With the truck camper mounted on our Dodge Diesel we decided to take a test drive. The leaves are changing so we took the highway to New Hampshire.
The only problem was the promised sunshine never really appeared. I took some photos but the colors didn’t show.
Being this close we stopped at Franconia Notch. The flume is noted for its spectacular views and with the recent rains it was flowing high.
It was drizzling when we took to the trail. It’s not a long walk but it is steep. Luckily I wore a rain repellent jacket and Tilley hat.
The pictures speak for themselves. The gorge is bordered by the board way installed by the park service. That’s removed in the winter or ice will buckle it.
There are tiny signs naming over a dozen different moss varieties.
Walking the steep gorge reminded me of prehistoric forests with the sweeping ferns and thick mosses.
Anyway, we’re happy with the truck camper and found it to be snug and warm. It is much smaller than our fifth wheel with less storage. I need to give some thought to how to bring enough clothes for three seasons.
I’ve called The Alaska Marine Highway for information. Nice people answered my questions. I need to call back when the 2014 schedule is posted. The good part is it gives my husband and I time to study the Milestone Book. Which towns sound best to stay for one or two or three days?
She presents her new book The Billionaire’s Best Friend.
The one man she never stopped loving is back in town. Now Lauren McDonald must decide between the man who promises her the world and the man who has the power to crush her heart again.
Where do you get the ideas for your stories, Christine?
Not that is a question with no single answer. Ideas for my stories come from any number of places. Sometimes I draw from places and events in my own life. In fact I made the Sherbrookes, the wealthy family featured in my series, from Newport because I got married in one of the grand mansions down there and always wondered about the people who originally built them. Another example of when I pulled from my own life can be seen in book 3 The Billionaire Princess. When I started that book, I had just returned from a trip to Virginia Beach with my husband. Then I decided that I wanted Sara and Christopher to go on a camping trip and since Virginia Beach was so fresh in my mind it made sense to send them their. Other times I get ideas from pictures. While writing book 4 The Billionaire’s Best Friend, I found a picture of a male fitness model that fit the way I pictured the hero Nate Callahan. Since the model had a tattoo, I just had to give Nate one too. Other times ideas just pop into my head. On more than one occasion I have been stuck on a scene and then a solution will just come to me as I wash my hair or cook dinner.
I wrote my first story with characters similar to those in the Sweet Valley Twins books at the age of 10 on my grandmother’s manual typewriter. As I got older my stories and characters became more mature. During my freshman year at UMass Dartmouth, I read my first romance novel and fell in love with the genre. I have been writing contemporary romance ever since.
Today I live with my husband, three beautiful daughters and two dogs in Massachusetts. Whenever I have a free moment you’ll find me either reading a romance novel or working on my most current story.
Despite a wonderful family, a career she loves, and great friends, a void has existed in Lauren McDonald’s life ever since her best friend Callie married billionaire Dylan Talbot. Although they have remained close, Lauren and Callie now lead very different lives, that is until Lauren meets wealthy CEO Kevin Walsh. Lauren believes he could be the man who will help make her life whole again. That is until the night Nathaniel Callahan, her high school sweetheart and the one man she has always loved, shows up.
Although Nate ended things with Lauren before heading off to The Naval Academy and his life with the Marines, he never stopped loving her. Now 15 years later he is back to correct the mistake he made all those years ago.
With Nate back in town, Lauren must decide between the man who promises her the world and the man who has the power to crush her heart again.
Excerpt: The main doors of the room opened as Lauren paused her scan; the guest of honor was about to enter. Grabbing her camera, Lauren stood—only to immediately collapse back down into her chair when her knees gave out at the sight of Nathaniel Callahan standing in the doorway.
“Oh my God.” Her stomach hit the floor.
“What’s the matter? Are you okay?” Callie’s concerned voice sounded as if it were traveling a great distance to reach her.
Lauren glanced over at Callie and then toward the door again. Perhaps she’d imagined him. After all, why would he be here? The last time she’d heard anything about him, he was doing his third tour in the Middle East. Despite her hope that she’d started to hallucinate, when she looked again, he was still there, dressed in a black suit rather than his Marine uniform, his brown hair cut military short and looking much the same as he did the summer he’d broken her heart. She latched her hand onto Callie’s arm. “Nate Callahan. He’s here.”
