Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Is humor an important element in a book you choose?



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As a reader, do you chose books written by humorous authors? Is it an aspect of a story that you search for? When you have a choice of what to read, and it's obvious by the back blurb that a book has a lighter spirit rather than a gloomy downer tendency, would that be a deciding factor?


Many of these questions have been on my mind since I first started to write. I can't imagine my main characters having to experience all the conflicts of a well-plotted story without a sense of humor. Obviously, not everything is funny and shouldn't be, but it's important to me that I care about the main people in my stories, what happens to them, and how they succeed. And producing a chuckle or two by the time I reach the end, well that just makes it more satisfying.


As an avid reader, I'll admit that humor is the difference between whether I go looking for other work by the same author or move on to someone new. Many times I've struggled through heavy pathos and conflicts that break my heart for the hero or heroine, and right till end there's no relief. Many times the books were brilliant and so well written they deserved 5 stars, but somehow they still don't give me the satisfaction as a story that can make me experience a few smiles as well as the tears.


And finally, let's be realistic.  Most people I know like to laugh and enjoy life. Not everything is serious, and many people who suffer tragedies bravely smile through their fears. Even when the worst moments are happening, it's human nature to try and lighten the load. Therefore, shouldn't our characters be based on reality?


So, back to my original question, is humor an element you look for in the books you choose?




Available at Amazon


Available at Barnes and Noble

  My Cheeky Angel is a humorous story about a mixed-up female who's so unhappy she needs the help of a cheeky angel to set her on the right path. To give her the strength to make the changes she thinks are so important. But are they?




She loves a man who only treats her as a pal. By exchanging her sloppy jeans and t-shirts to classy suits and fancy clothes, will he see her differently?





Once in the clutches of the power-hungry world of big business, Annie fights to retain her true identity. But first, she needs to decide who she wants to be and what's really important.










Excerpt:    
    

