Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone

Her  Handyman by
Morgan Mandel

Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone

At the start of my romantic comedy, Her Handyman, the hero, Jake, is engaged to Angelina, whom he’s known for ages. His fiance is perfect in every way. She’s curvy, organized, hardworking and a wonderful cook to boot! What more could a guy want?

Then, by happenstance, he’s called out in the dead of night to fix an emergency toilet leak. That’s when he meets the quirky Zoe, who’s way different than Angelina. Zoe’s a rich, thin artist. She’s impulsive and unconcerned about minor details, such as keeping everything in its place and free from dust. Her on-the-fly meals often consist of raw fruits and vegetables, with occasional carryouts for variety. She appears perfectly content to hide away in her penthouse, in the sole company of her Chinese Crested canine, FuFu.

Jake’s future is arranged. There’s no reason for him to think twice about Zoe. Still, there’s something about her courage in the face of what he senses are hidden fears that draws him to her. Though she’s wealthy, in his mind she’s a waif, or poor little rich girl.

Jake can’t change his nature, which is to respond to people in need. Though Zoe claims to be happy with her lot in life, he knows deep down she’s needy.

On the other hand, Angelina has it all together, and would make a perfect wife. But, is perfect what’s best for him?

What should he do? Go ahead with a sure thing, or step out of the comfort zone? What would you do, take a chance or go with a sure thing?

Read Her Handyman to find out how Jake handles the situation.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


If you still haven't gotten your copy of Her Handyman, another opportunity is coming very soon.
Her Handyman will be offered FREE on Black Friday and Saturday, the two days after Thanksgiving.

The link to get your free copy is http://amzn.com/B0097EVXBK

This is the romance where Jake,  the handyman, answers a call in the early morning hours to fix a bathroom leak, before it spreads downward from rich, quirky artist, Zoe's penthouse onto the floor below.

Her dog, FuFu's Froggy got stuck in the toilet and that's how the leak started.

It turns out fixing the leak is the least of Jake, the handyman's problems!

By the way, you don't need to own a kindle to download this book, because Amazon is clever enough to offer other ways to download to you PC and other popular devices.

Also, there's free software at http://calibre-ebook.com
which can convert files from one type to another. I've used it and it wasn't too hard to figure out.

I would be very happy if you would take me up on this free offer, and also tell friends and family about it!

Morgan Mandel

Website: http://www.morganmandel.com
Amazon Author Page:

Monday, November 12, 2012

Please Welcome Kathy Otten, Author of Another Waltz

About Kathy Otten:
Kathy lives in the rolling farmland of western New York. She has been making up stories since she was in grade school, creating such works as Lucky the Dog and the Lost Uranium Mine. With a dad who was a fan of John Wayne and a mom who loved antiques, Kathy's imagination soon became fascinated with the past, especially the period in American history from the start of the Civil War through the end of the free range cowboys.
Kathy has been married for 30 years and raised three children. When she is not at her computer she can be found walking her dog through the woods and pastures near her home, or curled up with a good book and one of her five cats.

Kathy Shares Her Writing Techniques:
When I write, some of the most fun I have is in doing research. It’s kind of a treasure hunt for me, setting off in search of buried facts.
Since most of my stories are westerns, I needed to set off on a whole new adventure, researching a monied society on the east coast. I knew Maddy’s family was old money, with original Boston bloodlines. That type of wealth included an expensive house on Beacon Hill. I searched the internet for Beacon Hill real estate and found a house that had been built in the early 1800’s. Since the house was for sale the site had posted several interior photos. I printed them out and suddenly had a glimpse inside the house where Maddy could have actually lived.
I have a book about early Boston and there was the house right on the map. There was even an old black and white photograph of the street and the park across from Maddy’s house. Suddenly my characters felt like relatives on an ancestory web site. My book also had old maps of Boston, and with my magnifying glass I could read the names of the actual streets Maddy traveled in 1870.
Next I researched hospitals, and discovered that the police used to take any sick or injured people they found lying in the street to Boston City Hospital. I ended up buying a book on the history of Boston City Hospital. There was a lot of information in it so I may write something in the future that takes place there. The book had old photographs and pages of description which I was able to use to make the hospital scenes as realistic as possible.
The most fun though, was researching all things Victorian, from ballroom etiquette to holiday decorating to the stuffing used in mattresses for the nursery.

