Loving Again

Dana Perkins lost her longtime partner in a tragic accident. Although she still struggles with the loss, her profound loneliness is evidence that it is time to move on. She knows her deceased lover, Casey, wouldn’t want her living this way. Dana begins her slow process of letting go, removing reminders of Casey from her house, and dating again.

The women she meets leave Dana uninspired and missing her deceased partner even more. Just as she is about to resign herself to the belief that she will never love again, Dana meets Emily Daniels, a married woman who is deeply conflicted over her attraction to women.

Soon, the two women form a friendship that leads to deeper emotions. They discover that one moment in their past had brought them together in a way neither woman could have ever imagined. Is that one moment in time enough to let both women follow their hearts, or will they let their past continue to rule their future?

 

Here is an excerpt from my book, Loving Again:

Dana and Emily walked along the sidewalk as the sun began to set. The streets were quiet. At this time of night, Dana figured most people were settling in front of their televisions after a long day’s work. She slipped her hand into Emily’s and closed her eyes, realizing how much she missed this. She and Casey had taken many walks together along those same streets.

“You okay?” Emily asked.

Dana opened her eyes. “I’m fine.” She lightly squeezed Emily’s hand. “Just enjoying this.”

“You looked like you were out there for a second.”

“Walks do that to me. I love nature.”

“Me, too.”

They walked a little longer and then Dana pointed toward a park. “Do you want to sit down for a little while?”

“Sure.”

They made their way toward the swings and sat down. Neither woman swung very high, merely dragged her feet over the dirt.

“I hope you don’t think I’m this big head case with everything happening with me and my ex.”

“A head case? Don’t be so hard on yourself. This is life. We figure it out as we go.”

“Thank you for not judging me.”

“There’s nothing for me to judge. I’m happy to be here with you.”“Not many people would say that about a date who talks about their ex all night.”

“This is different. If you’d been talking about some woman you were with and I sensed you were still in love with her, I wouldn’t be here right now.”

“I wouldn’t expect you to be.”

“Would it make you feel better if I talked about Casey?”

Emily looked at her, surprised. “Sure.”

“What do you want to know?”

“Everything you want to tell me.”

Dana peered at the ground and dug her shoes into the mixture of pebbles and dirt. She felt Emily’s eyes on her as she drew lines in the ground beneath her feet. “We all have our guilt. The heavy burdens that we carry,” she said. “You have yours. I have mine, but our hearts can only take so much. Do you want to know how Casey died?”

“Yes.”

“We got a hotel in the city for the weekend. We were gonna see everything. That was the plan. We’d just gotten off a trolley, heading back to the hotel. We were standing on a sidewalk, talking. There was no warning that something bad was about to happen. I moved my hand to touch her, but she took off running away from me. I didn’t see him right away, but a little boy was chasing a hotdog vendor into the street. Casey saw him and she didn’t hesitate, not even a little.

“A little boy’s alive, but she isn’t, and I know that’s how she’d want it, but I never got to say goodbye to her and that kills me. I was angry for a long time. I resented all the people who lost the person they loved to something they could prepare for, because I envied their chance to say goodbye.

“Sometimes, I think it would have been easier losing her in some dull hospital room, looking diseased and weak, on a miserably cold, rainy day. I’d watch her become someone I no longer recognized and she’d look so pained that I’d pray for God to take her, believing she’d be better off.” Dana closed her eyes for a moment. “But that’s not the way it happened. Casey wasn’t better off dead and her death wasn’t merciful. It was violent.

“She died on a gorgeous summer day. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. You wouldn’t expect something bad to happen on a day like that. And Casey didn’t look like someone who was about to die. She was vibrant and healthy.” Dana smeared her sleeve across her wet eyes. “And I wish I’d had the chance to tell her I loved her, just one more time.”

“She knew. You must know that,” Emily said.

“All I know is that she’s dead and I never got to say goodbye…and I’ll never stop loving her.”

“No one should ever ask you to.”

 

loving again cover
Loving Again

Please check out my books, Her Name and Loving Again. Thank you!

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Halloween Has Long Passed, But I Love an Erotic Halloween Story Year Round.

by Lizzie T. Leaf

I like humor in my life. I like to read humor and to write it. So when originally approached to write a Halloween story, no surprise my mind went in the humor direction.

When I mentioned to a friend the possibility of a vampire story that wasn’t horror, she suggested making the heroine Jewish (which my friend is) and throw in Kosher (yet again, my friend’s food style) to add conflict to the drinking blood issue. I took the bull by the horns and off I went. Thus evolved DEAD Awake, where the heroine is a socialite whose grandmother, a Reform Jew, keeps a Kosher Kitchen.

