Sunday, January 27, 2013

Six Sentence Sunday- That First Kiss

Tate straightened from his slouched position and dropped his feet from the chair in front of him to the floor with a dull thud. Couldn’t be. This had to be some kind of trick. Some sick twist of fate. Two things occurred to him at once: he was looking at the object of his current fantasies and the woman he had screwed in a women’s bathroom and hadn’t been able to shake from his memory since, and he was pretty damn sure she was his new assistant.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

NEW! Saturday Sneak Peek

So, some of you may be wondering where I have been lately. The holidays killed it for me and since then I have been taking each day a little slower, which means I have been spending more time with my husband and my kids and less time on the computer. Some other things I have been doing: writing, reading, and homework. Yes, at nearly 30 years old, I have homework lol

If you have been keeping up on the blog and my latest projects, you should already be familiar with Stranded. I am proud to say that it is doing wonderfully. I can't wait to finish That First Kiss, the second book in the Night Calls series and share it will y'all!

In the meantime, I want to share a new project with you that I am really exited about. Like anything that I write, this one has a bit of me in it. Unlike my other projects, this one has much more of me in it than anything else I have ever written. It's far from being an autobiography, but I'll leave it up to you to figure out what parts reflect my life and what parts are purely fiction. Here is the first chapter. Feel free to weigh in, share your thoughts and suggestions, and most importantly, enjoy!

Heart’s Desire

Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it.

That moment when you realize that you care about others more than they will ever care about you is the moment you realize that you walk alone in this world. It has taken my whole life to learn this lesson, and I have learned it well. Caring is in my blood. It is who I am. I don’t know that I can ever change, and I don’t know that I want to. Opening myself up to others leaves my heart vulnerable to their abuse, and although I am weary of being kicked, I have no desire to kick back. For those of you who think I need to grow up, stand up for myself, know this. This thing that I have, it’s a soul deep affliction, an illness nearly impossible to overcome. The world needs people like me. It needs someone willing to love even if they are not loved back. This is my story.

