Tag Archives: women’s fiction

Furbaby Friday with Karen Docter!


I’m thrilled to have the fabulous Karen Docter here to share her wonderful furbaby rescue and gripping romantic suspense, Killing Secrets (Thorne’s Thorns Book 1).

I Never By Karen Docter

You know that word you should never say…never?
I said I’d never give in to another dog in the house. Two is enough…right? I believe I even said, at one point, that one dog is enough. That memory is a bit vague. After all, we tend to like big dogs and there’s just so much tripping over the Great Pyrenees or the Labrador or the American Boxer you can do without losing your mind and balance. The word move is not generally in their vocabulary. I think, in dog, it translates to walk between my legs. I’m too short for their translation.

(Baby Tucker)

But I digress.

When we lost our Great Pyrenees, our lab went into a decline. Piper seriously grieved over the loss of her best friend and we were worried about her health, so we decided she needed a new playmate. We adopted my daughter’s 2-year-old boxer, Mikka. They were already playdate friends. Our pet lives were full again. We’ve never (there’s that word again) had more than two dogs at one time so I figured we were safe from temptation for the foreseeable future. We’d never add another dog to the mix.

Famous last words.

I’m usually the soft touch. My husband can say no fairly easily, but I’m blaming him for the third dog to enter the house. Okay, I’m the one who carried Tucker through the door. Still. Husband’s fault!
I was minding my own business, happily working on my latest book. My husband had gone across the street to visit with our neighbor and his guests from Oklahoma. (We knew them, had even gone on vacation with them for the last neighborhood ride. We all have motorcycles. Ours is bright yellow and called Bumblebee, a whole ‘nother story!) He’s gone five minutes, I swear, and comes rushing in the front door and tells me I have to come see this puppy they brought with them from Oklahoma.

Following, with him talking a mile a minute about how cute he is, yada-yada, I was halfway across the street when it hit me, “We’re getting a new puppy!” So, when I met little Tucker I was still trying to wrap my head around where my husband was leading me. My resistance was down. It’s the only explanation. The next thing I know, our friend thrust this week old, maybe 10-day old (I can’t remember, it’s all a blur) bundle of fluff and cuteness, his eyes barely opened, into my hands.

(Teeny baby Tucker. Such cuteness!)

I was done. I was in love. I didn’t put him down again even after I carried him through our front door. “Never” became a leaf on the wind the moment I heard his story.

Tucker’s mom, a border collie, was run over when the litter was barely a day old. Her owners didn’t even realize she’d delivered her puppies until they heard them crying later that night. My friends took one of the pups to foster him. I didn’t know at the time they brought Tucker to Colorado with us in mind as his new parents. We’ve since forgiven them.

He was still being bottle fed and they offered to take him back to Oklahoma with them until he was weaned but I couldn’t let him out of my sight. I have to say, despite the fact I said I knew what I was getting myself into, I wasn’t quite ready for the reality of bottle feeding a puppy every two hours or bathing him as often as his mother would have or weaning him or….well, you get the picture.

I don’t think I’ll ever (variation of never that might come back and bite me in the fanny someday) take another puppy that young again, but I wouldn’t have missed Tucker for the world. We have a special relationship with him that we didn’t have with any of the others who were weaned first. My husband and I, and the two older dogs, are his littermates.

He’s over two years old now and really attached to all of us, including my new daughter-in-law who moved in downstairs. I think he’s in love with her, to be truthful. He runs downstairs to be with her whenever she’s home and has even been known to push his way between her and my son. We may lose Tucker when they move out because I’m not sure he won’t whine for his new girlfriend—he whines incessantly when he knows she’s home but he can’t get to her—but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

Until then, I can honestly say that we’ll never add another dog to the household. It’s against the law in our town to have more than three dogs. Now, I just need to keep my husband from visiting the neighbors without me. ~


(Tucker at bath time)

Beth: Karen, I love Tucker’s story! I have two cats who were abandoned as kittens that I raised from infancy and am also especially close to.

Now for Karen’s exciting romantic suspense!