She kept her eyes on him. Since that awful day the summer after senior year, she’d only seen him once. She’d been home visiting her parents during holiday break her freshman year of college. She’d spotted him in his parents’ driveway from her bedroom window. They’d received more than two feet of snow the night before and he was helping his father shovel. That morning she’d stood and watched until the entire driveway was cleared. When he and his dad finished, he went back inside his house without so much as a glance toward her home.
“What?” Callie asked, her voice louder than necessary.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Kevin and Dylan headed back to the table. “Nate just walked in,” Lauren hissed.
“Lauren that . . .” Callie’s voice trailed off and she sat up straighter. Her head moved to keep him in sight as he walked toward his parents. “What’s he doing here?” she asked, her voice lower now.
The laboratory results from my lumpectomy said the atypical cells were all removed and no cancer cells found.
I exhaled the breath I’d been holding for two days and thought I relaxed. I didn’t. The scare wasn’t so easily removed from my spirit.
Having a lumpectomy is a fairly simple procedure. The in-patient office called on Friday to say my surgery was scheduled for 2:30 pm, to arrive at 10:45 to have the wire inserted.
Nothing to eat or drink after midnight except for my cardiac medication with a tiny sip of water. I can handle that. Okay.
At this time I still didn’t know how it would turn out and I was really nervous. I was having this done at Hartford Hospital where my cardiologist’s and ICD offices were located. I was sweating.
The insertion of the locator wire happens where the mammography is done. The tech was the same woman form my last visit and I found that oddly reassuring. She explained everything.
I donned the infamous hospital gown and robe then waited for the doctor. She also took the time to go over what was being done. My breast was squished by the plates and the area numbed. They recommended I avoid looking if needles made me nervous, so I studied a picture of the beach. The shot pinched and I didn’t feel the needle inserted. The needle is hollow and a wire inserted to the marker left during the biopsy. No so bad.
I admit I was really anxious. Next would be the really frightening part.
I waited again, then was taken to pre-op. More really nice nurses, techs and aides were nice enough to explain what would be happening next.
The RN from the ICD unit came over to disconnect my pacemaker and connect me to a temporary unit. It seems the cauterisation can cause the pacemaker to kick. Not what I need to have happen while under. I had a large patch placed on my chest and on my back to use if they needed to stimulate my heart. Now that was scary.
The anesthesiologist talked to me about the medication. A whole new procedure since I had my gall-bladder removed. The medicine doesn’t make you sick or sleepy afterwards.
So here we go. I get the needle inserted, taken to the operating room and then realised there were a dosen people there. Most of them had been by to introduce themselves and explain their part. Did I mention that the surgical intern was really cute.
I was asleep within minutes. When I woke, I was ready to go home.
They gave me medical orders to take it easy, no swimming for two weeks and call if there were any problems.
Two days later they called to let me know I had no sign of any cancer cells or atypical cells. The relief was overwhelming.
Despite the clearance, it took me this long to be able to talk about the procedure. My heart goes out to those women who don’t have the wonderful results I did. And I thank all my friends and family for their support and prayers.
That may be Buzz Lightyear’s motto but it could also be the vampire’s. In that case, why do so many writers place their stories in either the past or the present? Why not project them into the future? It’s easy, just add another thousand years or to the date of 2013. After all, if someone lives forever, he’s going to end up there eventually.
When I wrote, Death in the Blood, I wanted to make it different. As I later did with The Night Man Cometh, I started the story in the past and took it into the future. Most vampire tales stop when they get to the present even if the vampires continue to exist. Why? If someone’s immortal, then prove it by looking ahead.
Christopher Landless is my latest Undead creation and he follows the lead set by Damien laCroix, Vlad Chemare, the Andriescus, and Karel Novotny. Oh, Kit has a bit more conscience than his nosferatu brethren. He still remembers what it was to be human, but when it gets right down to the nitty and the gritty, he fights to save those like himself and not the Breathers. In spite of that, I believe I’ve managed to make him a character readers will like.
