Sunday, August 25, 2013


Critters at the Keyboard welcomes Emelle Gamble author of Secret Sister

Emelle will be awarding a $100 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during this tour AND her Reviews Tour.

Critters asked Emelle to talk about the editing process the book went through. 

Secret Sister has seen a long and winding road into publication. I first conceptualized the book years ago with the single thought of “What if everything about you changed in an instant, would your true love still know you?” Wrapping a plot, structure, characterization and ninety thousand words about it has been a long and wonderful process.

It’s been edited by my critique group, twice. By me about fourteen times. I kid you not. And then, after its acquisition by Char Chaffin at Soul Mate Publishing, another 5 or 6 times by the two of us.

Every single time I’ve edited it, I’ve changed something significant. Sometimes it was characterizationan alcoholic fell off the wagonthen he didn’t. A woman had an affairthen she didn’t. A character told someone the truththen she recanted. I changed tones from sarcastic funny to more serious. I changed hair color, eye color, the years of cars, what people ate for dinner.

These changes, either to make changes I thought would make the book stronger or more compelling, or because a trusted critique partner or editor convinced me to cut or add an element, reminded me that we working writers are always working on our craft. Like a boat builder or an artist or a baker, we learn from the mistakes, take inspiration from a sudden new thought, and try to always make our newest creation better than the last.

The editing process on Secret Sister with my new editor at Soul Mate Publishing was very beneficial to me and the book. I’d rewritten it so many times over the course of a couple of years that I couldn’t see mistakes and weaknesses that were immediately clear to her. Her fresh eyes, and great skills, helped me through those final rewrites to make it a stronger story.

So the editing process I went through with Secret Sister, while strenuous and taxing, made me a stronger writer.

Writing is a craft, good writing is good craft, and good craft comes from repetition and ‘seeing and correcting’ past mistakes. While I know my readers reactions to my work will be varied, editing is the tool most helpful to achieving my goal, which is to entertain and tell a story that touches, in some small way, those generous enough with their time to read my work.

To their friends, Nick and Cathy Chance have the perfect marriage. High school sweethearts who’ve been together for ten years, they’ve weathered challenges and are as committed as they were when they first fell in love. Cathy trusts Nick, Nick’s world revolves around his wife, and the future looks golden.

To everyone who knows them, Cathy Chance and Roxanne Ruiz have a perfect friendship. They connected in grade school and since then have been each other’s confident and trusted advisor. Cathy loves the gorgeous Roxanne like a sister, Roxanne has fun-loving Cathy’s back in every situation, though lately there’s been tension between these two best friends…

And then, on a sunny summer morning, the unthinkable occurs, throwing into doubt the truth of what each of these people really know about themselves and one another.

Will Roxanne’s sacrifice be too little, and too late? Should Nick’s love for his wife be strong enough to risk trusting his heart more than logic? Can Cathy’s devotion to Nick give her enough strength to convince him to see her for who she really is?

Secret Sister proves how strong, how stubborn, and how trustworthy love can be as Nick and Cathy and Roxanne are challenged to overcome the secrets, the lies … and one extraordinary twist of fate that turns their lives upside down.

Please enjoy this excerpt

“May I sit down, Nick?”

I nodded. Roxanne sat at the table in the kitchen. Despite her appearance, she seemed in control. I felt her eyes on me as I poured myself a glass of water.

The kitchen was a mess. For a second I was embarrassed by the dirty dishes, the soured
milk on the counter. Then I got a grip. This wasn’t a social call and Roxanne wasn’t someone I was trying to impress. Every time she walked into the room, she did so with an agenda.

I turned around. “Do you want something to drink?”

She shook her head.

I sat across from her. She was pinching the back of her hand, like Cathy used to do.

“What’s going on? What do you want from me?” I sounded angrier than I thought I was.

“What do you mean?”

“You’re fooling around with your hands exactly like Cathy always did. You never had that habit. Why are you doing stuff like that?”

“What else am I doing?”

“You’re wearing your hair pulled back in a ribbon, and clothes like my wife wore.” I pointed at her blouse. “And you’re acting weird with the cat, like she’s your cat, among other things. It’s freaking my sister out.”

Roxanne fidgeted. “That’s ridiculous,” she said, but her face revealed I’d hit a nerve...

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Emelle Gamble was a writer at an early age, bursting with the requisite childhood stories of introspection which evolved into bad teen poetry and took her first stab at full length fiction in an adult education writing class when her kids were in bed. As M.L. Gamble, she published several romantic suspense novels with Harlequin. She has contracted with Soul Mate Publishing for Secret Sister, summer of 2013, and Dating Cary Grant, an early 2014 release.

Always intrigued by the words ‘what if’, Emelle’s books feature an ordinary woman confronted with an extraordinary situation.  She most enjoys reading stories that surprise and amaze her, and hopes her readers will enjoy the challenging and exciting journeys her characters take

Emelle lives in suburban Washington D.C.  with her husband, Phil, her hero of thirty years,  and two orange cats, Lucy and Bella. These girls, like all good villains, have their reasons for misbehaving. Her daughter, Olivia, and son, Allen, are happily launched on their own and contributing great things to society, their mother’s fondest wish.


