Monthly Archives: November 2013
I use Grammarly’s plagiarism detector because “It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation,” Herman Melville.
“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it,” C. S. Lewis
A Home for Christmas
Publication: November 28, 2013
Single mom, Jenna Blackwell wasn’t having a very good start to the Christmas season; her purse got stolen on Black Friday. She’s cursing her luck and herself for even being out in the Black Friday madness when the store manager brings in Riley Stanton, a former Navy SEAL who chased down the thieves and recovered her purse. Jenna is blown away by Riley: his looks, his smile, the fact that he ran down the purse snatchers, everything.
Riley Stanton had no idea when he chased down the kids who stole a few purses that he would walk into a room and have his life changed forever. He looked into the eyes of Jenna and saw a strength in her that he found intriguing.
Riley soon learns that Jenna is everything he ever wanted in a woman. He falls for her and for her son harder than he expected to. Jenna is cautious but welcoming and hopes that she and her son can give Riley the one thing he hasn’t had in years, A Home for Christmas.
Riley came over every evening after work. He helped Cam with his homework. he got there before she did on Wednesday and he and Cam had dinner ready by the time she got home. Jenna had to fight tears as she sat at the table. It had been so long since someone had cooked for her. To be honest, other than her mother, she didn’t think anyone ever had. Wade, her ex, certainly never did. Watching Cam work so closely with Riley, having Riley there filling the role that Wade had abandoned, even sitting at a table with candlelight and roses and food she hadn’t had to prepare…it was a lot for her to handle. She was barely hanging on by a thread and when Riley had initiated the blessing, she lost it. “Mom?” Cam asked, uncertain of what was happening. Jenna covered her face with her hands, silently crying. She heard the scrape of a chair and then suddenly Riley was there, his arms around her, lifting her from the chair. She heard him say something to Cam and then he carried her from the room.
He sat on the sofa and cradled her in his lap and just held her while she cried. After several minutes, when her tears had subsided somewhat, Riley reached down to cup her chin in his hand and lift her head so he could look into her eyes. “I’m sorry,” she whispered. “Nothing to be sorry about,” he said, smoothing his hands over her cheeks to wipe her tears away.
“Mom?” Cam asked again, drawing her attention. “You OK?” “I’m good, bud, I’m sorry.” Riley looked up at Cam and made eye contact with him. Jenna wasn’t sure what passed between them, but Cam got up and left, leaving her there with Riley. “Look at me,” he said, softly. When she raised her eyes to meet his gaze, he lifted her hand and kissed her knuckles. “What’s going on?” She took a deep breath. “It’s just…no one’s ever done something like this for me before.” “Like what? Take care of you?” She nodded. “Better get used to it, babe. I’m not going anywhere.” She squeezed his hand, tears falling down her cheeks again. This time, Riley leaned forward and kissed them away before touching his lips to hers. For the first time, Jenna didn’t hold herself back.
Maybe it was because Cam was just down the hall and she knew it couldn’t get out-of-control. Whatever the case, she turned in his arms and wrapped her arms around his neck, deepening the kiss. “Thank you, Riley,” she whispered when they pulled apart, pressing her forehead to his, and placing her fingertips against his lower lip. He nipped her fingertip lightly, then ran his tongue around her finger. “Anytime,” he replied, “and I mean that. You don’t have to do it all alone any more.” “Riley,” she whispered, kissing him, “please don’t make promises you can’t keep. My heart is fragile enough, but Cam…” He kissed her back. “Quit while you’re ahead. Don’t piss me off.” She smiled and combed her fingers through the hair at his nape. “I’ll try.” “Good. Let me take care of you, Jenna.
You and Cam.” She took a deep breath. “Tell you what. You’re still here by Christmas? We’ll talk,” she said, giving him a final kiss then sliding off his lap. He watched her walk down the hall to Cam’s room. Closing his eyes and letting his head fall back on the couch, he reached down to adjust himself in his jeans. For the first time since leaving the Navy, Riley felt like he wasn’t just spinning his wheels.
Riley followed Cam into the living room and through the crowd so that they were standing at the front of the ring of people who had gathered around Jacke’s piano, his mother on his right and Jenna’s mother on his left. “Ladies and gentlemen,” Jenna’s father began, “I want to thank you for coming tonight. It is an honor and a joy to see so many of you in our home to celebrate this wonderful, joyous season with us. The wait staff is coming around with trays of champagne. Please, take a glass, and as they have done every year since they were five years old, allow my beautiful daughters to wish you and yours a wonderful, Merry Christmas.” Jackie began to play as polite applause lauded their father’s speech. Riley’s eyes were locked on Jenna as the lights were dimmed and she was illuminated only by the twinkling of Christmas lights and the flames from the candles in the room. When she began to sing “O Holy Night”, a chill ran through him at the purity and clarity of her voice.