Kit starts out life as a footpad, in modern terms, a mugger, but quickly goes from there to something much, much more when he makes the mistake of trying to rob the wrong person on a dark foggy London night…
His story stretches from 1794 to the year 2580. For a while, Man and Vampire managed to live side-by-side peacefully, then a terrible event occurs making humans decide vampires are too dangerous to be allowed to go free. They’re imprisoned in concentration camps, on islands surrounded by moats of blessed water.
It was a challenge to fall back on the expected way of containing and fighting vampires while transforming them into futuristic forms. Staying true to the original genre while updating it to near-science fiction was a definite test of originality and writing skills. I hope, I believe, I managed it adequately.
Blurb: WHAT IF…
…Mankind admitted vampires exist?
…Vampires followed Man into the stars, inhabiting every planet in the galaxy?
…They solved the “Vampire Problem” by putting the Undead in concentrations camps?
What would happen if someone decided to destroy off the imprisoned nosferatu?
Would the police investigate?
Forced to assist Lieutenant Katherine Dalia in the case, vampire Christopher Landless fights desire and thirst to uncover a motive of long-lingering revenge as both vampire and mortal discover old crimes never go unpunished.
When the woman appeared in the fog-closed street, he was more than ready to pounce.
She wasn’t scurrying furtively with a clutching of shawl or threadbare cloak as he would expect a trull to be doing, but strode purposefully on the cobbles.Head held high inside its deep hood, her heels were making a rhythmic staccato upon the stones as the hem of her cape sent the fog scattering in little swirls.
No matter.Lady or whore, the gems glittering in her ears and glimpsed at the throat of the velvet cape would soon be his, and bring his creditors to heel.He simply waited until she walked past the alley where he was hiding, then reached out and pulled her backward into the shadows, one hand going over her mouth. He didn’t even draw his pistol.
This is too easy, was his thought. After all, he was nearly a foot taller than she, outweighed her by at least seven stone, and being a man, was much stronger. The wench don’t have a chance.
As she started to struggle, he whispered, “Be still and you won’t be hurt.I just want your jewels.” That usually halted any resistance. Not in this case. Instead of subsiding, her movements increased.
Her scream of rage swept all coherent thought from him.
He never really saw her move, just felt the blow as her hand caught him under the chin.His teeth cracked against each other as he was rocked off his heels and sent flying against the wall.The pistol slung from his hand as his shoulders struck the building. Kit’s head collided with a protruding brick, sending a stream of bright flashes before his eyes. Then his body slid down the wall, landing in a huddle at its base.
The slut struck me! He lay there in dazed disbelief. She…
The alley seemed darker. Where did all the fog come from? It rolled in, boiling and billowing, but… ’Tis black, like dark clouds.He could barely see the woman.Shaking his head, he sought to clear his vision, eyes sensing movement within the fog.
She was running toward him, but slowly, oh so slowly. It was as if Time itselfwere caught in some kind of dark whirlpool and sent waning.All movement became unnatural…no sound to her footfalls, pale arms raised above her head, hands clenched into fists.The cloak was tangled around them, flapping like…wings.
Kit struggled to sit up, a coil of panic trapped in his guts.He fell back against the wall, all power fled from limbs gone numb.All he could do was lie there…waiting.
She passed through a shadow…emerged changing…head thrown back, eyes glowing, mouth a scarlet rim of enraged snarl encircling gleaming white teeth… Sweet Jesus, protect my soul! He didn’t know if he cried the words or simply thought them and the wonder passed through his mind if the Blessed Savior would bother with a sinner such as he.
Then the teeth were at his throat and the shadows closed in, blood-red and spreading and smothering his mind…
Death in the Blood will be available from Class Act Books on September 15, 2013.
My guest today is not only a writer but a friend. She recently published a book about breast cancer called “Where would you like your nipple?” http://amzn.com/B009AEU4WG
That book is the reason I went to have a mammogram, a procedure I had ignored for too many years. They found atypical cells, a pre-cancerous growth. A lumpectomy followed.