Every time he closed his eyes, a strange image of Annie in trouble took on such realistic tendencies it seemed surreal. Sick of his own company, Tyler decided a walk would do him a world of good, clear his head, and help to get his mind off his tomboy gone rogue.
Once the idea appeared, it became a fixation. No choice, no dragging his feet, he had to get out of his apartment. Either he needed hallucination treatments or a curt, gravelly female had taken up residence in his brain and urged him to hurry and get his butt moving.
The elevator, not ever on his floor, awaited him with the door open and no one else inside. He shivered. Strange and stranger! The ride down lasted only seconds. When it slowly opened, a nightmare unfolded. One look at his Annie clinging to her evenings escort and his rage superseded common sense. Without thought, he ripped her from the scumbags groping fingers and shoved the conceited-looking, puffed-up character against the wall. All Tylers six feet two inches of anger intimidated. He watched the coward evaluate, then shrink back.
Within seconds the smooth prick spoke. Anna had a bit too much to drink. I was seeing her safely home.
Not a problem. Ill take her up, he growled. By this time, Tyler had a supportive arm around the wobbly woman. He looked down at her. Say bye-bye to your date...Anna. His spitting out her newly chosen name would have set worry bells ringing, if shed been in her normal state of mind. Blitzed out of her head, she just jiggled her fingers and said, Bye-bye, date.
With everything happening so fast, Tyler knew Annie hadnt had a chance to fully appreciate the change in her situation. One minute she was leaning drunkenly against the slimy character whose hands were all over her body, while her unfocused eyes gazed at him adoringly. The next minute, Tyler had taken over.
As the elevator doors closed, leaving Sergio shrugging off his disappointment, a fuming Tyler lifted Annie into his arms.
At ease, Annie wrapped her arms around him, snuggled her face into his neck, and then sighed. His familiar expensive cologne, one of her gifts that he regularly used, seemed to soothe her. I love how you smell.
His anger fled the moment he became aware that she sniffed at him like a small kitten. His legs almost buckled when he felt the tip of her tongue lick him, and then press a tiny kiss over the wet spot.
The groan started deep, frustration forcing it out, chasing away his righteous snit. At her door, he lowered her to her unsteady feet, but she refused to unwind her arms from around his neck. They clung, her body glued to his.
He reached up for the hidden key she kept stashed above her door, while balancing her with one arm. The lock took forever to get opened. Not that she noticed. Busy familiarizing his ear with her lips kept her amused. Swinging her back up and into his arms, he kicked the door closed behind them and carried her carefully into her bedroom, a room which seemed to have undergone huge changes since the day hed helped her paint the ivory walls.
Pillows of all shapes, in all shades of turquoise, some beaded, some embroidered, were strewn helter-skelter over a new satiny brown duvet. He swiped at them one-handed, clearing a space as he lowered her body to the side of the bed, letting her flip backwards. Trouble was, she had his neck imprisoned by her strong, clinging arms, and she wasnt about to let go. He fell over her, half covering her body.
Please, she whispered. Kiss me. I have to be kissed at least once tonight, I justhave to. She pushed upwards, thrusting her breasts against his chest.
Her desire sparked his, and her admission that she hadnt yet been kissed assuaged most of the gut-wrenching rage hed felt at seeing her in the arms of another man. Besides, he couldnt resist her pushy invitation. Drunk or not, his name on her lips would go a long way to restoring his humor.
Honey, do you know whos with you? I need to hear you say my name.
Of course I know, silly. She giggled inanely. Its Dick.
He stiffened and tried to pull away, but she held fast. Her grip couldnt be broken without hurting her, and that was out of the question.
Tyler, Im kidding. She stared up into his eyes, dewy softness mixed with sultry invitation. Her needs were clear; she wanted him. But his needs were just as clear. Not this way.
God knew how long it had been since hed had a woman, and here she was offering him every mans dream. But taking advantage of her drunken state didnt sit well with him. It wouldnt sit well with her, either, in the morning. He knew it, even if right now she didnt.
He slowly began to rise, halted again by her gripping arms. Tired of waiting for him to take the initiative, Annie shocked him by lifting herself, twining her arms tighter around his back, and fusing her lips onto his.
She was sweet. So sweet! Her inexperienced mouth caressed like a little girl. Small puckered kisses zeroed in on his hunger. She struck at his nose, cheeks, lips, wherever she could reach. And her wiggling body reached zones hed forgotten were so quickly aroused. He closed his eyes, savoring her attempts at seduction.
Obviously frustrated by his lack of co-operation, Annie became more inventive. He guessed shed sensed him stalling, and so she doubled her efforts to get him involved in her love play.
Arching her body fully, she pressed herself into him, and sinuously rubbed her breasts against his chest. Without breaking this rhythm, she secured her one leg over his and thrust her heat up to rub his hardness.
Like a Venus flytrap, shed engulfed him. Good intentions flew out the window. His hoarse voice whispered her name over and over as his restraint dwindled, then disappeared completely.
When his lips captured her wandering mouth, he drained her passion, then felt it refill and overflow. She panted. She groaned. And she whimpered his name in tune to his litany of hers.
She grabbed his hand, placed it over her breast, then with her guiding his fingers she forced him to surround the swollen mound. His lips soon followed his hands, and he breathed deeply through the flimsy material over the exact spot that stood hard at attention. Her inexperience, overcome by the alcohol, disappeared. With both hands, she held his head to her and whispered in his ear. Oh, God! Tyler, that feels so good. Touch me.
Her throaty voice ramped up his ardor, but he had to slow down or explode. He backed away and looked down at her beautiful, perky nipples pushing against the silk of her dress, and then he searched her face. Sensing his eyes on her, her eyelashes swept upwards a fraction at a time, and he combusted from the fervent expression her smoky blues reflected.
Tyler, pleeasse! Dont stop. Kiss me again. I love your kisses. Caught in the throes of passion, her body undulated with each word. He watched as her mouth opened a fraction in order to suck in her bottom lip so her teeth could bite down on the plump pinkish mound. Small hands rubbed his upper body but were not quite adventurous enough to slide lower. Still, instincts buried deep propelled her to again mash her hips against his.
Theyd fit together in the same way a well-oiled gun fits into its holster. No doubt whatsoever. When the moment came for him to slip inside her, into her wetness, it would be like coming home at last.
Fast losing control of the situation, and of his convictions, he tried to think. Heaven and hells advocates sounded in his head.
I need her. From his bad side!
I cant. Good side just had to get his two cents in there.
I bloody want her more than my next breath. Come on, bad side!
Its not right. Gravelly-voiced idiot side? Where did she come from?

