HOOTENANNY TIME

You guys, I have been really freakin’ busy over at Women and Words with Jove and the blogger crew and all the merry elves and reindeer getting things ready for our annual Hootenanny over there.

What is this Hootenanny, you ask.

It’s a giant, massive, outta control WTF no they di’n’t omg they’re serious how did that even happen where did all these prizes come from BOOK GIVEAWAY.

TWELVE DAYS, friends. TWELVE DAYS OF BOOK GIVEAWAYS. New lists of authors every day, and publishers also get into it. There are books flinging hither and yon.

And this year, we’ve got super swag on Rafflecopter, which might just include a couple of Kindle Fires. Guess you’ll have to check it out to see.

When does all this merriment start, you ask.

THIS SATURDAY! DECEMBER 12! TWELVE DAYS!!!!!!!!!

So we run this crazy from December 12-December 23. SO COME ON DOWN!

Here’s the link to Women and Words.

And here’s an example from last year of the crazy we got up to.
Day 5
Day 11

So head on over to Women and Words Saturday the 12th to join the fun. Hope to see you there!

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Buy The Bureau of Holiday Affairs at Ylva…

My peeps, you can now get The Bureau of Holiday Affairs in ebook at Ylva Publishing! THIS IS THE LINK. FOR REALZ. CLICK IT. (if you want to)

I know. Some of you are way too gung-ho over the holiday thang and you’re probably going to rush right out and read it before December. Hey, that’s cool. If that’s what pleases your peppermint, you go right on with your bad selves. Hope you dig it!

The-Bureau-of-Holiday-Affairs-800 Cover reveal and Promotional

Here’s what it’s about:
Executive Robin Preston has dedicated her life to climbing the corporate ladder, using whatever means necessary. In the shark-infested culture at Frost Enterprises, anything goes, and Robin is a master at the game.

On the verge of a major promotion, Robin receives a strange visit from Agent Elizabeth Tolson of the Bureau of Holiday Affairs, who informs Robin that, though Robin may be a lost cause, the Bureau has scheduled her for intervention. Robin will receive three visitors in the two weeks before Christmas, who will escort her on visits to her past, present, and future.

Robin will be forced to face not only who she’s become, but the parts of herself she left behind, when she was an art major in college and in love with fellow art student Jill Chen, in whom Robin found a kindred spirit—until Jill broke if off with her. In order for Robin to change her ways, she’ll need to reclaim who she was and open her heart again, to a past she thought she left behind.

The Bureau clearly has its work cut out for it, but Agent Tolson relishes a challenge, and she’s put together just the team for Robin’s case. They may have to cut a few corners and go outside a few lines, but Agent Tolson has a perfect salvage record and she’s not about to let that change. The question is, will Robin?

OTHER GOODIES!
Read an Excerpt!
Sign up for a giveaway at Goodreads! (scroll down on that page…you’ll see it)

And don’t worry, I’ll be giving other copies away, too. You never know when I’m going to send a merry elf your way, so be on the lookout. Cuz I like sharing the luuuuuv! 😀

Happy Wednesday! Oh, and don’t forget it’s Veterans Day. Keep ’em in your thoughts.

My latest novel is a Christmas and New Year romance

Hi, peeps!

I know. I just released a novel prior to Halloween (that one had sort of a Halloween-ish flavor; find it HERE).

So WTF is this? ANOTHER novel? ERMAHGERD, yes. I went a little crazy this year in terms of writing and ended up with 2 novels coming out toward the end of the year. Both ended up on the Ylva imprint “Twice Told Tales,” which are basically reboots of classic tales with ::ahem:: lesbian flay-vuh, if you will.

My latest is called The Bureau of Holiday Affairs and as you’ll see from the synopsis, it’s a take-off on Charles Dickens’ classic novella A Christmas Carol, published in December, 1843.

The-Bureau-of-Holiday-Affairs-800 Cover reveal and Promotional

SYNOPSIS:
Executive Robin Preston has dedicated her life to climbing the corporate ladder, using whatever means necessary. In the shark-infested culture at Frost Enterprises, anything goes, and Robin is a master at the game.

On the verge of a major promotion, Robin receives a strange visit from Agent Elizabeth Tolson of the Bureau of Holiday Affairs, who informs Robin that, though Robin may be a lost cause, the Bureau has scheduled her for intervention. Robin will receive three visitors in the two weeks before Christmas, who will escort her on visits to her past, present, and future.

Robin will be forced to face not only who she’s become, but the parts of herself she left behind, when she was an art major in college and in love with fellow art student Jill Chen, in whom Robin found a kindred spirit—until Jill broke if off with her. In order for Robin to change her ways, she’ll need to reclaim who she was and open her heart again, to a past she thought she left behind.

The Bureau clearly has its work cut out for it, but Agent Tolson relishes a challenge, and she’s put together just the team for Robin’s case. They may have to cut a few corners and go outside a few lines, but Agent Tolson has a perfect salvage record and she’s not about to let that change. The question is, will Robin?

Guess you’ll have to read it to find out, huh? Heh. Anyway, why did I choose to do a reboot of this classic tale?

Continue reading

A Secret Book Blitz!

Hey, all!

Today, with the help of the awesome Book Enthusiast Promotions and a cadre of merry elves, I’m doing a book blitz for my latest release, The Secret of Sleepy Hollow. Behold the goodies! Have fun!

the secret of sleepy hollow blitz

Book Blitz

Book Title: The Secret of Sleep Hollow
Author: Andi Marquette
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: October 9, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

Book Blurb

Tabitha “Abby” Crane, a doctoral student working on her thesis, doesn’t allow herself much time outside academia. Fortunately, she’s managed to squeeze in a research trip over Halloween weekend to the historical society of Sleepy Hollow, New York, where she hopes to uncover new research on the notorious town’s most infamous legend—that of the headless horseman. But she has a personal stake in this trip: Abby’s own ancestor, Ichabod Crane, disappeared mysteriously over two hundred years ago, perhaps at the hands of the ghostly horseman.

Abby has no reason to expect anything of Sleepy Hollow beyond immersing herself in archival collections and enjoying its Halloween festivities, but then she crosses paths with Katie, who makes her head spin and her heart pound. When Katie invites her on a nighttime visit to the glen where the horseman allegedly rides, Abby can’t say no, upending her plans for a quiet research retreat. And when Abby and Katie, who has her own ties to the famous story, find what may be the key to the disappearance of Ichabod Crane all those years ago, love, legend, and magic intermingle, making clear that Sleepy Hollow has plans of its own for yet another Crane.

excerpt

Tales

Abby parked in a space practically in front of the Sleepy Hollow Historical Society, a one-story unremarkable brick building with a plain glass door. It blended well with the other structures, a mixture of brick and clapboard. The city fathers probably wanted to maintain a quaint, small-town charm in addition to the appeal of the village’s historical significance, which included its paranormal allure.

Abby picked up the book from the passenger seat and opened it to the page she’d flagged with a Post-it note, to the story in this collection that teased her some days, haunted her others. How many times had she read this damn story, looking for clues to her own history? The title seemed to both mock and entice her. “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Did Washington Irving have any idea, when this story was published in 1820, how it would wend its way into the American psyche? How the legend of the headless horseman in this corner of New York and the disappearance of Ichabod Crane would spawn first speculation and later, movies?

She doubted it. No writer imagines that, even though Irving got a taste of it when he was alive, enjoying acclaim in the States and Europe. Abby flipped through the pages until she came to the first appearance of Katrina van Tassel, daughter of Baltus, one of the wealthiest men in Sleepy Hollow in the late 18th century. The Van Tassels were one of the founding families here, and when Ichabod arrived in 1799, Katrina immediately caught his attention.

And then he disappeared one October night. Irving left this event open to speculation. Was it the headless horseman that haunted the area since the Revolutionary War who caused it? Or a cruel joke perpetrated by another of Katrina’s suitors, Abraham van Brunt, known as Brom Bones? Regardless, Ichabod disappeared in Irving’s story and from the historical record, leaving behind the legend of the headless horseman. And, Abby thought, lots and lots of questions.

She got out of the car, still holding the book, and stretched. Though the late afternoon sun was warm, she grabbed her sweatshirt out of the back seat and put it on. This late in October, Abby knew the evening would be cool. Her laptop bag was on the floor behind the driver’s seat and she slipped the book into it then slung the bag over her shoulder and locked the car.

An elderly man strolled past with a tiny dog dressed in an equally tiny blue sweater. He nodded at her and she smiled back. The dog glanced once at her, but clearly wasn’t interested in stopping for a pat from a stranger. It had other business to conduct, like sniffing a nearby tree, whose leaves were a blaze of fall colors.

