100 Words Wednesday Short Story: The Cocktail Bar #100wordswednesday #100WW

It’s Wednesday and another challenge from Bikurgurl. What 100 words (or so) can you give this image? It’s great that every Wednesday her post is live on my feed as soon as I wake up. I set up my son with his breakfast, make a coffee and mull over the picture. This week’s photo of cocktails spoke to me, it prompted a short story/ flash fiction. I’m a little over 100 but… I write novels don’t shoot me!

 

100ww_w30.jpg

 

 8:00 p.m Friday Night, The Cocktail Bar,

 I glance around the bar looking for my date. Hell, not that I know who I’m looking for this is a blind date. Lucy bless her she set me up with some guy from her office, she thinks is “perfect for me.” I couldn’t pass up a night of free cocktails, I thought what the hell you only live once. 

The air is thick with cigar smoke and the lights are low, all eyes focus on centre stage as a Jazz band entertains the crowd. I spot him over by the bar nursing a drink. That has to be him right? I make my way over closing the gap between us, as I snake my way through the tables. What do I say? My heat pounds, what if it’s not him?

“Hi I’m Julie.”

“Hey, I’m Brian.”

He offers me his hand as he glances me over from head to toe. Is it him? He snaps his fingers at the bar tender.

“Put another one in there for me.” He demands.

As  the bar tender makes quick work of his drink and slides a fresh tumbler across the bar, I  drink him in. He’s handsome and well dressed, but is it him? He’d know me by name surly.

“So you been here before Julie?” 

“No never, I’m… I’m… here meeting a friend you could say.”

“Ah a date?” He sniggers  then takes a healthy sip of his scotch to hide his amusement. He snaps his fingers again at the bar tender. Clearly Brian is used to being the authority.

“One for the lady too, what’s your poison Julie?”

I raise an eyebrow in his direction. “Cosmopolitan.”

***

 After two hours of conversation against the back drop of smooth jazz, and four Cosmopolitans thrown back, I’m tipsy and dateless. Old whats-his-name did a no-show. His loss… As Brian and I stumble into the back of a black cab from London Bridge to his place, the Cosmopolitans start talking to me. “You only live once! That’s why you went on this date.” Cocktails were always my weak spot, as well as a man in a sharp suit smelling good.

 

It’s Release Day! .99p / .99 $ On Amazon+ E-Book Instant Giveaway #amreading #giveaway #romance #newrelease

It’s finally here! To celebrate I have four e-book copies to gift, to the first readers I hear from. Send me a message here if you’d like a gift via Amazon. And yes, like a crazy woman I revamped to cover last moment last night! It should update soon.

Blurb:

Lover’s Retreat is book #2 of the Romance Set in Paradise Series of stand alone modern, steamy, suspenseful and romantic stories. All set in exotic locations around the world.

For thirty seven year old recluse Yasmin O’Neil, life feels like one crisis after another. Her husband left her five years ago, she starts to suspect she’s losing her hearing, and then her mother is diagnosed with cancer. When her mother passes away her fortune changes. Yasmin is fifty thousand pounds richer from her mother’s estate. Yasmin takes her fate into her own hands after years of being a recluse, she rediscovers herself at a spiritual retreat in Sri Lanka south Asia, before she plans to spend the next six months travelling around the world. In Sri Lanka, Yasmin’s path crosses with Michael Thomas, an army soldier on his own path of self discovery. With their luke warm initial encounter the pair don’t hit it off straight away. After some push and pull the two are finally on the same page. Their encounter turns from luke warm to a steamy sizzling hot.

In Lover’s Retreat two very different characters originally on different paths, embrace the need for change and companionship. Set in the back drop of paradise, palm trees and untouched nature of Sri Lanka, these two lonely souls gain more than just self discovery they gain a soul mate.

Flash Sale until  31st July  Just .99p / .99$ on Amazon.

 

 

Writing Competition Entered & 100 Free Downloads Up For Grabs! #amreading #romancenovels #romance #giveaway

Afternoon guys,

I’ve entered Not Just For Christmas into the same novel writing competition, I submitted Havana Heat. As part of it, if you’d like one of a hundred free downloads of  my  romance novella, click the link below. Once they’re gone they’re gone! There’s only one hundred.

