Help! Please Enter My Name That Character Contest!

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So there I was, sitting in front of a blank screen, the stupid big fat clock staring at me from the wall across the room. I would have been unnerved by the ticking if the clock had a ticker, but you know everything is digital these days–never mind, I digress. There I was, with the blank screen and the clock AND the DEADLINE.

Let me digress pause here to address the non-writers in the room–and I hope there are billions many of you–to let you know that the picture of the blissful artist working away in their turret spinning fancy words into mesmerizing stories is a bad joke hoax. We working stiffs authors really work at the kitchen table, the desk, the lazyboy chair, the drivers seat of the car (although we try to stop driving first), the dentist office waiting room … You get the picture.

Why? It’s the clock. And the deadline. Even if we don’t have a publisher or editor setting our deadline, we still have a deadline. Life throws them at us in the form of mortgage bills, grocery bills and the occasional prompt from a loving impatient reader.

What does any of this have to do with a Name That Character Contest you ask? Well, I don’t technically know if you’re asking, but Myren, my chauffeur, is asking and he’s the ridiculous unofficial stand-in for an below average reader for the purposes of this stupendous informative blog. I’ll tell you.

So there I was, not sitting in my turret, staring at the blank page and STUCK. Why was I stuck you ask? (Let’s not go over again how I know you’re asking.)

I was stuck because I needed a name for the bad guy and I couldn’t think of one. He was about to lower the hatchet and I had no idea what to call him.  X. That’s what I typed. Not for the first time. I was on page 152 and I had a story filled with X after X where the character’s name ought to be.

I threw down my pen closed my lap top (although this action lacks the dramatic appeal of throwing down a pen) and decided I needed to get rid of all those Xs. But how, you ask? (You’re so full of questions!)

Now backed into a corner, chased there by dozens of Xs, there was only one thing to do. Yes. I had to hold a Name That Character Contest!

(This is a true story, I swear.)

And so now, in order to get unstuck, in order to go on and complete my current work-in-progress, Beachcomber Love, I am reaching out and asking for your help, dear readers!

Enter the Stephanie Queen Name That Character Contest Here!

(Yes, there’s a prize in it for you, but I KNOW you’re really entering it to rescue me from my sticky spot.)

Here’s some details about Beachcomber Love and the character X:

BEACHCOMBER LOVE is the next novella in the Beachcomber Investigations romantic detective series. This bad guy, X, has come to town on Martha’s Vineyard from the mainland. He’s a he, a seedy low-life who mysteriously wants to extort money from the Lucky Parrot (local dive bar frequented by ex-special ops legend Dane Blaise and his partner/lover ex-Scotland Yard detective, Shana George, the hero and heroine)–and X thinks (incorrectly) that he can get away with it. Someone must have sent X to ruin Valentine’s Day. What’s his name?

Thank you so much for saving my life entering my contest to help me name X and get unstuck!

**Beachcomber Love will be released in the set A Valentine She’ll Remember, an anthology of 8 very special valentine romances, on February 1st. Look for it on Amazon for only $.99 or read the set for free on Kindle Unlimited.

Thank you for entering the contest!

Stephanie Queen

About USA Today Bestselling Author Stephanie Queen
A romantic at heart and a writer by nature, Stephanie Queen has the enthusiastic soul of a cheerleader. So of course she loves creating stories where the good guys always win. Although she’s lost count of all the jobs she had before she settled on being a Novelist, her favorite was selling cookies as a Keebler Elf. She is a graduate of UConn (go Huskies!) and Harvard U and lives in New Hampshire with her family, her cat, Kitty, and her (real or imagined?) chauffeur, Myren.

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Do Not Call (Peace is Priceless!)

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Are you irritated by unsolicited phone calls? There’s a cure! And it’s free! Just call 1-888-382-1222 and register the phone number you want removed
OR
Go online to www.donotcall.gov and following the prompts there.

Now that my public service has brightened your day, click http://bit.ly/dhAuthor to visit my Amazon page. There’s sure to be a novel or box set listed with stories you’d like to read. Most of them are free to read if you have a Kindle Unlimited account.

If you don’t have a Kindle Unlimited, check it out FREE for 30 days at http://bit.ly/2KuSignUp 

 

 

 

 

.

*********There are a few steps involved, but a minute or two is all it takes to have hours and hours of reading material. See if it’s a good fit for your reading habits. Only $9.99 a month and thousands and thousands of works to read at no additional charge!

Shown above are just a few of the box sets I’m associated with. More single titles are shown on my Amazon page. If you aren’t following me yet, I’d appreciate a gentle ‘ping’ on the yellow ‘+ follow’ bar. Catch up on your reading materials! The Authors Billboard has many more coming early next year!

