Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Feature - E. B. Purtill

Today's author is E. B. Purtill. Let me introduce you. 

 E. B. lives in San Francisco. She studied law and arts at the University of Western Australia and is now married and has an adorable daughter. The Lamb is her first novel. Besides writing, she is also passionate about coffee, photography, travelling and teacups. 

Thanks so much J.L. for having me as a guest on your blog. I’m thrilled to be here. This past year has been a very busy one for me. In April I published my long awaited debut novel, The Lamb. And then in June I also published a short story titled A Japanese Man in Yangshuo. As your readers may have guessed from these titles, I’m not a typical romance writer. In fact, The Lamb started out as a romance, but ended up as a romantic thriller, and my short story falls into the ominous category of literary fiction. Here are the blurbs for both.

The Lamb a novel by E. B. Purtill
Beth Urtz and her husband, Hamar, work for Worldwide Strategic Outcomes, Inc., a private military service provider, in an undisclosed location known as S.P. 4. When their orderly lives are upturned after an encounter between Beth and the CEO of their company, Beth struggles through a crisis of conscience while Hamar may have to pay the ultimate price for her sins. A modern-day retelling of the King David and Bathsheba story, The Lamb explores the themes of power, control, isolation, and the East-West divide. It’s a penetrating story of truth and lies, of psychological surprises and unexpected developments, of unlikely and difficult love.

A Japanese Man in Yangshuo a short story by E. B. Purtill
Takeo, a photographer based in New York City, returns home to his native Japan, and while there is caught in the middle of a national disaster. What should have been a short vacation home abruptly turns into a struggle for survival and a desperate search for his missing family. A Japanese Man in Yangshuo is a mesmerizing and compelling portrait of life, death, and family love.


In Gail Kretchmer’s Friday Feature posted on June 20, Gail discussed the daunting subject of sex in the literary world. Reading this post brought to mind some advice a favorite writing teacher once gave me about writing sex scenes. She told me that there were two options a writer could take with sex scenes. One approach is to describe fully the minutes and moments leading up to the sex and then allow the reader’s imagination to leap off from there. Or, alternatively to give the scene the fully monty, so to speak—to try and give a sense of the actual full-blown sex. Aka a blow-by-blow description. As a writer I’ve used both of these approaches, but I can attest that as fun as sex scenes are to read, they can be very difficult to write.

My teacher went on to stress to me the importance of remembering that a sex scene should be like any other scene, in that it should be significant and move the story forward, and maybe even surprise the reader a little. It's about two particular people, in their really specific relationship to each other. A writer should therefore try to capture what is specifically arousing, necessary, important and revealing about the characters interaction. Will it be an "interaction," or something much more emotional?  Will it have something mechanical about it, or will it surprise each person with sensations and feelings? 

Here is an example of one of my scenes from The Lamb.

David’s hand was still on my back when we stepped into the elevator together after we departed from the bar. He left it there while we rode up, even though a bellhop joined us a few floors later. The bellhop was another immigrant, one of the many seeking work in this part of the world. His name tag told us his name was Nathan. He glanced at us after he stepped through the elevator doors, quickly assessing us. He soon frowned and turned to face the metal doors that had just closed behind him. Three floors later he stepped out of the elevator without looking back.

David guided me out of the elevator when we reached his floor. I stumbled, tripping over my own feet, while we walked along the short corridor to his room. David slipped his arm farther around my waist. “Steady there.” We walked toward the only door I could see ahead of us. Before we reached it, we stopped beside a security panel installed in the wall. David punched in the code. Once inside his room, David led me in the direction of the couch. I sat down, sinking into the cushions.

The room smelled like polished wood. Plush woven rugs with intricate patterns were laid atop the tiled floor and pieces of carved furniture were placed around the room. The bed, made up with silk linens, was behind the couch that I sat on. I took off my jacket and watched as David poured us each another thimble of whiskey.

“Here you go Scotland’s finest.” He stood, examining me for a moment before handing the glass to me and sitting down next to me on the couch. I set the glass aside, knowing that I couldn’t drink it. Seeing this, David reached over and placed his unfinished glass next to mine. Then he moved closer to me, and wrapped his arm around my shoulders, drawing me to him. He leaned in and kissed me. A soft buttery kiss at first. Then it became firmer, and I greedily accepted it. I was hungry for it. I pressed my lips against his and ran my hand along his leg. In an instant his hands were on me—all over me—along my side, under the skirt of my dress . . . 

