The Well-stocked Writer’s Arsenal

If you’re a writer, odds are you’re a storyteller. You have a story or a hundred stories inside you, all clamoring for your attention, struggling to break free of your mind so the world can know them.

And more stories sign up for the chance to be told on a weekly, daily, hourly basis.

In an article I wrote for Let’s Talk Romance, I gave some advice to learn basic document formatting prior to submitting. I suggested some people might want to take a computer class or at least read the tutorials. This is good advice because publishers will love you when you have taken the time to learn how to format and are able to follow their submission formatting guidelines. Today, I want to make a suggestion of another kind. One that involves writer’s tools.

It is not enough to put words on paper or computer screen. They must be the right words, the ones that convey the meaning you intend. And they must be correctly spelled words so others will understand what you’re saying. I know many people who are spelling challenged, and yet they are storytellers with the need to tell a story. Two of my daughters have dyslexia but they tell fantastic tales.

So, the first took in a writer’s arsenal (all writers, even those who have good spelling) should be a dictionary. More, the storyteller must have the knowledge and ability to utilize this tool correctly. Two other books (paper, electronic, or on-line) that will come in handy are a thesaurus and a reputable grammar resource.

A style guide such as CMoS is a great resource, especially since it’s the one most publishers will base company style guides on. Learn the rules of fiction writing and practice them until you know them by heart. Learn when to use quotation marks, and when a sentence inside those quotation marks should be ended with a period (.) or a comma (,). Learn the proper placement and use of dialogue tags. Learn when it’s appropriate to change paragraphs.

In short, a good start for a life as a storyteller is to learn the basics of grammar and style as applied to fiction. A good second step is to seek out a great critique partner or group. But critique partners should be a resource for helping you develop the content of your story and not someone to check your spelling and punctuation. If you’re challenged in those areas, look into finding a proof reader who can read through your work and locate any mechanical errors.

Happy writing!

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Sweet Saturday Samples/Heartsight p. 99

Happy Sweet Saturday Sample Day! When you finish my sample, visit Sweet Saturday Samples for more authors and samples!

Hurricane Irene is about to hit the U.S., so I thought I would put my hurricane story to the p. 99 test this week. From Heartsight:

But he wasn’ʹt that careless youth anymore. And Trish, he had come to realize, was worth so much more than the means to scratch an itch. Trish Evers was a forever kind of woman. And one day she’d find the man who could give her forever.

So why did that thought leave a nasty taste in his mouth?

“You’re saying nothing pretty loudly over there, Danny Boy.”

That light-­hearted lilt was back in her voice as she teased him using his own words, and his heart reacted with a little cardiac jig. Slow down, boy. Don’ʹt fall for the single mom. Your own life is more screwed up than she needs.

“Wow,” she whispered. “You’re speechless. I’ʹve never made anyone speechless before.” She laughed softly. “I promise if you’ʹre trying to figure out how to extricate yourself from my clutches, it’s not that hard.”

A grin worked at Dan’s lips. Extricating himself was the last thing he wanted. “Got room on the couch for me to join you or are you lounging across all the cushions?”

“Dan?” Her voice was uncertain again.

He shrugged. “I want to talk, Trish. Spend some time as two adults just . . . talking. You up for it?”

“Okay, I think.” Her laugh seemed a little nervous.

Good. He’d thrown her a bit off balance. Maybe the playing field would even a little. Maybe he could even it some more. He scooted over to the sofa. “What lights do you have on?”

“What?” Definitely off balance. “Oh, um, one at the end of the couch here, one in the window, in the hallway, on the stairs.”

“Do you need them on? Maybe for Bella?”

“No, not really.” She stood. He heard her walking around the room, caught the subtle clicks of switches as she turned off the lights. Then she was back.

Dan settled with his back against the end of the sofa. He toed his shoes off and stretched his legs out along the cushions.

“Oh, who’s lounging on all the cushions now?” She dropped down on the other end and tangled her feet and legs with his.

Dan chuckled softly. “Comfortable?”

