Sunday, January 29, 2012

LOVE WHAT YOU DO. DO WHAT YOU LOVE.

I love motivating quotes. My dad was a high school boys basketball coach. He used them all the time. He had tapes he would play over and over again. I believed them all, especially about the ones of perseverance.

I'll tell you a little story. When I was going into the ninth grade, my dad sent my sister and I to a summer basketball camp to a friend of his who coached the best girls basketball team in the state. I lived and breathed basketball. While I was at camp, not once did I question why I wasn't included in some of the activities and asked to sit out. During that time, I learned to dribble proficiently with both hands, behind my back, and between my legs. I played with all the gumption I had when called upon. Once during a scrimmage, they put me in. I stole the ball and drove down for a layup. The only thing was someone planted herself in my way. I plowed right over her, got a foul, and taken out of the scrimmage all within 30 seconds. Years later when I was a senior- after the last game I ever played- that coach came up to me. He said, "You have to be so proud of yourself and all you've accomplished. You're a great little player. Never would have dreamed you would have improved so much from that scrawny little girl who couldn't buy a bucket." Took me a moment to realize what he was saying. What! I wasn't good to begin with! The thought never occurred to me. I thought I was. I played like I was. I guess eventually I became the player I thought I was. I always played with passion, but mostly I played because I love the game.

I wasn't one of those born with ability. I was one that was born with a drive. If I wanted something, I believed that hard work and determination would accomplish my goal. It is the same with my writing.

I wasn't born with the innate ability to write. I'm not one of those fortunate ones who sat down on their computer and the words flowed fluently out on their paper. I admire and envy those authors. No, I'm one of those who strives to perfect my ability of putting into words the stories in my head.

DAUGHTER OF DECEIT
Today, I'm releasing Daughter of Deceit under my pen name Carrie James Haynes. As every time one of my books are released, I'm excited. Hope springs eternal. I love all my books I've written. Some hold special places in my heart. Daughter of Deceit is one of them.

Writing is such a competitive business. At times it can be so frustrating. Books I thought would have done well have had weak sales. It taught me some valuable lessons. Not only do you need a good book, you need help in promoting. No matter what you do yourself, you need help. That's why I'm so happy being associated with the Roses of Prose authors. I'm ecstatic having gone INDIE and the support I found with other INDIE writers. I have this belief that once someone reads my writing I will become established. I have received so much positive feed back from Whispers of a Legend which lead me to release Daughter of Deceit as an Indie.

THE JUDAS KISS
I'm hoping that it spreads over to the TIDES OF CHARLESTON series. I hope The Judas Kiss gets the recognition it deserves also. I can tell you that the third book in the series, Another Night Falls, is one of my best works.

I'm nervous, though, with Daughter of Deceit. A full length novel that hasn't been professionally edited. I believe it is in fine form. I have gone over it numerous times, but its the one thing I wish I had as an Indie, an editor...although, I have to thank Jannine Gallant. She did the first few chapters for me. Though I will fall back on another saying...

No one knows what he can do until he tries...unknown

So much to worry about; so much to question. There are times when I ask myself why I put so much time and energy into my writing. Then it comes to me. I love what I do. Remember...

Love what you do. Do what you love.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

WINDS OF JANUARY

THE JUDAS KISS
January is blowing by. I mean I just blinked and its almost February. THE JUDAS KISS was released. I've been writing several blogs which should be coming out soon on THE JUDAS KISS. Blog, blog, blog. I think I would have a book with all the blogs I've written lately. Not bad...all good.

SHADOWS OF THE PAST
Then Whispers of a Legend, Part One- Shadows of the Past went free on Amazon. So excited. The downloads have gone up, but I'll let you in on a secret- one week in and Barnes and Noble is still beating Amazon. Whispers was featured on a great blog this last week, Escape in a Book. Check it out if you get the chance.

DAUGHTER OF DECEIT is going to be released this weekend! Kinda going head to head. The Judas Kiss is historical romance/suspense and Daughter of Deceit is historical romance/suspense with a tad of paranormal. I'm hoping that each will help each other with sales. I 'm trying out Kindle Select with Daughter of Deceit. I'm anxious to see how that works. Have to decide which cover to use. I like the larger one, but I can't cut it down to the size I need. So I guess I'll just use it to post on blogs.

A Holiday to Remember was just released (Free) on Smashwords. If you have time, I've added a couple more free reads to my FREE READS page. Ruth Cardello's Maid for the Billionaire and Calista Taylor's Viridis.

Have a week off before the Super Bowl. Yes, I had a good week after the Pats won, even backing in the way they did. I'll take it. Did you see where they blamed the scoreboard for that poor kicker missing the field goal? You know I think Belichick planned the whole thing to cheat Baltimore of a win. I can see him all week long plotting the Ravens downfall with the use of the scoreboard. Told Brady to throw to those two interceptions so that the Ravens would stay close just so he could pull off the win by using his secret weapon- telling the Ravens it was 3rd down instead of 4th by way of the scoreboard. Had them so mesmerized that they couldn't have used their timeout even if they wanted it.  And it worked! Oh, you have to hand it to Belichick, that evil genius!

Can you tell I need to get some sleep? Have a good one!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Random Thoughts 1,2,...6

DEXTER
Have you ever had days when nothing adds up? Or is it just me? My son's girlfriend, Lyndsay, posted this picture of Dexter on Facebook. I laughed. Hubbie said he didn't get it. I did. I tried to get him to see Dexter counting his digits on his paw and he can't add. He still didn't laugh. Oh, well, maybe everything adds up to him. I'm with Dexter. Then again you could ask-does it matter if it doesn't add up?

Guess I'm in one of those moods. So bare with me today while I write down what's on my mind...random thoughts.


I have to admit I've been absolutely stunned by the Costa Concordia story. I don't have to say how despicable and disgusting Captain Francesco Shcettino's actions were...I mean have you ever heard of anything more cowardly? Tripping into the lifeboat? But my thought today pertains to the captain of the Coast Guard vessel, De Falco. Have you the conversation between the two? Here's the link. Listen. I don't even know Italian and I don't have any problem understanding exactly what De Falco is saying.