Abby approached the historical society and hesitated at the front door, her attention caught by a poster hanging on it below the open sign. The poster advertised the Sleepy Hollow Halloween festival, which was this weekend. The graphics included a creepy bridge, jack o’ lanterns, and a galloping horse whose rider had no head. She stared at it for a few moments and thought about Washington Irving, writing the story that would be the root of all of this hype, and the cause of her current fascination with American folklore. She wondered, if the horseman weren’t tied up in her own family’s history, would she care as much about Sleepy Hollow and its history? Probably not.

A soft tone like a doorbell sounded somewhere in the back, when Abby entered, but it wasn’t necessary because a woman stood at the counter, engaged with a stack of papers. She wore a faded denim shirt and her dark hair, streaked with gray, was pulled back from her face.

The woman looked up over the rims of her reading glasses and smiled. “Hi, there. How can I help you?” She took her glasses off and set them on the counter.

“Hi. I’m Abby Crane.” Abby unfastened the clasp of her bag. “I made an appointment a month ago to do some research here and I confirmed with someone—I think it was Robert—on Monday.” She pulled a business card out of her bag and handed it over.

“Of course. Ms. Crane.” The woman picked up the card and glanced at it. “Tabitha.” She looked back at Abby. “There’s a name you don’t see every day.”

“It has yet to make a comeback,” Abby said with a smile. She got a comment every time, when people realized her full name wasn’t Abigail.

“It’s a lovely name.” She set the card on the counter. “You made the original appointment with me. I’m Luanne, but most everybody calls me Lu. How was your drive?”

“Fine. I just thought I’d come by before you closed to introduce myself.” Abby re-fastened her bag.

“You didn’t have to do that, but I do appreciate it. Where are you staying?”

“The Maple Tree Inn.”

Lu smiled again. “Then you’ve already met Eleanor. She volunteers here. A font of information about local lore.” The phone rang. “One moment,” she said.

Abby nodded as Lu answered and used the time Lu was talking to have a look around. The interior of the building was sleek and modern, unlike its brick exterior. This was an older building, completely refurbished, and painted in a ubiquitous museum-style shade of white, but the track lighting created a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Several display cases decorated the adjoining room, some on the walls and larger ones in the middle of the room. All but one held historic artifacts, including tools, daily implements, and explanatory cards that provided provenance and significance in the community. Sleepy Hollow was closely linked to Tarrytown. North Tarrytown had actually renamed itself Sleepy Hollow in 1999 in honor of Washington Irving’s story. But the focus in this room was on the agricultural and manufacturing base of the city, made ideal because the Hudson River was so close. Plus, its natural beauty had drawn lots of people, including the elite. The Rockefellers had a house here.

The remaining display cases focused on prehistory, and included artifacts from the local Indian tribe that had occupied the area prior to white settlement. They’d done a good job setting it up, Abby thought. Someone had put a lot of thought into the choice of artifacts and how to display them, as well as what to write in the descriptions. It was better than some larger museums she’d been to.

She was about to go into the second room when Lu joined her.

“We’ve tried to ensure that we don’t forget the people who were here in this area before us.” Lu motioned at the prehistory case. “We maintain relationships with current tribes, and they graciously send us people to give talks throughout the year. Always well-attended, I might add.” Lu slipped her hands into the back pockets of her jeans. “History is important in places like this. Many of the people currently living here can trace their roots back to the original settlement. And a few can trace to a tribe.” A smile twitched at the corner of Lu’s lips. “People are people,” she said. “They tend to mix and mingle no matter what the conventional wisdom suggests. Of course, it’s very different in some ways here now. We’re a bedroom community for people who commute into Manhattan, but we’re pleased that we’ve been able to maintain a small town sort of ethos.”

Abby smiled back. She liked Lu’s vibe. Professional but approachable. Abby guessed she, too, was serious about history. “Who did the displays here? They’re great.”

“All of us had a hand in them. Robert and Eleanor and a few other volunteers helped me with the artifacts. Robert’s better with turns of phrase, so he did most of the informational cards. I did the brunt of the arranging within the cases.”

Abby nodded. “They’re really excellent.”

“Good to know that graduate degree in museum studies I got paid off, eh?” Lu winked at her.

“So you’re saying there’s hope for me outside academia?”

Lu grinned. “You never know where life will take you. At any rate, the materials you’ve requested we keep in the vault.” She laughed at Abby’s expression. “That’s what we call it. It’s our climate controlled storage area. We bring materials up to the reading room.”

“Wow. Could I see the storage area?”

“Certainly. Tomorrow morning. Go ahead and finish looking around. I have to do a few things before we close up. Let me know if you’d like a more in-depth explanation of anything.”

“Thanks.”

Lu returned to the counter and Abby walked slowly through the second room, which led to a small third room that was designed for showing films. Six long carpeted benches faced a blank screen. A sign explained that the movie—a documentary that provided an overview of the history of the area—showed every hour at the top of the hour and lasted twenty minutes. The last showing was at four each afternoon. Abby had arrived at four-thirty. Sometimes the short films at historical societies were informative. Other times, not so much. Maybe some day she’d do a documentary on Sleepy Hollow, and it would show here, too.

She moved to the display cases that she hadn’t seen. One held her attention. “Ghostly Legends,” the sign on this case said. A pen-and-ink drawing in the style of the eighteenth century depicted a man on a black horse. He was dressed in a uniform—presumably for war—and he held a long sword. The information card next to the drawing provided a short paragraph about him, and referred to him as “The Hessian.”

Abby knew the legend by heart. This particular Hessian soldier had come to the Sleepy Hollow area, where he fought for American forces against the British in the Revolutionary War. He died, the legend suggested, when his head was shot off by a cannon ball during a battle and he rode after death, the headless horseman of Sleepy Hollow. She studied the drawing, but there was no indication in the man’s features that he was the type of guy to ride long after death looking for his missing head. She’d always wondered why he’d want it back after a cannon ball got through with it. Seemed like a wasted effort. But there was no accounting for the motivations of ghosts, or, more importantly, the development of a great story.

She took the book out of her bag and reread Irving’s description of Ichabod’s encounter with the horseman. Gigantic in height, Irving had written, and the horseman’s head rested on the pommel of his saddle. That’s what he had thrown at Ichabod, the story went, and it hit him and then…he was gone, from the legend and the historical record.

Abby put the book back into her bag. The other ghostly legends included references to the Hollow as a place brimming with paranormal activity since the Dutch settled it. Another suggested an Indian medicine man may have been responsible for imbuing the area with lots of otherworldly powers. Regardless, the information cards said, “rumors of spectral sightings and strange occurrences are woven into the fabric of Sleepy Hollow.”

Which made for a fascinating community study for her dissertation – how certain places were shaped by beliefs in paranormal phenomena that had become part of the local and regional history. It helped, of course, that she had an ancestor who was part of one of those legends.

Abby returned to the counter. “Thanks,” she said to Lu. “See you tomorrow.” She turned to go.

“Do you have plans for dinner?”

Abby stopped and looked over in surprise. “No, not really.”

“Would you like to join me and Eleanor for a bite? You can get an earful of local lore. Some of it is true.” She smiled.

“Sure.”

“Wonderful. How about in an hour? You can walk to the restaurant with Eleanor. It’s only a couple blocks from the Maple Tree.”

“Sounds great. Thank you so much.” Abby started for the front door, guessing that Lu probably wanted to close up.

“We historian-types love to chat each other up. See you soon.” She closed the door behind Abby and flipped the sign to “Closed.”

Abby returned to her car, but she didn’t get in right away. Instead, she stood and admired the town. She looked back toward downtown, thinking that this could be a classic New England village postcard. A group of kids with backpacks had congregated outside what looked like a bakery across the street. Abby estimated them as junior-high age. Some of the trees that lined the street still retained their fall colors, rich reds and yellows trembling in the breeze. As Abby watched, a few let go of their moorings and fell to the sidewalks and street.

Banners for the annual Halloween festival hung over the streets, attached to the black Victorian-style lampposts on either side. The closest one included a black horse rearing up on its hind legs in the banner’s center, and its black-clothed rider held a leering jack-o’-lantern in his upraised hand. The rider had no head. A chill shot down her spine, a sense of expectation and something else she couldn’t name.

“Will you stay for the celebration?” Lu asked, and Abby tore her gaze away from the picture on the banner to look at her. She had put on a jean jacket and had a backpack slung over one shoulder. She gripped the handles of a tote bag filled with books in one hand.