Book Blurb:

In Not Just For Christmas readers are taken on a romantic journey set in London, during the festive season following two characters originally opposed to each other fall in love. There’s enough warmth and sensuality to keep readers warm at any time of year.

As Christmas draws near thirty five year old social worker Ava Green, finds herself desperate to not be alone at her favourite time of year. Following the break up of her engagement earlier in the year, Ava has spent ten months on a mission to get over her ex. With the support of her two of her closest girlfriends Tasha and Marie, Ava makes a bold move that surprises her girlfriends in order to find a companion for the festive season. Ava’s path crosses with tall dark and handsome Detective Jerome Samuels, a divorcee in search of love. Once their paths cross after a few bumps along the way there’s no turning back, these two characters are caught up in a whirlwind of sensual and heartwarming romance, that Detective Jerome Samuels hopes is not just for Christmas, he’s on a mission to claim his lady Ava.

 

Grab a free download here click me!

 

njfc-cover-master-new

Meet The Author: Sara AckerMan -Historical Romance Author #amreading #author #romance

author picture 3

 

This month, I’ve lined up two contrasting authors for you to meet. The second is Ms. Sara Ackerman. Sara is an author within a genre I also love to read, historical romance. Ahhh, there’s something about romance set against the backdrop of history that really interests me as a reader. Sara caught my eye over a year ago, when I first joined the world of WordPress and blogging as an author. Sara is not only a talented author she speaks three languages one of which I speak myself!  It was a pleasure to interview her. Let’s get to know her style.. over to you Sara.

Hello nice to meet you! Tell us a bit about you where are you from and other than writing what else do you enjoy?

Hello from the Midwest! I come from a small town in Wisconsin where I teach at the secondary level. I’ve been a lover of language for years, and actually speak three languages: English, French and Spanish.  I’m thinking of Mandarin Chinese or Arabic for my next language. In my free time I read, play games with my family and visit friends and family.

Kim: Tres bien! I speak French too. I love languages also. While they are challenging to learn,the satisfaction is unbelievable when you can speak to a native and be understood.

How did you start writing? What was your inspiration to create?

My day job is teaching. There is a high rate of burnout for teacher’s especially in areas like ESL (what I teach) and other high needs’ jobs. One year I packed up my room and took all my personal belongings home, convinced I wasn’t going to return in the fall. I sat down at the computer that June and just started to write. I wrote for three months and by the time August rolled around, I had finished my first novel and was ready to return to school.

Inspiration comes from universal struggles and themes–the desire for acceptance, self-discovery, love, family. Also, I enjoy exploring  what if questions and the possibilities which can arise from different scenarios.

Kim: Go Sara! Excellent. Here in the UK, the burnout is high also.  I totally understand the problems within the profession. Your inspiration sounds fantastic. I think when we use real life as a base to start to write, our stories can become much more powerful.

Who is your favourite author, is there anyone out there that inspires you?

This a toughie. Mary Balogh is indisputably the queen of Regency era historical romance. Her plots, lively characters and poignant twists never fail to leave me wanting more. Yet Julia Quinn has a witty and fast-paced dialogue with sassy, intelligent females who know what they want. Both authors have inspired my own style, though, which is a blend somewhere in between. I tend to have more serious stories with intelligent, headstrong females.

Kim: umm hmm, yes I like headstrong and intelligent. 🙂 I need to look into some of these authors you mention. Thanks for the heads up.

What genre do you enjoy reading?

I’m a romance junkie all the way. Life is already stressful enough. Romance novels offer the perfect escape and a guaranteed happy ending. I do stray and will also read YA, fantasy and cozy mysteries, but my one true love is romance.

Kim: Haha, I too am a massive junkie for romance. It’s funny you should mention escapism as for me that’s what the genre offers. When I brainstormed my Romance Set in Paradise series, this is exactly what I’ve kept in mind while writing and creating.