Killing Secrets (Thorne’s Thorns Book 1) by K.L. Docter Blurb:

Some secrets are better left dead.

Rachel James’ ex-husband is released from prison determined to reclaim her and her little girl — the child is his key to controlling the James fortune. Frightened, Rachel flees to Denver with the child who hasn’t uttered a word since her daddy went to prison.

Contractor Patrick Thorne wants nothing to do with another of his parents’ charity cases. He failed his own wife so abysmally she took her own life as well as his unborn son’s. After two years, it’s time to concentrate on the bid he’s won and the saboteur trying to destroy his construction firm.

There is no room for trust in either of their hearts. But trust is all that will untangle the secrets that dominate their lives, free a little girl of her silent prison, and save them all from a serial killer who stands too close.~

Excerpt from Killing Secrets
© Copyright 2014 – K.L. Docter

Denver, Colorado.

At the first crack of gunfire, Rachel dove headfirst into the garden she was weeding. Listening for the second report she expected to follow, she prayed Amanda stayed at Patrick Thorne’s house where she’d gone an hour ago to play with her new friend, Suze.
Gasping for air, she inhaled the rich, spicy scent of freshly turned soil and crushed nasturtiums instead. Dirt and grit bit into her cheek and the bare flesh exposed by her cutoffs and T-shirt. The mid-afternoon sun beat hot against her shoulders and legs, and all she could do was lie there and watch a fat bumblebee dip into a russet blossom three inches from her nose.
Had she run almost nine hundred miles only to die like this, grubbing alone in the dirt like a spineless worm?
A surge of anger gave her impetus to lift her head. She peeked over the flimsy wall of twelve-inch annuals between her and the street. A second gunshot rang out, belched in a cloud of black smoke from an ancient Volkswagen bus that disappeared around the corner.
Backfire?
She groaned, more relieved than embarrassed by her overreaction. Her chin dropped. Taking several deep draughts of the thin Colorado air, she worked to calm the pound of her heart against her ribcage. Her efforts made her head swim. A minute later she was able to push herself out of the three-foot section of garden she’d mown down.
Her nerves had been on edge since she fled Dallas on Friday, five days ago. If she weren’t so overwrought it would have occurred to her Greg would never stand at a distance and take potshots at her. No. Greg liked to look into her eyes when he meted out his punishments.
An icy shiver skimmed her skin. Each day that passed without his appearance should have reassured her she’d made the right decision to accept Katy’s arrangements with the Thornes. As long as Greg didn’t track her and Amanda to Denver, they were safe.
Problem is she hadn’t felt safe since Amanda was born and she discovered what kind of man she’d married. Now she couldn’t pluck enough weeds from Evelyn Thorne’s gardens by day to tear the anxiety from her heart at night. Her growing sense of trepidation kept her awake long after the morning stars dimmed above the mile-high city’s cloudless skies.
How could the justice system simply hand Greg a “get out of jail free” card? She’d always known the man had connections in high places, but how had he arranged for the evidence in his case—evidence she’d risked everything to provide—to disappear before he even went to trial? If he’d accomplished that feat while behind bars, how in the world was she and Amanda going to stay out of his clutches?
She felt like there were giant bull’s-eyes painted on their backs, that it was only a matter of time before Greg tracked them down. During their marriage the man would spend weeks, even months, laying meticulous groundwork for one of his cons. He’d had six months to plan dozens of new punishments for his betrayer.
“‘Til death us do part, darlin’.”
His words echoed over the expanse of time and distance, ringing a fresh peal of dread in Rachel’s breast. With one hand, she brushed clumps of soil off her tangerine T-shirt and whispered a small prayer. Please don’t let him find us!

***Read Killing Secrets, Karen’s first standalone book in the Thorne’s Thorns series, at a special discounted price of $2.99 for three days only, Friday, Saturday & Sunday, July 27-29. Dead Ringer, Thorne’s Thorns Book 2, COMING SOON.