Mac is wife, mother, and grandmother. Mac and her husband were blessed with two rambunctious little boys they managed to raise into wonderful men without any disfiguring mishaps. Dirt bikes and ESPN are the order around their house, and life at the ‘Testosterone Ranch’ more closely resembles one of today’s wacky reality shows, than yesterday’s Leave It To Beaver. One of eight kids, raised just north of Boston, Mac’s childhood was a free-for-all, surrounded by hordes of family and friends, a lifestyle that continues to be true today. She moved to Phoenix as an adult because living in the southwest feeds her soul. Her love of books, specifically the romance genre, has been a lifelong affair, both as a reader and a writer. A bout with breast cancer sharpened her resolve to see her stories shared with others. As of today, she is a five-year survivor, living her dream. http://mackenziecrowne.com/wp/
Chef Meggy Calhoun realizes her long-held dream with the opening of Boston’s hottest new culinary experience. Crazy-busy with her new restaurant, she can’t deny a fascination for her hunky new tenant. But will her secret connection to one of New England’s most powerful families poison her recipe for success, and leave her heart flambeed?
Trevor Bryce Christos would do anything to protect the woman who raised him. Even seduce a beautiful con artist disguised as a chef and bent on cashing in on his family’s wealth. Taking up residence in Meggy’s carriage house while disguised as a writer doing research on small town New England is the perfect ploy to catch her at her game. But when the truth of her parentage is revealed, and his ruse exposed, he’ll need the townsfolk’s help with spin control if love is to remain on the menu.
“We had a leak.” She jumped the last two steps to land on the floor, jamming the roller into the pan at the foot of the ladder. “The plumber is there now, dealing with the aftermath.” Reminded of the calamity in her kitchen, she turned a glower on the silent man and quirked a brow. “And you are?”
“Oh, I’m sorry.” Jill rolled her eyes at Meggy and made the introductions. “Meggy Calhoun, this is Trevor Bryce. He’s a writer who’s interested in renting the carriage house. Mr. Bryce, Meggy is one of the owners of Palmer House. She’s also the head chef.”
Fascinated, Meggy watched as the stiff lawyer vanished behind a wicked smile, a flash of white teeth, and dimples. There was nothing stiff about the penetrating gaze that met and held hers. The deep drawl of his voice, when he said hello, reminded her of the smooth slide of the aged whiskey found in Palmer House’s well-stocked bar. She glanced at the hand he held out, and flipped up her own paint-smeared palm. “Sorry, I’m a mess.”
Laugh lines crinkled the tanned skin at the corner of his eyes, and the soft core of femininity within her sighed in appreciation. She’d always had a soft spot for the Greek god type. Looking at Trevor Bryce, she had a sudden craving for feta cheese and ouzo.
Tina Gayle was born in Texas, the place of her heart and where most of her family still lives. The youngest of four daughters, she grew up a dreamer.
She worked for years in the business world doing a variety of accounting jobs. Then when her two sons were little, Tina decided to go back to school to get a degree in MIS. She only used this degree a few years before deciding to follow her passion for writing romance.
As romance author, she has published a number of contemporary romances. Her first being Pregnancy Plan, followed by a paranormal story called Mating Rituals. Deciding to stick to her contemporary romance roots, she then published two more books Baby Decision and Youthful Temptations. Wanting to start a series, she drew on her own life as an executive’s wife. She created the Executive Wives’ Club series which is about four women who have lost their husband in a fatal car wreck. The last book of is due out in 2014.
Married for over twenty-five years, she and her husband love to travel and Tina can’t wait for Mike to retire so they can do it more.
Always working on perfecting her craft, Tina attends writing conferences, and can be found in a number of writing classes. She also loves to hear from her readers. You can email her at tinagayle (at) roadrunner.com.
Blurb for CFO’s Affair
Sylvia Donovan is emotionally wounded from the unexpected death of her husband and still haunted by their last conversation: his request for a divorce and his confession of love for another woman. Her husband gone, her only daughter off to college, Sylvia faces the challenges of learning to live alone and move on with her life.
Vince Wilshire, enchanted with Sylvia, is more than willing to do what it takes to capture the heart of the hurting and untrusting Sylvia.
