Monday, May 28, 2012

RIPTIDE--a taste

Here's an excerpt of my romantic suspense novel, RIPTIDE. This story is one of my favorites. The characters truly struck a chord with me and stay with me as two of my favorites. If I could have a magic wish and manifest my dream man, Noah Reynolds, the hero of this book, would be "the one."
  I actually wrote it before KISS ME SLOWLY, but it was published second.  
I love how life works, always throwing in a twist to keep us on our toes.  

Book blurb: 

One violent night shatters Lauren Biltmore’s life. As an anchorwoman, she's accustomed to reporting the news rather than being the lead story.  She escapes the spotlight by fleeing to her brother's home in the Cayman Islands. Haunted by nightmares, all she wants is a distraction from reality.
Distraction arrives via sexy screenwriter, Noah Reynolds. His take-me-to-bed looks mask a past ripe with scandal. He knows he should stay away from Lauren, especially when the worst night of her life unlocks his writer's block and while he's dealing with a stalker of his own, but ethics are his weakness. 
Attraction sizzles beneath Caribbean sunshine. As their relationship grows, Noah's stalker intensifies her torment. Lauren wonders if her paranoia is justified or a carryover from her past. What's real? What's imagined?
Tentative trust is tested as their love is swept up against a riptide of deceit, murder, and revenge. 

Excerpt of Riptide: (adult content) 

