Monday, April 15, 2013

Welcome to my blog and the Signed Book Hop. Come on in, sit right down and poke around. 
I love print books, the look of them, the feel and even the smell. But I've grown fond of the convenience  of my eReader. I have over a hundred books loaded, including all of my own. I carry the reader in my laptop bag, and whip it out at will. It holds my place for me without a bookmark, it has a builtin night light and I can make the print extra large. I gotta admit, I still enjoy a print book from time to time.
How do you like your books? Print or ebook? Leave me a comment with your email address and I'll enter you in a drawing for a signed, print copy of Lily in Wonderland (US mailing only).  
Lily Tucker is down on her luck and considering a career strutting her stuff around a pole when she gets a call about an unexpected inheritance. It’s every girl’s dream—her estranged grandmother’s kicked the bucket, leaving Lily a house on a private island in Wonderland. 

When she reaches Wonderland, though, she finds a house that’s more like a hovel, a job waiting tables at the local diner, and a crime wave that seems to begin and end with Lily herself. Sexy deputy Toby can’t decide if he should arrest her or drag her off to bed—until it becomes clear that Lily’s not the criminal. She’s the target.

Excerpt: Chapter One
Lily launched a bag of barbecue potato chips across the room, hitting Jake squarely in the back of the head.
He rubbed his skull. “What was that for?”
“Jake Pratt, you are a dirty, lying, thieving, no-good, ugly, low-life, belly-crawling thug,” Lily said without pausing for a breath. “And didn’t you ask for a bag of chips?”
“A half-hour ago.” Jake ripped open the bag. “But I ain’t dirty!”
He also wasn’t ugly.
There was a rap at the door, interrupting the yelling, but neither occupant acknowledged the intrusion. Jake raised the TV remote and the volume followed suit. A second, louder knock rang out, this time impossible to ignore.
“Phone call for Lily,” a man said warily from the other side of the paper-thin door.
Lily sighed loudly before strolling across the worn linoleum floor. The heels of her boots clicked with each step, matching the sway of her hips. She kicked an empty beer can across the room. The aluminum can ricocheted off several surfaces, the sound echoing throughout the space before the container rested in the small, dated kitchenette. She flung the apartment door open, letting it crash into the wall, and then slammed it shut behind her.
Lily sniffed. She distinctly smelled urine. Did it come from the rat-faced man before her, or was there some other culprit?
“That’s quite a shiner,” the man pointed out.
“Nothin’ gets by you, Einstein,” Lily replied.
“My name isn’t Einstein. It’s…it’s Clyde.”
“Whatever,” Lily mumbled. She picked up the receiver of the pay phone down the hall, which smelled of stale nicotine. Lily wiped the mouthpiece off on her shirt before putting it to her face. “Hello.” She didn’t even bother masking her disinterest to the caller.
“Is this Lily Tucker?” a shaky voice asked from the other end of the line.
“I’m happy with my long distance carrier, Elwood,” she advised the caller while she lamented over her chipped fingernail polish.
There was a moment of silence. “You…you don’t have a phone,” the caller pointed out.
“What are we talking on, brain trust?” She blew a bubble with her gum.
“I…uh…well, a pay phone,” he ventured.
A loud pop from her end of the phone punctuated his words.
“You’re a hard woman to find,” he added.
“Listen, I’m late for a very important meeting and, as they say, time is money. So what do you want?” she asked, not really caring but in no hurry to go back to her dingy studio apartment to continue an argument she would never win. Fighting with Jake was like trying to reason with a drunk—a waste of time.
Lily had not applied for any jobs or been on any auditions recently. It was doubtful this call could be anything but bad news. It was the story of her life—bad news, followed by more bad news, followed by bad luck, bad timing and bad taste in men.
“I’m Arthur Sutherfield.”
“Can you get to the punch line, Artie? I have a bubble bath and a masseuse waiting,” she explained while reading a dirty poem written on the drab, graffiti-tagged wall. The sound of a crying baby mixed with rap music, grating on her nerves.
“I’m your grandmother’s attorney.”
She sighed. “I don’t know what the old broad told you, Art, but I don’t have money for my own bail, much less hers.”
