Short Stories Are Like Smart Cars (And I’m Taking A Ride) by Stacy Hoff

Smartcarphotoblurred

Until I learned about the publishing industry, I had no idea that commercial fiction writing had so many rules. I struggled to learn the precise definitions of genre and sub-genre categories, as well as their prescribed word-counts. That was several years ago. Thankfully for me, there are now some publishers that allow both genre blurring and word count flexibility. And of course, self-publishing lets you do anything you want. How do I know? Because I just took a crack at it.

If you are a “pantser” like I am (somebody who does not plot out their stories, but writes by the “seat of their pants”) having full creative freedom is certainly helpful. I’m loath to chase away the Muses. Since I have a heavy-duty, right-brain day job (lawyer) I love letting my creativity loose.

So, as I crank out more books, I am letting my stories write themselves. Some of are full-length, some are mid-length, and I even recently completed a short story. Of them all, the short story will be self published. Why? Because tiny word count is not a problem when the author is in control.

And when I say tiny, I mean just that—my short story is only 11,690 words long (approximately thirty-five pages). How’s that for compact? My short story is the literary equivalent of a Smart car. And yet, my vehicle got my characters where they needed to go. Yup, they hopped in. Drove off into the sunset together.  And I got it done.

Of course, when the general public considers whether to buy a book, they often want more for their money than just one fast read. That’s why my short story, LOVE DELIGHTS, will be contained in the anthology, “SEASON OF LOVE.” The anthology includes four other writers, all of which are fantastic—Gerri Brousseau, Merry Holly, Stephanie Queen, and Bobbi Lerman. I’m honored to be among them.

A cover reveal for “SEASON OF LOVE” will coming soon. The anthology itself will be released on May 1, 2015. I can hardly wait.

I hope you like what we’ve come up with. It was wonderful for me to have the chance to “think short.” For some teasers from the anthology, read on.

And let me know if you ever feel constrained by anything? What do you do about it?

From the Novella “Puppy Love” by Gerri Brousseau

 Book Blurb:

Sparks fly when a chance encounter entangles Lord Robert Nelson with the lovely Claudette Valentine and her dog, Madeline. The attraction is undeniable, but her father’s plan to find her a wealthy husband holds a hidden agenda that Robert can’t abide by. A story of attraction, longing, and if destiny can be changed, a loving marriage, instead of a loveless one.

Book Excerpt:

“Scandalous!” Robert Nelson shouted. He ran his hand through his already disheveled hair as he paced back and forth in the foyer.
“Lower your voice. What will the staff think?” the Dowager said. She stood leaning on her ever-present cane in the foyer before a stack of travel trunks.
“What will the staff think, indeed! You worry about what our subordinates will think of me raising my voice, yet you give no consideration to what they may think of you running off to the Scottish Highlands with Angus McClellan. You have only known the man little more than a few days. Mother, your actions are bound to make us the talk of our peers, yet again.”
“Since when do I care what our peers have to say?” she asked, watching him pace.
“Perhaps you should. We’ve just gotten over the embarrassment of your ridiculous decree that Stuart marry, and now . . . now this.” He huffed, his voice laced with impatience.
“I don’t know what you’re complaining about, that worked out perfectly.”
“Yes, but that’s completely off the point.”
“And what is your point?”
“Despite the positive turn of events with Stuart and Brianna, we were the object of ridicule for quite a long time.” Robert’s pacing ceased. He stood before his mother with frustration etched upon his face.
“You need to learn to relax, Robert.”
His frown deepened.
“All this foul temper can’t possibly be good for your digestion.” The Dowager patted her son’s forearm.
“What do you know of him, this McClellan chap? What if he should hold you for ransom, or worse, what if he should ravish you?”
“Ravish me? At my age my dear, one can only hope.”

From the short story “Love Delights” by Stacy Hoff

Book Blurb:

Two co-workers—former lovers—vie for the same big job promotion in their NYC advertising agency. The agency’s next Creative Director will be the one who pitches the better ad campaign to a major potential client, “Love Delights,” a gourmet chocolatier. Too bad they both need more time, and each other’s help, to come up with the perfect pitch.

Can They win over the client? And each other? Because this Valentine’s Day, the agency’s finances—and their hearts—are on the line.