Our gal, is a little on the wild side…think Paris Hilton…and a paparazzi darling. Her connection with the hot guy in a vampire costume at her Halloween party, leads to a life change she’s not too pleased about.

She wakes up smelling pine and discovers, thanks to the helpful stranger lurking outside the mortuary, she’s not one of the living dead. And, her new main food supply is blood. Yuk! She doesn’t eat food that’s snuggled with blood, let alone drink the stuff.

Not to bore you with details, I finished the book and moved onto other work—my vampire days behind me—so I thought.

Then readers started to ask, “When’s the next book in the series?” Series? My mind hadn’t gone down that path, so what to write next? Then another friend said, “How about a vampire who faints at the sight of blood?”

Once she planted the seed, my mind wouldn’t leave the idea alone and plans for DEAD Faint came to be and with that the DEAD series was born. The next book in the works is DEAD Hunter, about what else…a vampire hunter (or so she thinks…snicker).

Then there is DEAD Memory. What if you’re a vampire, but don’t remember that little detail. All you know while you’re recovering from your wounds from what must have been an awful beating is blood smells wonderful. Why does his hot care provider insist on cooking the food…raw works.

Vampires don’t always have to be blood thirsty beasts. They can have an attitude that will make you smile and love problems, too. Check out Mary Janice Davidson’s, Undead series (which I had not read until after my first DEAD released and readers kept telling me I had a similar style, to which I say “thank you for the compliment,”) and you’ll find humor.

Are there more in my DEAD series? Definitely! DEAD Hot is another story in the planning stages and there are several more on the dying to come onboard.

People have to stop planting seeds in my head. Combined with all that appear on their own, I have a headache. Now I’m off to pop a couple of martinis and write…which is the only true way I can purge the noise.

Here’s a brief intro to my vampire story that is guaranteed to heat up your chilly fall nights.

Socialite Deb Stein lives a life of luxury until she takes the hunk dressed as a vampire to her bed. When she wakes up one of the living dead, she’s pissed-off. To complicate matters more, she has to find a new identity since everyone thinks she’s dead. Plus, if she’s dead, she can’t touch her trust fund, and that means she has to work! How can someone who has never had a job find one?

And her social life is in the tank. Her new friends are a street guy called Rat and fellow strippers at the dive where she works. If she ever sees Aaron Lowell again, she’ll put a stake in his heart.

Aaron Lowell feels guilty he took his mentor’s advice and left town after taking the sexy socialite into the undead world. Concerned, he returns to check on her and discovers she’s become a stripper – and not a very happy one when she sees him. But she’s still hot, and he can’t stay away from her, even if their meetings are explosive.

Can two vampires move beyond anger, combined with a strong sexual attraction, to find the kind of love they both crave?

Buy Links
Decadent Publishing
Amazon

To read excerpts from other books by Lizzie T. Leaf please click onto Amazon.

Lizzie T. Leaf loved books since she opened her first one. Her dream was to write them herself. Lost in the hectic day to day world of family, job, laundry and housework, writing became a distant memory. When the twinkling ember did spark, it was usually doused by someone demanding their share of her time.

Lizzie’s life went full circle. The desire to put the stories that continued to play in her head on paper emerged stronger than ever, and at a time when there was someone who encouraged. Now she lives her dream.

Learn more about Lizzie T. Leaf on her website and blog. Connect with Lizzie on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Second Chance Stories

A few years back, I enrolled in a writing course at my local community college. I’d been away from writing for many years at that point and knew I needed to brush up on my skills. We were instructed to bring in five pages of a piece we were working on to each class.

I chose a short story I’d written in college, eighteen years ago. In the weeks leading up to the class, I did a lot of revising. In fact, I was horrified after my first read through of this piece I’d written so long ago. The story was utter crap filled with the most cookie-cutter, senseless dialogue that would have been rejected by The Brady Bunch for being too hokey. Not sure how I passed that class. Maybe you just had to show up.

That story, originally titled The Attic but changed to Annabel, was actually well-liked by the class at my community college. Of course, this came after heavy revisions. After my first read-through, I was surprised that I’d held onto a story as lacking as this one was. Most of the stories written during my early college years were horrible, but I was only starting out. Surely, a masterpiece couldn’t have been expected.

Hanging onto a binder from a Creative Writing class stuffed with forgettable and badly-written stories for almost eighteen years? Who does that?