Devil and angel warred with each other while he awaited the outcometotally in support of his hell-bent buddy.
***
   



    

Friday, January 27, 2012

A poll for the cover of My Cheeky Angel...Vote now!


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See poll above! (if it's open on the poll results just click on Change Your Vote  to return it to the where you can vote!)




Available at Amazon
Available at Barnes and Noble




Some authors have challenged that it could be the cover of a book that will directly affect the sales. I decided to try an experiment to see what you readers think of the cover of My Cheeky Angel, and whether or not the poll results will support what my sales have been.





When I first looked at the cover, I felt so pleased. It depicted the story perfectly, and I knew once the reader saw the book, they would have a pretty good idea that the story inside was an upbeat romance. But then my preferences have always been to the light artwork of yesterday rather than the darker edge we see everywhere today. The title would also throw light on the theme and I felt the customers would know, that even though it listed as a paranormal, the tale would be light-hearted and the angel a fun character.





It’s obvious that there’s an upheaval not only the way we can publish books today, which up till lately has always been under the strict dictatorship of the large publishing houses, but it has affected title and cover options also. Now that some authors have a lot more, if not all the control, we get to see what they want to write, and how they visualize their themes by their preferred cover selections.




Not long ago I entered the book in a cover contest and out of the over 200 voters, Cheeky Angel received only one vote. Didn't seem like a very positive outcome at all, so I've decided to ask for your input.


Poll is at the top of the page.

If you want to make any comments on why you chose to vote a certain way, please do. I'm extremely interested in any ideas you might have - or any suggestions!!!

Thanks so much for your help.

Hugs,

Mimi
















Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Water Baby - A Wonderful Short Novel




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Hello everyone,



Thank you, Mimi, for having me on your blog. The Water Baby, a short novel, is set in New Zealand, and is a spicy, contemporary love story between self-exiled Californian, Jasmine Davis, and hunky kiwi, Fraser Brook.



Jasmine left the US, intent on putting the past behind and making a new life for herself with no personal complications. Determined to follow the rule of not mixing business with pleasure, her plan goes awry when she meets Fraser Brook – a man who ignores rules that get in the way of what he wants.



Compromised from their very first meeting, Jasmine finds her life getting more tangled by the minute, and the harder she tries to extricate herself from Fraser’s influence, the more he entangles her. Does she eventually succumb to his charms? Buy The Water Baby for only $2.99 at Amazon to find the answer.







An excerpt:



Jasmine floated on her back, and smiled as tension slowly leached from her limbs. With the sun caressing her skin, and the gentle rocking of the deliciously cool water, she closed her eyes and imagined listing the property for sale. The advertisement would read: Charming storybook cottage, in top location, lovingly restored to its former glory. Fairytale garden for kids, cats and dogs. Make your dream come true. Phone Jasmi-

Splash! Her pulse jumped. What was that? Springing her eyelids open, she caught a streak of movement.

Twisting around, she shrieked as a man reared up inches away. Water sprayed like a geyser. He blinked, and shook his mop of dripping cocoa-brown curls in the manner of a large, energetic puppy. She shrank away, covering her lacy bra with both arms and choking open-mouthed on the wave churned in his wake.

A pair of silver-green eyes regarded her beneath the sodden curls as she coughed, spluttered and gasped. Her face flamed as her legs frantically trod water, and she silently held those eyes – desperate to keep his gaze from wandering south.

“Hey little mermaid.” His deep voice complemented his square jaw and broad shoulders.

She assessed the expression on his face. Not concerned or even irritable. More like amused. Annoyed with the thought of him laughing at her, she snapped, “You gave me a heck of a fright. Where did you come from? Who are you?”

He ignored her questions, merely raising one arched eyebrow and indicating in the direction of her chest. “It’s a bit late for modesty, isn’t it?”

Her face burned afresh. “How long have you been here?” How long have you been watching me?

His eyes narrowed. “Uh-uh, I’ll ask the questions. Who are you and what the hell gives you the right to trespass on my property?”