Book Excerpt:

About to enter Mr. Fein’s office, Deirdre’s biggest rival for the job promotion reached for the exact same door handle. “Oh!” she exclaimed upon seeing Trevor Reynolds. Her smile immediately dropped from her face. Confidence plummeted along with it. Stop worrying, Dee! This must be a scheduling screw-up.

“Hello, Deirdre,” Trevor said in that sexy, sultry voice of his.

Deirdre hated that voice. Specifically because it worked so well on her. Despite all her determination to be immune, immunity from Trevor’s charms was not an easy task to accomplish. His sensuous voice was only half as tantalizing as his mouth-watering good looks.

Even hearing him through the thin drywall that separated his office from Deirdre’s brought embarrassingly steamy memories racing to the forefront of her mind. Memories of their one night stand—no, one night mistake. Ever since then, she tried to keep her meetings with Trevor to a minimum. Since this was Valentine’s Day, she’d tried doubly hard to avoid him all day. She’d been successful until now. Awkward.

“Hello, Trevor.” She gave him a tight nod. “It’s nice to see you, but I have an appointment with Mr. Fein now.”

“What a coincidence,” he said. “So do I.”

Her brow furrowed. Having Trevor at this meeting would not be good. How could she concentrate on Mr. Fein’s words when Trevor was watching her? Her still-lingering attraction to him was hard to block out. Worse, having Trevor at the meeting would create a professional mess. How would Trevor react when Mr. Fein announced she’d be getting the promotion he’d wanted? Unfortunately, he was just as driven in his career goals as Deirdre. Would Trevor be gracious when Mr. Fein gave the job to her? After all, there was only one Creative Director spot.

Oh noWhat if Trevor is the one who’s going to get the promotion? And I’m supposed to report to him now? Suddenly, Dee felt her acid reflux condition make its presence known. Only thirty years old, it was very early in life for Dee to be taking Nexium, but with a high-pressure job like this one, using the purple pill was inevitable. After this meeting, she’d be sure to pop yet another pill in flagrant disregard of the dosing instructions.

From the novella “An Unexpected Match” by Bobbi Lerman

Book Blurb:

Sylvie Ann is certain true love is an impossible fairy tale until fate and Tillie the Matchmaker send an unexpected storm stranding her with Noah and the irresistible possibility of one more chance at happily ever after.

Book Excerpt:

When a bright black and yellow Checker Cab pulled up to the restaurant, Tillie studied the tall, blonde woman who stepped out onto the curb. Sylvie’s hair, sun gold, had been cut short to frame her heart shaped face. Her complexion looked pale, even by the standards of a too-long New England winter. Tillie watched Sylvie approach the entrance and then stop, turning back toward her, hesitating as if trying to decide whether to step over the threshold or bolt and run. Her gaze met and locked with Tillie’s. It took but a few brief seconds of looking into Sylvie’s troubled eyes to see her girl was fighting down a serious bout of self-doubt, anxiety and an even greater dose of fear. Yet, among all those emotions, Tillie could still see the tiniest speck of hope buried deep within those sky-blue eyes, as Sylvie set her game face firmly in place and strode through the door.

Ah, well, my retirement will have to wait just a bit longer, Tillie thought. She adjusted the two indigo blue feathers in her hat. It would take more than Cupid’s bow to melt the cold wall Sylvie Anne had erected around her damaged heart. It would take a miraculous thawing. “Not to worry,” Tillie whispered to the blue-feathered pigeon perched on her shoulder. “Setting hearts free to fly is my specialty.”

 More teasers next week!

AMAZON LINK FOR LAWFULLY YOURS BY STACY HOFF: http://www.amazon.com/Lawfully-Yours-Stacy-Hoff-ebook/dp/B00U7U2WCC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1425508177&sr=8-2&keywords=book+-+lawfully+yours

AMAZON LINK FOR DESIRE IN THE EVERGLADES BY STACY HOFF: http://www.amazon.com/Desire-Everglades-Stacy-Hoff-ebook/dp/B00NFSMCYG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1410289138&sr=8-1&keywords=desire+in+the+everglades.