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2iFFWmg
B&N: http://goo.gl/wsqVxB
Kobo: http://goo.gl/KM563U
Google Play: http://goo.gl/mogQqs
iTunes: http://goo.gl/pg58wN

Bio: Bestselling Author Karen Docter writes contemporary romance. When she feels the need to feed the dark side, she writes intense suspense thrillers as K.L. Docter. She’s an award-winning author, a four-time Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® finalist, and won the coveted Kiss of Death Romance Writers Daphne du Maurier Award Category (Series) Romantic Mystery Unpublished division.

Connect with Karen:
Website/Blog: http://www.karendocter.com
Twitter: @KarenDocter
Karen Docter FB: goo.gl/6TXc5X
K.L. Docter FB: goo.gl/uD1iGL
Goodreads: https://goo.gl/bsswDd

Thanks for stopping by! Please leave Karen a comment!

Furbaby Friday with Ellen Dye!


I’m happy to welcome fellow Wild Rose Press Author Ellen Dye–from the next door state of West Virginia–to share her kitty family and latest Women’s Romantic Fiction release, Relatively Crazy.

Ellen: Growing up as a true urbanite, living in apartments and moving frequently for my mother’s job, we always had a kitty or two in our family who faithfully made the move with us from town to town or state to state. Occasionally a stray, underfed, lost feline would make its way to us and was always welcomed, fed, loved and made to feel at home. But always there would be a frantic rush to find a new and permanent home for our new arrival before the landlord found out that we were over the allowable amount of kitties firmly agreed upon in our lease. And even though we never failed to find happy accommodations for our new friends I was always sad to have to say goodbye.

This is how I knew I wanted to grow up to be a Crazy Cat Lady, even though this was many years before the term was even coined. It became my dream to own a cottage in the woods where limits on kitties allowed would not exist.
My childhood girlfriends spent untold hours creating dream homes for their Barbie dolls, imagining comfortable yet spacious living areas for their future husbands and children. I, on the other hand, occupied myself arranging Barbie’s overstuffed furniture topped with paw-pleasing cushions and blankets into groupings I thought would allow for maximum kitty relaxation and calculated necessary paw space required per kitty so I could adjust my cottage-in-the-woods to comfortably house at least a dozen purring family members.

Time passed, I traveled, I grew up and then when I was ready to settle down I found my dream cottage in the West Virginia woods. Our family of four kitties and son happily settled in, relishing the peaceful quiet of the woods. Soon enough kitties just seemed to appear on the doorstep, some in need of food and shelter, some in need of medical attention, and all in need of a loving home. True to my childhood dream, I’ve had room—and no landlord to prevent—welcoming each unexpected new arrival into their forever home.

On Christmas Eve, this past year my son and I counted six kitties in our little family, five boys and one girl. It had been something of a sad holiday as just a few weeks prior we’d lost our beloved 15 year old elder-kitty, Pewter, who been with us since she was a six week old kitten, to kidney disease. And although we loved each of our kitties dearly, we still missed our silver tabby girl deeply.
The morning had dawned cold and blowing a bitter wind as my son and I were enjoying a cup of coffee at the kitchen table and watching our six kitties enjoying a holiday breakfast of chunk white tuna. It was the kind of bitter cold outside that makes one grateful for the simple luxury of a warm home and hot beverages and no outside chores to be done. Just as I mentioned this to my son, he stood and leaned toward the window. “Mom, I think there’s something in the snow.”

I turned just in time to see a fluff of gray creeping across the deck between frozen snow piles left from our last storm. Heedless of the cold I hurried outside and saw a heartbreakingly thin, sad puff of dirty gray and white fur crouched between piles of leftover snow. As I crept closer, two frightened green eyes watched me closely.

“It’s okay. You’ve come to the right place,” I whispered, inching closer. “Let’s get you warm and fed.”

I guess she decided I was a pretty good egg as she let me pick her up, carry her inside to warmth and a bottomless bowl of tuna fish. And she was immediately welcomed to the family with open paws by the rest of our herd.
In keeping with her holiday arrival we chose the name, Merry and as it turned out it fits her well. She is a very happy young lady who purrs almost continually and is always ready for a tussle with her favorite catnip mouse or a leap up the scratching post tower for a rollicking game of swat-the-tail with her favorite buddy, Elliot.

