Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Romance During Covid

I wrote a few months ago about how to write and/or develop a romance during a Covid pandemic with all the public health restrictions like social distancing and wearing masks. My Covid brain couldn’t really figure it out. Well, in my own small town, Tiffany Goodwein wrote a news article about a couple that showed me how it was done. Now I’m rethinking a new story. (And the photo was from her same article - Parker Thomas/Facebook)

Besides social distancing and masks, restaurants and movie theatres are close. It’s stay-at-home. So, finding a location to date can become a challenge. John and Mary met at church in January. After just six months, the couple not only dated but became engaged. Getting to know each other, in the midst of COVID-19, meant getting creative. Their very first date was a coffee date, done virtually. They brewed coffee at about 5 p.m., at night and sat down. John was in his room and Mary was at her house. They put on FaceTime and sat there with coffee and chatted. It lasted for about five, six hours straight.
Virtual coffee dates then turned to watching movies together, at a social distance by using FaceTime and linking movies together with Netflix Party. With the weather frigid near the start of their relationship, the couple made use of their vehicles to go on adventures, by putting their phones on Bluetooth and driving around town all while talking to each other. The date would then finish off with a trip through the drive-through and a chat in a parking lot, all while remaining in their own cars. And then about three weeks ago they became engaged after John popped the question, just as the sun was rising. They will marry in August.
Another couple Sally and Tom met when Tom was hired to help Candice move out of her home. After the move Tom he asked Sally out for coffee. She didn’t go at first. About three weeks later she thought, why not and accepted. Not expecting much.Since then they’ve had fires in the backyard, taken walks and go for bike rides, stuff like that. That was four weeks ago, and the couple has been going strong, appreciating the more subtle date nights at every turn.
While traditional date settings were more difficult to come by, a common thread for both couples was the strengthening they experienced in their relationship.
Love can happen under all circumstances and like the above couples we need to be more innovative in write touching romances during these pandemic times.

Comments anyone?

Friday, July 24, 2020

Developing Your Characters

I love some of the topics that we get for our monthly group blog get together's. And this is another interesting and thought provoking on. How do you develop a character who is different in personality from all the other characters you have developed, or from yourself?

First, because I’m plot driven, I come up with a plot, or the beginning of a plot. We know it will change as I write but it’s where I start. Then I come up with the characters that fit or will develop the plot.  Usually it’s the heroine, or the hero. Then I need to match them and develop characteristics that can and will cause conflict.  Then there’s the villain.  

So now I have a rough idea of the characters and the plot, I start to do my research. What are the goals for my h/h and what characteristics do they need to have to reach their goals? What obstructions are there, and how do they need to personally develop to overcome the obstructions, either alone or together.  This would be where I would develop differences in personality that might be different from any other of my characters and definitely different from me..

In my Hawkins’ ranch series, Kye, whose story is the third book, Targeted, is a Blackfoot Native American. To develop his character, I researched the Blackfoot tribe, took a class on Native Americans and their characteristics, and used that to develop his character which is different from me and from any of my other characters. 

In my latest book, Death Southern Style Perrine is a psychic, Julie Ann has some psychic abilities and Ava is a Voodoo Priestess.  Once again, these characters are all different from myself and my other characters. Again, I did research on psychic abilities, and I had a friend who was a psychic, and I read up on the voodoo religion.

I look forward to seeing how other authors develop their different characters. Check them out.

Rhobin L Courtright

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

It’s Out!

After posting about it for so long and trying to get it publish ready and then on pre-order – my book, Death Southern Style has been released.

It’s set in New Orleans. It has touches of paranormal (think Marie Laveau), voodoo and interesting characters. It has murder, mystery, romance and a happy ever after ending. What more could you want?

Here’s the blurb.

