Tuesday Teaser/Opener ~ The Jesus Cow

I love Michael Perry's nonfiction, so I've been dying to get my hands on his first novel, The Jesus Cow: A Novel. When it went on sale at Amazon, of course I snatched it up. I'm very excited to start reading this.


Life is suddenly full of drama for low-key Harley Jackson: A woman in a big red pickup has stolen his bachelor’s heart, a Hummer-driving predatory developer is threatening to pave the last vestiges of his family farm, and inside his barn is a calf bearing the image of Jesus Christ. His best friend, Billy, a giant of a man who shares his trailer house with a herd of cats and tries to pass off country music lyrics as philosophy, urges him to avoid the woman, fight the developer, and get rich off the calf. But Harley takes the opposite tack, hoping to avoid what his devout, dearly departed mother would have called “a scene.”

Then the secret gets out—right through the barn door, and Harley’s “miracle” goes viral. Within hours pilgrims, grifters, and the media have descended on his quiet patch of Swivel, Wisconsin, looking for a glimpse (and a percentage) of the calf. Does Harley hide the famous, possibly holy calf and risk a riot, or give the people what they want—and raise enough money to keep his land—and, just possibly, win the woman and her big red pickup truck?

Harley goes all in, cutting a deal with a major Hollywood agent that transforms his little farm into an international spiritual theme park—think Lourdes, only with cheese curds and t-shirts. Soon, Harley has lots of money . . . and more trouble than he ever dreamed.

Opening: (Prologue)
  On Christmas Eve itself, the bachelor Harley Jackson stepped into his barn and beheld there illuminated in the straw a smallish newborn bull calf upon whose flank was borne the very image of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
  "Well," said Harley, "that's trouble."

Harley liked few things better in this world than a good pair of boots. But among those things was a woman in a good pair of boots. Not spike pumps or furry winter clompers or thigh-high "bondage waders" (Billy's term), but rather sturdy wafflestompers with some scuff on them.

I just love how Perry takes the image of this woman who's not remotely a seductress and makes her the ultimate sexy woman in Harley's eyes.

Would you keep reading?

Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! To see what others are sharing on the Teaser Tuesdays, check the comments at: http://adailyrhythm.com/

Share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you are reading. Here's the link: Bibliophile By The Sea

Eight Sentence Sunday ~ LLTW ~ Suicide Watch


Liar, Liar, Tabloid Writer is live on Amazon. To celebrate the occasion, here's eight sentences from Cleo's first day on the job.

  “Contemplating suicide already?”
   Startled, Cleo jumped upright, nearly tipping her chair over backwards. She grabbed the desktop with both hands to keep herself from going ass over teakettle. When she was sure she was no longer in danger of showing the world the color of her underwear, she discovered that, sitting in her chair, her eyes were level with Alec’s crotch.
   He apparently found uncoordinated women a turn on, because he either had a hard-on that would choke a giraffe or he stuffed his pants with rolled up socks. Given their environment, her money was on the socks.
She forced her gaze up and found herself staring into his dark eyes. He looked as if he halfway expected her to reach into her handbag, pull out a gun, and shoot herself in the head. “No, I’m not suicidal. Not yet anyway.”

Here's the blurb for Liar, Liar, Tabloid Writer:
Investigative journalist Cleo Morgan’s stories have created Pulitzer buzz, but circumstance push her into a lucrative but career-destroying job writing for a tabloid.

Alejandro Ramirez is blown away by the new star reporter. There's definitely chemistry. Except she thinks she's better than everyone at the tabloid where they work. That grates on him since she's going to be writing stories about aliens and Elvis sightings just like the rest of them.

In spite of the chemistry, she doesn't want to have anything to do with the smug news whore she thinks he is. Except she's already having fantasies about this hot Cuban ex-pat who's showing her the ropes at her new job. Before they have a chance to make this attraction work, Cleo's mother, an ex-Vegas showgirl, is charged with the murder of a Las Vegas casino owner. To clear her mother, Cleo will have to see that Alejandro hasn't sold out, and he will learn that she really is as good as she thinks she is.

You can also read the opening scene.

And don't forget, Liar, Liar, Tabloid Writer is currently available for the introductory price of 99 cents. Get yours before the price goes up.

