Some of you in cyberspace may remember a television soap opera entitled, ‘As The World Turns’. As with most daytime soap operas, the heros and heroines dealt in drama after drama, lover after lover and continuation after bla, bla, bla on a daily basis. You get the point. Yet, we became hooked on the story lines and found ourselves enthralled in the perils facing the actors. I hope you’ll join me as I share my version of such a soap opera called ‘While the Turkey Cooks’. The limited run of this enthralling drama will hopefully whet your appetite for the second book in my western romance drama, The Loflin Legacy. In this limited soap opera setting, you’ll meet Seth, the rancher and Celia, the half-breed Comanche as they face each other after years apart. The fire still burns between these two. So, join me now as we embark on our soap opera journey with an excerpt from ‘Comanche Haven‘…
“Do you need help with your back?” She rose.
The question came out of the blue. To his surprise, Celia got up and walked toward the tub. Leaning over the squat table to retrieve the soap, she began to lather his back.
What was she up to? Seth stilled in the water. His next thought had nothing to do with the cooling temperature of the water. He realized the true reason he’d been driven to get back to the ranch so quickly, which had nothing to do with her safety and everything to do with her.
The stroke of her fingers along his back had him tensing and sent blood rushing to his shaft. Seth closed his eyes and willed himself to focus on something else. His back muscles twitched as her hands glided up and down in a slow, rhythmic dance along his backbone.
“Seth, I wanted you to know how much I appreciate all you’ve done for me.” Her voice sounded like distant music. “I don’t think I would have made it without you.”
Trying valiantly to regain his composure, Seth sat in the water in silence for a time. Her words sounded sincere. Then as if driven, he slowly leaned back in the tub. He had to admit, if she was toying with him, she was damn good at deception. “No need to thank me, Celia. You’ll always be able to count on me.” Seth took mental stock one more time and assured himself he was in control. But the need churning inside him had other ideas. One look into those emerald green orbs and his heart gave a little lurch. His mind simply stopped working.
Celia’s fingers continued to glide over his soap-slicked skin. With each stroke, her fingertips were sending molten heat straight to his loins.
They reminded him of satin. He wanted more.
Before he realized what he was doing, he reached out and clasped the nape of her neck. Feeling her start to pull back, Seth whispered, “Relax girl, I won’t hurt you.” With his eyes on her lips, Seth hesitated briefly, searching for something – anything, which would let him know how she would react. Then he reached up and took her mouth with his. The hunger breaking free had nothing to do with sensibilities. This time he coaxed her mouth to open and let him taste the sweetness of her tongue. Seth’s pulse hummed as her lips gave warm and tender under his. She opened for him like a flower and Seth tasted the warmth of her lips, which were pliant against his. He groaned softly. She tasted like honey and the line of her throat like cream heated by the sun. He thoroughly explored the inside of her mouth and then the slender neckline she offered when her head lolled to the side on her own gentle moan. Slowly he discovered every slick, wet curve of her mouth. His teeth grazed her lips and tasted the salt of hunger in her response. Did she want him as much as he wanted her right now?
Celia exhaled and her eyelids fluttered shut.
The hunger growing inside him knew only one end. Long agile fingers sank deep into the silken strains of her hair as he levered himself up the side of the tub angling for a better hold on her warm skin. Cupping her head in his big hand, he kissed her again. This time it was with the fever of need. A need he’d, long ago, locked away. It surged up from the cold depths of his own desire and rocked Seth with its intensity. Taking her mouth in an attack meant to capture and possess, Seth realized too late he was losing the battle with reason, but he’d lost the will to care. She tasted so good. Her head fell to the side on another soft sigh of pleasure. Seth found himself trailing long wet, ardent kisses down her neck. The soft dip of her collarbone was a perfect place for him to linger. He could feel the blood pulsing there, just under her skin. Her smell, the smell of roses was all around him. Another soft moan escaped. So full of life, a life he’d thought he’d never hold in his arms again. The warning bells were going off in his head by then. His blood was roaring in his ears. He was in too deep to heed any of it. He felt like a drowning man with no desire for rescue.