About Another Waltz, plus an excerpt:
After a magical waltz in a winter wonderland with the only man who has ever made her believe she is beautiful, Madeline Winthrop doesn't think life could be anymore perfect--until the night of the Christmas ball when she learns everything James Sullivan has told her is a lie.
Revenge against Madeline's brother forces James to do whatever is necessary to get back what was stolen from him, even if he has to use Madeline to do it. But the one thing he doesn't count on is the way she makes him feel.

“Oh Miss,” Molly cried as Madeline pushed open the door.

Toys and books lay scattered across the area rug. Alex was jumping on his bed, and little Penelope sat in the middle of the floor screaming.

“I never touched the child.” Molly exclaimed.

“Yes, she did.” Alex argued as he jumped. The tails of his nightshirt billowed and sagged above his ankles. “I saw her. She hit Penelope.”

Madeline closed the door, pulled off her long white gloves, and laid them on a small table beside a china doll.

Disheveled strands of Molly’s red hair had pulled free from her bun and fallen around her face. Her normally pristine apron was wrinkled and stained
with food. Deep lines of fatigue sagged beneath her eyes and bracketed her mouth. Madeline recognized this look every time she gazed into her mirror at the end of the day.

Madeline marched straight to Penelope. “Stop your crying at once.”

“She wants to go to Mother’s party.” Alex explained as he continued to bounce up and down. Beneath his bare feet, a crater-like indentation had
formed in the center of the horsehair mattress.

“Alex, you will cease that infernal jumping.”

“No. I want a story.”

“Alex, do not argue with your elders.

“Penelope, you are too young to attend the ball, and all the tears in the world will not change that.”

The little girl snuffled and looked up, her lower lip protruding in a pout. Moisture glistened on her lashes and dampened her cheeks. No doubt half of
Penelope’s problem was exhaustion. The little girl should have been asleep hours ago.

Madeline extended her hand. After a moment’s hesitation, Penelope rolled to her feet, but instead of wrapping her sticky fingers around Madeline’s pinky,
she reached out with both hands and clutched two fistfuls of Madeline’s gown.

Gasping in horror, Madeline grabbed Penelope’s wrists and tried to pull the child’s fingers away from the taffeta.

“Oh, Miss, I’m so sorry, ’tis beets, from the children’s supper.” Quickly Molly pried the girl, who began screaming once more, away from Madeline’s gown.

Two wide smears of purple surrounded by a sunburst web of wrinkles remained where Penelope’s chubby hands had been.

Horrified Madeline stared at the stains. Tears welled in her eyes. Her beautiful gown was ruined, and James hadn’t even seen her wearing it.

Alex ceased his jumping and fell across his pillow howling with laughter.

Molly steered the little girl away from the dress toward the wash basin on the other side of the room.

Madeline wasn’t sure what happened, but the next moment Molly cried out, and Penelope began shrieking.

“She bit me!” Molly cupped her wounded hand to her breast.

Enough!” Madeline snapped, longing to scream herself.

Silence descended. Alex sat up. Penelope sniffed and stared wide-eyed at Madeline.

“Alex, please get into bed. There will be no stories tonight. Penelope, you will apologize to Molly, and if there is any more biting, you will lose desserts
for a week. Now go with Molly and wash your hands and face.”

“You can’t yell at us.” Alex said as he crossed his arms over his narrow chest. “Mother and Father won’t approve.”

“I assure you, your parents do not want their guests disturbed by your hooligan behavior.”

“They can’t hear us way up here.”

He was probably right, but it wouldn’t do for a six year old to know that.
“Are you certain?”

“It doesn’t matter, because Mother will blame you.”

“That may be, but it will be for the last time. I am leaving this place and when I do, there will be no one left for her to blame except you.”

Alex narrowed his eyes. “Where are you going?”

“I am to be married and will be moving far, far away.”

Alex fell back on the bed laughing. “You’re not getting married. You’re lying. No one wants you. You’re a ’barrasment. Father said so.”

Madeline stiffened as though she’d been slapped. She bit her lip against the pain. They weren’t close, but she never imagined her brother would betray her like that with a child. She slipped her hand into the pocket of her gown and removed her spectacles. Hooking them behind her ears, she pushed aside the hurt and stepped toward the boy, her hands on her hips.

“Get yourself into this bed right now, young man,
or I will…”

He glared at her defiantly.

Her mind raced. “I will march outside, cut a switch from the nearest tree, come back here, and apply it directly to your backside.”

“You can’t do that,” he declared though a shadow of doubt crossed his features.

