Desert Captive – Episodes 13-16

 

 

H here.

Christine is in bed with a summer cold / flu / fever and trying hard to recover.

In the meantime you are able to read Episodes 13 – 16 on her rolling draft production, which is here:   https://ccmackenzie.com/about/test/

Trust this is helpful until she is back on her feet.

All the best,

H

Another slice of Ludlow Life with The Ferranti’s

 

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IT’S WEDNESDAY AND ANOTHER SLICE OF LUDLOW LIFE

(THIS ONE IS BY SPECIAL READER REQUEST)

 

Nico picking up the twins from Montessori School

 

*While he straps Sophia into her car seat, he spots skinned knees*

“What happened?” Nico asks as he drives away, eyeing Sophia in the rear view mirror.

*She shrugs*

“Nothing. I tripped.”

“Evan Brown pushed her,” Luca pipes up.

“Perche?” Nico asks.

“Sophia kissed him. He didn’t like it,” Luca says.

*Nico gives his daughter the stink eye*

“Haven’t we talked about kissing boys? Haven’t we talked about germs?”

“I LIKE kissing,” Sophia says with a jerk of her chin.

“And I said, No Kissing Boys,” Nico growls.

“Evan’s my boyfriend.”

“No boyfriends,” Nico thunders.

“I want a boyfriend. Evan’s my boyfriend,” Sophia says, her voice rising.

*Luca’s eyes go big*

“I will speak with Evan’s papa…” Nico says through gritted teeth.

“NO!” Sophia shrieks.

“Si!”  Nico roars like a bull. “His son pushed you. You are hurt…”

“Sophia started it,” Luca says, more than happy to throw his sister under the bus.

*Nico eyes his son*

“Why did you not protect your sister?”

*Luca gives him a face that clearly says, ‘Are you kidding me?’*

“Evan is my friend. He told Sophia to stop, but she didn’t, so he pushed her.”

“A man protects his famiglia…” Nico begins in a tone that means business.

“I’m not a man. I’m five,” Luca says with a ruthless logic.

*Good point. Nico turns his attention to his daughter*

“Kissing boys will make you sick. Your teeth will fall out,” Nico says.

*Sophia narrows her eyes*

“You kiss mama all the time,” the daughter from hell says.

“We are married. We are adults.”

“Evan’s papa told him if he keeps kissing Sophia his willy will fall off, ” Luca says.

*Nico thanks God Evan’s papa is on the same page*

Si,” He growls. “And it won’t grow back.”

“I’ll just get another boyfriend,” Sophia the invincible says.

“You will not!” Nico roars. “That’s it. You are moving schools. Girls only. No boys.”

“Nooooooooo, papa!”

“Si!”

*As the car comes to halt at The Dower House, a smiling Bronte opens the door. Baby Eve is perched on her hip heroically sucking a soother. The baby’s eyes pop as a weeping Sophia races past them, and clatters up the stairs. Luca drops his schoolbag at Bronte’s feet and buries his head in her belly for a hug. Nico, with a face like a thundercloud, approaches his wife. He takes the baby, plants a kiss on a hot cheek*

“That child will be the death of me,” he says.

*Bronte takes a wild guess*  “She flushed your cell phone down the toilet?”

“No. She’s kissing boys.”

“Ah, don’t worry about it,” Bronte says.

*Nico looks at her as if she’s lost her mind, so Bronte smacks a kiss on his mouth to shut him up*

“She’s testing her boundaries. What did you say to make her cry?”

“Girls only school.”

*Bronte shakes her head*

“Bad idea. If she’s restricted from boys until she’s eighteen, she’ll be like a heat seeking missile of mass-male-destruction. Think totally insane, and out of control.”

“She is already out of control,” Nico growls.

“She’ll grow out of it. Don’t look so miserable, daddy, this too shall pass.”