Newt Gingrich. Really...an open marriage...maybe a little hypocritical. Just my thought.


Been a little anxious about the upcoming Pats game Sunday. Don't laugh. Just my week goes by so much better if they win. Give me a break-have you seen my Celtics lately?


I hate doing my taxes.


I have a one-eyed cat named Chloe. 


I got a review on Whispers that made my day. Within it, the review said 
Carrie James Haynes has potential to be next well known scifi/fantasy author...
SHADOWS OF THE PAST
Loved the input. I told someone at work. They asked me in a kidding manner if it was my 'mother.' I had to laugh. Don't think so. I can't even get my family (excluding my kids and hubbie) to read the blurbs of my books. 


I don't cook. My husband spoils me, but he's been gone for a couple of days on business...


I love THE JUDAS KISS' cover.


Excited that Whispers of a Legend, Part One-Shadows of the Past is FREE on Amazon finally.


I'm almost ready to release Daughter of Deceit.


THE JUDAS KISS
So what's on your mind?


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

THE JUDAS KISS- FIRST CHAPTER

THE JUDAS KISS
Sample Chapter For THE JUDAS KISS by Jerri Hines
A beautiful melody of orchestra music drifted within Cathryn Blankenship’s open bedroom window. Exasperated, she pulled back the curtains. She ignored the house ablaze with lights, the murmurs of voices, and stared into the darkened night sky. Most nights she never gave much thought to the wonderment of the sky nor the beauty of the radiant stars twinkling far from the reach of the insignificant being gazing up at its glory. And tonight was no different, except she bemoaned the fact there was no moonlight. How ever was she going to see?

She sighed. Of all things, her father, Governor John Rolf Blankenship, had sent her to her room! Her room! In the midst of the biggest dance of the year celebrating the Hampton Square Race, she had been admonished in the most humiliating fashion. She would never forgive her father! Never!

None of this would have happened if her father hadn’t decided to send her across the ocean to her mother’s family in London for a season. What a silly notion! She had no intention of leaving Elm Bluff. Though, she well figured sending her over to England had more to do with the ramblings within the colonies. A call for liberty and freedom. Well, she didn’t care a twit for politics.

Cathryn glanced out her window. She was going out. Looking down, she wouldn’t have worried about the climb at all if she wasn’t wearing a ball gown, but she didn’t have time to change. Tacy would soon be within to check on her.

Without another thought, she hiked up the hem of her green taffeta, hooking it to her ribbon around her waist. She crunched over and slid through the window. Immediately, she winced. First at the sound of her tight sleeves ripping; then when she maneuvered her legs out the window her petticoat became entangled in a nail head protruding from inside the windowsill.

She stretched her arm up, trying vainly to work the ruffle free of the nail. Her arms ached while her slippers skidded along the side of the house in an attempt to find solid footing. Her hand slapped on the window sill.

“ Now, now,” the familiar voice of her maid said, as she leaned out the window. “What I’m to do with ya’, Miss Cathryn?”

“ Tacy,” Cathryn whispered frantically. “Tacy, please free my dress. Quickly. I’m going to fall.”

Cathryn stole a reluctant glance up at Tacy. Tacy leaned over the windowsill; tresses of her strawberry blonde hair fell over her face. Her fingers lay on the caught material.

“ There you go again, Miss Cathryn. Why it took me two hours to do your hair and fix you up just right! And here ya are hanging out your window. Next time tell me. Wasting my time when I got better things to do!”

“ Tacy,” Cathryn retorted. “I don’t have time for this. Come now!”

“ Governor Blankenship ain’t gonna like it. Not one bit. Here he is sending me up here checking on you. Thinkin’ ya desolate up here by yourself. Tho’ I would have wagered ya already be long gone. That temper of yours, Miss Cathryn!”

Tacy flicked the caught material over the nail. “Now, my Lady, ya need to get yourself back up here before the Governor gets wind of whatca up to.”

“ I’ll send him a message when I get where I’m going. Tell him I’ll come back when the ship has sailed,” Cathryn said.

Ignoring her maid, she balanced herself on the window mount below her. The next moment she leaped down on the soft grass, rolling quite unladylike before finding her feet. Cathryn took off. From behind her she heard Tacy muttering under her breath. “There will be other ships!”

The silly goose will go and tell Father! I don’t have much time. By golly William had better be where I told him to be!

To say this day had been a disappointment would have been an understatement. In no way had the day played out as she had envisioned. She undid the hem from her belted ribbon and let it fall back into place as she walked away from the house.

Chatter and laughter echoed throughout Elm Bluff. It should have been quite a celebration with Sumner’s horse winning the race once more, but she couldn’t imagine Sumner not winning whatever he set his sights upon.

In truth Sumner was her half brother, but that didn’t matter to her. Her family wasn’t the conventional family within Charles Town, but she loved them deeply. In that was the reason for her dilemma this night. With her father’s insistence on sending her over to England to her mother’s family, she would be separated from the only people she loved and who loved her.

“ It will be good for you to meet your mother’s family. It would have been your mother’s wish,” her father had said, although Cathryn knew well he had no real desire for her to go.

“ Why can’t you come with me?” she cried.

“ There is too much to attend to here. I can’t leave at this time, but I promise as soon as I get all settled, I will come over to take you home.”

Governor Blankenship had long served as governor of Antigua in the West Indies before settling in Charles Town. At an early age, he had joined his Majesty’s army, a second son to the Earl of Hestershire, but Cathryn had never set foot in her father’s England. She had been born in Antigua a year after her father married her mother, Elizabeth Cavanaugh. It had been an arranged marriage, although her mother had died when Cathryn had been six, less than a year after coming to Elm Bluff.

“ You are willingly sending me over,” Cathryn said in a futile attempt to reason with her father. “You talk of a season but, Father, William said when he was there a season was just a way for girls to be paraded about for the highest bidder. I will not be auctioned off!”

