Lost Pleasures Found by Vikki Vaught

Finalized eBook Cover - Lost Pleasures FoundSome of you may remember Vikki from when she (as Vikki McCombie) and her book A New Beginning for Nancy were featured on my blog. I’m pleased to welcome her back to share the journey of her novel Lost Pleasures Found.

~K.J.

P.S. To purchase Lost Pleasures Found, click on the cover image or go here. To add on Goodreads, go here.

P.P.S. Isn’t that cover gorgeous?!

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Thanks Keiti for having me on your blog today. [I’m happy you’re here! – K.J.] It’s always a pleasure. I originally wrote Lost Pleasures Found in 2010, before I knew anything about writing. The story came to me in late 2009 after reading a book, and I went around for months saying “Somebody need to write that book.” I ended up with some time off from my job in June 2010 and decided to spend two hours a day writing it. Three weeks later I had an 80,000-word manuscript. Obviously, I spend way more than two hours a day, more like twelve. The story flew onto the pages! Wish that would happen again!

That’s went the real work began. I spent months re-writing it, trying to get it in shape. I sent it out to agents and publishers and received plenty of rejection letters. Then my husband told me of a publisher a friend of his used. Not knowing any better, I contacted them and they sold me big time!

When I look back on my naiveté, I have to laugh. I thought I was going to sell thousands, even millions of copies. Wrong! I mostly sold copies to dear friends and family, but that’s okay today. It encouraged me to keep on writing and as time went by, my writing improved.

Lost Pleasures Found is near and dear to my heart, but it needed a lot of revisions, so I took it back from that original publisher and made lots of changes. I believe I ended up re-writing almost every sentence before I was through. This edition is new and improved, and I hope you will take the time to read it. Melody and Henry’s story is filled with trials and tribulations that try to keep them apart and destroy their love, but in the end, love wins out. And, that’s…why I love romance!

Lost Pleasures Found by Vikki Vaught

Publisher & Release: Enticing Pleasures Romance, July 14, 2016
Time and setting: 1814, England
Genre:  Historical Romance/Regency
Length:  386 Pages
Heat Level: 2 Flames

Book Description

After many years of war, England is finally at peace. Captain Lord Henry Montgomery, second son of the Duke of Sanderford, returns home, ready to sample the many delights London has to offer. After facing death for six years, he deserves a chance to carouse with his friends before accepting his responsibilities to the dukedom.

While attending a London ball, he meets the enchanting Melody Canterfield-Smyth and his life…will never be the same. He is captivated by the beautiful innocent young miss with the sherry-colored eyes. Determined to make her his own, he pursues her relentlessly, intent on winning her heart. After a whirlwind courtship, they settle into wedded bliss.

When Bonaparte escapes from Elba, Henry must return to the battlefield. Torn apart by war, distance, and circumstance, will their love survive, or will all they have endured separate them forever?

Originally published in 2011. This book had been revised and updated.

Excerpt

Lord Henry Montgomery strolled from the overcrowded ballroom to get away from the deafening noise and sweltering heat. Pulling a cheroot from the inner pocket of his jacket, he put it between his teeth. Before he lit it, a vision in saffron yellow caught his eye. She stood with her back to the balustrade, eyes closed. His breath hitched as he took in the sight of the beautiful young woman. A gentle breeze blew tendrils of her golden locks across her heart-shaped face. Her cupid’s bow lips were slightly parted, and her pert little nose was turned up toward the heavens.

A frisson of desire swept through him and stirred his dormant male urges. It had been an age since he’d had a woman, having recently returned from helping guard Napoleon Bonaparte on the Mediterranean island of Elba. The goddess before him managed to accomplish that feat when the courtesans of Paris had left him cold, and yet, she must be an innocent, young miss.

As he walked toward her, he straightened the cuff of his jacket. He stopped in front of her and gazed into her incredible sherry-colored eyes. “I know I shouldn’t converse with you; I must ask…why have I never seen you before?”

Her cheeks blushed to a lovely shade of rose. “I’m sorry, sir. I shouldn’t speak with you. After all, we have never met.”

He took a step closer, but not close enough to frighten her away. “You look so lovely standing here against this glorious moonlit night. Your beauty…it leaves me breathless.”

Her eyes widened, resembling a startled doe. “I…I don’t know what to say.”

He bowed and took her dainty, gloved hand in his, then brushed her knuckles with his lips. “Let me introduce myself. I’m Henry Montgomery. May I ask your name?”

