Awesome Authors Highlight Constance Bretes

Blue as Sapphires

by Constance Bretes

Constance Bretes hot new release, Blue As Sapphires, an R-rated  contemporary romance brings to spousal abuse front and center in this tender love story.

About Connie

Connie began her career as a secretary in 1977 for the State of Michigan as a civil servant. She retired from the Michigan Department of Transportation after 38 years as the department’s forms analyst. She has an MBA in Business Administration – Leadership Studies, and a BA in Business Management.

She has six books published, with five more on the way.

Connie spends most of her time behind her computer, writing, editing and researching for her next story. When she’s not there, she can be found checking out ghost towns, sapphire mining, and gold panning with her best friend and husband, Jim. Her other hobbies consists of basket weaving, and jewelry making.

She is a member of RWA’s From The Heart Romance Writers, and Kiss of Death Romance Writers, and lives in Basin, Montana.

Blue As Sapphires by Constance Bretes

For a chance to win a free copy of Blue As Sapphires, stop by here: 

http://www.constancebretes.com/news–things.html  

National Statistics. On average, nearly twenty people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States…one in three women and one in four men have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.

Statistics – National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Blue As Sapphires was born from my love of sapphire digging, and gold panning in the beautiful Gem Mountains and Rock Creek River that runs through Philipsburg, Montana. Another issue that I’m passionate about is doing away with domestic abuse. I took the two subjects and combined them into a story that made Marissa determined to survive and overcome her ex-husband’s physical and emotional abuse, and the sheriff, Riley McCade, who is determined to love and protect her.

Blurp:

Escaping from her abusive ex-husband, Marissa Simpson came back to her hometown to start over. She had no intention of getting involved with another man, or with the community she left behind all those years ago. That is, until Riley McCade showed up.

Riley was the Sheriff of Granite County and he commanded a work force of fifteen deputies. He loved his community and went out of his way to protect and serve. When he met up with Marissa, he was bound and determined to get to know her even though she said she wasn’t interested.

The more he got to know her, the more he learned of her past. Could he protect her and earn her love?

Snippet:

Marissa laid back and wrapped her arms around Riley’s neck. She brought her lips to within an inch of his. She stared into his eyes and noticed how tender they looked. She moved in a little more, and her lips met his. He moved his mouth over hers, devouring it. While the fireworks were going off in the sky, Marissa felt her own fireworks. His kiss sent a shock wave through her entire body. Riley guided Marissa so she was on her back and he was partially on her. His Stetson concealed their faces. They continued to kiss and touch, looking lovingly at each other, and then kiss again.

The fireworks lasted for fifteen minutes, and suddenly a flashlight shone on them and voices interrupted them. Three firefighters stood in front of them singing a line from Burning Love.

Riley and Marissa quickly broke apart.

“What the hell?” Riley said. A hint of irritation laced his voice. He abruptly stood up, grabbed Marissa’s hand, and pulled her up.

“We were told that there was sparks on the ground, and we were asked to put it out,” Mitch said, laughing.

“Just who the hell told you that?” Riley asked.

“Heidi,” John, second firefighter, said with an amused smile on his face.

Riley and Marissa shot Heidi a glance.

“We can see that the sparks have been put out so we’ll head back to the truck.” Mitch smiled even wider.

Dave and Cindy stood off to the side chuckling. Someone from the crowd that had gathered around them asked, “Hey, Sheriff, got a new girlfriend?” Ripples of laughter rang through the crowd.

Marissa continued to glare at Heidi. She couldn’t believe her friend would do something like that. As the party broke up, Marissa said to Heidi, “We will talk later.”

Find Connie Bretes:

Website: www.constancebretes.com

Blog: http://www.constancebretes.com/connies-blog

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ConnieBretes

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Connie-Bretes-385409614906182/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7737457.Constance_Bretes

Buy Links:

https://www.amazon.com/Blue-as-Sapphires-Constance-Bretes-ebook/dp/B06WRTGRCB/

http://beachwalkpress.com/blue-as-sapphires/

 http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blue-as-sapphires-constance-bretes/1125799265?ean=2940157442330

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Through The Eyes Of A Child The Mystical Muse

Casi McLean––Author––Romantic––Passionate Dreamer, and Sage At Finding Joy Through…

Through The Eyes Of A Child

Through The Eyes Of A ChildThe song, Through The Eyes Of A Child by Air Supply, is the epitome of my website, my brand, my passion… It’s all about love and living your dreams.