To see other eight sentence sample for other writers visit:

Thursday Writing Quote ~ Tchaikovsky

A self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood. ~ Peter Tchaikovsky

Tuesday Teaser/Opening ~ The Short Drop

This week I'm reading The Short Drop by Mattew Fitzsimmons. The book was one of the four monthly freebies available for Amazon Prime members to choose from. I've gotten a bit leery of these books because they're not always well written and sometimes the story jumps the shark. (They all seem to be published by one of Amazon's publishing arm, so . . .) Some months I pass on all of them, but I'm so glad I picked this one. It's well written and I'm invested in the characters. This is the author's first book, but I think Amazon's found a winner. It's also just the break I need from plowing through The Game of Thrones books.

A decade ago, fourteen-year-old Suzanne Lombard, the daughter of Benjamin Lombard—then a senator, now a powerful vice president running for the presidency—disappeared in the most sensational missing-person case in the nation’s history. Still unsolved, the mystery remains a national obsession.

For legendary hacker and marine Gibson Vaughn, the case is personal—Suzanne Lombard had been like a sister to him. On the tenth anniversary of her disappearance, the former head of Benjamin Lombard’s security asks for Gibson’s help in a covert investigation of the case, with new evidence in hand.

Haunted by tragic memories, he jumps at the chance to uncover what happened all those years ago. Using his military and technical prowess, he soon discovers multiple conspiracies surrounding the Lombard family—and he encounters powerful, ruthless political players who will do anything to silence him and his team. With new information surfacing that could threaten Lombard’s bid for the presidency, Gibson must stay one step ahead as he navigates a dangerous web to get to the truth.

Gibson Vaughn sat alone at the bustling counter of the Nighthawk Diner. The breakfast rush was in full swing as the customers milled about, waiting for a seat. Gibson barely registered the crescendo of knives and forks on plates or the waitress who set his food down. His eyes were fixed on the television behind the counter. The news was playing the video again. It was ubiquitous, part of the American zeitgeist—dissected and analyzed over the years, referenced in film, television shows and songs. Like most Americans he couldn't look away no matter how often it aired. How could he? It was all he had left of Suzanne.

"Entitlement breeds laziness, which in turn breeds decline. But of course with enough money, it is possible not to notice for decades that your family name is gathering dust."

Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! To see what others are sharing on the Teaser Tuesdays, check the comments at: http://adailyrhythm.com/

Share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you are reading. Here's the link: Bibliophile By The Sea

Release Day Minus Seven

In just a week, Liar, Liar, Tabloid Writer, the first book of the Liar, Liar duology, will be released. To celebrate, I thought I'd share the opening scene from the book. Hope you enjoy it.