“I was planning on it, yes.”

“It’s quite a spectacle. Sort of a combined harvest festival and nod to Samhain, and we do have quite a frightening haunted house here in town. We have our own addition, of course.” Lu looked at the banner. “The rider begins his rounds usually around eight-thirty or nine, so the younger kids can get a look at him before they go to bed. Depending on who it is, he’ll ride for an hour or two, though a couple we’ve had in the past have gone a little longer than that.”

“You mean you actually have a headless horseman?” Abby glanced at the banner again.

“Of course. It’s Sleepy Hollow, after all. One of the locals volunteers every year.”

“Where does he ride?” That was something she wanted to see. It would be a great addition to her research. A legend kept alive by a town’s culture.

“All over. Mostly the outskirts, and through the real Sleepy Hollow glen. We’re named for that, which is where all manner of ghostly things are alleged to happen. As I’m sure you know.”

“Has anybody ever seen the real horseman?”

Lu gave her a mischievous smile. “Before or after he died?”

Abby grinned. “After.”

“Yes. People have been seeing him since the Revolutionary War.” Lu adjusted the backpack. “At least, they claim they’ve seen him. Others say they’ve heard his horse, galloping through the Hollow. They all lived to tell about it, clearly.”

“Not all,” Abby said and she looked up at the banner again. “According to legend.” She turned her gaze back to Lu.

“Well, yes. There was one who disappeared, according to legend.” Lu’s expression turned quizzical. “Tabitha Crane,” she said, as if testing the way it sounded. “I wondered when you first called to set up the appointment. What’s your relationship to Ichabod?”

“He was a brother of my father’s direct ancestor. A great-great-great-great uncle to me or something like that.”

“Doing a bit of family history, then, in addition to your community study?”

“I thought it might be interesting, to see if I could find anything along those lines.” She’d wondered, actually, most of her life what had happened to Ichabod.

“Well, you’re in luck. Eleanor has been through our collection of the Van Tassel papers dozens of times.”

“And the Van Brunt?”

Lu smiled. “We do have quite a bit of their papers, too. Eleanor helped catalogue them, but she’s more familiar with the Van Tassel collection. But even in terms of the Van Brunt papers, she can probably point you in any direction you’d like to go.”

“That would be great.”

“And she loves talking history. You’ll see for yourself. At any rate, I’ll see you at the restaurant. I have to run home and drop a few things off.” Lu lifted the tote bag just as an SUV drove past and its driver honked and waved at Lu, who waved back with her free hand. Abby caught a glimpse of the driver—female—and her dark hair and a flash of a smile.

Small towns, Abby thought. Everybody knew everybody else. “See you in a bit,” she said to Lu as she opened her car and put her bag on the floor behind the driver’s seat. She was looking forward to being able to walk most of the time while she was here, to get a real feel for the place. She slowly backed out of the space and headed down Main Street, toward downtown.

Meet the Author

http://i0.wp.com/bookenthusiastpromotions.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/me-n-hat.jpg

Andi Marquette is a native of New Mexico and Colorado and an award-winning mystery, science fiction, and romance writer. She also has the dubious good fortune to be an editor who spent 15 years working in publishing, a career track that sucked her in while she was completing a doctorate in history. She is co-editor of All You Can Eat: A Buffet of Lesbian Erotica and Romance. Her most recent novels are Day of the Dead, the Goldie-nominated finalist The Edge of Rebellion, and the romance From the Hat Down, a follow-up to the Rainbow Award-winning novella, From the Boots Up.

When she’s not writing novels, novellas, and stories or co-editing anthologies, she serves as both an editor for Luna Station Quarterly, an ezine that features speculative fiction written by women and as co-admin of the popular blogsite Women and Words. When she’s not doing that, well, hopefully she’s managing to get a bit of sleep.

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The Secret’s out!

Hey, peeps! GUESS WHAT????

You can now buy my latest short (for me) novel, The Secret of Sleepy Hollow!

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Where can you buy this, you ask?

EXCLUSIVELY at Ylva Publishing. And then it’ll spread like a fungus (or something) to even more sites next week. But for now,

HIT THIS LINK RIGHT HERE.

There’s even an excerpt over there.

What’s it about, you ask before you go flinging over to Ylva. WELL! Here’s the handy synopsis:

Tabitha “Abby” Crane, a doctoral student working on her thesis, doesn’t allow herself much time outside academia. Fortunately, she’s managed to squeeze in a research trip over Halloween weekend to the historical society of Sleepy Hollow, New York, where she hopes to uncover new research on the notorious town’s most infamous legend—that of the headless horseman. But she has a personal stake in this trip: Abby’s own ancestor, Ichabod Crane, disappeared mysteriously over two hundred years ago, perhaps at the hands of the ghostly horseman.

Abby has no reason to expect anything of Sleepy Hollow beyond immersing herself in archival collections and enjoying its Halloween festivities, but then she crosses paths with Katie, who makes her head spin and her heart pound. When Katie invites her on a nighttime visit to the glen where the horseman allegedly rides, Abby can’t say no, upending her plans for a quiet research retreat. And when Abby and Katie, who has her own ties to the famous story, find what may be the key to the disappearance of Ichabod Crane all those years ago, love, legend, and magic intermingle, making clear that Sleepy Hollow has plans of its own for yet another Crane.

Want to know a little more? Awesome. I was interviewed at HEA USAToday about this very book. GO SEE.

Need more convincing? Here I am yakking with colleague Jove Belle about it, and doing a reading.

(Linkie, in case SoundCloud decides to hate on us.)

ANYWAY! Hope you enjoy this latest demonstration of my crazy and regardless of what you’re reading or who,

Happy reading, happy writing, happy Friday!

News n’ stuff

Greetings, dahlings!

Let’s have some news n’ stuff.

First, a call for submissions! My co-conspirator R.G. Emanuelle and I are doing an anthology that’s a continuation of sorts to our Lambda and Goldie finalist anthology, All You Can Eat: A Buffet of Lesbian Romance and Erotica.

The forthcoming anthology is called Order Up: A Menu of Lesbian Romance and Erotica. Behold:
cover_A_Order-Up_500x800

AND GUESS WHAT? There’s still time to submit a story!

We chatted with Ylva and bumped the publishing schedule. So SEND US YOUR STORIES! The new deadline is January 15, 2016. HERE’S THE CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS. NOTE the new email address.

And speaking of Ylva, I just signed a Halloween-ish short-ish novel with them. It’ll be out around Halloween (duh). We’re still working on a cover and hopefully that’ll be done pretty darn soon so you can get all in the mood and stuff.

For now, you’ll have to settle for the synopsis (also at the link above):

Tabitha “Abby” Crane, a doctoral student working on her thesis, doesn’t allow herself much time outside academia. Fortunately, she’s managed to squeeze in a research trip over Halloween weekend to the historical society of Sleepy Hollow, New York, where she hopes to uncover new research on the notorious town’s most infamous legend—that of the headless horseman. But she has a personal stake in this trip: Abby’s own ancestor, Ichabod Crane, disappeared mysteriously over two hundred years ago, perhaps at the hands of the ghostly horseman.

Abby has no reason to expect anything of Sleepy Hollow beyond immersing herself in archival collections and enjoying its Halloween festivities, but then she crosses paths with Katie, who makes her head spin and her heart pound. Katie too has her own ties to the famous story. When the two women find what may be the key to the disappearance of Ichabod Crane so long ago, it becomes clear that Sleepy Hollow has plans of its own for yet another Crane.

Also, I have a couple of other things in the works that involve another novel before the end of the year and something to do with one of my series. Hope you stay tuned for that.

In the meantime, tell all your friends who write F/F to submit a story to me and R.G.! WOOOO!

Happy Monday!

Discovering Delilah with Melissa Foster

HI, DARLINGS!

So today I’m helping my author colleague Melissa Foster get the word out about her latest offering in her Harborside Nights series, the F/F romance Discovering Delilah. JUST RELEASED last week. Below, you will find ALL THE FREAKING INFORMATION YOU COULD POSSIBLY NEED FOR THIS. Keep scrolling down and you’ll find a link for a Rafflecopter giveaway. OMG go see!

So have fun flinging through here and show Melissa some luv.

Happy Thursday, happy reading!

