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April 27, 2017

A Texas girl dishes on life in the Rockies - High Altitude Gardening by Karilyn Bentley


What I want my garden to look like
You know those perfect gardens and manicured lawns you see around big cities? They're pretty, aren't they? Unfortunately, those aren't available where I live. I guess if you wanted to hire a bunch of people to dig up rocks and plant flowers you might be able to make a go of a garden. Until the next herd of deer or elk come walking through it the next day, eating everything you planted.

When we first moved here, I wanted to continue having a garden like the one I had in Texas. Nothing much, just some veggies and a few flowering plants. I love growing my own vegetables, although the insects would always manage to eat them, sometimes before The Hubster and I could. I was super-excited to try out  my hand at gardening in the mountains where there aren't the same doggone leaf eating insects. So we went to the local gardening store and bought a flowering plant claiming to be able to live to -20 degrees Fahrenheit and a plant of chrysanthemums. I was determined to have them live and bloom. My front flowerbeds were going to look awesome! Then a lady walked up, chuckling, asked if we were new to town. When I said we were, she responded with a thought so, those plants should be advertised as deer food, only the new arrivals try to plant plants. I laughed, but was determined to get them to grow, to spread, to smell and look pretty. To prove that lady wrong.

But yep, they became deer food, right down to the roots.
What my garden actually looks like
Although they did try valiantly to hold on to life and might even have come back, if it weren't for an Arctic front that dropped the temps below 0.

Okay, lesson learned, no pretty flowers. Disappointed, I decided to try again and planted a whole box of daffodils and tulips. Six tulips attempted to come up. They don't look so hot, eh?
Sick looking tulips
But at least the deer haven't eaten them.

So far.

The Hubster and I plan to put in some local plants that bloom at high altitude and that are deer resistant. Like Russian sage and anything in the mint family. Apparently deer don't like plants in the mint family. Or rosemary. We shall see.

Meanwhile, I have a new book out! In case you missed it, Demon Cursed, the 3rd book in the Demon Huntress series, is available in an online store by you! Isn't the cover awesome? If you've already read it, may I ask that you leave a review on Amazon? Authors love reviews! :)

Amazon | iTunes | B&N | TWRP
Stop back next time to see if I managed to get a plant to live and grow and maybe even bloom. Anyone on here know anything about gardening at high altitude?

Happy Reading!
Karilyn

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April 25, 2017

Guest Princess: Suzanne Pearson #InspirationalRomanticSuspense #NewRelease #PlottingPrincess

We are thrilled to have Suzanne Pearson as a guest Princess today on the blog!  

Suzanne Pearson was born in the Congo to missionary parents.  After graduating from high school, she and her family moved to Eugene Oregon, where she eventually met her husband.  She didn't start writing until she was an empty-nester, and had the idea to write about a missionary in the Congo who gets into all sorts of trouble.

Suzanne, get ready for your Plotting Princess speed round interview!  Ready? Set? GO!

Speed Round:
Favorite movie: The Accountant
Favorite book: Honor’s Splendor
Last book read: Darkness by Karen Robards
Favorite color: deep, deep red
Stilettos or flipflops: A&M flipflops
Coffee or tea: Coffee
Ebook or paperback: ebook
Pencil or pen: pen
Favorite song: Amazing Grace
Streak or not: Not
Favorite dessert: Anything with chocolate
Champagne or gin: Champagne
Paranormal or Historical: Historical
Ginger or Mary Ann: Ginger
Favorite TV show: NCIS
Hot or cold: cold
POV: mine
I'd die if I don't have:  chocolate

One Line Blurb: Time is running out and someone is willing to kill to get what they want.

