Tag Archives: contemporary romance

Meet Up #1: Tracey Clark A Great Writer and Blogger

here is Krystol Diggs post featuring ME … so cool, and thanks girl… I love it… stop by, and then stay a while… she has some excellent advice for us writers

The Krystol Method

Good morning

It’s not everyday that you get to meet awesome people! Well, I have met a new friend, blooger and writer named Tracey. Tracey and I met though another blog! I have decided to do guest posts on my blog so you that you guys can join in on the fun! If you are interested in being featured on my blog please send queries to:krystoldiggs@gmail.com. Okay, enough of my rambling, meet Tracey!

Tell the readers about yourself?

I am a country-twang gal from the bluegrass state. Kentucky is a hot bed of horses, cave systems, and whiskey. And I love all three. With my pugs and bossy kitty cat, I spend my days writing and working social media. I write with the help of the voices pushing me to create worlds for them to live in. Fantasy Romance, Contemporary Romance, and eventually some cowboys (because cowboys live in a group all…

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Meet Krystol Diggs

Who is Krystol Diggs???
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*pictures from pinterest
Krystol and I decided to do a little blog swapping … I got to learn a lot about this amazing woman, as she answered questions for us about her writing and her life. Feel free to read more from Krystol at her blog http://writingsbykrystol.com/ or one of the other sites that will be listed at the end of this post, with a short bio. Now for the fun stuff… Here is my baker’s dozen of all things Krystol Diggs!!
1. What parts of your growing education help you to build more vivid characters?? And will this coming degree be your final educational achievement, or will you continue to expand your knowledge within the classroom?? What other methods do you use to gain knowledge and inspiration??
– Good questions, Tracey. Well, this is absolutely my final degree! PhD is where I draw the line, lol. I’m in so much debt it’s not even funny. With my education, it has helped me develop my characters more, especially when it comes to the personality traits and mind. To gain inspiration, I use life experiences, and I focus on those that inspire me. For example, Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, and Stephen King.
2. Do you have any artistic activities (other than writing), things that rejuvenate your writer spirits when writer’s depression comes calling??
– When I get writer’s block, I do other things like watch movies or read a book. I try not to let the depression of not writing hinder me. My mentor always told me when I don’t feel like writing, don’t.
3. What is the biggest block to your writing that you have had to face??
– I would say the biggest block that I have to face with my writing was rejection. I had sent a query to Kensington Press. I was beyond thrilled that my manuscript was requested. A few months later, I got the bad news. I was depressed for about a week, but then I said, ” this is their loss.”  and what advice would you give to other to help them face their own personal blocks?? I would say to keep reading and keep writing. Do not let opinions of others get you down.
4. You have stated that you specialize in screenplays, TV writing, game writing, novels and animation. Which would consider your first love, the one that pulled you into the writing world… which would consider a labor of love, that you learned to appreciate over time … and which falls into the category of more work than fun???
– I would say that novel writing is my husband, screenwriting is who I’m having the affair with and game writing is my side-piece. LOL….they all go hand in hand at some point in my life.
5. Which of your books/writing creations (novel, screenplay, etc..) holds a special place in your heart?? All of our creations hold a piece of our souls, but which has become that favored child that your mind will always see as in need of a mother’s hand, but with infinite possibility inside?? 
– I would have to say my first book. Through Her Eyes. This story is based on my life and things that I went through as a child and as a young adult.
6. Which of your ireports still has the power to put a smile on your face, as you recount the words you poured into the story??
– The I-report that puts a smile on my face would be the one that made national headlines. A friend of mine and her then boyfriend were pulled over due to racial profiling. These friends of mine are celebrities. They gave me the story and I uploaded it. Til this day it’s viewed as one the most viewed I-report of all time.
7. Any fun facts about your reporting adventures??
– Fun Fact, let’s see…Okay, I was interviewing Tyrese Gibson ( the singer/actor) and he said his artist who’s name was Krystal as well and he called her name during the interview and I answered! LOL…I was so embarrassed.
8. Any sage advice?? Especially about those first few pages, and that ending that we all strive to give the reader … the ending that will wrap up your novel and bring the readers coming back for more??
– My advice is to NOT leave the book with a cliffhanger. Loyal readers get pissed when you do this, especially if the next part is not coming out for a while.
9. REVIEWS??? Let’s talk about the all important reviews?? What avenues do you suggest for best review acquisition?? Are there any avenues that should be avoided??
– Well, when it comes to reviews, I like to be honest at all times. The best review is the one that is written with genuine intent. You’d be surprised, there are people who actually pay for reviews on their sites.
10. Who helps to push you to reach your goals??
-.Honestly, no one. I mean, my parents support whatever I do, but they really don’t know what it is like. A lot of my writer friends that I have made, we barely have time to talk, lol.  who do you turn to when writing issues have you screaming into a pillow?? I turn to God and Justin Timberlake’s music.  or is it the calm love of animal friend, a quiet place of solitude, or a calming ritual that allows you to move past frustrations??? My new cat, RJ, is a sweetie pie. When I’m feeling down or sick, he’s there under me.
11. Of all of your writing tips and advice to other writers, which do you consider to be the most important?? Which would you say is the fundamental stepping stone for a writer to move forward, to take their love (at times, what they at first believed to be a hobby) in a more serious direction??
– I would say to have great time management skills. Don’t be like me and cram at the last minute when you’ve set a deadline for yourself. Make your next writing, your best writing. Don’t focus on other writers’ style of writing, create your own voice, tell your own stories. Be original and not a copy.
12. Back to the all important reviews… which review left you with the need to spread out to all your friends, family, and internet cohorts with word of the novels greatness?? So great that you felt everyone needed to at least crack the spine (open the ebook) and read that first line, because you knew that they would become hooked…
– I’m so excited about this question. I’m not finished the book yet, but everyone needs to read You by Caroline Kepnes. This book is so good! I’m giving it a 5 star already. When it comes to reviews, look for ones that are concise and to the point. You can read a review and tell that there was not much though to it.
13. ooooo … Let’s end with BAD REVIEWS … I wont ask you to name names, but is their anything you would like to ask the writers of the world to stop doing??? Do you have a literary pet peev?? A wordage no-no?? Yes! Writers of the world, please stop making sequels to book that ended in the second part. To have a book drag on is upsetting.
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And last but not least, let’s add some coffee to all those crumbs of knowledge in our baker’s dozen. I challenge you to list five fun facts about yourself (not all need be centered on writing). Let us see a little bit more about Krystol Diggs.