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blog tour

Book Title: Discover Delilah
Author: Melissa Foster
Genre: New Adult F/F Romance
Release Date: July 9, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

Goodreads Button with Shadow

Book Blurb

HARBORSIDE NIGHTS is a sexy, hot, and evocatively real New Adult Romance series that follows a group of friends who have known one another for years as “summer” friends, and now come together after college to build their lives. They’re tough, edgy, and accepting–most of the time. Catching Cassidy is written in the loving, raw, and emotional voice readers have come to love by New York Times & USA Today bestselling, award-winning author Melissa Foster.
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DISCOVERING DELILAH is an #LGBT New Adult Romance
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After the death of her parents on the day of her college graduation, Delilah Armstrong thought she could finally follow her heart and come out to her closest friends, but the guilt of going against her parents’ beliefs haunts her. The feelings she has for her best friend, Ashley, are stronger than anything she’s felt before, but Delilah has never even kissed a girl, and fear stops her at every turn.
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Ashley Carver promised herself that she would never again date another girl who wasn’t out, but that was before she met intoxicatingly sweet and sexy Delilah.
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When another girl offers to teach Delilah the ropes, it changes Delilah’s whole world and gives her the courage to go after the only girl she really wants. But coming out isn’t as easy as Delilah imagined, and moving past her parents’ death and the feelings of guilt she is left with is even harder. The intense passion between Ashley and Delilah is too strong to deny, but coming together means risking everything.
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Discovering Delilah is an edgy, evocative, romantic story of friendship, family, and the courage to love.
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COMING soon the full Harborside Nights series:
Catching Cassidy (Het)
Discovering Delilah (F/F)
Tempting Tristan (M/M)
Chasing Charley (Het)
Breaking Brandon (M/M)
Embracing Evan (Het)
Reaching Rusty (Het)
Loving Livi (Het)

Characters from the Love in Bloom series will appear in the Harborside Nights books.

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Teaser

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Meet the Author

Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author.She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance, new adult, contemporary women’s fiction, suspense, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Her books have been recommended by USA Today’s book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the World Literary Café and Fostering Success. When she’s not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on Fostering Success. Melissa has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine.
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Visit Melissa on social media. Melissa enjoys discussing her books with book clubs and reader groups, and welcomes an invitation to your event.

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Book Blitzin’ with Lesbians on the Loose!

Lesbians on the loose book blitz

Hey, peeps! So I have a longish short story published in the BRAND NEW ANTHOLOGY Lesbians on the Loose: Crime Writers on the Lam. My story is called “The Falcone Maltese,” and it’s the first YA piece I’ve published. In the story, our intrepid high school sleuth Nattie Brew sets out to solve a dog-napping of a prize Maltese show dog from the Falcone household. It helps, of course, that Jo Falcone is a classmate of Nattie’s. And Nattie’s current crush. Join Nattie as she tries to solve the dastardly deed and maybe catch Jo’s eye in the process. See below for an excerpt.

So go have a look at the goodies!

Book Blitz

51pxSz1jhZLBook Title: Lesbians on the Loose: Crime Writers on the Lam
Editors: Lori L. Lake and Jessie Chandler
Genre: Lesbian Mystery Anthology
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

These tales of murder, mayhem, and suspense will keep you up way past your bedtime!

The lesbians on the loose in this collection are an entertaining mix of protagonists: cops, amateur sleuths, a PI, a judge, a bounty hunter, and one very insightful dog. There’s even an intrepid high schooler and a mystery writer.

Despite greed and grief, rage and revenge, secrets and lies, many of the stories feature humor from a variety of characters trying to find their way in a difficult world–cops who’ve seen too much, revenge seekers, and women who want justice for themselves and others.

You won’t regret going on the lam with these terrific writers: Elizabeth Sims, Carsen Taite, SY Thompson, Andi Marquette, Linda M. Vogt, VK Powell, Kate McLachlan, Lori L. Lake, Lynn Ames, Sandra de Helen, Jen Wright, Sue Hardesty, Jessie Chandler, J.M. Redmann, and Katherine V. Forrest

excerpt

Excerpt from The Falcone Matese by Andi Marquette

“Did you hear? One of Mrs. Falcone’s show dogs is missing.” Fred lowered his voice to sound like he was all conspiratorial or something. “Big city problems come to a small town. Next thing you know, we’ll be the center of a missing dog black market.” He was currently going through a Duran Duran phase, as evidenced by his mass of messy hair streaked with blue, black Simon LeBon pants, as he called them, and modish black boots. He wore a deep red button-down shirt and a black skinny tie. The Union Jack took up the bottom half of the tie. His book bag also had a Union Jack on it, along with several pins of bands he liked.

“That’s majorly bogus. Which dog?” Nattie took her biology book and notebook out of her locker. She feigned only passing interest but she thought immediately of Jo, Mrs. Falcone’s daughter, and one of Nattie’s classmates. And also her current crush. She glanced at the lockers next to her to make sure nobody was listening to their conversation. The locker to her right was open and the inside of the door was plastered with various sheets of paper that said “Seniors Kick Ass” and “Class of ’85” in different colors though this was the juniors’ hall. The locker’s owner had a crush on a senior boy.

“Giorgio. But they call him Gigi. The paper said if you see him running around, try calling him with both names.”

“How did it happen?” Nattie asked.

“Cops said somebody broke in.”

Nattie closed the locker door with her foot. “So the dog was stolen.”

“Way.” He twirled his sunglasses in one hand.

Nattie shoved a pen into her back pocket next to her comb. “Who would steal a dog out of somebody’s house?” And in this town, where everybody knew everybody else?

“Therein lies the mystery.” He leaned in, like he was about to share a major secret. “You should totally take the case. Nattie Brew, Detective at Large.”

She laughed. “Oh, right. Because I didn’t get in enough trouble the last time.”

“Since when has that ever stopped you?”

“Since I was totally grounded for a month.”

“This is different. You probably wouldn’t have to break into anything. Plus,” he added with a smirk, “I’m sure you’ll have Jo Falcone’s undying gratitude.” He pretended to swoon.

Nattie’s cheeks flared with heat. “Shut up.”

“Undying gratitude,” he repeated, grinning.

“Fred—”

“Hey, fag. This hall is now for seniors. Not butt ugly faggy juniors.”

Nattie’s stomach clenched. Josh Jacobs was a major dickweed. And always with a few other dickweeds from the football team. Three, today, and they all guffawed at the insult.

Fred gave him an “oh, please” look. “Really? That’s the best you can do?”

Josh’s fake smile disappeared. “Flamer.” He shoved Fred hard, knocking him into the locker next to Nattie’s.

Several other students stopped to watch.

“Takes one to know one,” Fred said..

The crowd uttered a collective “ohhh” in acknowledgement of a good comeback.
Josh reached for him. “Piece of—”

“Leave him alone,” Nattie said. Her voice didn’t sound as scared as she felt. Her knees were shaking.

Josh turned, puzzled, as if it never occurred to him that anybody would say anything. “What?”

“Leave him alone. Go waste somebody else’s time.” Her heart pounded in her ears and she forced herself not to run down the hall.

He glared, his hands clenched into fists. “You a fag, too?”

“Not likely, since ‘fag’ is an insult most often applied to guys. Or, in England, a term used for cigarettes.”

Several students snickered. Josh shifted his glare to the small crowd. The giggles died immediately.

“Is there a problem here?”

Nattie’s knees almost buckled in relief as Mr. Grafton approached from his classroom down the hall.

“No,” Josh said.

Mr. Grafton looked at Nattie.

“Not anymore,” she said.

Fred shook his head.

“All right,” Mr. Grafton said. “Everybody get to class.”

Josh gave Nattie a final glare before he walked away, his posse of teammates right behind him.

Nattie looked at Fred and they stared for a moment before bursting into nervous laughter.

“Major dickweed.” Fred adjusted his bag and smoothed the front of his shirt.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah. You’re so big and strong,” he teased. “Jo will totally appreciate it.”

Nattie rolled her eyes. “Be careful, okay?”

“I’ll just run and find you. Nobody messes with you ’cause of your dad.” He batted his eyes.

“If that’s what it takes.” She gave his arm a gentle squeeze. Nattie rarely talked about her dad at school, but everybody knew he was with the sheriff’s department. She never talked about her mom, either, who had died when she was a toddler.

“Gotta go,” Fred said. “Catch you later.”

She watched him, since Josh was right down the hall leaning against a locker. But he was busy hanging all over—Nattie stared a few more moments—Pam Howard? Pam was back with that jerkoff? Gag. She checked to make sure Fred had gotten past Josh then went to class.

“Hey, Nattie,” Jo said as Nattie approached the door to the biology classroom. She was leaning against the wall, holding her books in front, flat against her waist. She wore her basic Jo uniform, as Nattie categorized it. Loose jeans pegged at the ankles above her black high top Chucks and a light blue T-shirt rolled up at the sleeves. She also wore a men’s black vest over her shirt, which added to her boyish look but in a good way. She’d started streaking her dark hair blonde in the front, which only made her cuter.

