Thursday, May 30, 2013

One Word Sixty Seconds: Secluded is a website for getting the muse warmed up. Each day you get one word and sixty seconds in which to write what it inspires.This is my entry for today's One Word. What's yours? For more of my past One Word entries check out my One Word Profile EliseV

photo credit: Baptigrou via photopin cc

This part of the jogging path was secluded from the park. Usually she enjoyed her run in the quiet of the night, but something about the thick copse of trees on each side made her feet move just a bit faster. She felt eyes bore into her back as she broke out into a full run. 

Her breath panted harder as footsteps began to echo hers from behind. They became faster, closer. She didn't dare glance back. Run just run, she told her feet and they might make it out alive.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

And then I bit him... Scene Stealer Challenge

This bit of flash was inspired by the Scene Stealers Challenge hosted by Write to Done. They set the scene then we steal it and make it our own. The prompt can't be changed and must be used at the beginning of the story. Today's Scene Stealer was  And then I bit him. Now on to the story :)

The Bite

“And then… I bit him.” She dipped her head and covered her face with her hands to hide the rising color in her cheeks.

Mina gently pulled Susan’s hands from her face. The poor pup had turned scarlet to her ears. “Honey, that’s nothing to be embarrassed about. He probably thought it was sexy.”

Susan shook her head violently. “I bit him. Not a nibble or nip. It was a solid bite like a crazed flesh eating zombie bite.”

It was becoming more difficult for Mina not to at least grin at her friend’s plight. “It really couldn't have been that bad.”

“This morning he still had teeth marks and it was bruising. Oh Mina, I don’t know what happened. Once minute we were passionate and tearing each other’s clothes off then… chomp. You’re my guide; you’re supposed to have all the answers.”

Susan flopped back on the sofa sure, he would never speak to her again. “He just smelled so good, not good as in nice cologne. Good as in a juicy burger with the works good.”

She sat bolt upright, eyes wide and heart suddenly racing. “He won’t be infected will he?”

Mina remembered her own transition, it was hard but she was older and had experience in the world. Susan is a young girl entering the netherworld, she was still ruled by impulse. Mina took the girl’s soft hand in hers patting the back of it gently. “No, he won’t be, even if you broke the skin.”

With a gentle smile she wiped a tear from her pup’s cheek. “We’ll be laughing about this next week. You’ll see. After your first full moon all those urges to eat your boyfriend will fade.”

Susan’s expression grew horrified. “What if it doesn't?”

Mina grinned. “You wouldn't be the first bitch to eat her mate. Now go freshen your make-up we have shopping to do.”  

Monday, May 20, 2013

Pintrest Recipe Recreation, Plot Rejuvenations, and Coffee Time

What a Hassleback Potato is supposed to look like. 

My house is a tater house. We LOVE potatoes, fried, baked, boiled. Smothered in Cheese and sour cream, seasoned and cut or smooshed, or dipped in ketchup. Taters are serious food around here.

My son and I were cruising Pintrest and all the amazing food creations and goodies for something new to attempt. Well of course, he picked out a tater recipe, Hasselback Potatoes

The recipe was pretty simple, pick out your potatoes and slice them thinly but not all the way through. You want them connected at the bottom…. That was our first oopsy it’s very hard not to cut all the way through. We ended up with two out of the six we made whole.

Have you ever noticed that story plots are like that? You give your characters instructions on how to get to their ending. Do they listen? No, they take their own path through the plot, sometimes they get lost along the way. You know that’s the male main characters, they never stop and ask for directions. *Current MC gives Elise an are-you-talking-bout-me look *

Oh back to our Hasselback Taters… I also had to make a couple substitutes. The recipe calls for white baking potatoes. In my cupboard I only had Rose Gold potatoes so we picked the best of those.

After slicing the potatoes and luckily no fingers we placed them on a baking sheet and drizzled them with olive oil and sprinkled them with Parmesan Cheese and Parsley. The recipe calls for Italian seasoning but… the bottle was empty when I pulled it from the fridge. *taps foot and looks at family…  So we substituted with Parsley flakes.

That happens in our novels too. We end up filling plot holes or adding segments and scenes to patch the places that have been cut through or substituting elements or even characters to spice up the plot or whip up the action.