And now that spring has arrived she enjoys taking a sunbath on the deck, but she doesn’t wander off onto the grass. I think it’s because she’s as happy in her forever home as I am.

Blurb for Relatively Crazy: 

On her fortieth birthday, housewife Wanda Jo Ashton is expecting her husband’s standard gift of an E and E from T—that being Elegant and Expensive from Tiffany’s. However, what she gets is the news that her formerly successful, dependable, corporate attorney husband is leaving her to pursue the rich life of a kept man.
Left with nothing, she has no choice but to escape the San Francisco area with her sixteen-year-old daughter in tow and head toward the mountains of West Virginia and the embarrassingly quirky family she left behind twenty years ago. Here, Wanda Jo must carve out a future, complete with career and home, in the midst of family feuds, computer phobias, and the occasional home-brewing explosion.
Only the presence of her daughter and a few good friends, including her old buddy Sam Branson, make life bearable at all. Can it be true that the good life begins at forty?

Download Relatively Crazy in Kindle at:

 https://www.amazon.com/Relatively-Crazy-Ellen-Dye-ebook/dp/B076GNYR8X

***Follow Ellen’s Amazon Author Page at: https://www.amazon.com/Ellen-Dye/e/B002C79CSA

Thanks for stopping by! Please leave Ellen a comment.

Furbaby Friday with Author Dee Gatrell


I am happy to welcome fellow Wild Rose Press author, Dee Gatrell, to Furbaby Friday to share her wonderful dogs and humorous romantic fiction novel, Sweet Sunset.
 (Icarus)
Dee: Icarus was a 12-year-old, schnauzer. We had him since he was 6 months old from a breeder going out of business. He was an alpha male, and had the eyes that drew  you in. He got along with dogs outside, but wasn’t crazy about them being in the house. After they were here a while he adjusted and just belly growled.
My one daughter had a deaf white boxer. It ticked him off because the dog couldn’t hear him, but sometimes she could feel his growl and get nasty back. Then when that dog died, daughter got a pitbull she named Fireball. Icarus would sit on my husband’s lap doing his Elvis imitation of the lip curl. Fireball laid on the floor in front of them. When Icarus would growl, she’d pick up her head, and toss it back and forth with a big grin. Ticked him off that the pitbull didn’t get angry at him.
A month or so ago we noticed Icarus  had days when he didn’t feel good, but by afternoon he was better. The day came when we noticed him shivering and he pooped black. And two days later he couldn’t get up. Alarmed, I called the vet, and we took him in. She said she expected it to be Zeus, not Icarus. She did x-rays and blood work. His spine had deteriorated and his blood work was off. She said  he was in pain. We made the heartbreaking decision to put him down. We held him and kissed him goodbye. Our vet cried with me. My husband saved his tears until he was home and we didn’t see him.
My husband has cancer, and Icarus was a comfort dog, sitting and sleeping on his lap or stomach. We had him cremated and have his ashes on the bookshelf in a pretty box. My husband admits to talking to him at times, or saying a prayer over him.
 (Zeus and Icarus)
We know Zeus won’t be with us for long. He falls a lot and isn’t eating as well. But he’s still our sweet boy.
I recently decided to get another dog, a rescue. I applied for a dog named JoJo from a rescue shelter. I didn’t really think I’d get him as he had a lot of applications wanting him. He was at a shelter about 40 miles from us. He’s a Maltese and only 10 lbs.
I said I wanted a dog between 1 and 3 years old. They say he’s four. He was found on the street. He has no voice, just makes little noises, and thinks he’s barking at our rescue lab mix. And he has issues with food. They said he was starving when they got him, so now he has anger issue when he sees other dogs with food. We’re working on that, too. But he is sweet. Zeus is nice to him, and that’s good. Poor guy falls down in the house on tile floor, but  he can run in the yard.

