About Christine S. Feldman

Christine S. Feldman writes both novels and feature-length screenplays, and she has placed in screenwriting competitions on both coasts. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her ballroom-dancing husband and their Beagle.

Coming Soon…

Thanks to a heads-up from a fellow Crimson Romance author, I discovered this morning that there is a link on Amazon now for a paperback version of my second novel, The Bargain.  Yay!  I’m so excited!

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At the moment there isn’t any cover art showing, and the book’s status is “Temporarily Out of Stock,” but it’s still a step in the right direction.  I’m going to hold off ordering any copies until it actually says they have them, but when they do… Look out!  I’ll be the first one in line to click on “Add to Cart.”  Multiple times.  And then I will cuddle with a copy of Coming Home AND The Bargain.  That’s normal, right?

If you’d like to check it out for yourself, here’s the link, but I wouldn’t pre-order it since I vaguely remembering having trouble doing that when the link for Coming Home first showed up.  People who waited until it actually showed as “In Stock” got their copies way before I did, and I finally ended up having to cancel the order and trying again.  I guess the early bird doesn’t ALWAYS get the worm.

Have a great day!  🙂

Guess What’s Finally Out?

And by that I mean both my third Heavenly Bites novella, Playing Cupid, and myself because I finally got to emerge from my writing cave and see the sun again!  Well, in theory.  It’s pretty foggy here.

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But anyway… Playing Cupid is finally out on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble!  Yay!  So if you feel like getting an early start on celebrating Valentine’s Day this year, give it a read.  And if you don’t feel like celebrating early, you could give it a read anyway.  Maybe you’ll change your mind.  🙂

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

Another Release Day On The Horizon–And An Excerpt

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Well, the third novella in my Heavenly Bites series should be up and running on Amazon and Barnes & Noble by the end of January, which is appropriate considering it’s a Valentine’s Day story, right?  While I’m getting things ready to go, I thought I’d share the first couple of scenes with you, so here’s the book blurb to give you some context:

Playing Cupid:

Much as she loves her meddling matchmaker of a grandmother, free-spirited Aimee Beasley is tired of dodging the dull and downright tiresome dates the older woman keeps trying to arrange for her.  So when she notices her beloved Gran preening in the presence of a distinguished elderly gentleman who’s been visiting their apartment building, Aimee is delighted at the prospect of turning the tables on her.

But her plans to match her grandmother up with the gentleman in time for Valentine’s Day hit a snag when Aimee realizes he’s the uncle of their downstairs neighbor, a stodgy thirty-something history professor named Doyle with whom she butts heads on a regular basis.  She’ll need to find a way to make nice and enlist his help, or her plan to see her long-widowed Gran happily matched again will never work.

For Gran’s sake, she’s determined to find a way.  In the process, she starts to realize that her cranky downstairs neighbor has a softer side she never suspected existed. 

And when it comes to romantic heroes, history professors may not have gotten a fair shake…

And here we go:

Playing Cupid: Opening Excerpt

            Aimee Beasley held the door open to their apartment building’s lobby for her beloved and bespectacled Gram as the older woman listed the many wonderful qualities possessed by her pharmacist, starting with his full head of hair and ending with his detailed knowledge of the common side effects of every medication known to humankind.  It was a surprisingly long list, so either Gram had spent a great deal of time compiling it, or she had simply made half of it up.  Either way, her dedication to her cause was admirable.

“So?” said Gram, expectant and finally pausing to draw breath as she peered at her granddaughter through tortoiseshell glasses that seemed to dwarf her face.

Aimee shook her head.

“But he’s such a nice young man—“ her grandmother protested.

“Nope.”

“I’m sure the two of you would have a lovely time getting to know each other.”

“Nope.”  This was becoming an all too familiar conversation between them, and it was usually sparked by whatever “suitable” prospect had happened to catch Aimee’s matchmaking grandmother’s eye most recently.  Today, of course, it had been her pharmacist, a man who Aimee was quite sure had as little interest in dating her as she did in going out with him.

Gram held a quivering hand to her heart and sighed dramatically.

“Nice try, Gram,” Aimee said patiently, unperturbed and shifting the bag of groceries she carried to one hand so she could dig in her pocket for her keys with the other.  “You know that won’t work on me.”

The older woman scowled, but the quiver in her hand abruptly disappeared.

“I don’t know why you insist upon turning down every young man I find for you.  I’d appreciate it if you’d keep an open mind about this sort of thing, Aimee.”

“And I’d appreciate it if you’d stop trying to pimp me out.”  Aimee finally

found her keys and pulled them out to shove the right one into their mailbox.

Pulling out the handful of envelopes and flyers inside, she closed it again and led the way to the elevator.

“But, dear, my pharmacist is really very charming.”

“Then you go out with him.”

Gram frowned at Aimee again and took the mail from her so Aimee could better balance the groceries.  “He’s barely thirty.”

Aimee let out a wolf whistle.  “My Gram, the cougar!”

“The what?”