I love to hear from readers! Check out my website or reach out via social media.


Friday, July 11, 2014

Author Spotlight - Beverly Bateman

This week's spotlight is on Beverly Bateman author of Cruise to Remember. 

Thanks for having me J.L.
I had a funny incident happen to me lately which got me thinking about the traditional publishing industry. I belong to RWA and a sub group called Kiss of Death. We have a writing contest, the Daphne, for pubbed and unpubbed authors (traditional and indie) every year. At the National conference every year we have a wonderful Death by Chocolate party where we present the wards to the winners of our contest. We send out invitations and invite editors and agents. They are very nice invitations. We used to send them out by snail mail but now we send them as an attachment. I sent them out about a month ago and got lots of replies, yes or no. This week I got a response from an agent which said (not verbatim):

Dear Author:
Thanks for your query.
As to your material, I am afraid I must pass. I represent a very full
list of writers, and must be highly selective in adding to it. I realize
that it is difficult to judge your potential from a query alone;
nevertheless, please know that we give serious attention to every

letter, outline and writing sample that we receive.
I sent them an invitation to a party – nothing about a book. I’m so glad they give serious attention to everything they receive. J
It got me thinking about all the query’s I’ve sent and received similar responses. And I angst over them and tried to improve my query letter because I was told it was so important. Now I’m thinking, did they even open the query? I know some certainly did but others...

I am so glad I chose to go indie, despite its many challenges, but I’m in control and I don’t have to deal with the traditional publishing industry which appears to be out of touch with writers. Anyway, that’s my rant for today and I’d love to hear what other people think. 

Amnesia, a cruise ship, a jewel theft ring and attempted murder combine to make it a cruise to remember. Hallie Donald has been in an accident and has amnesia. She’s traveling on the cruise as a companion. And someone is trying to kill her.
She doesn’t remember anything but someone   Interpol agent Eric Norby searches for jewel thieves on a Caribbean cruise, but his main suspect is the woman he loves.