He paused. “She’s dead, Miss Tucker.”
Lily was momentarily speechless, but recovered her composure quickly. “I don’t have money for a funeral either,” she replied. She stumbled against the wall, letting it hold her upright. Lily couldn’t explain the sting of remorse she felt for a woman she didn’t know.
“That’s not why I’m calling. Your grandmother left everything to you,” the lawyer said.
She swallowed a lump that caught in her throat, then scoffed. “And that would be what exactly? Family Bible, a case of Ensure and some granny panties?”
“A house on a…a private island and some money. Basically, everything.”
“Is this a joke?”
“No, it’s not, Miss Tucker. Of course there’s paperwork, and probate…”
Lily cut in. “Are we talking about Iris? Iris Flanders?”
“Yes. I’m sorry to be the one to inform you,” Arthur said. “She was a fine, Christian woman…”
“Can I call you back later?” she asked, breaking in again, interrupting his love fest for a woman he knew better than Lily did.
Lily wrote Arthur Sutherfield’s number on her hand before replacing the phone. She paced back and forth in front of the telephone, picking it up only to put it back in its cradle. Finally she mustered the courage to punch out zero and the number she knew by heart. It rang.
Why hadn’t he changed it?
“Collect from Lily Tucker,” she mumbled, and then waited. Her impulse was to hang up before someone could pick up, but she didn’t. “Lily Tucker for Keenan Kane.” Her eyes rolled around in annoyance at hearing a woman answer his phone. “Oh, I know he’s a big TV star. Trust me, he’ll want to talk to me.” She took a few deep breaths for courage as she waited to hear his voice. She’d longed for it nearly every day over the past year and half—and at the same time dreaded it.
“Don’t talk, just listen. If you talk, I hang up and walk,” she threatened him. “Write down this name—Jake Pratt. Lives in the valley. You got it? He has what you’re missing. We never had this conversation.” She slammed the phone down hard.
Lily tried to steady her hand with her other shaking hand.
After her call to Keenan and a few more deep, cleansing breaths, she returned to her dreary room, using her acting skills to suppress the joyous emotions that welled up in her.
“What was the call about?” Jake asked her.
“I inherited an island in Wonderland.”
Jake turned to her, rubbing his sore jaw. His eye was black and swollen shut. “Yeah, right.”
A smile tugged at the corners of Lily’s mouth. She knew he wouldn’t believe her. “Can I get you a beer, babe?”
“So suddenly I’m babe again?”
Lily popped the top off a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon, handing it over with a smile. “What do you mean?”
“What do I mean?” Jake took a long drink of his beer. “Twenty minutes ago I was a dickhead and you stuck your fist in my eye.”
You’re still a dickhead.
A few short days later she left the highway in a beat-up ’69 Buick Electra with the top down and the radio on full blast. The wind whipped through her short hair. The fresh air filled her lungs, invigorating her. Lily needed the burst of energy, considering she’d napped in the car at a rest stop the previous night. Her grooming regime that morning had consisted of touching up her nail polish, splashing some water on her face, applying a fresh coat of deodorant, followed by makeup and brushing her teeth using only her finger. She remained focused on getting farther away from Jake and closer to Arkansas, where her newfound fortune awaited her.
The tall, majestic trees that lined the winding road, along with the stunning scenery seemed to have popped up shortly after crossing the Texas state line. The lush greenery and chiseled hills had little effect on Lily. Mother Nature was nice. Money, on the other hand, was a beautiful, beautiful thing. Whoever said money couldn’t buy happiness, well frankly, they were just wrong.
Her cell phone rang. Lily looked at the caller ID. Jake again. She flung the phone out the open window, deciding she had listened to enough threatening messages. After all, “I’m gonna kill you with my bare hands,” is just a figure of speech.
Cell phone flinging was liberating. It should be an Olympic event. Lily felt empowered. She was done with men. Men were evil. Who needs ’em?
The thought of her inheritance wafted around in her brain when she spotted the road sign that warmly welcomed her to Wonderland, population in the four digits. Also there to welcome her were flashing lights in her rearview mirror. Shit!