Her father gave a somber look at his only daughter. “It’s not that way. William was upset because he wasn’t invited to socialize. Granted I will contend it’s a different way than we do here, but it is part of your life that you need to experience, my dear.”

“ Father, I won’t go!” she said, indignation in her voice.

“ You have no choice, my dear,” her father said, pinching her cheek as he did when she had been a small child. “If you had any inclination toward any of the beaus in Charles Town I wouldn’t force you to go. But you have turned away anyone who has shown any interest in you. Do I have to remind you that I refused Maynard Fleming last week? I only want your happiness.”

“ Sumner says they were only after Elm Bluff,” she exclaimed. “I want only to marry for love, Father!”

“ I doubt you would do anything less, but you will do as I have requested. I have already made the necessary arrangements. You are to travel with the Montgomerys. They are taking their two boys to school in London. They have kindly offered to escort you to your grandparents,” Governor Blankenship informed her.

“ I have no time to pack. The end of the week? How am I supposed to make ready in that short of a time?” Cathryn said, filled with her own anxieties.

“ There was a purpose behind it, I can assure you, Cathryn. It gives you no time to plot your escape. Tacy will travel with you.”

Her escape! Of that she needed more time obviously. She scurried across the lawn into the garden. She knew the worn path well. Her steps slowed the closer she came to her destination. Within her sight, a light flicked and then it was gone. She blinked. No, it was a light in the garden house.

Oh! Mother of All! Had she not told William the Old Barn! She walked softly up to the closed entrance, but her movement stalled upon the sound of a throaty feminine moan. Then another moan emerged in the stillness. This time it was a husky, deep chuckle.

Cathryn wiped back the dusty coating over the glass pane. It was not William. Even in the dim light, she recognized her brother’s bare back glistening in sweat. His arms were wrapped around a woman caught in a fervent embrace, pinned against the wall. Cathryn’s mouth fell open when her brother’s lips traveled down the woman’s throat. Cathryn recognized her instantly. Randa Landor! Randa tilted her head back, inviting Sumner to press his open mouth against her pale skin.

Cathryn gaped. She had never seen such a sight and was certain it was not for her eyes to behold, but she was mesmerized. To Cathryn’s shock, Randa’s gown slipped well past her shoulders, but her vision was hampered as Sumner moved out of her view. Oh, Mother of all, what was her brother doing!

Cathryn released her hold, turning her head away in disgust. For a moment she stood with her back against the Garden House, but the mewling gasps and moans sent her down her path again. What game was Sumner playing?

Randa Landor’s father was a highly successful business-man in Charles Town. Granted, Sumner always had a bevy of ladies vying for his attention, but Randa? Randa, the most beautiful girl in the county with her golden hair and brown eyes, but whose father would never accept a bastard for a son-in-law, not even a bastard son of a British aristocrat.

She ran, turning down the lane to the Old Barn near the Ashley River. The lights from the house were completely concealed from sight by the woods. Her eyes took only a moment to adjust to see two horses waiting outside the barn.

“ William,” she uttered in a low voice. “William, where are you? We don’t have much time!”

“ Then keep your voice down.”

“ Oh, William, you don’t know what I have been through. Why did you disappear as you did? Father was furious.”

“ May I remind you, Cathryn, you gave me no notice and flung on me your request only hours ago,” he said, glancing over his shoulder nervously. “And it was not I who pushed Old Miss Longridge into the reflecting pool.”

“ It was an accident, William. I was only trying to escape that wretched Lieutenant’s reach and fell into her!”

She wanted to add if he had helped her at all she wouldn’t have found herself in such a predicament. The plan seemed so simple. Meet William on the veranda and quietly exit the party. Only if she had known her father had placed a guard on her. The moment she stepped off the veranda that infuriating Lieutenant Pennington halted her progress. If only William had stepped forward when the Lieutenant detained her she wouldn’t have reacted so.

For a moment, she paused, studying William. Attractive with a lean body of no more than twenty-two years, he had only recently returned from his studies in England, but his words irritated her to no end at the moment.

But in truth she had given him no warning and had only come up with her plan while lying in bed this morning. Her determination to stay had called to mind William. Had her father not said if she had expressed any interest in a beau the matter would be different? And the Peyton family would be acceptable in his sight. They owned a beautiful plantation up from Elm Bluff along the river’s edge. William was the eldest son of six brothers.

Although from her father’s reaction, she doubted now if he wanted her married at all here in Charles Town. Clearly, he wanted her gone. She wished she knew the reason.

As for love, she knew little about the subject. She had never experienced the throes of love in the way she had read about, but William she liked. He had intelligence about him. He had hinted to Cathryn many times upon his return that he would like to court her. Now he stood like a buffoon, unsure whether to help her or not.

“ Well, if you’re not willing, at least help me out to Tome Plain. I can hide out there until well after the ship departs.”

“ I could well take offense. Let me remind you, Cathryn, you proposed to me.”

“ In truth, William, I asked only that you ask for my hand. So in theory I haven’t done so. It wouldn’t be proper.”

He laughed. “You do have a way of twisting words to your advantage, Cathryn. But why the hurry, Cathryn? I mean, your father quite insisted that I not give you aid in your harebrained scheme.”

“ Then why are you here?”

“ Because,” he said simply, “it may give me what I desire most.”

“ And I’m to take it that I’m what you desire most?”

“ Would I be here otherwise? You do realize once we ride away there will be no going back.”

“ Do you not trust me, William? Have I not explained to you why I must stay? I cannot for the life of me understand why father wants to send me away from him, especially when disaster looms on the horizon,” she said in the most dramatic fashion.

“ Most romantic concept in an elopement, my dear Cathryn, to worry about staying with one’s family, not leaving them,” he said and chuckled, extending his hand to her to help her mount.

Cathryn ignored his comment and swung her legs across her horse, giving no thought to modesty, nor had she thought of the consequences of her actions, only of staying at Elm Bluff. Suddenly, her head jerked to the sound of rustling in the woods. Out from the darkness a figured emerged. And here she thought her day couldn’t get any worse. It was him again, that insolent officer!