Some say fantasy is for children. I see magical imagination as a powerful gift. Is it so hard to remember the dreams of childhood? In those days, I could be a princess, or a pirate,or anything my heart desired. I dreamed of castles and kings––but life dims the fantasy of youth. I wanted that feeling back again, the magic of pure innocence, of childhood hopes and castles in the sky.

It wasn’t an easy trek to find the path to my childhood dreams. But eventually, I did, because I never gave up. And now I write, with hope I inspire others to find their own destiny.

The pursuit of happiness drives everyone’s decisions. We search for happiness in relationships, jobs, our homes and careers. We also end things hoping to find happiness––divorce, career changes, and moving away. And we buy things to make us happy, too––but newness fades like the waning smell of a once new car.

How exhilarating to see life as a child again––to chase dreams like elusive butterflies. Everyone has the power within them to change their destiny––to use the past to propel them forward…Just look through the eyes of your inner child, remember your dreams, and do what you love…take a leap of faith and be inspired. 

My writing, my passion, my dream is to rekindle a dimming flame within the hearts of my readers.

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.
Albert Schweitzer

Book one in my Lake Lanier Mysteries Series

Beneath The Lake

shares a heartwarming tale of

star-crossed love and second chances

in an unforgettable time-slip romantic suspense.

Click the picture to see Amazon reviews

A ghost town buried beneath Atlanta’s man-made Lake Lanier reportedly lures victims to a watery grave. But when Lacey Montgomery flees from an eerie stalker, she plunges into the lake and awakens in the arms of a stranger in a lost town, 34 years before she was born.

Bobby Reynolds, smitten the moment the storm-ravaged woman opens her eyes, sparks fire to melt ice into a stream of molten desire. Can Lacey battle bootleggers, defy twists of fate and find the key to a mysterious portal before time rips them apart or will their star-crossed spirits wander forever through ominous shadows beneath the lake?

Beyond The Mist

Book two in my Lake Lanier Mysteries

Blurb:

Piper Taylor concedes she’ll never fall in love, until a treacherous storm spirals her into the arms of the handsome Nick Cramer. Unrelenting remorse over a past relationship haunts Nick, but he can’t deny the mysterious connection and hot desire Piper evokes.

The allure of a secret portal hidden beneath Atlanta’s Lake Lanier tempts him into seizing the opportunity to change his mistakes. But his time slip triggers consequences beyond his wildest dreams.

Can Piper avoid the international espionage and terrorism of 2001 New York, find Nick, and bring him home before he alters the fabric of time, or will the lovers drift forever Beyond The Mist?

If you’ve never read my books and want a FREE taste,

I have a gift for you:

My Gift

What if you were given a Christmas miracle? I love mystical stories. The kind that leave a warm tingle all over me with a tiny “what if” tinge that lingers long after the end. That’s why I love writing magical mysteries and romantic suspense with a sprinkle of supernatural. Mix them all together and shake gently, what do you get?  A Christmas gift that shares part of my soul…a gift for everyone who stops by my website. The Gift, is book 2 in my Destiny Series. A magical Christmas story that will steal your heart:

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Savanna Bradford was given a magical chance to change her destiny…Her impulsive reaction to her boyfriend Ryan’s proposal spirals her into a rendezvous with fate. How could she choose between her dreams and the love of her life? Savannah panicked, took off to the solace of the lake despite the impending snow storm. She had to think, but her brief sabbatical didn’t include getting stuck in a ditch in the middle of nowhere, or spending the night with an enigmatic old woman from the twilight zone. Was it fate, or had her accident thrust her into a comatose dream? And will she discover that the mystical gift from her bizarre encounter holds the key to her true destiny before it’s too late?