1. I have an addiction of buying books. I do intend to read them all–eventually.

2. I am type 2 diabetic

3. Chinese Food is a weakness of mine. I could eat it everyday.

4. My office is in my bed. ( Don’t Judge me)

5. My favorite colors are pink and red.

6. Freebie:  Ann M. Martin my favorite author as a kid.

—– Alright… that concludes our blogger’s swap… to wrap up, I will leave you with a short bio about Krystol… as well as her online links… happy wordage, everyone

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*pick from her google site

Bio….

Krystol Diggs has been writing since the age of 15. Her debut novel Through Her Eyes was the jump-start of more to come from this author, and now screenwriter, and publisher. Krystol has received her Masters degree at Full Sail University with an MFA in Creative Writing. She has written three screenplays, two short films and a host of other books in the various genres of fiction, thrillers, erotica, young adult and drama which can be found on amazon.com. She has also written for magazines such as Raw Talent Magazine and Bougie Magazine, interned at IFashion Network as a writer and now is a reporter/journalist for CNN’s Ireport section. Krystol is currently attending Walden University where she is studying for her PhD in Human Services.

Links to Krystol Diggs

Website: www.writingsbykrystol              Twitter:https://twitter.com/KrystolDiggs                            LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/pub/krystol-diggs/37/228/180 Facebook:www.facebook.com/writingbykrystol

Google:https://plus.google.com/+KrystolDiggs/posts

Meet n Greet

That’s me of course…
https://traceylclark.com/
now follow the link, take a peek through the comments, add your own, see what blogs interest you…add your name/info/a fun fact about your blog… all fair in blog lovin … this is your meet and greet, people … happy wordage 😛

Dream Big, Dream Often

Ok so here are the rules:IMG_7051

  1. Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
  2. Reblog this post.  It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!  So don’t be selfish, hit the reblog button.
  3. Edit your reblog post and add tags (i.e. reblogging, reblog, meet n greet, link party, etc.), it helps, trust me on this one.
  4. Share this post on social media.  Many of my non-blogger friends love that I put the Meet n Greet on Facebook and Twitter because they find new bloggers to follow.  This helps also, trust me.
  5. And if you leave a link and don’t follow me, how about ya show ole Danny some love?
  6. Call the mayor of your hometown and have him pronounce this weekend as the official weekend of the “Dream Big Meet n Greet!”  This might take some persistence, but don’t you dare give…

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bloggers thanking bloggers

I know that a lot of people hate anything that reminds them of chain letters, so I will try to spice my 7 tidbits (all about me) up a little ( 😛 spoiler: there may be a cowboy picture or two) and keep the fun flowing as I pass this award along to the most recent commenters that have been helpful/engaging/or just plain awesome…..