She hesitated. “M-melody…but I shouldn’t. We have not been introduced.” Her sweet, melodious voice had his heart skipping a beat. “I must return to the ballroom, before my aunt realizes I’m missing. Excuse me, sir.” She moved around him and hurried toward the French doors leading back to the ballroom.

He called after her. “Wait, who is your aunt? How can I find you again?” She paused, possibly tempted to turn back to him, he hoped. Then she stepped through the terrace doors and disappeared from sight.

Author Bio

photo (2)Vikki Vaught started her writing career when a story invaded her mind and would not leave.

Over the last few years, she has written more than a half dozen historical romances and is presently working on her next.

Vikki loves a “Happily Ever After”, and she writes them in her stories. While romance is the central theme of all her books, she includes some significant historical event or place in all her novels.

While all her books are love stories, she has also written short contemporary sweet romances as Vikki McCombie and erotic romances using the pen name of V.L. Edwards.

For the last decade, Vikki has lived in the beautiful foothills of the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with her beloved husband, Jim, who is the most tolerant man in the world to put up with her when she is in a writing frenzy. When she is not writing or working her day job, you’ll find her curled up in a comfortable chair reading her Kindle, lost in a good book with a cup of tea at her side.

Vikki Online

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Beth Trissel’s Curse of the Moon – Book 2 of the Secret Warrior Series Available Now!

resized-curse-of-the-moon1I’m so excited! Beth Trissel’s Curse of the Moon, Book 2 of the Secret Warrior Series, is available. I’m lucky to have read it already, and it’s a right treat!

You can read Beth’s post about the new release on her blog, where she also has links to purchase options.

She’s also got this great guest post on author Patty Taylor’s blog.

<3

Do Crushes, Grammar (and Bald Heads) Make Me a Writer?

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Courtesy of someecards.com

True Story. Way back in the day, when I was attending college just outside of Atlanta (shout out to Agnes Scott College and the Black Ring Mafia), 99x was the station to listen to. Every summer for a number of years they had the “On the Bricks” summer concert series. The only one I went to was in mid-June 2001 to see Vertical Horizon.

I’ve long had a “thing” for bald men. Don’t know when it started – or why – but smooth as glass or the tiniest bit stubbly, there’s just something about shaved heads that makes me crazy. I love rubbin’ on them. I love shaving them. I love looking at them.

*Sigh*

A bald head is also the reason behind meeting Rockstar (see my essay “Ten Steps for Befriending a Rockstar or The Gentle Art of Stalking” in Fractured: essays on love, friendships, and the nightmares in between for that story – he also has impeccable grammar. For the record.) a couple of years earlier. On a sultry summer evening in Atlanta, Matt Scannell was just the ticket.

I’d convinced a few college friends to go with me, and we all hung out until Vertical Horizon came on, and then we scurried up to the front of the crowd. They played a couple of songs, and we grooved along until Matt S. started chatting up the crowd. “How are you?” he asked. “Are you doing well?”

I swung my head to look at one of my friends, my eyes wide as could be, and said, “Oh, my God! He has the *best* grammar!”

She gave me a weird look (the same look I get all the time from just about everyone I know, and even some I don’t) and said, “You are the only person I know who’d get off on proper grammar.”

I grinned and went back to lusting over Matt. That didn’t last too long, but only because they shut the show down early on account of lightning and an impending thunderstorm. The evening ended with my friends (including Rodney H. who was covering the show for whatever newspaper he was writing for at the time) and I, soaked to the bone, sitting in Denny’s, where I shook like a junkie in need of a fix because they had the AC turned down to about -20.

One of these days I’ll get around to seeing Vertical Horizon live again. Until then, I’ll continue crushing on Matt, his impeccable grammar, and his deliciously bald head.

I’m not convinced, though, any of it is because I’m a writer.

 

 

#YoursTruly Updates and Cover Reveal

Since we last left off, the fate of From Poe to Know was hanging in the balance. Okay, maybe it wasn’t that fraught with peril, but I hadn’t decided whether to re-self publish it or go with another publisher. I shopped it, but until I had the contract in hand, I still wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I am pleased to announce, however, that the novel has a home with The Wild Rose Press, and is currently in the midst of the editing process.

I don’t have a release date as of yet, but I can give you a peek at the new cover, created by the fabulous Debbie Taylor.