Click here for your FREE GIFT

If you like The Gift, you’ll love the unique magical twist in every DESTINY story.

Just click here:

Your Destiny is waiting for you…Five Novelettes With A Twist

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J.L. Sheppard

*** I TOTALLY agree with J.L.’s article below and, after bouncing ideas off of several ABA authors, I’ve come up with a NOVEL SOLUTION, but I need your participation to make this work. All TWRP or ABA authors who want a 4-star or 5-star review on a book, just click here: https://casimclean.com/aba-review-interchange/

AFTER YOU READ THIS AWESOME POST:

CASI

Want Reviews? Be careful What You Wish For!

I’m all for reviews. Reviews are great. They give you a preview of what’s to come. What you may like or dislike, etc. Don’t know about you, but I don’t have much time on my hands. I have a toddler. Enough said. For those of you who don’t have kids, maybe you’ve been around some. Multiply that child’s activity by ten maybe twenty, and that’s my boy. He’s special. I love him to death, beyond imaginable, but the kid is work.

DSC_6799With the little time I have, I’ve learned to appreciate reviews. Honestly, before baby, I appreciated reviews. I hated spending hours reading to be let down. We all have our preferences, after all. Reading is a form of escapism. I read to escape, to relax. I read because I love it. And I loved reading before I decided to write books. I’ll always love it.

Life’s imperfect, uncertain, and as beautiful as it is, it can also be devastating. We work so hard, love too much, and sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. There are too many things in life we cannot control, except how we escape, how we for a moment take ourselves away from our lives and do something we love. My beautiful boy is work, and I love him, but mommies need breaks too. For me, that’s reading.

What do I prefer to read? HEA’s all the way! I love happily-ever-afters. But I love them with conditions. The hero’s a jerk, borderline abusive to the heroine, and she ends up with him? No. Cliffhangers? Ugh.

What can I say? I’m human. I like to read what I like to read. And everyone is different. We all have our preferences: what we like, what we don’t.

Bringing me back to the point—reviews are helpful. I read them. Sometimes, they let me know if I’d like a book before I buy it and spend hours reading. Over the years, I’ve noticed reviews have become sort of like an art form. There are even graphics, and distinct tone.

From the cover and blurb, you should be able to tell what you’re getting into. Why choose to review a book you won’t like? Yet, we still see a wide range of reviews: the helpful, the stellar, the mocking, and the nasty, distasteful, and the down right mean.

And then there are the 1-star reviews with no comments at all. Why?

I have read books from authors I LOVE and did not like one of their books. I have left reviews explaining why I did not like this particular book, but I did’t feel the need to leave a nasty review. I’ve never felt that need, even if the book was by a new author and I really didn’t like the book. Maybe I have too much empathy and realize that a book is a form of expression, a story the author spent countless hours writing, editing, rereading. Not my cup of tea, but it still has merit.

There will be people who will like it, love it, just not me, so there’s no need to bash an author, a person, and their work because I didn’t enjoy a book they spent countless hours writing, editing, and rereading. If it were a song, I’d delete it or not listen to it––not write the station, artist, producer, or writer. Maybe I’m too compassionate, or just polite. But there are ways to express your opinions without being nasty, rude or completely unaware that words hurt, and what’s the point of hurting each other when life hands us a bunch of hurt already?

What do you think?

Running Wild:

She runs from her perfect life into his—a life of bikers who play and ride by their own rules.

Hard as it is, he keeps his distance. But when she kisses him, all bets are off.Whose rules would she play by…his or hers.

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J.L.’s Links:

http://wildcatalog.thewildrosepress.com/paperback-books/4402-running-wild-paperback.html

https://www.amazon.com/Running-Wild-Hell-Ryders-Book-ebook/dp/B01FG5QG7E

www.barnesandnoble.com/w/running-wild-jl-sheppard/1123775328

https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-runningwild-2040619-149.html

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/running-wild-30

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30168823-running-wild

 

M. S. Spencer

Which Comes First, The Story or the Research?