Dragon’s Loyalty Award

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First off, I want to send out some cyber to Jean over at http://jeanswriting.com/ for adding me to her list of 15 rocking bloggers. She always has a kind word or two for her fellow bloggers, as well as, writing tidbits and book reviews, so be sure to look her up. This award, in particular, is given to those who have commented and/or followed on your blog. So, if you find your name below, pass the thanks along to a blogger that you appreciate. Annnnddd here we go…

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*pinterest pic

Here Are The Rules For This Award:

 * Display the award certificate on your website.
*  Announce your win with a post, and link to whomever presented your award.
* Present 15 awards to deserving bloggers.
* Drop them a comment to tip them off after you’ve linked them in the post.
* Post 7 interesting things about yourself.
All about ME:
Let’s start with the seven things about Tracey, that I will try to make interesting to all. Hummmm … where to start. Well since I added that race track photo to the top, why not start off with horse. I love horses. I love to ride them (though it has been years), especially run. To be on top of a horse as he flies across the ground, it feels like you’re the one flying. Everything about the animals speaks of majestic strength, of power. Being on top of one, you get to be included in that power, if only for a little while.
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*pics from trip to boyd county fare
Number two on my list … I’m gonna go with cowboys. I blame this on Lorelei James and her rough rider series. lol. Just lover her cowboy romances. Though it could also have something to do with the fact that I am a Kentucky girl. Cowboys and other men that work farms or with animals are just plain sexy. 😛 One day, I plan to write a contemporary/cowboy romance. But for now I will stick to my Fantasy/paranormal romances. I will edit the ba-zillion rough drafts until I want to scream, and then watch out. Here come the Cowboys.
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*pinterest pics
For your third viewing pleasure, let’s look at some beach pictures. Although I have been to many different sandy shores, in both the heat and the cold, I am not a beach fan. I love the beautiful views to be found, buuutttt … Sand and Sharks, people. Sand and Sharks. I hate and fear them both. I firmly that sand has a mind of its own, and is more dangerous than the ever hungry shark. As soon as you enter the city holding your chosen beach destination, the sand goes to work. Without getting out of the car, you will start to feel the creeping, abrasive, sneaky sandy hands. Heaven help you if you are brave enough to go swimming. I always come out of the water (ocean or pool) with sand taking up residence inside my bathing suit. With shark, I would just like to eat one of them before they get me. At least them I will kinda deserve it. (at least in the sharks mind) lol
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*my sunset/sunrise pics
On to number four … When I need a break from my characters and the worlds that the voices demand I continue to build and expand, I turn to crafts. Mostly, I experiment with oil paints. I enjoy the way you can blend and change the canvas. Plus, even if you use a drying agent, mixed in with your paints, you have at least three days to change your creation. Oils are very forgiving of mistakes. 😛 My other main craft revolves around yarn. Hats, scarves … stuffed animals, baby clothes … I will try anything. Everyone should include some form of arts and/or crafts in their life. Make sure that you use both sides of your brain, not just the fact based side 😛
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*keep trying until you find your stress relief
Alrighty! Moving on to interesting fact number five. (I feel like I am on a dating site … lol) Anywho. I would say that my travel history is pretty interesting. I have been to beaches from the west to the east (see fact three). I have been to different Kentucky areas for singing competitions. As a teen I went on one of those Eruo tours, visiting France, London, Germany, Switzerland, etc… I have seen castles and homesteads from the 1800’s, I have gone cliff diving (very little cliff, not to dare devilish), and I have gone deep sea snorkeling. And still there is so much I want to see and do. Seeing and experiencing the world around me is very important to my life. I want to take in as much as I can.
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*I need to start taking more pics
Two facts left. For number six, I will go with … Animals. I love them all. In fact, every time I go on a trip, I pick an animal to associate with that adventure. In Switzerland, I chose the mountain goat. I loved taking a tram up into the mountains and seeing them perched so perfectly on the rocky cliff face. At the beach, I usually go with an alligator. Most would probably go with sharks, but when I was small, I saw an alligator snatch a bird for his dinner. I have some charms for a bracelet of a necklace with representations of my vacations animal picks.
