Monthly Archives: January 2013
Please welcome as our guest author today, award-winning author Kelly Moran. I’ve followed her for several years on Facebook, and she always makes me laugh–but her new book, THE DRAKE HOUSE, brings with it a strong set of chills, not giggles. One commenter will win a free ebook, so leave your information!
Kelly’s been known to say that she gets her ideas from everyone and everything around her, and that there’s always a book playing out in her head. No one who knows her bats an eyelash when she talks to herself.
She began her writing career in the Indie market, becoming the recipient of an Editor’s Choice Award, a Finalist in the 2008 Best Book Awards, and a Finalist in the 2009 Indie Excellence Awards before moving into traditional publishing. Her books not only have honors from the top review sites, but from NY Times bestsellers too. She is a respected reviewer and a Romance Writers of America member.
Kelly’s interests include: sappy movies, MLB, NFL, driving others insane, and sleeping when she can. She is a closet caffeine junkie and chocoholic, but don’t tell anyone. She resides in Wisconsin with her husband, Darren, three sons, Logan, Evan, & Ethan, and her black lab, Willow. Most of her family lives in the Carolinas, so she spends a lot of time there as well.
In her dreams, a ghost demands to be heard…
Once plagued by mysterious nightmares, Trisha Eaton always chalked them up to childish nuisances–until they return with a vengeance. Something about the Drake house next door haunts her, and now her night terrors and sleepwalking seem to be luring her to something dark. After a series of strange events, Trisha turns to Nick Mackey. As the new deputy in town, Nick wants to forget his traumatic past. His undeniable attraction for Trisha has him wondering if a shot at a normal life is possible. But Trisha has somehow struck a nerve in their small, superstitious town, and a long-buried secret threatens to surface again. A secret that someone will kill to keep veiled. Answers only lead to more questions in a case where nothing makes sense, but one chilling fact remains…some nightmares are all too real.
Her voice was inviting when she wasn’t mad at him. Like hot cocoa on a frigid day.
“You should smile more often,” he claimed quietly, glancing ahead at the orchard approaching.
She halted abruptly and tilted her head as if contemplating how to respond. “I smile all the time,” she said. No hint of irritation now.
Clearing his throat, he said, “I meant at me. You should smile like that more often at me.”
He couldn’t believe he said it. There was a very long awkward silence as she studied him, brown eyes widened. Talk about feeling like an idiot. Finally, she let out a laugh, smooth and rich from someone so small. She wove her arm through his affectionately like he’d seen her do with others and kept walking.
“Give me a reason to smile and I just might.”
“I’ll take it into consideration,” he mumbled. He already had. From the first moment he walked into her house tonight, he’d been considering her. Before, really, but why argue semantics.
FIND KELLY AT:
One case in point is the beautiful Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina–most specifically the gardens there. I could live in the conservatory. No, really. I could. Well, if it had a refrigerator. And a hotplate, at least. And maybe a pillow. But it is, for me, the most appealing place on the estate. (A sure second would be the solarium inside–if I’d ever lived in the house, I could have spent most of my time right there taking in the sun through the overhead glass, surrounded by tropical plants.)
We’ve visited in the summer before, and there are beautiful rose and azalea gardens and layouts fashioned on international themes, such as the Italian Garden, or seasonal gardens like the tulip extravaganza. But for me, there’s something special about the hothouse blooms.
I imagined my grandmother would have had a grand old time here. Some of her favorite plants around the Indiana farm where she lived had come from her travels around the country. She’d proudly tell us about her visits to Washington or Chicago and how she just had to “tie her shoe” right next to a plant that she really admired. Lo and behold, a little clipping would end up in her jacket pocket for her to take home and propagate. Awesome!
One room in particular features orchids of every shape and size. Cattleyas, dendrobium, phalaenopsis and so many more delight the visitor at every angle. I was traveling with our exchange student Yurie, and we both fell in love with these odd little blooms (below) that looked like dwarf faces with beards:
The site has inspired me so much, of course, that I’ve included it as a setting for a scene in one of my books, THAT GIRL’S THE ONE I LOVE (written as Alana Lorens). I’d gladly go back and visit any time, and I’m fortunate that my daughter and her fiancee work for the Biltmore company so we have a reason to go there a few times a year.
I highly recommend it if you get a chance. Just take a seat in the large open greenhouse and breath deeply, taking in the scent and sight of the beautiful plants around you. I guarantee it will inspire you, too!