I imagine tossing out anything I had written, even the crap, seemed unfathomable to me. So I kept my old stories. For eighteen years. And good thing I did because after a third, fourth, and fifth reread I found that maybe I was on to a little something, all those years ago.

I recently signed a contract for a different short story I had written while I was a student in that small class of about eight classmates almost two decades ago. We’d huddle around one large table and share with each other our creative works.

I don’t think at twenty-two years old I envisioned my future forty-year old self someday revising the stories I was writing and getting them published. But I did and I am. I have more stories to dig up from my past, and though they’ll be far from masterpieces, I’m sure I will find something in those stories worth breathing new life into.

Most people deserve a second chance. Shouldn’t old, tucked-away, not-so-great, stories get one, too?

In the writing course I took at my community college, a woman let it be known that she throws away old work. The class reacted as though she confessed to storing human heads in her refrigerator.

Apparently, I’m not the only writer who believes imperfect, old stories should be kept and given a second chance.

Even if it’s eighteen-years later.

 

 

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Hot Punch and a Sweet Victorian Romance

by Suzanne G. Rogers

Whenever I’m writing Victorian-era English romance, I will often consult Mrs. Beeton’s The Book of Household Management (1861), for ideas on how things were done. Mrs. Isabella Mary Beeton was the Martha Stewart of the age, writing a highly-plagiarized cookery column for “The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine.” Her book covers diverse topics such as household duties, dining, kitchens, servants, doctors, and the rearing of children, as well as detailed recipes for everything from soup to nuts. I’ve downloaded the manuscript onto my computer from Project Gutenberg, which makes it available to everyone in all different formats HERE.

Since it’s winter, I thought I would share one of Mrs. Beeton’s recipes for Hot Punch, which sounds perfectly delicious and terribly intoxicating.

TO MAKE HOT PUNCH

INGREDIENTS.— ½ pint of rum, ½ pint of brandy, ¼ lb. of sugar, 1 large lemon, ½ tspoonful of nutmeg, 1 pint of boiling water.

Mode.— Rub the sugar over the lemon until it has absorbed all the yellow part of the skin, then put the sugar into a punchbowl; add the lemon-juice (free from pips), and mix these two ingredients well together. Pour over them the boiling water, stir well together, add the rum, brandy, and nutmeg; mix thoroughly, and the punch will be ready to serve. It is very important in making good punch that all the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated; and, to insure success, the processes of mixing must be diligently attended to.

Sufficient.— Allow a quart for 4 persons; but this information must be taken cum grano salis; for the capacities of persons for this kind of beverage are generally supposed to vary considerably.

Enjoy the punch over a copy of my latest sweet Victorian romance, Spinster.

Staring down life as an old maid, newly jilted Clare flees to a country home she’s inherited from her grandmother. She doesn’t count on clashing with her handsome neighbor, whose gentlemanly manners and education are at odds with his workingman’s image. As their relationship unfolds, however, she discovers the mysterious Meriweather Holcroft is not what he appears to be.

Suzanne’s historical Victorian YA book is available January 31, 2017 for your Kindle at Amazon.

Suzanne G. Rogers lives with her husband and son in romantic Savannah, Georgia, on an island populated by deer, exotic birds, and the occasional gator. She’s owned by two Sphynx cats, Houdini and Nikita. Movies, books, and writing are her passions.

Learn more about Suzanne G. Rogers on her historical romance blog and her fantasy blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. Also, be sure to check out the website for the Sweet Romance written by Suzanne G. Rogers.

Getting the Title Right

My new publisher and I are in the beginning stages of creating a cover for my new book, A Penny on the Tracks. The expected release date is October of this year. A Penny breaks away from the romance-themed kind of story my first two books were categorized. A Penny on the Tracks is a Young Adult book  that revolves around the friendship of two eleven-year-old girls and into their teenage years.

A Penny started out as a short story I had written in a Creative Writing course in college almost nineteen years ago.  The story then was called The Hideout, and until about the halfway point of revising this short story into a 75,000 word novel, that title remained. I was writing a scene of one of the young girls, Lyssa, placing pennies on a set of railway tracks they hang out at all the time, and the title just popped out at me.

It was so obvious I’m not sure why I had ever considered another title because placing pennies on the tracks becomes a symbolic part of the story. I am sure I had originally selected The Hideout as the title of my then short story because the place where the tracks lay is a spot Lyssa and Abbey spend a lot of time at and refer to it as their “Hideout” because aside from a high school boy they befriend there, they’ve never seen anyone else at their secret place.