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*alligator pic came from pinterest (need to get one of my own)
Lastly, but not least … I have MS (multiple sclerosis) but I refuse to stop me from living. I want to be apart of the world, not just sit on the sidelines and watch. I may not move at the same pace as others, or accomplish everything in a timely manner, but eventually get to the places I want to be. I have learned to work with my MS, instead of being smothered by it. When I wake up, I ask myself what I want to accomplish. Then I stop to think, what CAN I accomplish. If I’m having a bad day, I know that whatever I want to do isn’t out of the questions. I just need to wait and see if tomorrow will let me do more. This process has allowed me to become a new person, when I thought all had been lost. I avoid things that hurt my head, and take life one day at a time. I have event finished one novel that I am in the process of talking to a publisher about, and I have half a dozen other rough draft (but dang, the editing process vs my MS and dyslexia … let’s just say time consuming).
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Blogger appreciation
Now for some fellow blogger love. Here is my list of Blogger I think we should all know more about.
1. Mary Shortridge meshortridge.com … a lovely woman from the writing group in my area … truthfully some of the best writing I have ever heard… (Finish your book, Mary, so I can buy it in hard back and kindle)
2. http://coloradotravelingducks.com/ …. some of the best pictures of water views
3. https://dee2post.wordpress.com/ …. love the reviews found here
4.Sharmishtha https://wingofdreams.wordpress.com/ …. she always has a kind word to share, artist and writer.
5. Dellani Oakes https://dellanioakes.wordpress.com/ …. I would love to be able to paint the water scene from her home page… fun reads to be found from this blogger
6. Frank Parker http://franklparker.com/about/ …. an author and one of the many excellent bloggers willing to inspire those around him…
7. Mary A. Perez http://maryaperez.com/ …. a lovely site that can reach both the English and Spanish speaking blogger with her writing
8. Opher Goodwin https://opherworld.wordpress.com/ …. a seriously all around blogger and author, with ideas and viewpoints on multiple fronts
9. Lloyd Lofthouse http://lloydlofthouse.org/ …. author with lots of site ideas when you are looking for blogs about books… he also has a handful of other blogs that should be checked out … I dub thee, word warrior
10. Teresa http://stoneleafandcompany.com/ … because, hey, she is a fellow Kentucky gal … plus, I live the animal pics on her blog
11. A.C. Melody https://acmelodyblog.wordpress.com/ … a fellow author just trying to keep the voices happy 😛
12. Tracey Lynn Tobin https://nopageleftblank.wordpress.com/ …. because Traceys rock… not to mention that her maiden name was just like my last name (if you tack on an E) which automatically equals cool 😛
13. Noirfifre https://yelhispressing.wordpress.com/ … because anyone that loves Pride and Prejudice, I will consider my peeps… lol… I may be all about Fantasy/paranormal Romance, but P&P is a must read/watch for everyone… *sigh … now I want to put my copy in the DVD player
14. Jin Okubo http://jinokubo.com/ … anyone willing to reblog my words gets an award … plus he writer in English and Japanese … (Man, that makes two bi-lingual bloggers on my list … I am so jealous… wait, maybe its three… dang it… I bet you can all speak and write in multiple languages *pouting now)
15. https://hmjmdeleon.wordpress.com/about/ … a blogger after my own heart, with so many voices in her head that it is either write them down or go insane…
Now go forth, my lovely winners

Find your Inspiration

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Where do you find your Inspiration???

For years, I wrote down my ideas and worked on my outlines and rough drafts, but that was all. I looked down and had dozens of both, but unless I wanted to build another room to house my ideas, I needed to finish this and edit that. It was a moment of ‘omg, where do I start…’ and I didn’t have a clue. Then I saw something on twitter about National Writers Month (#NaNoWriMo). The organization is great. They have the main event in Nov. for #NaNoWriMo, and camp comes in july (#campnanowrimo) … I think there is even a month dedicated to the junior wordmonger.

But what do you need, what do you get out of it, and why should you bother???

hummmm…

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Hey, this may be camp, but that doesn’t mean you have to go outdoors. I mean, l love nature and all the beautiful landscapes that are available … but … bugs. I said it, bugs. I am too old to fight off bugs, use natures outhouse (or even a camp restroom), and sleep on the hard unforgiving ground.