She ran one of her toes along the bottom of his bare foot, laughing when he sucked a fast breath in through his teeth. “Yep! Quite comfortable.”

“Dang, woman! You’ve got ice cubes for feet.”

She giggled and surrounded one of his feet with both of hers. The cold bit deep and Dan shivered.”They’re always cold,” she said.

“Put some socks on.”

“I hate socks.”

They drifted to an expectant silence as Dan tried to figure out how to begin without sounding like a raunchy jerk.

ʺI want to clear something up, Trish.” He rubbed his jaw. “I do notice you and think of you—often . . . in the way you were suggesting.”
*****
Trish’s jaw dropped to somewhere in the vicinity of her chest. It had been hard to miss how much he wanted her, but had Dan just admitted it to her? The rush of excitement was so thrilling, she could forgive him the unspoken “but” she knew was about to be dropped on her.

To his credit, he didn’t use the word. His deep voice was mesmerizing as he spoke. “It would be easy to go there with you. I think you’ʹre one of the most beautiful and sexy women I’ʹve ever met.” He paused.

In the darkness, Trish couldn’t see his face. She could only hear his voice. He’d done that on purpose, she realized, when he had her turn off the lights. Suddenly, things weren’t one-­sided between them.

“Have I left you speechless now?” he asked.

She answered slowly. “A little.”

****BLURB****

On a secluded beach in North Carolina, three lonely people find hope in each other.

Trish Evers is an artist and single mother, who has inherited her grandmother’s Bed and Breakfast in a North Carolina coastal town. Though she must sell the house, she decides to bring her daughter to the beach for one last summer vacation in her childhood town.

Bella is a six-year-old girl who has Down syndrome. Rejected by her father, Trish, is the only parent she’s ever known. Bella likes to explore the beach and has a tendency to wander off. One day, Bella goes exploring on her own, and Trish finds her in the company of an intriguing stranger.

Dan Conway is a U.S. Marine, who had been born into a family of Marines. Now blind as a result of combat injuries and unable to “suit up,” he feels he no longer has a purpose in life. He’s come home to the beach, where he spends his days in solitude. Dan must learn to believe in himself and to love life again, which he begins to do through his interactions with Bella and Trish. When a hurricane strikes, and Bella wanders off again, her only hope for rescue is Dan.

Working within the confines of his blindness, he must overcome his fear of failure and recall his training in order to search for the little girl and bring her to safety.

Return to Sweet Saturday Samples.

Heartsight:  Astraea Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Matrimonial Mayhem:  Astraea Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Lifeline Echoes:  Astraea Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Elusive Echoes:  Astraea Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Coming soon from Astraea Press. With her strict no-dating-within-the-department rule, Firefighter Lina Standish has a nickname in the Salem Hills Fire Department: Lina “Standoffish”. But Firefighter Kevin Daly has had his eye on Standoffish ever since a locker room incident nearly a year earlier, and now he plans to break all her rules. With the help of his niece and a hot-air balloon, he gets Lina’s attention and she agrees to “hang out” with Kevin as friends off duty, to take it slow and see where things go between them. Then Lina’s life is turned upside down by a surprise miracle who doesn’t even have a name. Kevin’s ready to step up, but is Lina?

Return to Sweet Saturday Samples.

An Earthquake a Day Keeps the People Connected

Virginia had an earthquake yesterday. Most of the East Coast of the United States felt it.

Not so long ago, I wrote about an earthquake…in a story called Lifeline Echoes:

Prologue

There is no natural phenomenon which is held by all mankind in greater dread than earthquakes. Our ideas of permanence, solidity and strength are based upon the condition of the earth, as we daily see it; so that when the firm ground shakes under us, there naturally comes over the mind a feeling of abject helplessness. ~New York Times April 9, 1872

Los Angeles, seven years ago. . .

The day the earth tried to swallow L.A., Alexandra Wheaton dropped her double chocolate iced mocha in the parking lot. It landed with a splat, pale brown slush sliding off the toe of one white shoe to form a sticky puddle beneath her foot. Cleaning it up made Sandy two minutes late for her job as a dispatcher for Los Angeles City Emergency Services.

