Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Romance

While the entire story of Sapphire and Gold isn't centered around Christmas, there are several scenes that take place during the Christmas season in Colonial Williamsburg. Here's an excerpt of one:

Alexandra stood at the staircase landing’s large multi-paned window, bathed in the golden glow of the setting sun. She waited and worried. Waited for Derek’s schooner to appear at the plantation’s wharf. Worried about his reaction to her confession.

She placed her hand on her abdomen and wondered if she would look different to him. Within weeks her condition would be apparent to all. Would he turn away from her in disgust? She wouldn’t be able to bear it.


She leaned over the balustrade looped with spruce garlands. “Yes, Mother?”

Laurel stood at the foot of the stairs. “Our guests are arriving.”

“I’ll join you in the ballroom in a few minutes.” With a heavy sigh, she cast one more longing glance out the window then gathered the folds of her burgundy velvet skirt and descended the stairs in slow, unhurried steps. Her brow knitted in concern. Derek had said he would be there. Something terrible must have happened.

“Why, wherever could your husband be, sister dear?”

Alexandra turned to see Jillian emerge from the shadows of the hall. The jubilant expression in the younger woman’s dark gaze put her on guard.

“Do you suppose he has tired of you already?” Jillian shook her head and clucked her tongue. “I can see why. You look a bit dreadful. I fear that color doesn’t suit you. Did you do your own hair? Your secret’s safe with me. I shan’t tell anyone.”

Alexandra resisted the urge to smooth her hair. The slight movement would only serve to reward her sister’s desire for revenge. Instead, she stood confident. Derek had often remarked he liked her hair unbound and he had chosen her dress himself. “I won’t fight with you. Nothing you can say will spoil this day for me.” With quiet dignity, she walked past the younger woman.

“I do believe the purpose of this ball is to celebrate your marriage. Won’t that be a trifle difficult without your roving husband?”

Alexandra’s footsteps faltered for but a moment at the venom in her sister’s voice. Then she squared her shoulders and continued on her way, struggling to shut out the echo of Jillian’s mocking laughter.

“Derek has not left me,” she whispered. “He will come back. He must.” She lifted her chin a notch and entered the ballroom.

Festive splendor greeted her. Christmas finery decked the large room and brought a hint of a smile to her troubled heart. The fragrance of pine and bayberry mingled in the air. Garlands of box and bay added touches of gaiety. Sprigs of holly had been tucked behind the mirrors. In one corner, fiddlers played a romantic ballad that tugged at her already fragile emotions.

She forced back the sudden onslaught of weepiness and moved forward to greet her guests. Many of the prominent planters of the area accompanied their wives in wishing Alexandra well with her marriage and asking after Derek. After each congratulatory offer, the scorching heat of Jillian’s triumphant gaze bored through her back.

Where are you, Derek? Behind her she heard the doors open. The curtains fluttered, then a hush fell over the room.

She turned. There stood Derek.

Dizzying joy swept through her Her husband caught her up against his lean, muscled form. “I claim the right of kissing the fair maiden standing beneath the kissing ball.” He lowered his mouth to hers and stole her breath.

Alexandra entwined her arms around his neck and reveled in the sweet sensations. “I thought you’d never arrive.”

He pressed a final kiss to the tip of her nose. “I always keep my promises. Don’t you know that by now?”

A lump in her throat thickened her speech. “I’m sorry I ever doubted you.” A frown gathered on her forehead and she gave his chest a sharp poke. “Where have you been?”

His eyes alight with a merry twinkle, Derek turned and signaled to a house servant. Within seconds, Polly Taylor and the children swarmed around her, talking and hugging all at once.

The children had come. Tears spilled down her cheeks as she pulled them close, touching each and every one of them to assure herself they were really there. She looked up. Derek stood outside the circle of children, his grin wide. “Is this the pressing matter you had to attend to?”

He nodded. “You are pleased with your Christmas gift?”

“Pleased? I’m more than pleased. It was more than I dared to dream for.” No wonder she loved him so.