A rapid knocking sounded on the nursery door. Madeline glanced toward Molly, who hurried past her to answer it.

Alex rolled off the bed. “Mother will never let you hurt us.”

“It won’t matter. I am leaving.” She watched Alex wrestle with this logic even as she wondered why she was arguing with a six year old.

“Miss,” Molly called.

Madeline turned.

Waving both hands, Molly urged Madeline to come quickly. Her heart skipped with excitement as she hurried across the room. James had arrived.

“Simms sent word, Miss.” The chamber maid, Bridget, stood in the hallway.

Her eyes wide, a sense of urgency radiated from the girl’s taut features. “You must come now.”

Dread turned Madeline’s heart to wood inside the hollow of her chest.

“It’s Mr. Winthrop,” Molly explained. “He claims your gentleman friend is a housebreaker and wants to have him arrested.”

Web site: http://www.kathyotten.com
Purchase Link:

Please Welcome Kathy Otten to Sweet Not Spicy by leaving a comment.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Please Welcome Larriane aka Larion Wills

Larriane aka Larion Wills
Larriane a/k/a Larion Wills Asks: 
What’s a romance?

As a multi-genre, cross-genre writer one of the first things I had to learn when I entered the publishing field was what I considered a romance was not necessarily what publishers considered a romance. To me it’s a story wherein a man meets a woman, there is or isn’t instant attraction, but they do fall in love and overcome obstacles to reach happy-ever-after. 
That does not always qualify a story for the romance genre with—and I clarify this—some publishers. Confused? I was when I started cruising the publishers’ requirements for submitting. The following, however, is the definition by Romance Writers of Americana romance consists of two basic elements, a central love story, and an emotionally-satisfying and optimistic ending, at all heat levels.  

      Then they go into sub-genres:

contemporary—anything after 1945, either series or single title
historical—anything before 1945
inspirational—novels with religious or spiritual beliefs with the main part of the relationship
paranormalthe future, a fantasy world, or paranormal happenings are an integral part of the plot.
Regencythe majority of the story is set against the Regency period of the British Empire.
Suspensesuspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute an integral part of the plot.
young adult romancea strong romantic theme geared toward young adult readers.

Following those guidelines, the story I’m giving you a peek at today, Mark of the Sire, is a historical, western, suspense, romance. A mouthful.
While searching through publishers’ sites I ran into other requirements like the man and woman had to meet in the very first chapter. Some even specified the first page. Oops, that left some of mine out, including Mark of the Sire. The romantic characters had met when the story began, but he doesn’t come into the story until later. Ummm? Never mind, it’s still a romance in my opinion. Some specified a percentage of the story had to be devoted to the love aspect. To me it doesn’t matter if he has to go off in part of the book or if some chapters revolve just around her, as in Mark of the Sire. Then there were those who didn’t want suspense, some didn’t want westerns, and others in no way wanted science fiction. Hey, they’re all romances. To me, many traditional westernsthough called westerns to attract a male audiencewere formula romances. Case in point, Louis L’Amour one of the most popular western authors often had the male lead meeting the female in the first chapter, instantly being attracted, fight adversity, and ended happily. Hondo, Key-lock Man, Flint, and Fallon to name a few. And let’s not forget the Sacketts. Yes, Louis was an influence over my western Romances. The man was a romantic at heart and understood the west never would have been settled without strong women.
I love romances with suspense, mystery, paranormal, action, all of those varying elements. I mix up and cross genres in all manner of combinations. For a look at what I mean, drop by my website: Larriane AKA Larion Wills You’ll find my other historical western suspense romances there as well as news that the same characters will be back next May in the second of the series, Curse of the Sire. Some characters just won’t leave you alone.
 About Mark of the Sire: Cathy would deny she ran away even though the gossip had gotten vicious. She was certain the wilds of Colorado were far enough, never anticipating she’d first get herself into the same predicament that shamed her in the east or the man she’d ran from would follow.
Lon only meant to make things right for Cathy, hoping as well to leave behind the stories he'd  been responsible for his brother's disappearance. The reputation for violence he tried to leave behind followed---waited, buried in legends of the sire. Fate had led him to where his estranged father came from.
One son lost as a child, the second hating him for never finding his brother, the sire returned. Those who threatened his son discovered the truth of the man behind the legends. Lance was not to be challenged, and his mark was carried in more than appearance in the next generation.

Please Welcome Larriane aka Larion Wills to Sweet Not Spicy by Leaving a Comment.