Chapter 1

“He cheated,” I say, looking down at my shoes, my face awash in embarrassment. As if I am the one who has sinned.
“You’re kidding,” Charity gasps. “How did you find out?” Everything in her voice tells me that she is invested in my heartache, just as surprised as I am, and maybe even a little angry on my behalf. But her eyes, they tell a different story. While I pour my heart out to her, her interest is on something in the distance.
“He told me last night.” As I speak, I follow the direction of her gaze to a group of boys standing alongside a row of bright orange lockers. They’re seniors, two full grades ahead of us, but Charity watches them with an interest that suggests she doesn’t care. In fact, I know she doesn’t because Charity is a firm believer that age is just a number.
“What an ass.” She shakes her head. “Did he give you a reason? Did you guys break up?”
Again shame grabs hold of me, hanging on my shoulders and pressing them down until I feel like the added weight might finally break me. It’s unreasonable to feel this way, I know, but I can’t help feeling that what I am about to tell her will make her think I am a fool. Hell, I think I’m a fool. “He liked the attention.” I tell her exactly what he told me. “He doesn’t feel like I have been giving him enough of that lately. He was lonely.”
As the words pour out, a tremor takes root in my stomach. I feel sick just thinking about it. We haven’t had much time alone together lately because of my new job. Between school and work, our relationship has been pushed to the back burner.
Charity huffs a laugh. “Ethan only said that because he still wants to have his cake and eat it too. You know that, right?”
I do know that, intellectually. But my heart aches just thinking about walking away from everything that we’ve built over the last year—and eternity in high school terms. “Yeah,” I say, because how am I supposed to respond? I feel like an idiot.
Charity stops in the middle of the hall and turns to face me. “You didn’t break up with him, did you?” Her tone is filled with disappointment, as if she already knows what my answer will be. Maybe she does. We’ve been tentative friends since the third grade, best friends since the summer before sixth. I can still remember the night we met. Laney, a mutual friend of ours, introduced us one evening. During an enthusiastic bike race in which we were pitted against one another, Charity and I bonded over talks of our moody friend and, realizing that we made a good pair, rode off into the sunset together. Well, toward her house at any rate.
“No,” I tell her, trying desperately to hold my head up, but I can’t look at her. I can’t take my eyes off the three boys we’re closing in on. I wonder if any of them have a girlfriend and if they are cheaters too. In the back of my mind, I realize that at the age of fourteen I am already becoming jaded, but I don’t know how to stop it. Life happens. It changes you, and not always for the better.
“He’s going to do it again,” Charity warns.
I know the chances of that are high. Once a cheater, always a cheater, they say. Whoever “they” are. But all I can picture is Ethan’s face, twisted in agony, as he knelt before me in the middle of my bedroom floor. “I’m so sorry, Tess. I never meant to hurt you.”
Tears are streaking down his face. My chest is so constricted I can’t breathe. My heart hurts. I think it might have actually fractured in two, but I know that’s not possible because I’m not dead. It want to die, though, it hurts that bad.
Looking down at him, with his arms wrapped around my waist, his face buried in my abdomen, I resist the urge to hug him to me, to weave my fingers through his soft black hair and never let him go. Yesterday he was mine, today he feels like a stranger. But I still want him. How is that possible?
When he tips his head back and peers up at me through those big brown eyes, anger tears through me. I want to punch him. To make him hurt as much as he has hurt me.
“Please,” he whispers, his voice sounding choked. “I don’t know what I would do without you.”
I know right then that I won’t break up with him. Not because I think he will die without me—he’s already proven that he would find someone else to take my place—but because I don’t know what I would do without him.
I don’t say anything. I can’t speak for the lump in my throat, but Ethan must have seen the answer in my eyes because he lets out a shuddering breath and stands. His strong hands envelope my face and he pulls me to him, kissing my nose, my mouth, my forehead and uttering a million breathless ‘I love you’s’ as he hugs me to his chest. I feel his relief, but all I feel is a pervading sadness seeping into my soul like poisonous tar. And the anger hasn’t gone away. The longer I stand there, feeling his thudding heart slowly return to a natural pace beneath my cheek, the more my muscles tense. When he leans back to smile down at me, I tell him I want to punch him.
“I don’t blame you,” he responds. “I deserve to be punched for what I’ve done to you.”
And so I punch him.
I expected to feel better, like hitting him would liberate me from this turmoil slowly eating me away inside, but I don’t. I feel worse. You should never hurt someone you love.
Charity continues to chastise me as we make our way past the seniors who barely glance our way. I nod and ‘Mm hmm’ in all the appropriate places, but I’m not really listening anymore. There is only so much guilt a person can take before they begin to shut down.
The lunch hour is over and I have just enough time to make it to my locker and my next class before the late bell. Located on the first floor, my locker is the perfect distance between both of our midafternoon classes, just like Charity’s locker on the third floor is perfect for our morning classes. To make things easier, we decided to share the too small space.
“You’ll be okay,” Charity assures me as she opens the locker and reaches in for her change of clothes. Her next class is gym.
“Yeah, I know.” I try on a smile, but it feels as forced as it is. She frowns. “No worries. Hey.” Reaching in for my math book, I opt for a subject change. “Do you want to stay over tonight?”
“No, I can’t. Shay and some of the other cheerleaders invited me to this party at Greg’s.”
I nod my head and try to look cheerful and accepting even though inside I feel my tentative hold on my emotions slipping. Ever since high school started and Charity decided to join the squad I’ve felt the line between us growing thinner. We talk every day, but it’s not the same as it used to be. She’s pulling away, our lives are going in different directions, and I hate it.
“Oh, hey,” she places her hand on my arm. “You can come if you want?”
Charity doesn’t realize she has a tell, but I recognize the too bright smile and arched eyebrow for what it is. She thinks she’s hurt my feelings and so she is offering to include me in her plans even though it’s the last thing she wants to do.
“That’s okay,” I tell her. I start backwards down the hall, needing to put distance between us before I do something stupid, like cry. “I’m not really in the mood for a party tonight.” I purse my lips and give her a meaningful look. I don’t miss the relief behind her eyes when she nods sympathetically.
“Okay.” She starts to walk away, but spins around like she’s forgotten something. “Oh, I almost forgot. Can you give me a ride home after school?”
And there it is; our unbreakable bond. Charity knows she can always count on me, even though I'm sure I can’t say the same about her. “Sure. I’ll wait for you in the parking lot.”

Monday, January 21, 2013

Indie Author Feature and Interview!

It's been a busy start to the year, but I am back and happy to announce the first indie author feature of the year. So without further ado, I would like to introduce Amy Metz, author of Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction.

Genre: Mystery
Publication: August 5, 2012
Purchase your copy on Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction to your Goodreads: 
Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction


When Tess Tremaine starts a new life in the colorful town of Goose Pimple Junction, curiosity leads her to look into a seventy-five-year-old murder. Suddenly she’s learning the foreign language of southern speak, resisting her attraction to local celebrity Jackson Wright, and dealing with more mayhem than she can handle.

