Thursday, June 23, 2016

One-Hit Wonders

Even One-Hit Wonders Deserve a Second Chance

How often have you thought about an old TV show or movie you enjoyed and wondered whatever became of the stars who kind of faded from view? When you see Sixteen Candles on AMC, for example, you don’t have to search far to find Molly Ringwald or Anthony Michael Hall because they’re still active, but oh…what about Jake Ryan? ;) Every once in a while I’ll see a “where are they now” click-bait story revealing the whereabouts of former actor Michael Schoeffling, and others like him, and it’s this curiosity that partly inspired my newest romance, Finish What You Started.

I’m not an actor, but I have undergone the career shift from teaching to writing. When we hear stories of former child stars it seems some are bleaker than others. A few transition to adulthood and keep their careers, some fall into financial or legal trouble, and others retire from the public life and start over. Finish What You Started is about two former child stars determined to shed the images thrust on them by their iconic TV roles. Gabby wants to work behind the camera, Dash wants to be a serious actor and leave the geek character he played behind. Initially it doesn’t work out, but when these two meet up after ten years they have a second chance at fame, and love.

All Dash wants to do is prove he has talent beyond his Urkel-like character on TV. Hollywood is ready to dismiss him as a one-hit wonder or one-trick pony, but he’s about to prove everybody wrong.

What is your favorite one-hit wonder? It could be a show, song, a movie, whatever. I’d love to know. I’d also love it if you entered the giveaway below. I’m sending out to one winner a prize pack featuring a delightfully snarky coffee mug, a gorgeous mini-notebook, and one audiobook from my backlist, to be gifted via Audible. Good luck!

Finish What You Started by Kathryn Lively
Contemporary Romance
Totally Bound Publishing

About the Book

In this business, it gets hot under the spotlight…

Once a teen idol, Gabby Randall now spends her time behind the camera. With her show Danse Macabre scripted and greenlit for a popular streaming site, she has everything she wants…except her star. Deadlines are looming and she’s desperate to cast the role of a modern-day, motorcycle-riding Grim Reaper. She never thought she’d end up hiring her former co-star, TV’s most beloved geek…and her ex-husband.

Until the day he dies, people will remember Dash Gregory as Freddie “Grody” Grodin, the token geek friend of the cool kids at Wondermancer High. After years of casting agents overlooking him for plum roles, Dash wants to show Hollywood he’s more than a one-note player. He’s ready to break the vicious typecasting cycle, and he’s set his sights on the lead role in a sexy new series too hot for network TV.

When the director yells “Cut!” the star wants to keep up the action behind the scenes. Are Dash and Gabby willing to make ratings history again?


When he returned to the main room, he found the trays folded and back on the rack, and Ace snuggled into Gabby’s side. “Later, buddy.” He snapped his fingers and the terrier bounced toward the bathroom. “He’s too suave for his own good,” he told Gabby with a smile, which soon fell on seeing her suddenly melancholy.

“What’s wrong? Was it dinner? Do you need—?”

“No, everything was great. Perfect.” She moved to sip her wine, but instead set it on the coffee table. “I was just thinking of what we had here tonight, and it played out like a typical night at home.” After a beat she added, “Well, a typical night if we—I—were a couple. Married…whatever.”

“I hear you.” Damn, she looked cute when she rambled. “I haven’t done typical in a while, and it’s not bad. I still owe you a dinner out, though. I do want to celebrate with something fancy.”

“I’d rather do this again.” Gabby kicked off her shoes and tucked one foot under her. Comfy, at home, not bad at all. “I’ve wanted to do something like this every day for the last ten years.”

With you. She didn’t say the words, but he imagined them on her lips as she bit down.

He sensed a flood coming as she blinked rapidly, and he looked around for something to help stem it. He never bought tissues, usually used TP if he needed to blow his nose, and the idea of handing her a full roll seemed absurd. He settled in next to Gabby, ready to lend a shoulder.

“We don’t have to talk about it if it hurts too much,” he said, more for himself. His mother had once offered to pay for therapy to help him through the worst of the breakup, but he’d refused. Work served him well, when he got it, and he preferred to keep his feelings about Gabby to himself.

Well, himself and one other person.

“I’ll be fine.” Gabby stuck a pinkie finger in her eye to rid it of a tear. “You know me, I’ve always been an emotional gal. Remember when we filmed Doctor Arturo’s death scene?” She sighed and looked at him. “I bawled for days.”

“So did he. He’d just bought a house when he was written out.”

 “I also don’t normally wear skirts this short,” she said.

He had no reason to object. “Yeah, I wondered about that. You were always a conservative dresser.” Product of a Catholic family, he guessed, but he liked that about her. Gabby wore everything well, but his mind kept returning to the naughty librarian fantasy. Maybe stick a few pencils in her hair, done up in a bun with a few tendrils hanging loose…

“What’s that look on your face?”

“Hm?” The bubble popped, and he shrugged. “I just remembered I need to renew my library card.”