*Nico grabs her in a lip-lock that lasts, and lasts, and… He shifts to rest his forehead on hers*

Si. I can do this. I am Italian.”

 

 

Finito

 

Isn’t this fun?

Stay tuned for the cover reveal of SEAN book ten of the Ludlow Hall Romances, with lots more to come.  AND a top seekrit project I’m dying to tell you about coming later in the year.

 

Hugs,

Christine X

OOPS!

What could possibly go wrong with a walk in the park?

What could possibly go wrong with a walk around the lake?

Answer: PLENTY.

‘Isn’t it strange,’ says H as we sit on the roadside by the lake, about four miles from our house, waiting for the daughter number one to arrive with the spare set of car keys, ‘how when we try to do a small thing, a simple thing, something regularly goes wrong?’

‘Very strange,’ I reply with feeling. A lot of ill feeling since I was the one who boobed and guilt is not a nice feeling especially when H is being very nice about my little mistake. It has been half an hour since I locked the car keys in the trunk and I’m not wearing my happy face.

The pic at the top of the page is why we were there in the first place, doing our regular two mile trot around the lake and admiring the views and how the sun shimmered through the trees.

I bet we’re not any different to you guys, we’ve all had our little vehicular mishaps haven’t we? I remember a time H left his wallet on the roof of the car and drove off without a care in the world. Fortunately, or more like miraculously, the car at the time had a sort of edge where a roof box could be fixed and the wallet was still there when we arrived at home.

A memorable car incident was when daughter number two and I went to collect a Christmas tree from the garden centre, which is just up the road. My brilliant idea had been to open the car windows and tie the tree to the roof with rope. That car didn’t have roof bars. We wondered why a handful of men in the garden centre car park were watching us with big eyes and grinning. Then we realised why when it became obvious we’d tied the doors closed, which meant climbing in the windows. Which we did as the guys howled with laughter – we were undaunted and waved as we left. But my daughter’s face was radioactive with embarrassment and she’s never come with me to buy a tree again.

Then there was the time we went to visit my late mother-in-law in Oban and as we left the town driving up a steep hill we looked down into the road where she lived and found her doing a sort of crazy jig in the front garden. We’d left the dog behind. And since my mother-in-law had not a lotta love for the dog… And the dog had not a lotta love for her… You can imagine the jig.

So I wasn’t in the best frame of mind when we got home, but then something happened that made my day!

In recent weeks I’ve been working very hard with a cover designer called Gabrielle Prendergast (who is simply awesome, patient, great sense of humour) of Cover Your Dreams to re-brand my contemporary romances and she’s done an awesome job of the six covers. Only four are published so far and here are the new covers for Reckless Nights In RomeA Stormy Spring , and Run Rosie Run.

Reckless Cover

book2flat copy

book3finalflat-2 copy

I’ll add Coco when I receive it, then I’ll do a cover reveal for The Fall of Jacob DelGarda. The colours are amazing when they’re all grouped together.

You know I love hearing from you!

Share with us your car incidents – can’t wait for these!

Christine XX

WI THE FI CAN’T I?

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Hello my darlings,

You know, there used to be a time when men were men. They’d do the heavy lifting and we’d make sure a red sock went nowhere near the white wash.

It’s come to my attention that women these days want a man who’s a dork. A nerd! A guy with razor rash. A guy with a bad haircut (if he has hair at all). Why? Well, it’s all that computernerdie Zuckergeek’s fault. There’s even a new name for this type of man – a technosexual! Who knew?

Not long ago we lusted after men in well fitted jeans, who wore tool belts hung like gunslingers and knew what to do with a spanner.  Then there were men like David Hasselhoff, remember him?

imgres-1I think it was the swimming trunks.

Then we went through the metrosexuals like The Gandy or James Bond – men who waxed, have a perfectly sculptured torso and had Ozwald Boetang’s cell number on speed dial. (Savile Row tailor).