When she had first seen him earlier in the evening she thought him tall and handsome in his red dress coat, but that was before he revealed his assignment: to see her safely on board the Victoria. Through the faint light, he met her with a smile, a slow arrogant smile. A smile accentuated by the whiteness of his wig. He had a square jaw, about which her father always said showed strong character. His eyes caught hers, bold, dark eyes that Cathryn couldn’t read, but they showed no sign of weakness.

“ I can see that neither of you listened to Governor Blankenship’s request,” he said as a fact. No question lay in his tone.

“ I believe you said your name was Pennington, Lieutenant Pennington, if I’m not mistaken. This isn’t your concern. You don’t know Miss Blankenship well enough to understand…” William stumbled over his words.

“ I know her father, well, Mr. Peyton. My advice to you would be to leave immediately or face the consequences of your actions. A gentleman would never encourage such behavior.”

Cathryn stared in disbelief as William hesitated, glancing apprehensively at Cathryn and back at the Lieutenant.

“ It is your call, Mr. Peyton. My patience has worn thin this night. I had thought I had made myself perfectly clear earlier, but if you want me to fulfill my threat, I assure you I will have no issue.”

Lieutenant Pennington stepped only once toward William before William mounted up and tethered back his horse.

“ You can tell your father, Cathryn, I will make my presence known first thing in the morning to clear up this misunderstanding.”

Before Cathryn could utter a retort, he galloped down the road.

“ William! William Peyton!” she cried. Her eyes flamed at his desertion. “Coward!”

The sound of the horse’s hooves clattering fast away slowly waned in the distance. She sat frozen upon her mount, refusing to look down at the impertinent man. How dare he, not once but twice, interfere with her plans!

Frustration surged. She yanked her reins to take off down the lane herself, but the Lieutenant’s hands were quicker. He gripped tight to her reins and in one quick motion with his other hand pulled Cathryn down off her horse straight into his arms.

“ Let go of me, you horrid beast!” she uttered, trying to catch her breath. She twisted in his hold. “I will scream.”

“ I have no control of such,” he said. “If you want to cause another spectacle, it isn’t in my control to stop you.”

She struggled against him. She hit back his hand, but his grip didn’t ease. She didn’t stop. Finally, he whipped her around, pulling her to his face, so close she could feel his breath against her skin.

For a brief moment, her thoughts fell back to the scene she had stumbled upon only minutes before. She wondered what it was like to be in an ardent embrace. She had never been in such close proximity to a man. His face, his lips so near.

His thoughts, though, seemed far away from hers. His chest heaved heavily as if trying to restrain his annoyance with the situation.

“ Your plan, I am afraid, Miss Blankenship, has been foiled. Can you not behave for one moment? Your father only asked if I could watch over your safety upon your voyage, since I was returning to England upon the Victoria. Nothing more. Tonight was requested because he feared you would try something reckless which it seems was warranted. In truth, Miss Blankenship, I have found your maneuvers rival some battle worn generals I have worked with.”

“ Then I would have to assume you have worked with extremely deficient generals, Lieutenant, for I haven’t been very successful. Pray let me go!”

“ Only when I have delivered you back to your father.”

“ Sir, I can assure you I’m perfectly capable of finding my way around my home, from which I am being so unmercifully dragged.”

“ I would be negligent in my duties if I didn’t.”

“ I will happily relinquish you of such,” she retorted. She swung her head back in an attempt to regain any dignity in her circumstance.

“ Miss Blankenship,” he replied coolly. “I have committed to the Governor I will take care of you during your journey to England. This I will do whether you want my assistance or not. I will see you safely to your grandparents and after that you can do as your heart desires. Believe me when I say I have no desire to watch over a spoilt little debutante.”

Without warning her hand swung back. The aggravation from the day welled in her action. She slapped him, hard. He caught her arm, pulling her to him. She met his stare with the same intensity, refusing to be intimidated. His free hand went to her face, touching it in a manner which greatly disturbed her.

The moment passed. He laughed. “I quite deserved that, my lady.”

Her eyes locked upon his, challenging him. He had laid clear his intention. He grabbed her hand and almost dragged her up the path. She said nothing more to him, but raced by him as they came upon the back entrance. She ran up the steps and into the house. She didn’t stop until she reached her room.
* * * *
Cathryn bit her bottom lip. Her father sent for her before sunrise. Now she sat dutifully in his study, listening to him rant at her for over an hour. She had never seen him so upset. She doubted he had even slept.

“ To think a daughter of mine was throwing herself at a gentleman!” he roared. He ran his hand through his silver-white hair. He hadn’t donned his wig this morning. Her father never presented himself without proper attire especially with guests in the house and there were several of them left from the night before activities.

At fifty-seven, her father had married late in life. Her father had doted on her without question and she idolized him. But at the moment she found herself under the scrutiny of his shrewd, piercing blue eyes. Cathryn had the look of her father, she had been told, except for the color of her eyes. Her eyes were a hazel, giving way to green depending upon the color she wore or the temper she was in.

She turned her head slightly. She caught her reflection in the window glaze. Her dark brown hair was a thick, unruly mess at most times. She could do nothing with it except pull it back. Her face was oval with a dimple in her chin. Her eyes were large and expressive at times and her eye lashes long and dark, slanting upward. Her father told her when she smiled, the whole of her face illuminated. She wasn’t smiling now.

But Cathryn had a temper. Her father had cautioned her more than once about it. Sumner called her Jalyn at those times. Sumner said she reminded him of the jays when they bickered with the other birds, strident, acrimonious, not relenting until they had their way. In all she was much like her father, having inherited his stubbornness, which was evident in her determination not to leave.

“ Father, I do believe you are making too much of it all. There would have been no scene at all if that insolent officer hadn’t interfered as he did. William…”

“ Cathryn, Lieutenant Pennington is a fine officer and a gentleman. In that I have to question William. Why he would ever allow you to contemplate such an action! His family is one of the oldest and respected families in the county.”

