Monday, July 23, 2012


When I was younger, I used to rearrange furniture and vacuum to work off anger. Worked for me, but now I have a handle on my temper and don’t get upset very often. Plus, we built our home for the furniture we own. I can replace items, but there simply is no way to rearrange what is here. (Apology: I don't know why some of the type has a white background. Please bear with me.)

When I worked for a behavioral psychologist, he used to say, “If you can’t fight, flee. If you can’t flee, go with the flow.” So instead of getting angry, now usually I flow. ☺ He also said, “Don’t sweat the small stuff. And it’s all small stuff.” Most of the time, the petty things that annoy us are the small stuff, so shrug it off.

But lately I have been angry and extremely frustrated with something important to all authors, and that is sites pirating my books. How awful to steal another’s work and give it away. For heaven’s sake, the stolen books sell for only 99 cents. Why steal them? BE MY GUEST and THE MOST UNSUITABLE WIFE have each recently appeared on piracy sites. And here I am with no furniture to rearrange! My husband lets me complain to him. I also file the information with the site host. Sometimes that works, sometimes not. Okay, I’ve vented and will now work off my residual anger by telling you about one of the books that’s been pirated, BE MY GUEST.

Copyright pirates rank down with pond scum.
Lower than a snake's belly, as we
say in Texas.

The idea for BE MY GUEST came to me while my family drove home to the Dallas-Fort Worth area from visiting family in West Texas. We were between Post and Snyder when heavy rain struck and quickly swelled creeks and rivers. I remembered a story a high school teacher had told of a car being washed onto the raised railroad bed. The family sought shelter on the rails while their car bobbed out of sight.

Caprock viewed from Highway 84 near Post, Texas

In West Texas, winding through are ravines that are dry creek beds, creeks, and forks of the Brazos River. Most of the time, these are either dry or hold only a trickle of water. In a torrential downpour, however, the watercourses swell with run off from the fairly flat land. To safeguard trains, the railroad is built on a high, artificial bed. Unfortunately, this means the railroad acts as a damn, and water rushes toward bridges to flow south. If you’ve never seen this happen, you can’t imagine the water’s power.

Years ago, Hero and I lived on a pleasant little creek in Richardson, Texas. We could walk across it on a few stones -- most of the time. In a heavy rain, it became so swift that an adult could not stand up in the water. Some teens Hero rescued discovered that.  I could imagine how strong the force of water in West Texas would be.

Aurora O'Shaughnessy
As you have probably guessed, one of my characters, heroine Aurora O’Shaughnessy, is a flash flood victim. Never fear, our brave hero, cowboy Will Harrison, rushes to her rescue even though his left leg is in a cast.What a guy! Here’s a blurb:

Aurora Kathleen O’Shaughnessy comes by her flaming auburn hair naturally, and this independent city woman has an inner fire to match. She’s mapped out her life and her business strategy for success. Nothing stops Aurora--that is, nothing short of a Texas flash flood. This super-organized businesswoman might be running from the past, but she’s using this journey to stop and smell the roses-- or rather the spring flowers in bloom across the Texas prairie. But beautiful Aurora has attracted the attention of two unsavory characters stalking her. Can she evade them?

photo courtesy of my friend
Nelda Liles

Rancher Will Harrison rescues Aurora from the raging waters and she’s his guest for the next thirty-six hours. That’s long enough for Will to fall head over heels in major attraction, and he has a hunch she might feel the same. He has a plan to keep her around until he convinces her to move out of the fast lane and into his life forever. But two predators have other plans for Aurora. Can Will save her in time? Can Aurora save herself?

Let me set up the following excerpt. Aurora was stranded on the railroad bed and dragged one suitcase and her briefcase with her. When she saw a huge water moccasin, she jumped and tumbled into the floodwater. Though she tried to swim, debris pummeled her and she whammed into a large cottonwood tree. Holding on for her life, she shined around the little mag lite she'd tied to her wrist. Will saw the light and rescued her. Now she and he are marooned for 36 hours alone in his home.

Here’s the excerpt from BE MY GUEST:

Will Harrison, Rancher
    Will memorized every detail of her face before, with resignation, he sat up and picked up the cell  phone again to dial his mother's phone number. Kelly answered the phone and he told her briefly about his house guest. Once again he laughed and winked at Aurora as he answered Kelly's questions. Finally, he told her they would discuss the situation further when she got home.

    Aurora loved the way his voice changed tone as he talked to his daughter. He’d sounded friendly and polite when talking to her father, and professional while he talked to the sheriff's office deputy. His tone with his daughter was entirely different--patient and loving. His pride and love for his little girl showed in every word he said.

    While Will talked on the phone, Aurora absentmindedly organized the medical supplies on the bedside table into a neat little group on one corner of the tabletop. She realized what she’d done and found he watched with an amused expression. She blushed and put her hands in her lap. Why, why did she have to be such an organization nut?

When Will finished his call to Kelly and his mother, Aurora crossed her arms and accused,  "That's the second time you've done that."

    "What?" Will frowned. “What did I do?”

    "You know, laughed while you answered questions over the phone. What did you say about me?"

    "You heard what I said." Will grinned innocently.

  His stone gray eyes came to life when he smiled, and each time it made her even more aware of her attraction to this man.

She tried to fight the spell he cast over her, to concentrate on her goals. "You know very well what I mean. For instance, what did my father ask that you found so amusing, anyway?"

    Will's smile became mysterious. "That's my secret for now. Let's just say we had a meeting of the minds. I'm sure I'm going to like him."

    Aurora scowled at him, but ignored the implication. "What did your daughter ask that was so funny?"

    "She wanted to know if I still wore my wedding ring--that's been such an unbelievably big deal to her lately. Most kids don't want a stepmother, but she's determined to get one. I think it's because the father of her friend Marcie remarried last year, and Marcie has been lording it over her with tales of how great it is to have a stepmother. When I admitted I removed the ring, she wanted to know if it was because of you."

    Will shrugged. "I never lie to her, so I had to tell her yes. Then, she wanted to know if I plan to keep you here. That's when I said I certainly intend to try."

    Aurora relaxed her arms and folded her hands primly together in her lap. "Oh, you know very well that I'm on my way to Colorado."

    "I know what you told me." Will said as he took her hand. For a moment he sat examining her hand. When he again met her gaze there was a new intensity there. "Yesterday I let you walk out of the restaurant and hated myself for letting you get away without my even knowing how to contact you. It may sound foolish but I determined to find you again if I had to go to Durango to do so." He traced his finger across her palm. "I promise you it won't be so easy to get away from me next time."

    He had revealed far more of himself than he had intended at this point. He intended to find out if his attraction to her was because of his three years of celibacy or because she was as special as he suspected. Careful not to scare her off, he had to know the answer. To accomplish that, he had to keep her nearby.

    He flashed her a wicked grin, "Although I like my pajama top on you, I suppose you'll be more comfortable in your own things--and definitely a lot safer."

BE MY GUEST is available from:


Amazon Kindle

Within two weeks, a print version will be available.

If you read one of my books (or anyone else’s) and enjoy it, why not leave a favorable review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Goodreads, or anywhere else? That’s a kindness to the author and future readers.

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Thanks for reading!


Lyn Horner said...

Great fun excerpt, Caroline. Love all the photos.

So, how did you find out your books had been pirated? Is there a way we can check this out for our books?

Ellen O'Connell said...

I belong to the IndieRomanceInk Yahoo group, and there has been discussion there of a service called Muso that sends take down notices to any sites where it finds your books. Supposedly you can try them for a free period. After that it's a paid service. Reviews of it have been mixed. I think about trying it every once in a while but I kind of figure the people who steal books are going to steal books no matter what. There were people who went to all the trouble to digitize the Harry Potter books the day they came out just so others could steal them.

Lyn Horner said...

You are undoubtedly right, Ellen. Thanks for the info about Muso.

Paty Jager said...

Cowboy Kisses ladies, Just wanted to let you know, I'm not ignoring everyone. Just having to use my spare time wisely. Between second cutting of hay, family, research, and fair season I'm not at the computer much. And I won't be until September. August is a blur for me. I'll get my post up but won't have time to pop in and comment on everyone.

Caroline Clemmons said...

I have Google alerts and that's how I've discovered three piracy sites. So far, I've been able to have them removed.

Jacquie Rogers said...

This piracy business isn't going away and is definitely a downside of digital books. Or print books that someone has scanned. Rowena Cherry has done some really good work in this arena.

I really love the story of how Be My Guest came to life. Maybe that's why there's so much life on the page. :)