Monday, June 30, 2008
Kara Lynn has just given me the news that Sarah and David's story will be released from The Wild Rose Press on August 20. I know what you're thinking. If Sarah is the heroine, then who's Charity? Charity is David's niece, who he had unexpectedly become guardian of. David isn't sure if he's ready to be a parent, and Charity has a disability that adds an extra challange. She has - let me see if I can remember what Sarah told me - Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia. This condition makes it difficult for Charity to speak, although she's smart as a whip and understands everything that's going on around her.
I asked Kara Lynn what she knew about the condition. Here's her reply. "I used to work as an aide in an early childhood class. That's a special ed class for three and four year olds. There was a little girl in my class who had the same challange as Charity. She was very sweet and shy, but not being able to talk much is a real problem, even for a three year old. During the summer school session, when we did not have our regular bus drivers, they forgot to drop her off at her house, not once but THREE TIMES! How frightening for her. She was small, so they couldn't see her head above the seats, and she couldn't answer when they called out to see if she was there. Being shy, she was also afraid to draw attention to herself once they passed her house. She was not discovered until after all the other children had been dropped off and by then her mother was frantic, no doubt. But she was a delightful child and very much like Charity in the story. I'm sure she has a bright future."
That about sums it up. Come back soon, and I'm sure Kara will let me post an excerpt from "Accepting Charity."
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Well, I don't understand a lot about these newfangled palm pilots and such. To me PDA stands for Pretty Darn Aggravating. But Kara tells me this is good news. "Keeping Faith" is listed as a bestseller at the Palm bookstore. To celebrate, she's asked me to post an excerpt. So here it is -
Andrew has heard a rumor that Faith is quitting her job because she’s having trouble with a man at work and he confronts her about it.
…Andrew moved closer to Faith. His voice was low, but charged with an emotion Faith couldn’t identify. “I don’t know why you’re acting like this Faith, but I’m going to find out. I can’t stand the thought of anyone hurting you.”
She tried to back away, but he caught her hands and held her there. “You don’t know anything about it,” she repeated.
“That’s because you won’t tell me.” He pulled her even closer, and Faith’s heart started to beat faster. “You’re important to me, Faith. I need you.”
She allowed her body to lean into his, and he let go of her hands to put his arms around her. They stood like that for a moment. Faith was sure Andrew was going to kiss her. He lowered his head and said. “You’re the best secretary I’ve ever had.”
Anger flared in Faith. She shoved Andrew away from her. “Go home! Nothing happened that you can solve. It’s my problem and I’ll handle it.”
“By running away?”
“I’m not running away. I’m starting over.”
They glared at each other for a few heated moments. “Fine,” he said. “I’ll leave.” At the door, he turned and added “But I will find out, Faith. You can count on that.”
I'll have some more info on upcoming Orchard Hill stories next week.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Kara Lynn wanted to tell you who the winner of the drawing for the free download of "Enduring Hope" is herself. This entry is from her. I'm taking a well deserved break after a busy week here. I wonder where that cat has gotten to? I may have to go look for her. - Cora
Thank you everyone who took the time to stop by this week. I am overwhelmed by the response. So I’ve decided to give away two copies of “Enduring Hope” rather than one. I had my daughter draw the names. There is nothing like a teenager for complete indifference…I mean objectivity.
And the winners are…..Sarita Leone and Rose Ross Zediker. Congratulations! I'll be contacting you soon.
If you didn’t win, please don’t be disheartened. There are four Orchard Hill stories yet to come. I’ll leave you with a sneak peek at “Accepting Charity” OHR #6. This is the only story that doesn’t refer to the heroine in the title. Keep that in mind in case I ever decide to run an Orchard Hill trivia contest.
David Daniels has been left with custody of his three year old niece on the death of his sister. Misty Green introduces him to Sarah Rogers, a speech therapist at the Orchard Hill Elementary School. Sarah helps David understand the condition that Charity is challenged with – Verbal Developmental Dyspraxia. Her disability makes speech difficult and at times impossible.
Although he loves his niece very much, David doesn’t think he’ll make a good parent because he travels a lot for his job. But when another relative, who is definitely not a fit guardian, makes a bid to adopt Charity he will do anything to prevent it – including entering into a fake engagement with Sarah. But the more time he spends with Sarah, the more he realizes that she’s just what he and Charity both need.
And now for the excerpt:
Sarah reached for the door handle, but before she opened it, David spoke again. “One more thing.”
“What about physical stuff.”
“What do you mean?”
“You know, engaged people hold hands and hug and…”
“And kiss.” Sarah groaned. “How did everything get so out of control?”