Dani Haviland

Dani Haviland, formerly of Connecticut, Arizona, and Alaska, recently semi-retired from selling tractor parts, tools, and roses. She moved to a more temperate climate in western Oregon to pursue her passions: writing, gardening, and photography.
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Writing is only part of an author’s job

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As you can see from the pretties below, there is more involved in producing a novel than just creating a Word document and having an editor track down stray quote marks and make a few suggestions.

You have to have an intriguing cover. That means finding the right photo to start with. Not as easy as it sounds, but not a bad way to lose an hour or two, looking over tight abs and fuzzy faces. I found this guy and gal then wrote the story from the image. If you’ve read any of my books, you know that many of the same folks are in several of the stories. That’s what happens with a saga. Luke is totally new to the Fairies Saga scene, but you may remember his co-worker, Benji (The Great Big Fairy). He plays a big part in Luke The Unexpected, although he’s not the hero.

If the author hasn’t already done so, she might want to align her works with those who write in the same genre. It’s hard to launch a single title, but if an author chooses well, she may get in a box set with an author who has a passionate and loyal following. After her readers have devoured her work, they may pop over to your story (since it’s in the set and already downloaded). Hope! Hope!

Whether the novel is a single title or in a set, promotions are a necessity and that means creating enticing cards or memes. And then there’s tweeting and posting to Facebook groups and sending out newsletters, updating website(s)… Hours every day are spent on these unless you have a PA who can read your mind and knows exactly what you want.

I remember when I first started writing. That’s all I did. Write. I had three books (two of them rather lengthy) before I published one. I didn’t know the second thing about promoting (the first was a web page; I knew that). Now, I spend more time either promoting OR learning the latest tools needed to promote. And if there’s a shortcut, I’m on it!

 

That being said, I borrowed and modified Jacquie Biggar’s blog about our box set. Thanks for the platform, Jacquie! I’ll be there when you need me, too. (Follow her at @JacqBiggar)

Sweet Heat – Where Romance and Suspense Meet (box set of six romances)

And my contribution is… Luke The Unexpected

He’d to anything to get this hot motorcycle mama’s attention ~ (scroll to the bottom for an excerpt, but read about the other books in the set, too!)

6 NYT and USA Today Bestselling authors come together to bring you romances guaranteed to make your blood run hot! Only 99 cents. Passion, suspense, mystery. Something to suit every reader’s taste. Grab your Kindle reader and curl up with us for an unforgettable escape. Get yours today before it goes away. LIMITED TIME ONLY.

~ Roll the Dice by Mimi Barbour How can she love the guy who shoots her rather than the criminal? This powerful romantic suspense about two detectives with differing agendas, yet after the same rapist, will grab your attention and keep you riveted.

~ Two Hearts Surrendered by Tamara Ferguson After years of fighting their feelings, Luke Bryant and Kelly Callahan share an enchanting night of passion at her sister’s magical wedding. So when Luke returns home from Iraq as a disheartened wounded warrior, Kelly refuses to give up on him. But will that past night of enchantment be strong enough magic for a military hero to finally surrender his heart to the woman he loves?

~ Slow Dancing by Suzanne Jenkins After a wrong turn in Mobile, Margaret Fisher and her toddler, Ellen are lost. Then, their car breaks down in a small town in front of the garage owned by eligible bachelor, Frank McPherson. Twelve years later, the peaceful life fifteen-year old Ellen has with her stepfather is threatened when after midnight, a stranger appears at the edge of the woods. Jealousy, intrigue, and murder strive to tear them apart in this tale of unrequited love.

~ Luke, the Unexpected by Dani Haviland Brought together by their love of vintage motorcycles, Luke and Holly have more than just an out of tune Indian Chief to deal with. The spurned Tanya wants revenge, and will stop at nothing to hurt Luke and all those he cares about.

 ~ Missing: The Lady Said No by Jacquie Biggar The Race is on to find a Killer in the heart of Kentucky horse country Detective Augustus Grant is faced with his most baffling case to date. Well-respected race horse breeder, John Jorgenson, is murdered in his den days before the Kentucky Derby and the list of suspects is growing. Complicating matters, Gus’ ex-girlfriend is the last person to have seen the victim alive. With all the evidence pointing in Becky’s direction, will Gus do his duty? Or follow his heart?

 ~ Turning Up the Heat by Susan Jean Ricci Malibu O’Hare and Mark Bouchard are headed towards matrimony, until an old adversary sabotages their plans with a devious scheme.  Will the sinister plots continue to succeed, or will love, commitment, and justice prevail?

