Thursday, May 31, 2012

Desperate Dreams Weekly Excerpts Resume

Blood pooled in Nyla’s stinging palm and slid down her wrist. She was afraid the sight might make her sick to her stomach, so she refused the temptation to take her eyes off Ethan. She focused on the sharp chiseled features of his face. Some might have thought the slight upward tilt of his chin looked arrogant, but to her the angle made him look confident and strong and right now, she needed his strength.
Ethan tried to offer comfort, but all Nyla could see in his weak smile and his coal-colored eyes were the depth of the pain he was feeling on her behalf. She hated to see him suffer on her account, but his caring touched her heart.
“Come on man. It can’t be that hard to find,” Ethan demanded as he wiped the blood gliding down Nyla’s arm before it reached her shirt.
“Back off. It’s not as if I want to cause her anymore pain than I have to. You know the lighting in here stinks. I can hardly see what I’m doing.”
Nyla bit down hard on her lip to take her mind off her throbbing hand. She fought to keep from whimpering because she didn’t want Jared to feel bad or for Claire to chicken out.
“Got it,” Jared declared as he held the tiny microchip up in triumph.
“Didn’t hurt a bit,” Nyla lied, hoping to ease the apprehensions of her friends.
Jared cleaned the small but invasive piece of technology, careful to avoid any damage to the chip which would expose their plan, while Ethan tended to Nyla’s wound. Ethan pressed a cloth firmly to her palm to stop the bleeding, and then dried her skin, applied an antibiotic ointment to the cut and secured the chip to her palm near the incision with a flesh colored dressing.
“Who’s next?” Jared asked, slowly pulling the blade of the scalpel through the flame.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Thank you to Guest Bloggers

I’d like to express my sincere appreciation to all the guest bloggers who participated in our week-long exploration of Places of Impact.  I hope the various posts brought back fond memories, instilled inspiration and maybe even touched your heart.  Also, I wish to offer a special thank you to all those who stopped by and shared in our journey.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bonnie McCune on Places of Impact - The World Trade Center

Inspiration comes in many forms. Sometimes it smacks you in the face with a “pay attention to me.” Other times it sneaks in slowly as you realize it’s making an impact.

On a rare trip to New York City, I planned to visit the tourist spots—museums, parks, the harbor. The World Trade Center was on the list, although as an afterthought. A construction site piled with materials and machines, with the additional burden of horrible memories, didn’t seem as if it could offer much. I was wrong. 

Beauty is not the intent of the duo-sited memorial, although somehow that’s incorporated. Instead the multiple levels of cascading water flowing down walls into deeper and deeper pools made me think of the plunge made by many of the victims and the walk down numerous flights of stairs by the survivors. The names of fatalities etched into the walls showed the diversity of people affected. Overhead and around, new construction reminded me that human life continues even in the midst of tragedy. 

Visitors of all ages and backgrounds assumed a respectful attitude appropriate for a shrine. No shouting, running, fighting, littering. I saw more than one individual with tear-filled eyes and several openly sobbing. “9/11, what a waste of human life,” I thought, “what a tragedy.”  

Then I realized a more important concept: the waters show how all our lives (both those on-site and us who viewed from afar) mingle. We’re all connected, so we’d best be kind to one another. 

I haven’t used the World Trade Center as inspiration for my work yet. But I hope to keep its most important message front and center—live every moment to its fullest.

Bonnie McCune, author, “A Saint Comes Stumbling In.”

©2012, Bonnie McCune. Used with permission of the author. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Judy Baker on Places of Impact – Yellow Creek, Tennessee

When I thought about the Places of Impact on my life, I thought about my trips to Hawaii, the islands of St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. Maarten, and also Mexico, Scotland, London, and then I decided it was not some exotic island or country, but right here in America. My place of impact is Tennessee - Yellow Creek, Tennessee to be exact.

Yellow Creek is located approximately seventy-five miles west of Nashville. My grandparents had a farm in Yellow Creek and I spent much of my youth running around the farm exploring the woods, swinging on the front porch swing while the summer rains poured down on the tin roof of the old farmhouse, and skinny-dipping in the creek on hot humid days. One of my favorite memories is walking through the quiet, snow-covered woods, looking for the perfect Christmas tree.  

Once you’ve grown up and moved on and made a life that journeyed away from where you grew up – can you ever go back without some kind of impact? It was there in that old dilapidated farmhouse that I was inspired by my grandmother's memories to write a story, hence, A Yellow Creek Novel, Secret Past. I love Yellow Creek and could visualize the farmhouse built anew. Please take a look at this video on my site, and slip into the past.  