Research is key to a novel, but diving into background can also inspire the writer’s muse. M. S. Spencer should know. She’s lived in Chicago, Boston, New York, France, Morocco, Turkey, Egypt, and England, and the last 30 years were spent primarily in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director and “domestic engineer”, aka parent. Once she escaped academia, she worked for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Department of the Interior, in several library systems, both public and academic, and at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. Whew! Here’s her take on the topic:

M. S. Spencer Author (2)Authors must do quite a bit of research for their books even when they know the subject well. The Mason’s Mark, my newest release, is set in my former home town of Alexandria, Virginia at the George Washington National Masonic Memorial. A landmark of the Washington skyline, the building is not only a Masonic lodge, but a memorial to our first president. I began with the idea that my heroine would find a dead body on the ninth floor observation platform, with no rational explanation of how it got there.

To ensure authenticity I set about Googling both freemasonry and George Washington, but my search soon led me into a strange world of global intrigue and crime. I followed one thread to a remarkable Italian scam artist named Licio Gelli.

Starting in the 1940s Gelli embarked on a lifetime of bizarre scams and crimes. Alternately linked to rightists and leftists, he bilked or used people from Italian politicians, to the Nazis, the Communists, the CIA, even to Juan Peron, dictator of Argentina. His exploits cross the globe and spanned four decades. He was still alive in December 2015, in his nineties and writing poetry from prison. In 1996 he was even nominated for the Nobel prize in literature.Licio Gelli 1

Note: He died December 15, 2015.

 

Here is a link to an obituary: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/12054716/Licio-Gelli-financier-obituary.html

Gelli is most famous for founding a Masonic lodge called Propaganda Due, a renegade group that was first dissolved, then reinstated, then erased by the Grand Orient de Italia. He had ensnared many prominent Italians into P2, which ultimately led to several huge scandals.

How could I resist? I added him to the mysterious corpse. Further Googling on George Washington tossed up lots of fascinating scandal rumors. So now I had a body, a renegade Mason and scam artist, and long-lost George Washington letters. Voila! The Mason’s Mark: Love and Death in the Tower, a contemporary tale about old scandals. And a dynamite love story.

 

TheMasonsMarkLoveandDeathintheTower_M. S. Spencer

Sneak peek of The Mason’s Mark:

In both the best and worst first day at work ever, docent Claire Wilding meets the man of her dreams, but her carefully rehearsed guided tour of the George Washington National Masonic Memorial collapses when she discovers a body and is drawn into a dark world of black ops and Italian renegade masons, of secret cabals and hidden treasure. Also cloaked in mystery is handsome Gideon Bliss, a George Washington expert who haunts the Memorial, his manner evasive. What is his secret? Claire fears she’ll fall in love with him only to learn he’s a thief or even a murderer. Juggling two eccentric mothers, an inquisitive sister, and an increasingly smitten detective, Claire must find answers to a complex web of intrigue, including who to trust and who to love.

 

The Mason’s Mark: Love and Death in the Tower (an Old Town Romance)

Wild Rose Press, May 6, 2016 (Crimson Rose imprint)
Mystery/Cozy Mystery, Romantic suspense
ebook 79,000 words; print 322 pp.

M/F; 3 flames
Buy Links:

TWRP: http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=191&products_id=6805

ITunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/masons-mark-love-death-in/id1104823156?mt=11

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-masons-mark-m-s-spencer/1118052638?ean=2940157863760

AllRomanceEBooks (pre-order): https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-themason039smarkloveanddeathinthetower-2017038-149.html

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Masons-Mark-Love-Death-Tower-ebook/dp/B01DHAJXWK

Bookstrand: http://www.bookstrand.com/the-masons-mark-love-and-death-in-the-tower-0

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-mason-s-mark-love-and-death-in-the-tower-2

If you like the Mason’s Mark, you might want to check out The Penhallow Train Incident, also from the Wild Rose Press.

Penhallow Train Incident by M. S. Spencer

 

Live your Dreams

What’s In Your Character?