“Hi.” Nattie hoped she sounded calm and cool.

“Got a sec?” Jo pushed off the wall.

“Yeah.” Ohmigod.

Jo stepped away from the doorway and the students filing in. She moved closer and lowered her voice. “My mom’s best show dog was stolen.”

“I know. I heard. I’m really sorry.”

“Um. So, do you think you could help find him? I mean, if you want to. I wouldn’t want you to get in trouble or anything.”

Nattie stared at her.

“I mean, after the last time you solved something, I wasn’t sure I should ask, but you’re really good at finding stuff, so—”

“Yes,” she said, and immediately regretted it, but only a little. Her dad didn’t have to know.

Jo grinned. “Really? Awesome. Could you come over after school today?”

“Uh—” Nattie had never been inside Jo’s house and the thought made her nervous, but giddy, too.

“To see where it happened. The scene of the crime.”

“Oh, yeah.”

“Awesome. Meet me after school by the parking lot.”

Nattie followed her in and took a seat on the opposite side of the room. Jo sat nearer the back, and Nattie wished the order was reversed so she could see her during class. She opened her notebook and started listing potential suspects in Giorgio’s dognapping and possible motives. Jo would have some ideas, too. She shoved the other thoughts she had of Jo out of her mind. This was an investigation, after all.

Meet the Editors

Lori L. Lake – In addition to writing books, Lori teaches fiction writing courses and workshops, most recently for The Oregon Writers Colony and The Golden Crown Literary Society. She lives in Portland, Oregon, where she is currently at work on a romance, the fifth Gun Series book, an historical anthology, and the first book in a writing guide series called SPARKING CREATIVITY: WORDS OF WISDOM TO INSPIRE YOUR WRITING CRAFT. For more information, see her website at http://www.LoriLLake.com.

Jessie Chandler is the award-winning author of the Shay O’Hanlon Caper series. Her debut novel, Bingo Barge Murder, was a finalist for a Goldie and won the Golden Crown Ann Bannon Popular Choice Award. Hide and Snake Murder, the second novel in the series, won a Golden Crown Goldie Award, and an IPPY–Independent Publisher Book Award for LGBT fiction. Hide and Snake Murder and the third in the series, Pickle in the Middle Murder, were both finalists, and Chip Off the Ice Block Murder, the fourth Shay O’Hanlon book, won the LGBT fiction category of the 2014 USA Book Awards. Chip Off the Ice Block Murder was also a finalist in the mystery category of the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards.

Chandler lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her wife and two mutts, Fozzy Bear and Ollie. In the fall and winter, Jessie writes, and spends her summers selling T-shirts and other assorted trinkets to unsuspecting conference and festival goers.

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There you go! All kinds of goodies n’ stuff! Hope you decide to check it out! Happy Sunday!

Land of Entrapment has left the building.

HI, PEEPS!

Well, I made a boo-boo and didn’t make this announcement last month like I should have. It’s an issue of me screwing up release dates versus publication dates and DUHHHHH. So I didn’t get to issue you fair warning on this. :/

ANYWAY! This is one of the things I’ve been up to.

My first mystery, Land of Entrapment, is no longer available for sale.

You heard that right. Land of Entrapment is no more, at least not as a new book. It has retired gracefully, as all authors hope their work does.

There may be a few new copies still floating around out there, but soon, you will only be able to purchase it used, at least for now.

OMG ANDI NOOOOOOO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN HOW CAN I GO ON I’M LOST WITHOUT THAT BOOK AND MY ENTIRE WORLD IS CRUMBLING BEFORE MY EYES SOMEBODY GET ME A BAG I’M HYPERVENTILATING NO WAIT MAYBE SCOTCH OMG…

It’s okay. You’ll be okay. How do I know this? Because this is part of my secret news (that is no longer secret, obviously):

I’m rebooting it!

That means I’m re-writing it and will be re-issuing it in the coming months. I’m tentatively hoping to do that in the summer of 2016. It could happen earlier, but I have other things I’m working on that I will tell you about in the coming days, so the summer of 2016 is more realistic.

So keep an eye out for Land of Entrapment 2.0.

Also, as a heads up, you should REALLY go get your copies of State of Denial before November. Seriously. Stock up. I’m not kidding.

Just sayin’.

In the meantime, I would like to extend a huge thank you to the crew at Regal Crest Enterprises, who published Land of Entrapment back in 2008. It’s my first published novel, and I am so grateful that RCE took a chance on an unknown and consequently untested author. I feel like I’ve got some experience under my belt now, and that I’m not untested.

And readers, I couldn’t have done this without you. I was frankly a little worried about how Land of Entrapment would be received, that it wouldn’t resonate with anybody, and that the posse I enjoyed spending so much time with would languish. Readers, you totally allayed my fears, and LoE (its nickname) found a place among you.

I hope you’ll give the reboot a chance, too. Regardless, thank you so much for all of your support over the years. It’s meant the world to me.

So hang in there, dear readers! LoE will return, rested and dusted off.

Happy Wednesday!

Thanks for the memories! Catch you on the flipside!
Thanks for the memories! Catch you on the flipside!

Land of Entrapment is dead! Long live Land of Entrapment!

Fancy book blitz

Hi, everybody–well, I’m doing a book blitz with fancy things like covers and playlists and synopses and all of that hoopla. THANKS to Debra at Book Enthusiast Promotions and Jove Belle for banners. 😀

So below, you will find some things to see, read, and listen to.

Have fun!

From the Hat Down Book Blitz

Book Blitz

22430680Book Title: From the Hat Down
Author: Andi Marquette
Genre: Lesbian Romance
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Synopsis

Meg Tallmadge is a veterinarian at a clinic in Laramie, Wyoming. She’s got a great job, great friends, deep ties to the family ranch, and big plans for her vet future. Sure, there are bumps in the road, like her mom’s continued denial about who Meg is and her painful and infuriating attempts to make Meg a “proper” woman. Then there’s Meg’s recent breakup with a girlfriend, which has her wondering why she can’t seem to open up to relationships. But Meg knows that life is messy, and sometimes all you can do is get through and shake it off. What she can’t seem to shake off, however, is her past.

It’s been almost ten years to the day since she met the love of her life, and about eight since she let her go. Meg has a hard time admitting that maybe she didn’t really let go, and that maybe some things you never really get over, no matter how hard you try. But her past is half a world away, caught up in her own life, relationship, and journalism career, and Meg isn’t one to chase the ghosts of past relationships. Even if they send you a birthday card and nudge what you thought were the closed-off parts of your heart. After all, second chances are the stuff of fantasies and movies where the good guy always gets a happy ending. You can’t count on something like that.

Or can you?

Contains adult sexual situations.

excerpt
From the Hat Down by Andi Marquette, © 2014
Excerpt – CHAPTER 1

May, 2009

Meg sipped her coffee and stared at the three boxes stacked next to her front door, and guilt tugged her thoughts. They’d been there a couple of months now, reminders of her break-up with Kate. She’d called Kate last week, to set up a time to pick them up and Kate, ever the organized and conscientious type, had asked apologetically if she could collect the boxes later, as she was just starting a new job and trying to get settled in her own place in Fort Collins. Barely an hour south. But the distance between them was much more than that. Meg had agreed. The least she could do was give Kate the space to get her stuff when she could. Meg had offered to drive it down a few weeks ago, but Kate wouldn’t hear of it, though she said she appreciated that. Meg knew it was genuine. She’d been nice about it. She always was. It made Meg feel guilty for pushing her to pick the stuff up.

The boxes maintained their blank silence as she studied them. She had debated moving them into the bedroom she used as an office, but decided to just leave them by the door. Maybe they were penance, in some way. Reminders of a relationship gone sour, representatives of an ending.

She took another sip. Endings sucked. But in a weird way, they were pre-beginnings. You couldn’t have a beginning without an end, after all. She shifted her attention to the window, and the trees outside, past the covered front porch. Mid-May and many had finally leafed out, presaging summer. She looked at the boxes again and a wave of sadness washed through her chest. She swallowed it with a gulp of coffee just as her Blackberry rang with a particular tone. She smiled as she pulled it off her belt. “Hey, fellow vet person. What’s up?”

“Hi, Doctor Horse Chick,” came Sean’s goofy nickname for her. She had a way of stringing words together in unique combinations that somehow ended up making perfect sense. “Just checking to be sure you remember that I’ll be in your fabulous Laramie Tuesday doing a most awesome lecture on holistic approaches to large four-legged domestic animals.”