Even those lovely foldout beds, that can be put into place with the ease of a lawn chair, is a no-go for this Kentucky gal. I want to ride the horses, wade in the stream, take some amazing photos … and then go home. So indoor camp is it for me. Plus, s’mores can be made anywhere. yummmm. A bottle of wine, a bag of goodies, and some upclass camp junk food. Dang, now I’m hungry.

But camp isn’t about the food, or the bedding. It’s about the people. I am still friends with the first two women I met at camp, a Canadian word-lover and an Ohio wordsmith.  We still get on Facebook to chat, trash talk, and when needed … we support each other in our current projects. So the inspiration you can find at CampNaNoWriMo, or one of the similar online get togethers, is something that you can take with you. Something that you can depend on throughout the year, not just the month that you bust your arse to reach that 50k word goal line. Even if you never reach 50k words, the connections and friends are important.

But just because I enjoy my comforts (the bed is sooo not mine), don’t think I miss out on the wildlife… say hello to Froggy Assassin in the picture below …..

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Writing is a solitary event for the most part. But every once in a while it is good to get out of you writer’s cave, take a look around, and stretch your legs. We have to go out in the world in order to keep the ideas and voices flowing. Stroll through the local fruit market, wonder around the towns surrounding chosen vacation spot, or my favorite outdoor activity … stop at a random exit. When I’m coming home from some roadtrip or out of town necessity, I watch the signs that promote the attractions for the upcoming exits. My last trip ended with a stop along the Ky-Tn border. Mom and I stopped for lunch at this little outdoor museum. They had houses from the old days, and lots of animals walking around. The little store had some of the crafts from the area, and the back of the store housed a little deli with homemade goodies. We had some of the best cobbler I have ever tasted, and I’m not normally a cobbler lover.

In essences, inspirations can be found anywhere. Indoors and out, you just need to be open to trying something new. You can tackle the word sprints with your NaNoWriMo camp mates, or soak up the off the beaten path attractions. Just have fun, and then write it down… 😛 … Happy Wordage, Tracey Clark

Here are some of the photos from my off the beaten path stop…

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top picks from fellow readers

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The recent poll for our favorite authors turned out to be a lot of fun for me. Like one person commented, it was a great way to find new authors to add to my TBR list. Though one person commented that she preferred to go into a book blind, no outside commentary.

You never know what you are going to get when you open a book. No matter how many reviews you read, your opinion may differ from the likes and dislikes of others. I have found that even the authors that I have loved for years can come up with something that either wows me beyond belief, or makes me check the front cover … just to make sure I really am reading one of their books. Not to worry, my favs … one book that leaves me wanting will not turn me away, because I know that writing is a very personal journey. We put a piece of ourselves into each book, no matter if we are writing about battling Fae, horror fright with clowns, or cowboys that know how to show you a thing or two …
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ummmmm … love those cowboys … and where are all my cowboys, I ask. Man am I gonna miss Lorelei James’s main cowboy series.

Right now, I love everything to do with writing and reading fantasy/paranormal romance. From the in your face lovin’ with some vamps and shifters thrown in … Laurell K Hamilton, Lora Leigh, Lynsay Sands, Christine Feehan … to the middle ground sexy fireworks, and even a few behind closed doors for the intimates … Karen Chance, Eileen Wilks, Patricia Briggs.

Hopefully, one day, I will be able to send out this poll and have someone pick my name out of the hat. My first book is soooo close to publication (no matter if I choose the traditional route, or the self pub way of thinking) that I can practically feel it in my hands. And I am scared to death … lol … Take a look at what I’m thinking of using for the back cover, and feel free to comment …

Back Cover-

It was a small bid for independence.

She never asked for Fae assassins, uncontrollable powers, or a confusing protector that was too good looking for his own good.

But for her 21st birthday, Marin will get all that and more.

Will she be able to find a balance between the ups and downs, between the horrendous and the amazing, between the betrayals and the heart thumping romance?

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I swear, my heart began to speed up just thinking of sharing that with the world. If only I could write the books, and let someone else do the promo part. Part of me cringes at the prospect of writing promos, queries, synopsis letters, etc … Maybe some those that enjoy the horror genre, and suspense, can tell me how to over come this part … because, really, I would rather face Stephen Kings idea of clowns than write another one of those right now. But until I can find someone willing to pull the weight for me … I guess I will continue to write and rewrite.