One of my favorite Christmas movies is While You Were Sleeping. (Love the leaning scene.) One of my favorite Christmas books is A Season for Miracles by Marilyn Pappano, which is the first book in her awesome Bethlehem series. Do you have a favorite Christmas story or movie?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Writing toward Home

I'm reading Writing toward Home: Tales and Lessons to Find Your Way by Georgia Heard and wanted to share this quote from Martha Graham to Agnes de Mille (in the chapter Keeping the Channel Open):

"And because there is only one of you in all time, this experience is unique and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium, and be lost. The world will not have it."

This is only part of the entire quote, but it really caught my attention and made me think. Like the author of the book, I will post this quote inside my writing notebook and a couple other places where I will see it often.

I'm only part way through this book. It's not a big book, but I'm savoring each chapter. According to the back cover, "It includes exercises--road maps to get you going--to help overcome the obstacles that may be in your way: writer's block, fear of rejection, silencing the critics, lack of time."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Will You Help Make Christmas 2009 Special?

Let’s make Christmas 2009 special for the children at Wesley Medical Center!

Lexi’s L.A.M.B. is doing a fundraiser to raise money to buy each child at Wesley Medical Center a Bernard the Polar Bear from Avon. Each bear costs $20 and our goal is to raise enough money to purchase 30 bears. Any additional funds will provide toys and other items for the children to use throughout the year.

Lexi’s L.A.M.B. Foundation is a non-profit ministry set up in the memory of my granddaughter, Alexis Christine Sparks. Our Vision is to provide God’s little angels with love, comfort, and support. The mission of Lexi’s L.A.M.B. is to follow God’s will in providing financial, emotional, and material support for children with special needs through a partnership with parents, family and medical staff.

For more information about Lexi’s L.A.M.B. Foundation please visit our website at http://www.lexislamb.org/ or email me at penrader@juno.com.

Merry Christmas and God Bless!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Need a Jump Start?

Need help jump starting your creativity? Care to share what inspires you? I'd love to have you visit me over at Bits & Bytes: Romance...the Writer's Way. http://warawriters.blogspot.com/2009/11/need-jump-start.html

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

New Reviews!

I found two reviews of Sapphire and Gold. I hope you check them out!

From Long and Short Reviews:

This was a unique historical for me as I’ve never read one prior that was partially set on a ship without having had pirates in it. In addition to that aspect, it was loaded with action, suspense, and a bit of mystery, a little bit of everything to keep your interest alive. The romance between Derek and Alexandra was rocky at times, but as in life, when a couple overcomes so many obstacles, the love – and steamy, sexy love scenes – are so much stronger and better. An excellent, richly told read! (Rating: 4.5 out of 5)

From the Readin' Something Crazy blog:

Very well-written and intriguing. Love a story that has a bit of mystery mixed in with the romance. And while I really wanted to smack Lexie at times, I did truly understand why she was so insecure and stubborn. Her world was shattered by one overheard conversation changing everything she once thought true and right about her life. Thankfully, for her sake, she does grow and overcome her insecurities, thanks to Derek Tremaine.

All in all, a really good historical read that I would highly recommend to anyone. This is the first historical novel that I’ve read that takes place at least partially on a ship. And get this… it has nothing to do with pirates. LOL

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

New Way to Tell a Story

Want to be amazed and inspired? Check out this video: http://www.fark.com/cgi/vidplayer.pl?IDLink=4575494

Thanks to CJ Lyons for posting this link!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

If You Love a Writer - Blog - Eileen Flanagan

I just spotted this on Facebook and thought I'd share it here. Since my first book was released a bit over two months ago, this post hit home with me.

If You Love aWriter - Blog - Eileen Flanagan
The new home of Eileen Flanagan's blog, Imperfect Serenity

Friday, August 21, 2009

Organizing Tips & Tricks

Today I'm blogging at Bits & Bytes: Romance...the Writer's Way

I hope you'll come visit and share a tip or two or three. (grin)

And if you're in Wichita tomorrow, I'm having my first booksigning at Waldenbooks, Towne West, beginning at noon. I'd love to see you!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Trio of Local Romance Authors to Sign Books

My first booksigning is almost here!