Find Stacy Hoff on Social Media: www.facebook.com/authorStacyHoff Twitter: twitter.com/authorStacyHoff Web: http://www.stacyhoff.com

LawfullyYours1800DesireintheEverglades1800

 

Photo of Smart car by Stacy Hoff. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

Posted in A writer's life, creative writing, Gerri Brousseau, Marian Lanouette, Marketing, Plot, publishing, romance, Stacy Hoff, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

What I’ve Learned: Secret #15 – Eating! What Are Your Favorite Things?

One of the lovely things about my vampires is that if they are over a hundred years old,

Wikipedia - Peking Duck after being dried

Wikipedia – Peking Duck after being dried

they can eat human food. With the exception of garlic, they enjoy eating. It’s not an all blood cuisine.

A certain exclusive Chinese restaurant in New York City makes a special Peking Duck for a lovely vampiress.  They make it for her without garlic.

I’ve had such a duck. Oh my, oh my. What are your favorite things to eat?

 

-Susan
Susan Hanniford Crowley, Amazon Kindle Bestselling Author of Vampire Romance
www.susanhannifordcrowley.com
Where love burns eternal and whispers in the dark!
Vampire King of New York is available at Amazon Kindle and print, Barnes and Noble Nook and print and in Kobo
A Vampire for Christmas in Kindle

Posted in A Vampire for Christmas, Characters, paranormal, paranormal romance, romance, romance novels, Secret #15 - Eating, Susan Hanniford Crowley, vampire books, Vampire King of New York In Print, Vampire Maximillion Vander Meer, vampires | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why Engagement Matters

Performance management, talent lists, engagement and Gallup surveys seem to be abundant these days. It seems that during my day job I am constantly thinking about one or more of these. To me, most of this stems from engagement in one’s work.

The truth is that I haven’t worked on a book in a while but even when I was writing several hours a day, I never worried about whether I was engaged enough. I traded sleep to write! I still think about writing all the time, but make the choice to hold off for now as it consumes me and quite frankly I don’t have time to be consumed by that these days.

So what does this all mean? Honestly, I think it means different things for each of us. I’ve read tons of articles about following your passion and I’ve even known some people to do this. I’ve also had a lot of real conversations with people and sometimes life doesn’t work out the way we went it to. Still, that doesn’t mean we should give up on what does engage us or what we are passionate about.

We each have reasons as to why we live life the way we do. Sometimes we can’t pursue a passion because it doesn’t pay the bills or time isn’t there to do it. And sometimes we are too scared to take the risk. It just may be a matter of finding a way to fit it in or taking a chance. The way I see it is we can spend our lives disengaged and not actively participating or we can search out and seize what helps us thrive. When we are old and wrinkled, what will we term acceptable? Only we can answer that and believe me, I’m still trying.

Happy writing this week!

Posted in A writer's life, Toni Kelly | Tagged | Leave a comment

A Few More Days Until RTC! Books from Opal Carew! by Mandy Rosko

Okay, just a couple more days and I’ll be signing books for the first time ever! I ended up already giving a few away here and there, but there should still be enough. Hopefully :3 Gotta pick up some more bubble blowers since those are pretty cool, and now I have a number on how many people are going to show up.

Unfortunately, registration is now closed, so unless you’re in the area and you only want to get into the books signing, which is public, then you won’t be able to sign up for any cool speakings. But signings are still a whole lot of fun ;)

Man, I had so much fun going to my local writer’s meet on Sunday, got to talk with some cool people, had to drive there with my new license in my nice car :) I had to follow someone there behind their car. Then had to follow another write back until I recognized where I was. Totally pathetic. Turns out that when your volume is lowered on your phone, the GPS isn’t so helpful. Who knew, right? :D

Anyway, the point is that it was a lot of fun, and Opal Carew was super cool and she gave me two of her books that I’ve been looking at for a while. I asked if she was selling them since they were on display, but she totally gave them to me! I’ll be reading and reviewing these soon-ish. I took these images off of Amazon, but these are the books she gave me :)

51Oy13XftsL._AA324_PIkin4,BottomRight,-54,22_AA346_SH20_OU15_5192rPKmY+L._AA324_PIkin4,BottomRight,-54,22_AA346_SH20_OU15_

There was also a box set recently put out with all the Invitation to Eden books bundled together. It’s called Bad Boys of Eden, as of this writing, it’s still available if you wanted to check it out and get it for a lower price instead of buying them all separate. (I’m really jealous of that cover, and in love with the chest)

51+fMRzVkEL._AA324_PIkin4,BottomRight,-54,22_AA346_SH20_OU15_

Anyway! Those are my book recommendations and fun things that happened to me lately. Any book recommendations from you? Good books you think are worth checking out are always something I’m interested in while I get ready to give my website a new look :) And right now, if you wanted to sign up for my Newsletter, I’m giving away a free copy of The Vampire’s Curse! http://rizzorosko.com/contact.html

Cheers

Mandy Rosko

————————–

Burns Like Fire (Dangerous Creatures Book One) is Available Now!