Without further ado, I give you Yours Truly

YoursTruly_w10475_750

A new beginning or a life stuck in the past? A New Beginning for Nanci by Vikki McCombie

VikkiCover-ebookfinalMedI love, love, love that novels are being written showcasing military life – I suppose I’m a bit biased, given my Army Brat background, but, as far as I can remember, such books weren’t available back in the day. While I’ve never been a military wife (or a wife at all, for that matter, ha ha ha) I think back to all the extraordinary things my mom did while my dad was active duty, and I’m awed. It takes a special person to be a military wife (or husband, for that matter) and I’m excited to share with you A New Beginning for Nanci by Vikki McCombie.

~K.J.

P.S. To purchase A New Beginning for Nanci, click on the cover image or go here. To add on Goodreads, go here.

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When grief pulls her life apart, will she seek a new beginning, or will fear keep her from finding a forever kind of love?

Blurb

On the day Nanci discovers she’s going to have a baby, she receives the devastating news every Navy SEAL’s wife never wants to hear. Her husband’s death sends her into the depths of despair. As she struggles to accept, she’s grateful for the support from the officer assigned to her.

Will she turn to God letting Him show her the path to a new beginning, or will fear of loving and losing keep her locked in the past?

When Lt. Daniel Foster’s appointed to assist a SEAL’s widow, the last thing he expects is a woman who can break through the barricade guarding his heart. As he helps her with the aftermath, he offers her a shoulder to lean on, but would like to offer more.

Should he allow their friendship to blossom and trust God will show him lowering his defenses is the only way to love?

Excerpt

After setting Tiger on the slate floor, Nanci checked her voice mail on the home phone, but still no call from Bryan. Of course, his mission was a secret, as usual. She had no idea what time zone he was in. It could be the middle of the night for him. After feeding the cat, she settled on the couch with the paperback she’d purchased earlier in the day. Tiger curled beside her, and she became engrossed in the book, especially the part concerning the first trimester of pregnancy.

The doorbell rang.

How odd.

She couldn’t imagine who it could be. Probably some kids selling something.

But a rush of anxiety flooded her system as icy prickles raced along her arms.

The doorbell rang again.

She laid her book down, went to the door, and used the peep hole to look out. Three men in Navy uniforms stood on her front porch.

Her heart caught in her throat.

Three men usually meant bad news, especially naval officers.

No, maybe they have the wrong house. Maybe they’re collecting money for some type of charity.

Anything but what it might mean.

Her body began to shake.

Her knees grew weak.

No, no! She would not allow those terrifying thoughts to enter her consciousness even for a moment.

Nonetheless, her hand trembled as she opened the door. Her voice shook as she said, “Hello. W-what can I d-do for you?”

The older officer removed his cover, tucking it under his arm. “Good afternoon, we’re here to see Mrs. Bryan Bowman.”

“I’m Mrs. Bowman. Please, c-come in.” Terror gripped her as she showed them into the living room.

Her mind screamed—Oh, God, please don’t let Bryan be hurt.

Author Note

As a Navy wife for many years, I know how hard it is to put fears at bay and go on with your life when your loved one is far from home. I want to thank all the military men and women who serve and protect our great country, along with their families who support and love them.

I spent over twenty years in Hampton Roads, Virginia and grew to love the area. I love the ocean and enjoyed its beauty almost every day as I traveled from Hampton to Virginia Beach where I worked. When this story came to me, I had to make Virginia Beach the setting.

What Nanci goes through in A New Beginning for Nanci is what countless military wives have faced since the creation of our nation. What I want to show in this story is that there is always a new beginning out there. We just have to go after it and not allow tragedy to keep us frozen in fear.

There are lessons learned in this love story. Nanci could have easily stayed locked in her grief instead of seeking God’s help. Both she and Daniel were brought up in faith-based homes, but they had drifted away. Fortunately for them, they chose to return to their childhood faith which helped them move forward into God’s light, depending on Him to guide them to a new beginning that will stand the test of time.

While this is definitely an inspirational romance, it does have a couple of scenes with minimal sensual touches and kissing. Nanci and Daniel have a strong physical attraction between them, so it is hard to resist, but never fear, they do not fully give in to temptation.

Author Bio

photo (2)Vikki McCombie started her writing career when a story invaded her mind and would not leave. Ever since then, the stories keep coming and writing is now her passion. Over the last five years, she has written well over a half dozen romances and is presently working on her next, while fighting off the other future characters shouting my turn!

Whether Vikki’s stories are contemporary or historical, she’s a romantic at heart and gives all her heroes and heroines a “happily ever after.” Her contemporary romances also have a strong inspirational element to them.

Vikki writes her historical romances under the pen name Vikki Vaught. Miss Kathleen’s Scandalous Baron is scheduled to release in the first quarter of 2016 and is the second book in her new Honorable Rogue series.