Excerpt from A Cruise To Remember

She stared down into the Austrian crystal champagne glass in her hand. She salivated at the mere thought of taking a drink. Swirling the glass gently she watched the golden liquid climb to the gold rim then rivulet down the sides.
I don’t need it. I’m not an alcoholic.
Maybe not, but I sure as hell want it.
She tossed the contents into a nearby plastic palm tree container and deposited the glass on a table she passed.
She was working.
“Darling, I missed you. Where did you disappear to?”
A tall, dark-haired man in a navy blazer, with a family crest on the pocket, emerged from the mass of bodies and sailed up to her. He glanced admiringly at her dress, and then he slipped his arm across her bare back and slid it down until it encircled her waist.
“I brought you a drink.”
“Sorry David, I needed a breath of fresh air.” She curled her fingers around the stem of the crystal champagne glass he offered her. “Thank you. It’s a great party, but I need to leave you again, for a minute. I have to make a phone call.”
She slipped out of his proprietary hold. Her lips touched the edge of the glass and she fluttered her eyelashes. She peered up through the dark fringe, meeting his adoring look.
“But I just found you. You know, I don’t think you’re really into this party. Is there something wrong? I can get you something if it would help?” A touch of petulance tinged David’s voice. His lower lip slid slightly forward as he placed his hands on her shoulders, and gazed into her eyes.
She knew exactly what he was offering. He’d been one of her main drug links in the past.
“No thanks, David, not tonight. I’m a little tired. I am enjoying the party. Mitzi always throws wonderful extravaganzas. It’s only one call. I won’t be more than a few minutes.”
“Can’t you call whoever later?”
“Now, David, don’t pout. I said I wouldn’t be long.” She pasted a smile on her lips. Her mother would be proud of her.
“I’ll be right back, and we can dance the rest of the night away, like old times.” She pursed her lips together in a pout and walked her fingers slowly up the front of his tailored blue blazer. Her eyes locked in his until she reached the lapel and then she removed his hands from her shoulders.
“You promise?” His lower lip protruded slightly more.
She touched his cheek; the silver ring on her finger sparkled and caught the light from a chandelier.
“Of course, I promise. Now, David, you have to let me go. And remember, the next dance is mine. See if you can get them to play something slow and romantic. I’ll be right back.”
 Her mother had taught her well. She hadn’t appreciated it until now.
“Hurry back. It’s lonely without you.” He grasped her hand from his cheek, kissing her fingertips. “By the way, are you on for the trip tomorrow? We could leave from my place in the morning.”
“What trip?” She withdrew her fingers.
“You don’t know? Some of the gang is flying to Paris for a few days, to do some shopping and take in the Lido. You know--just for fun. Julie’s dad said we could use his private plane. Come with us.”
“Oh, David, I don’t think so. I... I’ve got things I need to do.”
“That can always wait, Paris can’t. Come on, you’ve never hesitated before.”
“True, but it’s short notice. I’ll think about it.” The smile on her face was beginning to hurt. All she wanted to do right now was to escape from this damn party.
“If you change your mind, we’re meeting out at the airport tomorrow around noon. If you don’t leave from my place, pack a bag and meet us there. Paris is always great fun. Remember?”
“I remember. We’ll see.” She slinked across the marble dance floor toward the library. Her hips undulated in time with the beat of the music.
Her eyes scanned the room, noting the objects d’art in the cabinets on the small tables placed subtly around the room. They looked like things a thief might want to steal. And then there were the original paintings that hung on the walls. It wasn’t up to her to offer advice to a thief, but he was missing a lot of great stuff. Her job was to make sure he wasn’t hiding in the library, stealing the family jewels.
Fingers circled the brass doorknob. She glanced back over her shoulder, her eyes squinting into the dimly lit atmosphere, searching for anything out of the normal.
Dense clouds of smoke hung across the room, accompanied by a strong, pungent odor. The clouds thickened over the areas where the lavishly dressed young people lounged in small clusters alongside the dance floor. Wispy strands of the smoke sneaked out from the dense mass, stretching their fingers to the far corners of the room, leaving no one free from at least a breath or two of the cloying cloud. Underneath the fog the group chattered--smoking and laughing loudly--perhaps louder than necessary.
Were they really enjoying themselves and their lives?
She shrugged. It was their life--not hers any longer.
No sign of any criminal activity here. Gino must have his information wrong. She’d give him a quick call and let him know nothing was going down tonight. Then she’d get out of here.
A warm bath filled with her favorite bubble bath and maybe Mozart playing in the background sounded pretty inviting right about now.
What made me think I could be a private investigator? My father was a successful businessman. I’d hoped to follow in his footsteps and become a successful businesswoman. Right now I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to do with the rest of my life. But thanks to Gino at least I have one more chance. I have no intention of blowing it.
The latest dance band blasted forth from the four expensive speakers located strategically around the room. Pictures rocked on the walls, shifting positions as the music vibrated back and forth. Small pieces of china appeared to move, snail like, as the music assaulted them.
Voices rose and fell, punctuated by the occasional burst of raucous laughter--another weekend gathering of the young and the wealthy in the Florida beach area.
She wasn’t the same person who had partied with these people a few months ago. Finally, she was working on becoming the person she wanted to be--once she figured out who that person was. This was the first big step.
She turned the doorknob. After she called Gino, she’d escape and head home.
Champagne glass in one hand, she fumbled for the light switch with her other one. Light flooded the room. She glanced around. A sickly scent reached her nostrils.
Her glass crashed to the floor, shattering into millions of pieces.
She opened her mouth to scream.
 “Damn,” he growled as he slithered silently across the room, covering the distance between them in two smooth strides.
She froze, unable to make a sound. 
Their eyes locked. She found herself staring into a pair of dark, hostile eyes.
Kicking the door shut, he covered her open, voiceless mouth with a gloved hand. 
She stared, mesmerized. There was pain. 
Then everything faded to black. 

I’m a Canadian author and live in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, BC. It’s beautiful country with lots of large lakes, beautiful beaches, orchards of apples, pears, peaches plus raspberries, blueberries and lots of other fresh produce. And of course, it’s wine country. We have world class wines which I feel is my obligation to taste.
I love to hear from people and you can find me at:

Purchase Cruise to Remember @

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Due South

In too Deep, Due South book 1 and Melting Into You, Due South book 2 are two great books you need to read.

Check out my review on Buy the Series.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Book Reading Club

I didn’t know these things still existed. I mean with so much technology I thought book clubs were a thing of the past. But lo and behold, they’ve gone techie on us too. 
I’m now a part of this phenomena. 
See what they're saying about Diamonds Aren't Forever