The Princess’ Dragon Lord is Now Available at Amazon and B&N

Connect with me online:

Facebook

Twitter: @rizzorosko
Want the latest on hot guys, erotic romance, and sizzling action? Add your super cool name to my Newsletter list and I’ll make sure you’re the first to hear about new releases the day they come out: http://rizzorosko.com/contact.html
Posted in romance | 2 Comments

Spring Starlit Weekly Paranormal-Scope

While I am not qualified in any way to read neither stars nor planets, I am intimately linked to the paranormal in the world in many ways. So are you.

The paranormal-scope is for entertainment purposes only and is not meant to guide your life by.

The week for:

Aries:
Hobbits are feeling the ease of past stress in the spring sunlight. Get enough sun everyday but not too much.

Taurus:
Gnomes have restless feet. Vacation planning is in order.

Gemini:
Gnomes sometimes find it difficult to connect with others. Look for the circle in life. Ride a carousel. Go skating at a rink. Take a circular walk and you’ll find yourself in sync again.

Cancer:
Werewolves are a cuddly bunch. It’s time to hang out with good friends and plan some relaxing activities.

Leo:
Vampires like to explore. Plan on going someplace new and meeting new people.

Virgo:
Pegasus has offered you a ride. You have the opportunity to take your career higher and further.

Libra:
Orcs pass you by.  Trouble has been avoided so breathe easy. Indulge in a hobby you love but didn’t have time for before.

Scorpio:
Faeries are entrancing creatures. True beauty is more than surface appearance. Friendship and love are more than skin deep.  You have the opportunity for both.

Sagittarius:
Dragons are the dearest of creatures. They have a bigger view of the world and are into helping others but not so that others see.  They find working in the background to be very satisfying.

Capricorn:
A vampire gave you a gift. It’s time to use it. You can shine like a star. You just have to want it.

Aquarius:
Goblins are careful with their money. Make a budget for that next big expense.

Pisces:
Shapeshifters enjoy taking beauty naps. They like feeling well rested and energized. Look into more healthy eating choices.

-Susan
Susan Hanniford Crowley, Amazon Kindle Bestselling Author of Vampire Romance
www.susanhannifordcrowley.com
Where love burns eternal and whispers in the dark!
Vampire King of New York available at Amazon Kindle and print, Barnes and Noble Nook and print and in Kobo
A Vampire for Christmas in Kindle

Posted in Max Vander Meer, Norse, paranormal, paranormal romance, Susan Hanniford Crowley, vampire books, Vampire David Hilliard, Vampire King of New York, Vampire King of New York In Print, Vampire Maximillion Vander Meer, vampires, Viking, Weekly Paranormal-Scope, Yule | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cover Reveal for Only Marriage Will Do by Jenna Jaxon

Earlier this past week I revealed the cover for my next Georgian romance and I wanted to share it with all of you.

ONLY MARRIAGE WILL DO

Marriage 2

Not every happy-ever-after begins at “I do.”

When the hero of her dreams rescues Lady Juliet Ferrers from the man claiming to be her husband, she is sure she has found her one true love. But is she free to marry him? Not to be deterred, Juliet arranges for her hero, Captain Amiable Dawson, to escort her to her family estate, hoping that along the way she can win his love.

Amiable is charmed by the sweet, beautiful woman he rescued, and although he has grave reservations about her marital status, he allows himself to be swept up into Juliet’s romantic spell and the promise of a happy-ever-after.

The spell breaks when legal questions arise and Juliet faces the horror of not knowing if she is married to her knight in shining armor or the cruel viscount who is determined to have her at any price.