   “So that’s her. The great Cleo Morgan.” Alec had to admit she was a looker. Light brown hair tumbled down her back in soft waves, and the skirt of her red power suit ended at mid-thigh, accentuating tanned legs a mile long.
   As if that wasn’t enough, her full, lower lip made him—and every other guy there, he was sure—want to suck it into his mouth as he rolled her back on her heels.
   Half a dozen of the staff—mostly men—were hanging out in the open area at one end of the bullpen that served as a break area-slash-kitchenette, getting coffee or shooting the shit, as Nigel Delaney, the tabloid’s managing editor, led Cleo Morgan on an introductory lap around the office.
   “The Old Man’s lost his mind for sure,” Alec’s buddy Jackson said. Not loud enough to draw anyone else’s attention, of course, since, presumably, he liked his job. “So she can write good copy”—Jackson made a face that said big deal—“and she can get down and dirty doing investigative journalism. Doesn’t mean she can write an Elvis story worth crap. But I heard the boss is paying her a small fortune. She even got a signing bonus like she’s some sort of first-round draft pick.”
   “Oh? And where did you hear that?”
   “Lisa told me on the down-low.”
   Even as he shifted his attention to Jackson, Alec kept Cleo in his peripheral vision. “Lisa in accounting with all the baby pictures or Lisa in legal with her nose in the air?”
   “Lisa in legal.” Jackson’s smile spoke volumes about where else Lisa’s nose might have been lately.
   Damn. “You took her to bed.” Alec didn’t know why he was surprised. Women tended to fall all over Jackson when he decided to break out the charm. He’d thought Lisa was different and had been enjoying himself immensely as he watched Jackson work hard—and fruitlessly—to overcome her uncanny resistance.
   “Well, no. I didn’t take her to bed.” Jackson looked crestfallen at the admission, but it only lasted a moment. A gleam appeared in his eye. “I took her to the back file room. Have you ever done it where your boss could walk in on you any minute? Let me tell you, mi amigo, that is some of the hottest sex you’ll ever have.”
   “I don’t believe it. You didn’t―”
   Jackson made a discreet slicing motion, and Alec cut off his comment. Introducing Cleo to the other staff, Nigel had worked his way almost to them. Shelving Jackson’s sex life wasn’t too difficult when Alec had Cleo to look at. Which brought him back to the question of why she was there.
   It was most likely the money. Tabloids paid exceptionally well, since any reporter who worked for them was committing professional suicide as far as “respectable” media was concerned. So it made sense they were paying more than the proverbial penny, bright and shiny as it might be, to get a reporter with Cleo Morgan’s credentials. It had been her story in The Tucson Sun that had blown open the corruption on the country’s southern border two years ago. Her investigation had exposed a string of misconduct that netted not only dozens of Border Patrol agents and the head of Homeland Security, but had brought down a sitting Arizona senator.
   And earned The Sun consideration for a Pulitzer.
   Nigel and Cleo moved to the guy next to Jackson. Alec took the opportunity to check her out at closer range. She had a nice rack. Full and firm, just the way he liked them. He wanted to nudge Jackson and ask if he thought they were real, but she and Nigel were too close.
   “And this is Jackson Palmaroy.” Nigel’s high-tone accent made Jackson sound like he was someone who should have gone to Oxford instead of the University of Florida. “His speciality”—pronounced with five crisp British syllables—“is alien abduction stories.”
   “Yeah, this week the president is being controlled by a receiver put in his brain by little green men,” Jackson said without a trace of irony as he shook her manicured hand.
   “We’ve already run that story, Jackson,” Nigel said.
   “We did?”
   “Last administration. You should know that. You wrote it.”
   “Well, hell. Guess I’ll have to get more creative. Wanna help me out, Cleo? Care to have an alien baby?” Jackson tugged on his belt with both hands, a gesture that tightened his pants over his bulging crotch.
   Yeah, charming. But only when he wanted to be. Exactly how much were they paying her? Whatever it was, it hadn’t endeared her to Jackson.
   Cleo didn’t even look down. “Can I get back to you on that? I’d like to settle in a bit before I make a commitment that serious.”
   Jackson was unfazed, but Alec had to bite the inside of his cheek to keep from smiling. Damn. He didn’t want to like her, but he couldn’t help appreciating her coolness under fire.
   “And this is Alec Ramirez,” Nigel said, moving things right along. Cleo stepped left as though she was moving through a receiving line, her gaze shifting to acknowledge the introduction. Her lips stretched into a stiff, obligatory smile, but from the look of her flat, cold baby blues, Cleo Morgan would happily be hung, drawn, and quartered if it could only happen somewhere—anywhere—other than The Inside Word’s office.
   Bitch. The thought was there in an instant. She thinks she’s better than we are.
   “Alec is our Jack of all Trades,” Nigel continued as though unaware of the sudden crackle in the air. “Writes a bit of everything.”
   Maybe everyone was reacting this way to her. That would explain why she and Nigel seemed oblivious to the hostility Alec felt pouring off him.