Can he help her forget the past and make her believe in love again?
Excerpt for CFO’s Affair
A knock sounded on the window beside her and she jumped. Her head swiveled around and she stared at the man looking at her through the window.
Vince Wilshire’s handsome face could make any woman melt with desire. With it so close to hers—the glass being the only thing separating them—a rush of adrenaline swept into her system. She leaned sideways in her seat and knocked her hand against the steering wheel. The horn beeped and she muttered, “Damn it, Knox, why did you…”
The sound of his laughter sent anger flooding through her, the muscles in her arms tightening with the need to strike out. She lowered the phone and clicked the disconnect button in retaliation to his attempt to manipulate her.
Vince opened the driver’s side door and cold air rushed into the car. “Hey, beautiful, are you heading inside?”
“What is this? Are you guys ganging up on me?” Sylvia ignored the man beside her and glanced in the rear view mirror, checking to make sure her tears hadn’t caused any lasting effect.
A warm hand landed on her shoulder and Vince toyed with her hair. “Not at all, I like the idea of entering the building with a gorgeous woman on my arm.”
“Right,” she protested and stuffed her phone into her purse before turning to stare into his bedroom-brown eyes. The spark in their depths had her reevaluating her impression of the man. Yes, he had the face and body to rival every other Casanova in the world, but he also had a sense of humor. That alone sent a shiver of awareness through her.
She fought the desire gathering in her stomach and waved her hand at him so he’d move out of the way, letting her exit the car. “Did Knox make you wait out here in the parking lot to make sure I would come inside?”
Vince grinned and held her door open while she stepped onto the asphalt. His gaze fell to her legs.
She stared at her new, high-heel, red pumps and silently prayed she wouldn’t land face first in the dirt when she tried to walk across the pitted parking lot in them.
A low whistled sounded beside her. “Man, are you ever hot.”
She ignored the comment and didn’t turn until she heard the car door slamming closed. “And there’s not a woman you’ve ever met you haven’t wanted.”
The heroine, Noel Martin is struggling to keep her promise to her children. A blizzard in Minnesota, a broken down car and lack of money halts their journey to a home in Connecticut. When the man of her dreams offers his help and love, can she resist?
I had fun writing this holiday story, a departure from my edgy paranormal romances. I revealed my soft heart and love of stray animals, small children and tall, dark and strong men.
I took a number of personal experiences to write the plot. I breast-fed my children like Noel does her baby and drove a clunker of a car for years. Minnesota during November came from my son’s wedding to a girl from that area. The snow was deep and the temperature deeper. The parking lot in the motel had a warning not to leave your vehicle if the bears were in the parking lot. The people were among the friendliest I’ve ever met.
My house burned and we lost everything. A period in my life I’d rather forget.
There is nothing like Christmas in Connecticut. We all gather to decorate wreaths to sell on the Christmas tree farm. My husband and I dress up like Santa and his wife to entertain the kids and hand out candy canes. On Christmas Eve we gather to exchange gift and share a family dinner. I cry each year for those who can’t be there and with happiness. My children and their families are growing and changing with every season.
An excerpt from Journey of the Magi:
“Oh, Holly, how many times have I told you not to open the door to strangers?”
Holly stared at her mother.
“That’s what Dan said, too.” Her forehead wrinkled as she pursed her mouth. “Do all grown-ups say the same things?”
“Not all. And I think you should call him Mr. Longstreet.”
“I did. But he said I could call him Dan since you were already friends.”
Noel ducked her head to avoid Holly’s gaze as her stomach warmed. Friends? Her pulse raced and her skin tingled when he was close, not feelings she had for a friend. Dan sparked a strong attraction in her, but she had no intention of acting on it. She had to keep firmly to her goal: they were going home.
Home. She’d dreamed of returning for so long. If she was honest, going home had been her hope for years. The big old farmhouse had given a sad, lonely child more than shelter. It held the memories of loving arms cradling her, fresh-baked cookies and safety. All the things she wanted for her babies.
Nicholas gave a contented hiccup and she eased him over to burp. As soon as she dressed, she’d remind Dan she had to leave before Christmas.