Order your copy today!

Add To Your TBR List

Excerpt from Luke The Unexpected by Dani Haviland   

The unexpected hero in threadbare jeans and a white tee shirt turned away, ignoring the oversized teenager with the bad attitude, and offered the sobbing girl his hand. “Are you all right?” he asked.

“Who are you?” Tanya replied, wide-eyed at seeing anyone else on this deserted property. She had made sure she and Tubby would be alone. And, although she was new in this small town, she would have remembered seeing a man this good-looking and broad-shouldered— here or anywhere!

“Hey!” Robbie stepped over and wedged himself in between the blonde damsel in distress and her dark-haired knight.

Luke’s eyes narrowed as he assessed the cad, noted his unsteady stance, then gave him a well-placed hip bump, knocking him to the ground.

“That’s twice you’ve knocked me for a loop,” Robbie said. “You’re a marked man now, Asshole!”

“Marked? Nope.” Luke rolled up the short sleeves on his cotton tee shirt to the top of his shoulders, flexing his muscles slightly to antagonize the chunky man-child even more. “Not marked. No tats on me anywhere. At least, that are visible,” he added with a wink to the stunned femme. “And you got my name wrong, too. It’s Luke. It’s a simple mono-syllabic moniker. It should be easy for you to remember.”

“You won’t be around long enough for…”

Luke had turned his attention back to the young, stunned woman, once again deliberately ignoring the boor.

All bullies were alike. They talked big, yelled loud, pushed and shoved those smaller than themselves, and somehow—without any specialized schooling—managed to excel in the science of intimidation.

“Hey, I’m talking to you…” Robbie tried again to get the newcomer’s attention, this time gripping Luke’s shoulder from behind.

Luke grabbed the grimy paw, squeezed fingers together until he heard a whimper, then spun away, twisting the sweaty arm up and behind the youth until he looked as if he had a duck wing, not an arm.

“Hmm. I’ll bet this is your favorite position. At least, for your victims. I’d call you by your given name, but I really don’t care enough about you to ask for it. And, since I believe you were planning on visiting some distant relative in a neighboring town — or better yet, a distant state — I’ll not bother. Now, the lady and I were just getting acquainted, so skedaddle and take your broken knife with you.”

Luke held out the knife he had surreptitiously filched during the arm-twisting do-si-do.

“But it’s not broke,” Robbie said, reaching for it.

“Well, I’ll be.” Luke flicked opened the switchblade, dropped it to the ground, then used his boot to nudge it on top of a half-buried stone. He stomped down with his size 13 Wellington, separating the six-inch blade from its plastic faux-bone hilt.

“Oh, and don’t even think about complaining to the cops or anyone else. That type of ‘shaving razor’ is illegal. I doubt you’d want to admit to any of your so-called friends that the new guy in town bested you, either.”

“But…but…”

“No, dude, it’s bye, bye. Can you repeat after me? Bye.” Luke paused and sucked in his lips in exaggeration, then exhaled as he enunciated, “Bye,” and walked away, the young blonde clinging to his arm.

(Was this the right girl for Luke? Download the box set and find out! Oh, and thanks if you do!)

 

Dani Haviland

Dani Haviland, formerly of Connecticut, Arizona, and Alaska, recently semi-retired from selling tractor parts, tools, and roses. She moved to a more temperate climate in western Oregon to pursue her passions: writing, gardening, and photography.
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Solar Eclipse Mania and Aliens

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On Monday, August 21, I’ll be in the path of the total eclipse of the sun. Big deal. Well, really it is.
I’m sure other areas of the US are going through the same craziness as Oregon is. For over a month now, the front page of the local paper has featured at least one story about the solar eclipse and the impact it will have on the local residents.
Okay, not so much the eclipse itself, but all the eclipse watchers. Highways are predicted to slow to a near standstill between Portland – the nearest major airport – and throughout the Willamette Valley with the influx of over a million visitors. Backyards and open fields will be turned into temporary tent or camper cities (already happening). Public water and septic systems will be overtaxed (not likely). Food and gas supplies will run out or low (no telling). The local economy will boom (hopefully).
Because the traffic is expected to be horrible, garbage pick up has been delayed one day, many local businesses have given employees time off, and non-essential government workers are taking leave (or whatever they call it).
Right now, roads are blocked off in towns around here, not for safety, but to cordon off city blocks for vendors, events, and parties. I don’t know if they planned it this way, but a huge three-day country music extravaganza is going on right now in the Willamette Valley. If these folks came from far away, I doubt they’ll be in a hurry to leave Sunday night. Or if they are, they’re in trouble. I just hope the weight of all these extra people doesn’t cause a major earthquake!
What do people expect out of the eclipse besides a long weekend of partying? Some are saying it will allow the world to see the extra sun (or is it a planet?) that’s been hiding behind the sun.