FaceBook:  Author Emelle Gamble

Twitter: @EmelleGamble

Saturday, August 24, 2013

S. M. Boyce

Critters at the Keyboard welcomes S. M. Boyce

Author of


Kara Magari is about to discover a beautiful world full of terrifying things: Ourea.

Kara, a college student still reeling from her mother's recent death, has no idea the hidden world of Ourea even exists until a freak storm traps her in a sunken library. With nothing to do, she opens an ancient book of magic called the Grimoire and unwittingly becomes its master, which means Kara now wields the cursed book's untamed power. Discovered by Ourea's royalty, she becomes an unwilling pawn in a generations-old conflict - a war intensified by her arrival. In this world of chilling creatures and betrayal, Kara shouldn't trust anyone... but she's being hunted and can't survive on her own. She drops her guard when Braeden, a native soldier with a dark secret, vows to keep her safe. And though she doesn't know it, her growing attraction to him may just be her undoing.

For twelve years, Braeden Drakonin has lived a lie. The Grimoire is his one chance at redemption, and it lands in his lap when Kara Magari comes into his life. Though he begins to care for this human girl, there is something he wants more. He wants the Grimoire.

Welcome to Ourea, where only the cunning survive.

Enjoy this excerpt:

Kara Magari squinted back up the path she’d just climbed. The gazebo’s roof peeked through the trees, evidence of where she’d been only ten minutes before. Not bad. With her finger in the air, she traced the way she’d taken, starting at the lichgate and going down over each step in her head. Her finger hovered and came to a stop, though, when she examined the base of the hill.
Built into the rock was a marble door, shrouded with overhanging roots and dangling moss that clung to its frame like bangs. She rubbed her eyes, but the closed entryway was still there when she opened them again.
She brushed her hand along the door’s smooth stone. It was simple, with only a round stone knob and a small emblem carved into the rock at eye level. The symbol looked something like a four-leaf clover made out of crescent moons.
Kara’s fingers itched on the handle, but she hesitated.
The ground trembled with a sudden force that knocked her against the cliff. The breeze stopped, dissolving with a hiss into the hot summer sky. She scanned the valley. Several somethings cracked in the ground under her feet.
Thunder rumbled overhead. A dark cloud churned in the sky, and her heart fell into her stomach; there hadn’t even been a single fluffy cloud up there ten minutes ago.
A blinding bolt of moss-colored lightning flashed, striking the ground nearby. The hairs on her arms stood on end. Heat coursed through her calves, and she caught her breath. Her ears rang.
Wait. Was that lightning green?
The cliff trembled as a boom shattered the air. It began to rain. The heavy drops pelted her skin and clung to her hair as another rumble coursed along the far edge of the valley. She needed shelter, and the last place she would go in a lightning storm was up a hill.
She turned back and twisted the door’s handle, sighing with relief as it openedunlocked. Still, as wet as it was outside and as much as she wanted a safe place to wait out the rain, she lingered on the threshold to examine the room.
Mud covered everything from the floor to the ceiling. Since there weren’t any supports to hold the roof, she couldn’t figure out how the ten-by-ten dirt shelter hadn’t caved in yet. The air within was heavy, moist with the rot of dead leaves, and her only guiding light streamed in from behind her. Roots dangled from the ceiling like stalactites reaching for the floor. The wind picked up, howling as it pelted rain against her back.
Kara tested the ground with her sneaker. The dirt floor supported her weight, so she tip-toed into the room and left the door open. Rain fell in lingering drops on the threshold before it disappeared into the growing pools of mud. She stuck her hands in her pockets and watched the raging storm outside.
A flash of dark brown blurred past her.
She jumped. A tan flicker snaked along the roof, and clumps of soil fell in sheets. She glared at the ceiling, holding her breath as the settling dust rained onto her shoes.
It had almost looked like a root moving, but that—that was crazy.
Another streak of motion raced down the opposite wall. It passed through a shaft of light, and Kara saw its pointed, wooden tip. Tiny veins sprouted from it like hairs, digging into the dirt so that it could travel.
It was a root moving.
A second spiny vine shot up from the floor and wrapped itself around her leg. It pulled. She tripped, falling into the first root as it snaked along the far wall. Dirt poured over her head, blinding her. The scent of decaying bark made her cough. The root tugged again, and she was yanked onto her hands and knees. It dragged her towards the center of the room. She reached for the knife strapped to her free ankle, the one Mom had—no! She couldn’t think of Mom. Not now.
A third root wrapped around her waist, and another grabbed her hand as she reached for the blade. The roots flipped her onto her back. With a bang, the door snapped shut. Her stomach churned. The floor disappeared. She fell, and the roots let go.

Buy links:
You can get the ebook of Lichgates for free!

Author Bio:
S.M. Boyce is a fantasy and paranormal fiction novelist who also dabbles in contemporary fiction and comedy. Her B.A. in Creative Writing also qualifies her to serve you french fries. She updates her blog ( a few times each week so that you have something to wake you up in the morning.