“You are so silly. What does that have to do with what we’re talking about?”

He chose not to say. “I’m sorry. Just a crazy day. So there’s a reason for the wardrobe change?”

Gabby smiled, flushed. “It goes back to that ‘special friend’ misunderstanding.”


“I hoped to outdo her. Yes, I’m shallow.” She rolled her eyes.

“No, you’re a human with insecurities. Just like me. It doesn’t help we both grew up in show business families where that sort of thing is encouraged.” He could spend the rest of the evening reminding her of all the crap stage parents foisted on their children. You had to have a cuter face than the other boys reading for your part. Your dimples had to go deeper, your freckles had to cross the bridge of your nose just so. How often had Walter and Marie drilled the importance of looking better than every ingĂ©nue in California into Gabby’s head?

It didn’t go away easily. He could relate. Though his mother hadn’t been as bad as Marie Randall, she’d put pressure on him more than once during casting calls.

He stretched out his arm, inviting her close. For a moment they sat on the sofa and he held her, and it felt nice. It felt like home, like what the last ten years should have been for them. “You will always have a special place in my heart,” he said. “Whatever happens between us on this show, it can only result in good things.”

She pulled back a bit to regard him. “I want to tell you something.” After a beat she added, “Since our first time in Vegas…there hasn’t been a second time for me. With anybody.”

Huh? “For real? Why are you telling me—”

“I’m not asking for you to say the same thing, Dash. I never expected you to go celibate, and I didn’t think it’d be this way for me. I just got busy with work.” She shook her head. “I wanted you to know because…” she swallowed hard, “I never wanted another first time with anybody else.”

She gazed into his eyes. Her deep brown gaze, smooth as chocolate and calling to his soul, drew him closer. He was done for.

About the Author

Kathryn Lively is an award-winning writer and editor, Slytherin, Whovian, and Rush (the band) fan. She loves chocolate and British crisps and is still searching for a good US dealer of Japanese Kit Kat bars.



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Monday, June 6, 2016

Blonde Demolition On Sale

Mallory bit down and then yanked at the arm. Her meager strength came from another rush of adrenaline.
"Whoa, Mallory. It's just me."
The familiar voice froze her before she could do any damage. Oh crap. As if her day hadn't tanked already.

One by one she uncurled her fingers from around his wrist. Her shaking hands grasped the steering wheel, knuckles white.
Her eyes fell closed. If she had a list of people she never wanted to see again, his name would be at the top. Why here? Why now? This was the last thing she needed.
She steadied her breath and her gaze scanned the parking lot. No one stirred or walked to their car. She couldn't be seen with him. 
"Don't turn around. Just drive. I'll be hunkered down in the back."
She started the car and drove home. Her knuckles remained white. "What the hell are you doing here?"
"I think you know."
Of course. "The bomb in our trailer?"
Emotions roiled her stomach. She'd have to stock up on antacids if Trey was back in her life. And she had just been thinking how nutty this week of fair preparations had been. Now it all looked so easy.

Her thoughts shifted to the events of the evening. Who had put the bomb there? It wasn't a prank if this guy was here. This was bigger than all of Coleville, Centre County.
She pulled in front of her house, a two-story Cape Cod set down a long driveway.
"We're here and no one can see you from the road," she said.
She got out of the car, leaving her guest to follow.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Dancing with the Bad Guys

Thank you, Chris, for hosting me here today. You know, I get a real thrill when I come across a great bad guy or gal in crime fiction. A character I really love to hate. Unfortunately, not all writers take the same care in developing their antagonists as they do with their protagonists.
Writers put a lot of time and thought into creating their heroes, giving them backstories, motivation, even throwing in a few flaws, which they may or may not overcome. But they too often ignore their antagonists, which is a big mistake.

“Villains are some of the worst characters I meet in manuscripts, and not in a good way. What I mean is that they are frequently cardboard. Most are presented as purely evil: Mwoo-ha-ha villains, as we call them around the office.” Notes New York literary agent Donald Maass in The Breakout Novelist.
Even characters who merely oppose, rather than attack, the protagonist—and provide much-needed conflict in a novel—are often poorly developed. Without strong resistance, readers probably wonder why the protagonist has such a hard time in reaching his goal.

In my stories, I avoid completely evil antagonists because I can’t believe in them. No one is bad all the time. Antagonists lash out because of jealousy, fear or greed—feelings all of us have had. Some are driven by personal demons. And some antagonists can be sympathetic. What’s important is that they are well-rounded and believable.

I invest some time in creating my bad guys and gals, opening up their unexpected sides and justifying some of their actions. In my latest Pat Tierney mystery, Raven Lake, I have two antagonists. Both are smart and strong, as smart and as strong as Pat Tierney. One is driven by jealousy, the other by greed. I found myself really liking one of them. In other circumstances, I could see this character being my friend.