The patrol car let out a whoop-whoop when she failed to comply. Lily swore under her breath before pulling over to the side of the dusty, gravel shoulder. Once stopped, the smell of her own exhaust caught up with her. Tapping her long red nails on the steering wheel, she watched in her rearview mirror as the deputy approached in what looked like a well-starched uniform with perfectly pressed pleats. His badge, she noticed, was shiny, same with his shoes. The patrol car was at least ten years old, but it appeared to be freshly washed and waxed.
“Good afternoon, miss!” the man said, tipping his hat and shouting over her radio, which blared Born To Be Wild.
“Huh.” She chewed her gum in time with her tapping nails to mask her mounting panic.
“Could you cut the engine and turn the music down?” he barked, and this time she complied. “Do you know why I pulled you over today?”
“Bored, lonely, looking for a friend,” she guessed with a wily smile.
“Brake light is out.”
“Crime of the century,” she said, holding her wrists out, daring him to cuff her, “Officer.”
“Your tags are expired, tires are bald and, FYI, it’s deputy.”
“Deputy Dawg,” she drawled, looking at his nametag from behind the sunglasses that concealed her black eye.
“Deputy Tobias Dodd,” he corrected, pointing at the tag that displayed his name. “I’m gonna have to issue you a citation. Can I please see your license and registration?”
“Deputy Dodd, isn’t there some way we could work this out? I’m willing to consider any suggestions you may have.” Her lower lip jutted out to pout for her freedom.
Lily wouldn’t have made the offer, but the deputy was young, tall and handsome. And if that wasn’t enough, he had the broadest shoulders she’d ever seen. It wasn’t true that objects may appear larger in her rear or side view mirror. He looked delicious, and she had skipped breakfast and lunch.
His hair was dark brown with eyes to match. The southern accent he tried so hard to mask was like music to her soul. There was no wedding band, which was inconsequential to Lily. She was trying to beat a ticket, not search for an ex-boyfriend. Additionally, she’d always had a thing for men in uniform, preferably a cop uniform, and he wore his well. If she promised to meet him later to rock his world, he might let her slide without a ticket. The deputy was so cute she might even show up to let him rock hers.
“License and registration,” he repeated.
Lily hesitated, not sure what illegal substance Jake may have left in the glove box. She rummaged through it, tossing garbage on the floorboard to mix with the other trash already there. Her mind was at work formulating a story for any possible scenario.
“Ah-ha, here it is,” she said in triumph, handing the ripped and crinkled paper over to him with a well-practiced, demure smile.
He looked from the registration to her and then sighed with disappointment, which displayed itself on his face in the form of a frown. “Is your name Jacob Pratt?”
“I didn’t think so.”
“I can explain. You see, I bought the car from Jake.”
“Does he know that?” Dodd inquired doubtfully.
She paused, pondering the truth versus a lie. “He might have been passed out during the transaction,” she admitted with a sly grin, momentarily picturing Jake waking up with a killer hangover to find her, his money and his car gone. The image gave her a wave of pure pleasure.
“Do you have any paperwork to substantiate your claim?”
“Are you calling me a liar, detective?”
“Maybe when I get to know you better—and it’s de-pu-ty.” His index finger dotted the syllables on his nametag with force.
“I assure you, de-pu-ty, I paid dearly, certainly more than this heap is worth,” Lily protested.
“I’m gonna have to check and see if it’s been reported stolen,” he informed her in a tone that alluded to his annoyance. “Do you have any weapons in the vehicle? I mean other than your obvious charm.”
The deputy’s compliment, she noted, was anything but. It dripped with sarcasm and was accentuated with a slight eye roll. Lily shook her head, even though she had no idea what was stashed in the car. Admitting that would get her searched and impounded, possibly detained and arrested. That would make poor use of her valuable time.
“I’ll be right back,” he promised. “And I’m gonna need that driver’s license,” he reminded her, and then he walked back to his cruiser shaking his head.
She slid her sunglasses to the tip of her nose to watch his reflection stroll back to his patrol car from her driver’s side mirror. She let out a low whistle before pushing the shades back in place.