Back to the salt mines *sigh* 😛

I did managed to run across on publisher that only asks for the synopsis and the book itself. Sending my work out to Gone Writing Publishing wasn’t as harrowing as some of the agents and publishing houses out there.
http://gonewritingpublishing.blogspot.com/They are just opening their doors, and I can’t wait to see what new books they help get on the market for us to enjoy. Man, I love books. 😛

To wrap up, I will share some of the comments received from the ‘love your author’ poll …
https://lccdena.wordpress.com/I love Lee Preston and Lincoln Child. They write archaeology/history suspense novels.
https://lizajanechronicles.wordpress.com/I’m going to go new school. Mary Catherine Gebhard is an indie author who is so talented I foresee her becoming a bestseller.
https://writezero.wordpress.com/“>
Stephen King has to be my favorite author of the moment. My favorite changes as I read new and enticing stories, and Stephen King’s depth of storytelling in It will stay with me for quite some time. It’s a story that you find yourself dwelling on months later.
https://window2mysoul.wordpress.com/I have a big list for “favorite authors”, some are (no orders) Rabindranath Tagore, Bankimchandra Chatterjee, Saratchandra Chatterjee, Maupassant, Maugham, Doyle, Jules Verne, Hugo… Barbara Cartland
https://kasimskorner.wordpress.com/Can I say me or is that not humble enough? :p
https://yelhispressing.wordpress.com/
Jane Austen she makes me grin foolishly and make me feel book contentment not just from her main novels but her minor works and letters
http://jeanswriting.com/
Great idea! There are really too many for me to list! But I did add a few. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog, and I’m glad you enjoy my posts. Look forward to seeing you again soon, doors always open at Jean’s Writing.

The poll percents:
answer                                      votes            percent

add your own                            6                      27%        *see bottom for names
Lynsay Sands                             5                     23%
other/not named                    4                     18%
Laurell k Hamilton                 3                     14%
Lora Leigh                                   3                     14%
Shelly Laurenston                  1                        5%
Patricia Briggs                          0                        0% ???

come one people/Patricia Briggs is great…. you so need to try her Mercy Thompson series and her Alpha and Omega series  😛

*names added:
Karen Chance
Donna Grant
Ninnie Hammon, Hugh Howey, Diana Gabaldon
Nora Roberts
Nalini Singh
Jessica Scott

Skymann: Andrew and Brigit

Chapter one

Andrew Skymann snapped awake. His body shaking, the sheets soaked in sweat. He smelled the pain and fear, the humiliation, as it permeated his bedroom. Slowly sitting up, he roughly scrubbed at his face.

“Andrew?” The lingering effects of the nightmare were made reality a little cloudy, as his twin brother stuck his head through the cracked door.

Andrew’s body jerked slightly, seeing Jacob. It took a moment to erase the feeling that he was watching his body from across the room. “What’s up?”

“Heard your caterwauling and decided to check it out,” Jacob deadpanned.

“I’m good, Jacob,” Andrew reassured.

“Since you’re up, what are your thoughts to owning a restaurant?”

Andrew fell back and threw his arm over his eyes. “The kid isn’t going to allow you to take over his life the same way the rest of us have,” he mumbled.

“I heard that and I disagree. Samuel is a cooking genius. I’m merely making sure that he has the room to flourish.”

Jacob sounded so sincere that Andrew’s jaw dropped as he pushed himself back into a sitting position. Before their twenty-first birthday, Andrew and Jacob were well on their way to starting what was now a very lucrative business. Jacob controlled all promotions and stood in the spotlight, allowing Andrew to do what he loved. Write.

Andrew shook his head. “Look. You’ve earned the latitude to make any and all snap decisions. But maybe, just maybe, you should talk to Samuel first.”

“We both know that kid will always feel like the baby brother in the family. Which he is, but that’s beside the point.”

“Jacob-”

“Besides, it’s too late. The contractor called last night after you went to bed. Says the kitchens are ready to go. Now I just need to get Samuel to fine tune the area.”

“We run art, not food. Our studio spaces comprise of painters, writer’s groups and classes, and other non-edible goods. Why in the hell do we need a kitchen.”

“What about the studio I designed in our main building for Marcus.” Jacob crossed his arms and leaned against the door jam. His position spoke volumes.