Meg almost snorted coffee through her nose. “Approaching, say, cows holistically? Like, with new-age lassos? Do you tie a crystal on the end?”

“No. Incense,” she retorted with a “duh” tone.

Meg laughed. “And what kind of incense might make a cow even more catatonic than some of them already are?”

“Sandalwood. Maybe jasmine. I haven’t tried that one yet. Patchouli makes them grow dreads and crave reggae.”

“Bob Moo-ley,” Meg said, trying not to giggle.

“Oh, hell no. I cannot believe you just said that.” Sean started laughing. “‘No woman, no cud’ is their fave tune.”

Meg grinned and set her nearly empty coffee cup on the topmost box. “Are you bringing one of these dreadlocked bovines to your lecture? I’m sure the students would appreciate it.”

“Whatever. They’re all serious cowboy-types up there. Maybe I could get a cow to wear a ten-gallon Stetson. Though you look better in Stetsons than any cow. Than any human-types, actually.”

“Well, it is the head covering of choice in this state.” She nudged a box with the toe of her boot. “So you still want to stop by when you’re done?”

“Is there wind in Wyoming? And that’s a rhetorical question, by the way,” Sean said with teasing warmth.

“Wind? Here?” Meg asked in a “what are you talking about?” tone.

“Exactly my point.”

“Cool. Just come by the house.” She picked up her cup.

“Will do. I’ll call you if anything changes. Oh, speaking of seeing you—your birthday’s coming up,” she said in a sing-song tone.

Meg grimaced. “Don’t remind me. I’m trying to be low-key about it.”

“Please. You’re always low-key. Why not have a party? Just to shake things up a bit?”

She glanced at the boxes, then back out the window. “You know I’m not really the party kind. Besides, I’m going to the ranch that weekend. You and Ted want to come up? I’d be okay with a birthday barbecue.” She walked into the kitchen and rinsed her cup out with one hand and set it in the drying rack.

“I’d love to, but Ted’s brother is supposed to be coming through then. Damn. We want to at least take you out for dinner, though.” Sean sighed plaintively. “Since you won’t let me throw a massive street party for you, with a DJ and Chinese acrobats, will a small, painfully intimate dinner with me and Ted suffice?”

“Always,” Meg said, smiling. “I’ll check my schedule and we’ll talk more when I see you tomorrow.”

“Sounds good. Catch you later.”

“Yep. Hi to Ted.” Meg hung up and slid the phone back into its holder on her belt. She gave the boxes another hard stare then turned and walked down the hallway toward the two bedrooms at the rear of the house. The one she used as her office was to the right, her bedroom to the left. She went into her office to her leather satchel, which rested on her desk chair, flap open. She rummaged through it to make sure she had everything she needed for the day.

Another damn birthday. At least she’d get to spend it with her dad at the ranch. Meg dug around in her satchel, looking for her appointment book. She preferred the old-fashioned approach to keeping track of her schedule, though she did enter her patient appointments into her Blackberry, as well.

Where had she put the book? It wasn’t in its usual place in the satchel. She stopped her search in the satchel and looked at her desk. Ah. There it was. She reached across her desk for her appointment book, partially hidden beneath a veterinary journal. She moved the journal and picked up the appointment book, and her gaze lingered on the small wooden carving of a horse that stood nearby, next to her computer monitor. It held its head high, and its right front leg was raised, as if it was preparing to tear off across a prairie. The unknown artist had captured the moment between stillness and motion, that second in which muscles bunch and adrenaline surges before the physical form follows the urge.

Meg set the datebook back down and picked up the horse. She ran her fingertips over the smooth chocolate brown wood. The carving fit perfectly in her palm and she remembered when it had arrived in the mail from Argentina six years ago, a gift for her graduation from vet school at Colorado State. She studied the detail on its face, and on its mane and tail. The horse’s surface felt warm, as if it was generating its own heat. She closed her hand around it, remembering the small box it had come in, and how she’d felt when she saw the handwriting on the address label. She smiled, because she felt a little bit of that now.

She returned the horse to its place on her desk, wondering how its sender was, and if she might be thinking about her. Maybe she was even writing a card, getting ready to mail it. She always sent Meg a birthday card. Every year since they first met ten years ago, a week before Meg turned twenty-five. She stared at the horse for a while, a strange combination of longing and regret coloring her thoughts before she picked her datebook up and tossed it into her satchel. She slung the bag over her shoulder and headed for the front door.

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From the Boots Up FINAL 300 dpiBook Title: From the Boots Up
Author: Andi Marquette
Genre: Lesbian Romance (Novella)
From the Boots Up is a runner-up in the 2013 Rainbow Awards for best contemporary lesbian romance and best lesbian novel.

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Synopsis

Meg Tallmadge has more than enough on her plate. She’s finishing up a college degree, getting ready to apply to vet school, and working another summer with her dad, Stan, on the family ranch in southern Wyoming. He’s managed to get the Los Angeles Times to send a reporter out to do a story on the Diamond Rock, which doubles as a dude ranch. Meg knows the ranch needs all the publicity it can get to bring in more customers, but she’s not looking forward to babysitting a reporter for a week. When the originally scheduled reporter can’t make it, Meg worries that they won’t get a story at all, which is worse than dealing with a city slicker for a few days. Fortunately for Stan and the ranch, the Times finds a replacement, and Meg prepares to be under scrutiny, under the gun, and the perfect hostess. She knows what this opportunity means to her father, and she’s hoping that if it goes well, it’ll ease some of the distance between them that resulted when she came out a few months earlier.

What Meg’s not prepared for — and never expected — is the reporter herself and the effect she has on her. In spite of what she feels, Meg can’t risk the fallout that could result from overstepping a professional boundary. But as the week draws to a close, it becomes clear that not taking a chance could be the biggest risk of all.

NOTE: Contains F/F mature situations.

excerpt
From the Boots Up by Andi Marquette
Excerpt – Chapter One

May 1999

My weekend with Tex Hollis began when I pulled into the driveway of the Lazy T-Bar Ranch west of San Antonio. I knew this wouldn’t be an ordinary weekend when Tex cast a critical eye over my shorts, t-shirt, and tennis shoes. Two days later, I was as comfortable in jeans and boots as any of the buckaroos who spent their days in the saddle—

Meg laughed and tossed the magazine back onto her dad’s huge oak desk. She leaned back in her chair and braced one booted foot on the desk’s edge. “Tex Hollis,” she said, sarcastic. “Sounds like somebody out of a Longarm book.”

Stan looked at her over the top of his reading glasses. “And since when did you start reading that?”

She rolled her eyes at him. “Davey keeps a stash. He gave me one to read one night, thinking I’d like the ‘plot’.” She grinned wickedly. “The plot was way better than the sex.”

His eyes widened and she laughed.

“I told Davey that, and he never loaned me another one. I think I ruined one of his fantasies.” She pushed back farther, regarding him mischievously.

He cleared his throat. “Fantasy?”

“Please, Dad. You’re a guy. You were Davey’s age. You know what guys think about.”

His cheeks reddened and he started moving papers around on his desk. “If your mom heard that. . .” he said with exaggerated sternness.

“She’d lose her religion because I know about sex. It’d burst her bubble.” Meg moved her foot and let her chair legs fall to the floor with a thump. And then her mom would haul out her Bible and start talking about chastity.

“Well, moms were young women, too, and they don’t like to think about their daughters running wild with young guys.”

“You mean like Mom did with you?” She asked innocently.

The phone rang and he shot her a mock disapproving glare that dissolved into a smile before he answered. “Diamond Rock Ranch. This is Stan Tallmadge.” He clicked the mouse on the computer as he talked.

Meg reached across the desk for the magazine and flipped idly through it again before studying the cover. A copy of Spirit, from Southwest Airlines. A pair of worn cowboy boots with spurs stood on a workbench against a log cabin wall. A nice photo, for a stereotype.

She glanced up at him. From the conversation he was having, it sounded like the call was another reservation. They still had two spaces available for guests this month and she hoped the spots filled. This sounded like it would drop their space to one. Good.

She studied him then, noting the fine lines that spiderwebbed from the corners of his eyes and the deepening creases around his mouth. His hair, once as dark as a crow’s wing, had lightened to gray at his temples, though she often thought about him without the gray, her attempt to prevent him from aging.

