characters.” His Holiday Gift is proof that Reese knows what she is talking about. I’d only read a few pages when I had to email Ms. Ryan and curse her for making me cry.
I want a little girl like Maddie. The texture and depth Reese was able to bring to this short story is amazing. The characters are so real. I cried for Maddie meeting her father for the first time. I felt the love, pain and longing of Dash and Mikayla who were once friends. Their estrangement, part of the reason Maddie and Dash never met before.
I love second chance stories and stories of children bringing lovers together. Reese Ryan wove together ideas into a fabulous holiday love story.
Dash is the bad boy, prodigal returned to his small town with the weight of all the mistakes he’s ever made heavy on his shoulders. Having his best friend back at his side is encouraging and confusing. For Mikayla, her unrequited love for Dash simmers just below the surface. Can she trust him with her heart after all that has happened between them? This time, it’s not just her heart he might break.
Ms. Anna, Dash’s mother, is another well thought out secondary character she adds another dimension to the story making it feel like a real world.
Even Reese’s walk-on characters are complete people, their stories revealed with only a few lines. The rich tapestry of this story is what romance is all about. Reese Ryan has created a world I want to dive into. Her characters are friends and family I could have at my dinner table and enjoy knowing. Her Pleasure Cove series is one I’ve enjoyed experiencing. It’s not just a story, it’s a vacation.

The Impact of a Whisper

Uncategorized

“If you want to capture someone’s attention—whisper.” This commercial from a few years ago reminds me of what’s happening with the NFL. In order to attract attention to the mistreatment of people of color by police, certain NFL players have taken a knee during the National anthem. Before you scream at me about patriotism let me tell you, I’m the one who cries when the color guard marches in with the flag. I’m the one who sings loudest when they play the national anthem and recite with pride the pledge of allegiance. My son, father, father-in-law and assorted cousins and uncles have all served in the military. I am proud to be an American.

As a student of history, I’m aware of the blots of shame on our image. Being a patriot doesn’t mean I’m unaware of the flaws in our character. Anyone who has heard the story of “The Trail of Tears,” knows it was greed that pushed the Cherokee from their lands and onto reservations. A people with their own schools, newspaper, farms and even slaves, because they were a people of color, they could be stripped of their rights and regulated to government controlled lands. Is that too far back for you to be concerned? How about World War Two? When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor Japanese American’s lost homes, businesses and even their health as the government shoved them into concentration camps. Unlike the German and Italian immigrants who could change their names and pass for American, the Japanese weren’t that lucky. Still too historical? Think about this, if you are black, Hispanic, Middle Eastern or Native American you are automatically profiled by authorities and store owners. They expect you to do something wrong and treat you accordingly.

I’m not a huge football fan, so if the games play or not will not affect me. As an American, I am thankful for a Constitution and Bill of Rights that allows us our freedom of speech. Not to take away from our service men and women who have sacrificed for this freedom, I have to ask, if we take away the football players’ right to protest are we not damaging the principles America was built on? As important as the flag is, and as patriotic it is to stand for the national anthem, if I want to get your attention, what better choice could I make? By taking a knee, the players have brought this issue into the main stream American home. For people with darker skin, America doesn’t offer the same opportunities and protections. It is time to make our America, the America for all people. I love this country. I’m proud of this flag, but I also see room for improvement.

If you want to get someone’s attention—whisper, or go down on your knee during the national anthem.

Sherri Lupton Hollister

Southern Romantic Comedy & Suspense

https://sherrilhollister.wordpress.com

In the Midst of a Hurricane

Uncategorized

The Duke by Katharine Ashe

How a person reacts at the worst moments can give you an inkling of their true character. Lady Amarantha Vale meets Gabriel Hume in the middle of a hurricane in a foreign land. They fall in love during the hurricane’s aftermath, but already promised to someone else, Amarantha is not free to love the handsome naval officer. Fate’s twists and turns leaves an innocent girl with her heart broke.

Years later, fate throws them into each other’s paths again. Amarantha is the widow of a missionary and Gabriel has become the Devil’s Duke. Hidden secrets intertwine their missions, as Amarantha searches for her friend and Gabriel strives to keep everyone away from his Highland home.

These two strong-willed characters operate with similar motives but at cross-purposes until their truths unite and they are free to love again. Sacrifice and honor pull these two together and apart like the ebb and flow of the tides that brought them to the islands long ago and back to the Highlands to be reunited.

Katharine Ashe weaves a great story, strong characters, history and modern issues into a fabulous, epic tale of love, loss, friendship and faith. “The Duke” will keep you turning the pages well into the night. It is difficult to put down but I mourned it’s loss when I reached the end.

Sherri Lupton Hollister

Southern Romantic Comedy & Suspense

https://sherrilhollister.wordpress.com