She sounded, in his opinion, like an angel. Her voice was soft and sweet and reminded him of the times he’d heard the Celtic Woman group perform. When she hit the high note at the end, his breath caught. She was incredible. He placed his hand over his heart and flashed a bright smile to her when she finished, making her give a slight giggle. “This next song,” she announced, “has been on my heart since I met this handsome sailor,” she said, gesturing to him. “The other night, we were talking about the Christmases he spent in the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan, and even once in Bethlehem while in the Service, and how he missed being home for Christmas so many years. So, Riley, this one is for you.” Jackie began playing, and then, singing in a completely different voice than she had the previous song, she locked eyes with him. Her voice was sultry as she sang, “I’m dreaming tonight, of a place I love, even more than I usually do. And although, I know, it’s a long road back, I promise you…I’ll be Home for Christmas…”
Beside him, his mother placed her hand on his bicep. he reached over to touch her hand, but could not tear his gaze away from Jenna. When she finished, proper or not, he stepped forward and drew her into his arms, giving her a brief, tender kiss in front of the assembled crowd. “Thank you,” he whispered softly into her ear. “I love you, Riley,” she whispered back. He kissed her brow and started to step away but she held him to her with an arm around his waist. “We have one final song. Thank you for spending your evening with our family.” Once again, Jackie began playing, and this time, with Riley at her side, Jenna sang “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Riley had his hand on her back and could feel the notes reverberating through her as she sang. He was so impressed with her singing; her voice was beautiful, different with all three songs that she sang. Sweet, sultry, soft and gentle all mixed together. He was so unbelievably turned on he was afraid the whole room would know. When she finished singing, she turned into him once more, kissing his cheek when he leaned down to whisper, “You’re amazing,” into her ear.
Check out Ann’s previous novels:
Tessa had never meant to set into motion events that led to their childhood rivalry, but once it started, she embraced it with gusto…until her world started to fall apart and she realized that Shane was the one constant in her life, her rock who would never leave her and help her find her Long Way Home…
When Colt steps into Sarah’s life, he finds that things with her aren’t exactly as they appear to be. Secrets hidden deep in her past begin to surface, dropping Colt and Sarah in the middle of a nearly twenty-seven year old mystery. It will take all of Colt’s strength, patience and resolve Finding Home for Sarah.
About the Author
Shadows follow you in the darkness of the night and the eerie sensation of being watched crawls up your spine. Your sanity pulls apart at the seams as the terrors stalk their victims, leaving you too frightened to turn off the light.
These twisted stories will leave you breathless, dreading the horrors lurking around the corner.
Seventeen authors. Seventeen tales of terror. Infinite nightmares.
Stories featured in this anthology:
– Every Thorn by Rene Folsom
– Dead Ringer by Jason Brant
– Autumn by Elizabeth Collins
– Don’t Kiss the Dead Fred by A.E. Killingsworth
– Affliction by S.L. Dearing
– Lucid by Andrea Stanet
– Donations by Bart Hopkins
– Bernice by Chad Foutz
– Destination: Death by Eaton Thomas Palmer
– Powerless by Laurie Treacy
– Freezer Burn by Jon Messenger
– The Watcher by Lindy Spencer
– Immortal Luck by Magen McMinimy
– Izzy’s Assassin by Nicole Clark
– Say My Name by Michael Loring
– Damaged People by Nicki Scalise
– Blog Stalker by Phil Taylor
This collection of thriller stories started as a contest on my Facebook page. The authors were given the following guidelines:
This anthology will have a main theme of Stalkers. That is about where my direction stops. It does not have to be paranormal, though it can be. The story can be a psychological thriller, horror, paranormal, suspense, action…whatever you want it to be. You can have a demon stalking someone in their dreams or a serial killer stalking prey, just to give you a couple examples. Whatever your twisted minds can come up with. I want stories that have you looking in the backseat of your car before you get in—stories that make the little hairs on the back of your neck stand up when you think someone looked at you just a little too long. Let your imaginations flow free and DELVE into the DARKER side of your mind…You know you want to.
What happened next will shock even you…
These seventeen authors came up with completely unique stories that cross all spectrums and genres. Creepy tales that will truly have you on high alert. This is one collection that you do not want to miss. It has something for everyone!
