Sunday, September 24, 2017

Battle of the Books: First Funny Moment by Gina Conkle

The Midnight Meetings series is growing with a novella and a full novel coming this year. The last time I blogged here, I featured the "first kiss" in both books (you can read "It's in His Kiss" here).

On my blog last week, I featured the "first meet" in both books (the curious can click here to read that one).

In the spirit of firsts, I'm presenting the first "funny moment" between the hero and heroine in The Lord Meets His Lady and Meet a Rogue at Midnight. The game is the same as the last time. Read the entries and weigh in with your vote in the comment section with which one you liked and why, because humor is just as individual as a kiss.

The prize? A $5 Amazon e-gift card.

The Lord Meets His Lady by Gina Conkle
(Midnight Meetings series, book 3)

The Set-Up: Genevieve Turner is a woman of ill-repute turning over a new leaf as respectable housekeeper in the north. She suspects Lord Marcus bamboozled her into working for him because he wants a racy Master-Servant relationship. Genevieve will have none of that. It's her first morning in service, and she's laying down the law.

His new housekeeper roved about his chamber, collecting discarded clothes. “You need a bath, milord. You smell like horse. I’ve already poured one for you.”
He grinned at her bluntness. Master-servant decorum didn’t matter here. He’d mentioned last night he couldn’t remember the last decent soak he’d had. A bath was perfect even if he’d need another one by the end of day.
He checked his chamber. “Where is my bath?”
“In the scullery.” She picked balled up stockings off the floor.
“That’s in the kitchen.”
“Sculleries usually are.” Miss Turner toed the ash pail closer to the fireplace. “Another requirement of mine: all bathing will be done in the scullery. I don’t haul wood or water upstairs.” She gave his night table a nod. The bottom drawer held the chamber pot. “And I don’t clean chamber pots.”
“But you’re the housekeeper,” he sputtered.
Her eyes sparked with mischief over an armful of laundry. “If you wanted a proper housekeeper, milord, you should’ve hired one.”
He was about to ask what kind of arrangement she’d made with Samuel, but someone banged the front door.
“That must be the Dutton sisters.” Miss Turner sashayed to his doorway, her voice light. “I poured your bath some time ago. If you want hot water, you’d better hurry.”
 “What?” His feet hit the cold floor.
Her breezy alto carried from the hallway. “Something to keep in mind, milord. Early risers get hot water.”

Meet a Rogue at Midnight by Gina Conkle
(Midnight Meetings series, book 4)

The Set-Up: Jonas returned home on Christmas Eve after ten years gone. He wants to settle things with his grandfather before leaving England for good. But, he had a unusual Christmas Eve encounter with childhood friend, Livvy Halsey. In this scene he's off to find out what does she do in her tower?

He charged up the meadow’s rise, his lungs bursting with rare good feeling since returning home. Livvy leaned outside the tower window, her copper braid swaying as she huffed in her struggle with the rope. A hulking wooden chair swung merrily at the end.
            Cupping his mouth, he called out, “Need some help?”
            Livvy’s head snapped up. “Jonas? Is that you?”
            He jogged to clear the ground between them, cold air biting his cheeks. Red-nosed and determined, she wrestled with rope and furniture.
He grabbed the chair and looked up. “Have a care, or you’re going to fall.”
A pair of lovely breasts jostled against her bodice. “I’ve done this many times.”
“Of course you have. Doesn’t every Englishwoman hang out windows and haul furniture up by rope?”
            She stifled a giggle. “Don’t be impertinent. You can see I’m in the middle of something.”
Tufts of snow landed on his face. He made an effort to speak to her eyes, not her cleavage. “What are you doing in your tower? Spinning chairs into gold?”
            “In a manner of speaking, yes, I am.” She grinned at him. “You’re in high spirits.”
“It is Christmas Day.”
“So it is.” She focused on the chair and adjusted her grip on the rope. “Well, don’t let me keep you from your celebrations.”
She was giving him the brush-off? 

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To get in the drawing for the $5 Amazon e-gift card, please leave your vote in the comments below (which one made you smile biggest and why). Random drawing will be done noon ET Sept. 30, 2017 and announced here on the blog.

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Keep your eyes open for more "Battle of the Books" blog posts where I feature different romance novel firsts from Meet a Rogue at Midnight and The Lord Meets His Lady.

Gina Conkle writes lush Viking romance and sensual Georgian romance. Her books always offer a fresh, addictive spin on the genre, with the witty banter and sexual tension that readers crave. She grew up in southern California and despite all that sunshine, Gina loves books over beaches and stone castles over sand castles. Now she lives in Michigan with her favorite alpha male, Brian, and their two sons where she’s known to occasionally garden and cook.

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Friday, September 22, 2017

Happy Fall!

Happy First Day of Fall, everyone! Here in Texas it doesn't feel much like fall, of course, but we know how to pretend. I can carry my pumpkin latte while hanging my Halloween wreath--all in shorts and t-shirts, of course. Because it's still 90 degrees.

But I have more to celebrate this fall. In November the first book in my Survivors series releases. Third Son's a Charm has received a lot of advance praise and made a couple of lists of new books to read this fall, like this one from RetailMeNot.