Andrew tried one more time to get through his twin’s stubborn skull. “That’s architecture and again, non-edible. That only worked because Jackson decided to take you up on the offer. If you hadn’t thought to include our cousin in the mix, that deal would have died before Marcus got his hands around your next.”

“Big brother merely delayed the inevitable. Marcus could had his own company years ago. Instead he ran off and enlisted.”

Andrew got out of bed, left his windowless bedroom, and followed Jacob out of the room. Moving to the windows of his living area, he asked, “Do you really think you can get Samuel on board. I know you have his future in mind, but even his jams, jellies, and candies are sold under our mother’s maiden name. He obviously doesn’t want recognition.”

Andrew couldn’t see much of their gated community in the pre-dawn hours. Jacob’s manipulation had lead to thousands of acres for Marcus and Jackson to build luxury homes on. Beautiful homes close to a marina that Jacob had also managed to talk him into buying. Really, a restaurant was relatively low risk for one of Jacob’s schemes.

“I’ll start some coffee. You owe me pancakes for that comment and for waking me up.” Jacob’s voice continued to mumble up the stairs.

“Ha!” Andrew would have called Jacob on the obvious lie but his twin was already out the door, no doubt off to restart the coffee pot. He didn’t believe that Jacob’s sleep had in anyway been disturbed. His bedroom was located on the third floor of their massive home. He never would have heard Andrew’s cries unless he was already up and prowling. Andrew’s rooms sat in the partially submerged basement, making his bedroom at least four floors from Jacob’s. Half of the basement was underground and surrounded by dirt, the other half could be considered ground level, widows and all. His office received copious amounts of morning sun, at least it did once the sun was actually up.

Damn, it was too early for this. Pitching his voice loud enough for Jacob to hear, Andrew suggested, “We need to have Samuel come over and cook. So that I can remember what kind of art he makes.”

Just the thought of the kid’s cooking had his stomach sitting up in notice. It would almost be worth the nightmare and early morning wake up call, if they could get Samuel to fix a batch of his world famous flapjacks covered in his homemade preserves. Just the thought had a Pavlovian effect. Andrew’s mouth creatied so much saliva that swallowing became an issue.

Andrew started up the stairs, his muscles complaining the entire way. Why in the hell do we need such a huge house? So many stairs … Coffee. Neeeeeed coffee.

A man should not be forced to scale mountains before the early bird had time to leave it’s nest. Andrew made a mental note to look into an elevator as soon as his brain began to function with more than one cylinder. Today was bound to suck. But then any day that began hours before the sun came up was a day to be leery of.

——————

The delicious aroma of coffee pulled Jacob into a better mood. He had already consumed more than half a pot, but the smell of freshly brewing caffeine worked better than any drug. Today was destined to suck no matter what he did but coffee was always a necessity. Andrew’s nightmares on top of Jacob’s lack of sleep had a neon sign to stay in the house flashing in the back of his mind. If only they could call in sick, play hookie. A day spent hiding from all responsibilities sounded like heaven. Any other weekend, Jacob would be hell bent on dragging his brother out for a short yachting excursion but they were booked for the evening.

The top of Jacob’s to-do list involved pulling Andrew out of his studio to attend a gallery showing for one of their local up-and-coming artists. Brigit McDernmit already had rave reviews from even the snobbiest of critics.

Andrew’s recent fantasy series was quite erotic. It had a completely different feel when compared to his mystery novels. When Jacob asked about upping the scales on the flesh intake, Andrew had joked that sex sells. “It was a no brainer that my characters need to get physical from time to time. Skin hunger is a dangerous and ever present need, even in the world of make-believe.” Whatever. All Jacob heard was, “Blah, blah, blah; I need to get laid.” So that’s what would happen.

Jacob had the perfect antidote planned. His date had insisted on making tonight a double date. Katlynn had claimed that only Andrew would do for her best friend. She had assured him that her friend was a sure thing, with her sights set on his twin. One night of French food and pretentious art patrons, and Andrew’s skin hunger would be a thing of the past.

“Cofffeeee! Must have coffee!” Andrew’s feet barely left the floor as he shuffled into the kitchen, rubbing his back as he moved. Ringing with sweat, his reddish brown skin had a ashy undertone but at least his eyes had brightened a little with that first whiff of one of aroma’s best. Breakfast and a few gallons of the beautiful brown nectar would fix Andrew right up.