Just a quick post with a few grammar tips…
The first one is my number-one pet peeve lol.
1) Never off of. Always just off.
I took my shoes off my feet. (NOT) I took my shoes off of my feet.
The baby took the toy off the table. (NOT) The baby took the toy off of the table.
2) An easy way to remember the difference between bear and bear, as taught to me. Mothers BEAR children, and Strippers BARE their bodies. You can’t BEAR the pain, but you can BARE your soul. Bare means to expose.
3) AM and PM (or am and pm) are preferable in writing because it does not interfere with end of sentence punctuation like a.m. and p.m. do.
4) If you are using mom, dad, grandpa, grandma, etc… in the place of a name, it should be capitalized. If you are just using it generally, it shouldn’t be. Words used in place of a name, except endearments and generalized terms (like punk or man), should be capitalized.
Do you think you could take me there, Grandma?
He took my toy, Mom!
Troy, Mom said you had to clean your room.
My mom is at my grandmother’s.
Come here, baby.
I’ll get right to that, Captain.
5) Everyday and every day have two different meanings.
Everyday means normal or ordinary. (This is an everyday affair.)
Every day means it happens every day. (I go to school every day.)
6) All honorific titles are capitalized, including Your Honor, Your Royal Highness, Her Royal Highness, Your Majesty, Your Grace, My Lord, and His Lordship.”
7) Titles before names are capitalized.
I went in search of Nurse Michelle. I waved hello to Officer Robinson. I am not a fan of President Obama.
8) Well-being is always hyphenated.
9) The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed., states that, “items in a series are normally separated by commas. When a conjunction joins the last two elements in a series, a comma—known as the serial or series comma or the Oxford comma—should appear before the conjunction. Chicago strongly recommends this widely practiced usage.” (In easier terms, there should be a comma before the last item in a list. I went to the store to get eggs, bread, and milk.)
10) Just for reference, CMOS recommends using the dictionary (Miriam-Webster) to determine hyphenated words. This is also a good website to check out. CMOS HYPHENATION TABLE
11) Compound adjectives and/or compound modifiers need to be hyphenated when preceding the word it modifies, unless one of the modifiers is an adverb ending in –ly. They don’t if after the noun. There are, of course, other exceptions, but that’s a whole other grammar lesson.
He has shoulder-length hair.
Her hair is shoulder length.
They go to a widely known college.
The girl wore rose-colored glasses.
Her glasses were rose colored.
The black-suited man took my seat.
The man in the black suit took my seat.
The best rule is to see if they could be used alone with the sentence and still make sense and keep the same meaning. If not, hyphenate.
12) Quotes should stay open if the same speaker is speaking in the next paragraph.
“I went to the store to get some cheese and bread. I am going to make sandwiches for the picnic. We are all going to the park today. It will just be family and friends.
“Did you pick up those shirts from the dry cleaner that I asked you to? I want to wear the white one today. I think it is just casual enough for the picnic.”
13) There is often confusion over all and all of. As a very general guideline, use all of when the next word is a pronoun (e.g., us, you, it, him, her).
All of us…
All of you…
All of it…
Do not use all of for normal nouns – just use all.
All the soldiers…
All the nurses…
All the food…
14) “A while” is a time, a noun. The article “a” before “while” is a sure sign that you’re dealing with a noun. Notice in the following sentence that you could replace “a while” with another article-noun combination such as “a year”.
It’s been a while since Squiggly tried marmite.
“Awhile” means “for a time,” and it’s an adverb. Notice in the following sentence that you could replace “awhile” with another adverb such as “quietly”.
Go play awhile.
15) When “and” is being used to coordinate two independent clauses, you need a comma. An independent clause—also known as a main clause—is a group of words that has a subject and a verb and can stand alone as a sentence. In the following examples, the independent clauses are in brackets:
[Miguel took piano lessons for sixteen years], and [today he is an accomplished performer].
[I went to the store to get bread], and [I saw my best friend].
[I wanted to go to the beach], but [I had to do my homework].
The use of the comma would also apply when any of the seven coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, nor, for, so, yet) join two independent clauses.
That concludes the grammar lesson for today. I hope this was helpful. -Cynthia
APOCALYPSE IS ON SALE FOR $0.99!
You better get it fast though, as the $0.99 price ends in 20 hours! It is part of the Kindle Countdown Deals and time is running out. However, after the $0.99 promotion is over, it will still be on sale for $1.99 for 48 hours, before going back to its regular price of $2.99! So get it while it is cheap!