David knew he was treading on dangerous ground, but he couldn’t seem to stop himself. “Maybe we should practice?”
“Yeah. I think we should try a practice kiss, so the first time we have to kiss in public, it won’t be so awkward.”
“Why would we have to kiss in public?”
“Because that’s what people who are in love do, Sarah. I’m not saying we have to put on an exhibition, but we should at least kiss each other hello and good-bye.”
Sarah looked doubtful. “I suppose.”
“So I think we should practice.”
“How about right here, right now.”
“Are you serious?”
“Totally. Trust me, this is the best thing to do. We’ll just get it over with and then the next time won’t be so awkward.”
Sarah considered. “Maybe you’re right.”
“I know I am.” He reached across the seat and took Sarah in his arms.
She giggled nervously. “This is ridiculous.”
“Usually I get to kiss a girl before she laughs at me.”
“I’m not laughing at you. Just the situation.”
“Enough talk. How about some action?” he teased.
David’s only intention had been to steal a simple kiss, but the moment his lips touched hers, he knew nothing would ever be simple between them. Instead of letting go, he pulled her even closer. She felt perfect in his arms.
The world faded away, and he was aware of nothing but Sarah. He felt her heart beating against his chest, her form filling his arms, her lips moving against his. The word ‘home’ drifted into his mind.
From what seemed like a long way away, there was a sharp knocking sound. Suddenly Sarah shoved him away. Confused by the abrupt shift back to reality, David blinked and the world swam back into focus. Sarah’s friend Hope was knocking at the window.
“Come on, you two,” she shouted. “You’ll have plenty of time for that later. I’m starving. Let’s go eat.”
Sarah opened the door a crack and said. “We’ll be right there.”
“No way,” Hope insisted. “If we leave, you’ll just go back to what you were doing.”
Oliver stepped in and pulled Hope away. “We’ll be inside,” he called back.
Sarah turned back to David and speared him with a sizzling glare. “Got any more bright ideas?”
You can find more information on Orchard Hill on my website - karalynnrussell.googplepages.com.
Thanks for reading,
Kara Lynn Russell
Friday, June 13, 2008
Today I'm talking with Cindy K. Green, author of Meeting Mr. Right Online, recently released from By Grace Publishing.
Cindy, what else have you written?
Actually, I have a long list of titles. By the end of 2008, I’ll have ten releases to my name. With the Wild Rose Press, I’ve written a couple Inspirationals: my full-length novel, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Your Wedding; a short story, Relationship Rescue; and a short Historical novella, Dilemma of the Heart. At The Wild Rose Press, you can also find my romantic suspense NovelTea Series. Book #1 (A Night of NovelTea) is available now and Book #2 (NovelTea Next Door) releases July 30th. From By Grace Publishing, I have several sweet, Inspirational, and even sensual books available including my newest release, Meeting Mr. Right Online, a sweet chicklit novella.
Do you think there are any similarities between your writing and Ms. Russell's?
Yes, I definitely do. In fact, at one time, we both named a character Grace Ryan (which became the heroine in Kara’s Saving Gracie). I’ve been very fortunate to have met Ms. Russell both as a colleague and a friend. We share similar tastes in reading and writing and in that way are able to help and encourage each other. It’s important to have a critique partner who ‘get’s’ you and ‘get’s’ your writing. I’ve been blessed in having that in Kara Russell.
You and Kara are sometimes critique partners. Have you read any of "Enduring Hope," the next Orchard Hill story to be released? And if so, what did you think about it? I only ask because I want to make sure Ms. Russell got the details right.
I have read some of Enduring Hope and look forward to reading the completed version. Hope and Oliver are a fun pair. They seem like complete opposites, but in time you find they do have more in common than originally thought. Ms. Russell always brings something new and fun to each story. I’m always amazed at how varied she is at bringing to life a new couple for us to follow.
Do you have any favorite characters from Orchard Hill?
Gracie and Riley from the first book will always be a favorite. But I can’t wait for everyone to meet David, Sarah and Charity in Accepting Charity which comes out in August. Great story with fun twists.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a new Inspirational called Romancing Miss Abbot. This book is a romantic comedy as well as Inspirational. Let’s just say that the hero and heroine in this story have a colliding first meeting which ends in him getting a bloody nose. I’m also polishing up a high fantasy romance called The Princess and the Outlaw. And I hope to finish my full-length historical, Redemption of the Heart which is the sequel to Dilemma of the Heart.
Who do you think will win the matchmaker's challenge, Pansy or Misty?
Oooh that's hard to say. They are both doing very well in this contest. It may end up with inconclusive results. ;) aka: a tie!