Her day was about to become much worse. Moments past eight in the morning, the tectonic plates along the Newport-Inglewood-Rose Canyon fault line started to move with a little more force than the normal sway and push. The seismograph needle in the monitoring station leapt wildly and the machine registered the largest magnitude quake along that fault in greater than forty years.

Millions of dollars spent on equipment upgrades for emergency services over the past year proved no match against the relentless heave of the agitated earth. Radio towers toppled and satellite dishes were knocked out of alignment, creating a system-wide communication blackout until Los Angeles Central Dispatch switched to their ten-year-­old backup system. When the earth stopped its initial temper tantrum, the telephone switchboard began to light up with calls from citizens, while the status of each individual emergency response unit was being verified by radio check-in.

In less than ninety seconds, chaos erupted in Central Los Angeles. The nightmare deepened moments later when a ruptured gas line beneath the Convention Center was ignited by the cigarette Marcus Fulton had been smoking in the basement janitorial supply closet.

Sandy couldn’t stop the tremors running along the inner fault lines of her own neural pathways. But she was a professional, so with a voice that only barely trembled, she dispatched Fire Station Number 9 to the L.A. Convention Center.

The first shift after Sandy’s vacation was off to a very rocky start. Before her shift was over, she would learn two important things. First, she was getting the heck out of L.A. Second, it was possible to fall in love with someone, sight unseen, in twenty-three hours and fifty-seven minutes.

Virginia, Summer 2011

I learned two things yesterday, August 23, 2011. First, it’s a lot more pleasant to sit in my office and write about an earthquake than it is to live through one. Second, no amount of research about earthquakes through viewing news reports and conducting interviews can prepare a person for the actual event. It doesn’t even come close. Yesterday’s earthquake in Mineral, Virginia (about 75 miles from where I live) was not the catastrophic quake I described in Lifeline Echoes, a mere 5.8 compared to a 10.0. It definitely wasn’t even close to the recent earthquakes in Haiti, Chili, and Japan. It definitely didn’t knock the world off its axis. But it did cause a crack in the Washington Monument and a spire to fall from the National Cathedral. It did rock the Mineral Post Office off its foundation and it buried several cars under bricks. Thankfully, no one died in this place where earthquakes of this magnitude are rare and the people living here are unprepared.

And me? The rumbling ground yesterday scared the words right out of me. A little 5.8 (by some reports 5.9) on the Richter Scale quake made my heart race and pushed the blood through my system with the same grinding thrum the earth beneath me was making. When the house stopped shaking, my own internal quake continued for several hours. I’d like to claim the imagination flew to the countless number of disaster movies about volcanoes and earthquakes and general end-of-the-world fare and made the experience more harrowing. But in truth, I never thought of any of these. It seems one really does experience a deep, visceral, thought-free reaction. No movie images of the ground opening hovered in my conscious. The shuddering earth with the sound of growling grating rock that somehow manages to get inside the head as well as outside spurs the heart to frightening pace, squeezes breath from the lungs, and paralyzes with primal fear. Time slows and is drawn out – what lasted no more than 45 seconds seemed to go on for more like 5 minutes. Things get noticed, like books tumbling from shelves and dogs scrambling into your lap. But the imagination has nothing on the physical reaction that can only come from some primeval switch that gets flicked on when dangers arise.

When the earth moves, humans revert to animal instinct. I reported to friends that I felt “wobbly” for hours after, and I was close enough to the epicenter that I felt the 2.8 and 2.2 aftershocks for sure, which gave me milder versions of the panicky sensation I experienced during the original event. I’d had a nervous sensation about me from early in the morning. My dogs, who are my constant companions, had been even more clingy. And the National Zoo reported that the lemurs had been giving alarm sounds for a full 15 minutes before they felt the earthquake. So when my daughter called to tell me she had an edgy feeling just before she felt anything, I wasn’t surprised. I think humans share a connection with our world in ways we may never understand. But this connection that we share with the Earth also binds us to one another. We send warning calls, we burn up the airwaves and overwhelm the cell towers calling our loved ones to see if they’re okay.