Let me know what you thought of the excerpt and you’ll be added to the drawing for a signed copy of ‘Comanche Haven‘, which I’ll be giving away during the release of the second book in the series, ‘Casey’s Gunslinger’ , January, 2014. Don’t forget to leave your email in the comment. Thanks and drop by next week for another excerpt in ‘While the Turkey Cooks’.
Home for the holidays is a special time when we all like to gather and share family love and fun. One of the most requested recipes I get each year is for my dressing. Here’s the recipe for dressing at our house.
1 loaf toasted cornbread salt and pepper to taste
6 cups finely chopped celery 10 cups hot stock (chicken or turkey)
6 cups finely chopped onion enough hot water to make heavy mixture
6 raw eggs, well beaten
12 slices toast, crumbled
1 tsp. sage
Bake the cornbread until brown. Stir all of the ingredients together with the cornbread. Pour into a baking pan. Bake at 325 degrees for approximately one hour and a half, or until brown. You can check this like a cake. This recipe is based on Justin Wilson’s #2 Cookbook: Cookin’ Cajun. Here’s the Amazon link: http://tinyurl.com/lxajfpa
Now for something to read while the dressing cooks.
I’m working on the second book in The Loflin Legacy Series. Casey’s Gunslinger is the story of a young woman who discovers her father abandoned her as a baby. She grew up in the same town as her father, but without the family security he gave his two sons. She returns vowing to have her revenge. What she doesn’t plan on is falling in love with the most handsome lawyer she’s ever met.
Charles Harrison’s past is one he wishes he could forget. He’s a lawyer with a reputation for helping the underdog. When Casey waltzes into his life, all the bad things he’s tried to hide come back to haunt him. How will he manage to win the girl and bury the past once and for all?
Here’s an excerpt from the upcoming Casey’s Gunslinger
Charles Harrison enjoyed a good cigar more than anything, well, almost anything. He’d have to say a pretty woman was the best thing a man could enjoy. Watching a lovely lady walk away was a favorite pastime. The way her hips swayed causing her skirt to swing side to side in a lazy, come here cowboy, kind of way. Yes, a pretty woman was special. Most of them he knew in Tyler and most knew him quite intimately. Though the memories were fond, they left his mind completely as the delicate young thing in a blue traveling suit stepped off the noon stage.
Charles’ heart stopped. Well, it stopped for a second at any rate. Her blond hair showed white in the sunlight. Her trim figure was petite. Yes, a delicate little lady to be sure. At the moment, she wasn’t a happy little lady, though. No, the baggage handler for the noon stage out of Shreveport had dropped her bags in the dirt without a care for their condition. The disgust at the insult showed ripe in her cornflower blue eyes. Charles smiled over his cigar. Things were about to get interesting. She sashayed up the steps of the Wells Fargo office with a purpose. Any fool could see that. Rapping smartly on the ticket window, she turned slightly and pointed to her bags lying in the dust of the street before glaring at the man atop the stage and proclaiming him the villain with another jab of her finger.
Charles lowered his chair to four legs on the plank walk in front of the mercantile. Standing, he took a moment to stretch out the kinks. He’d had a busy morning and relished in the opportunity to enjoy his one vice, a nice imported cigar all the way from Havana. Expecting his latest client to get off the stage, he was slightly irritated when he didn’t. That was until she arrived.
Watching the scene transpiring across the street, Charles agreed with the idea he was lucky to be present. No one, he was acquainted with, could hold a candle to the fine boned, yet curvy blonde with the rosebud mouth, tiny waist and breasts that could fill a man’s hands nicely. Oh, yes. Things were looking up. He smoothed the front of his brocade vest and straightened his coat. The coal black hair with a sprinkle of gray, which had only recently been trimmed, brushed the edge of his collar. Stepping off the board sidewalk, Charles squinted right, then left, an old habit. One he wouldn’t lose anytime soon. With a hand on the revolver strapped to his left leg, he walked out into the street.
Her voice rang with irritation and accusation. Continuing to point at the Wells Fargo employee, she did her best to get the ticket clerk to understand, she’d been rudely treated and demanded an apology. Her chin jutted. Her hand riding along her hip for emphasis, she cast quite a sight standing there in the noonday heat.