When: Saturday, August 22, 2009, from noon until 3 p.m.

Where: Waldenbooks in Towne West Square, Wichita, Kansas.

I'll be signing copies of my debut historical romance, Sapphire and Gold. Two friends will join me: Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense author Patricia Davids, who'll be signing her newest release, Speed Trap, and Harlequin American author Roxann Delaney, who'll be signing her newest release, The Rodeo Rider.

Please stop by and chat with us! We'll have chocolate!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Don't Forget the Flaws!

Today I'm blogging about character flaws. I hope you'll visit me at the Bits & Bytes: Romance...the Writer's Way blog: http://warawriters.blogspot.com/2009/07/dont-forget-flaws.html

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Not Going to Nationals blog series

I just found this great blog series, Not Going to Nationals.

Trish Wylie is tweaking Jack Bickham's 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes for romance. Check it out at http://trishwylie.blogspot.com/2009/07/not-at-nationals-common-romance-writing.html

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Going Where the Fear Is

I just read this and it really resonated with me, so I thought I'd share.

So much of writing is going where the fear is. Fear is power, and a lot of writers don’t want to go there. It’s absolutely natural. Who, after all, wants to be afraid or hurt? Feelings of fear or pain exist for a reason. They are warnings, and quite effective ones. They’re like the reflex that pulls your hand back before you realize you’ve touched something hot. (Gom jabbar notwithstanding. Ha.)

Harnessing that power, going where the fear is, writing even though your hands are sweating and your heart is in your mouth, is the very least you owe your readers. You have a bargain with them–you tell the truth, they keep reading. Lie, bullshit, pull back or cop out–and they sense it. They smell it. It will get your book thrown across the room faster than anything.

These two paragraphs come from this blog post by Lilith Saintcrow titled "There Is No Bloodless Art": http://www.lilithsaintcrow.com/journal/2009/07/this-is-no-bloodless-art/ I hope you'll read the rest of her article.

I realized a while ago that I've been letting fear rule me and get in the way of my writing. I'm still working my way through it, one itty bitty baby half-step at a time. Anyone else suffer from this? How do you deal with it?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

This Book Made Me Cry

It's been a long time since a book made me cry. A tears-running-down-my-cheeks, can't breathe, have-to-shut-myself-in-my-bathroom-till-I-pull-myself-together cry.

It happened again about fifteen minutes ago.

The book? Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah. A story about a thirty year friendship. A story about mothers and daughters. A story about family.

Read it. Share it with your best friend, with your mom, with your daughter.

Monday, June 29, 2009

I'm Blogging at Helen's Heroes!

Today I'm blogging at Helen's Heroes blog. I do hope you'll stop by http://helensheroes.blogspot.com/2009/06/mondays-hero-derek-from-sapphire-and.html and leave a comment.

I'm blogging about Derek Tremaine. He's the hero of my new release, Sapphire and Gold. Here's a peek at him ---------------->

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sapphire and Gold's Official Release is Today!

It's finally here! Today is the official release date for my first sale, Sapphire and Gold! I am sooo excited! I do hope you will enjoy Derek and Alexandra's story.

Sapphire and Gold is also available in paperback through:

Here's a blurb and an excerpt of the story.


In 1752 Philadelphia, Alexandra Whittaker overhears the man who has raised her--and intends to marry her--admit to kidnapping her. She then uncovers a locket containing a portrait of herself as a child. Confused and frightened, she flees, heading for Williamsburg, Virginia, the place inscribed on the back of the locket. On her way out of Philadelphia, she stumbles across a bear and ends up in the river.

Sea Captain Derek Tremaine is guilt-ridden over the disappearance of a small girl left in his care as a youth. Always searching for her, he hears she may be alive and travels to Philadelphia where he discovers an unconscious young woman in the river. She bears a strong resemblance to the mother of the missing girl who has haunted his dreams. He is drawn to assist and protect her as she sails with him to Williamsburg in her hunt for answers about her life. But will the truth give them peace and allow their growing love for one another to blossom? Or will it drive them apart?