These are some of the things I like to explore in an antagonist:
·       What is his/her main problem, conflict or goal? What does he want the most?
·       Does that conflict with my protagonist’s goal?
·       How plausible is his motivation?
·       What is the opposite of what he wants? And can he want both things at the same time?
·       What are his good traits?
·       What are his secrets? Exposing them may reveal weaknesses he doesn’t want others to see.
·       What happened in his life that made him the way he is?
·       What three steps can he take towards his goal?
·       What three steps can he take away from his goal?
·       What prevents him from taking these steps away from his goal?
·       What’s at stake for him? What would be the consequences of failing to achieve his goal?
A well-rounded antagonist will enrich a novel and make plotting it easier. And a great villain can take a story to a whole new level.
* * *

Rosemary McCracken has worked on newspapers across Canada as a reporter, arts reviewer, editorial writer and editor. She is now a Toronto-based fiction writer and freelance journalist. Her first Pat Tierney mystery, Safe Harbor, was shortlisted for Britain’s Crime Writers’ Association’s Debut Dagger in 2010 and published by Imajin Books in 2012. It was followed by Black Water in 2013. “The Sweetheart Scamster,” a Pat Tierney mystery in the anthology Thirteen, was a finalist for a Derringer Award in 2014. Rosemary’s third Pat Tierney mystery, Raven Lake, has just been released. It is available at

Follow Rosemary on her blog, Moving Target, at; on Facebook at; and on Twitter @RCMcCracken. Visit Rosemary’s website at

Friday, June 3, 2016

Once & Again

Book 2
by M.S. Kaye
She was once his secret desire… Will she be again?
Father Aiden, an ex-marine and new priest, falls in love with Maylynn, but he struggles to stay away from her. He’s successful for many years, though he can’t keep her out of his dreams.
Then one day she shows up for a pre-marital counselling session with her fiancĂ©, Davis. Aiden soon realizes Davis isn’t who he says he is, but what does that mean for Maylynn, and for himself?

Will be released August 4, 2016 from Inkspell Publishing.
Amazon preorder link:
Author Bio:
M.S. Kaye has several published books under her black belt. A transplant from Ohio, she resides with her husband Corey in Jacksonville, Florida, where she tries not to melt in the sun. Find suspense and the unusual at
To receive news on upcoming releases, sign up for email updates on her website.
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Once, book one
Will be released July 2, 2016 from Inkspell Publishing.
Her first and also her once.
Jonathan and Rebecca’s paths cross at exactly the right moment, when each most needs to hear what the other has to say.
But Jonathan is three days from entering the priesthood, and Rebecca leaves him to his peace. But he is unable to find peace.
Without each other’s comfort and strength, they must each struggle to forge a new path, with only memories of the one day that changed everything.
But are they able to forget and let go?
Once & Forever, book three
Will be released December 2016 from Inkspell Publishing.
Eden, a nun, is constantly struggling against her dark past of living on the streets, and her attraction to Trace, an ex-convict farm worker. After a twelve-year separation, Eden is finally reunited with her brother, Thomas, but why hadn’t she reached out to him in all those years? As Eden and Trace grow closer, confessing their pasts to each other, will they be able to resist getting too close?
“You’re studying to be a priest?”
He made himself meet her eyes. “I am a priest.”
She let go of his hand and stepped back.
Her smiled was tight. “I’m glad you found your path.”
He couldn’t quite read her expression. The distance between them felt like a gorge chiseled into the earth.
“Are you all right, Maylynn?” he asked.
“I’m really happy for you.” Then she added, “Father Aiden.”
For some reason, her words stabbed him in the gut. He usually liked when people used his title—it seemed to imply a certain amount of trust.
“I’m sorry, Maylynn.” He wasn’t entirely sure why he was apologizing. He just didn’t like to see her uncomfortable.
“I’m happy for you,” she repeated.
Then he realized what the problem was. He hadn’t anticipated this.
He moved closer. “I’m so sorry.”
Her forced smile finally dropped. “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”
“It didn’t occur to me…”
“That I might be attracted to you?”
“Why aren’t you wearing your collar?” Anger prickled the edge of her voice.
“My mother’s last wish was that I find my father. I’ve been following her notes. She was convinced he was somewhere in this area.”
“Wait… Your mother’s name was Adalina?”
He nodded. With the number of times the shelter was mentioned in the notes, he figured his mother and Maylynn had met.
A pause.
Anger flashed in her eyes. “You still should’ve told me.”
“I’m sorry.”
“Why’d you play with me like that?”
“I swear that wasn’t my intent.”
“You knew damn well what was going on. Was it a game—see if you still had it? If you could still get the chicks?”
Under the anger in her eyes, he saw the hurt. He swore he could feel it exactly, as if it was his own.
He shifted even closer, just in front of her. “I’m sorry,” he said again. His voice lowered, quieted. “I didn’t see what you were feeling because I was fighting so hard myself. I still am.”
“Fighting what?”
“What I felt the first time I saw you, what I’m still feeling.”
She waited, glaring at him.
“I’m attracted to you,” he said. “Intensely.”