When Perrine Dupré dies under suspicious circumstances her daughter, Julie Ann Dupré, returns to New Orleans to find the truth about her mother’s death. She uncovers a family secret, hidden for years. Now someone is trying to kill her. Will the little dog who appears after her mother’s death help her? Is the sexy detective out to help her, or is he part of police corruption?
Detective Connor O’Reilly, a native of New Orleans, comes from a family of police. He’s an honest cop but realizes there is corruption in the division. His father may have died as part of that corruption. He meets Julie Ann, checks out her mother’s death and finds it was badly handled. Julie Ann deserves the truth and he wants to find it for her. 

Julie Ann and Connor work together to unravel the real reason behind Perrine Dupré’s murder, Julie Ann’s mysterious past, and why people want her dead, while developing their challenging relationship. Can they both survive? And can their relationship survive?

Here are the buy links: eBook

Would love to have you check it out and share your comments.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Cynthia Terelst and her New Release

She lives in Queensland, Australia, where the sun shines at least 283 days a year.

2020 Character Interview
Beverley: What’s your name?
Shepherd: Shepherd Bell III
Beverley: During what time period does your story take place?
Shepherd: My story takes place in the current time.
Beverley: What’s your story/back story?
Shepherd: My mum passed away when I was young. I was brought up by my dad and our housekeeper, Maria. I live a privileged life; my family comes from money. I always wanted to do something good with my life and when I met Evie, I started to believe I could do that. Then she left, without warning, and my life fell apart.
Beverley: What’s your goal in this story?
Shepherd: My goal is to win Evie back. We have been apart for five years and I miss her. My life feels empty without her. I created a million-dollar scavenger hunt because I know how much she loves scavenger hunts. I thought there was no way she would miss the opportunity. Beverley: What conflicts are you facing?
Shepherd: Well, when I created the scavenger hunt my only thought was being able to spend time with Evie and have her fall in love with me again. I didn’t realise that she would have plans for the winnings. Now, I have to come up with three million dollars while trying to build a relationship with her. My best friend Sammy will tell you I didn’t think this through very well.
Beverley: Do you have a plan for resolving them?
Shepherd: I hope I can raise the money by asking for donations from rich people I know. In regards to winning Evie back, I just plan to be myself and for her to see how we are meant to be together.                                                                                                         Beverley: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?
Shepherd: I know that making up a scavenger hunt sounds a bit extreme, but I really did think it was a great idea at the time. I didn’t do it just because Evie was the one who got away, I truly do love her.

Blurb for Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Will one of the treasures they find be each other's heart?

It’s been five years since Tara walked out of Shepherd’s life without a word. Since then he’s spiralled through drugs, alcohol and empty relationships, with Tara on his mind the whole time. Now he wants to win her back, and what better way to do it than by creating a fake scavenger hunt? He knows she won’t be able to resist.

Tara’s lost enough loved ones and she didn’t want to see Shepherd added to that count. So, when she saw him high at graduation, she did the only thing she could – she walked away. When she’s teamed up with him for a million dollar scavenger hunt, the feelings reignite. For a second chance at love to work, she needs to be brave enough to open up to him, to tell him everything she withheld the first time around.

Shepherd didn’t realise how much winning would mean to Tara. He now needs to come up with $3 million for her foundation before the hunt is over. If he can’t he will need to tell her its all fake, and he doesn’t know if he can risk that.

Will secrets destroy them a second time around?

Excerpt from Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Shepherd and I sat on the couch side by side and watched The Martian while we ate dinner. The warmth from where our arms touched seeped through me. I should have moved away, but I didn’t want to. The spices from the tacos radiated off him. What would they taste like when mixed with the sweetness of him? My eyes were drawn to his lips, the curve of them. I could practically feel their softness.
Shepherd turned his face to mine. My eyes lingered for a moment as I imagined his soft breath brushing my face as he bent his head toward me. My breathing shallowed to the point that it was nearly non-existent, as if I were a starfish. I turned my face away and resumed watching the movie, making sure my hands kept to themselves and my thoughts remained on the man saving his own life on the screen. Matt Damon may have been the most attractive astronaut I’d ever seen, but he was nothing compared to Shepherd.
The movie ended and I sat there while the credits rolled. Our closeness suddenly made me feel like we were in a flux capacitor. Time—five years of it—had been starved, and now it was swallowing me whole. Everything about Shepherd felt like home. Everything. And if I allowed it to, this feeling wouldn’t just swallow me, it would become me.
I jerked away from him, my heart racing, my skin cold, while I broke into a sweat. I couldn’t allow this to happen. Shepherd was no longer my solace. He never truly was because he never knew my grief. My grief over my brother. The feelings of loss at my parent’s death.
No, Shepherd was not my solace. Not then. Not now.

