Celebrating Veterans with Books

Left, left, left, right, left.

susanbasic3Any veterans out there? With May bringing both Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day, veterans are at the forefront of a lot of people’s minds.

I served in the U.S. Army for five years (in the photo, I’m the short one in the front). I graduated college during a recession and the best opportunity to get out of my parent’s house and find a real job was to join the Army.

I was stationed at Ft. Polk, LA for a year (if you’ve been in the Army, I’m sure you just groaned with me) before I was married and joined my husband at a joint military base in England. It was five long, frustrating years, but I wouldn’t take that experience back for anything.

This weekend, my family will be participating in a Memorial Day parade as “A Family of Veterans.” My husband and I represent our generation, and we’ll be honoring our dads who served in Viet Nam and our grandfathers who served in World War II and the Korean War.

Please take the time this weekend to honor veterans, especially those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defending our freedom.

4_Deception_bookIn honor of Memorial Day, all royalties from my novel The Sound of Deception between May 22 and May 29 will be donated to Rebuilding Warriors as part of the Memorial Day 2015: Gone but not forgotten event. There are lots of author veterans donating, so check it out!

Summer LovinBut that’s not the only special event I am participating in right now. My debut novel from 2011, Relay For Love, is one of the novels in Summer Lovin’ box set. This collection includes 14 novels and novellas all with a summer theme, many from USA Today and National Bestselling authors. The best part, it’s only $.99. Get it while it’s hot because it’s available only for a limited time!

Book_Relay_newIn Relay For Love, widow Hannah Locke has a life plan, which does NOT include falling in love again. She lost her husband five years ago and still aches from that loss. That ache seems to dull as it is replaced with a new longing for a man she hardly knows but can’t seem to get out of her head. Aaron Hawkins was only supposed to write a story about Hannah’s Relay For Life fundraising event, but their immediate attraction has him looking for more than just a headline and has Hannah forgetting all about her perfect life plan.

Writing this story was an emotional journey for me. It’s an emotional journey for readers, too, who claim they are laughing on one page and crying on the next. Even my editor, who NEVER cries, shed a few tears (and cussed me out) while editing this story.

Let’s wipe out cancer together!! A percentage of my royalties from this book and A Flame Burns Inside is donated to the American Cancer Society to help raise awareness about prevention and treatment and help find a cure!

Pick up Summer Lovin’ today and check out my Facebook page for some great giveaways!

Summer Lovin’ buy links:

IMG_1095s copyBig dreamer and certifiable overachiever Susan Ann Wall embraces life at full speed and volume. She’s a beer and tea snob, can be bribed with dark chocolate, and the #1 thing on her bucket list is to be the center of a Bon Jovi flash mob.

Susan is a multi-genre author of racy, rule-breaking romance, women’s fiction, and erotic fiction (her erotic titles are published as Ann Victor). Her bragging rights include nine books in three different series, three perfect children, adopting an amazing rescue dog, and a happily ever after that started while serving in the U.S. Army and has spanned nearly two decades (which is crazy since she’s not a day over 29).

In her next life, Susan plans to be a 5 foot 10, size 8 rock star married to a chiropractor and will not be terrified of large bridges, spiders, or quiet people (shiver).

His Name is Not Howard

A Bit of Flash Fiction

copyright 2015 © by Linda Nelson

Jogging down the path hardly traveled, I expected an attacker to jump out of the bushes at any minute. I could have brought the dog with me, but then I would have to stop every fifteen feet for him to pee on a tree. A can of mace would have to do.
The attacker never showed their face. Instead, it was a dirty old envelope that stopped me in my tracks. I could have continued on, ignoring it as trash. Instead, I picked it up and noted the address and date it had been mailed. It had a piece of folded paper inside. My curiosity got the better of me and began to read, tears welled in my eyes by the end of the love letter that was dated December 1932.
A photo had been within the fold of the paper of a man in an army uniform. I had seen that face before, I’m sure of it, even though he was much younger then. He was a man I knew that lived in a retirement community not too far away. The woman, I wasn’t so sure about. I wondered what the chances were that she could still be alive today.
I followed up with a search on the internet. One of those paid searches led me right to her. Fate would have it, she lived in the same community, and chances were that they probably didn’t know that either still existed. The only way to find out would be to deliver that letter to the woman the next day.
She hugged me like a rag doll and blessed my little ole heart. I wasn’t sure if the tears I was feeling on my face were from the joy I saw in her eyes, or of her squeezing of my ribs in that bear hug of hers. She thought he had died in the war.
“No, No… he didn’t die,” said I. “He lives on the fourth floor.”
“Joe, on the fourth floor?” she asked. “That can’t be. I saw him yesterday and he told me his name was Howard.”
“His name is not Howard.” I laughed. “I’m sure he was asking you how are’ d you? He’s always had a lisp since I’ve known him.”
“A lisp?” she asked.
“He told me he’s had trouble with his tongue ever since the war. He had been in a prison camp before the war ended.”
She agreed to go with me to visit him. He opened the door with a blank look on his face. I had neglected to tell her that Alzheimer’s had begun to take his memories away from him. He could no longer remember his wife’s name nor his daughter’s.
“Joe, I brought an old friend of yours to visit.”
He smiled and invited us in. Pictures of family decorated his walls, but he no longer knew the names that went with the faces. He still remembered his days in the army. That was probably a memory that would never be taken away from him. The bad ones always are the last to go.
While he shuffled about his little kitchenette making cups of tea, my guest began to study the photos on the wall. She stopped beside the one of him that was taken when he entered the army just before going off to war and drew out the photo she had in her pocket and held it up to compare the two. They were the same.
I don’t know if it was the dress she wore or her hair. Something sparked inside him. “Margaret? Is that you?” The teacup began to shake in his hand.
“Daddy, do you remember her?”
He rushed toward her and pulled her into his arms, as though he were just a young lad once again. I was a forgotten memory. It was the first time I had seen him happy in years. The reunion, eighty-three years overdue.