So you’ve published a series, what is the series about?

The Westby Sisters’ trilogy is about 3 sisters who were all cursed at a young age for a horrible lie they told. Each sister has a different curse to bear: Amelia (Little White Lies) can only tell the truth, Evelyn (Silence is Golden) can’t speak to anyone outside her immediate family and Beatrice (Silver Tongued Temptress) tells the truth but no one believes a word she says. Set during the Napoleonic wars, each sister struggles to find herself and overcome her limitations. There’s action and adventure. One reader asked if there were any murders because she enjoyed a little suspense, so yes, there are several murders, too, and of course, romance.

Kim: Oh suspense… yes yes! * claps her hands in excitement* . Can I be cheeky and ask for one of your author review copies so I can read?.. pretty please.

What three tips would you give any aspiring writer?

Write what you love. Worry about edits after you’ve finished. If you get stuck, take a break, eat some chocolate and repeat.

Kim: haha I like this tip. I would 100% support the write what you like part, there is a reader out there for every author. No matter your style. Haters will always be there, use them as your motivation to create!

What are you working on now? What will you release next?

I’m working on the third book in the Westby Sister’s trilogy, Silver Tongued Temptress. My next release is June 7th, Silence is Golden, the second book in the Westby Sister’s trilogy.

Kim: cool, keep us posted over at Meet The Author on any promos that you do. Good luck for 7th June.

What does “success” look like to you? When would you say “damn, I’ve made it baby!”

My first book was self-published as a proof of concept, to see if I could do it. When I was getting several hundred downloads a day, then I decided to send it to publishers to see if I could get it professionally published. For me, it’s all about proof of concept. If I can do something I’ve set out to accomplish, then I’ve made it. My standards are all based on personal goals, not on how much money I’ve made or how many awards I’ve won, but on whether or not I can do something I’ve never tried before.

Kim: very refreshing Sara. Many of us do think about the awards, titles and lists that we make. I like your style. I think your approach will keep an author grounded and doing it for the love of writing rather than £ or in your case $.

What’s your favourite movie?

Pride and Prejudice, the Kiera Knightley version. Matthew MacFayden is dreamy. His voice could melt the panties off of a saint.

Where would you like to travel to and why?

Scotland. My first book is set in the Highlands. My husband is Scottish (on his mother’s side) and I think men in kilt’s are damned sexy. If I do get there, I’m buying one for the hubs and ‘requesting’ he wear it.

Kim: * cracks up laughing* hmm, totally off the subject but  I love a man in a sharp suit, you can knock me down with a feather every time. * daydreams about Nicholas D’Coix in A Stranger in France.*

 I’ve snapped out of my daydream over hot men in suits or kilts! That’s a wrap. I really enjoyed getting to know Sara and her style a bit better, I hope you did too.  Her books sound great, ideal for a romance lover who loves to read about strong women within a great setting and era. Connect with Sara below:

 Sara’s Book Blurbs:

Little White Lies

Available now from Wild Rose Publishing, Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Amelia Westby always tells the truth, a terrible curse in a society that values little white lies. When she meets Tavis McGuire, she finds a way to escape the scrutiny of London’s jaded ton. Tavis is passionate and caring, offering Amelia a chance at a new life, but when a dangerous secret threatens to destroy their happiness, Amelia must break her curse or lose the man she loves. After his brother’s death, Tavis McGuire returns from the continent to inherit the Earldom of Stanton, an estate near financial ruin. To save his home and clear his family’s name, he becomes embroiled in a dangerous game of espionage. When his investigation leads him to a beautiful woman who holds information he needs to catch a traitor, Tavis must decide whether to honor his duty to his country or to follow his heart.

Silence is Golden     

Available June 7th from Wild Rose Publishing, Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Ever since Evelyn Westby was cursed, she hasn’t been able to speak to anyone outside her family. That hasn’t stopped men from seeking her favor, especially the handsome and eligible Lord Alexander Newgate. But when her sister elopes and her betrothal is then canceled, Evie will do anything to win back her fiancé, even travel to war-torn France to find the gypsy who cursed her.

