Sample Saturday: “Flowers of Europe,” with Cover Reveal

Flowers of Europe

Hi, everyone. I’m now working on final edits for the next Pocketful of Stories. The sixth title is “Flowers of Europe,” which features a delightful rake and inventor named Thaddeus Flowers. In this steampunk adventure, Thad’s chasing after fame … and romance. You’re getting the first look at the cover today!

Here’s a snippet to whet your appetite.


1882

Thaddeus Flowers awoke in a bed not his own, head pounding. He’d definitely taken too much ale at the White Horse last night, and was not entirely sure where he was. The pub was in the Seven Dials, but he might be anywhere from there to Chelsea.

Raking his fingers through his dark hair, Thad sat up slowly. The dull light filtering in through the curtains showed a respectable enough room; his clothes were draped across a chair … on top of what looked like a petticoat.

Oh, dear god.

Thad looked at the sleeping figure next to him. The young woman’s auburn hair was spread across the pillow, her face serene in sleep.

A pretty girl. I wish I remembered her name!

With movements that were far too practiced even for his own liking, Thad slid out of bed without disturbing the redhead. All clothes except for his boots were donned quietly. Once outside the room, and the house, he would put on his boots and walk away.

As he’d done so many times before.

Of course, that had been in America. Thad had promised himself that he’d be better behaved once he moved to London. But the women all seemed to adore his handsome face and charming accent … and so, here he was again.

Tiptoeing out of what seemed to be a respectable boarding house, Thad paused to slip on his boots and get his bearings. There was Covent Garden, and Drury Lane. So, not far from Seven Dials at all.

Very well, then.

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Sample Saturday: “Second Chance in the Vieux Carré,” My Current Work in Progress

Hi, everyone. It’s the penultimate day of our mini writer’s retreat, and thanks to my colleagues I’ve had a breakthrough on a story with which I’ve struggled. This is very much a first draft, which means that things may change a little bit by publication time. Meet Hope Rutherford, the heroine of my latest tale.


No one wants anything to do with me. I wish I understood why.

Hope Rutherford hit the “end call” button on her cell phone. If there was a way for the day to get worse, she couldn’t imagine it. Yesterday, she’d been laid off from her job at the insurance company. There was a “nice package,” as they called it; she wouldn’t have to work for at least a year, which left her plenty of time for the volunteer work she’d found so fulfilling. And, at least she had Gary; she was sure a proposal would be coming any time. They’d been seeing each other for about a year. Sure, he wasn’t always available when she wanted to get together, but he had a career of his own at an internet startup. Those kinds of jobs meant keeping crazy hours. Gary had told her so. Hope had been more than understanding. She wanted to support her boyfriend, after all. So, she’d put his share of the dinners she cooked in the fridge and, most often, ate them herself the next day when he said he wasn’t going to make it after all and was ever so sorry.

Hope believed in giving people second chances. And third chances. And sometimes even fourth chances … for anyone but herself.

But then she’d called Gary up to tell him about her layoff.

“Um, Hope? I don’t know quite how to tell you this.” He sounded sheepish. “I have been seeing someone else for a while, and I’ve fallen in love with her. We’re getting married.”

“What the hell, Gary? Seriously?”

“I’ve been meaning to tell you for some time now, but the time never seemed right.”

“How long, Gary? Oh, you know what? It just doesn’t matter. I don’t care how long.” The tears were already flowing.

“I’m sorry, Hope. I didn’t mean for this to happen. But, to be honest, your mental illness started to get on my nerves. I don’t like being around people who have to be on meds. And then I met this other lady; she’s easy to be with. She doesn’t have a bunch of rules for life like you do.”

“So, it was an accident that you let me think I meant more to you than I do? And you didn’t see anything wrong with my rules for life when we first met. Okay then. I hope you and … whatever her name is … are happy.”

“It’s Sherri. Her name is Sherri.”

“Well, I wish you the best, Gary, with your little rhyming girlfriend.” Tears streamed down Hope’s face as the bitter words left her mouth. “I hope you get all that you deserve.”

The day had definitely gotten worse.

Sample Saturday: “In The Eye of The Storm”

eye2Hi, everyone. I have had a lot of fun celebrating the 10th anniversary of In The Eye of the Beholder. However, this year is also the 5th anniversary of its sequel, In The Eye of The Storm. That’s where today’s sample comes from. Our narrator is Gilbert Rochambeau, who started as a minor character in the first book but soon showed me that his role would be much larger. Enjoy!


I suppose I should write about my friendship with Erik LeMaître. I was initially terrified of him; I would be a liar to say otherwise. He was a fearless assassin, and his word was law in the household. But then I realized that, like me, he had been subjected to abuse: only our response to it differed. I had been frightened and craven; Erik, for his part, was ruthless.

We were similar in height and build, as I have said; the suit he gave to me that night was the first well-cut clothing I had worn in years. He was determinedly fastidious in his person, almost as though compensating for the ravaged face he wore.

And ravaged it was. One side was handsome as a man might want, while the other was twisted and discolored by a port wine birthmark. The soft skin of one nostril was completely gone, and one eye was almost lidless. It was this disfigurement that he covered with his many masks. His eyes glittered green and his raven black hair swept back from his forehead. I kept it trimmed weekly to hide the clever hairpiece he wore; the ravaged tissues of his face extended to his scalp on that side.