When we go through one of Mother Earth’s hiccups or wheezes, we survive by our connections to one another. On some level, I’ve always known that. After making it through two minor hurricanes in Maryland in recent years, the first thing we did was call family out of state to let them know we were fine, and then we called friends in the area  to check on their status, see if they needed anything. I attempted to demonstrate this need for human connection in Lifeline Echoes, with the trapped firefighter and the dispatcher who became his voice lifeline. But as I said earlier, I’d much rather write about it than actually live through it ever again.

Happy reading, all!

Available Now

Heartsight:  Astraea Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Matrimonial Mayhem:  Astraea Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Lifeline Echoes:  Astraea Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Elusive Echoes:  Astraea Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Lifeline Echoes print edition

Heartsight print edition

Coming soon from Astraea Press!

Elusive Echoes on Sweet Saturday Samples

I started to do the p. 99 test for Elusive Echoes, but alas…it turns out that’s a very pivotal part of the story and both clears up things prior to that page and creates further questions. Since I didn’t want to spoil the story for anyone, I decided to post p. 98 instead…

She closed her phone. Would life ever be uncomplicated for them?

The sharp rap at her screen door interrupted her irritation, and Mel blinked in surprise at the man on the other side.

“DC. Hi.” She held the door open so he could enter.

The sheriff looked uncomfortable. “Sorry for the early hour, but I’ve got something you’re going to want to hear, and I’m guessing you’d rather hear this in private.”

Mel pointed to the sofa, and followed him over.

“There is no easy way to say this.” DC opened a small black notebook. “A speeding ticket was issued by State Police to a Mr. Dennis DeVayne on US-189 out of Jackson last Saturday afternoon.”

Mel’s heart dropped to somewhere in the vicinity of her stomach, where it continued to beat rapidly. “So he is in the area.”

“He was around last Saturday at least.” DC closed his notebook and tapped it with his fingers. “He also ran a red light in Jackson, got caught on a camera.” He met her stare. “Back in July.”

Mel squeezed her eyes for a second, trying to push back the uneasiness. “He wants something. He’s been hanging around.”

DC rubbed his jaw. “Well, you know him and I don’t. I can’t really say anything other than he appears to be a lousy driver.”

“I’ve been getting letters from him since May but they’ve been from different cities, out of state.”

DC spread his hands. “So he’s on the move a lot and keeps coming back here, or he mails them to an accomplice to mail to you. Nick DeVayne maybe? I haven’t found anything in the system on him at all. Maybe he’s being careful.” DC gave her a pointed look. “Or something might have happened to him. Do you want me to look at the letters? If there’s anything remotely threatening, we can at least get it into the system and start looking at Dennis.”

Mel drew a long breath. “I . . . think I should bring them to you later. I think—maybe I need a lawyer.”

As she finished speaking, he was already shaking his head. “I’m sorry. I didn’t hear what you just said. Were you looking for me to recommend an attorney, Mel?”

Mel flashed a grin. “If you weren’t married already, I’d so go after you.”

With a quick laugh, DC stood. “I’m guessing your boyfriend would have something to say about that.”

“Actually, we’ve had a development.” She held out her left hand.

Elusive Echoes, available now:   Astraea Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Also available:

Heartsight:  Astraea Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Matrimonial Mayhem:  Astraea Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Lifeline Echoes:  Astraea Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Coming soon from Astraea Press:

Heartsent by Kay Springsteen

With her strict no-dating-within-the-department rule, Firefighter Lina Standish has a nickname in the Salem Hills Fire Department: Lina “Standoffish”. But Firefighter Kevin Daly has had his eye on Standoffish ever since a locker room incident nearly a year earlier, and now he plans to break all her rules. With the help of his niece and a hot-air balloon, he gets Lina’s attention and she agrees to “hang out” with Kevin as friends off duty, to take it slow and see where things go between them. Then Lina’s life is turned upside down by a surprise miracle who doesn’t even have a name. Kevin’s ready to step up, but is Lina?