Alfred Coombes takes his fate into his own hands when he quits his employment to follow the call of adventure. On the road, he meets Lady Evelyn Westby and sees she needs a protector. Sacrificing his own journey, he becomes her guardian. Treacherous weather and a sinister smuggler throw them together, and he must decide whether to continue his journey or take a chance on a new adventure with a captivating beauty.

 

Author site: https://seackerman.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/saraeackerman/

Next Month: Something a little different! Another great author stay tuned. If you’re an author and you’d like to feature on Meet The Author contact me here.

LittleWhiteLies_w10156_750 (2)

SilenceIsGolden_w11267_300

meet-the-author

If you’re an author and you’d like a feature contact me here.

Romance Writer’s Blogging Challenge Week #15: My Love Hate Relationship With Social Media #MFRW

Okay it’s now just after nine London time. I’ve made myself yet another large mug of coffee and  sat down to work on Lover’s Retreat, novella #2 of my series. I’ve been distracted by the fifty two week Romance Writer’s Blogging Challenge. I’ve missed a few weeks, I do have a good excuse I’ve been writing. So here I am catching up with Jazz FM playing nicely in the background. Week fifteen is all about social media hang-ups  we may have as writers… well what can I say, believe it or not I have a rather love hate relationship with social media.  Which is probably not the best thing to say as an author! As it does so much to reach out to readers and showcase our work.

Here’s the deal, before I was a publish author, when I just messed around writing and journaling with no real intention to publish anything  or write novels I NEVER used social media personally. I hated it. My view was (and I say was as I use it for a different purpose now) I don’t need a Facebook account to keep in touch with friends and loved ones. If I know you you’ll be in my phone book  or contacts and I’ll call, text or whatsup message you. I don’t need to email you, or put an update on the internet to tell you what I’m up to, you’ll  know via phone or in person.What the fuck is Facebook all about? What’s the point in that.. huh?  That was me before this whole new direction in life kicked off.

I also thought that social media was the cause of many relationship problems, your other half spending too much time on it, sending messages to random people, keeping in touch with ex- partners that kind of a thing.  Anyone here ever watched Jeremy Kyle the day time talk show… umm you know what I mean now? Why are all the people on that show obsessed with Facebook? Or have some kind of problem that started with ” I saw this on Facebook and so I ….” So I just ignored social media.

My hang up with it (social media)  was as I thought it could be  used to just paint a picture of your life, that may not even be true. You may not be as happy as Larry, enjoying all the updates you post. I thought Facebook was full of smoke and mirrors. As for Twitter… who? I’m a rather talkative person, I could not imagine squeezing all I have to  say into 140 characters LOL.

Now, of course I see the benefit of social media, and it has done wonders for me to grow as an author and continue to grow. My feelings now are that social media can be a positive thing, you can connect with people you’d never have a chance to meet in real life. Take for example my new monthly feature Meet The Author, this has been sooooooooooo popular! I’ve had so many authors contact me for a feature, which I am over the moon about. I would never have  the chance to  connect with them, or read their wonderful work if it were not for social media. That’s because I put out a call for authors over Facebook and Twitter, authors from the other side of the world as well as the UK have connected with me. I can’t wait to share all their interviews with you. Meeting a lot of you out there who are reading this, has all been down to social media. Which is great. I now see that social media does have a place in the world with some kind of use and meaning.

So I guess, my hang-ups on social media have changed  (a bit),as I can now see how it can be used to my personal advantage as a writer.  In my personal life I still think just call me don’t FB me and ask me how I’m doing!  I doubt I’ll ever entertain it for personal use, as an author yes and that’s as far as it will ever go.