Excerpt from Love, Lies and Alibis
Rocky tugged on the leash but she didn’t budge. “Sure, we’ll be fine.” Why had Luke asked her that? It made her suddenly feel as though she and Rocky were on an island, separate and vulnerable. She crossed her arms and moved closer to the tree.
What was she doing here anyway? Why had she agreed to this little excursion? This was all Luke’s fault. Who did he think he was to put this idea in her head? Adoption, babies? Dear God.
Most days it took everything she had just to get out of bed. If she adopted Rocky, she’d be responsible for his welfare.
The little bugger whined and tugged on his leash.
“Sorry, baby.” How long had she been daydreaming? She rubbed the gooseflesh that was suddenly popping out on her skin. The wind was starting to whip around her legs. Dark clouds hurried across the sky changing the mood of the day to something dark and oppressive.
Thunder boomed.
Her eyes darted toward the mall. Where was Luke?
Rocky yelped, straining at his leash.
“Don’t be afraid.” The makeshift dog park was quickly emptying as people scurried to their cars. “Luke will understand why we returned to the tent.” She bent down to pick Rocky up as fat raindrops found their way through the branches of the tree.
A twig broke away from the tree and bounced off Rocky’s shoulder. He shot one terror filled looked at Tiffany and raced away, ripping the leash out of her hands.
“Rocky, no!” she cried. But he was beyond hearing. Stepping out from the shelter of the trees, rain pelted her, drenching her clothes. Her bangs were plastered to her forehead but at least her hair was too short to obstruct her view as she searched for the runaway puppy.
Lightning flashed, and the scent of ozone hit her just as she saw a tiny dark body hurtling toward the cover of trees lined up like soldiers against the parking lot. Rocky slipped through a break in the trees and disappeared. She raced toward the spot slipping in the mud ringing the trees. Squatting down, she called his name.
Her heart pounded as she frantically pushed branches aside until something nudged her hands. Rocky? Please God, let it be Rocky.
Woof!
“Good boy, good boy,” she crooned. “Come here, baby.” She could see him now. He was covered in mud and shivering violently as his terror-filled eyes searched hers. He took one step toward her extended hands and then backed away from her even as he let loose with an ear-shattering volley of barking.
“Rocky, stop that. Come here.”
Something hot and heavy settled against her back. “Luke?” Even before she caught the faint whiff of stale tobacco she knew it wasn’t Luke. Rocky would not have backed away from him.
Her stomach knotted with fear. She forgot about Rocky as she struggled to break free. A branch slapped against her face and she cried out.
The assailant wrenched her arms back and dragged her across the grass. Her heart pounded and the blood roared in her ears. Her foot caught on a tree root, momentarily stopping her attacker, but with a violent yank, her sneaker popped off and her foot came free.
They were out in the open now, having left the trees behind. Struggling against her attacker, she frantically searched for someone who might see what was happening and come to her aid.
No one.
She was on her own.
Her mind flashed back to a self-defense video from high school and she tried to remember what to do. Make yourself dead weight? Smash her head back into his nose?
“Where are you taking me? What do you want?” Her screams disappeared in the howling wind.
“You’re going to get it for me.”
His lips pressed against her cheek, making her skin crawl. “Get what?” She tried dragging her feet to slow his progress but her toes barely touched the ground. His arms around her waist were cutting off her air supply. Short, quick breaths were all she could manage.
Woof, woof, woof.
Her captor faltered for one moment but then continued dragging her across the asphalt with Rocky nipping at their heels.
Dear God, I know we haven’t been spending time together and, of course, it’s my fault. But, this would be a great time to let me know you’re real. A miracle would be really cool!
A blinding flash of light stopped her would-be attacker in his tracks.
Wow, God. Thanks.
A horn blared. Tires screeched.
Oh! Oh no.
The assailant let loose a string of curses.
“Let me go!”
“Stop squirming.”
The car hit a pool of water, fishtailing toward them. It wasn’t going to stop. It kept coming and coming and coming.
She strained to break free from the Schwarzenegger-like arms holding her. Kicking back, she tried to connect with his knees, shins, anything that would make him loosen his grip.
She didn’t want to die, not when she’d just begun to live.
Luke, where are you?
One minute she was tiring of her struggles to break free, the next, she was flying through the air.
Straight into the path of the oncoming car.
Her head bounced off something unforgiving. Pain ricocheted through her elbow and she thought she heard a bone crack. Rocks, mud, and gravel tore through her jeans and shirt as her body slid across the ground.
And then it was over. She slammed into a rock-hard object. The air left her lungs and the smell of rubber burned her nose. Something warm trickled down the side of her face. Tiny hammers pounded against her skull.
Through it all, she knew she needed to move, to run, before her attacker found her but her legs were twisted and her brain was getting fuzzy. As the darkness overtook her, one last thought raced through her mind.
Run.