(JoJo)

Zeus takes long naps these days. He likes to be with me in the office sleeping on the pillow beside me, where Icarus used to lay, or Ellie. They have lots of pillows, but always want the same ones.
The first two days Icarus was gone, Zeus wouldn’t sleep in the bedroom. I’d find him in the kitchen sleeping on the rug in front of the refrigerator. Now he’s back to the bedroom at night, but not on Icarus’s pillow.

Zeus usually has a happy face. Well, except for this time when he got groomed. I don’t think he was happy with the results. Generally, when I go to pick him up from the vets he’s happy to see me. I swear he snubbed me. At home, it took him a while to warm up to me. OK so he reminds me of my dear Aunt Mildred with the round body and skinny legs. Shhh, if she’s listening from above, she won’t like that description.

(Zeus after his haircut)

When I wrote Sweet Sunset the editor kept saying I had too many folks whose name started with whatever letter. So I changed the main man in the story over and over. Finally I named him Zack. Hey, no one else’s name started with a Z. Then I realized I had Zeus in the story. I decided no one would mix up the man and the dog.

Beth: I love hearing about your dogs, Dee. They are such characters. I’m very sorry about your loss of Icarus. Sweet Sunset sounds great.

Blurb for Sweet Sunset: Myrtle Sue Henderson, widowed, didn’t count on her mother-in-law moving in with her when her husband passed over. But Myrtle Sue’s loopy in-law troubles aren’t her only family baggage-she’s ailed with three adult children who use her like a pair of Depends. With a daughter and two grandchildren attempting to escape an abusive husband, a second daughter who is pregnant with twins, and a son who refuses to grow up, she’s at her wits end.

Myrtle Sue didn’t figure she’d ever meet another man she’d care for, until she went to church to get away from her troubles, only to find more when her mother-in-law causes chaos and hits an elderly man with her cane and helps herself to money out of the collection plate. That’s how she meets Zack. She figures once he meets her dysfunctional family, he’ll run as fast as he can-away from them.

Favorite passage from book:

June finished her food, and pushed her plate away. She gave Hazel a look of pity. “Ya know somethin’, Hazel? You’re full of shit.”

“Huh! You’re just jealous.”

Norma had been pretty quiet, when suddenly it was like she became possessed. Her hands began shaking and her drink sloshed onto the table. She leaned on the table and hissed at Hazel. “Evil, evil! You are soooo evil!”

“Who you calling evil?” Hazel said.

“You are eeeeeevvilllllll!”

“Mother, hush!”

I glanced at Lynn. She glared at her mother. I thought for a minute she was going to stuff her napkin into her mother’s mouth.

Something about my book:

There was a day when I thought only my relatives were dysfunctional, until later when I realized most of us have dysfunctional families. After many years of listening to people talk about their families, Sweet Sunset was born.

I was asked to move my mother from a senior apartment complex. They feared she would burn the place down. She caught her food on fire, exploded cans in the microwave and her doctor suggested I put her into an assisted living facility.

As I grew older, I took a closer look at my own children and friends. Presley was married to a man who broke her eye socket, Sonja is kind and an enabler, Terry looks for love in all the wrong faces. Hmm. Yep, I realized we all have dysfunctional families.

My mom wasn’t Hazel, but she did and said a lot of what Hazel says, like talking about her dead father and how he visited her. How she broke handles off glass cups. To this day none of us can figure out how she did it. June did tell us about her neighbor’s cheap jewelry party and the pole. She was funny.

All writers know we only need to look around us and we’ll find stories everywhere.

I do hope you enjoy Myrtle Sue and her family and friends. Come sit a spell and eat some of the good food they imbibe in.

***Get Sweet Sunset in Kindle at: https://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Sunset-Dee-Gatrell-ebook/dp/B01M3QJT75

Twitter: Twitter@deegat41

Blog link: http://deesnews.blogspot.com/

Website link: http://dgatrell.wix.com/author

Thanks for stopping by! Please leave Dee a comment.

Furbaby Friday With Author Claire Marti!