Reminding himself, he needed to breathe, Charles stepped up to introduce himself. “Pardon me, miss.” A tip of his dark Stetson which rode low over his forehead and a neat, gentleman’s bow and Charles looked up to be assailed by the most angelic face he’d ever seen. Normally, he’d share his name and title with the potential conquest. However, he couldn’t get the words out. His throat had gone bone dry and he feared he might choke on his tongue.
The young woman acknowledged his presence with only the slightest flicker of her eyes. Then stepping backward, she lost the support of the platform and began clutching at thin air. A panicked whimper of alarm and those lovely eyes grew wide.
Reacting on instinct, Charles shot out a hand, grabbing her arm before hauling her in and up against his solid body.
Their eyes met. Their blue had shifted to stormy clouds of confusion and fear. A minute passed before she released the breath she’d been holding and shoved at his chest.
“Easy, sweet thing. I got you.” He’d found his tongue, all right. He wasn’t sure about the hoarseness in his reply. It took Charles another minute to understand, she’d been able to regain her footing and wanted him to let go.
“Do you mind, sir?” Cool and crisp, the words coming from her lips sounded like music to his ears. Never had a songbird sounded so sweet.
“My apologies, ma’am. Are you unharmed?” He wondered at his stupidity. Unharmed? The only one not harmed was she. He’d been dealt a mortal blow. A heat radiated up from his toes all the way to the point on his chest where her breasts had slammed against him a few minutes ago. His gut clinched at the look in her eyes. That crystal clear glint told him he wasn’t high on her list of respectable persons at the moment.
“I’d appreciate you unhanding me, sir.”
He still held her wrist. Christ, she’d most likely have a bruise. “Forgive me. I startled you. It wasn’t my intention. I hope you’re all right? My name is…”
“I’m fine.” she snapped. Sidestepping him, the young woman tried again to gather herself and headed for the ticket window once more.
Dazed and confused. Charles seldom experienced the particular reaction to anything or anyone. This was the exception. He’d try again. Surely, he could make amends for such a social blunder. Perhaps a meal at the hotel would smooth her ruffled feathers.
Turning, she came face to face with his wide shoulders. “Pardon me, sir. I must retrieve my bags.”
Charles touched the brim of his hat with his first two fingers. A gesture of gentlemanly politeness in this part of the world. “Let me help you with those.” Wheeling, he managed the steps with a masculine fluidity. “I’d like to make up my breach in manners with the offer of a small repast at the local diner.” He glanced in the direction of the Hotel Tyler, the only hotel in Tyler and one of only two eateries in town.
“I…” Irritation and then confusion swept across her face before she composed herself once more. “I don’t eat with strangers.” She shifted to gaze at the sidewalk and the pedestrians strolling up and down the boards.
“My name is Charles Harrison. I’m an attorney here in town.” He had trouble with something as simple as an introduction, why did he think he’d carry on a conversation with her.
“Attorney?” She tilted her pretty head to the side. “Are you honest?”
The question, filled with pure innocence could have come right up out of thin air instead of her pink lips. “I try to be.” The answer wasn’t a lie, he told his conscious. Arguably stretching the truth wasn’t a lie was it? “Why, are you in need of legal assistance?”
Her lush bottom lip protruded for an instant before she clamped her lips between her teeth. With a good shake of those lovely blonde curls, she sidestepped this time to avoid his close proximity. “No, I just wondered, is all.” She fanned the air with a tiny-gloved hand. Peering up at the sun beaming down on the hard backed Texas dirt, she wrinkled her nose.
He’d died and gone to heaven. Never before in his thirty-five years had he witnessed a more perfect combination of innocence and sexuality in a woman. Where in God’s great kingdom had this woman come from? The temperature must be rising. It was hot as hell standing there in front of the Wells Fargo office. “Here, let me get you out of this sun. You’ll melt.” Extending a hand, he moved closer and laid his other hand in the small of her back. The contact vibrated along his arm and struck him in the chest with a force equal to any blow by a man’s fist. Such a tiny thing at barely five foot, he mused. He was a good foot and a half taller than she was. “I’m sorry, I didn’t get your name, miss…” Hoping she’d fill in the blank, he walked beside her carrying her carpetbags and wondering why he was sweating. The color of her skin wouldn’t stand much of the sun. He hoped he got the chance to take her riding one evening soon when the burning rays wouldn’t be a problem. Mentally shaking himself, Charles wondered where that had come from.