Find Suzanne Pearson on Facebook at: Suzanne Pearson
Find Love, Lies and Alibis at: Amazon



April 20, 2017

Failed Beauty Contestant #tiara #romanticcomedy #shortstory

I can hear you laughing way over here. Yes, I’ve been a failed beauty contestant, not once, but twice.
 
The first time was in high school in a program hosted by my hometown’s fire department. The real reason I entered was the $500 scholarship. I wanted to go to college and $500 would pay for a few semesters of community college. So I entered, wrote the essay, borrowed a black swimsuit, wore a sweet long dress of eyelet.

And didn’t win. In all fairness, I was selected from the 24 original entrants to be in the final top twelve. That part was cool. Picture in the paper! The girl who did get the tiara looked 24 not 17 or 18. She really looked like a beauty contestant.

Sigh.
The second time I was persuaded after a few margaritas to represent a friend’s moped shop in a contest hosted by a recreational vehicle show. I said no a few times. My friends worked on me and I said yes. This was six years after the first one. All I had to do was walk around in a swimsuit and heels which I did. One of the judges was a former NFL quarterback. Pretty embarrassing. The blonde with the cornrows won. She was younger too.
All I’m saying here is sometimes, there’s funny stuff in our lives and it makes a great story.

Here’s a teaser from “Raving Beauty,” a romantic comedy short story in the Just You and Me boxed set:

 "I can't believe I let your loony brother, who's tormented me all my life, talk me into this." With my eye on the teenage competition, I tugged the leg opening of my swimsuit into place to better cover my hip. "Just because I did some modeling in college doesn't make me a pageant diva. Back then, I was incredibly skinny, and clothes fit easily."
         "Daniel's a rat. He took advantage of your third or was it your fourth margarita, Kelly?" Maggie Ackerman, my best friend and roommate, adjusted the scarlet satin sash draped across my body. Glittery stick-on letters spelled out Miss Yahoo! Ranch Steakhouse. "Hold still."
         With an old-fashioned teasing comb, she picked my brown hair into place at the crown of my head. The eerie suspicion I resembled a scary dame with Big Texas hair from the television show, Dallas, caused me to avoid looking in the mirror.
         "Close your eyes." She hit me with super freeze-it hairspray. "Now, that ain't goin' nowhere."
         My personal stylist needed to work on her aim, preferably with both of her eyes open. I spit-wiped the sticky spot on my right cheek. I hope nobody I know sees me like this. 
         "There." The scrunch of her nose reflected how pleased she was with herself. "Feeling better?"
         Like a slab of beef.
Preorder Just You and Me at:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XCZWL6N
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/just-you-and-me…/1125868014
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/just-you-and-me
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1210908031


Confession time! Who had beauty contestant aspirations?

 

 

April 4, 2017

A Literary Mulligan

In the game of golf, a quick do-over is called a “Mulligan”—a chance to make a fresh start, or repair a bad beginning. During the past few months I have taken a Mulligan for my first three romances—the Dartmouth Brides trilogy of THE PURSUIT OF PLEASURE, A SENSE OF SIN, and THE DANGER OF DESIRE. 


