Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sunday Snippets #2 ~ Gumbo Ya Ya by Connie Vines~ #SundaySnips

Thank you Ginger for including me once again in Sunday Snippets.
As promised last week, I've included the final two snippets from my Cajun anthology.  Gumbo Ya Ya--for women who like romance Cajun!  Five stores, five times the fun.

Ooooh, La La!

A Slice of Scandal

“Hey, now, ‘dis key lime pie’s like de one I serve at my restaurant. Simple to make and good ta eat!  Key limes perk up de mouth and makes you hoppy.”
Producer/Director, Julia Kincaid focused on her monitor and adjusted the mike of her headset. “Camera One, tighten that head shot.”  She watched as the camera feathered over the chef to capture the best angle. The camera should have loved Franklin. His height was average, his black hair, short and curly and his skin took on a polished bronze color under the harsh camera lights, but the camera didn’t like Franklin. There was something about his eyes: like dark agate, forbidding and expressionless that was difficult to erase.  
“Okay. Now hold it, while Chef Franklin pulls the second pie from the refrigerator. Follow him back to the island. Good.”
When the chef stood on his mark, Julia said,  “Cue the music. Okay, Two, scan the
audience. Back to Franklin.”
“It’s best to serve ‘dis chilled, a twist of key lime on the top. And, boy-oh, boy, does dis taste gooood!”
“Camera Two, pan the audience. . .focus on the pie. . .Camera One, close-up on the chef. . .Hold it.”
Julia heard the studio audience applause.
“Now, pull back. He cuts the pie. . .he puts it on the plate. . .now wait for the whipped cream and. . .okay . . .he’s got the fork. He’s taking a bite.”
The studio audience uttered a collective sigh.
“Let’s call it a day. . .” Julia said, pulling off her headset and allowing it to dangle around her neck. “Hey, hey, what’s he doing, now?” she asked. “This is where he says goodnight. What’s he doing?”  Snagging the mike that was clipped at her waist she barked, “Someone cue Franklin. He’s off his mark.”  It was times like this she questioned her sanity at trading a career in Hollywood daytime T.V. for that of the Good Eats Network in Orlando, Florida.
“What’s going on now? Why’s he grabbing his throat?”

From her left she heard J.D. groan. “Damn, Julia. Harvey’s gonna boil all of our carcasses in a stockpot for this one!  Franklin must be hitting the booze again. Jeeze, look at him!  Franklin’s spitting out the pie. Hell, there go the show’s ratings.”

(T.A.R.A. Award, Paranormal) 

The moon was full tonight; huge in the sky, a brilliant iridescent orb that stared down at the earth. Enza felt the conscious energy feather over her as she removed the silk cloth protecting her Tarot cards.

            There are seventy-eight cards in a Tarot deck. Four suits of fourteen cards each. Swords, Cups, Wands and Pentacles, and twenty-two picture cards called the major arcane, the mysteries.
            Enza’s mother had told her she would learn to associate the picture cards with people she knew, and during her travels, she had met nearly all of them.
            The Juggler was a boy she’d loved and lost. The Hanged Man ran a mission on Canal Street, The Pope ran numbers for the Wiseguys. Of course, she’d married the Fool in an arranged gypsy marriage. Enza didn’t know where he was today, but she was certain he was still a fool. She’d never met Justice, nor had she ever met the Devil.
            She knew mean people, lairs, schemers, and cheats. But it takes more than being mean to make a person the Devil. The Tarot’s Devil is a special horror. He is the genius of evil. He is willful and proud, vengeful, greedy and cruel. The card also had another meaning. Yes, the Devil can come after you, but you can also go to the Devil. The Tarot is very clear in its meaning.
            Not for spells and chants are you damned but for the ordinary abuse of extraordinary things.
            Enza glanced out the window and into the moonlight washing across the cobblestone street outside the French Quarter. The Roma, through they traced their roots back to ancient Romania, never considered themselves twenty-first century gypsies.  They displayed no red palms upon the carts they set up on Canal Street nor did they dabble in the black arts--they followed the old rules, and the old ways.  Even though they prescribed to the art of making love potions and arraigning marriages, they did not cheat or scheme for excessive monetary gain.
             Clients who came to Enza purchased customized charms, scents, and herbal remedies.  In the past, Enza’s clairvoyant abilities amounted to parlor tricks; harmless indulgences, an innocent way to pass an afternoon for a tourist, but all of that had changed at Winter Solstice.
            Enza shuffled the cards, mentally saying a protection prayer, then extracted ten cards, placing them face down to form the ancient Kabalah Tree of Life on the table.
            She turned the first card face-up. 
            The Moon.
            Enza knew that the Moon was the unluckiest card in the entire deck, worse than Death.


Please stop by and visit the other authors participating in this event.

Happy Reading!


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sunday Snips from Connie Vines #Sundaysnips

Thank you Ginger Simpson for inviting me to participate in Sunday Snippets.