Return to Sweet Sample Saturday.

Sweet Sample Saturday: Lifeline Echoes Page 99

So, I decided to try a Page-99 Test today. The scoop is, open any full length book to page 99 and if you like that, you will probably like the rest of the book. So, here it is. Let me know what you think of my p. 99.

Lifeline Echoes, p. 99

A plush, dark towel slung around his hips, Ryan was using another to dry his hair while he contemplated the insanity of having stayed up all night. His bed now looked mighty appealing.

He slid open the dresser drawer and grabbed a pair of dark briefs, pausing when he saw the folder. With one trembling finger he traced the upper edge. The bold black lines of the capital A on the tab sliced through his conscience like hot wires. Ryan squeezed his eyes shut against the onslaught of feelings he preferred to keep buried. He opened them abruptly. Man! What had he done by getting involved with Sandy? It felt a little like . . . cheating.

He picked up the folder, swallowing past the lump of emotions lodged in his throat. Opening it, he saw pages and pages of his own handwriting. Notations of leads which hadn’t panned out, her name, given to him by one of her sympathetic coworkers: Allie Whitman. Beneath all that, more pages of handwritten notes, the details he remembered of all their conversations, written when he’d been unable to walk, just so he’d have something to hold onto. He shuffled through them once again, those well-­worn sheets of yellow paper.

He’d fallen in love with her, asked her to marry him. Yet he had nothing tangible of her. When he’d needed her, she hadn’t been there. She’d completely disappeared, almost like she never existed. The guys had teased him about hallucinating for months until he’d gotten more careful about looking for her.

And now . . . Sandy made him want to throw it all away. Seven years of searching for someone who must not want to be found. Who was he cheating on if she’d left him first?

“Sandy,” he whispered. He was cheating Sandy if he moved forward with her before letting go of the past he still struggled with.

“You and your brother square things up?” Justin’s gravelly voice came from the doorway.

Ryan jumped “Stop my heart first next time, will ya?”

LIFELINE ECHOES available now:  Astraea Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Also available, ELUSIVE ECHOES, Sean and Mel’s story.

New reviews for the Echoes series:  Lifeline Echoes http://bit.ly/oN0olX  Elusive Echoes  http://bit.ly/qtwvuf

Return to Sweet Sample Saturday

Something About August

Maybe it’s because August is my birthday month. Maybe it’s because of all the back-to-school commercials. Maybe it’s because I can tell when Summer reaches her midpoint because the light changes. For whatever reason, the month of August has long been a time for me to reflect. I lost a bit of time this morning looking out my window at my garden, watching the butterflies and the hummingbird. The writing spiders have left. Did they complete their cycle so early last year? The sky overhead is clear blue – no haze to distort, no clouds to block out the color. When the air is this clear, even without the chilly bite of fall, the light puts on an amazing show, reflecting off every color in a most vivid manner. With the overbearing heat now at a livable level here in the mountains – upper 80s with low humidity – my garden has renewed herself and flowers have splashed color around her borders for my pleasure.

The first Mother’s Day I lived here, one of my daughter’s gave me a group of Knock-Out roses. I planted them in a hedge and they took off. These are amazing plants – disease-resistant, pest-resistant, winter-hardy through USDA zone 5, and heat-tolerant throughout the entire United States. They have flowered non-stop for me all summer, but with the slightly cooler days, they’ve gone into another flush of blooming. Butterflies and bees dance among their blossoms – my Knock-Outs are red, but there are many colors. Really, if you love roses, Google them.

Life can sometimes throw us for a loop. We get caught up in our troubles and the turmoil and we don’t stop to smell the proverbial roses (Knock-Outs smell delicious, by the way – each color just a bit different from rosy-sweet to spicy-sweet). I’m no different from the next person. I experience problems of day-to-day living, and sometimes it’s easy to lose the simple pleasures in the midst of our worries. That’s why, when August hits and I begin the process of reflection, I first take stock by gazing out on my garden. Its peace and natural beauty and order is nearly perfect, and that peace settles over me like my comfortable old Blankie that I carried around as a child.