You can visit Cindy on the web at cindykgreen.com to find out more about her and her wonderful books. And watch for the short story "The Thing About Temping" to appear soon in the Free Reads section of The Wild Rose Press.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
This is Cora Applebaum again. Thanks for meeting me at the Grace Place. Go ahead and get some coffee and maybe try one of those little pastries that look like cream puffs. They’re called “knee-caps” around here, you know.
OK, you’ve got your coffee now. It smells delicious. And I see you took my advice about the knee caps. Do you really think two, though? Well, it’s not my place to say.
An old woman like myself, I have a lot of time for observing people. But I just keep it all to myself, of course. I’m not one to go around telling tales, you know.
For example, my next door neighbor, Hope Velasquez, has been having an interesting summer. I’ve seen her several times with that new gym teacher Oliver Laurence. Just between the two of us, he’s not hard on the eyes. I see him out running a couple of times a week, in those little shorts he wears. It’s practically indecent, but that’s the way things are today, I guess.
Anyway, this Oliver seems to be interested in Hope, but I don’t think he knows how to show it. There’s been stories…I’ve heard those two snuck off in some corner at a party and then not long after that, he was seen dragging Hope out of the pizza parlor. I don’t know what’s going on there, but I have to tell you, there have been some mighty steamy kisses on her front porch. I only noticed because I was looking for my cat. She usually comes home about the time this happened. You know I’m not nosy or anything.
I wonder what Hope’s best friend Sarah thinks of all this? That girl could use a nice young man to pay attention to her. She’s so sweet, and I’ve heard she’s great with the kids at the elementary. Sarah works there as a speech therapist, you know. There’s just got to be someone out there for her. I was telling Misty Green that the other day and she got this strange look on her face. Now, Misty’s been known to dabble in matchmaking. I wonder if she’s planning something.
Now, there’s no doubt in my mind about how Hope’s brother Joseph feels about all these goings-on. I’ve heard he confronted Oliver about it, in the church building, no less. Joseph’s pretty protective of his little sister. I think Oliver had better watch out.
Unless Joseph gets distracted by those three nieces of his that he took in. Dori, Lucy and Belle are their names, but I hear that at the school, they’re known as the “terrible trio.” It’s a wonder Joseph can handle them all by himself, on top of his own three children. It must be three years or more since his wife passed away. Now there’s a man who could use a wife. But how many women would want to take a household like that? I asked Pansy Parker that question the other day and she said she could think of someone. I wonder who she meant.? To be honest, Pansy is a bit of a matchmaker herself.
Are you finished already? Well, I don’t want to keep you. I know how you young folks are always rushing around with things to do. Who wants to sit around with an old lady like me. I have nothing to talk about anyway.
Thanks for having coffee with me. Let’s do it again real soon.
(Kara’s note: Sarah’s story will be told in Accepting Charity and Joseph’s in Disrupting Harmony.)
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Today I'm talking with Nicola Martinez, the editor for the Orchard Hill Romances and also the cover designer.
What role have you played in the Orchard Hill stories?
I just get to read and enjoy them. Kara Lynn does all the hard work. She's developed an entertaining series.
The covers for the stories are absolutely beautiful, even better than some of Angel Marcel's work. How do you do it?
You are too kind! I wanted there to be a continuity between the covers. Saving Gracie was the toughest, but after I focused on Gracie, I decided all the covers would focus on the heroine in each respective story with a little hint of what's between the pages as a backdrop for her.
I especially like the logo for the Orchard Hill stories. Where did you get the idea for it?
Thanks. I'm glad you like it so well! I knew the logo had to be an apple tree--we are in Orchard Hill, after all--and since the entire series revolves around our rival cupids, the arrow came into play.
As Ms. Russell's editor, do you have any inside information on the author? What is she like to work with? Any bad spelling? Missed deadlines? Poor grammar?
Kara Lynn is terrific to work with. She never misses a deadline, takes instruction so well, that each project comes in with less editing needed than the project before--not that she was ever "bad"--and she's a sweetheart personality. She's an editor's dream, is what she is.
Hmmm. I'm not sure I buy this. But never mind. Let's move on.
What do you like about being an editor?
There are many aspects to editing which I enjoy, but my greatest pleasure comes in being able to help an author see the fruition of his or her dream. It's a privilege to get to share in the excitement.
Who do you think will win the matchmaker's challenge, Pansy or Misty?
Ah, now you know I can't answer that. I can't play favourites. OK, maybe I'm leaning a little towards Pansy...no wait, Misty...See? I'm rooting for them both.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Exciting news! A free Orchard Hill story is now being offered by the Wild Rose Press as part of their new free reads program. "Catching the Bouquet" features Jeff and Angel, the couple from "Entertaining Angel." This really is a big week for Orchard Hill!
