Candy Conversation Hearts for Valentine's Day

Celebrating Love Week and Valentine’s Day

This week is Love Week – the week of Valentine’s Day. And in honor of all this love flowing around, I’m making You Belong To Me available for $2.99 on Amazon.

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Here is an excerpt from, You Belong To Me, a romantic suspense available on Amazon.

Colin stepped inside the open door of the gallery and inwardly groaned. He didn’t intend to stay too long. It was crowded already so he snaked his way through the crowd to the bar. With drink in hand, he leaned back against the bar and eyed the layout of the building.

The gallery was long and narrow, painted a soft white. The presence of deep crown moldings and intricate woodwork gave it an elegant feel. Tables for refreshments had been set up between two large columns and channeled the traffic flow around the room. Recessed lighting and tiny halogen spotlights dotted the ceiling, highlighting the artwork.

Colin swept his gaze through the crowd looking for Kyle Ridley and found him standing in the far corner of the gallery so he headed that way.

Kyle looked over at him as he approached and said, “I wasn’t sure you’d come.”

“I’m only here because I love to watch Marilyn drag you around by that ring in your nose.”

Kyle smiled and shrugged. “You were married, you know how it is.”

“That was years ago. I was young and foolish.”

“You were young and foolish once? I don’t remember that,” Kyle said, a wry grin on his face.

Colin remembered all too well how foolish he’d been…

Colin heard Marilyn’s voice behind him. “Hi, Colin.” She leaned up and kissed him on the cheek and he slung his arm around her shoulder.

“Marilyn, what are you doing with this guy? I have to question your standards.”

“I question them all the time,” she said and laughed. “We haven’t seen much of you lately.” He and Kyle used to get together more often, even after Marilyn had come into Kyle’s life. But he sometimes felt like a third wheel, even when he was invited to hang out at their house, watch a ball game and share a pizza.

“I’ve been giving the newlyweds a chance to be alone.” He waggled his eyebrows at her. Marilyn laughed and punched him gently on the shoulder.

“You’ve done a nice job here,” Colin said.

“It’s not me. Erin is the one with the artistic eye. I’m just the grunt that helps her lift things into place,” she said. “She’s in the office with a customer, but I’ll introduce you later. And don’t make yourself a stranger at the house,” she said and then threaded her way back through the crowd.

When she was out of earshot Colin turned to Kyle. “She’s really something. You’re very lucky, you know?”

Kyle smiled as he watched Marilyn walk away. “Yeah, I know.” Turning back to Colin he said, “What do you really think of the gallery?”

“I like it. I like the mood of the place. It’s classy without being pretentious.”

“Would you be interested in investing in it?”

That surprised him. “I might be. Tell me more.” Colin was always looking for ways to invest in something other than the stock market. He was over-invested there as it was and wanted to diversify. An art gallery piqued his interest.

“Erin has a mortgage on this building. She lives upstairs in the second floor apartment and there is another on the third floor. The woman who used to live on the third floor owned the building and financed the deal, but she died and her son wants to change the terms of the mortgage. The higher monthly payments will be tough to meet. It would probably set her back another year, at least.”

“Why doesn’t she refinance through a bank?”

“This is the tough part…”

“And the risk, I suspect?”

“No, not really. She’s doing okay, turning a small profit and holding her own at her current interest rate. But the banks won’t finance her because her ex-husband borrowed against their house and then left her holding the bag. He put everything in Erin’s name. She couldn’t keep up the payments by herself and there were debts all over the place that she didn’t even know about. She lost the house, and is still paying off the credit cards. The banks look at her as a serious risk.”

Colin pictured some flaky new-age bimbo, too dumb to read the papers her husband must have put in front of her to sign. “Sounds messy,” Colin said looking out over the crowd. “How much does she need?”

“Only four-hundred thousand to pay off the loan to the former landlady’s son. She’s making all the payments and will be able to collect rent on the upstairs apartment once the son clears out his mother’s things.”

It sounded too much like a soap opera for Colin’s taste. He didn’t like his business dealings to be complicated by someone’s personal problems. The complications in his own past were enough to last a lifetime.

“I’m not sure I’m interested, yet, but I do like the idea of investing in a gallery. It’s appealing to me for reasons other than the investment. I’d feel like my money was doing something besides funding oil rigs.”

Kyle laughed. “You always were an art buff so I thought you might be interested. Erin would probably love to see your collection, and she might be a great contact for you as well.”

“Are you suggesting I invite Erin to see my etchings?” Colin said, laughing.

Kyle cocked an eyebrow at him.

“Seriously, Marilyn says Erin’s been working day and night to figure out how to come up with the money. But she doesn’t know I’m even asking you this. We might have to finesse her into it – she’s very independent.”

“All right, but don’t tell her anything yet. Maybe later you can just introduce us and let me check her out.”

“I’ll do that,” Kyle said. “I’ll catch up with you in a little while.”You Belong To Me

Kyle headed toward the front of the gallery while Colin headed toward the bar. He was driving so he switched to cola and then wandered through the gallery, noting several paintings that interested him.

Near the back of the gallery a woman caught his eye. He didn’t know who she was, but he was certainly going to find out. Slipping into the crowd he moved slowly toward her.

With her long auburn hair, creamy white skin and the greenest eyes he had ever seen, she could be the poster girl for “Welcome to Ireland.” She wore a pale linen suit, the skirt short enough to show off her slender legs – not so short as to cheapen the look – and a silk blouse. He had half a hard-on just looking at her across the room and he didn’t even know her name. But he was going to.