          His two days on board the Angelfish with Larry had been good for him. Larry had convinced him of the absurdity of his theory that Alicia still walked the earth and assured him that he’d help find out who was bringing up the past. Sometimes there was nothing better than an old friend, even one who tended to piss him off more often than not.
He toweled himself off, his thoughts centered around Lauren and their last date. It hadn’t exactly gone as planned given the dead guy face down amidst the fish. Not that he’d helped the situation with his not-so-smooth-moves-on-the-beach later. The past two days had given him perspective. He wanted her. Right or wrong, mistake or not, he needed to see where this could go. He couldn’t get her out of his mind. Maybe tonight he’d get another chance if he could track her down. 
“Noah.” Lauren cleared her throat from where she stood outside the open bathroom door. She leaned against the wall in a Caribbean blue tank dress that hugged her body in all the right places, legs exposed from mid-thigh down, ankles crossed, long hair glistening over lightly tanned shoulders, gaze averted to the floor and smile playing across lips he desperately wanted against his skin. “Sorry to barge in. You left the deck door wide open.”
“No problem.” He cinched the towel around his waist and wondered exactly how long she’d been standing there. The thought of her watching him shower and dry off did crazy things to his nervous system. “I’ve been looking for you.”
“Erin told me.” She leaned her head back against the wall and dragged her gaze from his toes upward. “Heard you were on private charter for the past few days.”
He leaned his shoulder against the doorframe and let her gaze soak him up. He liked the way she looked at him as if he were dessert. 
“About the other night...I’m sorry. Can I make it up to you? Dinner tonight? Etcetera?” he asked.
She caught her lower lip between her teeth, gaze lingering on his chest. “Are you sure this time? No running away when things get hot?”
Electricity zapped in the three feet separating them. 
 Damn, the woman did insane things to his rational thinking. He’d decided on the boat that he needed to see her, make things right, take it slow, get tangled up in some strings. Seeing her live and in person threw common sense out the window. 
“I can’t decide if you’re hotter when wet or dry...I’m thinking it might be a tie,” she said. 
Oh, what the hell. With an opener like that, how could a man resist? He crossed the space between them, slipped his hand behind her neck, and kissed her on that mouth he’d been fantasizing about all week. 
Her hands slid over his damp chest while her mouth moved slowly beneath his, her teeth lightly catching his lower lip. Eyes open, they smiled against each other’s mouths.
“Miss me?” he asked.
“It would be very uncool of me to answer that.” She slid her hands over his abdomen and lingered on the towel. “Are you still wanting to back off, or have you come to your senses?”
He braced his hands over her head. The only thing he wanted to do was kiss her slowly and make her beg for more. He looked into her eyes. “You’re making me forget all of the reasons this is a mistake.”
“A sexy mistake.” Her fingers touched his chest in a featherlike caress. She licked her lips. 
“Good point.” He smiled. “We’re headed into the danger zone.”
“You have no idea how dangerous.” She tugged on the towel, a dare in her eyes. 
Oh, he had an idea about the level of danger. He’d thought of nothing else for the past forty-eight hours and ranked this situation a solid Level Red. Despite that, all he could think about was how good it would feel to have her long legs wrapped around his hips while her nails clawed against his back. He needed to pull the emergency brake. Slow, he reminded himself. Slow. 
He leaned against her, enjoying the way her body arched toward his like a magnetic pull. He tangled his fingers in the hair at the back of her neck. “What do you want, Lauren? After the other night, you know I’m more complicated than I seem.”
Her gaze flicked up to his. “I know what I’m doing.”
“You have no idea what you’re getting yourself into.” 
“Show me. Let’s make some mistakes together. We’re both consenting adults. What the hell?” she whispered, her teeth pulling at his lower lip. 
“You’re reckless.”
“Does that scare you?” she asked.
He paused a fraction over her lips and looked into her eyes. Yeah, she was scary reckless, but that turned him on more than he could say. So what if she wanted to use him for a distraction from her own demons? He knew that had something to do with it—the woman oozed intensity. 
Her mouth widened, taking his like a woman starving for the taste of him. Ravenous. Her fingers fisted in the back of his hair. Her bare foot slid up the outside of his leg. Tongues clashed in a passionate dance that left no doubt about mutual desire. 
He pressed her against the wall, uncaring about the slipping of the towel down his hips. This woman made him want more than he had dared want in years. His hands roamed up her sides, thumbs caressing the outline of her breasts. Closer. He couldn’t get close enough. 
 She pressed her hips against his. “Five days ago I didn’t think I’d feel any emotion ever again. Now here I am making out with you. Insane.”
“A little bit of crazy is good for a person.” He wrapped his hands in her hair, holding her face close to him. “What do you feel now?”
“You. I feel you.” 
“You say all the right things,” he said against her mouth. His skin rippled beneath her touch. He couldn’t explain his reaction to her...he felt like an addict in desperate need of a fix.
Her body arched against his, arms circled his waist, hands teased beneath the towel that inched lower on his hips, mouth moved against his with an urgency that tested his self-control. He grabbed her shoulders, intending to urge her back, but instead pulled her toward the bedroom. 
Mouths clinging to each other, they stumbled onto the bed. Giving in to the sensations of her soft curves and long legs against him, he kissed her as if he’d been dying and she were his lifeline. He peeled the dress up past her hips and squeezed her ass. 
Her hands moved over his shoulders, against his neck, into his hair. Everywhere. Her leg curved over his thigh. 
He kissed her face, her neck, her collarbone. One hand moved over her breast while the other inched her dress higher. She squirmed beneath him, breath hot against his skin, hands holding him tight against her. 
Towel ancient history, he moved down the length of her and pushed the dress up until he could kiss her abdomen. He hesitated at the sight of the scar, evidence of the violence she’d suffered. He felt her stiffen, as if she’d forgotten what he’d see. He smoothed his thumb over the raised skin that ran from her right hipbone, zigzagged across her flat abdomen toward her left breast. 
Her hand snagged his as she propped up on one elbow. Hair partially covering her face, she shook her head. “It’s ugly, I know, don’t look at it. Please.”
“You’re beautiful.” He pulled his hand free and smoothed it over the scar. 
“Don’t lie to me.” She reached to pull her dress down. 
He caught her hand and looked her in the eye. “Not lying. You’re so damn beautiful I can’t take it. Why do you think I’m breaking all of my own rules for you? Pity?”
“I don’t know,” she whispered. “I hope not.”
“Don’t hide from me, and I won’t lie to you. I promise.” He pushed her dress up over her bra. His gaze devoured the marred skin over taunt muscles, proof she’d survived. In his mind, nothing could be more beautiful than that. 
He kissed every inch of the scar. One hand on her breast, he propped himself over her and captured her mouth with his. His erection throbbed against her thigh, aching to be inside her. 
“Hey, Noah,” Larry yelled from the living room. “You left your wallet on board the boat. Thought you might need it.”
He pressed his forehead against hers and struggled to control his breathing. More aroused than he’d been in years, he remained motionless. Passion quaked through him, demanding release. 
“Just tell him to leave it on the counter.” She squeezed his hips. “For God’s sake, don’t you dare stop.”
He laughed against her lips when Larry yelled again. “He’s not going anywhere. He thinks we’re a bad idea and obviously knows you’re here. Isn’t Austin’s jeep in the driveway?”
“I should’ve taken a taxi,” she muttered, not letting him go. “Do you think we’re a bad idea?”
He propped himself up on his hands and looked into her eyes. “Does it look like I think we’re a bad idea?”
She slid her hands down his hips, her fingers skimming over his erection and sending little earthquakes of need through his body. Her slow smile told him all he needed to know. 
“I need a minute,” he said with a smile. “Can you please distract him for me?”
Slowly, she slid her leg over the back of his without breaking eye contact. Still smiling, she kissed him before sliding from beneath him and pulling down her dress. “At least I know what I have to look forward to later. Lucky me.”