4.3 STARS ON AMAZON WITH 23 REVIEWS
(Apocalypse was a writing contest in which people were given a certain topic to write about, but they took it in so many different directions, that you wouldn’t believe it without reading it!)
What began as an idea soon set into motion a chain of events which would lead to the next APOCALYPSE…
I want you to imagine that the world as we know it has ended. Total Apocalypse. You only have yourself and one other person you can rely on. There is no power, no water, and you are armed with only a backpack of supplies. In your backpack there are matches, four bottles of water, enough food to make it three days, and one weapon. Spin a web of survival, danger, and conflict. Tell us why the world as you knew it ended, tell us your fears, make up a world in which nothing is the same and survival is hard, and the world is against you. Tell us what you would do, where you would go, how you would get food and water, how you would protect yourself, and how you would make your life over again. You could even throw in some romance and meet some new people to help you on your journey.
11 authors, 11 different stories, one main idea… welcome to the APOCALYPSE…
Edited by: Cynthia Shepp
Cover & Interior Designer: Rene Folsom
Promotion Ends Friday, November 8, 2013.
Little did Kairma know, as she wished away her responsibilities, the old religious myths were true; around her neck hung the fate of the world.
Introducing Ransom by Michele Poague:
Ransom is the final book in the Healing Crystal Trilogy, a light science fiction story that follows young Kairma as she discovers the true nature of the Crystal she wear around her neck. Will she use it to save the world, if it can be saved, or will she return to her secluded village and let the world continue to suffer?
JOIN US FOR A FUN LITTLE QUIZ!
Michele Poague is celebrating the release of her final book of the Healing Crystal Trilogy with a big tour and a raffle with a crystal encrusted apple USB holder and a gift certificate as prizes. She has also dropped by with a little quiz for us! Take the quiz below and see how you rank.
What Kind of Reader are You?
When, where, what and how we read determines what kind of a
reader we are. Some of us read only certain genres or stick to non-fiction
only. Some of us like short stories while others lust for an epic novel. Some
of us read only at night while others use every spare moment to breeze through
one more article, chapter or post. Many of us have favorite authors. I know I
So what kind of reader are you? Take this fun little “Yes or No” quiz I came up with to find out. Answer ‘yes’ to all that apply. Give yourself one point for each ‘yes’ answer.
1. The Bedtime Reader
a. I read at night to clear my thoughts.
b. I read at night because I have time for reading.
c. I read until morning, or until the book falls out of my hands.
2. The Breakfast Reader
a. I’m still reading the book that fell out of my hands last night when I dozed
b. I read the newspaper or daily magazines.
c. I read the back of the cereal box or the nutrition information on the juice
3. The Bathroom Reader
a. I’m still reading the same book I was reading at breakfast.
b. I read the magazine left in a rack by the toilet.
c. I read in the bathtub to escape.
4. The Road Reader
a. I never leave home without 2-3 books.
b. I read maps, travel books, and road advertisements.
c. On a plane, I read the emergency exit card because someone took the
5. The Rainy Day Reader
a. I read until the book is done come rain or shine.
b. Rainy weather makes me feel like curling up with a good book.
c. I read because I don’t want to play tennis in the rain.
6. The Internet Reader
a. I read because some of the cool pictures have words.
b. I read news and postings from my friends.
c. I read anything and everything until my laptop falls out of my hands.
7. The Non-Fiction Reader
a. I read news or trade magazines.
b. I read “How To” manuals.
c. I read encyclopedias and dictionaries.
8. The Incidental Reader
a. I read in the waiting room at the dentist or doctor’s office.
b. I read school or work assignments.
c. I read the instruction manual when I can’t guess how something goes
More than 25 points
The Logophile: You love words in any form. (The maximum score for this
quiz is 24, but as a lover of the written word, you most likely thought of many
situations not listed here.)
20 to 24
The Voracious Reader: You read anything placed before you. You fly through books
of all kinds and likely subscribe to three or more magazines.
15 to 19 Points
The Bookworm: You love all types of stories and constantly have a book in
your hands. You are likely to read several different genres.
10 to 14 points
The Avid Reader: You enjoy reading whenever possible but it doesn’t rule
your life. You probably have a chosen genre and rarely stray from your favorite
5 to 9 Points
The Part-time Reader: You usually read to relax. Light fiction and short stories
are probably your preferred escape.
Less than 4 Points.
The Anti Reader: Quite surprised you found this quiz!
ENTER THE RAFFLE FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN!
VISIT OTHER STOPS FOR MORE CHANCES TO WIN!