A bank robbery, murder, and family tragedy from the 1930s are pieces of the mystery that Tess attempts to solve. As she gets close to the truth, she encounters danger, mystery, a lot of southern charm, and a new temptation for which she’s not sure she’s ready.

What people are saying:

     •    "This book is pure southern charm and had me longing for a glass of sweet tea and the friendship of these wonderful characters. So excited this is the first in a series...just fantastic!" Melissa Lapierre, Mochas, Mysteries and More

    •    The author has created a cast of characters that are quirky and lovable, their southern charm, crazy antics and hysterical dialogue will keep you in stitches. Kathleen of Jersey Girls Book Reviews

    •    This book is probably the cutest book that I have read in quite sometime, and seeing how it is about a murder mystery, I never thought I would describe one that way. The mystery and intrigue are real, and Tess is such a hoot. I absolutely fell in love with her during the first few pages and Amy truly does capture the heart of the south and everything that it entails. It’s been a while since I’ve read a murder/mystery that I’ve enjoyed this much. I definitely recommend it for anyone looking for a little intrigue without anything too dangerous or gritty.  Sara, Chick Lit Plus

    •    Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction is by Amy Metz. I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time!  Life in the small town of Goose Pimple Junction, TN is lively as it is mysterious.  Actually, the community is fairly sedate.  Little to no crime at all, people living it up at the Silly Goose for an evening out or the more customary setting of the local diner for sweet tea and conversation.  Life is simple…until writer, Tess Tremaine moves in to the neighborhood.  To be fair, trouble found her, but you’ll figure that out, “lickety split”, when you unravel the mystery of the Hobb murder. Recently divorced after 26 years of marriage, Tess picks herself up and launches into Phase II of her life.  Although she tries to quietly observe the townspeople, Tess is thrust into the lives of several prominent characters and has to adapt to her environment.  Most significantly is fellow writer, Jackson Wright.  Unsurprising, he’s handsome, witty and intelligent…all the characteristics Tess is determined to ignore.  She swore never to get involved again.  But he’s so dang appealing!  Perhaps never should be “not so soon”? Let me say that I was immediately put off when I realized the central couple was middle-aged.  I’m so used to panting over eternally hot vampires and studly shifters and/or swooning for lords and highlanders from the 16th century, I — WAIT.  Those examples are waaay older, but if you perceive yourself to be that heroine, to insert yourself in the story, it’s appropriately hot, right?  Everyone does this, right?!  Ok…admonishing self…**get back on track!**  Let me state clearly that Jack and Tess are such a wonderful couple, age is truly but a number.  Amy Metz has written such an engaging couple, my ignorant impression was quickly dashed and I reveled in their every interaction; romantic or furtive in nature. The parallel story of the murder of John Hobb (a real event!) is the foundation for the present-day mystery and Ms. Metz tells it in such a nuanced manner, the vacillation between 1932 and 2010 drifts effortlessly.  Adjusting to her newly independent life and wanting to integrate herself into Pimple Junction, Tess gets a P/T job at the local bookstore.  Unable to sleep one evening, Tess decides to finalize the move-in by scraping off old wallpaper in her bedroom.  Picking up dozens of shredded pieces, Tess has to extract the smaller scraps from under a vent on the floor.  Along with the bits comes a peculiar key labeled “trunk”.  Tess approaches her boss, Louetta Hobb, who happens to be the youngest child of the original homeowners.  If Lou wasn’t impressed by its discovery, and even encouraged Tess to use it as a good luck charm instead, why does Tess’ house suddenly get ransacked?  Someone DOES care.  Ms. Metz enlightens us with the details of a bank robbery and subsequent unresolved murder of John Hobb (Louetta and her 3 siblings’ father), while Tess and Jack investigate the mystery.  These two suffer break-ins, an actual mugging and become the unsuspecting victims of a stalker’s plan to keep the truth buried.  It’s sooo good!!! Aside from the budding love story between Jack and Tess, Ms. Metz describes a slice of life so charming; I highlighted many colloquialisms on my Kindle!  Please indulge me as they’re laugh out loud funny and spot-on descriptive.  A casual greeting is “Hireyew”.  When you’re meeting someone formally, there’s the expression, “We’ve howdied, but we ain’t shook yet.”  Insults were some of my favorites!  When Jack became jealous of a potential suitor of Tess’, he discouraged her interest by saying, “He’s about as handy as a back pocket on a shirt.”  There were some great put-downs, too!  “The only thing that would make him dumber is if he was bigger”; “Jesus loves him, but he’s the only one”; “That child was so ugly, her mama used to borrow a baby to take to church on Sunday.”  Just delightful!  I was swept away by Metz’ many metaphors and I am elated to hear there is more to this series. Enticed by a mystery, riveted to the swoon-worthy romance and tickled by the “countrified” life, I was thoroughly entertained on all levels.  A quick visit to Ms. Metz’s website promises to continue the hilarity, as the sequel titled Heroes and Hooligans in Pimple Junction, is in the editing process.  That must make her “busier than a one-legged man at a butt kickin’ contest”!  Seriously…read this book!  Carmen, The Reading Cafe