What are you waiting for? 
If you look to the right, you'll see the great reviews from 
professional book bloggers and readers around the 
globe! Don't hesitate! Get your copy now!

Monday, May 21, 2012

My feet are firmly rooted in terra firma

Rejection is part of the game as a working writer.  It's constant and, unless you have a thick skin, it'll stop you in your tracks.  It doesn't stop at publication either...rejection comes from the public and reviewers, too, so you'd better grow a pair if you're truly going to stay in this business for the long haul.  

Lately--as in the past five months--I've encountered a strange breed of writers who have such a sense of entitlement that they think they don't have to deal with rejection of any kind.  They don't have patience for querying agents or editors because they feel their story "needs to be told, that there's no time to waste, and that the world is waiting" for them (an actual quote from a man I met).  They feel they don't need to go through the process of revising or listening to feedback because their writing "is the best the world has ever seen" and that anyone who disagrees with that "is jealous" (also actual quotes from another man I met).  

Do you know how many years and how many rejections I had to go through before finally getting published?  Years of going to conferences, pitching to editors, querying agents, revising, bitter disappointments, hundreds (or at least it felt like hundreds) of rejection letters, learning as much as I could without getting any traction, and the constant social pressure with that damn question "publish that novel yet?"  

Finally--after all the frustration--that "yes" came that rocked my world. 

Do you have any idea how good that "yes" felt after all the work I did to achieve it?  Damn good because I earned it.  I paid my dues.  I understood that I didn't know everything, that talent sometimes needs polishing, that writing is an art but publishing is a business.  I learned.  I studied.  I dealt with the rejection letters, listened to advice from published authors, revised, released some of those ideals, let go of my ego and kept writing.   
I'm grateful for the years of disappointment that preceded this time in my life.  I toughened up.  I lightened up and stopped taking myself so seriously. There's no such thing as overnight success.  Every best selling novelist went through years of obscurity first.  Every movie star has those films they cringe at doing when they were starting out.  Anyone who risks putting themselves into the public eye risks rejection, criticism...praise and validation.  It's all part of the same coin.  

I'm writing this blog post because of the sense of entitlement I'm hearing from a few unpublished writers who have no patience for the process-- including reviews and editing.  Although unpublished, they know it all and are the exception to all rules.  Experienced authors' advice means nothing to them because they're "special". One of these unpublished writers actually said he won't need to promote his book because he's so good "the world will find" him.  Whatever.  Good luck with that.  It's as if they're living in a dream land where the red carpet should be rolled out for them as soon as they hit the street every morning just because they managed to write something.  

In this tech age where everything happens "now", we need to step back and realize that some old fashioned ideas have stood the test of time for a reason.  Things like perseverance, hard work, dedication, education, and experience are valuable assets when faced with opposition--rejection--because those things build character and create wisdom.  

This is not a veiled attack on self-published authors, some of whom I know and who have paid their dues, who have edited and revised until their eyes bled.  They are professionals who understand that rejection is part of the game, who want their work to be as good as it can be, who seek out reviews and who have "walked the walk". 

Anyone who thinks they are above the process, that they are somehow better than all of those other authors who persevered through the fray, are going to have a hard time succeeding no matter how brilliant they think they are.

I'm grateful that I've been humbled along the way. My feet are firmly on the ground, no delusions of grandeur here.  It was a difficult journey, no doubt about it, and there were times I wondered why I kept banging my head against this wall called "publication".  At times I even felt defeated...but then I'd try again, often questioning my sanity for sticking with it.  

Don't take rejection or constructive criticism personally.  I know that sounds ridiculous because it definitely feels personal, but instead use it as a tool and move forward.  We've all been there, done that and survived.  

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Blah blah blah...when everything I write irritates me

Today's been one of those days when everything I write irritates me.  I've been hitting the delete button more than necessary and basically getting nowhere.  So what do I do when I'm in that funk?  Well, apparently, I blog.  Lucky you.
I'm not the kind of writer who waits for inspiration or "the Muse."  Instead I write every day, even when my own worst critic (me) is overly vocal and screaming in my ear that I need to find a job that requires no brain activity what-so-ever.  I sit at the computer and write anything that comes to mind--sort of like what I'm doing right this minute.  Again...lucky you.

Writers' block, you ask?  No.  I don't believe in writers' block.  I do believe in good days and bad days, though.  Today's been one of those days when everything I write seems forced...which is unusual.  It's not a block--it's a speed bump.