Some of you may not know this, but there's another free Orchard Hill story available on Kara Lynn's website. In "A Long Silly Love Chase" Steve decides he wants Gracie back, but Riley's not about to give her up.
Before you run off to check out those other stories, here's the promised excerpt from "Enduring Hope." You won't see this one posted anywhere else!
Enduring Hope 3
Confused by his feelings for Hope, Oliver decides to keep his distance from her for a while. But unfortunately this has left her open to his rival Jordan’s advances.
“Too bad you weren’t fast enough when Hope asked for a ride home. I’ll be taking over that duty tonight. And I plan on getting more than a good night handshake in return, if you know what I mean.”
That did it. Oliver stood up so quickly the stool he was sitting on wobbled and threatened to tip over. Pushing past Jordan, he strode to their table, grabbed Hope’s arm and hauled her out of her chair.
Shock registered on her face. “What are you doing?”
“I’m taking you home.”
“But I’m not finished…”
“Hope, we’re leaving now.” Oliver pulled her along behind him, oblivious to the questioning looks from his teammates.
As they passed Jordan, he opened his mouth as if to protest, but Oliver glared at him, and Jordan didn’t say a word.
They came out into the fading light in the parking lot. Oliver opened the passenger door of his car and handed Hope in. Then, he went around to the driver’s side and slid into his seat.
“Save it,” he growled and backed out of the parking space.
Hope was silent during the entire drive to his house, but he could tell she was angry. He didn’t care. He was angry, too.
When they arrived at her house, he went around to open her door again, but she’d already left the car and was halfway up the walk. He caught up with her and followed her into the house.
Two steps inside she rounded on him and shouted “Why did you do that?”
“Because Jordan started telling me his plans for your ride home, how he’d be taking the ‘scenic route’ and such. How could you accept a ride from that jerk?” Oliver yelled back.
“I didn’t want to, but no one else offered.”
“He was all over you from the minute you said ‘yes.’”
“I can handle guys like Jordan. It’s you that I don’t know what to do with.”
He’d never seen her so angry before. Her eyes were dark and stormy, her hands clenched into fists at her side, and her whole body shook with emotion. She was beautiful that way, filled with fire and passion.
She may not know what to do with him, but he knew exactly what he wanted from her. He took a step toward her, and she backed up, bumping into the wall behind her. He moved closer, until his body was pressing her against the wall. Then his mouth captured hers.
Please stop by tomorrow to read an interview with the editor and cover artist for the Orchard Hill series, Nicola Martinez. She's a wonderful lady and interviewing her was a pleasure. Remember to leave a comment, so you can be entered in the drawing. Multiple entries are fine, so leave a comment every day if you wish.
See you tomorrow!
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Cora Applebaum here. With the fifth Orchard Hill Romance due out on Wednesday of this week, I thought it was time to take a look at what makes this series so special. Please stop by every day this week for interviews, excerpts and a chance to win your own copy of "Enduring Hope." Just leave a comment on the blog this week and a way to contact you and you'll be entered in the drawing. The winner will be chosen on Friday.
Today I'm posting an interview I did recently with Wild Rose Press Romance authors Stacey Joy Netzel and Donna Marie Rogers. These talented ladies were kind enough to take time from their busy schedules and chat with me. Let me introduce them to you.
Stacey Joy Netzel fell in love with books at a young age, so for her it seemed only natural to graduate to writing them. A member of RWA and WisRWA, she credits not only her parents for encouraging her dreams of becoming a published author, but also the very talented friends she’s made in WisRWA since joining in 2004. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and kids, a couple of horses, and three barn cats. When not writing and living life in general, she loves to read and watch movies—Happily Ever After’s a must. You can visit Stacey at: staceyjoynetzel.com.
Donna Marie Rogers lives in a renovated old schoolhouse in beautiful Northeast Wisconsin with her husband and children. She's an avid gardener and home-canner, as well as an admitted reality TV junkie. Her passion to read is only exceeded by her passion to write, so when she's not doing the wife and mother thing, you can usually find her sitting at her computer creating exciting new characters, fresh new worlds, and always happily-ever-afters. Please visit her at: www.DonnaMarieRogers.com
I understand you two have written a book of short stories set in a small town in Wisconsin called Welcome to Redemption. What is Redemption like and is it like Orchard Hill at all?
Stacey: In my mind, Redemption is very similar to Crivitz, the town I grew up in in Northeast Wisconsin, only ‘newer’ and a little bigger. Crivitz has population about 1000, and Redemption is somewhere between 5000-8000. It has a sense of family and the familiar, where everyone knows everyone, and that includes, sometimes unfortunately, everyone knowing everyone else’s business, too.