“Miss, I’m sorry, I didn’t get your name.” Repeating his inquiry, Charles waited.
“Uh, I’m Cassandra St. Clair.” Her eyes darted nervously right and left.
“Cassandra St. Clair,” each word garnered the same weight on his tongue. “Your first time to visit Tyler?” He opened the door to the Hotel Tyler, allowing Cassandra to go first. The lobby of the hotel was cool, the coolest place he’d been all day.
“Well, you’ve probably eaten here before. You may have had Jessie’s famous pecan pie. I hope you like pie.” Trying for a companionable smile, Charles escorted her toward the red ropes at the entrance to the small restaurant located in the rear of the hotel lobby.
A small booth along the back wall was perfect place to ease into a conversation with an attractive young lady. Charles commended himself for having a talent when it came to the fairer sex. He’d just never seen the fairest until now. “I don’t mean to be nosey, but are you passing through or staying?”
“I plan on staying.” With eyes downcast, she toyed with her silverware. The napkin in her lap needed an adjustment as well.
Her jawline held a stubborn line he’d love to trace. Her eyes shined with expression although she said nothing. When her cheeks flushed with his question, he felt his toes curl in his boots. This female ignited a fire he didn’t want to extinguish. “Do you have a place to stay, relatives or friends?”
“I…” A slow release of breath followed her broken reply. “No, I don’t have a family or friends. Is the hotel a safe place for a woman?”
Charles eased back in his chair. She’d struck a chord. He could definitely relate to being alone, no father, no mother, and no family. Thankfully, he’d had friends, good friends he could count on. Everyone needed someone they could count ‘on. “Let me say this. I have an opening for a secretary in my office. There’s a small cottage out back that I rent. It’s vacant. You’d be welcome to stay there if you like.”
Her lovely jaw tightened. She scooted to the edge of the seat and slid her reticule over her arm. “I don’t need your charity, Mr. Harrison. I can take care of myself.”
“Wait a minute.” He didn’t understand why he wanted her to say yes, just that if she didn’t he’d have to kidnap her. “It’s not charity if I’m offering you a job.” He’d moved to the edge of his side as well. Don’t you plan on working?” Aggravated he sounded like a parent, he tried again. “I mean, you’ll need to support yourself. A secretary’s a respectable position.”
She stalled out within two steps and turned slowly, as if she were mulling the offer over in her head. “What does it pay?”
With a smile, he rose, giving her an easy tug back to the table. “Well, let’s see. The last secretary said I was too stingy with her rate. How does a dollar a day sound?”
Those hypnotic blue eyes widened to pools of lapis blue. “A dollar a day? You must be doing quite well. Are you the only attorney in town?”
He tried. Still, he couldn’t stop the laugh that broke the silence. “I am. Do you suppose that has anything to do with my success?” Grinning despite himself, he motioned for the waiter to order.
Well, what do you think? I’m quite interested in knowing your opinion. Please leave a comment below. I plan a large release party early next year and would love to add your names into the drawing for several free ebook copies as well as a signed paperback of Casey’s Gunslinger. In the meantime, the first book in the series is Comanche Haven. You can start reading book one immediately with this link: http://tinyurl.com/mtsnlky
Thanks for dropping by and best wishes for a wonderful holiday season!
We’ll be dishing up our favorite recipes and sharing some great prizes along with tons of free stuff. Don’t miss out! Mark your calendar for the 13th of November for a rolicing good time hosted by the ladies who do romance right! See you there!
This post is well pressed from Writers in The Storm. Check out this valuable information from Janice Hardy, who shares writing resources on her blogThe Other Side of the Story.
Decades ago, a detached, omniscient point of view was all the rage. Readers wanted to be told a story, so the stories read as if someone was indeed telling them. That style faded as readers sought a more immersive read, and tight points of view became popular.