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  1. I usually like my books in ecoy, but my husband and I are building a new house and we are going to have a library, so I am switching my buying habbits!!

    1. I have a mini library built into my closet, but it's full. And I have a glass cabinet I keep autographed books.

  2. Since getting my kindle a few years ago, I read most of my books on it, but I love to look at the covers on the shelf of the print copies. I love boooks in every form. thanks!

    Lily in Wonderland sounds like a great read. I'll have to check it out!
    hschrock24112 at yahoo dot com

  3. I prefer the feel of print (and looking at the covers) too, but since I have an ereader, I will no longer buy print books. Plus, I'm moving and I still have about 8 boxes of books I have to schlep around with me.

    1. I went to a book convention and my carryon bag was stuffed with books. Big mistake. Very heavy.

  4. I am old-fashioned, I guess. I still prefer a print book, to an ebook. While I appreciate the portability of ebooks, there is just a visceral satisfaction in holding a real book, and turning the pages.

    1. forgot to include my email - Karen(dot)arrowood(at)sbcglobal(dot)net.

    2. I hear you. I got a thrill when Lily in Wonderland came out in print. Makes it real and tangible.

  5. I like both paper and ebook forms of books! I couldn't pick a favorite!


    emstclair {at} gmail {dot} com

    1. Luckily there is a place for both...but I wonder what the future will bring????

  6. certain authors I like the print book, others ebook :)

    1. Yeah, I think I have most of Janet Evanovich's books in my closet library...

  7. I like both! But I love print copies, I'll always be a sucker for the smell and feel of a printed book!

  8. I prefer print copies, I like the feel of a book in my hands. I just got a kindle so maybe I will eventually prefer ebooks.

    kumquat8 at hotmail dot com

    1. I only got an ereader because I became published in eformat, and it grew on me. Now even my mom, who's in her 70s has a Kindle. When I first became published, U hardly ever saw a person with an ereader. I didn't know anyone with one except other writers. Now I see them all the time. How things have changed.

  9. I will always love books better in print but an ereader is handing when reading in bed and trying not to wake up the husband.


    1. I love the built in night light for that very reason.

  10. I prefer actual (PB) books, but carrying 100 PB books with you would get bulky. You can easily carry 100 eBooks with you anywhere via eReader.

    bookaholicholly at gmail dot com

  11. I prefer paper books - I don't have an e-reader, and it is hard to read books on my phone.

    1. I hear ya. My aunt read my book off her phone. And it couldnt have been easy.

  12. Ebooks are convenient, but there's nothing like holding an actual book in your hands.

    1. There's nothing like holding your own book in your hand. So, I agree.

  13. I would love to win Lily in Wonderland. I would like a print copy.

  14. I like them both ways. Some books I only want in print and some I want in ebook.
    sstrode at scrtc dot com

    1. I agree. And I recycle books, giving them away to friends, family or charity. I guess there's a way to swap or lend ebooks, but I'm not that saavy.

  15. I would love to read about Jill and Jake in paper I love my kindle, but I hasve fears of breaking it if I drop it when going to sleep, and I am old fashioned and just prefer paper.

    1. Yeah, I'm afraid of dropping my eReader or leaving it somewhere.

  16. I love both formats, but I LOVE my home library filled with books. so I prefer physical books, but love my ebooks as well :)


    1. I know. And the covers are like mini works or art.

  17. I have a Kindle and enjoy reading from it, but nothing will ever compare to the feeling of a book in my hand and physically having to turn the page!


    1. Right, can you image a world without bookmarks?

  18. I still prefer print.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  19. I love print books!
    Thanks for the chance,
    kimberlybreid at hotmail dot com

  20. I much prefer print books
    Thanks for the giveaway

  21. I own (LOTS) of both, but I prefer print books.

    Thanks for the amazing giveaway!
    elizabeth @ bookattict . com

  22. I'm a print lover! I love to feel the book in my hand and turn those pages!

  23. I LOVE Print books and makes the book feel more real then just an ebook!

    Please Enter Me! :) Thanks for the giveaway! :)

    Followed Via GFC: Alicia Batista

  24. I prefer print books! They feel so special...the smell, the font, the pages, the unique cover, everything they look on my shelf..reflecting back to me all that I gained from reading, or aspire to gain when I do read. Sigh.

    Thanks for giveaway! I follow as diamond Cronen

    Email- (US)

  25. I prefer to read print books. I have a Nook and when I bought it I thought cool I can get my books instantly. But then I noticed the E-books are practically the same price as print and sometimes more. I keep my books and have built up quite a library of them. I just love the feel of the book, love looking at the covers, flipping through the pages, the smell of a brand new book. So definitely LOVE print books over e-books! Thank you so much for your generous giveaway prize!! Thank you so much for a chance to win and for being a part of this fun and awesome blog hop!!

  26. sounds like an awesome read and honestly I rather read print books while I have a lot of ebooks I tend to forget to read them because I don't like not being able to flip the pages ty for the chance

  27. I am slowly moving over to e-books! frugalmdmom (at) comcast (dot) net

  28. Hope to win, good luck! jmelter at gmail dot com

  29. Hi! I prefer print books though I really enjoyed my Kindle before it stopped working, but a print book you don't have to depend on it to work or not. :)
    Thanks for the chance!
    bunnysmip (AT) gmail (DOT)com