Buy Link for Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Social Media Links For Cynthia Terelst
Facebook For the Love of Words FB Group

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Meet D.V. Stone and her New Release

Born in Brooklyn, D.V. Stone has moved around a bit and even lived for a time on a dairy farm in Minnesota before moving back east. Throughout her wandering, she always considered herself a Jersey Girl. She met and married the love of her life, Pete—a lifelong Jersey Man, and moved this time to Sussex County. They live with Hali, a mixed breed from the local shelter and their cat Baby.

Beverley: What’s your name?
Gloriana Hi, my name is Gloriana Jones. My parents were hippies, and Grandmas, Gloria and Anna, were two old fashioned for them. Try going through school named Gloriana.
Beverley: Where did you grow up?
Gloriana I’m a Jersey girl through and through. I love the shore (in New Jersey we don’t call them beaches) and the mountains. I love Taylor Egg and Cheese sandwiches and not pumping my own gas.
Beverley: During what time period does your story take place?
Gloriana: Even though issues in my life are timeless, my story takes place in the here and now—Present-day Lake Unami in Northern NJ.
Beverley: What’s your story/back story? Why would someone come up with a story about you?
Gloriana: You know when you’re young, you have dreams. You fall in love, get married, and look forward to growing old together? I fell in love, and my husband Frank and I were nearing retirement and we had dreams. We were going to open an Ice Cream parlor. Frank would say, We could bring joy and smiles to people.  But then my husband died. I tried so hard to keep the dream alive, but…
Beverley: What’s your goal in this story?
Gloriana: Short term— to keep Rainbow Sprinkles running. Business has been tough. Bad weather and storms have put a damper on the ice cream business. Long term—may be to find joy in life again? Sometimes I get lonely.
Beverley: What conflicts are you facing?
Gloriana: Well, the spring and summer weather has been less than ideal for a seasonal business. If I don’t make enough to sustain me over the winter, I’m not sure what I’ll do. And, well, to be honest, I’ve recently met someone. His name is Nathan. We met during one of the recent storms. He’s charming and handsome too. Frank’s been gone a long time, but I’m experiencing guilt. And can we talk about insecurity? At this stage in life, everything is not where it used to be. Plus, he lives in a different state. Ah, who am I kidding? We had a moment, but the moment doesn’t have a chance.
Beverley: Do you have a plan for resolving them?
Gloriana: Keep on keeping on. You know what I mean. Since meeting Frank, the weather has improved. Did I mention he’s a business consultant? I’m also looking into full-time employment to get me through the winter.
Beverley: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?
Gloriana: Yes, I’m a retired corrections sergeant, it’s a hard job. That’s where Frank and I met. My best friends and the only family I have are the people I’ve worked with through the years. They love and support me. They came up to Lake Unami recently and brightened my entire week. It’s important to have that kind of support.
Thanks for interviewing me today. If you’re ever near Lake Unami, stop in, and I’ll make you Rainbow Sprinkles signature treat. A salted caramel sundae with rainbow sprinkles.

Blurb for Rainbow Sprinkles

Retired and widowed Gloriana Jones is forging on with the plans she and her late husband dreamed of—bringing joy and happiness, one ice cream cone at a time, to Lake Unami. But bad weather is drowning her dream. A trip to Upstate NY is bittersweet for Nathan James. He is excited to see his first granddaughter but without his wife he's lonely. When his car breaks down, he heads to the only light he can see, an ice cream shop. With aid from a heavenly source, electricity sparks, but will the two weather the summer storms and find love a second time? Or will their hopes and dreams melt away?