   Like an automaton, she held her hand out for him to shake. His mind was working itself into a fever pitch of resentment toward the woman in front of him, but his body responded the way it was conditioned to when face to face with a body like hers. He didn’t even realize he’d clasped her hand until her eyes widened and a spark drove away the emptiness that had been there a second before.
   In the same moment, a charge shot up his arm and blew out all his circuits except one.
   Fuck me. Please.
   Like every other man in the room, he’d been semi-hard the moment she came into view. Now, touching her hand, looking into eyes that had come to life with intelligence, natural curiosity, and more than a modicum of sexual awareness, he graduated to an oversized railroad spike trapped in too-tight denim. And he wanted to nail her with that spike in the worst way.
   The desire to step forward, to thrust his fingers through her hair until he bent her head back as far as it would go, was almost overpowering. He’d suck on that pouty lower lip, teasing it with his teeth before taking possession of her mouth; he just knew she’d taste like sex. Then he’d push that short, tight skirt of hers up and ride her on his thigh until she begged for more.
   He was almost up to the pounding-his-chest-like-Tarzan part when Jackson dug an elbow into his side. Alec forced himself to shake off the fantasy.
   Nigel was looking at him with narrowed eyes as though he had some kind of idea what had just happened. If he did, Alec wished like hell Nigel would explain it to him because he felt like he’d been hit by a semi truck speeding through Nevada on the driver’s eager way to the Mustang Ranch.
   “Writes a bit of everything,” Nigel repeated as though the words contained a slowly dawning revelation. His gaze shifted to Cleo. A smile Alec didn’t like spread across his face. In as hearty a voice as Alec had ever heard from the ever-efficient Brit, Nigel said, “So he’s the perfect one to show you the ropes. He can teach you our style and demonstrate how to take a seed and grow it into our kind of story.”
   Nigel’s words were like a dash of cold water in Alec’s face. Sexual attraction was one thing, but he’d be damned if he was going to be saddled with this too-good-for-everyone, I-almost-got-a-Pulitzer bitch. Unh-uh.
   “Nigel―” Alec tried to interrupt, but his boss was on a roll.
   “We can restructure the cubicles, so you two have a place to work together.”
   I won’t be just saddled, I’ll be shackled! “Nigel―” Alec said in a louder voice.
   “And I think we’ll put you out in the middle, so you absorb the atmosphere better and other staff can help you along as well.”
   In the middle of the room? Hell, no! He’d fought too hard for the corner farthest from the coffee machine for a reason. He had to stop Nigel before it got worse. Alec wasn’t sure how it could, but he’d worked at The Word long enough not to underestimate his boss; Nigel was a master at thinking of ways to make it worse.
   “Nigel!” Alec yelled.
   Nigel was also a master at ignoring his staff when he chose to, so when he turned his attention to Alec and, in a far too reasonable voice, said, “Yes, Alec?” Alec found his mouth opening and closing like a broken trapdoor.
   Jackson unexpectedly came to his rescue. “Are you sure Alec is the best one to shepherd our prize reporter, Nigel?”
   Good old Jackson. Alec mentally promised his buddy a six-pack for coming in swinging on his behalf.
   Jackson slid half a step closer to Nigel. His voice dropped as though speaking confidentially, but not enough to actually exclude anyone in the immediate vicinity. “I mean, with her background, she’s gonna wanna see his green card, and then she’ll be calling the INS―”
   “Hey!” Alec protested. “I was born here!”
   “Yeah, but your folks were illegals―”
   “They were political refugees from Cuba, you asshole.”
   Scratch that six-pack.
   “Yes, quite so.” The light in Nigel’s eyes might have been amusement; it was hell working for someone with that dry British humor Alec didn’t always get. “Sorry, Jackson, but I think we’ll see how Cleo works with Alec. If she kills him the first week, well then, we’ll let her have a go at you.”
   Nigel glanced at his watch. “I’ll take you down to HR to fill out your paperwork. After that, our editor-in-chief, Mr. Phillips, will welcome you to our happy little family.”
   Slack jawed at how quickly his opportunity to head off this babysitting assignment had vanished, Alec watched them depart for Human Resources. Nigel certainly knew him better than to think it was a done deal he’d give up his corner spot.
   “You okay?” Jackson asked.
   “Yeah, sure. Why wouldn’t I be?” Alec said, distracted once again, this time by the swing in Cleo’s backside as she walked away.
   “The way you were staring at her when you shook her hand, I started thinking you’d had a stroke. Not that she couldn’t give you one”—Jackson’s gaze flickered toward the disappearing Cleo—“but I figured it would take more than a handshake.”
   “Of course, it would,” Alec agreed, though who knew what went through your mind when you had a stroke? It was a not-unreasonable explanation. But he didn’t want to talk about any fantasies starring Ms. Hoity-Toity, so he changed the subject. “I can’t believe you got in Lisa’s pants. I really thought she was immune to you.”
   “It turns out she has a bigshot boyfriend.”
   Alec shot him a questioning look.
   “Who cheats,” Jackson said with a grin.
   “Ah. Revenge sex. I thought you were better than that.”
   Jackson added a shrug to his grin. “Sometimes you gotta take what you can get.”