Jasmine’s heart plummeted to the bottom of the pool as panic surged through her. She stared, gulped and whispered, “You’re Fraser Brook?”







An emotional roller-coaster which had me smiling one minute and in tears the next.”



Read more of this book at Amazon



Would anyone like to write a review of The Water Baby? If so, please post your email address in the Comments section and I’ll send you a free copy.



Visit me at www.cherieleclare.com to read about my other books: French Kiss, Kiwi Kiss, and my new Romantic Intrigue Taming The Bad Boy.









Bio: I’m never quite sure what readers wish to know about authors – feel free to ask me questions! I live in New Zealand with my husband, and our sons both live in Seattle, USA. This pic is of me with my 3 week old gorgeous grandson, Dean, when we visited Seattle last August.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Passing on The Versatile Blogger Award!


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The Versatile Blogger Award is an award that just keeps on giving. I'm so  honored to have received the award from the lovely Kathleen Patel a peace loving fiction writer, whose books are fun to read, but always educate and contain a message. 
What makes this award so unique is interaction involved in accepting the award and ultimately passing it along to well deserving nominees.





Before I make the announcement for the future award winners, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the multi-talented Kathleen. Thank you so much for following my blog and being supportive. We are twitter pals now, and I'll be your faithful follower and retweeter! 



Here are the official rules for the lucky recipients of "The Versatile Blogger Award":




1. Thank the award giver and link back to them in your blog. Thanks again Kathleen!


2. Share seven things about yourself.

 
·  My nickname is Mimi because, as a baby, my sister couldn't say Marion.
·  I have a wonderful husband who makes me laugh, a grown son who makes me happy I'm a Mom, and a niece who's so beautiful, she makes me envious.
·   Anything my husband cooks is my favourite food.
·  Okay - I admit I like my homemade perogies and homemade bread the best - naturally, both full of carbs….sigh!! (see below for recipes)
·  I love writing 'funny stuff' and if the words crack me up - I know I'm onta something good!
·  I love people!
·  I hate bigotry.


3. Pass this along to fifteen blogs that you enjoy.



http://lisamcmanuslange.blogspot.com/
http://lynneroberts.blogspot.com/?zx=4f8ddf7d9274dcd0
http://shannonmayer.blogspot.com/2012/01/some-love-and-endorsement-for-indie.html
http://lorhainneeckhart.blogspot.com/2012/01/restoration-of-medicine-wheel.html
http://ciaraballintyne-fantasy.blogspot.com/2012/01/six-sentence-sunday-ring.html
http://www.tobyneal.net/2012/01/18/what-some-people-do-when-theyre-moved-by-your-book/
http://rachelbrimble.blogspot.com/
http://robonwriting.com/2012/01/21/scott-morgan-5-things-writers-should-do-when-they-want-to-suck/
http://krystalwade.blogspot.com/2012/01/six-sentence-sunday_22.html
http://blog.juliealindsey.com/
http://ajbooks.blogspot.com/
http://www.simplistik.org/lissetteemanning/?p=2020
http://www.kellymoranauthor.blogspot.com/
http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com/
http://catemasters.blogspot.com/



And so in closing, I just want to say thank you again and to congratulate the new winners!


Hugs,

Mimi




Light-hearted novellas, time-travel with a twist -  full of fun and romance!
  




















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Mimi’s Homemade Perogies



Filling:



Boil 4 med potatoes with salt. When they’re ready, drain the water and let them sit for a minute to release the steam. (Important or you’ll have a mushy mess.)


Shred (old style) cheddar cheese and have it ready to add to the potatoes - while the potatoes are still hot, mash in the cheese with a bit of butter and salt and pepper. Use lots of cheese and do the old taste test. If it’s flavourful - it’s ready.


Let the cheese mixture cool! (I put mine in the fridge) If you don’t, you’ll be sorry when you go to fill the perogies. (Trust me they’ll stick)


Dough:


In a medium size bowl and put a couple of heaping cups of flour. Add salt.


Run the hot water and have a quart of milk nearby.