To learn more about Amy, check out her profile on Amazon!

Amy's book is enjoying some amazing reviews and I am excited to have her on today so she can share a little bit about herself with all of us!

What do you like best about writing?

I like getting lost in creating—in being able to become other people and getting lost in another world in my head. I guess you could say I like to make stuff up. But I also like the challenge of putting words on the page.

What’s your least favorite thing?

Well, since the question is about writing, and not about being an author (in which case I’d say marketing), I’d have to say coming up with a complete plot line. I’d rather my characters do that for me.
How did you come up with the title of your book?

In 1985, I visited a relative who lived in Abingdon, Virginia. She told me about a nearby place called Goose Pimple Junction. I thought the name was great and never forgot it. When I decided to write a humorous mystery, the name just fit with my vision for my fictional town. The title started out just Goose Pimple Junction, but a fellow writer suggested I add something to reflect the mystery, so I added murder and mayhem.

How did you create the plot for this book?

Most of the 1930s part of the story came from family history. I took true stories that I’d heard since childhood and wrote the book around them. I thought they were compelling stories that should be told. The character P.D. (Psalmist David) is my grandfather, and his mother and his brother-in-law, were actually murdered just two years apart, just as they happen in the book. I thought it was tragic that one of the murders was never solved, so I created a character who would solve it seventy-five years later. All of the characters in my book are fictional and are not intended to be representative of the real people, but I wanted to stay true to the facts of the murders as much as possible. To do that, I used actual newspaper articles and my father’s accounts of the events. The stories about the town drunks actually happened, as did the scene where P.D. uses the whistle to foil an ambush. I love that story!

What’s your favorite line from a book?
Darcy’s line in Pride & Prejudice: “You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”
Tell us a book you’re an evangelist for.
I love Dennis Hart’s Life Minus 3½. It’s the true story of the embezzlement of eleven million dollars. I love his writing style. It’s suspenseful, sad, funny…I can’t believe a publisher hasn’t picked it up.
Have you ever bought any books just for the cover? Did you enjoy it?
Yes, I bought Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, but I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet.
How do you name your characters?

Some of my characters name themselves right off the bat. For some reason, the name pops in my head and it’s perfect for that character, and it sticks. I also look at the obits a lot and keep a running list of interesting names I see. If a character won’t name him or herself, I go to the list and see if something clicks. I never knew how many crazy nicknames people have until I started trolling the obits. But I have trouble with surnames. Lately, I’ve started using names of counties in Kentucky. That gives me a wide pool from which to draw. It should last me for a while.

What would your main character say about you?

Tess says I’m a very nice person and greatly underappreciated. (cheesy grin.)

If you could be one of your characters, which one would you choose?

I’d be Louetta. She’s never at a loss for words, never met a stranger, and always the life of the party. She also owns a bookstore. Enough said?

With which of your characters would you most like to be stuck on a deserted island?

Well, that’s easy. Jack, of course. Handsome, smart, witty, and he’s a writer. Hello! We could collaborate…on several things. Ahem.

Do you have any quirks to your writing?

Hmmm…maybe this is a quirk…I name a character Lou, or some derivative of it, in every book I write, as sort of a nod to where I live--Louisville. There’s Louetta, or Lou, in my GPJ books, the mc in my children’s book is Louie, a WIP contemporary romance has an Elouise, and the thriller I’ve been working on forever, has a Louis. They aren’t always the main character, but there’s always one in the book somewhere.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I guess it goes without saying that I love to read. I also love photography, I love to bake, and I’m addicted to Pinterest.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on GPJ3. Pickle’s mother, Caledonia, is the main character in this one. She’s a true southern belle and the last person on earth you’d expect someone would hire a hitman to kill. I think Jack and Tess will be back to play more prominent roles in this one.

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And there you have it, folks! If you like mystery or are simply looking for a good book to settle in with, be sure to add Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction to your TBR.  



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