April 28, 2014

Cover Reveal: Honor's Lark

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Today I am sharing with you a cover reveal from one of my author friends. It looks fantastic, Rachel! Enjoy!

COVER REVEAL: HONOR'S LARK BY RACHEL L. HAMM

Here it is! The cover for my next book, Honor's Lark:

HonorsLarkCover

This beautiful cover was designed by Jaclyn Parks of Twin Dog Designs (she also designed the cover for my debut novel, Twenty-Five). Her website is currently undergoing re-design, but you can reach her at twindogdesigns@aol.com.

Summary:

In a world where everyone is assigned a lifemate at birth by the Gods, thirty year-old Honor is still looking for hers. When her new boss, Sedric, points out that her mate probably died before they met, Honor embarks on a quest for closure. She needs to know who her mate was and what he was like so she can move on with her life.

Sedric is determined to help Honor, because he understands the emptiness she's feeling. As they search for Honor's lifemate and get to know each other, they start to wonder if the only kind of love is that which is fated and if there really is only one person for everyone.

Excerpt from Chapter One:

I stumbled into work the next day a half-hour late, thanks to the copious amounts of wine at Bonnie and Caron’s house. No one appeared to notice, though, as I slid into my cubicle and powered up my computer.

"What day is it?" I muttered to myself, opening the company-wide calendar. "Ah." Wednesday, the fifteenth day of the tenth month. A meeting for my division was listed at 10:00, so I printed the agenda and answered the most urgent emails in my inbox before heading to the lounge to grab a cup of coffee.

“Morning, Honor!” my teammate Alyscia said brightly as I added cream and sugar to my mug.

I yawned. “Morning.”

“Did you hear the good news?”

I took a sip and shook my head. “What? Did Felix sit in paint again?” 

“No, silly, I found him!”

“Found who?”

“My lifemate, of course! Look!” She pushed aside the collar of her shirt to reveal her lark, now a complete, leafy tree. The last time she’d shown it to me, too many pieces of the puzzle were missing and I hadn’t been able to make out what it would eventually be.

“Oh. Great. Congratulations.” It was a strange thing to offer congratulations on. It’s not like she achieved some major accomplishment. Everyone found his or her lifemate eventually. Well, everyone except me. I walked away without asking for more details, though I could tell she was dying to share exactly how she found him and what he said to her when they met and how perfect they were for each other. My stomach was already queasy from the hangover – I didn’t want to push it over the edge.

Besides, Alyscia was only twenty-one. She started at the consulting firm a few months out of school. What right did she have to be flaunting her lark? She hadn’t been looking for a long time. Most people I knew found their mates at some point between eighteen and twenty-four.

I slumped into a chair at the end of the conference table, as far from the front of the room as possible and gulped down my coffee, ignoring the bitter sting as it burned my throat. My co-workers filed in, bouncing to their seats like a bunch of toddlers. A few were even discussing Alyscia’s lark at high volume. To listen to them, one would think it was the biggest news to hit Linhill all year. I blocked out the conversation by reading over the agenda for the meeting.

The leader of our division, Felix, walked in with another man I didn’t know. The new guy was tall, at least a head taller than Felix, and dressed in an expensive-looking grey suit. They took seats at the head of the table and the babble in the room quieted as Felix arranged the agenda and glass of water in front of him.

“To kick things off today I want to introduce our new division manager, Sedric Eckland. He’ll be taking over Maling’s accounts now that she's been promoted and he’ll also be responsible for evaluating the team over the next couple of months. Sedric, would you like to say anything?”

“I’m happy to be here and look forward to working with each of you.” Sedric surveyed the room, taking a brief second to meet each individual’s eye. When he reached me, I averted my gaze. 

Turnover was common in our section. It was kind of a joke within the company: head to Division Four if you’re looking for a life change. I was the longest-term employee at four years. The pool on how long Sedric would last was probably already forming in Divisions One, Two, and Three.

Once Sedric finished all of his eye contact, Felix made a check on his agenda and moved to the next topic. I sank as low as I could in my chair and rested both arms on the table in front of me. Being the senior member of the team at least gave me the advantage of already knowing most, if not all, of Felix’s talking points. I tuned him out as easily as I’d tuned out the gossip regarding Alyscia and found my eyes focused on my own lark.

When I was younger, I loved that my lark was so visible – always right there on my wrist. I could look at it whenever I wanted. I could show it to my friends, my family. It was a source of comfort and hope. I spent hours tracing the pieces over and over with my fingers. Memorizing every line, every curve. Trying to figure out what picture it would form when I found my lifemate and it completed itself.

As Felix droned on, I found myself falling back into the old habit – using my right index finger to continually follow the outline of the lark. I didn’t care what my boss was talking about. It didn’t matter. I focused my energy on tracing and willing the damn thing to just go away already. I did what I was supposed to do – I followed my stupid erratic pull as long as it led me, but it led to nothing. Nothing. If I was going to be alone, I didn’t want the horrible, ugly reminder of it staring at me day after day, week after week, year after year.

What were the Gods playing at, anyways? Giving humans these marks, determining destinies, but leaving me out in the cold wondering what I’d done wrong to deserve such loneliness and the constant reminder of it. And if it wasn’t bad enough that I could see the damn mark every day, everyone else could see it, too. My co-workers, friends, and family saw the unfinished lark and their eyes filled with pity for poor, lonely, lifemate-less Honor.

“Honor?” Felix basically shouted. I straightened up. One glance around the table told me he’d called my name more than once.

“Yes?”

“Welcome back. Were you having a nice daydream?”

“I was. It’s strange how your voice can lull me into fantasy land every time you speak.”

His face reddened, probably with both anger and embarrassment. He’d never gotten used to my sarcasm and I knew he wanted to fire me on several occasions, but since my clients were so pleased with my longevity, the higher ups wouldn’t let him.

“Did you want something from me?” I asked, putting a sweet smile on my face.

“Um, yes, well, since you've been here longer than the rest of the team, you’ll be partnering with Sedric for a few weeks. He’ll be going on your calls to shadow you and you’ll be going on his calls to introduce him to Maling’s clients. You know, show him the ropes. Do you think you can manage that?”

“Nothing in the world would give me greater pleasure.” I wiped the smile from my lips and peered at Sedric. I expected eye contact again, but he was staring at my hand. No, not my hand. My wrist – my lark. Great, just great. I yanked my sleeve down and put both hands in my lap.

He looked up and faced Felix. “Sounds good. Anything else on the agenda?”

“No, we're done for today. Back to work, everyone.”

I jumped from my seat and was the first person out the door. Practically running to my cubicle, I tripped on a loose piece of carpet and face-planted.

“Whoa – careful. Are you okay?” Sedric reached down and helped lift me while the rest of the departing members of my division looked on. I brushed myself off and wriggled out of his grasp. 

“I’m fine.” I could feel his stare on me as I stormed away.

I tried not to speak with anyone else for the rest of the day. Embarrassed by the fall, the meeting, and Sedric’s eyes on my wrist, I couldn’t face the normal around me. I didn’t want my new boss to immediately know just how sad I was. It would make the weeks of having to work one-on-one with him unbearable.  

Honor's Lark will be available for Kindle and in paperback on May 15, 2014. 

In the meantime, if you're looking for romance, check out my debut novel, Twenty-Five.

 book cover jpeg

Summary: Abigail Bronsen is sure her life is going nowhere when she turns twenty-five and realizes she hasn't done anything on a list of goals she made for herself as a teenager. Ben Harris is looking to find "the one" after his last girlfriend cheated on him. When they crash into each other, it appears they've both found exactly what they wanted. A year of firsts follows: first date, first kiss, first “I love you’s.” The first fight is inevitable, but neither of them saw a breakup coming. When Abigail is offered a job overseas, they’ll discover that no relationship is perfect and even true love sometimes finds itself separated by time and distance.

Purchase Links: Amazon Kindle Smashwords Kobo 

Social Media Links: Twitter Facebook Website Goodreads Wattpad

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About the Author: Rachel was born in Buffalo, NY but grew up in Burlington, NC. Raised by northern parents in the south, she likes to say she got the best of both worlds. Her writing is inspired by classic authors like Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, as well as contemporary ones like JK Rowling and Claire LaZebnik. She loves to read and has been known to spend an entire weekend engrossed in the adventures of her favorite characters.

Rachel now lives in Raleigh, NC, but someday hopes to make it to London. She's pretty sure (if reincarnation exists) she was British in another life.

March 19, 2014

Yarn Along

1 comment:
I just started working on my striped area rug, so there really isn't much of that to post. I came across this adorable pattern for a kiwi potholder on the Garnstudio website, so I decided to give it a try. It really turned out cute!


I was hoping I would use up some of my Sugar 'n Cream skeins, but I still have quite a bit left over. I guess I'll just have to make a few more. :)


I've started a new writing book, Writing Active Settings by Mary Buckham. This is book 1 in a three book series about writing settings. I downloaded it to my Kindle for just $2.99! It is really interesting. I am looking forward to ordering the other two books, as well.

Linking to Yarn Along.

 

March 17, 2014

Clean Eating Monday - Chicken and Barley Stew

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Another soup/stew for me this week. I am so glad I have the opportunity to put together a list of go to soups and stews for the fall. 

This recipe from Clean Eating Magazine is a new favorite of mine. It is really simple to put together and is truly filling. The original recipe called for sour cream, but I don't like sour cream plus I'm not sure how "clean" it is, so I didn't add it.


Slow Cooker Chicken and Barley Stew

Ingredients

  • 32 oz low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp garlic sea salt (I used regular sea salt)
  • 1/2 tbsp thyme
  • 1/2 tbsp basil
  • 1/2 tbsp cilantro
  • 1/4 tbsp dill
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 12 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed (uncooked)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked black-eyed peas, rinsed and picked through
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1 medium sweet onion, cubed
  • 20 oz potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 10 oz carrots (3 large), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices

  • Instructions

    1. Fill a slow cooker with broth, 8 oz water, garlic, herbs and pepper. Add chicken, black-eyed peas and barley, then layer onion, potatoes and carrots over top. Liquid should just cover vegetables. Do not stir.

    2. Allow to simmer, at least 4 to 6 hours. Remove bay leaves and stir before serving. Spoon 1 cup into each bowl. Makes 8 servings.

    Enjoy!

    March 12, 2014

    Yarn Along

    1 comment:
    I have so many DIY and handmade projects to do this year that I figured I'd better get a jump on some of them. If you saw my living room style board post yesterday, you know that I am crocheting my own area rug. This is a HUGE task, but I think I am up for the challenge.

    Instead of doing a chevron rug, since my throw is grey and white chevron, I have decided to make yellow and white stripes. I found this rug somewhere on Pinterest and am using it as my inspiration.


    The good news is I have a ton of yellow/mustard/gold yarn that I got several years ago from a family friend. 


    I am so glad I can destash some of it. Yes, I have more than in this picture!

    The white is actually more of a snow white than a bright white. Since I have a canvas couch, I thought the bright white would be too white.

    I did a swatch last night to see how I liked the stripes.


    At the time I did, but now I think I'm going to make the gold stripes a little larger and the white stripe smaller. I'm thinking 10-12 rows of yellow to 6 rows of white. Or maybe 8 rows of each. I'm still not sure, so I'll be doing another swatch tonight to see which works better.

    As far as my reading, I picked up Writing the Fiction Series book at B&N. I've decided to make my book into a series, so I thought this book would really help me. While it offered some useful advice, it really wasn't that great. I am glad I used my B&N gift card on it and didn't waste my money.

    Linking to Yarn Along.

     

    March 11, 2014

    Living Room Style Board

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    This spring I will be revamping my living room. I looked at a lot of different color combos and decided on yellow, teal, and grey.

    Teal, yellow, and grey living room


    Blue light / Drum shaped lamp shade / Laura ashley lamp, $270 / Jonathan Adler gray chevron throw blanket / Ceramic serving tray / Graham Brown home decor / Graham Brown home decor / New Growth Designs orchid flower arrangement / Better Homes and Gardens small item storage / Velvet throw pillow / Pier 1 Imports teal home decor / White pillar candle / Crate and Barrel yellow home decor / Pier 1 Imports ivory table / CB2 beanbag furniture / Weathered table, $595 / Lacquer side table / Nance Carpet and Rug 12 ft. x 15 ft. Beige Unbound Carpet Remnant / IKEA HOV├ůS Sofa cover, Gobo white / H&M Felted cushion cover, $6.71

    When I first made this style board a few weeks ago, I was planning on painting my living room. I just don't think that is going to be doable right now. So, I will be keeping my off white walls instead of the grey ones. I think this will still work.

    I have already begun to accumulate some of these items. 

    Some I already had:
    1. Canvas couch (Rooms to Go)
    2. Teal table (Target)
    3. Grey pouf (Target)
    4. Record Player (Mom)
    5. 2 Candlestick holders (Pottery Barn)
    6. Standing lamp (JC Penney)
    And some I have picked up over the last few weeks:
    1. Grey pillow (Tuesday Morning) 
    2. Set of 2 mustard pillows (Homegoods)
    3. Grey chevron throw (Tuesday Morning)
    4. 3 Chalkboard baskets (Walmart)
    5. Unfinished wood storage bench (AC Moore - will need to be painted white)
    6. Unfinished tray (AC Moore - needs to be painted teal)
    The items I still need:
    1. Teal pillow (will be either be crocheting or sewing)
    2. Side table (might be painting the one I have white)
    3. Yellow and white rug (will be crocheting)
    4. Cushion for bench (will be sewing)
    5. 2 large yellow candles
    6. Coffee table
    7. Table lamp
    8. Teal lampshade
    9. Yellow flowers and vase
    I am also going to need some wall art and to paint my TV stand, small cabinet, and wicker chair. It is going to be a very busy spring!