Getting over those speed bumps is tiring, frustrating and often involves cursing.  A lot of cursing.  Here are some of the things I do to get beyond the funk and back into the flow:

* I write whatever comes to mind, even if it's going to be deleted later.  I've found that the activity of writing--even when it's shit--gets my mind back into the game.

* I read my previous chapters.  When I get stuck in a work in progress (WIP), it always helps me to go back and read what I've already written.  Sometimes this leads to revising, but that's good, too.  It needs to get done eventually anyway.

*I go for a walk or do something completely unrelated to writing.  Sometimes I'm just mentally wiped out and need to step away from the computer.  I'll clean the kitchen, play fetch with the dogs, call my cousin Sheila to bug her, exercise or sit on the deck watching clouds float by (yeah, I really do that...a lot).

* I journal.  There's something about that physical connection to pen on paper that breaks creativity wide open for me.

The point is I write every day in some way or another.  Yes, I get frustrated when I feel I'm writing words that aren't exactly saying what I want...or that I'm off on a meaningless tangent that's bound to be deleted.  If I don't write something...anything...then I'm turning the speed bump into a wall.

Walls are much harder to scale than a speed bump.  Think about it.  

Whether you're a writer or not, I'm sure there are days when you feel that you've completely wasted your time...days when nothing seems to click and you question the point of it all.  Well, cut yourself some slack by reminding yourself that time is never really wasted.  My cloud watching time actually quiets my mind, which is definitely useful.  If everything is going "wrong" today, than that's showing you how to make it right tomorrow.  It's all serving a purpose that you may not see in the present moment--trust the process.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Turn up your speakers or get out your headphones for this week's guest author

Today we're doing something a bit different thanks to guest author, Kenneth Weene.  I'm delighted to host him for "Open Mic Monday"...please welcome him with our usual gusto!  

An unusual request from the author of today’s piece – Please listen rather than read.

Why do I want you to listen? How strangely we humans behave. So often we typecast our senses, not giving them each their full opportunity. We want to, but it is difficult. Most of the time, for example, our sense of smell lies dormant until aroused by something unexpected, sadly too often that is an unpleasant odor. We rush through our meals and don’t really utilize taste or we mask what might be there with a dash of hot sauce or a heaping of ketchup. Sadly, in much writing, we also neglect our senses. Good writing should include smell, taste, touch, hearing – not just vision. Of course that requires description, and it is far more difficult to describe the sounds and the tastes than it is the visual.

As a writer, I constantly strive to give more, to offer sensory experience. One of my favorite methods is creating audios for your listening pleasure. Of course I could let you read the same thing for yourself. But, no I am going to read this piece for you. Please sit back and allow the sensations. It is a brief excerpt from my latest book, The Stylite. I am in the fourth edit and hope it will be out soon. The Stylite is uniquely dedicated to sensation. For that reason I want to allow you to experience it in a different way, by listening as I read it to you.

You can listen to this excerpt at:
Meanwhile you can check out my other books at Amazon. They are available in print, Kindle and on Nook.

You may want to know something about who I am. Fair enough. Here’s the bio I usually provide to the world:
Life itches and torments Kenneth Weene like pesky flies. Annoyed, he picks up a pile of paper to slap at the buzzing and often whacks himself on the head. Each whack is another story. At least having half-blinded himself, he has learned to not wave the pencil about. Ken will, however, write on until the last gray cell has retreated and there are no longer these strange ideas demanding his feeble efforts. So many poems, stories, novels; and more to come.

A New Englander by birth, upbringing, and choice, Ken’s writing is often set in his beloved Northeast. For all his years of living elsewhere, his New England roots are still clear in his accent and his writing.
Ken, having worked for many years as a psychologist and pastoral counselor, and his wife, artist Roz Weene, moved from New York to Arizona in 2002. Once in the Southwest, Ken turned his hand to writing. His poetry and short stories have appeared in many place in print and on the web. His three novels, Widow’s Walk, Memoirs From the Asylum, and Tales From the Dew Drop Inne have all been published by All Things That Matter Press.

You can check out a bit more at
or order Ken’s books at

Monday, May 7, 2012

Experiencing the magical & one-of-a-kind author, Gay Terry.