After our fancy cut taters were seasoned they were placed in the preheated oven at 425 degrees to bake for 45 minutes.

That was 45 minutes I had to sit and chat with Dean and Lucinda about their story and where we needed to make some fine chops, add a little more spice or stir up the pot.. I mean plot. I think we managed to rejuvenate the story and get it going forward once more.

Before we knew it the timer was sounding off and our recreated Hassleback potatoes came out of the oven. And what do ya know, they even looked a bit like the fancy recipe picture.

The VanCise version of a Hasselback Potato YUMMY :) 
Now that dinner is ready and my novel plot is once again rejuvenated  I’m going to sit back and enjoy our Hassleback Taters with sour cream and surf the Coffee Time Romance & More Forums. This is a special week it’s Coffee Time’s 9th Birthday!

Hope over say happy birthday and explore the great things Coffee Time Romance & More has to offer. For Steampunk site and blog for a Victorian adventure.
instance on the forums you can take a free class, chat with fellow readers and your favorite authors. Browse the Coffee Time Store for a new sexy read or head over to the new

There’s too much awesomeness to mention. You’re going to have to go explore it for yourself. Get acquainted and win some prizes at the 9 th Anniversary Party at the Coffee Time chat room Tuesday May 21st at 9pm EST.

 Now your turn! Have you recreated a Pintrest Recipe? How do you rejuvenate your plot?

Don’t forget to make a tater and celebrate 9 wonderful years of Coffee and Romance with Coffee Time Romance & More. Hmm… I think I should look for a cake recipe on Pintrest next. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Sweet Potatoes, Croquet, and Summer Fun for Authors!

Summer is fast approaching and our muses are itching to get out and enjoy the sunshine. It’s a great time to pack that picnic basket with crowd pleasing treats like Sweet Potato Croquettes.

Sweet Potato Croquettes are quick and easy to whip up. Toss these ingredients in your shopping cart:
1 box corn flake cereal
1 40oz can yams (you can use candied if you prefer)
1 bag mini marshmallows
Cinnamon or Allspice

When you get home put that watermelon in the fridge to chill then preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Next you can get rid of all your pent up noveling anxiety by crushing the corn flakes, don’t make them too fine though you want some nice bits.

Now put the yams in a bowl and mix with cinnamon or allspice to taste. Once thoroughly mixed roll yams in ping pong or golf ball size balls with a marshmallow or two in the center.

Next just roll the yam balls in the crushed corn flakes until coated and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Once all rolled pop your croquettes into the oven for 15-20 minutes or until done.

While you’re waiting for your Sweet Potato Croquettes you can grab your mallet and try to get through the wickets or… You can hop online and make sure you’re signed up for Marketing for Romance’s  A Taste of Summer Camp.

This three-day summer conference taking place July 12th thru 14th won’t disappoint. There will be great opportunities for learning, sharing and don’t forget the prizes! The best part it’s FREE. That’s right a free, online conference with goodies to boot.

Don’t miss out just because Romance is in the name. MFRW supports all genres and most classes can be applied to all areas of marketing and writing. The group’s motto says it all. Seek, Teach, Share, Learn, Succeed.

Registering for the conference is easy just join MFRW’sYahoo group and you’ll be in the loop for A Taste of Summer Camp.

Now mark your calendar, get those Sweet Potato Croquettes out of the oven, and get started on your summer fun! Be sure to keep a look out for more Taste of Summer blog posts from fellow MFRW members as we spread the news about this awesome event.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Midwife's Revolt: A fictional time machine to early America

3DCoverWelcome to the the review tour for The Midwife's Revolt
 by Jodi Daynard.
“A charming, unexpected, and decidedly different view of the Revolutionary War.” Publishers Weekly
Book Description: The Midwife’s Revolt takes the reader on a journey to the founding days of America. It follows one woman’s path, Lizzie Boylston, from her grieving days of widowhood after Bunker Hill, to her deepening friendship with Abigail Adams and midwifery, and finally to her dangerous work as a spy for the Cause. A novel rich in historical detail, The Midwife’s Revolt opens a window onto the real lives of colonial women. Jodi Daynard’s historical fiction The Midwife’s Revolt has eared a 4.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon and praise from libraries, historical associations and is even featured at The Museum of the American Revolution.
“This humorous, exciting and touching story retells the familiar saga of the Revolutionary War in a stunning new way that feels fresh and alive.” Kirkus Reviews

The Midwife's Revolt is a fictional time machine. Jodi Daynard takes you on a journey in time to the beginnings of our nation through the eyes of her fictional character Lizzie Boylston. The reader is drawn in to colonial wife and the life of this fascinating woman and her path from widow to midwife to a revolutionary heroine. I thoroughly enjoyed every page and the rich writing made me feel emerged in the early days of the United States of America with a blending of fiction with history. This book would be a fine edition to any collection of historic fiction. Gladiator's Pen gives a thumbs up to this well written and intriguing tale.

About the Author
book cover head: Jodi Daynard is a writer of fiction, essays, and criticism. Her work has appeared in numerous periodicals, including The New York Times Book Review, The Village Voice, The Paris Review, Agni, New England Review and in several anthologies. She is the author of The Place Within: Portraits of the American Landscape by 20 Contemporary Writers (W. W. Norton). Ms. Daynard’s essays have been nominated for several prizes and mentioned in Best American Essays. She has taught writing at Harvard University, M.I.T., and in the MFA program at Emerson College, and served for seven years as Fiction Editor at Boston Review. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle, The National Women’s Book Association, and the Author’s Guild. The Midwife’s Revolt is her first novel. Prizes! And now for the best part, the prizes! Because who doesn't love awesome book themed gifts? Jodi is offering A Kindle Fire to one reader as well as a Artemis Cameo Necklace, an American Flag Folk Art and a $25 Amazon Gift Card. All you have to do is leave a comment and enter the rafflecopter! Of course, there are plenty of other ways to enter to win just by helping spread the word about The Midwife's Revolt. a Rafflecopter giveaway The Tour: Follow along and read more reviews of The Midwife's Revolt. You can see the full list of participating reviews HERE.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Allure of Cowboys and Lawmen

Welcome to the Cowboys and Lawmen Blog Hop! The hop starts May 2nd and runs through May 6th. During these four days 49 authors will be telling you about why they enjoy reading and writing about those sexy fellas in the white hats.

Not only are there going to be some great blogs on the hop but for every post you comment on with your email address, you will be entered for some amazing prizes.
Grand Prize: A $100 Gift Card for Amazon or Barnes and Noble, your choice. The winner will be chosen at random from comments containing email addresses, and will be announced on May 7. This is open to both US and international readers.

Okay now for the whole reason we’re here… those cowboys and lawmen. Exactly what is their allure?

Most of these characters are very grounded and down to earth. They don’t expect something outrageous or want things they believe out of their reach. They can be very layered and complicated characters, yet still have a connection and respect for the simple things in life.

Something all these white hat heroes seem to have in common is a code. The code maybe different for each man but they have a code of honor they live by. That code is almost unbreakable in their minds. Every part of their lives is to the fullest and sometimes hardest weather it’s catching the bad guy or winning the heart of their gal.

Most decisions are clear-cut black and white, no doubts. When doubt begins to cloud that into a gray area is when our heroes can get conflicted. Sometimes it’s necessary to step over that line, and they may do so but still try to uphold as much of their personal code as they can.

Even when their society throws every obstacle, it can in their way. Some of my favorite lawmen with a strict
personal code are Seth Bullock from Deadwood, Raylan Givens from Elmore Leonard’s books and the television show Justified, Walt Longmire from the Craig Johnson books as well as the series of the same name, Augustus McCrae and Woodrow McCall of Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove series, and John Russell from Elmore Leonard’s Hombre.

Those men and the strength of their character to sacrifice if need be to uphold their honor and life code are heroes to look up to and swoon a bit after too. 

To visit other blogs on the Cowboy and Lawmen blog hop just click the hop badge above for the list and more chances to win!
Just leave a comment and your email address to enter.  

Zograscope: Charlotte's Window

Charlotte slipped quietly from the bed; she paused when the sheets rustled as he shifted in his sleep. When he was settled, soft even breathes making his thick handsome chest rise and fall she started down stairs.

The fourth step down creaked, the sharp sound echoed through the quiet house. Charlotte gasped softly startled herself. She quickly tiptoed down the rest of the staircase before putting on her robe.

For a moment, she listened to the stillness of the house. It was a lovely night with a full harvest moon.   She remembered nights like this as a girl. When her grandfather would sneak them from the house into the field out back to watch the zeppelins fly over with all their lights blinking in the purple sky.

Charlotte could close her eyes and conjure the scent of the cool night air, and feel the dewy blades of grass brushing her legs and fingers. Now more homesick she made her way to the foyer closet.

She opened the door and carefully shifted boxes until she could reach one hidden in the very back. A soft smile touched her lips, there’s always a bit of excitement mixed with the longing for her homeland when she opens this box.

With the same care she would carry her baby boy, now slumbering upstairs, Charlotte carried the box into the library. She set it on the desk and turned on the lamp. Her smile widened as she opened the box.

It was one of the few things she had from home. This world and its modern ways were wonderful and sometimes thrilling. Yet on some nights like this one, she came to miss her own very much.

Charlotte carefully unpacked the zograscope, setting it on the desk and opening the lens and mirror. With a bit of whimsy in her heart she lifted the stack of perspective prints from the box and untied the bow. She savored the sensation of the velvet ribbon as it slid through her fingers.

They had velvet here but… it just didn’t seem the same to her. She took a soft breath and placed the first print on the table under the mirror. Once she adjusted the magnifier, her smile broadened. Home.

The view was of a cityscape, people dressed in what they called Victorian garb here milled about the streets. Zeppelins and steam-powered balloons filled the sky as they traversed from city to city.

Charlotte could hear the soft rustle of skirts as the ladies rushed to catch the trolley. The ring of the trolley bell urging them to move faster.  The soft hum and hiss of the steam engines, the scent of her favorite bakery with a fresh tray of apple turnovers. Her flat had overlooked this view. She could sit on the balcony and watch the hustle and bustle below for hours on end.

She changed the print to another of her family’s home. The large house was always filled with family and friends. Large parties like the one in the print. Her father holding up his latest invention, her uncle more interested in refilling his brandy than science.

The next was a slide of her father’s laboratory. The small cranks and coils in the corner that generated power for their life’s work. The work that brought her here in fact.

The image came to life before her eyes as her memory opened. Her father had a theory; there were other planes of existence that ran parallel to theirs. For six long years, they worked to perfect a dimensional window. The window would let them see into their neighboring dimension. Only it did a bit more.

She can see her father connecting the conductive wires to the frame of the dark pane of glass. It was the color of dark smoke with veins and swirls like marble. Once the connections were made, she flipped the lever, and the stored energy within the power coils began to crackle and snap.

The air in the room thickened and her skin prickled as though lightening were about to strike. Charlotte bit her fingernail as her eyes studied the glass for any kind of change. Father and daughter watched hours until the swirls in the smoked glass began to move.

Her father gripped her arm. “Did you see?”

The smoke began to swirl and fade and she nodded back. “Yes, yes I see. Father, it’s working.”

Their excitement built as a small circle of clear glass appeared. They peered through it to see a wondrous world. Strange cars, men and women dressed so differently. One of the ladies on the city sidewalk made Charlotte blush with her short skirt and low open neckline. “They are very… free there.”

Her father cleared his throat and nodded as he tore his attention away from the woman. “Indeed.”

For the next few days, they took notes and sketched their observances. Excitedly debating about different technologies they had seen. Suddenly on that last day large storm had gathered. Lightening struck the rods to refuel the coils but it was too much with what they had already stored.

The extra power flowed through the coils and into the window. The glass opened further to become a shimmering membrane. Charlotte knew it was no longer just a window, they had created a door.
The temptation was too much for her curious mind. She was always far too curious for a woman, as her uncle oft said. Before she could have a second thought Charlotte stepped through the shimmer.

She gasped with the sting and tingle of electricity as she passed through. Everything was black and quiet one moment, the next she stood on the sidewalk they had been watching for the last week.

She gave an excited giggle and spun to call to her father. But the shimmering door was gone. She could see her father through the darkening window calling to her frantically trying to restart the coils and open the gate once again.

Charlotte blinked and wiped her eyes as she put the perspective print back into the stack. Her father had managed to open the window a small bit now and then to send her things from home. Like these prints and her zograscope.

Perhaps someday soon with her knowledge of this world’s science she’ll be able to reopen the door and show her new husband and their son where she came from. 

Part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for the letter Z