Here’s a recent picture taken in Dallas, Oregon by Ashleigh Sawicki. Her aunt saw the same thing in Florida as did my friend in Alaska. It’s not exclusive to the United States, either. I hear it’s been sighted in South America and Europe, too. Oh, and if you say it’s just the camera, why would someone take a picture of the sun? Had to be something strange to want to take that shot.
I guess we’ll find out what all the noise is tomorrow. Unless the aliens attack or, gasp, they take out our internet.

No matter what happens, enjoy the life you have, and if it needs improving, be the one to make the changes.

In the meantime, here’s some great diversion. Romance box sets in different flavors!Feeling like a sweet story? Sweet & Sassy is perfect. Need some suspense? Dangerous Encounters and Risky Encounters. Historical fiction: Rebels, Rogues, and Romantics. Paranormal or time travel? Mystic Lovers. Check them all out! All but Love, Christmas are available to read for free with your Kindle Unlimited account. Don’t have KU? Try it for free for 30 days. See Amazon for details.

Follow me on Amazon: http://bit.ly/dhAuthor 

Dani Haviland

Dani Haviland, formerly of Connecticut, Arizona, and Alaska, recently semi-retired from selling tractor parts, tools, and roses. She moved to a more temperate climate in western Oregon to pursue her passions: writing, gardening, and photography.
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Life is About Choices

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Life is about choices.

Really. It is.
Not only small choices, such as what should I wear to work today?
Or bigger ones such as: Should I even go to work today?
Or even bigger ones: Should I tell the boss to shove it, sell everything I own, buy a Harley Davidson, and tour Route 66? Without a GPS?
Okay. Maybe today isn’t the day to make decisions that extreme, so let’s do this instead.

Pick at least one of these romance box sets and live a life that isn’t yours vicariously. You won’t cause any harm. Or go bankrupt. Or get lost. But you’re sure to fall in love. At least once.
Would you like to snuggle with a detective who also happens to be a werewolf? Or maybe a reborn Egyptian god? Check out Mystic Lovers.
Did the movie (or old TV show) Wild, Wild West get you itching to share a saddle with secret agent James West? Check out Angel in Aces Wild, part of Rebels, Rogues, and Romantics.
How about suspense, murders, living on the edge, trying to stay one step ahead of the bad guys, all with some hot romance on the side? If this is for you, check out Dangerous Encounters and Risky Encounters, both box sets with romantic suspense that will keep you gripping the edge of your Kindle.
Are contemporary romances more your speed? From puppies to young brides and…and…well, more themes than I have room for here. Kiss Me, Thrill Me, Sweet & Sassy, and Unforgettable Romances are great (and well-endowed with loads of stories).
Tired of choices?
Heck, why not make time to read them all? After all, the prices are fantastic!
All these box sets are only 99 cents each and also available on Amazon to read for free with your Kindle Unlimited subscription.

P.S. If you like to live and love out of this time era, check out my stories in Rebels, Rogues, and Romantics; Mystic Lovers, Sweet and Sassy, and Kiss Me, Thrill Me. I think you’ll be glad you did!

Dani Haviland

Dani Haviland, formerly of Connecticut, Arizona, and Alaska, recently semi-retired from selling tractor parts, tools, and roses. She moved to a more temperate climate in western Oregon to pursue her passions: writing, gardening, and photography.
 View website

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New Release: Hunks to the Rescue!

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Falling for Captain Hunk is here! I’m excited that this novella, a spin-off of my Beachcomber Investigations romantic detective series, was released today, on JUNE 13th–your lucky day–as part of the Hunks to the Rescue box set.

The set features 18 novellas by award-winning, bestselling and wonderful authors who I can personally recommend. Each story features a hunky hero who rescues his woman from some danger or terrible situation. These are the special stories about being rescued by your dream man, the kind of stories that make your heart wobble and your blood hum.

But you don’t need to take my word for it–you can own the set for only $.99 and try all 18 novellas for yourself.

Today you can meet the authors at our HUNKS TO THE RESCUE Facebook Release Party. You’re all invited!

Here’s a SNEAK PEEK of Falling for Captain Hunk:

EXCERPT:

Chapter 1

“Jim, you’re killing me. Literally.” Captain Colin Lynch looked at the bloody, fat-veined roast beef held up for his inspection by the deli man.

Cap, as his friends called him, was on a mission, but it had nothing to do with his usual state police business..

