Sunday, September 23, 2012

Cera's Place by Elizabeth McKenna - Guest Post and Excerpt!

Happy Sunday!

I am happy to welcome Elizabeth McKenna, author of Cera's Place on Me and Reading! Elizabeth is writing about kindness of strangers. Information about the book and the author is below the guest post.

Elizabeth, take it away!

The Kindness of Strangers
Guest Blog by Elizabeth McKenna

For someone who claims to be a historical romance author, I fall on the jaded, pessimistic side of life. I trained myself long ago not to expect too much from people so that the disappointment would be easier to swallow. Perhaps that’s why I fell in love with the romance genre. If daily life couldn’t give me a happy ending, at least books could.

When I started writing Cera’s Place five years ago, a funny thing happened. I learned the world wasn’t so dark and people did nice things “just because.” After getting more rejections than I care to remember, I reached out to the internet. I found numerous strangers in online writing groups and author websites who were willing to share their skills and knowledge despite knowing I couldn’t analyze their writing in return. They didn’t care. They only wanted to help.

I submitted excerpts of Cera’s Place and painfully took in all the feedback. Though not every comment was constructive, I had a few regular reviewers that literally changed my life. They took the time to point out the bad, as well as the good, and all in an encouraging way. I remember one day that I was feeling particularly discouraged and considered giving up. A few days earlier, I had resubmitted a scene to a reviewer following her suggestions. By luck, that same day I toyed with the Delete key, she sent this in reply: “Wow. Nice job here. A real about face. What little bit of story here says quite a lot about these two people. Great job!!” I pinned the email on my bulletin board and continued writing.

Now that Cera’s Place is published, I’m still learning, but it’s the readers who are teaching me. I try to incorporate the feedback from every review into my current work in progress. I’m thrilled so many readers have liked my story, but I’ve also come to accept that my writing will not appeal to everyone. We all have different tastes, which is a wonderful thing because it creates unlimited opportunities for every author.

Recently, I saw a blogger add my book to her shelf on Goodreads. After checking out her blog, I sent an email asking her not to review my book. She seemed to prefer sweet romance and no cussing – something Cera’s Place could not deliver. We exchanged a few more emails and she finally decided she still wanted to read it. Will she like it? I hope on some level she will, but either way, I made a new friend who brightened my day.

Cera’s Place – Blurb

In 1869, San Francisco saloon owner Cera Cassidy offers redemption to any woman looking for honest work. At Cera's Place, men can get a decent hot meal with a whiskey, but if they want anything more, they have to take their desires elsewhere. One summer night, a distraught Chinese girl bursts through the swinging doors with a shocking tale of murder, kidnapping, and prostitution. Outraged, Cera vows to set things right.

Jake Tanner, a scarred ex-soldier haunted by the horrors of the Civil War, is on a mission to fulfill a friend's dying wish. The trail has brought him to Cera's door. Captivated by her Irish beauty, he wants to join her fight - but will she let him?

Elizabeth McKenna's debut novel is a fast-paced adventure filled with memorable characters that will leave you wanting more. Get lost in a time gone by and fall in love today!

Author Bio

Elizabeth McKenna is a full-time technical writer/editor for a large software company. She never read romance novels until one Christmas when her sister gave her the latest bestseller by Nora Roberts. She was hooked from page one (actually, she admits it was the first love scene).

She had always wanted to write fiction, so when a psychic told her she would write a book, Elizabeth felt obligated to give it a try. She combined her love of history, romance and a happy ending to write her debut novel, Cera's Place.

Elizabeth lives in Wisconsin (Packers, Brewers, and Badgers - oh my!) with her understanding husband, two beautiful daughters, and sassy Labrador. When she isn't writing, working, or being a mom, she's sleeping.

Cera’s Place – Excerpt

Crossing the room, Cera picked up a rag and began wiping down the bar. In the mirror on the wall, she watched Jake’s reflection come up behind her. Her eyes widened in disbelief when he placed his hands on either side of her body, trapping her against the bar rail.

Feigning indifference, she turned around to face him. Earlier in the day, his eyes had appeared the indigo blue of a stormy sea, but now they reflected a dull black. It was impossible not to see the aching weariness in them.

The scent of soap mixed with leather and tobacco filled her nose. If the price of his recent bath included a shave, he had wasted his money. A fine line of dark stubble covered his chin and cheeks. She tried to resist the urge, but her eyes sought out the red scar running down his brown face.

Hoping to make up for that slip of rudeness, she asked, “Are you feeling better, Mr. Tanner?”

“Better?” His eyes narrowed slightly in confusion.

“Your headache, is it gone?”

He nodded, understanding. “Yes, thank you for asking. I’m better now.”

Taking one of her hands, he placed it next to his eye, where the scar began. He moved her fingers down his cheek over the raised path, stopping at the corner of his mouth. Then, he dropped her hand and placed his back on the bar rail.

“Are you better now?” he asked in a low voice.

Cera shook her head. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to stare. It’s just…how did you get…?”

He ignored her question, though the corner of his mouth lifted into a half smile.

“Do you find something funny?” She sidestepped into his arm, thinking he would move and let her pass. Instead, he held firm, shifting his body back into alignment with hers.

“Oh no, there’s nothing funny going on here.” He closed the distance between them to a mere inch, but when Cera stiffened, he stepped back.

“Well, what are you doing here, Mr. Tanner? Is there something you need?” She tried to sound exasperated.

Jake’s laugh held little humor. “Miss Cera, I have no idea what I need, but I did come here for a reason. Call it an experiment, if you will.” With his finger, he lifted her chin and then pressed her lips with his. When he released her, he sighed. “That was better than I remembered it to be.”

He looked into her eyes one last time before walking out into the night. Cera let go of the breath she had been holding. She knew what he needed, but she was pretty sure she needed it more.

Thank you, Elizabeth,  for coming by!
You can find Cera's Place:
Barnes and Noble
Happy reading!


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