It had been thirty years since I had stepped foot on the Adkins farmland in Yellow Creek. This area is not exotic like many of the places I mentioned, but it is an area of beautiful pastoral fields surrounded by luscious green wilderness that contain creeks, rivers and waterfalls. I love Tennessee with its variety of natural beauty. To check out the state’s beauty go to For more on Judy’s other novels visit

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Shelia Bolt Rudesill on Places of Impact – Saxapahaw, North Carolina

It was an ah-ha moment. A phenomenal experience. If you think this is Oprah blogging you’re wrong. Just one of Oprah’s minions. One of Eckhart Tolle and Mike Dooley’s cronies. Have no fear; I’m not here to preach. I just want to share a delightful encounter with a group of wonderful people.  

Recently my husband and I attended the Roxy Farms Antiques open house in the tiny country town of Saxapahaw, NC. Roxy, the owner and namesake of Roxy’s is an old, gentle pit-bull—who was dressed in a blue kerchief for the festive event. She and co-owner, Sue, made their way through the crowd to greet each guest. I suspect Roxy was checking us out as most watch dogs do while Sue offered us Blackberry Bramble wine from Benjamin Vineyards and Winery—an establishment “right around the corner.” We were also treated to an assortment of delicious and decadent snacks including Cat’s Wicked Hot Sauce—the hottest and tastiest salsa ever! I proved it to myself by making “Cat’s Bloody Mary” when I returned home. Yum, yum, yummy! Good thing I had some yogurt. 

The highlight was a duo from a local band, Jo Gore and the Alternative. I watched this mismatched pair set up, wondering what was going to come out of Jo’s mouth and Bo’s guitar. I never imagined Jazz, scat singing, or bluesy-rock. They’re on the local circuit here in Durham, Chapel Hill, and even Pitsboro. Sue and Cat met them at The Eddy, Saxapahaw’s local pub. Sue took our phone number after volunteering to find a place nearby where my husband could shoot black powder with his antique replica guns. She and Cat and two guests took my husband’s business cards in hopes of purchasing jewelry similar to the Bud Rudesill Collection I was wearing. 

The ah-ha moment: Jo Gore said something similar to, “We have such a passion for music that we quit trying for the big-time and decided to make music our way.” I have to say that her statement hit me in the heart. As a writer who longs to be the next J. K. Rowling or even Nicholas Sparks I have to say that I’ve come to the same conclusion. I write because I have to. It’s my passion. 

The phenomenal experience? Observing networking in action. People promoting people. What’s so phenomenal about that? Sharing. Helping others succeed. Not being afraid that others will become more successful or more powerful. The people I met at Roxy’s were at peace, bonded, working together, promoting each other, and being proud of their tiny, country community.  If only the rest of the world could experience the spirit of Saxapahaw. 

For more information about Shelia and her latest novel, Transmutare, visit her webpage

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Barbara Graham on Places of Impact – East Tennessee

Once upon a time I moved to East Tennessee on a whim. I had driven alone to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park from my home in New Orleans. As I was headed home, I saw a lovely small town in my rear view window and decided it looked like a good place to move to. And so I did. Many years later, after I had moved again, I began work on a murder mystery and I decided it should take place in East Tennessee. I built my own county to my specifications and populated it with imaginary friends, and enemies. As the series has continued, I have revisited the real Tennessee from time to time and added on to my personal county.  For more information on Barbara and her work visit

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Carlene Havel on Places of Impact - Turkey

When the US Air Force sent me to live in Turkey, I began a life-long love affair with the land of the sultans, especially the rural area between Yalova and Karamursel.  I loved the farmers' market, where there were fruits and vegetables in season, women in traditional dress, and gypsies selling hand-woven baskets. In the spring, lambs cavorted on the hillsides.  The sound of a shepherd's pipe would often float on the evening breeze.  Families in pantaloons planted and tended crops during the growing season.  In winter, women stayed inside while the men gathered in tea houses to smoke, drink tea, and socialize.   

Ancient ruins dotted the landscape to the south, toward the Mediterranean coastline.  One standout trip was to the ruins at Ephesus.  There were no tourists there on that bitterly cold day, just my three travelling companions and a local guide. Another treasured memory: haggling for hours to buy a hand-knotted Turkish carpet.  Naturally, this included many cups of tea.  