Excerpt for Rainbow Sprinkles
“Do you mind if I wait until the tow truck gets here?” He plucked the wet shirt away from his chest with the long fingers of one tanned hand. “It must be electrical, even the radio stopped working.”
“No, you're welcome to hang around as long as you need.” Gloriana riffled through a cardboard box under the counter, pulled out an extra-large t-shirt, and tossed it to him. “Here you go. The restroom is through there.”
Mr. Gorgeous beamed a perfect toothy smile. “Thanks. I'll be right back.”
When he disappeared into the hallway, and the door clicked shut, Gloriana fanned her face. What the hot fudge was wrong with her? “Coffee. Make coffee.”

Buy links for Rainbow Sprinkles

You can find out more about D. V. by following her on Social Media


Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Meet Val Tobin and her New Book

Val studied general arts at the University of Waterloo, then went to DeVry Toronto to get a diploma in Computer Information Systems. She worked in the computer industry as a software and Web developer for over ten years, during which she got serious about energy work and studying the paranormal.

In October 2004, Val became a certified Reiki Master/Teacher. She gained ATP® certification in March 2008, in Kona, Hawaii, from Doreen Virtue, Ph.D.

Val started work on a Bachelor of Science in parapsychic science from the American Institute of Holistic Theology in March 2007 and received her degree in September 2010. After obtaining her master’s degree in parapsychology at AIHT, Val has set her sights on a Ph.D., which she’ll pursue as time and finances permit.

At the end of October 2008, Val returned to Kona, Hawaii to complete the Advanced ATP® training and in April 2010 to take the Spiritual Writing workshop and the Mediumship Certification class. Val wrote freelance for online magazine Suite101 and was topic editor for Paganism/Wicca and Webmaster Resources at Suite.

A published author, she contributed a story to Doreen Virtue’s Hay House book Angel Words. Her novels are available on Smashwords, Amazon, and from other retailers in both e-book and paperback.

Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write? And why?
Val: I write in a variety of genres, but if you examine my stories, you’ll notice a romance/relationships theme. However, even when romance drives the story, it always couples with something else: paranormal, murder mystery, thriller, suspense, etc.
Relationships have always fascinated me: how they form, how they evolve, and what holds them together or tears them apart. Even if the primary genre for the story is something else, relationships, whether romantic or not, figure prominently.
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Val: Writers I loved to read influenced me the most, starting with Beverly Cleary, Roald Dahl, C.S. Lewis, Judy Blume, and other authors whose stories I read a child, and then J. R. R. Tolkien, Margaret Mitchell, Richard Adams, and Piers Anthony when I was a teenager, and Stephen King, Nora Roberts, Lee Child, and many others later on.
Their wonderful stories not only got me addicted to reading but also inspired me to start writing. Stephen King’s On Writing and Chris Baty’s No Plot? No Problem! prompted me to take action and go for it.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Val: Reading. Nothing motivates me to write more than reading a great story—or even a not-so-great story.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Val: Brian Griffin from Family Guy. He’s a writer, an intellectual, and a dog.
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
Val: Jesus. I’ve got questions for him.
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Val: Well, I’d like to say something exciting such as skydiving or bungee jumping, but honestly, I’d read and relax with a drink by the lake.
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Val: One of my current projects started as research on the after-effects of near-death experience (NDE) for my Master of Parapsychology degree. Changed for Life: The After-Effects of Near-Death Experience explores what happens to those who’ve had a near-death experience after they return to life. As one might expect, their lives are altered.
Researchers, such as Dr. Raymond Moody, Dr. Kenneth Ring, and P. M. H. Atwater, have found that subjects experience a host of similar after-effects from an NDE. As well, non-experiencers can benefit from the NDE phenomenon if, according to Ring, they are exposed to NDE research and stories, or if they consciously work to emulate NDEr beliefs and values. Dr. Raymond Moody has found similar effects on non-experiencers through the process of mirror-gazing.
Moody reports in his book The Light Beyond that people change after such an experience, not because a being ordered them to, but “because they are in the presence of the standard of goodness, which makes them want to change their behavior radically” (39). This distinction is important because it illustrates that the alterations to behavior are internally driven. Experiencers act differently because they believe differently and not because they think they’ve been given some kind of Divine directive.
Another project on which I’m working is a new series called Tales from the Unmasqued World. The first book will be The Fool: New Beginnings.
An avid oracle card reader, I also played around with tarot cards. While I’ve always preferred the positive messages and focus on solutions oracle cards exhibit, I was fascinated by the symbolism found in tarot cards.
The idea for Tales from the Unmasqued World came about after I bought a new tarot deck to add to my collection. This deck is Ellen Dugan’s Witches Tarot, and the cards have the most gorgeous illustrations I’ve seen in years. When I do readings with them, they are more accurate and relevant than readings I’ve done with any other deck, including the angel tarot decks I have that echo the positive slant found in oracle cards.
Every time I use the cards in the Witches Tarot, I wonder what stories might be behind the pictures. I contemplated ideas for stories based on the illustrations and symbolism of the major arcana cards in the deck. The first major arcana card I’m working with is “The Fool.”
The story revolves around a recently divorced woman going through a midlife crisis who gets drawn into a search for a missing half-vampire girl. It’s set in a future world where supernatural beings have come out of the closet to mix with humans after a pandemic decimated the human population. This draws on the unmasqued world trope, hence the name for the series.