“ It was not his fault, Father. I asked him to for I cannot bear to be parted from you and my home!” she cried. Tears ran down her face. “I tried to tell you, but you don’t listen. I don’t want to go.”

“ Are you mad, Cathryn? Or are you really telling me you are in love with William? Are you prepared to marry?”

“ I like William, Father,” she retorted. Her temper began to show. “I like him better than any other.”

“ I...” he began. He stared at Cathryn. “I gave William full warning to stay out of your path last night after the first incident. Cathryn, why do I feel you are using the poor fellow? Is that what you truly want for yourself, Cathryn?”

“ Honestly, Father, I know only that I can’t leave here. I can’t leave you, Sumner, or Juriah. How can you ask me to?”

“ It is not my desire for you to settle, Cathryn. I want you to be happy. My concern is you. I saw well through your ploy last night and even though I well warned William that if he wants your hand, he can do so properly when you return from England. And not try to run out and elope in the middle of the Hampton Square Race dance. I have never! Knocking Miss Longridge into the reflection pool! And on top of that climbing out your window! You could have been killed! What was in your mind?” His voice rose.

Tears streamed down Cathryn’s face. “Only staying here, Father!” She leaped from her chair and hugged her father. “I can’t bear to leave you, Father.”

He held her tight in his arms, only reluctantly breaking from her. “Cathryn, do this for me. I ask only a year.”
* * * *
The dew clung to leaves and grass in the early morning hours. Cathryn’s slippers were well soaked as she walked down the worn path. She had eased out the back door through the kitchen. The house was a buzz with all the company that had stayed over. Cathryn didn’t care. Juriah, helping with the cooking, had caught her eye as Cathryn placed her hand upon the back door. She nodded slightly. Cathryn realized Juriah knew where she was heading.

Juriah had given comfort to her when she returned from her dreadful night’s adventure. Juriah had eased within her room. She had said nothing, but understood all. Taking Cathryn into her arms, she rocked her and comforted her until Cathryn had cried herself to sleep. Juriah had long been as the mother she had lost many years previous and was the make up of her strange household.

Juriah had been part of Cathryn’s life since her mother had died. Less than a year after her mother and younger brother, John Steven, died of the fever, her father had brought Juriah to Elm Bluff. Sumner had already lived among them. Cathryn had never questioned the make up of her family. It wasn’t until Tacy had arrived as an indentured servant that Cathryn had learned her home wasn’t made up as most households.

“ I have heard it is why your father settled in Charles Town and didn’t return to England,” Tacy gossiped to Cathryn. “He doesn’t want to leave Miss Juriah.”

Comprehension of Tacy’s words settled upon her young na├»ve ears. Juriah Meador was the most handsome woman Cathryn had ever known. Juriah, a half-breed of Cherokee descent fitting into neither world, was a gentle, kind soul rumored by the Cherokees to have a healing hand.

Cathryn gave no credence to the fact that her father had taken Juriah as his lover before he married her mother. Wasn’t Sumner thirteen when she first met him?

“ That is not unusual, Miss Cathryn. The British readily set up their mistresses. The British have found it acceptable to marry for position and take their pleasure from other means. But to have one in their own home! The Governor couldn’t do so in England.”

“ Mistresses, lovers? If it is as you say why wouldn’t Father marry Juriah? Why would he do so? Isn’t it a sin?” Cathryn had asked in her innocence.

Tacy laughed and said in her soft Irish brogue, “Oh, the rich, Miss Cathryn, have a different set of rules of which I’m certain they have negotiated the rules with God Almighty himself.”

Cathryn pushed back all thoughts as she walked up a gentle slope and through the rose garden. A huge oak sat alone, shading the area outside a wrought iron fence. She walked without a thought and opened the ornate gate. The flowers she had cut only yesterday had wilted in the vase. The water had run out of the tilted vase. She hadn’t secured the vase well enough, having been in too much of a hurry. She reprimanded herself. She should have known better. Tears welled up. Stupid flowers!

She bent down and picked up the drooping flowers and threw them over the fence into the woods which edge the small cemetery. She would need to pick fresh ones.

“ Cathryn,” a familiar voice said from behind her. Glancing up, she caught sight of her brother. Tall, six feet two inches tall, long of bone and hard of muscle with a sunburned face and deep chestnut hair, Sumner was a mirror of her father, except he was a good half a foot taller and with darker coloring. His shirt was disheveled a tad, hanging over his pants. His hair, unkempt, waved in the breeze.

“ You don’t look as if you slept last night,” Cathryn stated plainly upon the sight in front of her.

“ I don’t think many slept last night, Jalyn,” he said, giving Cathryn full warning he was in no mood for bantering. “I wanted to talk with you so no one could hear our words.”

Cathryn kneeled upon one knee. Sumner looked past her to the graves. “You come out here often, I know. Mother has told me. You must find comfort here.”

Cathryn nodded ever so slightly. The wind picked up slightly, carrying with it the fragrance of all around freshness of the new day, giving way to calm, peace.

He took in a deep breath. He rubbed his forehead. “We need to talk.”

“ I’m listening, Sumner. I have always listened to you,” she answered. She brushed over the dirt upon her skirt.

“ The Governor…” Sumner paused. He looked over at her and shook his head. “What was in your head last night with your behavior?”

“ My behavior?” Cathryn countered. “If I was you I wouldn’t worry about mine. Sumner! Randa?”

Sumner stared at his sister with his red streaked eyes. “So it was you I heard outside the Garden House. Cathryn, so help me!”

“ Oh, pooh! Do not start with me, Sumner,” she retorted with a smile. “You are fortunate it was me and not her father! And you ask me what I was thinking!”

His eyebrow cocked to the side. “I believe I can’t argue that point. Except, my dearest sister, this discussion has nothing to do with me. It is you the Governor is concerned with. You have to realize that the Governor has his reasons for wanting to send you across the ocean. You need to trust him and it is only for a year.”

“ Would you want to go, Sumner? I know no other life but here. I love my home and I don’t want to be paraded about, Sumner. I won’t fit in. William said...”