Welcome fellow Wild Rose Press Author Claire Marti, here to share the beloved furbabies in her life and her newly released contemporary romance,  At Last in Laguna (Finding Forever in Laguna Book 2)

(Oreo)

Claire: So many amazing creatures, who to select? Growing up, we always had cats and I can’t imagine life without at least a few cats and a dog. I’ve volunteered with cat rescues for decades and I was Managing Director for a non-profit animal rescue in Los Angeles.

Currently, we have two hilarious, eccentric cats, Lola and Beau and a giant mutt named Josie. All three are rescues and fill me with love and joy on a daily basis.

I’d like to write a tribute to a cat named Oreo, who I rescued back in 2001. Oreo was a handsome tuxedo with a unique habit of head butting you right in the forehead when he was happy. He loved to sit on your lap for petting sessions and he’d lean his forehead against yours, and then gently or not so gently, bonk your head. He immediately became best friends with my shy big black kitty Jake.

(Oreo and Jake)

In January 2010, I was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer and embarked on an unpleasant journey of two surgeries, six rounds of chemotherapy, and radiation. Suddenly, I was home most of the day and taking naps each afternoon. Jake and Oreo were thrilled to have convinced their mom of the wisdom of daily naps. Their sweet warmth and cuddling comforted me immensely.

In a devastating twist of fate, Oreo was diagnosed with lymphoma in April. The vet gave him three months and we treated him with a series of steroids. Having more time to spend with him, regardless of the circumstances, was a blessing.

I completed treatment in October 2010, and Oreo still valiantly battled his disease. He made it until March 2011, when he let me know one afternoon that he was ready to leave me. I know he waited those extra months to ensure I didn’t need his support any longer.

All of my furry children were and are special and unique, but Oreo and I shared solidarity in battling cancer together. I know he’s in cat heaven, basking in the sunshine and head-butting everyone he meets.~

Beth: What a moving story and a wonderful cat, Claire. I’m sure you will touch all who read this.

Blurb from Claire’s new release At Last in Laguna:

Alyssa Morgan has secretly been in love with her older brother Nick’s best friend, Brandt Dempsey, since she was an awkward, lonely teenager. When she catches the bouquet at Nick’s wedding, she throws caution to the wind and propositions Brandt to a two-week fling. He’s tried to ignore how Alyssa has blossomed into a strong, talented, gorgeous woman because as his best friend’s baby sister, she’s off limits.

After they share a mind-blowing kiss, Brandt struggles to fight their undeniable chemistry. His tragic childhood scarred him, but he pushes it deep inside, only allowing the world to see a wealthy, carefree entrepreneur. Forced to work together on Brandt’s latest charitable venture, Brandt and Alyssa’s passion cannot be denied. Alyssa knows he’s the one. Can she convince him they belong together?

Excerpt:

What was his deal this morning?

She’d give him the cold shoulder if it killed her.

And it just might.

He’d rejected her, so why was he opening doors, hovering, and acting like a pest? Practically breathing down her neck. She could swear he’d sniffed her. Sniffed her. He couldn’t conceal his awareness. If he were so attracted to her, he would’ve agreed to her proposition, right? Since he’d shot her down in flames, he could at least have the decency to ignore her today. Rude, infuriating man.

Inhaling a deep cleansing breath, she forced herself to concentrate on the center. Sunlight streamed through the abundance of windows and along with the high ceilings imparted a feeling of freedom and space, perfect for the planned occupants. Because they’d decided to wait to obtain her input for the more specific room layout, the building’s interior remained a shell. She’d add to her brother’s amazing design and ensure Tearmann House’s beauty and serenity.

Serenity. What a concept. Ha.

***At Last in Laguna is out in kindle at: https://www.amazon.com/Last-Laguna-Finding-Forever-Book-ebook/dp/B075CDMRDJ/

Claire’s Social Links:

Follow Claire’s Amazon Author Pagehttps://www.amazon.com/Claire-Marti/e/B01N9VOWLL/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Website:  www.clairemarti.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ClaireMartiAuthor/

 Twitter:  @clairepmarti

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8203678.Claire_Marti

 Author Bio for Claire Marti:

 Claire Marti started writing stories as soon as she was old enough to pick up pencil and paper. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a BA in English Literature, Claire was sidetracked by other careers, including practicing law, selling software for legal publishers, and managing a non-profit animal rescue for a Hollywood actress.