I am not a perfect friend. With the best intentions, I still forget birthdays, lag with email returns, fall short on connecting through social media. I’m not a coddler or a social butterfly, but I’m there in a heartbeat when a friend needs me. Call at 3:00 in the morning, two states away and I’ll drive to help without a second thought. I’m reliable, forgiving, trustworthy and will always have my friends’ backs. Like the characters in my writing I have unique strengths paired with human flaws and am a constant work in progress.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0xgjUhEG3U[/youtube]

 

Perfection dwells in the imagination––thank God. How daunting, arduous life would be if we had to endure perfection in a friend or mate. So why do we pass judgement so easily? Is it our own insecurities that trigger fragile defense mechanisms deep within our souls? Are we really born with dominate personality traits––alpha, beta and omega––that blossom or wither in the trail of dust that cultivates our frame of reference . . . then becomes our lives? Traits or actions that are acceptable, even attractive to some, pour salt in the wounds of others.

Some say that speakers and writers espouse wisdom on the very topic they need most. I conceive my characters the same way, drawing on flaws and strengths I’ve seen in myself and others. I feel blessed that writing gives me a unique insight into both, making me a better friend and more loving partner. The past is filled with fragmented memories, obscure decisions and  broken relationships. Past patterns may be an insight into future behavior, but should it be a life sentence? As different as we are, we have common threads that bind us together. There is no magical algorithm like Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon devised. We all evolve, like characters in our favorite books.

Casi

Live your Dreams

The More Things Change

Dear Rachel,

I look forward to your marriage and lovingly pass this advice to you. Ask not for perfection in your mate. You will not find it, and it’s just as well. Living with a saint can be very tiresome. Let your love be stronger than your hate or anger.

Learn the wisdom of compromise, for it is better to bend a little than break. Believe the best rather than the worst. People have a way of living up––or down––to your opinion of them.

Remember that true friendship is the basis for any lasting relationship. The person you choose to marry is deserving of the courtesies and kindness you bestow on your friends. And please hand this letter down to your children and your children’s children. The more things change, the more they are the same.

Love, Grandma

Grandmother Joyce Wells

Baltimore, Maryland

May 2, 1886

My father passed this letter on to me many years ago and when my own grandchild was born a few weeks ago, I pulled it out and read it again. What better advice could anyone give today? Time constantly ticks forward and change is inevitable. Technology brings the world into our homes. A tweet instantly reports worldwide events. Facebook and FaceTime reach to the corners of the Earth connecting long lost friends and distant family. A whole new language evolves through cyberspace. And we don’t know what we’d do without smartphones, GPS, computers, tablets and inventions we we didn’t know we needed a decade ago.

But Grandma was right. The more things change, the more they are the same. We all love, hurt and bleed the same. I cherish Grandma’s letter, whispers of wisdom from an all but forgotten era. Love doesn’t change. It is eternal.

Casi

Live your Dreams

Carousel Déjà Vu

Some places are magical and some are magical for a select few people. Carousel Déjà Vu is such a place. To the ordinary rider, the beautifully restored horses, animals and fantasy creatures are just that—a carnival ride. But to others, those in whom Jackson Nighttraveller senses a need, that same carousel animal transports them in time or dimension to a place where they can change a life . . . maybe even their own.
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Carousel Déjà Vu is an anthology written by several incredibly imaginative authors with nine short stories centered around a magical carousel. My contribution is called The Promise:
Abandoned as an infant, Katlin Harris was shuffled through endless foster home’s. The only love she’d ever known emerged in mystical childhood dreams––or were they memories? When she inherits a home from a woman she’s never heard of, her life spins in a whole new direction––and changes forever.
After dusting off a picture she finds hidden in the attic, she realizes the portrait was of the man in her dreams. If that wasn’t odd enough, she stumbles upon a carnival tucked into a hidden vale in the North GA mountains and is drawn to an antique carousel. “If you catch the brass ring, your dreams will Read more “Carousel Déjà Vu”
Live your Dreams

The 7-7-7 Game with Beneath The Lake

Lake Lanier, GA is the setting for my new time travel romance, Beneath The Lake.

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Linda Joyce tagged me to play The 7-7-7- Game.