This year, as I was noticing my Knock-Out roses, I realized that I want to be like them – and in many ways, I have been. Disease-resistant, pest-resistant, hardy in wide extremes of temperature. As the heat of life is turned up or down, I adjust. This used to be called “going with the flow,” I suppose. I’m at a point now where I can look back on my life, at my decisions both good and bad, and see that even throughout making numerous mistakes, I somehow learned, and grew . . . and survived. Diseases such as self-doubt, pests like the consequences and detours of my various errors in judgment, the extremes of uncertain times – I’ve been through them, and I’m still here. I’ve been blessed by as many ups as I’ve had downs. Life is a miracle, a journey to be savored for every little detail, whether these details are perceived as good or bad. Life, with all its wonderful up-and-down adventures, is a gift that I accept with gratitude. Will I continue to be exposed to diseases and pests and extremes? Of course. That’s called living. Hopefully, like my beautiful Knock-Outs, I will continue to thrive.

Coming Soon

Heartsent by Kay Springsteen

With her strict no-dating-within-the-department rule, Firefighter Lina Standish has a nickname in the Salem Hills Fire Department: Lina “Standoffish”. But Firefighter Kevin Daly has had his eye on Standoffish ever since a locker room incident nearly a year earlier, and now he plans to break all her rules. With the help of his niece and a hot-air balloon, he gets Lina’s attention and she agrees to “hang out” with Kevin as friends off duty, to take it slow and see where things go between them. Then Lina’s life is turned upside down by a surprise miracle who doesn’t even have a name. Kevin’s ready to step up, but is Lina?

Available now:

Sweet Saturday Sample

It’s another random pick sampling this week. From Heartsight:

Dan flopped backward onto his sofa and laid there, one foot dangling over the edge. He stared upward at the blackness that had somehow slipped into being a normal part of his life. Trish’s scent still clung on his clothing, his skin. Memories of the feel of her lingered in his mind. What are you thinking, Conway?

BLURB

On a secluded beach in North Carolina, three lonely people find hope in each other.

Trish Evers is an artist and single mother, who has inherited her grandmother’s Bed and Breakfast in a North Carolina coastal town. Though she must sell the house, she decides to bring her daughter to the beach for one last summer vacation in her childhood town.

Bella is a six-year-old girl who has Down syndrome. Rejected by her father, Trish, is the only parent she’s ever known. Bella likes to explore the beach and has a tendency to wander off. One day, Bella goes exploring on her own, and Trish finds her in the company of an intriguing stranger.

Dan Conway is a U.S. Marine, who had been born into a family of Marines. Now blind as a result of combat injuries and unable to “suit up,” he feels he no longer has a purpose in life. He’s come home to the beach, where he spends his days in solitude. Dan must learn to believe in himself and to love life again, which he begins to do through his interactions with Bella and Trish. When a hurricane strikes, and Bella wanders off again, her only hope for rescue is Dan.

Working within the confines of his blindness, he must overcome his fear of failure and recall his training in order to search for the little girl and bring her to safety.

        

Astraea Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Coming soon: Another of the Heart Stories, Heartsent

One-scoop samples of Heartsight and Camp Wedding.

See Amazon.com reviews of Heartsight

Return to Sweet Sample Saturday

Heartsight on Amazon Reviews

Amazon Reviews:

5.0 out of 5 stars A treasure and a pleasure,July 7, 2011

By Kathleen Ball “kathleen” (usa) – See all my reviews

This novel was so beautifully written. The relationships between the characters did tug at my heartstrings. Kay uses all five senses when she writes. You feel as though you are there watching the whole story take place- I couldn’t put it down- and I was sad when it ended.

***

5.0 out of 5 stars Finally– an intelligent love story! (july 3,2011).,July 3, 2011

By Kathleen Bursaw “bookster” (st.paul,mn. usa) – See all my reviews

Came across this story by chance and I am so glad I did. My nephew is Down’s Syndrome and is a loving adult now. Anyone who has come into a lifestyle like that will truly love this story. Kudos to Ms. Springsteen for a tender and intelligent love story. I will certainly read more from this author & ASTRAEA PUBLISHING.