Connect: Blog | Website | Facebook | TwitterGoogle+ | Pinterest | Youtube

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Critters at the Keyboard welcomes CROSS THE OCEAN By Holly Bush

One randomly chosen commenter will win a $50 Amazon/ gift card. So be sure to leave a comment and to visit the other tour stops for more chances to win!

1871 . . . Worlds collide when American Suffragette, Gertrude Finch, and titled Brit Blake Sanders meet in an explosive encounter that may forever bind them together. Gertrude Finch escorts a young relative to London and encounters the stuffy Duke of Wexford at his worst. Cross the Ocean is the story of an undesired, yet undeniable attraction that takes Blake and Gertrude across an ocean and into each other’s arms.

Blake went to the stables, had his horse saddled, and rode to Anthony’s estate. Maybe Elizabeth will ask me to stay for dinner, he thought. Then she’ll go to bed, and Anthony and I can drink a bottle of brandy and get stewed. He could stay there if he couldn’t ride home. A room was kept ready for him with a fresh change of clothes. Blake smiled and felt better than he had in days.  

As the butler escorted Blake down the hall of Anthony’s home to the drawing room, he heard a loud but feminine . . . snort and Elizabeth’s trill laughter in reply. Damn. He remembered now. A cousin of Elizabeth’s from America, sent as an escort to another cousin, was staying with them. Anthony had described and dreaded the arrival of Cousin Gertrude with horror. A spinster remotely connected to Elizabeth’s father’s side, she was big, bold and here for a month. Her arrival had curtailed Anthony’s visits.

Blake stopped and hissed at the butler. “Think I’ve changed my mind, Jenkins. I don’t want to disturb their company.”

“Quite the coward are we, Your Grace? Leave your life-long friend alone with this Amazon from America.” Jenkins stared as he spoke. “In any case they saw you ride up the drive.”

Jenkins spoke his mind to all including Anthony and Elizabeth. There’d be no expecting servile behavior for him. “I’m sure you did not miss the opportunity to point out my arrival,” Blake said.

 “Of course not, Your Grace.” The butler opened the drawing room doors with a flourish. “The Duke of Wexford.”

“Blake,” Anthony said and jumped to pump Blake’s hand. “I am so very happy you are here.”

Blake watched the woman sitting beside Elizabeth stand, and walk across the room to him. She was every inch as tall as he, and Anthony made the introductions. She held out her hand. Blake grasped it and bent to place a kiss there and was surprised when she began to shake it, hitting him squarely in the nose. Blake covered his face with his hand.

“Oh, dear,” Miss Gertrude Finch exclaimed. She threw a look at her cousin Elizabeth. 

Please enjoy this interview with Author Holly Bush

1. Tell us about your latest release.
Cross the Ocean is my latest release and was my first foray into England as a location. The Duke of Wexford, Blake Sanders, meets an American suffragist, Gertrude Finch, and sparks fly! I’m a sucker for an ‘opposites attract’ story and these two are really opposite! Gertrude sails to England as an escort to a young relative, leaving Uncle Fred and the hands at the horse ranch she was raised at, and visits a distant cousin who she’d been corresponding with, and who just happens to be Blake’s neighbor. The very high-in-the-instep Duke of Wexford is in a mess of his own making when the Duchess leaves him. Proud and chagrined, his first meeting with Gertrude does not go well as she asks the obvious questions that no one else would – but even still, he finds her boldness compelling.

2. What have you got coming soon for us to look out for?
I wrote a women’s fiction novel years ago and have done some editing and updating. I think it is the kind of book that will ring true for lots of middle aged women and still make the reader laugh. But I still don’t have a title!

3. What song would you choose for Karaoke?
I Feel Lucky by Mary Chapin Carpenter. I know all the words and it’s a great bluesy song that’s easy     to sing.

4.  Which Star Trek or Star Wars character are you most like?
I’m definitely Uhura. I think Captain Kirk had a serious thing for her and she had great legs! At least in the original Star Trek.

5.  Who would you most like to be stranded on a desert island with?  Least?  Why?
First, I just want to say I don’t want to be stranded on a desert island. But if I were, I would want to be there with someone smart and capable like my husband, although our collective sense of direction leaves something to be desired. Least – well, the list is long. But an easy one would be Donald Trump.


Holly Bush was born in western Pennsylvania to two avid readers. There was not a room in her home that did not hold a full bookcase. She worked in the hospitality industry, owning a restaurant for twenty years and recently worked as the sales and marketing director in the hospitality/tourism industry and is credited with building traffic to capacity for a local farm tour, bringing guests from twenty-two states, booked two years out.  Holly has been a marketing consultant to start-up businesses and has done public speaking on the subject.

Holly has been writing all of her life and is a voracious reader of a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction, particularly political and historical works. She has written four romance novels, all set in the U.S. West in the mid 1800’s. She frequently attends writing conferences, and has always been a member of a writer’s group.

Holly is a gardener, a news junkie, has been an active member of her local library board and loves to spend time near the ocean. She is the proud mother of two daughters and the wife of a man more than a few years her junior.

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