My dad was a magician (stage and slight-of-hand, with a day job ). His family was from the Isle of Man and came to the Northern Appalachians to mine coal. I was a shy, only-child, with sleep problems who liked to read. Very few people these days have the privilege of being so isolated. It made for an enchanted life. I used to lie in bed at night listening to a distant train whistle imagining what the world was like. We didn’t have very good schools so my reading was unguided. Words and pictures from books clashed and merged with experience. I was told at a young age that I couldn’t distinguish Reality from Fantasy. 
I did try to fit in when I was a teenager--don’t we all? But alas, I’m not good at being anything but me. I kept reading and moved to New York City. I went to graduate school, traveled, waitressed, worked in a factory, as a welfare worker, cataloged tribal arts for Sothebys and volunteered in Margaret Mead’s office and the Planetarium. I discovered that a lot of folks have difficulty telling Reality from Fantasy and choose to believe some outrageous things. It doesn’t matter as long as those beliefs don’t hurt anyone. Life is complicated, and hard at times, but there’s no reason it can’t be enchanted.
I’ve had stories published in fantasy magazines, e-zines and anthologies. I helped create The Toxic Avenger and wrote screenplays for parts II and III. The biggest criticism I get is that I don’t fit into any category. It’s the story of my life and I’ve learned to take it as a compliment. “Meeting the Dog Girls” is a collection of short stories. There are scornful fish, time prisoners, haunted icons, magicians and marbles. There are glass men, bronze men, backward men, monks and generals. There are goddess, witches, the reincarnated and, of course, Dog Girls. Dog Girls are mysterious and often outrageous. They stand by their children and friends; they stand up for, and to, their men.  They’re the sort that put a playing card in the spokes of their (life)cycle to hear the noise. You may be one (even if you’re a boy). Mercy Grace (the waitress in this story) is an aspiring Dog Girl...

An excerpt of MEETING THE DOG GIRLS...
Every Saturday morning the Dog Girls met at Ory’s Diner for an early breakfast.  They told rambling stories and laughed a lot.  They talked about hard times, tedious husbands, weather, crops and how to take care of day to day stuff.
“For that kind of nicker, I’d check the carburetor, “one of them said once—they took good care of their cars and trucks.
“You don’t get much benefit out of medicine if it tastes good.”
“How often do you give that old dog Pepto Bismol?”
“Men are best at being grandfathers and brothers.”
“Ain’t it the truth,” I’d say as I set their plates down in front of them.  “Fellas around here treat you like you was dirt one minute and then expect you to sleep with them the next.”
They talked about their animals a lot.  They treated them like people, with respect and affection, and treated people like children, with patience and kindness toward the nice ones, and sternness toward others.  Some folks, like Sam Ralston, they totally ignored.  Sam is a local trucker and he was always trying to hit on the Dog Girls, but they acted as if he wasn’t there.  Sam didn’t actually notice because he really wasn’t all there anyway.  They openly flirted with Ory’s boy, Alfie, a shy 15 year old who came in to bus for us on the weekends.  The flirting was all very innocent, meant to give Alfie some confidence.  Everyone admires Dog Girls and all men desire them, whether they admit it or not, so it sure gave Alfie a reason to hold his head up.
I have to say that they gave my soul a flutter also, feeling swallowed up by them hills and like I was never gonna see anything of the world outside before the Dog Girls come into Ory’s.  I am the youngest waitress at Ory’s, just 25 last birthday.  I got the job when Lully Kemp ran off with that trucker from Kiski.  It was the biggest scandal around here since Millard Harden shot his wife and boy on Easter Sunday 1975 down by Hedgy’s Run.
Dog Girls wore combat boots with a hole drilled in the heel through which they threaded their laces.  Waitresses, like me, wear light comfortable shoes—sneakers or old oxfords.  We wear support hose and still get spider veins (or worse) by middle age.  I admired the Dog Girls so much that I went out and bought myself a pair of combat boots to wear on my days off when I went to help my grandpa.
“Look at them boots,” he said to me the first day I wore them.  “You could walk through a swamp in a thundersquall in them things.” 
I loved the confident whomp they made on his wood floor.  I was so much more substantial in them.
I take care of my grandpa because he took care of me after my folks died when I was seven.  They hit a patch of black ice in an old Chevy and flew off Three Mile Hill like a eagle with headlights. Actually, grandpa took care of me a lot before the accident too.  He made my peanut butter and banana sandwiches for lunch.  He bought me a sled one Christmas, and a new pair of shoes every Easter.  He put vinegar on my bruises. He tried to teach me how to juggle.
At first, folks around here said that Grandpa was unequipped, set in his ways, too dogged to raise a child.  He was always early and his stuff was always redd up, whereas I’m late a lot and naturally messy, my bra strap shows, my hems come out.  Grandpa was very strict with himself, but not so much with me.  I tried hard to live up to his standards, but I’m not much like him.  He loves me anyway.  Folks finally came to see that, and left us alone.