Vikki lives in the beautiful foothills of the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with her beloved husband, Jim, who is the most tolerant man in the world to put up with her when she is in a writing frenzy. When she isn’t writing or working her day job, you’ll find her curled up in a comfortable chair reading her Kindle, lost in a good book with a cup of tea at her side.

Vikki Online

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Amazon Author Page     Goodreads Author Page

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#MilitaryBrat Problems

facepalm guy

Photo Courtesy of Liz Henry

I was born and raised an Army Brat, and I thought I’d recognized all the quirks that go along with that. Some of these highlights include:

  1. The ever-present dilemma of how to answer the question of where I’m from. The only thing I’m adamant about at this point is that I’m NOT from Florida. If my entire immediate family wasn’t here, I wouldn’t be either. I despise the heat/humidity combo.
  2. I was born in Germany. Along with the look of surprise, Americans have told me that I speak English with no discernable accent more times than I can count.
  3. When I lived in Frankfurt, I had to convince Germans I was actually an American. (Sadly, I’ve lost my German fluency…)
  4. My accent. No one can place it. I’ve been told I sound Midwestern, southern, from Orange County, California. It changes depending on who I’m talking to. I’ve picked up British accents and German accents and North Carolina twangs. I can’t do it if I try, but I’ve often had to explain that it just happens and I’m not poking fun or being an ass. This happened just the other night…
  5. My educational level was questioned as a kid when I moved from Fort Polk, Louisiana, to Fort Devins, Massachusetts, where I attended a public grade school for 6 months. It was automatically assumed that kids from the South were far behind their Northern counterparts. Boy, were they surprised.
  6. Constantly having “itchy feet” syndrome, which means the longest I’ve been able to live anywhere as an adult before wanting to move on is right about 2 years. That’s about the average time I spent anywhere as a kid.
  7. I get bored way easier than I should. I figure this is because of traveling so much as a kid and experiencing new places and cultures on a regular basis.

This brings me to my latest discovery…

An inability to remember what slang is used where. In Yours Truly (an announcement about that coming soon), Izzie is from Atlanta. Where I went to college and where I moved back to for another couple of years after living in California. It’s not like I don’t have any experience with Southernisms anyway, because my mom’s from North Carolina. I’ve been picking away at the sequel to Yours Truly, and I had to text my lovely friend Ellen, who is Southern born and bred, to ask if Southerners say, “Whoa there, Nelly.”

That’s Midwestern, apparently. For the record.

I still haven’t come up with the Southern equivalent, which is driving me nuts. Any Southerners want to weigh in?

***Not sure why the caption for the image won’t show up, but it’s used courtesy of Liz Henry. The image is clickable.

Meet Keith Lyons and Mereology: The Origins of Garlic Cures and the Art of Telling a Tale of Ragout

BookCoverNew-webI love great news first thing in the morning!

Shortly after I stumbled out of bed this morning at 0’dark thirty, tripping over Dorian Gray, my cat master, as I usually do, I got a message from Keith that his book Mereology: The Origins of Garlic Cures and the Art of Telling a Tale of Ragout was finally published.

I say “finally” because he was working on it back when we first met, I don’t know how long ago—long enough to have still been on MySpace, if memory serves—back in the dark ages of the Internet. Ha! Cue some reading and commenting and revising, after which Keith disappeared for quite some time.

Now I know why! 🙂

So, I’m happy—and decidedly proud—to introduce you to Keith and his philosophical tome. From Bird Dog Books:

“Mereology:  The Origins of Garlic Cures and the Art of Telling a Tale of Ragout” is scientific journalism of philosophical proportions that entertains and informs layman while providing a method for scientists to use in understanding the “proto-concepts” underscoring their own theories; thus opening an awareness to “where”, “when”, “how” and “why” scientists have arrived at the questionable time and space in which they (and we) are all now living.  As a delivery device, humorous life experiences as well as tragic, tasty metaphors and toothsome examples, as are befitting a Tale of Ragout are used to bring forth meaning in the difficult to understand “proto-concepts.”

The life stories narrating the “Tale of Ragout” push, with speeds reaching well beyond that of light particles, the reader along with tales of amputation, murder, poisonings, mafia dealings, nuthouse internment, skateboarding, cross country bicycle tours, conspiracy-theories-come-true, indiscriminate sexual encounters and punk rock.

Don’t let the academic and philosophical bent fool you. Keith tells a helluva story—in this case multiple stories—with intelligence, irreverence, and an infectious Punk Rock spirit.