It was a short ferry ride (an adventure in itself!) to exotic Istanbul, with its pungent spice bazaar and slender minarets.  The Grand Bazaar offered a variety of colorful wares, with vendors addressing shoppers in a cacophony of languages. I never tired of strolling through the old graveyards, the Topkapi museum, or the Dolmabachi Palace. 

The smell of kebabs cooking can transport me back to Turkey in an instant!  

For more information on Carlene’s upcoming novel, A Hero’s Homecoming, visit and click on "coming soon."

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Guest Blog Series - Places of Impact

When I think about places which have made a lasting impression on me the list is long. I admit I may be a bit spoiled having lived a good portion of my life in Wyoming, including at the foot of the Tetons, so I seldom focus on pretty scenery, but rather I’m drawn to uniqueness – places that are outside my catalog of reference.  And, no place I’ve visited has been more interesting and exotic than Thailand. From the chaotic atmosphere of Bangkok, colorful floating markets, opulent palaces, historic temples and amazing jungles, I was delighted and intrigued at every turn. 

Beginning tomorrow and continuing for the next week guest authors will be blogging about those places which have made special impacts on their lives and writing. Locations touch each individual in a different way since we all inadvertently hone in on varying attributes whether aesthetic, intellectual or an indistinguishable combination of factors. A site may make a lasting impression due to its natural beauty, its culture, cuisine, history, architecture or the way its residents make you feel. So join us on an adventure across the United States and around the world as we explore Places of Impact.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Weekly Excerpt

Desperate Dreams
“Get a hold of yourself, Claire. You sound like a crazy person.” Katherine grabbed her flailing hand and held it firmly.
Claire stepped closer and glared at her mother with burning intensity. “No one gets kidnapped because we have invasive tracking devices under our skin, but we aren’t free to move about our own country without setting off alarms as we travel across state borders. And no, there are no unwanted babies because you have to prove your loyalty to this screwed up society for the privilege of enough sperm for one. What if someone wants more than one child? What if I would love to have a sister or a brother? What if having a dad or a husband doesn’t sound repulsive to me?” Claire cried as tears streamed down her cheeks.
“Listen to me. This is the reason I don’t want you to associate with Nyla. I have no doubt you are getting these foolish ideas from her. Your grandmother never had a husband and obviously I haven’t and we’ve had fulfilled lives. I don’t understand why you don’t find comfort in knowing the authorities are there for you in every aspect of your life. You don’t have to worry about health care or being in an accident and no one finding you. With your chip, someone will always come for you.  It’s like having an all-knowing being looking over your shoulder at all times to guide you and protect you.”
“People used to call that mighty being, ‘God’.”
The slap was so quick, Claire didn’t see it coming. She reached for her cheek and staggered back, stopped only by her mother’s iron hold on her wrist. Her mother had never struck her before and the shock left her speechless.
“Don’t ever say that word in this house again.”
Claire continued to stare at her mother, confusion and anger burning in her eyes. She watched as the color drained from the irate woman’s cheeks.
“I shouldn’t have struck you. It’s such an uncivilized act and strictly prohibited, but you know religion is illegal and I won’t allow you to shame this household.  We don’t have to rely on a mystical being for guidance and comfort. We have the government to see to all of our needs.”
“But I’m lonely and if I give up my friends I will be all alone.”
“Nonsense—statistics confirm a career and a child will be sufficient for an average adult female to find fulfillment.”
“Average? Sufficient? Don’t you see anything sad about those goals?”
“Not at all. Wanting anything more than average is selfish and anything more than sufficient is greedy. When those two traits were allowed to proliferate, and in many instances were rewarded, society nearly collapsed. Selfish greed in a community is dangerous.”
Claire stared at her mother. She couldn’t understand how two women from the same house could have such opposing views on life. All of the things her mother found such comfort in, Claire found terrifying.
“I guess I see it as ambition, not selfish greed, and it’s only dangerous when there is no moral fiber left in a society.”

Friday, May 4, 2012

Upcoming Guest Blog Series

Please join me next week as guest authors blog about places which have impacted their lives and their writing. Our adventure will take us around the United States and the world, from Tennessee to Turkey and many places in between.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Brenda Novak's Annual Auction for the Cure for Diabetes

Inspired Romance Novels has donated a 50-page critique and five eBook downloads to Brenda Novak's Annual Auction For The Cure For Diabetes 2012. The authors of Inspired have also donated a $25 gift card to Ruby Tuesdays, a $15 gift card to Amazon and an eBook copy of, Accident Waiting to Happen! Please help support this cause by visiting . To learn more go to Thank you!