He’d been standing at the deli counter for the past ten minutes, and it was beginning to look nearly impossible to find food that did not contain some deadly additive or excessive fat. He might be the man in charge of keeping mayhem at bay on Martha’s Vineyard but, unfortunately, that was of no use in accomplishing today’s task

Jim shrugged.

“Then you belong at the salad bar with all them—”

Cap was spared the rest of the comment when Jim was interrupted by the sound of cans crashing to the floor followed by a surprised screech.

“Sounds like a problem in the canned vegetable aisle,” Jim said.

Cap would have responded with a wisecrack about the unhealthy nature of canned foods, but when he turned, what he saw stopped him.

A woman, a vision really, with long dark hair wearing jeans that curved tight around every sculptured turn of her long legs, brushed past him in a hurry. She might have been ballerina graceful, but she was strong enough to knock him back a step. Cap had no chance to react except with a jump in his pulse. She was past him and disappearing before he had a chance to stop her.

Then she turned to look back at him. The startling blue eyes that met his snapped with electricity. The zap shot through him and he could have sworn his heart actually stopped a beat. The connection lasted for only a fraction of a second.

Then it was gone as she moved away like a fawn on the run.

As his heart settled down, Cap exchanged a quick glance with Jim to see that the grizzled old marine-turned-deli man agreed with hiss assessment. The lithe beauty ran as if she were escaping from someone. This could be trouble.

And uniform or not, on duty or not, Cap was the man in charge of trouble. He tamped down the hum of alertness caused by adrenaline while he took off in the direction where he’d heard the crash. A man was halfway down the aisle and heading his way.

Shit. Not him.

He recognized Kaspian Ellison, aka Kasper the Ghost, from the morning’s bulletin from the governor’s office. His old special-ops-commander-turned-governor, Peter John Douglas, sent him the man’s picture with a warning. And a request. Technically, it was an order since Peter, as the governor of Massachusetts, was his boss.

The request had been to watch Ellison as a person of interest in a murder. The file would follow.

Kasper the Ghost marched forward like he was on a mission. As if he were trying to catch up with a disappearing beauty.

Cap hoped to hell this head of a heroin trafficking empire with a penchant for violence had nothing to do with the memorable woman he’d seen. Going on instinct, Cap decided to put himself in Ellison’s path at the end of the aisle.

Hunks to the Rescue is available at:

AMAZON.      iBOOKS.      NOOK.      KOBO   

For more information about special offers including a FREE BOGO box set and calendar pages featuring your favorite hunk, and information about all the books and authors, visit us at www.hunkstotherescue.com.

Stephanie Queen

About USA Today Bestselling Author Stephanie Queen
A romantic at heart and a writer by nature, Stephanie Queen has the enthusiastic soul of a cheerleader. So of course she loves creating stories where the good guys always win. Although she’s lost count of all the jobs she had before she settled on being a Novelist, her favorite was selling cookies as a Keebler Elf. She is a graduate of UConn (go Huskies!) and Harvard U and lives in New Hampshire with her family, her cat, Kitty, and her (real or imagined?) chauffeur, Myren.

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Spring is for flowers

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Don’t overdo it in the garden this weekend. Or next weekend, the traditional start of summer.
Those words or warning come from every garden blog I’ve ever read. That and make sure you stretch first.

Okay, so stretch, figure out what needs done, then ask friends and neighbors if they know of any kids who want to make a few extra bucks. Churches usually have youth eager to raise funds for a summer camp or special project. Contribute to the community, the next generation’s emotional/work ethic growth, and save yourself at least a bottle of pain relievers and maybe even a trip or four to the chiropractor. Delegate.

If you don’t have a garden or a yard, or even a window box, enjoy these flowers. I’ve always been passionate about them. I spent many of my early years in apartments without a patch of dirt to plant in. I’m very much enjoying my big yard, raised beds, hanging baskets, and yes, calling on church groups and teenagers to keep them maintained.
When the day is done, kick back with your Kindle and read a great romance novel or five. Here’s my suggestion: Rebels, Rogues, and Romantics. Historical romance tales about those rascals, the ‘wrong’ kind of man a woman have been finding irresistible for centuries. Scots, cowboys, musketeers, and an Indian brave or two. They’re all so hot!

(Only #99cents for five or #free to read on Kindle Unlimited)

Whether you actually get in the garden this weekend or not, enjoy your time. No one can please you without your permission. Give it to yourself.

Dani Haviland

Dani Haviland, formerly of Connecticut, Arizona, and Alaska, recently semi-retired from selling tractor parts, tools, and roses. She moved to a more temperate climate in western Oregon to pursue her passions: writing, gardening, and photography.
 View website

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