If you want to read the Introduction and Chapter 1, click here. After you do that, check out the Table of Contents page to see what other delicious stories he has in store.

Signing off with, as Keith says, “Garlic be praised!”

K.J.

Who Brings a “You Suck” Sign to a Concert?

Hey guess what?

photo:

Last week, I started back on my supplements to at least try to get some of my energy back and I had a pretty good run of about a week and a half – that’s the longest stretch in a while.

But today… today I’m jumpy and anxious and already tired—I’ve only been up for just over 4 hours—and I’m trying not to be disheartened because there has been years of this crap and it’s annoying and stressful and just blah. So, I soldier on with my belly aching from being tense and try not to jump at every little noise because it’s one of those days where I’m easily startled and everything seems much louder than it actually is.

When I get like this I’ll purposefully either stress eat or gravitate toward things I know make me laugh—more likely both. And right now it’s all about making myself laugh because the thought of food is just ugh!

On Sunday evenings I go over to a friend’s house to watch The Walking Dead. Like many other fans of the show I’ve been waiting for what seems like years for the new season to start. I’m excited they started Season 6 out on a chaotic note because, zombies and Badass Carol, and Wolves, and the addition of Ethan Embry (which ultimately turned out to be a disappointment, but no spoilers…)

Anyway, this past Sunday night I was over for my usual hang out time. Chicken wings and Chex Mix and veggies and dip. I stuffed myself silly and was glued to the TV the minute the show started. Usually my friend and I talk about the show during the commercials, but for some reason I stopped when the commercial for Guitar Hero Live came on.

Now, I’m not a gamer. I’ve never played Guitar Hero, ever, and I don’t really have any intention of doing so, but it’s Lenny Kravitz and James Franco, so I watch. And I don’t see anything after James Franco asks, “Who brings a ‘you suck’ sign to a concert?” because I’m laughing hard enough to make my bellyache, which is a far better reason for a bellyache than stress.

See, I’m the person who takes a “You Suck” sign to a concert. I allude to this in my essay “Ten Steps for Befriending a Rockstar” in Fractured: essays on love, friendship, and the nightmares in between, and while I won’t name names or say where the show was or mention any other particulars because I keep my own secrets (barring a few select people who know) and my friendship with the person involved is more important than spilling the beans. But I did hold up something akin to a “You Suck” sign, I did almost stop the show as a result, and I did pretty well created a ration of shit, however good-natured it may have been, for my friend. I vividly remember the giddiness and the giggles and the looks on faces and the sheer terror I felt when I thought the show was going to stop. And none of this includes the real possibility of getting pummeled until I was bloody by hordes of ardent fans.

What can I say? It seemed like a great idea at the time.

So, the next time someone asks you, “Who brings a ‘You Suck’ sign to a concert,” now you know.

Brief Thoughts on Hamlet with Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch at Barbican Theatre’s Stage Door

I meant to post my thoughts about Hamlet with Benedict Cumberbatch over the weekend, but got sidetracked by sleep deprivation and a mad dash to get the house cleaned before my parents arrived.

It’s no surprise (or it shouldn’t be) to anyone that I love Benedict Cumberbatch. He’s an amazing actor, capable of making me forget it’s him I’m watching, regardless of the project – that isn’t always the case for me with big-name actors. Unfortunately, it also wasn’t the case with Hamlet. Not sure why, but there you go.

The acting, though, was amazing as was the set design. The costuming was a hot mess, in my opinion. I don’t care that it wasn’t period dress, but there wasn’t a single thread of commonality that I could find. The range went from 20s suits to slacks and a David Bowie t-shirt to lacy dresses. I found it all very distracting.

I also realized I don’t enjoy Shakespeare with Benedict Cumberbatch any more than I do without him. I want to like Shakespeare, really, I do—I’m an English major, for Pete’s sake—but whenever I watch movies or other productions based on the Bard’s plays, I always feel like I’m watching a foreign film with no subtitles. Which makes me feel incredibly stupid. During a conversation about it with a friend of mine, he suggested I forget about the dialogue and just focus on the story—That the language would settle in and I’d see the beauty of it by doing so. He’s probably right and so I will approach any and all Shakespeare from that viewpoint just to see how that works out.

Hamlet wasn’t a waste of money by any stretch, and I’m glad I went (even though I actually missed the live performance which ran at 2 instead of the 7pm showing I went to—that was disappointing…), especially with great company. But I won’t be watching it again like I did with Frankenstein with Benedict Cumberbatch. I went to see that one 3 times! 🙂