Please check out her blog and read her seven lines of Bayou Born, the first novel in her Fleur de Lis series which will make its appearance mid-April.

Directions to play the 7-7-7 game:

• Go to page 77 of your own book or manuscript.
• Count down seven lines.
• Copy and paste the seven lines that follow.
Then, Tag seven authors to do the same.
(Checkout my Facebook post. I’ve tagged my seven.)

My 7-7-7 offering is from my new manuscript, Beneath The Lake, a time travel romance, with strong historical elements; think Back To The future meets Time Traveler’s Wife. Lacey Montgomery’s life is riddled with rejection and abandonment. When she walks in on her boyfriend’s affair, she drives off in the throes of a torrential storm, hydroplanes and is hurled into the depths of an icy black lake. She awakens in the arms of a strange man, in a town she’s never heard of––34 years before she is born. The desperation to find her way home shifts as Lacey falls in love with a town destined to be erased from the face of the earth, and Bobby Reynolds, the man who vows to protect it. The struggle to save them both heals her internal conflict, while restoring Bobby’s belief in true love, spinning a star-crossed love story that defies time, as Lacey tries to prevent her new life from slipping beneath the lake.

Here is my 7-7-7 entry:

“What’s so interesting in the news this morning?”

“Nothing much.” I folded the paper before handing it to him. “Here, you read and relax while I start breakfast.” Standing, I poured a cup of hot coffee, then set it in front of him. “Now, which would you prefer, eggs and bacon, pancakes, French toast?”

“Surprise me,” Bobby said, glancing down at the headlines. “I guess you’ll be heading home soon. It looks like you’ll be able to get ahold of Piper by tomorrow night.”

A lump tightened in my throat. “Yes, it does, doesn’t it?”

*****

Stay tuned for more updates about Beneath The Lake

 

Live your Dreams

Happy Thanksgiving

What greater gift can we offer our family and friends but love. “Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.” To focus on kindness, is to feed the soul of humanity.

Today, Thanksgiving 2012, my family has lost a lot and many of my friends are in pain. The economy has ripped away our sails and left us adrift, but it is the times that try our souls that make us stronger. So I’m thankful, not only for the love, freedom and happiness I’ve experienced, but also for the pain I have survived.

And if I learn from that pain, I hope I’m able to pay it forward and spark a light in the heart of someone else.

It’s true, “My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?”

We all can make a difference, not only in our own lives, but in the lives we touch. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Casi

 

Quotes from David Mitchell.

Live your Dreams

Dawn Of A New Day

I finally completed my new manuscript, Beneath The Lake, and had a fabulous time writing the story. Even the research was fascinating, learning the eerie lake lore surrounding Georgia’s Lake Lanier.

Kristen Stewart was so fabulous in the Twilight Series. If my new book, Beneath The Lake, were to ever become a movie, she would be the perfect actor to play the part of  the heroine, Lacey Madison Montgomery.

Beneath The Lake is a time travel romance with strong historical elements; think Back To The Future meets Time Traveler’s Wife. Lacey Montgomery’s life is riddled with rejection and abandonment. (sound familiar?) When she walks in on her boyfriend’s affair, she drives off in the throes of a torrential storm, hydroplanes and is hurled into the depths of an icy, black lake. She awakens in the arms of a strange man, in a town she’s never heard of––thirty-four years before she was born. The desperation to find her way home shifts as Lacey falls in love with a town destined to be erased from the face of the earth, and Bobby Reynolds, the man who vows to protect it. The struggle to save them both heals her internal conflict, while restoring Bobby’s belief in true love, spinning a star-crossed love story that defies time as Lacey tries to prevent her new life from slipping beneath the lake.

 

Of course, once a story is written the real work begins. Editing, agents and the publishing process will take time, but your encouragement will keep me motivated. In the mean time, I’m officially rejoining the real world again and hope to spend more time with my friends through this blog, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and actually in person. Be sure to check out my Pinterest Books & Writing board to get some insight on Beneath The Lake. Thanks for all of your support through my hibernation. I’m back!

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