Donna: To me, Redemption is the small town I dreamt about while growing up in the south suburbs of Chicago. I used to spend weekends up in Edgerton, Wisconsin with my best friend's family, and to me, it was heaven. Now I make my home in Northeast, Wisconsin so I live in heaven...okay, most of the time anyway. LOL Orchard Hill actually sounds a lot like Redemption, with lots of small town businesses, great people, and plenty of drama.
What is it about small towns that makes them great settings for romance?
Stacey: I think a small town is a great setting for a romance because of the sense of family and of coming home. Or being home. Creating crazy, quirky secondary characters is also a definite plus.
Donna: I've always preferred small town settings, they're just easier to imagine myself living in, falling in love in, raising a family in. There's something so comforting about a close-knit community. And yes, those quirky secondary characters really come to life in a small town setting. ;-)
Are there any matchmakers in Redemption?
Stacey: Well, Tara had to battle her brother’s over-protectiveness to spend time with Wes, and Dana had to convince her cousin Allie she wasn’t simply falling into old habits when she fell for her tortured hero, Charlie, so no, not in my two stories, anyway…Oh, geez, wait—how could I forget??? Sugar. Charlie’s Great Dane (one of those quirky secondary characters I mentioned) is the entire reason that Tara and Wes were even introduced in the first place! She’s the matchmaker, definitely.
Donna: I like to think that Rosalee, Caleb's mother who passed away before the start of the book, had a little something to do with his finally coming home and ending up on Lauren's doorstep. Rosalee adored Lauren and her kids (Max & Emma), and is no doubt quite pleased with how well things turned out. And it was Caleb and Lauren who played matchmaker to Carrie the hothead and Matt the dreamiest librarian in the Midwest. LOL
Is there any chance that we'll read more about Redemption?
Stacey: Yes, there’s a definite chance you’ll read more about Redemption. I have the first story of the sequel written with Allie and Rick, and Donna’s working on her first story, too. With other projects in the works for both of us, it’ll be a little time, but we fell in love with the town as much as readers have, so we don’t plan to abandon it. At some point, we'd love to do a historical anthology of how the town was founded.
Donna: Drew and Lindy's story just has to be told. They seem like an explosive couple, and I sure hope they live up to my hype.
What else have you written, together or separately?
We started out in the same RWA chapter in 2004, WisRWA, joining within one month of each other, and shortly after became critique partners. We write so differently, and like to read different things, the idea of us writing together never crossed our minds until our dear friend Delia Deleest (It Takes Moxie, Eye Of The Beholder, both available at The Wild Rose Press.) suggested the three of us write related stories for an anthology. We decided to give it a shot, and Welcome to Redemption was born. Only Delia decided to pursue other interests, so we were 'forced' to each come up with a second story to round out the anthology. Needless to say, we thanked Delia in our dedication.
Stacey: I’ve written a Christmas novella, titled Dragonfly Dreams, which was nominated LASR Best Short Romance E-book 2007, and a paranormal miniature rose, If Tombstones Could Talk. Both are published with The Wild Rose Press. I am also awaiting edits with my most recent contract with TWRP, Chasin’ Mason, a Yellow Rosebud I hope will be released this year yet. I just got the cover...what do you think?
Donna: Golden Opportunity (a Yellow Miniature Rose which takes place in Golden, Colorado) and There's Only Been You (a Champagne Rose which takes place in Green Bay, Wisconsin) both release this year from The Wild Rose Press, with There's Only Been You available in print April 2009. Meant To Be (a Champagne Rose and second in the series to There's Only Been You), is contracted and going to edits soon. I also write erotic romance as Liza James and have several short stories published with both The Wild Rose Press and Red Rose Publishing.
Who do you think will win the matchmaker's challenge, Pansy or Misty?
Stacey: Seeing as how I’ve only read the first two stories so far (but have the others waiting in my computer because I truely enjoyed the first two) this is a tricky question. Honestly, I think Misty worked a little harder for her first match than Pansy (so does Misty) and going off that, and the epilogue at the end of Entertaining Angel, I’m gonna put my money on Misty. Any chance I can get you to whisper who wins?
Donna: Okay, to keep it interesting, I have to go with Pansy, but to be fair I haven't had a chance to read the whole Orchard Hill series yet, so I reserve the right to change my mind. ;-).
Thank you Donna and Stacey, for taking the time to answer my questions. I'd love to visit Redemption sometime. That's all for today. Check back tomorrow for an exclusive sneak preview of "Enduring Hope."