I am sharing a few snippets from one of my works in progress:
Gumbo Ya Ya: for women who like romance Cajun!

This anthology is filled with five stories and five times the fun!  Ooooh, La La!


Settling into his office chair, Professor Murphy Flynn glanced at the faxed copy of OP News. “I Want To Get Married,” the headline read. When he realized the grainy photograph was of him, he upended his coffee mug, sending the liquid perilously close to a six-inch stack of ungraded papers. 
He snagged the papers with one hand, using the other to dab at the puddle with his tie. His gaze locked on to the name of the submissions editor: Sylvie Dupree. The memories hit him hard and fast, leaving Murphy to feel like he’d taken a direct blow to his solar plexus.

Determined and intelligent, Sylvie Dupree had been his stepsister’s college roommate for three years.  A dark-haired Creole beauty with a soft-as-sin smile, she had captured his interest with her quick wit and charm. Only later, after too many pizza-and-study nights spent in her company, had she also captured his heart. Much to Murphy’s perpetual torment, she’d kept him in the friendship zone. 


“Don’t shake your finger at me, Simone Basso. I know what I’m doing.” Persia Richmond said, filling a half-ounce bottle with perfume. The warm scent of spice, magnolia, mimosa and a hint of something unnamed and mysterious wafted across the narrow processing room.
The fragrance was New Orleans; culture at its most upscale moments and Mardi Gras at its naughtiest! A smile of supreme joy curved her mouth and success warmed her soul.
Persia had dreamt of creating a signature fragrance since the time her grandpapa had begun her tutorage in perfuming.
 “I’ve done warned you and warned you about messing with love potions!”


Celeste Brossard stared up at the turbulent sky above the gulf.  The water churned and slapped choppy waves against the levee’s edge, but she still heard the click-click of stiletto heels on the cobblestone street.  As was their usual Sunday custom since high school, Francine Grant always brought breakfast after Mass while Celeste secured a table and ordered coffee at the cafĂ©. 
After taking a hurried sip of her mocha latte, Celeste scooted over so that her best friend could slide into a vacant bistro chair.
 “Girlfriend, you look like you need substance.”  She tilted the white paper bag between her French manicured fingertips and offered Celeste a warm beignet.
 Celeste snagged the donut-like, powder-sugared covered confection, and took a healthy bite.  “We’ve got to get another habit,” she managed to say around the tasty mouthful.
Francine grinned and reached for her cup of chicory coffee and poured in an unhealthy amount of cream. “We’re both in our early thirties, single…still.  What other habit were you contemplating?  Bar hopping?”
‘No!  Something healthier. I was thinking more along the line of adding fiber—“
“Fiber?  Girl, what is wrong with you?”
Celeste shrugged her shoulders.  “Work, work, and more work.”
Her friend rolled her eyes. “Tell me something I don’t already know.  What happened with that guy—“
“What guy?”
“You know, the know guy in the office down the hall?”
“Oh.  What about that Spanish guy—you know the sea captain with the funny name?”
Celeste gave an unladylike snort that sent sprinkles of powdered sugar down the front of her silk-print waist dress. “Bocanegra?”
“Yeah, that’s the one. You were all excited about him”
“Francine, I’m cataloging the University’s latest acquisitions.  Therefore, whomever I’m excited about is dead.  Dead, as in no longer living.”
“That’s a real problem.”  Francine popped the final bit of her beignet in her mouth and brushed her hands together to remove the powdered sugar.

I did say those Cajuns stories was fun. . .and as exciting as, well, New Orleans and the wild bayou.

Join us next month for more snippets. I will be featuring the final two stories from my anthology.  Including award winning T.A.R.A paranormal romance, 1-800- FORTUNE,  and action packed Cajun crime mystery, A Slice of Scandel.

Can't wait?  

Visit a few of my links and spend some time with my Rodeo Cowboys featured in my Rodeo Romance series,  Or perhaps a little fun and sassy fantasy novella will make your evening.

Remember to stop by and see what my author friends have in store for you.

Happy Reading,

Connie (Tricia McGill)

What Hooks a Reader on a Story? # rndrobin0415

Topic: What glues you to a story start to finish? What hooks do you use to capture your readers?

How to hook my readers?

Workshops, how-to-books, and instructors will say it’s the first two paragraphs, the first one hundred words, the blurb, the cover. . .etc. that will hook your readers.
As a rule, I agree these statements are true. 

The key statement is “as a rule”.

I write what I like to read.  I like a strong opening hook, witty dialogue, or a detailed description of a setting, all have their place and all appeal to me.  If I have had a stressful day, I may prefer a book with more narrative.  A humdrum day, a fast-paced book with a strong action hook is perfect.  I assume my readers preferences are the same. 

The story dictates the hook and the tone of my story.  Always.