Deciding to lift Andrew’s mood, Jacob pointed out the coffee. “On the breakfast bar. And Samuel is on his way.”

And looky there. Andrew perked right up. “Oh, thank heavens! Perhaps we do need a family chef.”

Family chef was right. The kid could fix damn near anything to perfection. His rack of lamb could bring tears to the eye. His fried rice went exquisitely with any meal. Every dish was divine, but his breakfast creations were damn near moan worthy, especially his flapjacks with powdered sugar and homemade preserves.

Jacob admitted, “It wasn’t me. Samuel saw the kitchen lights come on. Don’t know what he was doing up but he said he would be right over.”

Samuel had an overwhelmingly helpful nature. He saw that the lights were on and he immediately called to volunteer his services for what ever task his brothers were attempting at such an ungodly hour. The kid was probably cooking anyway. He might as well use his gift where others could partake of the end results.

“Morning.” Samuel looked around the kitchen before moving to the breakfast bar and the life rejuvenating black liquid waiting to be consumed. Taking a sip he sang out, “Tsk, tsk! Ten foot privacy gating does not negate the need to lock your doors.” The little bastard was too damn chipper.

“Watch your sass, kid. And you had better have some of your world famous preserves with you,” Andrew got straight to the heart of the matter. They were running low and breakfast wouldn’t be the same without homemade preserves. They were truly spoiled when it came to breakfast condiments. Samuel’s preserves could be worked into any meal.

“Chill, Andrew. Just drink the wonderfully dark coffee and think happy thoughts.” With a grin Samuel added, “Would I show up this early without a gift. I even brought a mixed case. I’ve added cherry rhubarb this year, so tell me what you think.”

Jacob couldn’t help but smile. A whole case of Samuel’s preserves. “Tell you what … You fix up some of your flapjacks and I’ll gladly try anything you want.”

A few cases of preserves and Jacob could be talked into just about anything. A lifetime supply and he would gladly sign over his half of the business that he had worked so hard to build with Andrew. Boy, but the kid could cook.

“Flapjacks comin’ right up. The preserves are by the veranda door. You can-“

That was all Jacob heard as he rushed to beat Andrew to the goods. Coffee and lack of sleep ceased to matter as those magic words came out of Samuel’s mouth. Preserves!

They were off their bar stools and racing for the goods. It was always the same, a competition to have first pick of the delicious concoctions. The blueberry and the blackberry were always the first to go. Whatever Samuel’s secret was, those two came out better than any other brand out there. The race was on, not that Samuel would refuse to make more if they ran out. Still the call to grab the prize first, to beat Andrew to that first jar, had them pushing and running like five-year-olds.

Rounding into the screened in veranda area, Jacob was forced to jerk to a stop in surprise.

“What’s up?” Andrew asked with confusion in his voice, as he collided with Jacob’s back.

Jacob slowly moved out of the way, allowing Andrew to see three cases sitting in the middle of their entry like well placed Christmas presents. Their veranda had never looked so good. He finally allow his grin to spread across his face.

Andrew’s jaw dropped to his chest, as he commented, “I thought he said ‘a’ case? Not three.”

Quickly moving to the closest box, Jacob commented, “This is what they call a gift horse, so stop checking out its teeth. Let’s get these open so we can mix and match a box of our favorites to keep. You know he’ll be carting the rest to mom and dad.” Samuel’s preserves were a big hit with everyone. Sheri and Samson Skymann – their aunt and uncle – were no different than the rest of them. Jacob didn’t know where he and his brothers would be without Sheri and Samson. The couple had added four extra mouths to their already large family, becoming the parents that they had never known.

Shaking thoughts of the past from his head, he moved to the case of preserves. “We can-” Jacob froze, as he opened the first box. Now his jaw fell to the floor. Wow didn’t begin to cover the sight of so many of their favorites! God bless that kid and his wonderful thoughtfulness!

Jacob looked over at a silently stunned Andrew. The case that Jacob had opened contained jar after jar of delicious blueberry divinity. One glance showed that the case in front of Andrew held nothing but blackberry goodness. That wonderful, wonderful kid!

Andrew finally met Jacob’s gaze, one of his rare smiles breaking free, as he said, “Forget the flapjacks, just find me a spoon.”

A low masculine chuckle escaped Jacob’s throat at his twin’s understatement. They needed two spoons.

Skymann-Andrew and Brigit, sneak peak, Not for distribution outside Author’s Permission © Tracey Clark