The last vestiges of pain ebbed. She opened her eyes and thought she caught a fleeting glimpse of concern cross his handsome features. Her fingers felt along the bandage on her brow. "What happened to me?"

"You fell into the river and hit your head. Max and I pulled you out."


"My dog. Come, Max."

The Newfoundland eased his large frame between his master and Alexandra. She gasped in surprise--he outweighed her by at least three stone! She tried to sit up.

The man assisted her. "Easy now, lest you cause yourself further injury. Mayhap you should lie still." Impatience crept into his voice again.

She winced at his mild rebuke and lowered her gaze, only to realize she was clad in her bed gown. "Sir, has a woman been caring for me?"

"Nay." Amusement glittered in his eyes. "Women are not allowed on vessels. They bring bad luck."

Heat flooded her cheeks, but she forced herself to continue. "I'm--" She cleared her throat and tried again. "I'm not wearing my pink dress."

"Aye, that is true." He nodded, his expression unfathomable.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sapphire and Gold Is Available In Print!

I am soooo stoked! I just checked bn.com and Amazon.com. Sapphire and Gold is already showing as available! (The official release date is June 26, 2009.) I gotta get some copies ordered so I can hold it my hands because I don't think it will really be real until then.

And here's the link for Amazon.com

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Finish Your Shift

I recently listened to a writing workshop given by Jodi Thomas. One of the lessons she learned as a teen and applies to her writing keeps playing in my mind: Finish your shift. Translation: Finish your book. If it's completed, rewrite it. If it's rewritten, submit it.

I love doing revisions, doing research. It's the new stuff that comes hard for me. Getting those words on the page in the first place, that's my struggle.

While listening to Jodi's workshop, I realized that as a kid I loved working on various projects, but sometimes I didn't finish them. Who am I kidding? Most of the time I didn't finish them. I think it's because if I finished it, it would be done. Over. Completed. Then what? I didn't have a money tree in my yard, so I made projects last as long as I could.

I think it's the same with writing. If I finish the story, then what? I'll have to create a new one. Then the fear sets in. What if the words won't come? It's almost easier not writing, than risking the words not coming.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Why Romance?

If you have a couple minutes, please come visit me while I blog on the topic "Why Romance?"

Bits & Bytes: Romance...the Writer's Way http://warawriters.blogspot.com/

Hope to see you there!

Friday, April 3, 2009

One Year and Two Days

Exactly one year and two days ago I received "the call." Actually, it was "the email." The Wild Rose Press wanted to contract my historical romance, Sapphire and Gold. I just about fell out of my chair. I work for an accounting firm and we were hot and heavy into tax season. I was just taking a quick peek at my email and saw the title of my book in the subject line. Of course, I had to read it.

After I danced around my office, I had a horrible thought: what if it was an April Fool's joke? Feeling like a fool, I emailed my editor and asked her straight out if it was a joke. Nope. She loved my book and had totally forgotten what day it was.

So, after a couple rounds of edits and proofreading, my release day is approaching. Sapphire and Gold will be published on June 26, 2009. Once I get past the current tax season I will figure out how to post my beautiful cover here, as well as the blurb and an excerpt or two. If you are curious and want to see the cover now, you can find it on my website. I promise to get some content onto my site...after tax season.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Free Read

I'm tickled to announce that my free read, A Colonial Valentine, which is a prequel to my soon-to-be-released novel, Sapphire and Gold, is available!

If you want to read my short story, this is the link:

If the link won't work, go to thewildrosepress.com. On the left side of the page, go to "Free Reads." At this moment, mine is listed at the tippy top.

Here's a tiny blurb of A Colonial Valentine:

It’s Valentine’s Day and, despite pinning bay leaves to her pillow, no one has asked Laurel Whittaker to be his valentine. When handsome Jared Montgomery walks into her father’s apothecary shop, will he join in the Valentine’s Day merriment?