Regardless of who the narrator is, that’s the person the reader experiences the novel through. A tight first person narrator, an omniscient third, a limited third, it’s all filtered through somebody’s eyes. Sometimes this filter is invisible and the reader doesn’t feel any distance between her and the point of view (POV) character. Other times the filters are obvious and the reader feels the wall between her and the characters. One style looksthrough the eyes of the POV, the other looks at the POV.
What adds this layer?
Filter words distance the reader from the POV character. They remind readers they’re reading, explain things that are obvious, and often lead a writer into telling. Even worse, filter words are frequently found with their passive, telling cousins, pushing the reader even further away.
If you’re after a tighter and more immersive POV experience, you might try looking for and eliminating these filter words.
Redundant Filter Words
The easiest fix is to get rid of words like, saw, heard, felt, knew, watched, and looked. What makes these words feel detached is that they’re explaining that a character saw or heard something, and then the narrative goes right ahead and shows it anyway. POV characters by definition are relaying everything they sense, say, and think. If it’s described, readers know the character experienced it in some way. It’s like saying, I’m going to look at something, and now I’m telling you what I looked at.
Let’s look at some examples:
Lisa wandered through the field and saw three crows sitting on the fence. Their black feathers glistened in the morning sunshine. She heard them caw the way crows do, and watched them take flight and soar across the bright, blue sky.
I could hear cars whooshing past. The sound of horns blared against my ears, muffled by the morning fog. It felt cold and clammy, sticking to my skin like a layer of wet cloth. It smelled musty, though I knew fog couldn’t possibly be musty.
Notice the extra layer. The character is relaying information in a detached, after the fact, watching-me-do-this tone. There’s a feeling of an outside person describing what the character sees and hears rather than experiencing the same things through that character’s senses.
Look at these same paragraphs without the filter words:
Lisa wandered through the field. Three crows sat on the fence, their black feathers glistening in the morning sunshine. They cawed the way crows do, then took flight and soared across the bright, blue sky.
Cars whooshed past, their blaring horns muffled by the morning fog. It lay cold and clammy against my skin like wet cloth. Musty, though fog couldn’t possibly be musty.
Now the POV character is describing what they experience without telling the reader that they’re looking or hearing or smelling. The reader feels closer to the POV, and can imagine themselves in the story instead of watching the story from afar.
Revising to eliminate filter words is an easy way to achieve a tighter POV, and even fix any told prose in the process.
Do you prefer a tight or a distant point of view? Why? What about it captures you as a reader?
BIO: Janice Hardy always wondered about the darker side of healing. For her fantasy trilogy THE HEALING WARS, she tapped into her own dark side to create a world where healing was dangerous, and those with the best intentions often made the worst choices. Her books include THE SHIFTER, and BLUE FIRE. DARKFALL, from Balzer+Bray/Harper Collins. She lives in Georgia with her husband, three cats and one very nervous freshwater eel. You can visit her online at www.janicehardy.com, chat with her about writing on her blog,The Other Side of the Story, or find her on Twitter @Janice_Hardy.
What makes a hero lovable? We’re asking that question in Felicity Heaton’s Hot Halloween Heroes Giveaway Blog Hop. Does a hero have to be strong, blatantly male, no inhibitions, no apologies, or a diamond in the ruff to be sexy? Describe your hot Halloween hero in a comment here and you’ll be eligible for the drawing of an ebook copy of Wolfen Secrets, the third book in the series, The Western Werewolf Legend. Join us for the hop which includes over 120 blogs, all with something to share on the subject of hot Halloween heroes. Click the Blog Hop pic above for a complete list of blog sites to visit. Also, click the cover of Wolfen Secrets, The Western Werewolf Legend series listed below for the Amazon link to it and all my books.
Now check out the steamy excerpt from Wolfen Secrets:
Sonja Brooks’ body jerked, waking with a jolt. She’d been dreaming again. Running trembling fingers through her hair, she released an unsteady breath. The darkness was always filled with hands clawing at her flesh, moans of anguish or sharp stabs of pain. Being a werewolf had brought all kinds of changes to her life. This latest plague was the worst. Depending on an ordered, tidy existence was a thing of the past. Would she ever be able to sleep without nightmares or rest peacefully again?