I hope you're looking forward to it as well, and just to give you a peek, I've written a prologue, which introduces some of the characters and shows how the troop began. You can check it out if you're an RT Book Reviews Subscriber or get it free when you join my newsletter.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Dreaming of a White Wolf Christmas is Coming! And Pretty Rocking Horses!

It's fall, still hot, hot, hot here in the Houston area.

So after all the flooding from Hurricane Harvey, I'm ready for cooler weather. The health department and DOD are spraying for the mosquitoes, which is another reason we need COOL weather!

Our roads were flooded and we couldn't get mail delivery, UPS delivery, couldn't navigate the roads out of the development for days. Electricity kept flickering on and off, and I had to give up on writing for a while because it kept shutting down my computer. But my daughter's home ( a half mile from me) and mine were fine. She had water on her patio and I gave her bags of bark mulch to help keep it from going higher. Food shortages galore. Need D batteries for camp lanterns, flashlights, out at all the stores? This was at a time when we realized the tropical storm had turned into a hurricane. No flashlights, camp lanterns, camp stoves.  Bottled water was gone and trucks couldn't get in to deliver it. So it was a wild couple of weeks.

The lightning was nonstop one night. We were under tornado watches and flood warnings constantly. When we were under tornado warning, I moved the puppies to an interior hall where we stayed.

But luckily, it skipped us. I gave to several church and pet shelter relief efforts. It was just heartbreaking what so many people had lost, and then while some were trying to dry out their furniture, others were stealing it!

Anyway, I felt so bad for everyone who died during the storm, or lost everything.

This is the second "historical weather event" I've been through since moving here a year ago. We had El Nino rains that were nonstop for days, just like with the hurricane, we had flooded roads and homes then too. My daughter and son-in-law assured me it never happens. Ever. Then Hurricane Harvey happened. *ahem*

So on lighter news, it's time for FALL, for wolves, and Christmas!

Dreaming of a White Wolf Christmas comes out in October!

Dreaming of a White Wolf Christmas
Oct 2017
Barnes and Noble:
Google Play:

And my SEAL Wolves are on sale!

My SEAL series is on special for a limited time! time! SEAL Wolf by  Terry Spear
62 cents to 99 cents: The SEAL wolves are practically free! Be sure if you haven’t gotten them already to do so now. I don’t know how long it will last.

And I just had fun purchasing a couple of beautiful rocking horses, they're old, and I think replicas of antique ones.

They make me feel like Christmas!

Have a great day!!

“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy is reality.”
Connect with Terry Spear:
Wilde & Woolly Bears http://www.celticbears

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Things I Learned After Breaking My Foot

I broke my foot. Unfortunately, when I went to the ER that night they misdiagnosed it as a sprained ankle. I was told the best way to heal was to get it moving again, so I spent two months walking on it and even went on a 10-day hiking trip! I diligently did exercises that were very good for a sprained ankle and very wrong for a broken bone. After two months I finally had an MRI that showed a broken navicular bone. It was back to the crutches!  Unfortunately, because I walked on it instead of letting it heal, the healing process may take a bit longer, so I'm going to be non-weight bearing on it for a while.

This is the kind of minor disaster that is supposed to teach you important life lessons.  So I sat down to write this blog about the important things I learned...and I drew a blank. The only thing I could come up with is - don't break your foot!  Now this is very good advice, but perhaps not exactly earth shattering, so I thought about it again, especially since if the purpose of breaking my foot was so I could learn something, I should figure out what it is so I can move on (not sure that's how life actually works, but it's what happens in books and as I am a writer, perhaps I need to play by those rules...)

So here are my life lessons from breaking my foot:

1) Don't break your foot.  I know, I know, pretty obvious, but important. Watch where you are going. Pay attention. Before I broke my broke my foot I zipped through life, always thinking ten steps ahead, not paying attention to the step I was on.  Be grounded. Figuratively and literally.

2) Come up with a better story.  So here's what happened to me. I was walking down cement stairs outside at night. I thought I was on the last stair so I was turning, my left leg crossing my body when the ground wasn't where it was supposed to be. I went down hard, did an inverse roll of my ankle, and felt a pop. This may be a sad tale, but it's not very exciting. Too many of my friends know the truth to come up with something really good. So if you ever break a bone, think up a better story quick. Make it something with flames and rescuing kittens and throw in a hunky guy who carries you to the hospital. Make it a good one because every person you meet for as long as you are on crutches is going to ask you what happened. Make it exciting!

3) A sense of humor is key. Crutches are evil. I think they were originally some medieval torture device. There is just no way to use them without either killing your armpits or your hands, or more likely both as you switch between them to try to get comfortable. The crutches aggravated my carpal tunnel so now I have a brace on my right wrist, which led everyone to start asking what happened to my hand (see the importance of coming up with a better story above). Sometimes you just have to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all.

4) Plan your next move. When movement takes effort and involves some difficulty, it's important to plan ahead. Stairs are my nemesis now. It's impossible to go up and down stairs with anything in my hands, so I have a bag to carry things. I need to think ahead as to where I'm going and what I need. To do this requires me to slow down and plan ahead. I can't do as many things as I was doing before, but what I can do I can give my whole focus and do well.