Finally, Claire followed her heart and now focuses on two of her true passions: writing romance and teaching yoga. At Last in Laguna is the second book in her Finding Forever in Laguna series from The Wild Rose Press.

Thanks for stopping by! Please leave Claire a message.

Author Mingmei Yip and Her Mesmerizing Novel The Nine Fold Heaven


About The Nine Fold Heaven: An ex spy and nightclub singer who undertakes an emotional and dangerous journey to reunite with her lost lover and the baby she was told was stillborn, and to discover the secret of her parents’ murder.

“A unique and enthralling style. . .flawless.” —Baltimore Books Examiner

Nine_Fold_Heaven_-_Cover_Art (1)

“If you ask me what is love, I believe it must last till death.” This is by the Chinese poet Yuan Haowen (1190-1257).

From Mingmei Yip: One day when Yuan was on his trip to take the imperial examination, he saw a hunter shooting at a pair of geese. One fell to the ground and died, the other one, instead of flying away, landed next to its partner, crying and hitting its head on the ground till it also bled to death. Deeply moved by the love suicide, Yuan wrote the above line which is known to many millions of Chinese. He also buried the two geese together and their grave became the famous “Geese Grave.”

Another line with a similar sentiment is from the three thousand year old Book of Poetry: “I’ll hold your hand and grow old with you.”

Yet another poem says, “In life, if our love is always like the first time we met, there will be no lover abandoned like an Autumn fan.” At the beginning love is sweet and passion deep. However, love that cannot stand the trial of time is only shallow infatuation. That is why the poem next says, “When in an instant love is gone, we just blame fickleness of the heart!”

In my new novel The Nine Fold Heaven, I tried to portray undying love, both between man and woman and between mother and child. Camilla, a spy assigned to assassinate a powerful gangster head – disastrously falls in love with her target’s son. Though she is told that their baby was stillborn, he appears in her dreams and she vows to find him, even though it means “going inside the tiger’s mouth.”

White Chinese Orchid

Story Excerpt– the protagonist Camilla’s baby coming into her dream:

That night, my baby Jinjin came to my dream. But one thing disturbed me —  he’d not been growing.

I asked. “Jinjin, how come you don’t grow but stay the same as the first time you visited me?”

“Because I can’t.”

“Why not?”

“Because my mother abandoned me. She’s famous for being cruel and scheming. I tell you, Mama, people can survive without food but not without love.”

“Who told you this?”

“My Baba, who else?”

“You met him?”

???????He nodded, each thread of his lustrous, silky hair tugging at my heart.

“Sometimes I’ll sneak out from my crib and crawl to where he sits. Baba has aged a lot because he’s very lonely and he misses you. I never talk to him because he doesn’t even know that I exist. So I can only watch and listen but I heard him say this to himself.”

Before I could respond, he went on. “Mama, though most of the time I think he is my father, other times I’m not so sure.”

“How’s that?”

He answered in a mocking tone. “Oh you forget? You had others besides my Baba, remember?”

His saying hurt so much that I was speechless.

“But Jinjin, I love you, very much! In fact you’re the one who’s taught me to love.”

He didn’t respond to my declaration of love, but continued in his childish voice. “I’ll soon turn one year old, but sadly I’ll have to spend my birthday all by myself.”

“But I can celebrate with you!”

His expression turned sad. “How? I can’t always come to your dreams and I won’t let you in mine.”

Orchid_Phalaenopsis“But Jinjin, why can’t you let me into your dreams?”

“Because I can’t. I am no more than a dream myself. I am not real, Mama.”

“No, Jinjin! You are a living being, my son! What makes you think you’re not real?”

“Mama, I’m confused. When you gave birth to me, I heard someone says that I’m dead, a stillborn, what does that mean?”

“But you’re not.”

“How are you so sure?”

“Because here you are in my dream and my life.”

Just then I woke up, wetting my pillows with tears flowing like the Huangpu River.