***

5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Keeper for Me…………….,May 20, 2011

By Lady LindaSee all my reviews

Capt. Dan Conway, USMC (almost retired) after 4 years of rehab and “procedures” to restore his sight after being blinded on the wrong side of an IED, returns home to the beach he grew up on in North Carolina to just live and try to decide on a future path if there is one.

Trish Evers, single mom, divorced from the “jerk of the century” is busy clearing out the former B&B of her late grandmother a few houses away from Dan’s. Trishs’ 6 year old, Bella, is an adorable mentally challanged child who is adventurous and enjoying the very nearby beach. Bella’s attraction to the beach mixed with overwhelmed mom’s exhaustion find mom dozing and adventurous Bella on her way to the beach alone.

Panicked mom starts searching for her daughter who has found Dan on the beach and silently just sits down with him and takes his hand. Dan tries chatting with the silent child and decides to just wait for an anxious parent to find them. It takes several hours before he hears the panicked voice of a mom calling “Bella!”. After Dan returns her shout Trish, of course, feels like “mom of the year” and Dan feels somewhat deserted after thanks from Trish and their ensuing departure. Seems Dan was quite taken with the quiet little one just sitting and holding his hand in the early morning sun.

Repeated encounters between Dan and Bella have mom somewhat knowing where to look for Bella who seems to have become very adept at scurrying away from her to adopt Dan (the MOST patient man ever)as her full-time buddy.

This is a wonderfully written, sweet, shelf keeper for me. Although all the main characters are sympathetic – they are also very strong in their intentions to be responsible to both themselves and Bella. Don’t miss this wonderful, heartfelt story. The adventure depicted in the last half of the book will have you pulling for Dan, Trish and Bella. We later find out the sacrifice Dan may have made during that last “mission”. Author Kay Springsteen writes in a very coherent style and really brings the poignancy of Dan, Bella and Trishs’ lives home to the reader. I couldn’t help the occasional tear for each of their personal obstacles.

It’s toward the top of my re-read list, enjoy Heartsight!

***

5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended!!,May 15, 2011

By Liz Velez (Dallastown, PA USA) – See all my reviews (Reviewed by: Dawne)

Single mom Trish Evers has a lot on her plate, from cleaning out her grandmother’s B&B to dealing with her ex-husband and his custody issues to the mysterious ex-Marine neighbor and add in her mentally challenged daughter, Isabella. Her summer on the North Carolina beach will be life turning point in her life, physically and emotionally. With the help of mysterious neighbor, Dan Conway, Trish learns of true, unconditional love.

Over the weeks, Trish and Dan develop the sweetest romance ever witnessed. His caring and understanding of Bella’s condition proves he has great compassion. Trish and Dan’s relationship evolves from friendship to admiration to respect and love. Both want what’s best for Bella and her development and stability.

When her ex-husband, who’s fighting her for custody of their daughter, shows up unannounced, Trish has to stand firm her Bella’s well-being. In preparations of leaving the beach side residence with a pending hurricane coming, Bella disappears. During the ordeal, Trish relies on Dan, who is blind due to an IED explosion overseas (happened during a scene involving Trish’s ex’s company) to find Bella. Dan, who is still dealing with some issues from his blindness and Marine life, must set aside his emotions and troubles to find Bella.

Springsteen creates three of the most memorable characters in this novel. From Dan and Isabella’s connection to Dan and Trish’s budding romance, Springsteen produces passion in her dialogue, laughter in the moments shared between Dan and Trish and unconditional love for all three.

I highly recommend this novel to everyone. The sweet romance was addictive and once I started reading, I could NOT stop. Springsteen has a glowing future in the publishing world of romance.