I’ve done them over from start to finish—from the covers (by the brilliant photographer Jenn LeBlanc at Studio Smexy, and talented designer Patricia Pickyme Schmitt) to new epilogues. I took the opportunity to make the writing fresh by revising and re-focusing the narrative in a way that I simply wasn’t capable of when I first wrote those stories six years ago.

But the best part of going over these stories were the characters—impudent, rebellious Lizzie, shy, studious Celia, and larcenous, brilliant Meggs. Oh, what fun it was to revisit the young women who had first prompted me to write romance. It was like visiting with old friends I hadn’t seen in years—the conversation started right up where we left off.


I hope that readers will also like visiting these old friends, or will perhaps take the opportunity to discover them for the first time in vastly more affordable e-editions. THE DARTMOUTH BRIDES are on sale at all on-line retailers for the terrific price of $3.99 each. The three stories are also available in print, but must be ordered from an on-line bookseller.

So tell me, what do you think of the new editions? 


Wishing you all happy reading! I hope you enjoy the adventure as much as I have.

March 30, 2017

A #NewRelease for you! Demon Cursed is out now! #urbanfantasy #darkfantasy

 I'm excited to announce that Demon Cursed, the third book in my urban fantasy Demon Huntress series, is out now! Yay! Gin Crawford and Aidan Smythe are back for another adventure.

Here's the blurb:
Gin Crawford, the world's newest demon huntress, just wants to enjoy a football game, but finds herself hunting a serial killer minion instead. When his victims turn out to be the local football star’s female fans, she must determine if the player has joined forces with the minion, but her efforts lead her deeper into danger. When her mentor, Aidan Smythe, is attacked, Gin resolves to go to any lengths to save him, even if it exposes her most tightly held secret. Minions and demons, however, aren't the only terrors she faces. Will she realize the greatest danger lies within—before it's too late?

And no blurb is complete without the excerpt:

March 7, 2017

@lsfabre #Motivating the #Villain #mfrworg #amwriting #amreading

In more than one of the many writing classes I completed, the instructor would note at some point, “the villain is the hero of his own story,” the antagonist has as strong a motivation as that of the hero. In the opponent’s mind, what’s behind his/her actions is as compelling and just and right—albeit sometimes quite twisted—as that of the hero or heroine’s. This point is usually followed with a reminder to give the villain a chance to explain his/her deeds. A number of ways exist to do this:


- The story can switch between the villain’s and hero’s point of view
- A character may share what they know of the villain’s life to describe events that shaped him/her into the antihero
- Giving the villain a chance to explain their world view to the hero—usually while holding the hero or heroine at bay with a gun, bomb, or other weapon and often as part of the climax

In the two recently released stories, I chose the third method for both.

In my recently re-released Russian thriller, Saving Hope, the villain is someone the heroine trusted, and she finds herself negotiating with him to save her daughter’s life. At one point, he explains his actions as:

“I thought I finally had all I wanted, but you ran away. When I saw you with Ahmed and those other men, I knew I had to fight for you, or lose you again. I was the one who told them about the FSB. It almost cost me my deal.”

February 28, 2017

A Texas Girl dishes on Life in the Rockies by Karilyn Bentley #TWRP

I'm trying something different today. Instead of talking about my dogs in the Tales from the Crate blogs, I'm going to talk about Life in the Rockies. Why? Because, almost a year ago, The Hubster and I moved our family of one dog and various fish, corals and other critters in a salt water fish tank (almost all of which died during the move, the fish and critters, that is, not The Kraken or the corals) from North Texas to the Colorado Rockies. Needless to say, things are a bit different up here, and I'm not talking about the Rocky Mountain High. So, in case you are interested, here is a list of things I've learned since our move. 


1. Altitude takes awhile to get used to. Become accustomed to gasping for breath while walking anywhere. Having an upper respiratory infection makes this worse (as a side note, don't go skiing with a URI lest you find yourself suddenly unable to breath while hurtling down the side of a mountain. Just saying).