The magazine cover advertised a story about Montana, and how people could get an “Old West” experience at a couple of dude ranches up there. She’d heard of them, and she wondered how the ranch owners had managed to get covered in Spirit. The Diamond Rock needed more coverage like that. Even more than what they’d get from the reporter who was coming out to bother them next week. She turned the page and a photo of a couple of men on horseback herding a few cattle caught her eye. One of the men looked like her dad. She glanced at him again as he continued to talk, doing the Diamond Rock spiel to the person on the other end.

Ranching was in his blood, just like it had been in his father’s and in his grandfather’s before him. No other place on earth would fire his spirit like Wyoming’s Medicine Bow Mountains. Meg knew that, and she knew that if he ever left, it would kill him, just as staying was slowly leaching the years from his bones as it got harder and harder to make ends meet, to get enough paying customers for the dude ranch experience even while he tried to work the ranch with fewer staff.

He looked at her, eyes the color of a summer thundercloud, like hers, she’d been told, and gave her a thumbs-up. She smiled and returned to her magazine, but she wasn’t really thinking about the article. She took after her father in demeanor and physical appearance, she knew, and it was a point of contention when her mother had lived there. But it was Stan who had made Irene “pert near crazy” with his stubborn streak and independent nature. Loyal to a fault, but unreachable in the deep down parts of his heart, he’d driven Irene right back to Kentucky nine years ago, when Meg was sixteen.

“All right,” he said. “Thanks for calling. We’ll see you next week.” He hung up, satisfied. “Full up.”

She grinned at him and placed the magazine back on his desk, relieved. “So when’s that reporter coming in?”

He leaned back in his chair and stroked his mustache thoughtfully. He looked like an old-style cowboy with it, especially when he wore his hat and duster. She thought he resembled Wyatt Earp.

“Hopefully next Friday, still. I got a call from the editor out there this morning and the writer she wanted broke her leg. So she’s trying to rustle someone else up on short notice.”

Meg hid her concern. It was already Wednesday. Next Friday was just over a week away. “Will she be able to get somebody else to come instead?” A story in the Los Angeles Times was too important. They needed the publicity.

“She’s working on it.” He tried to hide his own concern, too, but she read it in his eyes. “Might have to delay the story a little bit, if she can’t find anybody on short notice.”

“How long?”

He gave a little shrug. “She said maybe a couple extra weeks. Then there’s another window of opportunity in July. Which won’t be too bad.”

The dude ranching season pretty much ended here by mid-August as fall started creeping in over the mountains. Stan needed this publicity, because it wouldn’t only serve for this summer. It would continue for the next season, and the article would be on the Internet, so they could use it in more of their promo.

“Did she say who the reporter might be?” The one that had been scheduled was originally from Idaho, and Meg had talked to her briefly on the phone. She sounded nice, and she’d grown up in a ranching town, so Meg figured she’d “get” the Diamond Rock, and she’d be able to really nail that in her story.

“Nope.” He shrugged again. “I’m sure she’ll find someone who’ll do a fine job on the story. It’ll work out.”

“Hope so.”

He narrowed his eyes then. “And you’ll be damn hospitable. I don’t want to have to be telling your mom why the story that gets published in the Los Angeles Times is about somebody’s bad experience at the Diamond Rock.”

“Why would you even think that?” She looked at him, hurt.

“I know how you get,” he said, more gently. “You don’t suffer fools and, unfortunately, you’ve got some of your mom’s temper. But in this case, I need you to suffer.” He smiled at her. “No practical jokes on the greenhorn.”

Her mother’s voice echoed through her mind. “Damn it, Stan! Would you get that girl in hand?” She sighed. “I’m not sixteen anymore.”

“No, but twenty-four ain’t that far off.”

“Twenty-five.”

“Not yet, missy. Next week. And I can still turn you over my knee. So no bullshit. We need this publicity.” He tried to look forbidding but a twinkle danced in his eyes and she relaxed.

“Well, since I’m such a loose cannon, can I not be in charge of the reporter?” She didn’t mind playing babysitter, but if she didn’t have to, that was fine with her. She hoped whoever the Times lined up had at least a little outdoor experience.

“The way I see it, whoever they send will be here for a week and they’ll want a ‘full range’ of ranching experience, and they’ll observe and ask questions. They might or might not want a tour guide. And you’ll be an official Diamond Rock liaison, so every day, I expect you to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with the reporter. Just treat whoever it is like a regular registered guest. You’re good with that, hon. They really do like you. Don’t think of it as being under the microscope or something.”

“Great,” she said with a sigh. She imagined them all dressed up like on the set of Bonanza and she groaned softly.

“I know. It’s kind of a pain in the ass, because we do have to mind our manners even more, and you don’t know for sure what’s going to end up in print. We’ve got to make it so this reporter can’t resist writing a great story about the DR. In fact, we want this reporter to come back every chance he gets. Or she,” he corrected himself.

“I know. Don’t worry.” She reached over to the neighboring chair to retrieve her hat. “You don’t think whoever it is will be like the writer of this story”—she gestured at the magazine, “and change your name to something like ‘Slim Thompson’?” She was only half-teasing.

He pursed his lips, pretending to think. “I’m hoping for something like ‘Dutch Walters’. And maybe you’ll get to be ‘Cherry Goodnight’.”

Meg grabbed the Spirit magazine off the stack of papers and threw it playfully at him.

He caught it and tossed it onto the desk, chuckling. “You could change your middle name to Cherry before the reporter gets here. So there’d be some veracity there.”

She gave him a look and started to get up.

“Your mom called this morning,” he said, as he leaned back in his beat-up office chair. He folded his arms and regarded her with an expression that was a mixture of concerned dad but acceptance for whatever decision she might make.

She settled in her seat again, her Stetson in her lap. She rubbed her fingertips over the black felt, waiting. She got her stubborn streak from him, but hers was more pronounced. He’d told her she could outwait a rock.

“You need to talk to your mom more,” he said after a while. “She misses you.”

She didn’t answer. Instead, she studied the knotted pine wood on the walls behind his head. He waited a few more moments then leaned forward and picked up the copy of Spirit. He flipped through it as she had done earlier.

“She’s your mom,” he said, without looking up from the pages.

“She’s not really thrilled with me right now, as you know.” She watched for his reaction, but his expression didn’t change.

“So don’t talk about that.”

“That’s all she wants to talk about. It’s not like I make it a point to advertise my personal life.”

“Well.” He set the magazine aside and tugged at the hair above his right ear, something he did when he was really uncomfortable.

Meg wished she hadn’t told him, either. Wished she’d never said that the painful break-up she’d endured last fall was with a woman. Since then, he’d struggled with it, and some of their interactions were tinged with an unfamiliar stiffness.

“I’ll call her,” Meg relented.

“That’s my girl.” He said with obvious relief.

“But I drive her crazy. Even on the phone.” Her mom always asked whether Meg was seeing any nice young men at school and Meg would have to deflect those statements or tell her she was still getting over someone. Irene knew it had been a woman because Meg had told her, around the same time she’d told her dad. But since Irene had gone back to Kentucky, she’d found the Lord, and this particular Lord didn’t care much for gay people. Even those in your own family.

“She’s still your mom,” he said, tugging on his hair. “Find something you’re both interested in and keep the conversation there.”

“Yeah,” she said doubtfully. She stood up and put her hat on. “See you around, Dutchie.” She grinned at him and was out the door before he could toss the magazine after her.

She decided to put off the dreaded phone call and walked instead across the swath of hard-packed earth between Stan’s office and living space and the lodge, which had been the main ranch house before her grandfather had converted it in the fifties to accommodate space for kitchen and dining facilities that could have passed muster in a big-city restaurant. Stan had upgraded it two years ago. New appliances, better shelving, new pots and pans, new dishes. They’d even added a walk-in cooler. Alice, the chef and “Kitchen Queen,” as she called herself, more than approved of the changes. She’d been at the ranch since just before Meg’s mom had left, and she thought of her as family, now, like a favorite aunt.

She went in through the front, and the rich, heavy odor of cowboy chili greeted her, along with voices from the kitchen and the sound of a knife chopping something. She blinked in the dim dining room, after being out in the midday sun. Three long tables, decorated with blue-and-white checkered tablecloths, stood parallel to each other in the center of the big room. Each could seat fifteen on the benches, and some summers, they did. On rare occasions, they had to add another table. Meg hoped it was that kind of summer. The more paying guests, the happier her dad was.

She wiped her hands on her jeans and checked through the stack of mail on the closest table then went into the kitchen, through the swinging door that separated it from the dining room and entered Alice’s domain, which could rival something in one of those high-end cooking magazines.

“Hey, Meg,” said Anna, Alice’s prep cook, as she looked up from the cutting board on the island where she was chopping carrots.

“Hey.”