Times, girls, have changed. And I must admit that we’ve felt that change in this house. Many moons ago, the break down of domestic chores went like this: I did the cleaning, cooking, gardening, grocery shopping, painting and decorating, looking after the children, organising after school activities, remembering the birthdays of every single relative. H, on the other hand, was chief recycler, anything to do with the cars, man who could pull the cord of the petrol lawnmower, and the man who intimidated teachers at parent’s evening. And main breadwinner. And it worked!

But now technology has come along to ‘make life easier.’ *Snort* Now, I can’t function if my computer/laptop/ipadmini goes down. And what’s with the TV remotes? Eh? With all those bloody trackers and menus how the hell are we supposed to work those? I have to get my son to show me the right button to get the news, again!

Now my repartee with H go like this:

Me: ‘Why won’t Gmail work?’

H: ‘Have you rebooted?’

Me: With an eye roll he can’t see. ‘Yep.’

H: ‘Reboot.’

Me: ‘Is the WiFi down?’

H: Deep sigh. ‘Let me check.’

Me: Screeching like an evil witch.  ‘Now I have no signal!!!!!’

H: ‘For God’s sake woman, give it five minutes!’

And so it goes back and forth until I’m spitting nails at the Mac and showing big sharp teeth at anyone who crosses my path. It isn’t pretty. Of course, the smart thing to do would be to go down into the belly of the beast that lives in H’s study and work the WiFi myself. But I’m banned from the room because, ‘You cause chaos.’ And he’s right – he’s the techie, geeky guy (without razor rash) and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Men, girls, are genetically programmed to deal with this stuff, just like dealing with the trash!

I sincerely believe the basis of a good marriage, especially when life is full on, is to stick to what we’re good at.

So, do you have highly defined roles in your relationship?

Do you put out the trash or does he make fabulous lemon meringues?

You know I adore hearing from you guys!

Christine XXX

Thanks for Great Books Blog Hop!!!

 

 

 

The wonderful the stupendous, the gorgeous, the talented and all round beautiful woman, TamaraWard  is the brains and the beauty behind the WG2E Street Teams latest book, prize and fun giveaway over the 24th and 25th of November.

Nine fabulous authors have new releases and they’d love to have you celebrate with them. They’re showcasing  new books at the Beach Book Blast website and at their sister site for readers at the RG2E. They’ve something for everyone—from Romantic Suspense, to a sweet Holiday romance, to a YA Dystopian and a few mysteries. To make the event even more fun, they’ve added a blog hop where readers can connect to their favorite authors and learn what great books, characters, or authors have inspired them.

Here are the partners in crime, er authors, who are participating.

Fabio Bueno @ http://www.fabiobueno.com
Debra Burroughs @ http://www.DebraBurroughsBooks.com
L.C. Giroux @ http://www.lcgiroux.com/thoughts
Stacy Green @ http://stacygreenauthor.com/
Stacey Joy Netzel @ http://staceyjoynetzel.blogspot.com/2012/11/thanks-for-great-books-blog-hopfall.html
Janice Lane Palko @ http://www.thewritinglane.blogspot.com
PJ Sharon @ http://www.pjsharonyawriter.blogspot.com
Lily Silver @ http://romancinghistorylove.blogspot.com/

I, of course, would have been among this illustrious bunch if I’d had Run Rosie Run ready, but as we all know I’m nearing the endgame! And can only hope it’s all worth the agony and the ecstasy – if you catch my meaning.

I’m also full of some sort of horrible bug, sweats, a fever, swollen glands and earache. I hate winter and any sympathy you want to dispense will be gratefully received.

Enjoy!

Christine X

WHAT DO YOU DO?

 

Not a lot of people know this, but I’m a writer.

I know, who’d have thought it?

There is a reason I’m telling you this, but I’ll get to it in a minute.