New Release from Wendi Sotis – The Gypsy Blessing

I’d like to welcome author Wendi Sotis, author of the newly released, The Gypsy Blessing:

I am what one might call an “accidental author.” Oh, don’t get me wrong, growing up, my three biggest dreams were to someday be happily married, become a mother, and see my name in the card catalog at TheGypsyBlessingCovermy beloved local library. (I’m dating myself, eh?)

As a child, I was plagued with horrible nightmares, and I would make up stories to surround them in order to give them happy endings. Bashful about my writing, I never showed it to anyone. Eventually, the usual stuff happened—college, job, marriage (a happy one, just as I hoped J,) and children—except I went all out and had triplets. Needing a bit of “me time” occasionally, I returned to my first love, reading. Because I sometimes had time to read only a paragraph at a time, I chose books that I pretty much knew by heart, mainly the works of Jane Austen. Somehow, I found a web forum filled with Jane Austen fan fiction and started reading those stories. After having a dream that involved two Pride and Prejudice characters, I returned to my childhood habit of writing a story to surround it, and I posted it online. New story lines kept popping into my head, so I kept writing.

After “winning” National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo,) I found there was a prize—a free paperback copy of my book from CreateSpace. While I was only going to print a few copies for family, a couple of friends talked me into making it available to the public and putting it on eBook, too. I have to say, it surprised the heck out of me when people actually bought it! The Gypsy Blessing is now my fourth novel. The contemporary sequel is undergoing rewrites, and I’m working on two more novel-length stories.

It might not be the old-fashioned card catalog that I dreamt of as a kid, but when I searched the other day, I found myself listed there, proving that dreams really can come true!

Unlike some Jane Austen-inspired authors who write sequels, I change something about the story and see where my imagination takes us. Most Janeites call it “alternate universe.” My novels drift quite a distance from canon, and I write in it such a way that one does not need to be familiar with Pride and Prejudice to understand the happenings in the book, although anyone who is will easily see how far the blessing in The Gypsy Blessing causes the story to stray from the original.

About the book: In The Gypsy Blessing, magic and intrigue is weaved around a sweet romance, set in Regency England. While taking a solitary ramble on her father’s estate, Elizabeth Bennet finds an injured woman, cares for her, and helps her return to her gypsy camp. For Elizabeth’s exceptional kindness, she is awarded a blessing, bestowed through gypsy magic. Forgetting the incident, Elizabeth thinks it merely odd when she begins to receive drawings in the mail with no return address—until she recognizes these same scenes as they become true events in her life. Through the blessing, circumstances bring Elizabeth and Jane Bennet to Ramsgate, where they meet Georgiana and Fitzwilliam Darcy, along with a charming young man named George Wickham. Will Elizabeth’s efforts to reshape future events alter her destiny?

Purchase from Amazon

Purchase from Smashwords

New Release of Angels And Echoes by Dori Hartley #fantasy #supernatural #lovestory

I’d like to welcome Dori Hartley to my blog today. I read her book, Angels and Echoes about a year ago on Kindle, and I couldn’t put it down. Now she’s published on Createspace and you can get a copy here.

Angels And Echoes – by Dori Hartley

When I first wrote Angels and Echoes in 2011, I had visions of film rights, great actors and directors Angels and Echoes photobeating down doors to get at the screenplay and a book tour that had me too busy to accept Oprah’s non-stop begging. Oh how they all wanted my book, my story – in my head, I was the new Chuck Palahniuk, the Harlan Ellison – hell, I was the brainchild of Stephen King and Dan Brown. I was that good.

I decided I wanted to self publish, as the tides had changed and self-pub was no longer the option reserved for losers who couldn’t nail a deal with the three sisters. Now, self publishing was a cool thing to do, but as recently as 2011 – it was still too expensive, and because of my lack of buckage I could only afford to put out a nice, worthy e-book, on Kindle. Huzzah!

Sales aplenty, but always amidst the sounds of readers who expressed that there’s nothing quite like a physical book to hold in one’s hand, to cherish, kiss, press to one’s bosom, get in the damned bath with, destroy the spine of, rest one’s coffee cup on – simply nothing like it. I took that into consideration and took the millions I made off of my Kindle publication (yes, that’s sarcasm) and invested in Createspace’s POD program. My total cost: Nothing!

Still, the work was there, and I now had a chance to re-edit and recreate a stunning new book cover – and I could now thrill to the idea that actual page numbers would be there for readers. Percentages be gone! We are only human, we readers – we need some page numbers for the love of all we hold unholy!

Finally, Angels and Echoes became a physical reality. Or, as we in the real world like to call it: a book. You can touch it, flip through it, fold the pages, sniff it’s essence, and of course – you can fall madly in love with the story, which is so intense that I promise you will never forget it.

So, what’s the story about? Without giving too much away, I’ll say this. It’s a fantasy-fiction that brings together hardcore realities and escapist wishes. It is a story of abuse, of rejection and undying hope. It is the tale of two dreamers and the parallel path of chaos that leads them to redemption.

It’s also a tale of the internet and role playing games; a crime novel, a supernatural thriller and the greatest love story ever told.

It is painful and heartbreaking and after reading it, you will believe in true love.

Angels and Echoes is the greatest thing I’ll ever do in my life. It’s what I leave the planet when I go. My soulmate love story.

People always ask me if it’s an autobiography. No, it isn’t. It’s pure fiction. But as Alfred Hitchcock once said, “Fiction is real life with the boring parts left out.”

Enjoy my novel, it is for you.

-Dori Hartley, December 2013

For more information on Angels and Echoes, read the non-spoiler synopsis available on CreateSpace