When Life Happens While at a Writers’ Conference

I know, it’s been weeks since I last posted. A few weeks ago, I was so excited to be going to the New England Conference for RWA. You’re probably wondering how it all went.
It was a great weekend. There were lots of fantastic workshops, which I started off with GMC Your Writing Career. This workshop focused on looking at your writing career the same way one would write Goal, Motivation, and Conflict for characters. The difference is you – your writing career – are the character. It was an interesting topic, and something to think about.
Then I took self-care and Ergonomics. This workshop was full of exercises and stretches for those who sit at the keyboard for many hours. It also featured proper posture for sitting. Many of these exercises, I will be using in the coming weeks, after hysterectomy surgery, my future topic.
You see, during the entire weekend, I had a dilemma. I thought I was suffering from Kidney Stones or something similar. I was dealing with this as best as I could while maintaining my composure, and blowing up like a balloon. I just didn’t know how bad I had it.
So, I continued on with my weekend and learned about Expanding Your Audience On Non-Amazon Retailers. This was pretty impressive.
Should you ever see, any of these workshops offered, take the opportunity. They were all superb.
Sprinting: It’s Not Just for Runners! By Tracey Lyons was fun and witty. She is a must meet person. I did manage to work out three scenes while in her workshop in under five minutes. Thanks, Tracey.
Our dinner was with Sabrina Jeffries, whom I met and spoke with during the book signing. It was a pleasure to meet her. I had to have a book signed by her for a co-worker of mine who is from Thailand. I did my homework before going to NEC by reading the author website blurbs. If I hadn’t, I would never have known that Sabrina had grown up in Thailand.
By Saturday, I was petering out. My stone problem was slowly getting worse and the pain was increasing and by the time the book signing was over, I was pretty much done for.
Sunday and Monday, my agony was growing. Tuesday, I was due back to work. By 6am, I was ready to see a doctor. My DH agreed and took me to the ER.
Apparently, it wasn’t a kidney stone after all. A uterus fibroid was blocking off my urine flow. I was in so much agony, which was relieved when a catheter was put in place.
Now I wait. My surgery is a must. But my OB/GYN cracks me up. She had me have an MRI so they would be able to see what was going on before scheduling the surgery. Doc said, “You got to see these photos, they’re awesome!”
I’m like ugh. How can you be so excited about pictures of my insides?
She went on to show us and talk about all the details, being excited about the whole process. I said to her in response, joking, “Only on Grey’s Anatomy.”
She smirked and calmed down. It was still funny.
So now I await my upcoming surgery. It’s scheduled for this Friday morning. I don’t know how long it will be until I will be comfortable to sit and post after the surgery. Only time will tell.

I promise, I will not watch Grey’s Anatomy this Thursday. I don’t need to freak myself out before going under the knife.

Another Romance Writers’ Conference and I can’t wait! #NECRWA

Flop on the bed, that feather bed. So soft and comfy. It’s the best bed I ever slept in. By the way, I’ve never used down feather pillows either. Not like these.
These are some of the comforts I’m looking forward to at the end of the week when I go to the annual New England Conference in Burlington, Mass. I went last year for the first time, and even though I was there to learn, I’ve never had such a great time.

English: Romance icon
English: Romance icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was a busy weekend none the less, with its back to back workshops. I’m sure I was in information overload by the end of that Saturday. Though, what wasn’t helping was the fact that I was suffering from a bout of writers block. That nasty thing that happens when you become afraid to finish what you’re working on.
Fear can be a terrible thing. It can stop you in your track and keep you from achieving that which you want terribly. I wanted to write in the worst way. I think I was stuck in my story. No plot twist, and I didn’t believe my story line was going to work.
I can’t remember how the plot twist came to me. It may have taken me four months after that conference before I had that ah-ha moment when the plot twist hit me.
Ah-ha moments are the best.
This time, I’m not suffering from writer’s block. I’m only struggling with coming up with the right words to say and to be able to say it the way it needs to be said. First drafts are always the worst. We stare at them and struggle with how the whole scene sounds instead of racing to the end of the story, just to get it done and out there on a white screen.
I did rather well, last week. Considering I cut nearly 4k words from that manuscript, I’m working on. Since then, I’ve only replaced 600 words. But this is how we beat that plot outline into our characters and make them do what they are supposed to be doing. Let them struggle with the outcome of their actions instead of messing with how their fate is supposed to be.
Ah, the fate of the Gods.
We writers are the Gods of the worlds we create. Our characters should be worshiping us. No wonder they sometimes meet the fate of death. One more character becomes the sacrificial lamb of the story.

Celebrating Five Years in May

It’s been almost five years since I first published Friends of Choice. What a journey! I never once expected myself to write romances. Back then, the only thing I wanted to do was just to write.

So be it! Five books later, after five years, I’ve had a grand time thanks to you all.

Thank you for your ongoing support. It has been not only a great learning experience, but also a pleasure to entertain you.

To mark off this anniversary, I have finally found my perfect covers for the books that started my journey off. Let me present to you the newly revised covers for the Wings From Ashes trilogy.

Thank you again for your ongoing Support!