So this space does feel like their very own hideout, but the scene is so much more than that. Those grounds will be the place two characters of the book will choose to end their lives. I’ve only felt this good about the choice of my book title once before; when I felt the title really matched the story.

I’m not sure how much other authors struggle with titles, but I usually have a hard time deciding on one. So I am delighted when a title pops out at me, especially  while in the middle of writing a scene.

Although my publisher and I have yet to go through the editing process, here is an (unedited) excerpt from my upcoming book, A Penny on Tracks:

I balanced the weight of my body on my back foot and dug the heel of my high-top sneakers deep into the thick gravel. I wound my arm like a major league pitcher, and with all my strength, I launched a rock, almost the size of my head, at a passing train. The rock landed against the moving steel, and the cargo it carried, with a loud thud.

“Damn it!” I slapped my hand against my thigh. “I wanted to smash the glass.”

I quickly turned to search the brush for a rock as good as the one I’d just wasted a terrible throw on and noticed Abbey was still holding her own rocks tightly in her hands.

 “How come you didn’t throw yours yet? Throw em’ before the train’s gone.” I moved to continue my hunt, but then looked back at her and added, “And aim for the windshield!”

“I can’t,” Abbey said.

“Then aim for whatever you want.”

“No, I mean I can’t throw it.”

“Yes, you can.”

“No I can’t,” she insisted.

“Just do it!” I yelled.

“But I don’t want to!”

I peeked down the tracks, checking if the train was near the end. It wasn’t. We still had time, but not much. “Hurry up and throw it!”

I watched Abbey hesitate while gripping two medium-sized rocks in each hand. She moved a couple steps closer to the passing train, and chucked the rocks, one at time, at the cars mounted onto the train.

I cheered loudly after one of the rocks hit its target with a loud crash. “Did you hear that?” I yelled.

I looked down the track again, but this time, I could see the caboose. The train was coming to an end. “Come on! Let’s hide in the woods so no one sees us.”

We squatted near the edge of the grass, just inside the woods, behind a thick tree trunk.

“That was a bad idea,” Abbey said. “We shouldn’t have done that.”

I laughed and told her to shut up. “It was fun.”

Once the train passed, we popped out of the woods and watched as it disappeared down the tracks.

“How come you always make us hide at the end?” Abbey asked me.

“In case someone’s in the caboose and…”

“Unloads a salt gun on your asses,” a voice behind us finished.

I turned around and saw Derek standing near the brush, a cigarette dangling loosely from his lips. His faded blue jeans were torn at the knees and a black Led Zeppelin T-shirt, underneath a worn jean jacket, tugged against his lean waist.

“Don’t even get her started,” I warned him. “No one’s gonna unload a salt gun on our asses. They don’t even have a salt gun.”

“Then why do we run?” Abbey asked.

“Like I was saying before I was interrupted,” I paused and gave Derek a hard look. “In case someone’s in the caboose and gets a good look at us.”

“A good enough look to shoot your asses full of salt, you mean.” Derek smirked at me.

“See!” Abbey threw her arms in the air. “It’s true! That guy really does have a salt gun, doesn’t he, Derek?”

Derek pushed a strand of his long tangled brown hair away from his eyes and sat atop a large rock. He leaned his elbows against his knees, his skinny body crouching forward. “It’s what I heard,” he said. “But keep it up and soon you’ll know for yourself.”

“Shut your trap, Derek.” I pointed my finger at him.

Abbey shook her head. “I’m not doing this anymore.”

“Don’t listen to him. Does he look like he knows anything?” I argued.

“Then don’t listen to me.” Derek took a long drag off his cigarette and let out a deep exhale of smoke. Off to the side, near his feet, a dirty black and white bandanna lay in a twisted mess across the gravel. I recognized it as one that Derek used to wear. The old bandana must have slipped from his back pocket one day and he never bothered to pick it up. “Get hit with rock salt,” he continued, “and feel the burn when that shit tears into your flesh.”

“Shut up!” I rushed at him, but he dodged my efforts to grab him.

“That’s it,” Abbey said, determined. “We are definitely not doing this again.”

I watched Derek flick his cigarette in the direction of the tracks.

“Are you happy now, Asshole?” I asked him.

“Nice little girls aren’t supposed to talk like that, or throw rocks at trains,” he said.

 I sat down on one of the rails of the track. “I’m not nice.”

“No, you aren’t.” Derek laughed.

“And I’m not little,” Abbey said, even though she was.

 

Thanks for reading.  Please check out my books, Her Name and Loving Again, available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.

 

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Alicia+joseph

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Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net