5) Accept help. In truth, I hate that. I want to be the helper not the helpee. I always want to feel like I have things under control. Of course, trying to live life balancing on one foot definitely puts a crimp in that plan. As much as it goes against the grain, sometimes it's good to swallow the pride, accept humility, and realize that there is no way you are going to carry a plate of food down the stairs while on crutches. Not going to happen. Trust me, I tried, and lost a delicious plate of pad thai in the process. Learn to accept help!

6) Forgive and move on. This is easier to say than do to. There has not been a day since the MRI that I don't wish I had been given the right diagnosis earlier so I could have healed faster. I wish I could go back and do it over again. And for that matter, I wish I could go back and walk down the stairs correctly to avoid all this. It seems so wrong that something that happened in a split second could have months of repercussions. It makes me grind my teeth in frustration that I was given the wrong medical advice. But traveling down that road doesn't make me happy. I can't change what happened, I can only deal with today. Forgiveness is a gift I am working on giving myself.

7) People are actually pretty nice. Trying to manage while injured, I have been surprised at how often strangers will offer to help. Since I can't move fast, this often leads to a friendly conversation. I've had people of every age group, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and any other grouping you can imagine, offer to help. Often they have their own stories of when they were injured. Breaking something seems to be a universal experience. It's a great ice-breaker. Everyone can relate. I've met people I probably never would have otherwise. In a world that can be full of division, this gives me hope.

Stay safe out there!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Being Texan: A Hurricane Story

Hey, all, it’s mid-September, and you know what that means: pumpkin-flavored edibles, back-to-school, football, and also, um, the hurricane season. Or rather, the downhill slide into the end of it. I live in Texas, grew up in Houston, and hurricanes are kind of baked into who I am. Actually, they’re part of my whole family. As a young man, my dad was one of those crazy dudes who drove against the evacuation traffic down to the Galveston seawall to watch Carla come in. As this was before I was born, I’m so very pleased he survived to pass along the crazy genes. Thanks, Dad.

My kids made Sharpie marks on the
storm glass barometer as Harvey was
coming in. It's kind of a family tradition.
I remember being a little kid and learning about barometric pressure and watching our little pressure gauge on the wall in the living room when the scratchy-sounding weather radio gave the update on the storm coordinates. My sister and I routinely placed bets on whether we’d get a direct hit. I cleaned up in frosted Pop-Tarts and near misses.

When Hurricane Alicia roared through in ’83, we had the funnest ever almost-like-camping party in the bathroom. The whole family squished in there for hours listening to the weather band while the storm wrenched the metal carport outside until it screamed like a B-horror slasher victim. Alicia went right over us, and I remember zipping out on my bike, up and down the block during the ceasefire of the hurricane’s eye, collecting a zillion pine cones and stacking them in the plastic basket on my handlebars. Doubtless I had big plans for crafts that I never got around to doing.

Momma hollered down the road for me to come back in, and I wondered why but went anyhow. And then the back half of Alicia blew in, and we retreated to the bathroom fortress, to stare at the mattress Dad had pressed up against the lone window and hope none of the giant pecan trees fell on our house.

In Austin, about four hours inland of
where Harvey made landfall, we got
4.5 inches of rain in around 15 hours.

Most of my childhood hurricane memories are washed in sepia tones of anticipation and school-free days and time spent with my family. In short, good times, good memories. Even evacuating out of Galveston as an adult with Ike on our tail was kind of fun, in that wow-that’s-a-lot-of-traffic way.

What happened recently in Texas and the Caribbean and Florida and Mexico wasn’t fun.

Not even to me.

Most of my family still lives in Houston, and texting with them through Harvey and the days of rain afterward was terrifying and frustrating, worse this time because I was hours away and had no way of getting there to help. All I could do was monitor the weather service and thumb-type feverishly and...donate.

So I donated a lot. And it felt like I was actually, you know doing something. If you also have felt helpless watching strangers on television who have lost everything they own and look sort of shell-shocked, here are the places I liked enough to send money to (my research into these places was not super in-depth, but they all offer updates on how the money is being used, which I appreciate):

J.J. Watt’s OneCaring Houston Flood Relief Fund:

Austin Pets Alive! (a no-kill animal shelter in Austin that took in hundreds of displaced pets from the Gulf Coast):

Tim Duncan’s US Virgin Islands Hurricane Relief YouCaring fund:

GlobalGiving Fund for Hurricane Irma relief in Florida:

 And, Maria? You stay away from the islands and Florida, y'hear? They've been through enough. If only I knew of a super villain with weather control technology who could make you just go away. But that's just fiction. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

SEAL Wolves 62 cents to 99 cents!

My SEAL series is on special for a limited time!

                                              SEAL Wolf by  Terry Spear
62 cents to 99 cents: The SEAL wolves are practically free! Be sure if you haven’t gotten them already to do so now. I don’t know how long it will last.

Have a great day!!

“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy is reality.”
Connect with Terry Spear:
Wilde & Woolly Bears http://www.celticbears