“ Look, Jalyn. It would be different for you. I know well the talk against the crown. I have listened and if it wasn’t for the Governor I might say I couldn’t disagree with some of their points of view. But Jalyn, you are a part of their society by your blood. I can imagine you would be well sought after with all you have.”

“ Would they accept you?” Cathryn countered her brother.

“ They don’t accept me fully here, either, Jalyn,” Sumner said stoically. “Don’t look at me in that manner. I have been well looked after. Don’t I oversee all the plantations? Am I not included in all events? I owe all to the Governor. I have no issues. It is you that I have come to talk of. The Governor has several reasons for his desire for you to visit England at this time. There is turmoil within the colonies. Have you ever thought he wants you safe?”

“ I would feel safer here than in a place where I know no one. Do you not think my family will not try to marry me off?”

“ I don’t know your family, but I do know you, Cathryn. I have faith you will be able to handle all. You’re looking upon it all wrong. It is your life, your destiny. A path you need to follow. We all have a path to choose. Why are you so afraid to follow such? You are no coward.”

She stared upon her mother’s grave. She wiped her eyes, forcing the tears from falling. “I know no one across the ocean, Sumner. What if they don’t like me? You tell me I’m no coward, but I am. I’m so scared about leaving all of you behind, Father, you, Juriah, my home. I’m afraid all will change upon my return. I know how quickly all can change!” Her voice trailed off into the wind.

Sumner expelled a sigh. He took her by her shoulders and stared straight into her eyes. “I understand. I do, but what you are asking for is a fantasy. The only thing that is constant is the fact that the sun will rise in the morning. Everything else will change. It is life. You have now a choice. To live your life or hide from it. Live your life, Jalyn, and have faith it will lead you to happiness.”

Whiskey Creek Press, Amazon


Sunday, January 15, 2012

TODAY'S THE DAY

THE JUDAS KISS
THE JUDAS KISS has been released! So excited to have the first in the Tides of Charleston Series out. A good day. A good week. Hopefully, a good year! I love historical fiction, historical romance, historical suspense! I have since I can remember. I have to say The Judas Kiss was influenced by one of my favorite authors, Victoria Holt. I enjoyed many a book by her (under all her pen names, too).


Many a day was spent in my youth with her book in my hand. Victoria Holt's books were filled with suspense. My favorites- Mistress of Mellyn and Menfreya in the Morning. I found more than a few of her books set in Cornwall, England. You'll find when I venture in my writings across the ocean to England I was drawn to Cornwall. It is no coincidence that Jake Pennington is from Cornwall. I've never been to England physically. My only connection is from reading Victoria Holt's books. It was like I've been on the moors, walking the ruins, hearing the waves crash against the rocks. I hope The Judas Kiss takes you into a world like Victoria Holt took me.

I'll let you in on a little secret. When I first submitted The Judas Kiss to Whiskey Creek Press, it's title was The Sun Will Rise. I got the title from the first chapter of The Judas Kiss when Cathryn's brother, Sumner, talks to her about her feat of leaving home. He tells her- The only thing that is constant is the fact that the sun will rise in the morning. Everything else will change. It is life. You have now a choice. To live your life or hide from it. Live your life, Jalyn, and have faith it will lead you to happiness.


Loved the title and it seemed fitting. The only problem- the manuscript was too long. We had to cut the book into two. Somehow The Sun Will Rise I and The Sun Will Rise II didn't fit. I wanted to come up with other titles. Then I looked on my book shelf and there it was. The Judas Kiss by Victoria Holt. Now the books couldn't be more different. In Victoria Holt's version, you have a sister looking for the answers to why her sister was killed years before; she encounters her old lover whose engaged to her charge...oh, you get the picture. 


My The Judas Kiss is not about an unknown betrayal. I can't let on anymore than that at the moment, but know The Judas Kiss is filled with suspense, love and betrayal. There isn't a doubt there has been a betrayal as in Victoria Holt's book where the charge didn't know and wouldn't have cared. I'm sure Ms Holt wouldn't mind sharing a title. In a small way it's my way of honoring Ms Holt. 


So join me today. Get your copy of The Judas Kiss and enjoy!


SHADOWS OF THE PAST
Don't forget WHISPERS OF A LEGEND, PART ONE- SHADOWS OF THE PAST has gone free on Amazon!!!! So excited. And at the end of the month, I'm releasing Daughter of Deceit under my pen name, Carrie James Haynes. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

FRIDAY the 13TH!

I'm ecstatic. Whispers of a Legend, Part One-Shadows of the Past is FREE on Amazon! Why am I so happy when Whispers has done well on Barnes and Noble? Because I can't get to where I want to go only on Barnes and Noble. Without question, I needed to break through the Amazon barrier.

Today I was reading a Forbes Article. Why Amazon Is the Best Strategic Player in Tech. Interesting reading, but I feel I knew most of what it said. Amazon knows how to make money. Amazon has made some great moves. Read the article and see if you agree.

So today is Friday the 13th. Are you superstitious? I am. I got it from my mother. Little things like 'don't walk under a ladder.' or 'don't cross paths with a black cat.' She never warned me about Friday the 13th. Is there a reason why some people think Friday the 13th is jinxed? I have always thought it lucky. Did I tell you that Whispers of a Legend just went free today on Amazon?
SHADOWS OF THE PAST


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Creating the Fantasy World of Historical Romance

I love romance. I love historical romance. Okay, I know what you're thinking. You should. You write it. But I loved historical romance long before I began writing the genre. And when I said I read...oh, I read. Many an afternoon I would curl up with a good book and disappear from everyone. My time. My escape from reality if only momentarily.

I'm sure there are many reasons one reads romance, any romance. For me, it is that escape. An escape into a fantasy. Really isn't that what romance books are all about...creating a fantasy for the reader.

A historical romance has a formula that can't be altered; tinkered with perhaps, but never...never changed. There always has to be a happy ever after. That's what we as readers want. We want that happy ever after.

Now I write historical fiction also. I can be a fanatic on history especially American Revolution, but that's a different cup of tea. I'm not going down that path today. Today is for romance.

So in this world of historical romance, how important is inaccuracies? Where are the boundaries in the midst of historical accuracy in this world? I believe it's subjective. I'll give you an example. I submitted a manuscript to a major publisher. Now granted I'm much more knowledgeable about American history than English. Also when I first dove into writing a story set in Regency England there were some intricacies that I hadn't had down quite yet. Nothing major. A minor point which was easily corrected.

But while she was correcting me on how a lady should curtsy and to whom, I was in the mist of a historical romance where a Duke was about to marry his mistress who really was a lady, but she had been accused of murder and ran off to London without a cent to her name; stopped a duel he was about to participate in, all the while she was walking to work and was quickly given a job as his nurse. Finding he couldn't live without her, he married her which was a good thing since she was expecting-I mean increasing. Oh, I almost forgot his family loved the heroine and not once did it mention her curtsying to her Duke! And I enjoyed the book!

Why? First, I was in the mood for a light read. The book was engaging; the writer wonderful. The other reason...I have a Cinderella complex. I love a happy ending whether or not its reality. Granted I love to read other genres, but when I read a romance that's why I'm reading it. I'm in the mood not to be mentally challenged. I don't want to think. I want to feel.

I will be the first to admit that romances aren't reality. If they were, nobody under the title of a Viscount during Regency England wouldn't have married or even fallen in love. Seems to be a critical element in a Regency. You have to be an aristocrat or a least the hero has to be. Those poor servants, merchants, and farmers didn't have a chance for true love. Couldn't if you weren't connected to a title. Really think about it. Think about all those romances during that period of time. Then ask yourself- how many titled aristocrats were there in England?

I admit there are times when I do find some of what it is written hard to swallow. Improbable plots are the ones I have the most trouble with understanding. I mean I'm pretty lenient when I read a Regency Romance, but even I question a Duke marrying a school teacher or an Earl marrying a forger and thief. I guess there are are only so many marriages of convenience one can write about which leads to so many improbable plots. But how hard is it to come up with something fresh in historical romance?

Fresh...original...it's hard. And it's probably the reason there are so many improbable plots and so many discrepancies.

As for creating the Fantasy World of Romance...there are rules to consider and follow. The difference in writing a real fantasy world such as in WHISPERS OF A LEGEND is that one doesn't have that those restrictions. I haven't figured out how to write a light romance, but I do have a historical romance coming out January 15th.  THE JUDAS KISS is set to be released!  At the end of the month under Carrie James Haynes I have a historical/paranormal romance to be released, DAUGHTER OF DECEIT.
THE JUDAS KISS
THE PATH NOW TURNED

DAUGHTER OF DECEIT


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

TIDES OF CHARLESTON SERIES




PATRIOT SECRETS
The American Revolution has always fascinated me. My historical fiction book, Patriot Secrets, is based on a spy ring against the British during the turmoil. Influenced by my love for John Jakes' The Kent Family Chronicles, I began the Winds of Betrayal series. I have always intended to continue the series beyond Patriot Secrets, especially since Patriot Secrets ended after the Battle of Saratoga. The war's eyes turned South. So did mine.

After the Battle of Saratoga, the British needed to turn the tide of the war. They lay their hope of strong support from the Loyalist in the South. My previous exposure to the American Revolution focused on the causes of the rebellion, the beginning, the progression toward a democracy, and the battle that essential ended the war at Yorktown. What defines the American Revolution better than the Boston Tea Party or the speech by Patrick Henry- Give Me Liberty or Give me Death!

But the war down South was a different kind of war; a different culture; a different breed of people. Through out the colonies, the support for the war was divided. Not only was it divided between the supporters of the rebellion, Patriots, and the ones who stayed loyal to the Crown, Loyalists, but there was also a large group of colonists who were indifferent to the outcome. The difference down South was that whatever side they were on they felt it with a intense passion. There was no indifference to their feelings.
Case in point, Battle of King's Mountain. Up until the mountain men didn't care about the war. They enough to worry about with establishing their homes in a new frontier with the wilderness and the Indians. That was until British Major Patrick Ferguson made them mad.

One of the reasons, I believe, that the British lost the war was their arrogance. They greatly underestimated the colonists. And issuing a challenge to the mountain men 'to lay down their arms or he would lay waste to their country with fire and sword.' Those Mountain men didn't take too kindly to those words. The Colonial militia met up with Ferguson and his Loyalist at King's Mountain. It took less than an hour for the Colonial militia to defeat the British. The beginning of the end for the British. Not that the Patriots won the South out right, but they plagues the British. In the end, you know the story with Cornwallis moving North to Yorktown.
 When I turned my attention South, I found myself caught up with the characters and setting it provided. I was hooked on Charleston (Charles Town). Maybe it's my Southern roots although I don't know of any of my relatives that came from Charleston, more North Carolina I'm told, but I fell in love with the mystic of Charleston. 
THE JUDAS KISS
When I turned my attention South, I was caught up with the characters and setting of the South. I was hooked on Charleston (Charles Town). Maybe it’s my Southern roots although I don’t know of any of my relatives that came from Charleston, more North Carolina I’m told, but I fell in love with the mystic of Charleston.

Although the Tides of Charleston series is not part of the Winds of Betrayal, I wouldn't be surprised to see some of the characters cross in the coming books (Another Night Falls).

Starting Sunday, January 15th, my Tides of Charleston series begins with the release of THE JUDAS KISS. The Tides of Charleston series is historical romance mixed with suspense. The series follows two siblings, each with their own story to tell...Cathryn Blankenship, the beloved daughter of a former British Royal Governor told in THE JUDAS KISS  and THE PROMISE;  Sumner Meador, the bastard son, seen in ANOTHER NIGHT FALLS.
THE JUDAS KISS. Follow Cathryn leave Charles Town for the ballrooms of London. Her father sending her across the ocean with the hope of keeping her safe but instead she finds a world of betrayal...

Friday, January 6, 2012

Kindle Author: Kindle Author Interview: Jerri Hines

Kindle Author: Kindle Author Interview: Jerri Hines: Jerri Hines, author of Whispers of a Legend, Part One—Shadows of the Past (writing as Carrie James Haynes), discusses her book, her journey...

AMAZON'S KINDLE SELECT- FREE READS

UNDENIABLE ROGUE
You have to give Amazon credit. They know a good thing and know how to make money off of it. A few years ago while others in the publishing business were trying to brush off ebooks as a fad Amazon saw an opportunity by creating their Kindle. Marketing- Amazon knows what they're doing.


Amazon took another leap into another growing market- the Indie market.  Over the last years, Indie authors have grown. With the publishing field becoming increasingly harder and harder to break through, authors turned to self-publishing. Moreover, these Indie authors have become quite successful. Amanda Hocking. Michael Preston. Barbara Freethy. Darcie Chan.


Some had previous success. Now its becoming even more common place for established authors to take the leap into the Indie field. Just recently two more added to the ranks of Indie releases- Annette Blair and Brenda Novak.


Amazon created Kindle Direct and Create Space for self-publishing authors. Self-publishing is quite simple now if one knows what one is doing. Places such as Kindle Direct, Pubit (Barnes and Noble) and Smashwords offer simple self-publishing options. Over on Smashwords they have a wonderful marketing guide. In it is the suggestion for unknown authors to give away a book free. It's a marketing ploy, an extremely smart one at that. Give away a sample of your writing to bring in readers. It works. Example in case that I know of is Ruth Cardello with her Legacy Collection series. I have used Ruth as an example before and if you want to see her numbers and her success check out her blog.


And I'll give you an example of myself and the difference giving away books for free. I went Indie under my pen name, Carrie James Haynes, back in the middle of October with my Whispers of a Legend series. Whispers of a Legend, Part One, Shadows of the Past went free most places. It has had thousands of downloads. I can't give you an exact figure because I don't have the numbers at Barnes & Noble yet, but its ranked #2000 on Barnes and Noble overall and the last time I looked #218 in fantasy. The second installment, The Path Now Turned, numbers are climbing on Barnes and Noble. Most authors I've talked to online say their numbers are much better on Amazon than Barnes and Noble. Mine aren't. No where close. The reason. Whispers of a Legend, Part One-Shadows of the Past isn't free on Amazon. I waited and waited for it to go free. It didn't and it won't. Why? Kindle Select.

Amazon figured out that giving away a sample of an authors writing was a great way to sell books. So they came up Kindle Select. I'll give you the exact requirements from their page-
What is KDP Select? 
KDP Select is a new option that features a $6 million annual fund dedicated to independent authors and publishers. If you choose to make a book exclusive to the Kindle Store for at least 90 days, the book is eligible to be included in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and you can earn a share of the fund based on how frequently the book is borrowed. In addition, by choosing KDP Select, you will have access to a new set of promotional tools, starting with the option to offer enrolled books free to readers for up to 5 days every 90 days. Authors and publishers can enroll a single title, their whole catalog or anything in between within KDP Select. 



DEVIL'S LAIR
The twist is that you have to give your book exclusively up for 90 days to Kindle Select. In return they will help you promote your book. The biggest promotion- giving away the book free up to five days within the 90 day span. The twist is that you aren't giving it away free the entire time. Does it help in sales? Would Amazon do it if they thought it wouldn't? I'll answer that. No, Amazon wouldn't do anything that wouldn't make money and Yes, it helps in sales. According to one of the blogs I follow, Kindle Author, David Wisenault put his book, Devil's Liar, in the Kindle Select program. He list what his number look like. As with Ruth Cardello's sales numbers, I believe they speak for themselves.


So whose the winner here. Amazon, of course, but I believe readers are the big winners. How lucky can you get being given a sample to read for free.


Case in point- National bestselling author Annette Blair. Her book Undeniable Rogue is available free today!


It's free now through the 8th! If you have never read a Annette Blair book, what better time to start. I spotlighted Ms Blair last May on Novel Works. Love her books. The Vintage Magic series, Works like Magick Novels, Accidental Witch Trilogy and the Historical Amish series.


I also believe its a good thing for authors to have options. Options are always a good thing whether one wants to go the traditional route or Indie. It gives us a semblance of control.


I may have missed out with Whispers of a Legend on Amazon, but I have a plan. Always have to have a plan, don't you? My next Indie, Daughter of Deceit, I'm going to put on Kindle Select. I was going to wait until the spring, but I'm going to publish it before the next installment of Whispers of a Legend. 


I want to continue this train of thought about Indie next week. Try comparing traditional and Indie since I have The Judas Kiss with Whiskey Creek Press coming out the 15th of this month and if I get the edits completed Daughter of Deceit under Carrie James Haynes at the end of the month. 


But in the mean time, go and get your free copy of Undeniable Rogue by Annette Blair. I am. 





Monday, January 2, 2012

SO IT BEGINS...THE TIDES OF CHARLESTON SERIES

THE JUDAS KISS

2012 is off to a good start. JANUARY 15! Mark it down. THE JUDAS KISS will be released January 15th. The first book in the TIDES OF CHARLESTON series. I'm so excited to have my first book released by Whiskey Creek Press.

Set against the backdrop of the American Revolution, the novel sweeps from Colonial Charles Town (Charleston) to the ballrooms of London. Charles Town played a large part in the Southern Campaign during the war with its harbor and strong connection to England. So much so that King George laid his hopes of salvaging the war around his belief in his Loyalists. King George learned quickly that the Patriots had other ideas about simply handing over the South. This struggle between the Patriots and Loyalists laid the foundation to the Tides of Charleston Series.

I love Charleston. So rich in history, animated characters, massive and elegant plantations and mansions. The perfect setting for a romantic/suspense series.

The Tides of Charleston series follows two siblings. THE JUDAS KISS and THE PROMISE centers around the life of Cathryn Blankenship, the beloved daughter of a former British Governor. ANOTHER NIGHT FALL turns to Sumner Meador, Cathryn's bastard half-brother, and his fight for Independence. One family- two sides! So exciting!