Alice emerged from the walk-in. “Hi, sweetie,” she said with a smile that, in conjunction with her swept-up hair, made her look like a glamorous 1940s actress, even when she had her cowboy duds on, as her dad called them. Jane Russell, Meg thought. That’s who Alice looked like, though her hair was a lighter color. She was in her late forties, now, but she was just as pretty as when she’d started working at the ranch. Alice always turned guys’ heads, but she was so down-to-earth that she didn’t seem to notice.

“Would you like a sandwich? You missed lunch.” She closed the walk-in door.

“Is the chili ready?” she asked hopefully.

“Not yet. Let me make you a sandwich.”

“Are you sure? I can just—”

She raised an eyebrow imperiously. “I am the Kitchen Queen. I have spoken. Go sit down.” She gestured at the counter by the back door.

“Yes, your majesty.” She walked around the island and hung her hat on one of the pegs by the door then sat down on one of the stools, her back to the counter so she could watch Alice and Anna. “We got another reservation.”

“Oh, good. I know your dad was worried about filling up,” Alice said as she sliced bread.

“He said that the reporter that was supposed to come broke her leg.”

She stopped slicing bread and looked over at her, concern written in the lines across her brow.

“The editor is trying to find another reporter who can come out on short notice.”

She went back to her sandwich making. “Well, that’s how journalists operate. They’re used to changes in plans.” Alice finished with the bread and started slicing part of a turkey breast. “How soon can the new one come?”

“They don’t know. I guess they’re trying to keep the same schedule, if they can find someone. But they might not be able to. So maybe the next couple of weeks or July.”

“Too bad. From what your dad said, the first one sounded like a good match for an assignment like this.” She spread deli mustard on one slice of bread and mayonnaise on the other then placed the slices of meat on the mayo piece and lettuce and tomato on the mustard piece. She’d add her “secret spices” next.

“Oh, and I’m not supposed to be an asshole.”

Anna snickered and Alice looked over at her, her lips twitching with a smile. She returned her gaze to Meg. “You’re hardly that.”

“Dad seems to think I am. He kind of makes me feel like I’m a teenager, still.”

“That’s his job as a parent. To make you feel like a teenager the rest of your life. And if it’s any consolation, you’re far from being a teenager. You’re your own woman. Just remember that to your dad, you’ll always be his little girl.”

“Then why is he freaking out that I’ll be an asshole to the reporter?”

“He’s just stressed, hon. He wants to make a good impression so the story gets a lot of attention.” She went over to one of the refrigerators and took out a jar of dill pickles.

“He thinks I have Mom’s temper and he thinks I don’t suffer fools. I guess he thinks if the reporter’s an idiot, I’ll let him or her know.”

She laughed. “Nothing wrong with pointing something out, and nothing wrong with a woman having a temper. You just need to learn how to direct it appropriately. And maybe soften the blow.” She retrieved a plate from under the stainless steel counter along the back wall. “Diplomacy, love.” she said. “The art of telling people they’re idiots without making them feel too bad about it.”

Anna giggled as she reached for another carrot.

Meg grinned. “I guess I might need to work on that a little bit.”

“Don’t hurt yourself,” Alice said with a smile.

Anna finished with the carrots and put them in a plastic tub that she carried into the walk-in. She had to duck her head, since she was pushing six feet tall. She’d never played team sports, for which her height probably would have served well. She was, however, an excellent barrel racer.

“I’m not going to screw this up,” Meg said. It still stung a little, that her dad thought she might.

“No, you’re not.” Alice brought the plate over to her. It looked like something out of a food magazine, with the pickle and chips arranged artfully around the sandwich halves.

Meg smiled. “Thanks. I love your sandwiches.”

She squeezed her shoulder. “Iced tea?”

“Yes, please.” She turned so she faced the counter and bit into the sandwich. Alice made the best. “How is it that your sandwiches always taste so good?” She said after she’d swallowed.

“Made with love.” Alice winked as she put a glass of tea and a napkin on the counter next to Meg’s plate.

“You’re the best-kept secret in the West. Please don’t ever leave us. But if you do, mention the Diamond Rock on your cooking show.”

She laughed and went to clean up. “You’re your father’s daughter.”

Meg continued to eat, Anna and Alice chatting amiably behind her. When she finished, she took the plate into the dishwashing room then went back into the kitchen where Alice was checking the chili. Anna must have gone into the dining room, because one of the swinging doors was moving.

Alice handed her a spoon. “One taste. No double-dipping.”

She laughed and took a spoonful, holding it over her cupped left hand so none would spill. She blew on it and tasted it. “Oh, my God. Best. Chili. Ever.” She finished the spoonful and Alice took the utensil from her.

“Make sure you tell the reporter that.”

“I won’t have to. One taste will prove it.”

Alice set the spoon aside and continued to stir one of the big pots on the stove.

“He’s still acting weird,” Meg said after a few more moments.

She stopped stirring and gave Meg her full attention. “About your break-up with Amanda?”

She nodded.

“He’ll come around.”

“I think he’s hoping that I was just experimenting, and now I’ll go find a boyfriend.”

“He also just wants to make sure you’re happy.” She reached up and brushed Meg’s hair out of her face, like a mom might. “Sweetie, your dad loves you more than life itself. But he’s a little traditional in some ways, and it’ll just take him a little bit to get used to the idea. Parents always have expectations for their children, and he’s having to revise some about you.”

“I feel like I screwed up. Maybe I shouldn’t have told him.” A knot tightened in her chest, and she hated this wedge that seemed to have come between her dad and her.

Alice pulled her into a hug. “You had to. Because this is part of you, and it’s not healthy to keep that all bottled up inside. I’m proud of you, for telling not only your dad but your mom.”

Meg groaned as Alice released her. “I’m supposed to call her.”

She gave her a sympathetic smile. “You are who you are, and you’re choosing to live your life on your terms.”

“She doesn’t like my terms.”

Well, it’s not for her to decide, is it?”

“She makes it seem that way.”

“You’ll get through.” She pecked her on the cheek. “Come and talk to me later tonight if you want.”

Meg nodded. “Thanks.”

Anna came back into the kitchen and Meg waved at her before she moved to the back door, where she retrieved her hat before she went outside. Across from the dining room and kitchen about thirty yards away stood the two-story structure dubbed “the motel,” modeled after a Northwoods hunting lodge for the guests, its rooms accessible from the outside. Covered verandas sheltered the walkways. Her father lived in quarters just off the office building, also across from the motel, and the hands lived in bunkhouses. All the structures surrounded a large packed-dirt parking area, like wagons circling a campsite.

She took the outside steps of the lodge to the second floor, where she lived. She alone occupied this level, unless they had extra guests. Otherwise, she kept the extra rooms closed up. Maybe the reporter’s story would bring them enough business that they’d be able to open these extra rooms. Her bootheels made hollow sounds on the wood and the metal roof of the veranda creaked and popped in the sun. She sighed as she opened the heavy wooden door into her foyer, hung her hat on one of the pegs near the entrance, and walked down the hallway toward her bedroom, where she kept a phone.

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Book Title: Some Kind of River
Author: Andi Marquette
Genre: Lesbian Romance (Novella)

Synopsis

River rafting guide and kayaking nut Dez Parker figures her best friend Mel Hammond just isn’t into her romantically, which bums Dez out because they’ll be spending the summer guiding together and Mel seems like the right kind of woman for her. Then again, Dez doesn’t want to ruin a friendship by admitting her feelings to Mel. That changes when she finds out that Mel might be interested in someone, and Dez is torn between wanting to take a chance and respecting Mel’s choice. Is it really too late for Dez? Or is there something she doesn’t know? Whichever it is, a summer on the river isn’t always a smooth ride.

Novella: 28,000 words

Meet the Author

me n hatAndi Marquette is a native of New Mexico and Colorado and an award-winning mystery, science fiction, and romance writer. She also has the dubious good fortune to be an editor who spent 15 years working in publishing, a career track that sucked her in while she was completing a doctorate in history. She is co-editor of the forthcoming All You Can Eat: A Buffet of Lesbian Erotica and Romance. Her most recent novels are Day of the Dead, the Goldie-nominated finalist The Edge of Rebellion, and the romance From the Hat Down, a follow-up to the Rainbow Award-winning novella, From the Boots Up.

When she’s not writing novels, novellas, and stories or co-editing anthologies, she serves as both an editor for Luna Station Quarterly, an ezine that features speculative fiction written by women and as co-admin of the popular blogsite Women and Words. When she’s not doing that, well, hopefully she’s managing to get a bit of sleep.

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