Blurb for You Again:

The man she never wanted to see again has returned...

After a three-year struggle with a shattered heart and a stalled career, Ellen Haddigan once more feels as if her life is on track. She's two-years settled into a new job at an accounting company and considers getting back into the dating scene.
Then Gabriel Duncan, the man who stole her heart and abandoned her after one night of passion, appears. He's still handsome, charming, and stirs in her a powerful attraction. He's also assigned as her new client.
Things get more complicated when Ellen learns her predecessor on the account was murdered. Is Gabriel a killer or the victim of an elaborate conspiracy?
Can Ellen give Gabriel a second chance without risking her heart or losing her life?

A stand-alone novel, You Again mixes suspense with passion in the Forever Young series.

 Excerpt from You Again:

Her day was already ruined, and it was still only 8:45 in the morning. Ellen barely made it to her desk with enough time to grab a coffee from the kitchen and organize for the meeting with Carol. Still a bit breathless, she carried a tablet with her to the meeting.
Carol’s assistant told Ellen to go on in. “They’re waiting for you.”
They? She struggled to keep the surprise off her face and out of her voice as she said thank you to the assistant. Ellen rapped on the door before opening it and striding into the office. And almost collided with Gabriel Duncan, who stood near the door.
His expression flashed surprise rather than the shock and dismay that registered on Ellen’s face. She instantly took a step back while he sidestepped to the chair he’d been sitting in.
“Ellen, it’s you.” His soothing baritone voice caressed her. “I didn’t know you worked here.”
Or you’d have gone somewhere else? Aloud, she said, “For almost three years now.”
Carol, an athletic redhead who had landed the management position four years before, spoke in a cheerful voice, drawing Ellen’s gaze in her direction. “You two know each other? Excellent. Then no need for introductions.” She stood. “Ellen, Duncan Technologies has acquired a new company.”
“I heard on the news.” Ellen returned her gaze to Gabriel’s face, focusing on his eyes. She refused to play shy. He had some nerve looking so delectable and together when the very sight of him wiped her brain of coherent thoughts. She’d have to rectify that right now. Anger replaced agony. In a steady voice, she said, “Congratulations. That’s quite a coup.”
“Thank you.” He waited while she set her tablet on Carol’s desk and settled into the chair beside him before taking his seat. They faced Carol, who sat at her desk once more, and let her take the controls.
“Ellen, obviously you’re here because I want to assign you to take charge of BRI’s financials. I know it’s unusual to meet with the client in my office, but there are extenuating circumstances I want to discuss before you dig into their files. Before the buyout, BRI struggled to stay afloat. Expenses weren’t keeping up with income, and in the few weeks before the buyout, they came close to declaring bankruptcy.”
Turning to Gabriel, Ellen asked, “Then why buy them out? Aren’t you just buying their problems?”
“I can turn them around,” he replied smoothly. “When I did my due diligence, I discovered a lot of waste. They should’ve been doing well. It’ll be easy to pull them out of the hole with the backing I have. Snapping them up now allowed me to get them at a bargain and saved the owners from personal bankruptcy. They appreciated the timing.”
“Okay.” She could accept that, but the company’s financial downturn since she’d left continued to astound her. “But they were doing so well. What happened?”