A couple of weeks ago, Hugo took me on a journey, an eight hour plus journey to the Highlands of Scotland. The thinking behind the trip was that Christine hadn’t had a break from the MAC in a while (I’d begun to believe my characters were real. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing when one is a scribbler, but when the characters are Vampyres one’s husband begins to twitch and give one the steely eye.)

Another reason was because the weather (I’m sure I’ve mentioned the weather?) has been vile and he was certain the country was due a break from the rain. But no. We drove for six hours through the worst September storm in thirty years, think pestilence and a flood of biblical proportions and you might get the picture.

The thing about going away in this country is one never knows what to pack because it might be 10 degrees one day and 30 degrees the next, so I was advised by my youngest daughter to ‘layer.’

When we visit the Cairngorm mountains in the national park, see photo below, lovely isn’t it?

We always go on the funicular railway to the very top. Here’s the link if you fancy a trip (you can walk but it takes two hours and it’s 3,000 odd feet above sea level and the paramedics would need resuscitation equipment for Hugo.) The view is usually spectacular as long as there’s no low cloud cover. They don’t allow visitors to step onto the mountain because our footprint might damage the natural habitat. Hmm, I thought it might have had something to do with the sheer drop and a health and safety issue. But no, they’re more worried about damage to the mountain than human beings. Fair enough.

Anyway, Hugo had gone to buy the ticket and I was keeping our place in the  line and noticed two couples standing in front of me who were not British. By the lovely singsongy voices, blonde hair, blue eyes (the older guy looked just like Charlton Heston in his prime 🙂 my intuition told me they were Scandinavian. So we all got on the train and away we went. When you get to the top, the organisers are a crafty lot and make visitors trek through a large gift shop. By this time, although I’d ‘layered’ I was freezing and a fleece top caught my attention. In spite of Hugo’s eye roll (I saw it by the way, just say’in) I bought it and they bagged it up in a swanky big brown paper bag, not plastic (even though it was now raining) because plastic is not biodegradable. Fair enough.

At the top they have a café with huge windows for us to enjoy the view. By the time I’d stood for half an hour for a cup of coffee and a slice of cake, I was too hot. So I took off my quilted coat and duck down gillet and told Hugo I was off to the ladies loo. I’d taken the bag with the new top in it and didn’t think he’d noticed. It is true I was gone for a while, but whatever.

When I returned to the café Hugo was chatting to the two Scandinavian couples who’d joined our table. Actually, to be accurate, one guy was British, a sound engineer with Strictly Come Dancing and he was married to one of the women. I know, I was thrilled because I love Strictly. Somebody who works with the famous is almost as good as speaking to the famous. Anyway the following conversation ensued,

‘See,’ Hugo said. ‘I told you she’d gone to change into her new top.’

My husband, boys and girls, has a big mouth.

I just gave him ‘the look’ and smiled at them.

‘It suits you,’ the younger woman said with a smile and a fabulous accent.

‘Where are you from?’ I asked.

‘Sweden. We’ve brought my sister and her husband up on a tour of Scotland. We live in London.’

 

‘What do you do?’ the sound engineer said to Hugo.

‘I’ve retired,’ Hugo responded. (He’s a LOT older than me, just thought I should mention it.)

‘Lucky you, how do you fill your time?’

‘Well, I do lots of things and I work for Christine.’

The sound engineer nodded, sipped his hot chocolate and whipped cream with marshmallows. ‘What does Christine do?’

‘She’s a writer,’ Hugo said with an evil grin at his loyal and loving wife.

They all turned to look at me and I gave them big eyes.

‘What do you write?’ his wife asked.

‘Romance.’

‘Oooh, you’re not that 50 Shades of Grey lady.’

I get this all the time.

I smiled. ‘No, I wish I was,’ I said. And we all chatted about Christian Grey.

‘I also write a vampire paranormal set in an urban future,’ I added.

‘Oooh, my sister loves vampires. What’s your name?’

‘CC MacKenzie. My first book was Reckless Nights In Rome.’