I wanted my real Jinjin in my arms — not merely in a dream.

I had to go back to Shanghai to find him. Even if I’d get killed trying – so be it.

***Come along with an ex spy as she returns to Shanghai where she’s a wanted woman – but she has to search for her baby and her lost lover. Is her baby really alive? Will she be able to find her lover? Can she elude the police long enough to find them? Learn much more about Nine Fold Heaven and Mingmei Yip at http://www.mingmeiyip.com and get your copy of this exciting and exotic novel at http://www.amazon.com/The-Nine-Fold-Heaven-Mingmei/dp/0758273541/

Mingmei_Yip_-_Fireplace (1)About Mingmei Yip

Mingmei Yip has been writing and publishing since she was fourteen years old and now she has twelve books to her credit. Her five novels are published by Kensington Books and her two children’s books are published by Tuttle Publishing.

Mingmei is also a renowned qin (ancient string instrument) musician, calligrapher and painter. In Hong Kong, she was a columnist for seven major newspapers. She has appeared on over sixty TV and radio programs in Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and the US. Visit Mingmei at: www.mingmeiyip.com

JUST OUT– BOOK TRAILER!

Indian Culture – Harmony & Contradiction by Shobhan Bantwal


I’m very pleased to have the talented author Shobhan Bantwal as my guest.   She’s the author of The Full Moon Bride and other books based on Indian culture.   Those of you who know me are aware of my fascination with Native Americans, mostly in a historical context, but I’m also intrigued by the ‘other’ kind of Indian.

 Shobhan Bantwal: “Do American readers and moviegoers know anything at all about the life of an average middle-class Indian man or woman? Not many know a lot about Indian culture. It is not because they choose not to learn; it is because Indian writers and moviemakers have not been effective in portraying the true face of India to American audiences.”

*So you’re saying  Outsourced and Slumdog Millionaire aren’t entirely accurate, huh:) Years ago, my uncle and aunt lived in India while he was a public health doctor, and my family hosted a medical student, one of a group of exchange students from India, plus my parents visited India, which gives me a little more to go on, though not a lot.

Shobhan Bantwal: The real India lies somewhere between the glitz and glamour of Bollywood movies and the poverty and despair of serious literary novels and documentaries. That is the India I try to capture in my stories, albeit peppered with some romantic drama and high emotion.

*But of course.  That makes for an entertaining read.

On the surface Indian culture appears to be a somewhat homogeneous and tranquil sea of a billion plus people. Underneath that perceived harmony lies a turbulent culture that grapples with many social issues like caste, dowry and domestic abuse, female-fetus abortions fueled by obsession with producing male children, and chronic political corruption. And yet, amazingly India has managed to survive as the world’s largest democracy and even emerge as a major international power.

For me personally, the road to creating shy yet sociable, timid yet sufficiently bold women clad in saris and lehengas, and making them likable has been a rocky one. Presenting sensitive, softhearted males as real men and not wimps, and authoritative males as essentially good at heart to a non-Asian readership is even harder.

I constantly struggle with the fine balance between explaining and over-explaining an Indian word, custom, tradition or adage. Indians are not prone to emotional displays, so I often have to get into the character’s mind and explicate the finer emotions.

In the end, what I try to portray is an interesting story about Indian culture with a different slant. When elements of an exotic foreign culture are woven into a story that would otherwise have been bland, it turns into a multicultural fiction book. I call my brand of fiction “Bollywood in a Book.”

The Full Moon Bride is all about second-generation immigrants and their struggle to fit into two diverse cultures. In this latest novel I explore the fascinating subject of arranged marriage, as a young Indian-American woman navigates the gulf between desire and tradition, American and Indian cultures.~

*Fascinating subject, Shobhan.  Thanks so much for sharing this with us, and I love the wonderful images you’ve included.

Readers can find Shobhan Bantwal’s books, events, contests, photos, recipes, and contact information on her website: www.shobhanbantwal.com/

Of course, Amazon and Barnes & Noble have all of Shobhan’s books.

visit her facebook page: www.facebook.com/ShobhanBantwal.author