Do you have a hang up with social media? Do you love it or hate it?

badge-blog-challenge-updated

 

Cover Reveal Romance Set in Paradise Book #2: “Lover’s Retreat”. Released 9/6/17 #amreading #amwriting #romance

Book #2 of my Romance Set in Paradise series is coming your way, just a few weeks after book #1 Havana Heat.  We’re globe hopping this time  from the paradise of the Caribbean in Cuba, to south Asia for some Sri Lankan paradise…

Blurb:

Lover’s Retreat is book #2 of the Romance Set in Paradise Series of modern,steamy, suspenseful and romantic stories, set in exotic locations around the world. For thirty seven year old recluse Yasmin O’Neil, life feels like one crisis after another. Her husband left her five years ago, she starts to suspect she’s losing her hearing and then her mother is diagnosed with Cancer. When her mother passes away her fortune changes, Yasmin is fifty thousand pounds richer from her mother’s estate. She takes her fate into her own hands after years of  being a recluse, she rediscovers herself at a spiritual self development retreat in Sri Lanka south Asia, before she plans to spend the next six months travelling around the world.  In Sri Lanka, Yasmin’s path crosses with Michael Thomas, an army soldier on his own path of self discovery.  With their luke warm initial encounter the pair don’t hit it off straight away. After some push and pull the two are finally on the same page. Their encounter turns from luke warm to sizzling hot.

In Lover’s Retreat two very different characters originally on different paths, embrace the need for change and companionship. Set in the back drop of paradise, palm trees and untouched nature of Sri Lanka, these two lonely souls gain more than just self discovery they gain a soul mate.

Release date: 9th June 2017! On Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Apple ibooks and Nook.

Chapter previews will follow 🙂

If you have not heard about book #1 click here and here for previews.

 

Ebook-Cover-Amazon-and-Smashwords

There’s No Denying it…

Denial

Today’s WordPress writing prompt is “denial”. Well there is no denying the attraction building between Detective Sebastian Garcia and Melinda Jones. Here is  excerpt  #2 from Havana Heat! The attraction is there, there is no denying it.

 

As Melinda looks up and down the street and glances up at the busy balconies of the apartments she relaxes and enjoys the new culture she’s been exposed to.

“Which way from here Sebastian?”

“Ah, I’m not a hundred percent sure… let’s head this way.”

Sebastian points in a direction away from the hotel.

“You don’t know where the beach is?”

“Melinda relax, we’ll find it.”

The pair smile at each other and lower their sunglasses as they set off in the opposite direction of their hotel Casa De Amour. As Melinda and Sebastian walk along the busy street the pair are lead away from the residential area, into a lively hub of bars and restaurants. The bars and restaurants are busy with couples and groups of friends dining outside in the late afternoon sun. Salsa music floats out onto the pavement from every bar and restaurant they pass.  The atmosphere along the strip is buzzing. Melinda turns and looks up at Sebastian.

“Wow, this area looks like a melting pot of fun!”

“It sure does, what do you say we skip the beach and head into one of these bars for a dance.”

“Dance? Are you serious?”

“Why not, you scared of your two left feet.”

Melinda playfully slaps Sebastian on the arm.

“I am not, and who says I have two left feet? I could probably dance you off the dance floor.”

“Yeah? You better prove it then.”

Sebastian grabs Melinda’s hand and leads her into the next bar they pass. The bar is buzzing with Cubans sitting outside smoking cigars and drinking local Cuban beer. The barman greets the couple as they tumble in, in a fit of giggles.

“Hola”

“Hola señor, dos de sus mejores cervezas cubanas por favor y un puro también.”

Sebastian replies in rapid Spanish ordering two beers and a Cuban cigar. He glances around the busy bar, and then smiles as he spies a mini dancefloor with a couple dancing to salsa.

The bar has traditional Cuban décor with pale orange walls and brown wooden beams exposed on the ceiling. A high raised dark wood bar and matching wood bar stools are to the left of the main bar as the pair enter, behind it is a well- stocked shelf with a selection of spirits and glasses. To the right of the bar the wall is painted with a sketch of curvy Latina lady, in a revealing bright red carnival outfit. Salsa music rings out of the boom box in the corner. Above it is a large screen TV on mute showing the latest soccer match. The male drinkers in the bar glance up at the screen every now and then, shouting comments at the soccer players in Spanish, and waving their cigars around in frustration at the game.  Couples laugh and joke oblivious to the game playing out on the TV. Small groups of male and female friends gather around tables filled with Tequila shot glasses and chips enjoying each other’s company.  Melinda and Sebastian feel welcome as foreigners and safe in the downtown Havana drinking spot, Casa De Amigos located on a busy strip section of the strip.