Her sister from Sweden turned to look at me and said something in Swedish.

‘My sister has heard of you.’

Heart stopped. Blink blink.

I shook my head. ‘Nope. I haven’t been writing for long.’ I took out my business card (always be prepared) and they studied it. Her sister nodded and spoke again in rapid Swedish.

‘Yes, she’s heard of you. Her son’s ex-girlfriend has your book on her kindle. She loved it.’

Blink blink, hot flush rose from my toes as more conversation happened in Swedish.

‘My sister would like your card to give to her son’s ex-girlfriend.’

So I gave her the card and found myself tearing up, how embarrassing was this? Hugo just grinned. I think it’s the hormones – I’m getting to that age – but I’ve never been so emotional in my life.

Who’d have thought it?

I’m famous in Sweden.

I just hope Reckless Nights In Rome didn’t kill her son’s romance with his ex! I sometimes worry that young girls might end up with too high an expectation of their men after reading one of my heroes.

So that’s what I’ve been up to, freezing to death up a Scottish mountain dishing out business cards to lovely ladies from Sweden.

What have you guys been up to?

What do you do for a living?

Come and share it with us – we demand to know. (This should be good.)

 

Christine X

 

 

 

BEHIND THE QUILL – I’M A GUEST WITH THE LOVELY JENNIFER OLIVER

 

A Stormy Spring

A Stormy Spring

Hello, my darlings,

It’s been a busy week.

Today the lovely Jennifer Oliver forced invited me to her blog to torture interview me since she’s under the delusion I know something about writing romance.

When I read the list of questions I thought, ‘This girl knows how to winkle out the nitty gritty.’

So please, I beg you, (I need all the support I can get) drop by and leave a comment – it doesn’t even have to be a nice comment and it’s not often you’ll have me on my knees before you so I’d make the most of it if I were you.

You can find us HERE and did you really think I’d not have something to give you? Yes, a lucky commenter will win the grand prize of a copy of A Stormy Spring! I know, it’s bribery and I have no shame whatsoever. I always admit to my many failings.

Christine

DEAR CC

Due to the bulging nature of my inbox I bring you – Tongue in cheek Quips, Tips and Common Sense from CC MacKenzie.

TODAY IS MONDAY 30TH JULY.

Nothing like stating the obvious is there?  However, there is a reason behind this date because today is my very first Dear CC post.

Confused? Not for long.

Life today is too complicated. Between the internet, emailing compromising pics and messages and tweeting undesirable tweets that can get you sacked from the job you love while texting rude jokey messages, we still worry about how to cope with crab claws along with how to boil the perfect egg; friends who break mighty fine wind, limp husbands, monstrous children and raunchy neighbors.

From childcare to dried flowers to glue guns, from diet to how-to-exercise-while-writing-the-next best-seller, I am here for you to help and guide you through the minefield that is the reader/writer’s life today.

So, whether you are deeply concerned with your sudden addiction to liquorice, the lack of a sex life to dealing with an errant husband and how to deal with naughty neighbours, to why you’ve hit a wall, this blog is just for you every Monday.

To give you a taste of what to expect here’s an email I received last week:

Dear CC

I loathe and despise the overuse of the word ‘shagging’ in novels today. Surely writers are capable of using their supposedly impressive imaginings to come up with an alternative? This is a huge issue for me because my husband has picked up the phrase and instead of stroking my arm or giving me a cuddle, his idea of foreplay at bedtime these days is to yawn hugely, scratch his belly and say, ‘Fancy a shag?’ I simply cannot cope with it any longer. Help.

Mrs P from Plymouth

Dear Mrs P

Ah yes, the reason we were put on this earth, procreation is a primal biological urge and something to be encouraged in a partner. However, these days we’re encouraged to be unrepressed, liberated sexually and told that we live in an age of egalitarianism where the power balance has shifted towards the female and that men are no longer the boss in a relationship. Unfortunately, with you this does not appear to be the case. It never ceases to amaze me how much women are prepared to tolerate. There is no hope for this man. Pack your bags and leave the lazy slob immediately.