Every time I saw Claire kiss Erik, unafraid of his appearance, my heart alternately swelled at her kindness and plummeted with jealousy and despair at the idea that I would find such a wife. There could surely not be a second woman like her anywhere on earth. I was equally certain that no woman would tolerate the horror of my twisted leg and the embarrassment of my limp.


Want your own copy of In The Eye of The Storm? Here are the back cover copy and purchase links.

San Francisco, 1948

When a mysterious stranger approaches Clarice Kaye in her favorite restaurant, his words trigger a voyage of discovery: “You look just like your grandmother, but you have your mother’s eyes.”

There was only one question in Clarice’s mind: how could he know?

Armed with family diaries that tell of the scandalous grandmother for whom she was named, Clarice embarks on a journey through Paris’ modern art movement, 1906 San Francisco, and the depths of the Opéra Garnier in this long-awaited sequel to In The Eye of The Beholder.

In The Eye of The Storm is the 2015 Silver Medal Winner for Best Fan Fiction in the Global eBook Awards.

AbeBooks

Alibris

Amazon (Click through on this link and it will automatically take you to the site for your country)

Apple Books

Barnes & Noble

Blackwells (Great Britain)

Bokus (Sweden)

Book Depository

Booktopia (Australia)

Chapters Indigo (Canada)

FNAC (France)

IndieBound

Kobo

Mondadori (Italy)

Rakuten Overdrive (via your local library)

Riffle

The Ripped Bodice

Scribd

Smashwords

 

 

Sample Saturday: “Two Days in June”

Two Days in JuneToday’s sample is from my latest edition of Pocketful of Stories, currently available for pre-order via Amazon and Smashwords. Enjoy!

—–

Bahorel bought another round of wine for the group; it was his turn, after all. At least Grantaire was late; that meant the bottle would last longer. The veteran-student was always drowning his sorrows.

Combeferre and Feuilly were playing dice, while Courfeyrac and Prouvaire loudly debated a point of philosophy. It looked to be just one more night in the dingy tavern on the rue de la Chanverrie.

Until Grantaire entered, his face solemn as a judge, followed by an equally subdued Enjolras.

Grantaire picked up the nearest glass — which happened to be Bahorel’s.

“A toast to fallen comrades, my friends,” he intoned. “General Lamarque has gone to his reward.”

Sample Saturday: In The Eye of The Storm

Eye Of The Storm Cover_revisedHi, everyone. I had a great time celebrating the 10th anniversary of In The Eye of The Beholder during April. However, this year is also the 5th anniversary of its award-winning sequel, In The Eye of The Storm. This week’s excerpt sets the tale.


October 1948
San Francisco, California

Clarice waited quietly in Sam Wo’s restaurant; her friends would be joining her any time now, just as they did the first Saturday of every month, for lunch.

When Clarice first sought permission to join some of the other senior class girls at their luncheon club, Daddy quizzed her extensively. Yet, it was her mother whose expression softened when Clarice mentioned the name of the funny little restaurant where the girls met.

“Let her go,” Mommy had said. “It’s a safe place.”

So, once a month Clarice joined a few friends to dine in the restaurant. It was in a tall, narrow building on Washington Avenue; the food was delivered to the upper stories of the restaurant by dumbwaiter.

Clarice was pouring herself another cup of hot jasmine tea when she noticed an older Chinese man watching her from a corner table. She’d seen him in the restaurant many times, so she smiled. She was unsurprised when he smiled back but when he came over to the table just moments later, Clarice was not sure what to say.

He was taller than she’d thought, and nicely dressed. He studied her for a moment before speaking; his English was unaccented.

“You have your mother’s eyes, but your face is just like your grandmother’s.” His eyes were sad, despite the smile he wore.

“Do you know my family?” Clarice was a little surprised.

“Ask Veronique,” he said quietly. Then, he turned around and walked out of the restaurant just as Clarice’s friends came in. If any of the lively girls noticed Clarice’s distraction as they ate their egg foo yung and chop suey, they failed to remark on it.


Want your own copy of In The Eye of The Storm?  Here are the book blurb and purchasing links.

San Francisco, 1948

When a mysterious stranger approaches Clarice Kaye in her favorite restaurant, his words trigger a voyage of discovery: “You look just like your grandmother, but you have your mother’s eyes.”

There was only one question in Clarice’s mind: how could he know?

Armed with family diaries that tell of the scandalous grandmother for whom she was named, Clarice embarks on a journey through Paris’ modern art movement, 1906 San Francisco, and the depths of the Opéra Garnier in this long-awaited sequel to In The Eye of The Beholder.

In The Eye of The Storm is the 2015 Silver Medal Winner for Best Fan Fiction in the Global eBook Awards.

AbeBooks

Alibris

Amazon (Click through on this link and it will automatically take you to the site for your country)

Apple Books

Barnes & Noble

Blackwells (Great Britain)

Bokus (Sweden)

Book Depository

Booktopia (Australia)

Chapters Indigo (Canada)

FNAC (France)

IndieBound

Kobo

Mondadori (Italy)

Rakuten Overdrive (via your local library)

Riffle

The Ripped Bodice

Scribd

Smashwords