Her mentor, the witch, Hortence, had given her potion after potion to relieve the restless nights of dream after unsettling dream. None had helped. So, the night sweats and visions continued like premonitions from a horror play.
Her hands came down, punching the quilt on either side of her thighs in an act of frustration.
Immediately, Ty’s arm came around her. Her lover, Tyler Loflin, wrapped her close.
“Easy, Sonja! Baby, I’m right here.”
His strength – so solid and dependable along with his words – so warm and gentle enveloped her. Nothing could penetrate his protection, nothing, she mused. Sonja wrapped her arms around his solid strength, languishing in his hold.
“Are you okay?”
“Yes… the dream…I had it again.” Seeking the crook of his neck as a haven, Sonja released a shaky breath. Ty’s heart beat in solid, rhythmic cadence. His long, dark hair skimmed her cheek in a soft caress.
“Here, now, let me hold you. You can tell me what happened.” With big, bronzed hands, he adjusted the covers, arranging a nest of sorts for her comfort. “Shamans say it makes a bad dream better when you talk about the fool thing.” Ty punched up the pillows. Easing her back, he made sure she was comfortable before joining her against the cool cotton. In a gesture as old as time, he reached out, brushing her curls back from her face. “Now, that’s better?”
She let out a slow breath. It was worth a try. Nodding, she frowned, trying to recall the details.
“It’s the same one I keep having. We are fighting the vampires. There are so many!” Her voice cracked with the last words. She swallowed hard. The tears couldn’t break free.
Sonja sniffed before sending him a trembling smile. She loved it when he used the pet name he’d given her right after they’d met over three months before. “All right.” Shoving at her hair, she tried again. “This time, the bloodsuckers are everywhere. They’re coming out of the woodwork, Ty.” She glanced at him, the fingers of unease showing again. “There’s so many, I don’t think we will stop them.”
He patted her back gentle like, rocking her slightly in his hold. “Just a dream, it’s okay, I got you.”
“We’re separated.” She slid her hand between their bodies, wiping at the tears. “I can’t see you, yet I hear you. You’re swarmed by vampires.”
Panic clawed at her chest. She clutched at her breast, the pressure there cutting off her air. On a strangled cry, Sonja shoved away. Suddenly, his comfort had turned into a vice-like sensation. “I…I can’t breathe, Ty!”
He released her, rolling from the bed, before, reaching for her to follow. Sonja went immediately into his hold. “Watch me, Nymph – breathe,” he commanded. “Breathe…that’s it. Now again…deep. Let it out slow. That’s a girl.” He raised her arms up over her head, standing with her until her chest eased its rapid constriction. With his big hand, Ty gently rubbed between her breasts. “Feel better?”
She nodded. Soon, the feeling of security his hold invoked returned. The anxiety attack eased. Threading her arms around him, she smiled when his sturdy embrace encircled her once more.
“I’ll speak to Hortence again about the damn nightmares. There has to be a better way to handle them.”
“Do you suppose they’re more than figments of my imagination?” A frown crossed her brow. Was it possible for someone or something else to hold control over her nightmares? “Like a vampire spell or perhaps black magic?” She leaned back in his hold, gazing steadily into his eyes. “We may not be considering all the possibilities, Ty.”
“It’s not off to consider the vampires have powers too – maybe even access to magic.” Ty shook his head before resting his brow against hers. “We know so little about these damn creatures of the night. It frustrates the hell out of me. So, somehow they get inside your head, conjuring up a wicked dream.” Gathering her close again, he tried to reassure. “Tomorrow we’ll talk to Hortence. She’s got to have something that will block the dreams. I won’t give up until I find one. I promise, Nymph.”
Resting against his chest, the vibration of his voice next to her ear as a welcome balm, Sonja closed her eyes. Could the dreams be her anxiety manifested or the future about to play out in reality? God, she hoped not! Unable to stop her body’s cringe, the memory of the screams came back to her. In the dream, Ty needed her help, yet she wasn’t able to reach him in time.