As for the overuse of the word ‘shagging’ that is purely your opinion. Get over it.

CC.

So what would your advice to Mrs P be?

Is she right to be upset?

Do you use the word ‘shagging’?

You know I love to hear your thoughts and comments.

Share with us your valuable insights and advice.

BOTTOMS UP!

Since that amazing moment over a year ago when Pippa Middleton’s bottom went planetary, I’ve found myself inspecting the derrieres of everyone from the postman to the guy in Starbucks to the girl at the check out in the supermarket.

What makes a great one? What characterizes Pippa’s bottom – lovely though it is, especially in that dress – from the butts of the average person?

And I’m not being critical here but men appear to be the ones drooling over PM’s posterior more than women. Do they prefer a muscle-butt rather than something more substantial? Is this what they’re looking for in their perfect partner? Don’t they prefer something curvy that could sit on a knee and not leave a crease?

A bottom, like a breast and a narrow waist is a symbol of fertility in a woman, and over millenia men have been attracted to plenteous, competent, well-disposed buttocks; buttocks that can do the job nature intended.

While pondering the meaning of this – in one of those moments when I should be editing and coming up with a brilliant blurb for my new book – it occurred to me that what women want from their own bottom is very different to the expectations placed upon it by a man. Not that I’ve a great deal of experience (she says), but men appear to prefer a handful, something to grope pinch, perhaps something with a jiggle, and a big spoonful of lurve, women, as ever and how pathetic are we, want something skinny.

We want a bum that can wear skinny jeans without trying to burst forth and break loose. A bum that rocks a bikini bottom. A bum that ‘never looks big’ in this. We want peachy and lifted and taut.

If I could choose my bum, I’d want Brooklyn Decker’s bottom which is as close to perfection as you can imagine without belonging to the prestidigitization of the airbrush. It’s pert, high and powerful.

In the interests of understanding my subject, I asked my girlfriends if they liked their bums and NOT ONE said they did. One or two liked their feet, hands, their boobs or their hair, but every single one hated her bottom. And I know three of them said they sobbed in changing rooms with those God awful surround mirrors when they saw their bum. I even know some who wear tops that cover their bum in the sea or in a swimming pool.

I have a flat bum, it used to be toned and pert, but due to the number of hours it’s perched in my chair as I type like a fiend my next best-seller (I can dream) I’m afraid it’s let me down very badly and is an extraterrestrial to me now. If I happen coup d’oeil, usually by accident, I’m always sincerely shocked, certain it must belong to someone else and then I hit the lunges and squats for a week, which means I can’t sit down without whimpering in agony.

So to sum up, women are not happy with what they’ve got and men are more than happy with whatever they can get.

Does this mean that men (for once) are right? They love Pippa’s bum simply because it belongs to a woman?

Hugo’s just yelled, ‘Result!’ Hmm, might need to inflict pain on him later.

You know I adore and need to hear from you guys – Do you love your bum? If you’re a guy do you love your honey’s bum and if so what does it for you?

We need to know!

Due to a book launch, guesting on a blog and being driven insane by the foibles of my new shiny Mac! Desert Orchid is late this week – normal service shall be resumed as soon as possible. (Hugo’s just posted a note above my Mac – THIS MACHINE HAS NO BRAIN – USE YOUR OWN! I feel a D.I.V.O.R.C.E. coming on!)

Oh and on Monday my book, Reckless Nights In Rome is here – one of fifteen chosen, all sales on Amazon on MONDAY 16TH JULY 2012 shall be donated to the ‘Sell Books For Steve Day’ for thriller author Steve Brown’s Bone Marrow Transplant treatment. You might find a new author you like! Please spread the word around the ‘net on Monday – you guys seriously rock!