Sebastian leads Melinda over to a table with a good view of the dance floor. The couple settle themselves around the small table. Melinda opens their conversation as she studies Sebastian’s profile. He’s busy watching the action on the dancefloor as the Cuban couple salsa with ease and style.

“Wow Sebastian you speak Spanish?”

Without taking his eyes off the couple on the dance floor Sebastian responds.

“Sure do … I am Spanish after all.”

“Double wow, what part are you from?”

“Madrid.”

“Interesting.”

Sebastian blesses Melinda with a wide smile.

“Have you ever been to Spain before?”

“Many years ago, yes. I went to Barcelona it’s a really vibrant city. I remember walking down the ramblers and the market area. Busy is not the word!”

“Ah Barcelona I do enjoy the city too.”

“I also watched a bull fight, that was an experience. Not sure one I want to repeat but it was an experience.”

Sebastian lets out high pitched laugh.

“Bull fighting, hmm I agree even as a Spaniard I can’t say it’s my thing either.”

Sebastian relaxes physically in his chair as the waiter comes over, then places two cool large beers on the table along with his Cuban cigar. Sebastian looks up at Melinda now watching the couple dance.

“You don’t mind do you Melinda?”

Sebastian points to his cigar he’s about to light.

“Oh, no not at all, it’s fine.”

The pair sit nursing their cool beers, a welcome refreshment from the dry heat floating in from the open front bar. Three beers, and two Tequila shots later Melinda and Sebastian are dancing the late afternoon away with the other couples on the small crowded dance floor. As the beat slows down from the last song the pair separate and look at each other both damp with perspiration. The bar’s lack of air- conditioning does not have the same effect on the locals on the dance floor with them, fully accustomed to the humid Havana heat. Catching her breath and wiping her damp face with a napkin Melinda looks up at Sebastian as he orders two more beers and Tequila shots in Spanish.

“See I told you I don’t have two left feet.”

“Melinda, you’re right I’ll give props where they are due you can move and have good rhythm.” Melinda looks up at Sebastian just as he pushes her away and twirls her around.

“Woah! Easy Mr. I don’t want to end up on my ass on the floor.”

“Don’t worry I’ve got you … and your ass for that matter.”

With a cheeky smile Sebastian pulls Melinda back in toward him, his hands slide down the side of her curves and he pulls her closer to him from her waist. Without a second thought Melinda leans in and kisses him lightly on the lips. Sebastian hesitates to return her passion but gives in. Dr Black’s voice rings out in his mind “find yourself a holiday romance, have fun just don’t think about work or London.” Sebastian’s inner voice is a trigger for him to overcome his guilt of kissing another woman so close to his late girlfriend’s death. He leans in and responds to Melinda’s kiss with an equal amount of passion. Held in a tight embrace the pair passionately kiss, the attraction and passion between them is building and neither can deny it.... TO BE CONTINUED!

Book Blurb

Havana Heat is book one of the Romance in Paradise Series of modern,steamy, suspenseful and romantic stories, set in exotic locations around the world. In Havana Heat readers are transported to the paradise of Cuba’s capital Havana, following the romance and heat build between Spaniard Detective Sebastian Garcia, and London born and bred wedding planner Melinda Jones.Melinda’s path crosses with the handsome and charming Detective at Casa de Amour Hotel as a guest at her client’s exotic location wedding. Both characters are in search of a slice of paradise, away from their own troubled love life back home in London. Once their paths cross the romance and sizzle begins.

When all hell breaks out at Casa de Amour Hotel, and conflict builds over their past both characters are faced with a decision to take a risk and see out their romance, or walk away forever asking themselves what could have been. Romance, thrills and excitement await in book one of this modern romance series set in paradise in the Caribbean.

Release date: 18th May 2017! On Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Apple Ibooks and Nook.

Havana-Heat-Cover-Master