***

4.0 out of 5 stars Set your sights on Heartsight,May 15, 2011

By Joy at Edgy Inspirational RomanceSee all my reviews

Dan Conyers is blind. He carries physical and emotional scars, but he’s anything but helpless. This ex-military man was of the hottest heroes I’ve met in a long time. Kudos to the author for taking her leading man in a brand new direction.

I normally review Christian fiction, and probably wouldn’t have read this if I had known it didn’t really fit that category, but I’m glad I gave it a chance. Heartsight is a sweet/contemporary romance and a quick read. Springsteen crafted characters that wormed their way into my heart almost immediately.

She did a particularly great job writing the slime ball ex-husband. He made a fantastic antagonist, someone I loved hating.

If you’re a fan of sweet romance, sets your sights on Heartsight.

***

5.0 out of 5 stars Tugging the Heartstrings Read,March 20, 2011

By Reader “Blue Crab Books” (Detroit, MI USA) – See all my reviews

I expected Heartsight to be a fast read, but its in-depth emotion made me slow down to savor the tugging-the-heartstrings story line. Dan Conway, a blinded Marine, meets Trish Evers and her Down Syndrome child, Bella, and forms a strong bond of friendship. Trish struggles with loss at many levels, especially when her ex-husband sues for custody of their child. The gripping climax at the lighthouse kept me turning pages as well, delivering a satisfying twist. Kudos to Kay Springsteen!

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5.0 out of 5 stars Heartsight is Full of Insight and Great Writing,March 17, 2011

By J. Knauss “Author of Tree/House” (Mountain Top, PA USA) – See all my reviews

Kay Springsteen delivers a stirring love story full of well-crafted language, vivid imagery, and hope in Heartsight.

Heartsight is the story of Trish, the now single mother of Bella, a delightfully drawn girl with Down Syndrome. Although Bella’s father couldn’t handle her different needs, she is the center of her mother’s life. She quickly captures the heart of Dan, a veteran Marine who was blinded in Afghanistan and has come to the remote Carolina beach to escape. The tension builds nicely as Dan and Trish try to understand the meaning of their feelings for each other, and Bella’s father is reintroduced as an uncaring villain who could tear their world apart. But Mother Nature herself provides the culmination of the story in the form of a hurricane the characters must walk directly through in a truly life-and-death chapter. Masterfully switching between the perspectives of the two lovers, Kay Springsteen shows herself to be an experienced writer who cares as much about language as she does about her characters and her happy ending. Using Dan’s “handicap” as a new way of experiencing the world, Springsteen creates sensory-intense scenes filled with perfumes, sounds, and textures the reader will not soon forget.

Heartsight doesn’t hit you over the head with prescriptive morals and the characters have their doubts about the existence of God. Their lives have given them a realistic degree of uncertainty that makes it all the more rewarding when they make the final decisions of the book. While never crossing the bounds of propriety, the sensual scenes evoke the mixture of heartfelt longing and hesitation in the characters.

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4.0 out of 5 stars Great read!,March 13, 2011

By SL StandishSee all my reviews

Such a beautiful story full of passion and love! The characters are so real and full of life. I really enjoyed this book.

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5.0 out of 5 stars An intensely heart warming story,March 7, 2011

By Jeanne Theunissen (Melbourne, Australia) – See all my reviews

It’s not often that people with less than perfect physical abilities end up as the heros or heroines in romance stories, but Dan is a perfectly believeable character worthy of love and respect, despite his blindness. Kay Springsteen did a wonderful job of bringing these characters to life, and telling their story in a sensitive, thought provoking manner. I’ve always been a romantic, and this is a very satisfying story. I’m looking forward to seeing more from this author.

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5.0 out of 5 stars intelligent, well-written, and touching,March 2, 2011

By J. Gunnar Grey “the mystery writer” (Texas) – See all my reviews

I don’t read a lot of romance, much less sweet romance. But this is a wonderful book and I enjoyed it tremendously. It’s intelligent and well-written, with smooth writing that flows and a plotline that’s solid. And the characters are truly believable. Kay Springsteen is a writer to watch.

Find Kay Springsteen’s novels:  Astraea Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble