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So pleased to have DeAnn Smallwood visiting on Thursday Threads today with her novel, UNCONQUERABLE CALLIE.

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I’m so pleased to have DeAnn Smallwood sharing a snippet from UNCONQUERABLE CALLIE. DeAnn is quite a prolific writer and she also shared links to her other books below.

Title: Unconquerable Callie by DeAnn Smallwood

Genre: Historical Romance

Heat Level: Sweet

 

Blurb:

Callie Collins, a proud woman in the late 1800’s is a liar and a darned good one, a master of the dubious art. She is also a dreamer. Her greatest hope is to reach a new life in South Pass City Wyoming, where she can open a bakery and live an independent life. To be successful, she will need her greatest gifts of deception to date. As a woman alone, she has to prove to Seth McCalister, the wagon master, that she has the wherewithal (a wagon and a set of oxen), the stamina to survive months of drought, dust, hardships and even risk of death, and a mythical fiancé who waits at the end of the line. McCallister is uneasy, but also mystified by the audacity and determination of the young woman. He allows her to join the train west. What he doesn’t realize is there is no fiancé. To make matters worse, Callie is in love with Seth McCallister, too. For the first time, the lies that have brought her so far in life threaten to keep her from her one, true love. McCallister is a man of strong character and Callie feels certain that once he realizes her deception, he’ll turn away, ashamed of his love and trust in her.

Excerpt:

She left the empty dining room and, with shoulders squared, set out for the general store. The town hummed like a beehive of angry bees, streets crowded with wagons of every description, vendors set up on any available space offering any and all items needed for the trip west. If you wanted it, Independence had it. You just had to find the right stall or store.

Callie strolled past each vendor seeing-without-seeing the wares. There would be time to stock her wagon once she had one. She reached for the door to the general store only to have it shoved open from the inside, hitting her with such force she went tumbling backward down the steps. She landed on her rump in the dusty street, hat askew, petticoats up over the top of her fashionable buttoned shoes.

Before she realized what had happened, she was pulled up into strong arms, then flopped over a masculine forearm while a large hand administered rib shaking blows to her back.

“Breathe.” The order came harsh in her ear while he smacked her back again.

“I said breathe, lady.” The stranger shook her.

“Stop,” Callie gasped weakly, head wobbling from side-to-side. “Stop pounding my back and shaking me.” She forced the words out between squeaky intakes of air.

As sudden as the earthquake had started, it stopped. She remained in a tight vise against the man’s chest.

Then he spoke again, his voice full of anger. “What in the hell, begging your pardon, Ma’am, but just what were you doing on the other side of that door?”

Callie pulled her head back and attempted to focus. How dare he! He’d just pushed her down two steps, into a dirty street, showed her petticoats to passersby, knocked the breath out of her, pummeled her back to black and blue, and then berated her for standing in front of a door leading to a place of business.

“You . . .”

“Hush,” he barked. “I hollered to ‘Stand clear’ before throwing open the door. Are you deaf?”

No, she hadn’t heard. She’d been thinking, worrying, about that dratted wagon. Anyway, it certainly wasn’t her fault and as soon as she freed herself of a pair of strong arms and a man smelling of witch hazel and the clean scent of wood smoke, she’d tell him so.

“We were rolling out kegs and barrels. You could have been hurt. I’ve seen some dumb stunts, lady, but standing there with your head in the clouds when someone is trying to prevent an accident, is just, well, it’s just crazy.” With that, he released her and set her firmly on her feet. He brushed off the dust clinging to her dress.

Callie eyed him apprehensively and backed away only to feel the heel of her shoe teeter over the edge of the step. She flailed her arms and would have tumbled back down the steps again if, quick as a snake, he hadn’t reached out and grabbed her.

“Ma’am,’ he growled, “you’d better get home to the safety of your kitchen and not venture out without your husband on your arm. You’re a menace.” And before Callie could put her tongue into action, he picked her up like a doll and firmly set her to one side while he stormed down the steps. He was part of the crowd before she could speak all the unladylike words that were on her lips.

Of all the egotistical males, she had just met the king. How dare he admonish her to home and hearth? How dare he knock her down, brush her off, and scold her in front of everyone? Men. If she ever needed proof she’d done the right thing in seeking independence, there it was. A tall, strong, pigheaded stranger who just happened to have the deepest pair of blue eyes she’d ever seen.

 

Links:

 

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Unconquerable-Callie-A-Western-Romance-ebook/dp/B00BLWBDF2/

Soul Mate Publishing: http://www.soulmatepublishing.com/Unconquerable-Callie/Website: http://www.deannsmallwood.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/DeAnn-Smallwood-also-writing-as-DM-Woods/366637150050917?fref=ts

Other books by DeAnn:

 

Death Crosses the Finish Line

http://www.amazon.com/Death-Crosses-Finish-Line-ebook/dp/B008G0YXB8/

 

Sapphire Blue

http://www.amazon.com/Sapphire-Blue-DeAnn-Smallwood/dp/1477811877/

 

Montana Star

http://www.amazon.com/Montana-Star-DeAnn-Smallwood/dp/1477811869/

 

Wyoming Heather

http://www.amazon.com/Wyoming-Heather-ebook/dp/B00DCHAV2K/

 

Tears in the Wind

http://www.amazon.com/Tears-in-the-Wind-ebook/dp/B00AIPZNHC/

 

Thanks for sharing, DeAnn. And thank you for taking the time to stop by.

Bren 

 

 

 

Have you ever wondered how legal immigrants are treated by the US???

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MARY KAY PIC

My friend and neighbor, Linda, has been stuck in the UK for over the past two months. Now, don’t get me wrong, the UK is Linda’s homeland and she dearly loves it, but she has lived in Florida for the last six years and considers this to be her  home now. Tragedy struck in mid-August and she had to fly ‘home’ to England because her mother unexpectedly died. She has been staying with her father there for the past two months, and because of all the bureaucratic–let’s call it baloney for politeness sake–she hasn’t been able to come back home to the United States. I wonder if this seems as peculiar to you as it does to me? Let her explain her story in her own words. This visa she’s working so hard to acquire has remained relatively unchanged for the past 140 years. Could this possibly be an outdated document and process? Hmm…you be the judge.

Once you arrived in the UK, how did your husband start the process of getting you back to the US?

Once I arrived in the UK, my husband had to take  our 300+ page visa renewal application pack to the attorney, and once she did her bit, my husband had to ‘autosign’ the online paperwork which was submitted to the embassy in London, the attorney then FedEXed the 300+ page pack to London.  They then examined the paperwork, finding it in order,  gave us a choice of interview dates, which occurred two months after I arrived in the UK.

How did you feel being away from Florida, your husband, and your kids who are attending college?

I really missed Florida and the longer I stayed in the UK, the more I realized I wouldn’t be coming back soon, even though my father still lives here. Next year I will have to do the same visa renewal application for my kids who are attending college in Florida. (another 300+page application)  The Midlands people I grew up with are lovely, but it’s just that I have grown away from the UK and the US is my home. I like the fact my kids have a life not centered around pubs and drinking because there is more family-oriented entertainment in Florida.

I’m pleased to have my neighbor, and one of my best friends, posting today on immigration issues in the US and the difficulties experienced by a UK citizen who has been trying to settle in the US with her family for the past six years. This is what happened when I suffered the unfortunate loss of my mother and had to make an emergency flight to the UK.

Thank you, Linda, but when you say ‘stuck’ in the UK, could you explain what that means?

The E2 Investor Visa can take 2 forms … the application and renewal done through Washington – with the advantage of not having to leave the US and our business to renew, as we can just submit the same documentation submitted to the US Embassy in London.  The disadvantage is that we have to do the renewal every 2 years and we are landlocked, meaning we can leave the USA, but it’s incredibly difficult to  get back into the country.  If the renewal is done through the US Embassy in London (called change of status) then we’d have the ability to fly into and out of the USA at will, and renewal is usually every 5 years.  The disadvantage is that we’d have to leave the USA and do the renewal with a US Embassy in another country … some Brits do their 2nd and subsequent renewals through the US Embassy in Canada or even Mexico.  If we did this, we’d have to allow up to 2 weeks away from our business, our adopted home, and friends while the visa renewal is processed.  If there are any issues or hiccups, then it can take up to 6 months to sort out, which means 6 months away from the business and home … and in our case…our children.

Since you have a family, home, and business back in the US, so why couldn’t you just ‘fly’ back to the States? 

Because the Washington Visa states there is no entry back into the USA on departure.  Why?  I cannot tell you as the immigration experts and attorneys cannot answer this question satisfactorily. Why the same visa should be so restrictive in one way and not in another is a mystery.

You mentioned to me that this visa you have has remained virtually unchanged for the past 140 years. How long is this visa? What kind of questions do they ask on it?

It depends on the Embassy … and some countries are now restricted to annual renewals, making it almost impossible for these visaholders to run their business in the US.  In the UK the initial applications are usually valid for 2 years.  The person must identify the  business he/she wishes to buy and own,  make a minimum investment … usually no less than $20,000 … where we invested 10 times more than that.  We were required keep a property in our home country, as the visa states that once we’ve finished business in the USA (even if it’s 50 years of having a business) we have to leave the USA.  We have associates who have had their visa renewal refused after 30 years of living and owning a business in the USA, because of the recession and them not making as much as immigration stipulates they should have done … the fact that they were still paying taxes and employing US citizens – who were then subsequently ‘let go’ – made no difference and these people had to pack up their belongings, try to sell their business, home, find homes for their pets, and leave the country.  They were given 90 days in which to do this. These legal immigrants aren’t even allowed to retire in the US, even though mandatory social security contributions are deducted from their salaries.

Now this seems exceptionally harsh and unfair to immigrants who have worked hard and have come to this country legally. Is there any legislation in process to make things more equitable for legal immigrants?

The feeling is E2 investor visaholders are the forgotten and untold side of the immigration story. A group of Democrats from the House have introduced an Immigration Bill. If you’re interested in viewing it, I’ve left links below.

You had to get an attorney to help with your papers, is that a very expensive process?

We chose using an attorney because we felt the process would go smoother. It’s not cheap because we paid per applicant,  just doing it for my husband and myself at the moment.  So the whole process from attorney fees, Embassy fees and air fare comes to at least $4000 because  Phil had to organize a suitable flight back to the UK to be present at our interview at the Embassy.

Now you will have to go through this expensive process again next year for your kids?

We’re not changing our kids visa since they are in college and we don’t want to disrupt their education at the moment … but we will have to go through this process again for them in February 2014.  Especially for our son who will turn 21 in June 2014 and will lose his visa status.  To enable him to continue his studies, we’ll have to apply for an F1 International Student Visa.  The advantage is it allows him to continue his college education, and also look for a job (which he’s not able to do at this time because the children of E2 Investor Visaholders are not allowed to work, unlike their illegal counterparts who are now protected by the Dreamer’s Act.  The disadvantage of him having an International Student visa is that we will then have to pay out-of-state tuition fees, even though we have, and will continue to live in the state for the foreseeable future.

If given the chance, would you become a citizen of the US?

Of course we would since this is our home, we already pay taxes, our kids are going through the educational system, we employ US citizens, and we would like to invest even more in our business, employ more US citizens, and also look at investing in a 401K.  However, we can only plan for 2 – 5 years at a time.

You have a business in Florida and you also are very much a part of the St. Cloud community. Could you discuss some of your contributions to Florida and the city of St. Cloud?

We love our adopted hometown and chose St Cloud because it was a real town, and not a vacation area, and the schools more closely represented the ethos we were looking for.  I am a member of the St Cloud Business Exchange, a leads group of the St Cloud Chamber of Commerce.  Through this institution, I have been and will continue to be a volunteer for the St Cloud Xmas Parade – if you recall I roped you in as a volunteer one year. (yes, I recall)  I volunteer at the St Cloud Life Expo each March and usually the annual Oktoberfest. I am  a member of the Banquet Committee.  I am  a licensed realtor.  I am also involved with Oasis Youth Campus (a rehabilitation center for youngsters from across Osceola County, recovering from drug and alcohol addictions). My son spent many hours as a volunteer at St Cloud Hospital and Gives Kids the World and my daughter is also a volunteer at Give Kids the World and now that she has turned 18 she is able to volunteer at the local Animal Control Center … and I will join her with that.

Gee, Linda, is that all you do? LOL! I’m a natural born citizen, and I wish I did half so much!

Are there any groups that can be contacted in order to change these seemingly unfair immigration practices?

To be honest with you E2 Investor Visaholders have a great deal of difficulty in voicing their issues, as we are of little interest to most senators because we are non-voters so ‘non-people’ … but with over 100,000 investor visa holders bringing in billions of dollars of investment and income, we should be treated better.  We do have the support of more senators each year … Senator Marco Rubio being our most recent ally, especially as one of his best friends is an E2 Investor Visaholder.  I am a member of the E2 Investor Visaholder Reform Organization, whose co-founder and most tireless campaigner, Zoe Adams, has managed to get a toehold into many ‘closed doors’, but it has taken 7 years of constant and consistent campaigning.  We had been told that E2 investor visa holders would be included in the current Immigration reform bill, but the this possibility becomes more remote as other issues push us onto the back burner.

What are your goals as legal immigrants trying to become citizens?

All E2 investor visaholders wish for is a fair chance.  We invest in businesses, we employ US citizens, we pay taxes and assimilate into our adopted country – all we ask is that in return we are given a ‘line in the sand’ whereby we can have the security offered other visaholders … a specific timescale and requirements to enable us to apply for a Green Card and to call the USA home!

Thank you so much for sharing. This is the happy part where I can say that after 2 1/2 months and $10,000 later, you are now back home in Florida with your family where you so rightfully belong!

I realize this is quite long for a post, but I think these issues are important for all of us to know about, even if we might not understand it all to the fullest. Thanks so much for stopping by! Below are some links if you’re interested in checking this immigration issue out further.

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/10/02/house-democrats-introduce-separate-immigration-bill/

Below is a summary of the bill:

http://chu.house.gov/sites/chu.house.gov/files/documents/House%20Immigration%20Bill%20Summary%2010-02-13.pdf/

Below are some links on the bill for E2 Investor Visaholders

http://e2visareform.org/e2visareform.org/Welcome.html

and these are the Links for the YouTube pages

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsCa1mG1pHc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rxDNbzRhrw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Collette Cameron is sharing a snippet of her latest regency romance, THE VISCOUNT’S VOW. Yay!!!

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If you like sassy, fast-paced regency romance, you’ll love Collette Cameron’s latest. Here she is to share a snippet with you.

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The Viscount’s Vow by Collette Cameron

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Heat Level: Sensual

Amidst murder and betrayal, destiny and hearts collide when scandal forces a viscount and a  gypsy noblewoman to marry in this Regency romance sprinkled with suspense and humor.

Part Romani, part English noblewoman, Evangeline Caruthers is the last woman in England Ian Hamilton, the Viscount Warrick, could ever love—an immoral wanton responsible for his brother’s and father’s deaths. She thinks he’s a foul-tempered blackguard, who after setting out to cause her downfall, finds himself forced to marry her—snared in the trap of his own making.

 

When Vangie learns the marriage ceremony itself may have been a ruse, she flees to her gypsy relatives, declaring herself divorced from Ian under Romani law. He pursues her to the gypsy encampment, and when the handsome gypsy king offers to take Ian’s place in Vangie’s bed, jealousy stirs hot and dangerous.

 

At last, under a balmy starlit sky, Ian and Vangie breech the chasm separating them. Peril lurks though. Ian’s the last in his line, and his stepmother intends to dispose of the newlyweds so her daughter can inherit his estate. Only by trusting each other can they overcome scandal and murderous betrayal.

 

“A brilliant tale combining Regency romance with exotic Romani culture.”

 

Excerpt

 

“You didn’t eat much, wife.”

They were alone on the dance floor. Ian deftly twirled Vangie around his aunt’s smallish ballroom, mindful of the interested gazes watching them.

Stealing a glance at the smiling and nodding onlookers, he suppressed a frown. He felt like a curiosity on display at Bullock’s Museum. He wished others would take to the floor, so he could dispense with the devoted bridegroom facade.

The twelve courses at dinner had been torturous. His wife hadn’t taken more than a dozen bites nor said as many words. He’d tried to eat the succulent foods Aunt Edith had gone to such efforts to have prepared, but his anger made everything dry as chalk and every bit as tasteless.

“I’d not much appetite, my lord.”

He chuckled. “Don’t you think you might address me by my given name, wife?”

“Why?” she asked pertly. “I’ve known you but four days, certainly not long enough to be so familiar with you.”

He lowered his head, breathing in her ear, very aware every eye in the room was trained on them. He’d give them something to gossip about. “Because I want you to, wife, and you did promise to obey.”

He nipped her ear.

She jumped and a tiny yelp of surprise escaped before she clamped her lips together. Her eyes were shooting sparks again; only this time they were directed at him.

“What’s my name, wife?”

“Please, don’t call me that. I too have a name, as you well know.”

Drawing her closer, her breasts pressing against the breadth of his chest and cresting the edge of her bodice, he murmured, “Indeed, but Evangeline sounds . . . angelic, and we both know you’re no such thing.”

“Pardon?” She stiffened, trying to shove away from him. “I don’t under—”

His head descended again. “Say it, or I’ll trace your ear with my tongue.”

He grinned as her breath hissed from between clenched teeth. She stumbled, her fingers digging into his shoulder and hand. A very becoming flush swept across her face.

“Will you cease?” Her worried gaze careened around the room. “We’re being watched.”

Voice husky, he said, “Say my name, sweeting.”

Giving her a gentle squeeze, he started to dip his head, caressing her elegant neck with his hot breath.

“Ian, your name is Ian,” she gasped breathlessly, twisting her head away.

 

Thanks so much for taking the time to share, Collette. Could you let us know where we can find you on social media?

 

Contact Collette

Website: http://collettecameron.com

Blog: http://www.blueroseromance.com

Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/collettecameronauthor

Facebook Book Page: http://facebook.com/viscountsvow

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Collette_Author

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/13595899-collette-cameron

She can also be found on WordPress, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Google+

Buy Link

http://amzn.com/B00EZ8RBN2/

Soul Mate Publishing has some great authors and I’m proud to be part of this group. Thanks so much for stopping by today.

Bren

 

 

I realize this isn’t Thursday–but I’m still excited to have author Char Chaffin on Thursday Threads!

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Unsafe Haven  I’ve really missed being able to post Thursday Threads when I’m traveling, so I decided to pretend today is Thursday and blame it on jet lag! Char Chaffin is another great author with Soul Mate Publishing and I love curling up with one of her books on a rainy day–which there are plenty of in Florida! Below is a little snippet of her latest, UNSAFE HAVEN, and some ways to check out her books.

UNSAFE HAVEN

By Char Chaffin

Genre:  Romantic Suspense

Heat Level:  Sensual

Excerpt:

 

“Ah, Christ. You’re killing me.” He fumbled for the nearest wall, propped her against it, and took her mouth hungrily. She fisted her hands in his hair, nipping his full bottom lip. The kiss went deeper, and she could have sobbed from the glory of it.

They broke apart, both panting. Kendall slowly unwound her legs and Denn loosened his hold, letting her slide down his body until her feet touched the floor. She felt every hard muscle along the way.

“Hell.” He sucked in a shaky breath. “I don’t want to leave you here.”

“I’ll be all right,” Kendall lied. She wanted him to stay, wanted him in her bed, all night, and then she wanted to awaken in the morning, safe in his arms. They’d known each other less than two months, and she wanted forever.

I must be crazed with lust. That’s the only explanation.

“You know, you don’t have to stay here alone.” He caressed her cheek as he gazed at her, still pressed intimately against her. “You could come home with me.”

“Eventually I have to live here, Denn. By myself. I have to get used to it,” she pointed out.

“But not tonight, okay? Come home with me, Kendall. Stay with me, tonight.”

“We’ll end up in bed together.” It was a question and a statement.

He slowly nodded. “Yeah.”

She whispered into his shirt, “We’ll end up making love.”

“I can just about guarantee it.”

Fascinated by the strong, steady pulse at the side of his neck, she shuddered to think of what lay ahead, if she said ‘yes.’ Most of the shudders were from excitement.

He waited patiently in her dimly lit store while she battled inner demons he might never understand or be able to accept.

“Kendall . . .” His voice held a rough plea.

She took a deep breath and raised her eyes to his. “I should pack a few things.” She hesitated, and took the final plunge. “I’ll need my contact lens case, too.”

His smile, wide and happy, blinded her. “I can wait.”

 

Links:

 

Book Trailer for Unsafe Haven:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJieck3U17Y&feature=youtu.be

My website: http://char.chaffin.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/char.chaffin

Twitter: http://twitter.com/char_chaffin

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5337737.Char_Chaffin

Soul Mate Publishing:  http://www.soulmatepublishing.com/char-chaffin/

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy this read!

Bren

 

 

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