When I chose print books, I look at the cover, read the blurb, and scan the first three pages.  Ebooks, offer the additional benefit of reviews (though I am careful not to find spoilers) and speedy download. As a writer, I am very aware that I’m not the only entertainment venue.  I compete with movies, television, and in the case of my Teen/Tween and YA novels—video games,

I strive to forge an emotional connection between my readers and my characters.  I hope that my readers will remember my characters and think of them as friends. Friends that make an afternoon enjoyable, an evening filled with adventure, hope, love, or good old-fashioned or just plain sassy fun!

Looking for a hook?

Here are a few of mine:

  •  Charlene hadn’t told Rachel that she’d fixed her up with a cowboy, much less Lynx Maddox, the “Wild Cat” of the rodeo circuit.  Rachel signed. She should have known.  After all, Charlene only dated men who wore boots and Stetson.  “Lynx” Rodeo Romance, Book 1.  BWL release.

 ·         Audralynn Maddox heard her own soft cry, but the pain exploding inside her head made everything else surreal, distanced somehow by the realization that some had made a mistake. A terrible mistake.  “Brede” Rodeo Romance, Book 2. BWL release.

 ·         “You and Elvis have done a great job on this house,” Meredith said as her older sister led the way downstairs toward the kitchen here the tour began. “Sorry I couldn’t get over, until now, but I’ve been sort of. . .well, busy.” Slipping her Juicy Couture tortoise-shell framed sunglasses into a bright pink case, Meredith crammed them into her black Coach handbag. She hoped her sister didn’t ask her to define busy. Becoming a zombie, and dealing with the entire raised from the dead issue over the past six months, was not a topic easily plunked into casual conversation.  “Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow” BWL release.

 ·         1868  The Governor of New Mexico decreed that all Indian children over six be educated in the ways of the white man. Indian Commissioner: Thomas Morgan said:  It is cheaper to educate the Indians than to kill them.

1880, Apacheria, Season of Ripened Berries

Isolated bands of colored clay on white limestone remained where the sagebrush was stripped from Mother Earth by sudden storms and surface waters. Desolate. Bleak. A land made of barren rocks and twisted paths that reached out into the silence.  A world of hunger and hardship.  This is my world. I was born thirteen winters ago.  I am Tanayia. My people and I call ourselves “Nde” this means “The People”. The white men call us Apache.
Whisper upon the Water” Hard Shell Word Factory/Mundania Press imprint.

Please join in the Blog Hop to see what other writers have to say!

Sunday, April 05, 2015

6 Ways to Protect Your Writing Time

Why are we so busy all the time?  Yes, our lives are fast paced, drive time increasing. Gone are the days households can function on a single income, writers without a day job.  I am also convinced that there is another factor.  We want to be busy--we want to complain about, too.  Is this because the more busy you are, the more important you feel?

By worshipping busy-ness, you may be avoiding, or missing out on, writing time.  Do you fill your day with the distraction of being overcommitted?  Remember it is quality, not quantity that is the measure of self worth.

Yes, we have the day-to-day events that make up our lives and our work--things that must be handled.  We also have free time, vacant moments of time in our lives.  Before you jump in and commit this time evaluate the 'busy-ness' with the loss of writing time.

Important.  Is this a mini-ego trip?  If you do not contribute 3-dozen cupcakes to the PTA fundraiser, it will not be the end of the world.

Included.  Are you experiencing a case of FOMO, (fear  of missing out), so you shove your writing time to 11:00 PM?  Is this really in alignment with you career plan?

Productive.  Is watching the episode of Downton Abbey live, instead of capturing via your cable recorder to watch later, the best use of your time?

It is difficult to say no.  But being busy isn't necessarily being productive, or making the best choice for your path to publication.

Are you saying yes because you feel trapped?  Do you really wish to take on this task?

Often in the past, I felt like a terrible employee, mother, friend, etc.  I felt obligated to take-up the slack, finish that report, chair a church committee.  Yes, sometimes my abilities are really needed, but sometimes I wondered if I agreed out of habit.  Surely, not because I felt that the event would fall into ruin without my presence.

The truth: you are in control of your time. Only you can set your boundaries.

Six easy ways to snatch back your writing time by saying "no".

  • Blame it on the budget:  "unfortunately, that event does't fit into my budget this month."
  • Blame it on your schedule:  "that sounds like a great idea, but I really don't have the bandwidth to add anything else to my schedule."
  • Blame it on your priorities: "I'm on deadline on that magazine article, blog post, etc."
  • Blame it on family night:  "We are reading Jane Eyre, my fave novel, and trying a new English tea.  I can never skip family night."
  • Blame it on exhaustion.  If you are like me, you'd rather sleep standing up in the hallway like a Shetland pony, than admit to exhaustion.  "I need to relax and recharge," is an acceptable response for me.
  • Just say no.  After all, if you plan on a career as a writer, you must find time to write--and keep writing.