Run some water over the flour and then add again as much milk. Stir - just a little - to see how the consistency is. Preferably, the dough should be sticky. Keep adding more liquids (as much milk as water) so that when you stir the mixture, it’s quite wet.  (this is the secret to a good dough…you should have it sticky when you put it on a floured counter and little by little you’ll add more flour until it feels like you know the dough should feel.


Cut the dough into quarters and roll each part out separately. Use lots of flour. I will emphasize…USE LOTS OF FLOUR and your dough will roll out really thin, (you want nice thin dough so don’t be afraid to roll it as much as necessary as it tends to shrink back.  


I use a tin can (small size) to cut out rounds and I fill them quite full. Fold one side to the other and pinch, making sure they’re sealed. Then place the perogies on a floured cookie sheet and make layers using wax paper.


Freeze now, or boil.


When they’re fresh, they only take a minute to get to the top of a pot of boiling, salted water. Only cook them another minute.  2 minutes total. Don’t overcook! (When they’re frozen, they do take a bit longer.


Strain out water and put them in a buttered bowl


Topping:


In a small dish, microwave butter until it melts. Roll out salted soda crackers and add the crumbs to the butter and stir. Use this to coat the boiled perogies.


Then get a glass of DIET coke and enjoy the treat!

***


Mimi's Homemade Bread 


In a large bowl add:


4 cups of warm (not quite hot) water

1 tablespoon salt

4 tablespoons sugar


Stir to dissolve.


Melt 5 tablespoon shortening in Microwave and add only 4 tablespoons to the water, keeping one for later.


Add 2 cups of flour and stir into the water.


In next cup of flour, add 11/2 packages (1 full tablespoon) instant yeast ( I buy the 3 packet type of Quick-rise yeast) and stir it into the flour. Add to mixture.


From now on add 1 cup of flour at a time until the mixture is hard to stir. Spoon it onto a floured counter and keep adding flour and kneading it in until the dough forms a ball and the stickiness is pretty well gone. It should be smooth and well kneaded. Takes anywhere from 7-10 minutes.


Turn oven to a very low temp for a few minutes to warm it and then warm the large bowl (with hot water) where the bread will rise. Grease the bowl with some of the left-over shortening and also grease the top of the bread so no hard crusts form on the outside of the dough.


Cover and let rise in the warm oven for 11/2 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.


Then punch the dough down, put it on a floured surface and cut it into 4 parts. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes.


Now, using a small amount of flour, shape the dough into bread or buns and put into the greased waiting pans. Cover and put in warm oven again to let rise for another hour.


Cook at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes. Spread butter over top to soften crust. Let sit on rack to cool and then enjoy!



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Friday, January 20, 2012

Today’s Hero - Is he still around?

                                          
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Despite a story inciting the news lately, about a man who acted more like a villain than a hero - and has everyone questioning their own likely behaviour if in his position - I believe true heroes still exist.



As a romance author who dedicates a good portion of each book to a woman’s dream man, I don’t have to go back in time to look for the real thing. I find examples all around me. In husbands and boyfriends who take loving care of their women (and vice versa) because they want them to be happy. What about the father who hasn’t had a decent coat for years because he figures the kids need new clothes more than he does.  I know of a younger man who lives next door to an eighty-seven-year-old widow and drives her to church most Sundays, to the grocery store every week and to her doctor’s appointments - no relative, just a good neighbour - in my book - a hero.



As often as we see a story that might have us questioning the kindness or bravery of men and women today, there are as many untold stories that prove heroism still lives. Because I wanted to confirm this theory, I glanced through some of the other news items and found a recent story about a regular working man who risked his life to help a police office trying to arrest a vicious felon. Another of a homeless man who’d jumped into a freezing river to rescue a drowning victim. And yet another, of ordinary folks running into a burning building with the sole intention of helping those still inside.



Hero status doesn’t just belong to the male of the species either. There are some pretty cool females willing to put themselves in danger to help others.



So, look around you and see if there is someone in your world who you would consider as a hero. Share your story. It would be uplifting for all of us to hear them, help rebuild our confidence in our fellow man…ahhh person.




Novellas  from The Vicarage bench Series

Light-hearted, fun romance with a paranormal twist.


Amazon & Wild Rose Press  




Amazon & Wild Rose Press



Amazon & Wild Rose Press