Excerpt:

London July 2, 1761

The brass lion-head knocker under Amiable Dawson’s hand sent a sharp rap through the dark walnut door of Dunham House for the second time. The hot July sun hadn’t done his temper any good as he waited on the marble stoop for entrance to the Marquess of Dalbury’s townhouse. He’d been in a foul mood ever since the news of his beloved Katarina’s marriage to the marquess had reached him. Blast it to hell, he was supposed to have married the girl. At least he could make sure she was well and well taken care of by this man she had married.

At last a short, dark-haired maid opened the door. She took one look at him, gasped, and stepped back into the house. Her eyes widened and she glanced to her right, wringing her hands. “Who may I say—”

A man shouted from within. “No, I do not believe you.”

“It is true, I tell you!” A woman’s voice, raised and sharp with terror, sent a chill through Amiable.

Katarina. What in God’s name?

He barged past the stunned girl and strode down the hall toward the commotion. He burst through the doorway, expecting to defend the woman he loved, only to stop dead at the sight of a man lunging across a sofa and grasping a woman by the wrist. Amiable had half drawn his sword before he realized the woman was not Katarina, but a complete stranger. He dropped it back into its scabbard. This was none of his affair.

The young man, foppishly dressed in a robin’s egg blue satin coat dripping too many layers of frothy lace at throat and wrists looked at Amiable, a snarl on his lips.

Taking advantage of the distraction, the woman wrenched her arm from the man’s grip. “Praise God. Here he is.” She staggered as she righted herself. “Now you will have to believe me, Philippe.”

The fop scrambled back off the sofa and groped for a black lacquer walking stick that lay on the floor. Lips pressed together, he glowered at the woman. “That remains to be seen, ma chere. In any case, I have shown you the papers. They speak for themselves.”

The woman ran from behind the sofa to Amiable’s side, grazed a kiss over his cheek and whispered, “For God’s sake, help me. I am alone here and he is trying to take me away. Please, agree with whatever I say.”

Smiling into her pleading face, he grasped her hands and gave them a gentle squeeze to signal his acquiescence. “Whatever is the matter, my dear?” Hell if he knew. But he could play his part, even with little information. Let the lady lead and he’d follow as well as he could.

The woman smiled then took a deep breath. “My dear, may I present Viscount St. Cyr?” She nodded toward the fop. “Philippe, this is my husband, the Earl of Manning.”

Only Marriage Will Do is available for pre-order

on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Today I’m offering a copy of Only Scandal Will Do, the first book in the series, to a commenter on this blog who tells me that they want a copy and who signs up for my newsletter.  Winners will be announced on next week’s Jenna’s 411 (April 15).

Posted in Jenna Jaxon | Tagged | 1 Comment

When Was the Last Time You Said Yes? By Susan Hanniford Crowley

Peony

Recently I’ve undergone a lot of changes. I’ve been ill so getting those last pages of my next book down has been a struggle.  Right now I’m trying to tie up some loose ends and make sure my research is correct.  I’m double checking. I spent some time last night taking to a woman of Cajun descent in order to get one of my principle characters right.

In the day job, I went from a cubicle person to a person with an office. It’s rather exciting.  I’m decorating my office. I never considered anything like that, as I’ve been a cubie person for so long.

Next someone asked me if I would do a book signing at a major event. I almost died just in their asking. WHAT?  I shook in my boots, and then I said, “Yes!”  I haven’t a clue what I’ve signed on for but I know I’ll work out all the particulars.  I can’t say what that event is yet, but I will announce it here as soon as the details are a done deal.

When was the last time you said, “Yes!”  Did it change your life?

-Susan
Susan Hanniford Crowley, Amazon Kindle Bestselling Author of Vampire Romance
www.susanhannifordcrowley.com
Where love burns eternal and whispers in the dark!
Vampire King of New York is available at Amazon Kindle and print, Barnes and Noble Nook and print and in Kobo
A Vampire for Christmas in Kindle

Posted in A Vampire for Christmas, Characters, Max Vander Meer, Norse, paranormal, paranormal romance, romance, romance novels, Susan Hanniford Crowley, The Stormy Love Life of Laura Cordelais, vampire books, Vampire David Hilliard, Vampire King of New York, Vampire King of New York In Print, Vampire Maximillion Vander Meer, vampires, Viking, Writer's Life, Writing Topics, Yule | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment