June is Wedding Month by Pepper Phillips

I was married in June.

We didn’t plan it that way. But my boyfriend just returned from overseas duty and we decided to get married. He’d been gone for a year, out in Japan and the Philippines training with the Marines. There were no phone calls, no Skype, no anything but letters.

I wrote often, as did he. I still have those letters in a cedar box that was a present from my Dad when I was a kid. In those letters we laid out our hearts, our dreams, our wishes. Though them we learned about each other, and knew that we wanted to stay together, forever.

We posted our banns at the church and had to wait three weeks in order to get married. So, June 16th was chosen.

Then we’d leave California and travel to Louisiana to visit with his family until he had to report for duty at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Planning a wedding in three weeks was easy. We booked the church for the first available date. The time was the problem. We got married at nine in the morning.

The dress was a quick decision as well. I found a gorgeous dress that would still be in style today if I had purchased it. It was a simple sheath dress with a removable gathered over skirt that was full and had a slight train. Unfortunately, it would be months before it could be delivered in my size. So I went to a rental store and chose a dress. I was the first bride to wear that particular dress and it wasn’t as elegant as the first dress, but it made me feel like a bride, and that’s what’s important.

I was marrying the love of my life. Nothing else really mattered.

My mother ordered the invitations, as I was at work and called me to get the correct spelling of the grooms name. My co-workers thought that was hilarious as I spelled out the eleven letters that made up his definitely French surname. Mother always had to check the spelling when she wrote me as it was too hard for her to remember. I always have to spell it out for our local librarians when I check out a book, as they can’t remember how to spell it either. LOL

We had a small reception at the house. And that was it.

We left to go to Knott’s Berry Farm for the day and stayed at a motel that night before returning home the next day to pack for our journey East.

Our journey into married life began and still continues.

Thinking of the decision to get married, to me, depends on whether the two people involved want to stay together, through everything. For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health…

In The Vow, the couple are in the third category. Ann has been diagnosed with breast cancer and has come home…yet, before she could discuss her cancer with her mother, she is thrown out of the house again, like she was ten years earlier. Clay, her boyfriend of ten years ago, witnesses this rejection and offers her a place to stay. Ann doesn’t know if she should stay or leave. She did see him kiss her sister ten years ago…

This is one of the books featured in Weddings on Main Street.

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Pepper Phillips is a Northwestern girl who managed to get located to the deep South and is learning all the fun things you can do with duck tape.

What is your secret?

What do women lie about?

Many women hide their weight.
More women lie about their age.
Successful working women would rarely reveal their earnings.
Some would hide their past relationship.
Lie about number of boyfriends or sex partners.
A couple of women I know made me swear never to reveal they had facelifts.
Or Botox injections.
Many sick persons prefer not to talk about their diseases.
Or their infirmities if they can be hidden.

The consumer Report claims that, when it comes to sheer numbers, the top secret most women keep from the man in their life is not about sex.
Or past boyfriends.
Or money.

Shoes1 It’s the number of shoes they own!!!

Do you know more things that women tend to keep secret?
What would YOU hide from your significant other or your friends?

In my book, WEDDING SURPRISE, there is a well-kept secret that’s revealed in Chapter Five. That’s the wedding surprise for Claire and David.
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A terrible surprise. How would they react to it?

It’s our reaction to a secret that counts. We can make the worst out of it. Or the best.
My book is part of WEDDING ON MAIN STREET and is not available on its own.

Mona Risk knows how to pull a reader into the minds of her well-crafted characters. Her work takes us on a journey be it local or overseas.” ~Night Owl Reviews

 

Weddings on Main Street Was Worth the Wait!

file0001599381655The count down for Weddings on Main Street release has come and gone. I’m excited for the ladies who’ve spent so much time putting this new boxed set together.

The stories inside this collection are fabulous! There’s something for everyone’s taste.

The brides’ to be have poured out their hearts and made their decisions. Now it’s time to sit back and follow them through stories that will make you laugh, cry, think and perhaps identify with one or more of the tales.

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Make yourself a nice cup of something hot, kick off your shoes and plan reading this wonderful book. I know I’m loving every story.

 

file0001222433999I couldn’t resist adding the photo of this beautiful little girl. Don’t you wonder what’s going through her head? I’m willing to say she is already contemplating her own wedding.

Carol DeVaney

A Smoky Mountain Wedding – Book Two, coming soon.

My books are available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Kobo, Sony, Diesel, Apple and Smashwords.

You can find links on my website, here. http://caroldevaney.weebly.com/my-books

 

 

What Hooks Readers by Joan Reeves

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All the lovely covers of the novellas comprising Weddings on Main Street

As a reader, what about a book hooks you? The author’s name? The cover? The Book Description? The first sentence?

Chances are it’s a combination of the elements above. For me, the first paragraph I read will have me clicking the buy button. Or not.

When book shopping, I always open a book—whether that’s in a bookstore or online with the “Look Inside” feature—and read the first paragraph. This small amount of text should be crafted to capture a reader with an intoxicating first sentence, first paragraph, first page–followed by equally addicting pages to the very end.

Crafting a Compelling Opening

Each time I start a manuscript, I spend a lot of time thinking up the perfect opening sentences for the story and the character. In a couple of sentences I want you to meet the character and glimpse something about her personality, attitude, and emotional condition that will make you want to read more.

I measure my opening sentence against the yardstick of great story openers created by my favorite authors. Excellent opening sentences capture the reader’s attention–makes readers curious or elicits an emotional reaction: laughter, excitement, sadness, etc.

Sampler of My Opening Sentences

AFB_V2_2400px3200pMy most recent work is April Fool Bride in the Weddings on Main Street Box Set.

The first day of spring in New York featured the kind of weather Madeline Quinn most hated. Cold, gray, wet, and miserable— which made it perfect because that’s exactly the way she felt.

Still The One (I’m fairly certain every woman has fantasized about what she’d do if given the chance to show someone from her past how she has grown from an ugly duckling into a swan.)

Ally Fletcher had waited six years for this opportunity. Six long years. There was no way a mere thunderstorm was going to stop her. Of course, in Texas, calling this a mere thunderstorm was like saying a Texas tornado was a mere puff of wind.

Just One Look (Is there a woman who won’t identify with this paragraph?)

Jennifer Monroe shivered and rubbed the goose-bumped flesh of her arms. A meat locker would be warmer than a doctor’s examining room! Why do they have to keep it so cold? And why do they act as if you have nothing better to do than sit around clad only in a piece of paper and your birthday suit, and wait?

JANE I’m-Still-Single JONES

When she found the person responsible for this, she would make them pay. And pay big!

Nobody’s Cinderella

Darcy Benton wondered if she needed to check into a hospital. Her nervous system seemed to have shorted out, producing feet that felt like blocks of ice and hands that perspired as if it were July rather than December.

Old Enough to Know Better

If you can’t trust your friends, then who can you trust? Stormy Clarkson planned to pose that question to her soon-to-be ex-friend Libby the minute she saw the conniving woman.

Romeo and Judy Anne

By the time most people reach the eve of their thirtieth birthday, they’ve developed a philosophy of life, shaped by the experience of living. Judy Anne Palmer was no exception. She had a philosophy of life, shaped by life’s hard lessons and honed by the last eight years to a stark two-word declaration. Life sucks!

SCENTS and SENSUALITY

Men looked at Amanda Whitfield and thought she was a hot blonde who knew how to have a good time. Hot? Sizzling. Sexy? Undeniably. Men figured she knew all about flirtation and lust and sex. They were wrong.

The Trouble With Love

Every woman makes mistakes. Susannah Quinn glared at the door to the sheriff’s private office. Yep, every woman makes mistakes, but most women didn’t have to put up with a constant reminder of their not so brilliant actions. And most women didn’t have their mistake showing up at their office, flaunting tanned muscles and polluting the environment with clouds of testosterone and male arrogance.

The Yardstick By Which I Measure

Here are some favorite opening sentences that intrigue or tease with a sense of anticipation, evoking curiosity and/or an emotional response in the reader that can’t be resisted.

“Last night I dreamt I went to Mandeley again.” Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

“It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.” The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

“I never knew her in life.” The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy

“Nobody was really surprised when it happened, not really, not at the subconscious level where savage things grow.” Carrie by Stephen King

“Death was driving an emerald green Lexus.” Winter Moon by Dean Koontz

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.” The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

My Confession

The worst thing about reading another writer’s sparkling prose is that I despair of ever being as good. The best thing is that I’m motivated to keep working on my writing, from the first sentence to the last.

Do you want to know the truth? Even though it’s hard work, I can’t think of anything that’s more fun! I’m so lucky. I make my living by writing stories about love, laughter, commitment, sex, romance, and all the funny, crazy things that happen to a man and a woman who are made for each other—but who just don’t know it. Yet.

Post Script

(Joan Reeves writes sassy, sexy Contemporary Romance. Her books are available at all major ebook sellers with audio editions available at Amazon, Audible.com, and iTunes. Joan publishes Writing Hacks, a free subscription newsletter for writers, and I LUV Books, a free subscription newsletter for readers. Find Joan online: Blog, Website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube.

Many voices, one community

Authors of Main Street started fortuitously for me…a group of authors who never met, getting together to write about small town life authentically from real life perspectives. We all write. We all laugh. We all have a burning desire to touch others with our work, hoping to create characters and stories that energize, provoke and resonate with our readers in a lasting and meaningful way.

Sometimes meaningful only lasts a day, or an hour, or as long as it takes to read each story, smile or wipe a tear from the eye and say: I feel better for having read this.

Yep, we’re all different, with different strengths, foibles, and quirks. Yet we’re all the same in our love of small town family life.

The Differences: I like to toss people around and poke them with sharp pointy things. I also have a deep seeded love for food — creating edible wonders — gardening, and all things Scottish…what can I say? That’s part of the Highlander DNA that resides in these short bones! We like to bash…hazard of having Scottish-Viking genes. Others here at Authors have that Southern Woman charm that’ll knock you off your feet. Then there’s that California Woman know-how that I envy, East Coast savvy that’ll make your head spin and wish you had half their talent (and in one case an invisible chauffeur named, Myren) and a dash of Canadian to brighten our days and remind us what cold really is. We have more than one world-traveler, but we have one who’s been to so many places she makes the royal family look like slackers when it comes to globetrotting. I think I’m the only native Midwesterner, but we’ve got the Pacific Northwest covered, the East-coast, Texas covered more than once, and the South as a primal force, all sprinkled with a dash of everywhereness in our group!

Here are a few photos from this year’s Romantic Times Magazine Convention where my husband and I showed writers and readers how to handle various martial arts weapons. We had a phenomenal time and the participants loved it. Where else can you see, touch and be shown how to hold and strike ancient weapons (most martial artists are very protective of their weapons and should be if they actively train with them, like I do)?

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The Similarities: We are all mothers, some of us have the privilege of being grandmothers as well. We all love reading and writing romance from cowboy to comedy and everything in between. No matter what our unique interests bring to the diversity here at Authors of Main Street, one thing unifies us and ultimately defines each of our stories: Family. Some of us view family as encompassing more than just the blessings of birth. We add our community to our stories. Community, the crazy, wonderful, loving extension of family.

Here are some photos from Milwaukee Scottish Fest and Spring Highland Games from June 7, 2014. I am the Wisconsin State Commission for my Clan, Clan Donald. Believe me when I say, family—especially those we choose– isn’t just something we write about, it’s how we define ourselves…it’s the best part of who we choose to be.

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We, the Authors of Main Street, would love to share our Authors of Main Street Community with you. Delve into small town Americana with our newest celebration of life, love and joy and romantic offering, WEDDINGS ON MAIN STREET, available at most online e-book sellers:

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Second Chance Wedding-1 20140606-073008-27008606.jpg stuck copy Julia&Aaron 250x400BrideCover.indd CoverFinalMD-WeddingSurprise GlamourGirlWedding-Cover-782x1024 The Vow AoMS white TheReluctantBride 200x300 whatacowgirlwants_C AFB_V2_2400px3200p

I guarantee you will find more than one story that will touch your heart, fill you with hope and make you smile, sometimes through the tears. Join us, enjoy us, review us! You’ll be happy you did.

Leigh

Kiss the Bridesmaid

I’m so excited to have my brand-new novella, Kiss the Bridesmaid, included in the BrideCover.inddWeddings on Main Street boxed set. It’s a sequel to Secret Vow and involves the wedding of Brooke and Ian from that novel. Mari is the groom’s sister and Jake is the wedding photographer, but they meet by coincidence when single dad Jake brings his four-year-old daughter to the local community centre for her first ballet class.

The opening chapter was inspired by a mundane event in my own life. When I took my four-year-old twins to ballet class, I saw a dad struggling to fit his daughter’s ballet slippers onto her feet. The mother of one of the other girls approached and gave him a hand. I doubt a romance blossomed from that brief meeting, but it sparked my imagination. I jotted down the idea, and when it came to writing the wedding story it seemed to fit perfectly. At some point I decided Jake should be an Englishman, which provided some fun moments of crossed signals between them.

Here’s the scene I came up with:

By the wall, Jake found a single chair unoccupied and lifted Lily onto the molded plastic seat. Kneeling on the carpet, he pulled a pair of pink glittery ballet slippers from the pocket of his leather jacket.

Lily shrugged off her purple wool coat, revealing the pink leotard and ballet skirt underneath. She kicked off her runners and thrust out both feet. “Hurry up and put them on, Daddy. I don’t want to be last.”

“Just a sec.” Jake tucked one of the slippers under his elbow and grasped the other with both hands, spreading the crisscrossed elastic straps. When he slid the slipper onto her foot, it pulled tight around her toes and gaped at the ankle.

“That’s not right,” Lily chided, her voice rising. “I’m going to be late.”

“I know. Let’s try this again.” He pulled off the slipper and tried separating the straps the opposite way, only managing to tangle them. Well, bloody hell. Even after three years of caring for his daughter on his own, the dainty ties and buttons on her clothing were a constant frustration to his large hands. He couldn’t remember for the life of him how the saleswoman had fit the slippers onto Lily’s feet when she’d tried them on in the store.

“Almost got it,” he muttered, while the little girl wriggled impatiently. When he glanced up, he found her watching him with the same narrowed, skeptical gaze that her mother used to give him. He couldn’t look at Lily without seeing echoes of Raina in her azure eyes and thick dark hair, and more so in her facial expressions as she grew. He had to hope temperament wasn’t as readily inherited.

He was still puzzling over the slipper when a gentle female voice floated down to him. “Can I help?”

Raising his head, Jake caught a glimpse of strawberry-blond tresses draped over a pale bare shoulder as a woman knelt beside him. The sweet fragrance of jasmine drifted down with her, and for an instant her feminine voice and scent roused his male sensibilities.

He blew out a breath to settle himself. “If you can figure out how these bloody straps are supposed to work,” he said, handing over the slippers in exasperation, “I’ll be forever in your debt.”

“They cross over the front of the foot, so you have to slide the toes in from behind, like this.” In a fluid motion, the woman slipped one shoe neatly onto Lily’s foot, and then did the same with the other.

“Thanks,” Jake muttered. “I would’ve chosen the more practical pair with a single strap, but I bought these because she went barmy for the sparkles.”

The woman tucked a lock of her hair behind her ear and turned to him. Her wide, graceful mouth curved into a smile that dimpled her cheeks, making his heart slam against his ribs. In the three years he’d lived in Eastport, he was quite certain he’d never seen her before. Her face was pretty, but in the deep green of her eyes he saw a glimmer of something far more alluring. The warmth and kindness there made him reluctant to tear his gaze from her.

“Barmy?” she asked, her brow wrinkling.

“It’s a British expression,” Jake said. “I mean she went crazy for them.”

She let out a short laugh, as lovely as her voice. “I don’t blame her at all. They’re gorgeous shoes. What’s your name, sweetie?”

Blinking in surprise, Jake opened his mouth to stammer an answer, before he realized she was talking to his daughter.

The little girl’s shoulders rose bashfully. “Lily.”

“That’s a pretty name. How old are you?”

Lily lifted her hand and splayed her fingers, tucking her thumb next to her palm.

“Four?” the woman said buoyantly. “That’s the perfect age to learn to dance. Are you ready?”

Lily beamed and bobbed her head. Thrusting her stuffed bunny into Jake’s hands, she leapt off the chair.

The woman stood. “You look like a real ballerina, Lily. Come with me. Class is about to start.”

Rising to his feet, Jake allowed himself a quick, appreciative survey of the black leggings and mauve tank top that clung to delightful curves. “You’re the teacher?”

“Yup. I’m Mari Bennett.”

“Jake Vaughan.”

“Good to meet you, Jake.


If you`d like to find out what happens next, pick up Weddings on Main Street.

For more information on my books, visit my website at www.susanrhughes.weebly.com

 

Being an author isn’t all about the writing.

Back in my young, naïve days of writing–oh, circa 2004 LOL I thought writing a book was the hard part about being a writer. (Yes, you can all laugh now.) I was like the little kid in the back seat of the car. “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” The End seemed to be at the end of a dark tunnel that I was traversing forever.

Flash forward to joining RWA (Romance Writers of America) and learning about agents, and editors, query letters, a synopsis, and submitting. Needless to say, writing the book is not the hardest part.

Flash forward again to going Indie and I’ve learned a whole new brand of hard. Formatting, uploading, checking book descriptions, reading TOS for each vendor, pricing, cover art, editing, and etc. Because the list is never-ending. But it can be a little easier with a group like the Authors of Main Street. A couple do formatting. One does the cover. We all have input (sometimes that is funny all by itself) and we can discuss anything about the book.

So today I thought I would try to make a picture with text for putting on Facebook. I like Photoshop but I’m not great at it yet. Well, I’ll let you be the judge. But be gentle, still working on that thick skin us writers are supposed to grow. 🙂

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