So there it is. And you still have a week to get it for the pre-release price price of 99 cents.

Thursday Writing Quotes ~ Hemingway

I always try to write on the principle of the iceberg. There is seven-eighths of it underwater for every part that shows. ~ Ernest Hemingway

Tuesday Teaser/Opener ~ Game of Thrones

Because I can be terribly impatient when I want to read a book and because the second and third books of the Song of Fire and Ice series (but not the first) came into my hands years ago, I started reading this series with book two. (The story was remarkably coherent given how much happens in book one.) Having finally started watching the HBO series, I decided it was time to go back and read the book that started it all, so I'm reading A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. To the south, the king’s powers are failing—his most trusted adviser dead under mysterious circumstances and his enemies emerging from the shadows of the throne. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the frozen land they were born to. Now Lord Eddard Stark is reluctantly summoned to serve as the king’s new Hand, an appointment that threatens to sunder not only his family but the kingdom itself.

The morning had dawned clear and cold, with a crispness that hinted at the end of summer. They set forth at daybreak to see a man beheaded, twenty in all, and Bran rode among them, nevous with excitement. This was the first time he had been deemed old enough to go with his lord father and his brothers to see the king's justice done. It was the ninth year of summer, and the seventh of Bran's life.

In that instant of sudden terror, the only lesson Arya could remember was the one Jon Snow had given her, the very first. She stuck him with the pointy end, driving the blade upward with a wild, hysterical strength.

My biggest complain about these books is that it become difficult to keep all the characters straight.

Have you read this? Or watched the series?

Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: Grab your current readOpen to a random pageShare two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! To see what others are sharing on the Teaser Tuesdays, check the comments at: http://adailyrhythm.com/

Share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you are reading. Here's the link: Bibliophile By The Sea

Thursday Writing Quotes ~ King

The writer must have a good imagination to begin with, but the imagination has to be muscular, which means it must be exercised in a disciplined way, day in and day out, by writing, failing, succeeding and revising. ~ Stephen King

For any one who's interested, my short fairy tale retelling  Snow White & the Eighth Dwarf is free on Amazon through Sunday.

Tuesday Teaser/Opener ~ The Strainger

I'm reading The Stranger by Harlan Coben, one of my autobuy authors.

The Blurb:
The Stranger appears out of nowhere, perhaps in a bar, or a parking lot, or at the grocery store. His identity is unknown. His motives are unclear. His information is undeniable. Then he whispers a few words in your ear and disappears, leaving you picking up the pieces of your shattered world.

Adam Price has a lot to lose: a comfortable marriage to a beautiful woman, two wonderful sons, and all the trappings of the American Dream: a big house, a good job, a seemingly perfect life.

Then he runs into the Stranger. When he learns a devastating secret about his wife, Corinne, he confronts her, and the mirage of perfection disappears as if it never existed at all. Soon Adam finds himself tangled in something far darker than even Corinne’s deception, and realizes that if he doesn’t make exactly the right moves, the conspiracy he’s stumbled into will not only ruin lives—it will end them.

The Opening:
 The stranger didn't shatter Adam's world all at once.
 That was what Adam Price would tell himself later, but that was a lie. Adam somehow knew right away. Right from the very first sentence, that the life he had known as a content suburban married father of two was forever gone. It was a simple sentence on the face of it, but there was something in the tone, something knowing and even caring, that let Adam know that nothing would ever be the same.
 "You didn't have to stay with her," the stranger said.

The Teaser:
“We’re in a minefield,” she said. “Like someone just dropped us right in the middle of it, and if we move too fast in any direction, we’re going to step on an explosive and blow this whole thing up.”

Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! To see what others are sharing on the Teaser Tuesdays, check the comments at: http://adailyrhythm.com/

Share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you are reading. Here's the link: Bibliophile By The Sea

Nuggets for October - in November

I'm heavy into edits, so time got away from me last month, so I'm a week late posting the links I found worth repeating, but here they are.

Ever thought about creating a box set? Then you should read this.

Great promotional ideas

Formatting books is always fun, isn't it? Well, maybe not. These posts might help you make decisions about the front matter.