“That’s what you’ll help me figure out. I want to identify every area of waste. They appeared to spend an awful lot of money on consultant fees for a shop that had a full contingent of programmers in-house. They never did that when you worked there. It’s fortunate you’re here.” He paused, then said softly, “I didn’t expect to find you here.”
Captivated by the puzzle before her, Ellen pushed aside the million questions she wanted to ask him and contemplated everything he’d said before the pause. Finally, she spoke. “They never needed to hire overload workers from outside the company. They preferred to hire enough developers so they wouldn’t have to contract out work. Finding experienced software developers is challenging. Getting them up to speed on your software and standards takes time in training. Did they get a sudden influx of projects that required extra hands?”
“Not that I could see.” He shifted in his chair, angling his body toward her. “The extra expenses cropped up shortly after you left.”
She frowned. “You think something’s fishy with the books?”
“That’s what you’ll help me discover.” He smiled, and her heart constricted.
She allowed the anger and bitterness of the last three years to quell her rising desire. “Of course, Mr. Duncan. I’ll do everything I can to get to the bottom of it. Who’s the current controller?”
His brows had risen at “Mr. Duncan,” followed immediately by a smirk he squelched so quickly she almost missed it. When he spoke, it wasn’t to suggest she call him Gabriel—or Gabe, as she used to do. “I let her go. I got rid of extraneous staff as one way to save money.”
When Ellen’s face showed concern, he hurriedly said, “I gave her a more than fair severance package—well above what the law requires. She’d worked there less than three years, and I’m suspicious of the books. I couldn’t keep her on. I need someone objective to review everything and clean up whatever needs cleaning up. The company should focus on development, not worry about accounting. That’s your company’s specialty. I prefer to turn that kind of thing over to experts.”
She nodded. “I understand. When did you want to get started?”
“As soon as possible. I can have a login account set up for you today.” He rose. “Thank you, Carol, for your time this morning. I’m sure I’ll be more than pleased with the work your company does. If it’s okay, I’ll escort Miss Haddigan”—he squinted at Ellen as he said her name, and when he continued, he spoke directly to her—“to her desk so we can chat about the work she’ll do.”
Ellen ignored the formal use of her name. After all, she’d started it with that Mr. Duncan crack. She was willing to act civil if he was. With a glance at Carol, Ellen said, “I have a bit of time this morning.” She stood.
Carol rose as well and held her hand out to Gabriel. As he clasped and shook it, she said, “That’ll be fine. Ellen has other clients she’s handling, but most of it is routine. She should be able to focus for the next while on your account. I’m sure she’ll help you sort everything out.” She smiled. “Ellen does excellent work. We’re lucky to have her.”
“Yes, I’m sure she’ll do a great job.”
Ellen examined his expression and tone for any sign of sarcasm and found none. She seethed.
Did I mean so little to him he doesn’t care how I feel about what he did to me? Her hands curled into fists, and she had to control the urge to punch him in the gut.
She had to turn this account over to someone else. How could she work with him? But she didn’t want to say anything in front of him. She’d go along with the assignment, remain professional and cool, and then talk to Carol about reassignment after he left.
Settled in her mind that this was the best course of action, Ellen picked up her tablet and calmly led him from Carol’s office and down the hall to her cubicle.

Buy links:

Social media links for Val:
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