The elevator opened, and both women stepped inside.  “It’s an older woman who likes to play with young boy-toys, Gram.  But if you do decide to bring your pharmacist home with you one day, do me a favor and put a sock on the door or something so I know not to go barging in, okay?”

“Young lady—“ Gram began, sputtering at her granddaughter as the elevator carried them up to the fourth floor.

Aimee gave her a cheeky grin.

The older woman’s eyes narrowed, and she recovered her composure.  “Don’t think I’ll give up that easily.  I’ve got plenty of time on my hands and little else to do besides think about these kinds of things, you know.”

“Bring it, lady,” Aimee returned, and then planted an affectionate kiss on top of the other woman’s headful of white curls as the elevator doors opened.  “So, turkey or tuna today?” she asked as they reached their apartment door and she juggled keys and groceries again.

“Tuna.”

“Melt or mayo?”

“Melt, I think,” Gram decided, following Aimee into the apartment.  “With the cheddar, if you don’t mind.”

“Cheddar it is.  Give me five minutes to put this stuff away, and I’ll fix it.”

“Oh, dear…”

“Okay, three minutes.”  Aimee pulled open the refrigerator door and began stuffing groceries inside.  “Are you really that hungry?”

“What?  Oh no, it’s not that.”  Gram waved an envelope.  “It appears we’ve gotten another piece of Mr. Berkley’s mail mixed in with ours again.  Fifth time this month, I think.”

Aimee twitched at the sound of his name.  Actually, it was the sixth time this month.  Not all that shocking considering D. Berkley lived in apartment three-twelve and D. Beasley lived in four-twelve, but it was unfortunate all the same, because each time it meant Aimee had to go downstairs, knock on Doyle Berkley’s door, and then—she grimaced—speak to the man.  Judging by the expression on his face every time he opened the door and saw her standing there, he enjoyed these little mail exchanges about as much as she did.

But this particular piece of mail didn’t look all that thick.  Maybe she could shove it under the door and make a break for it.  Sort of like pulling the pin from a grenade and then running.

“Dear, would you mind…?”  Gram held the letter out to her.

“Sure, Gram,” Aimee agreed, forcing a smile as she took it and turned to go.

“Wait—here, take some scones,” her grandma said, hastily reaching into the

grocery bag for the pastries they’d picked up at the bakery minutes earlier and arranging some on a small plate.  “It’s the polite thing to do when calling on a neighbor.”

So much for shoving the mail under the door.  “I’m not ‘calling’ on him—“

“Manners, Aimee.  You can’t go empty-handed.”

“I’m not empty-handed.  I’ve got his mail.”

But her grandma thrust the plate of scones at her anyway.  “Good neighbors are hard to come by, and Mr. Berkley is a good neighbor.”

Aimee snorted.

“He is!  He’s been very helpful to me in the past.  I don’t know why you dislike him so.”

“Because he walks around like he’s got a stick up his—“
“Aimee Elizabeth Beasley!”

“I was going to say backside,” Aimee returned piously.

“No, you were not.”

No, she wasn’t, but all Aimee said in response was, “Be back in a minute,” and then she slipped back out the door.

* * *

            The third floor was virtually identical to the fourth, and both showed their

age.  The pinstripe wallpaper must have been an update from whatever had covered the walls originally, but it was well-faded now itself, and the plain brown carpet in the hallways was worn so thin that it hardly looked like carpet anymore.  No, the Belmont was not exactly the most cutting edge when it came to apartment complexes, although it might have been fifty years ago when it was first built.  It was, however, the place where Ms. Delia Beasley had lived quite happily for the past three decades, and she had made it quite clear that she had no intention of moving.

Naturally, her son—Aimee’s father—was less than thrilled about his elderly and widowed mother living on her own, and the difference of opinion had caused no small amount of tension between the two.  Tensions had continued to rise until one day Aimee had taken matters into her own hands and simply suggested she move in with her grandmother, split the expenses down the middle, and voilà—everybody’s problems had been solved.

Well, except for the mail delivery, she thought as she approached apartment three-twelve.

Aimee raised her hand that held the envelope in order to rap on the door, and then the plate of scones wobbled in her other hand.  Reacting on impulse, she shoved the piece of mail between her teeth so she could rescue falling scones and grab the plate with both hands—which was, of course, precisely the moment when Doyle opened his front door.

Doyle Berkley always seemed to have an aura of grimness about him, and today was no exception.  True, he lightened up somewhat when speaking with Gram if they happened to pass each other in the lobby, but even then Aimee didn’t think she could exactly call him cheerful.  Only less grim.  Dark hair and shadows under his eyes did nothing to combat the somberness of his overall aspect, and he gave the impression of a man who did not care much for the company of others.

Likely as not it came from spending all his time with history books instead of

living, breathing people.  Memorizing dates and details about wars throughout the centuries—and then forcing university students to regurgitate them—couldn’t be healthy for anyone.  Which was probably why Aimee had flunked history in high school; it was on principle.

They stared at each other for a moment, Doyle’s grey eyes cool as they narrowed and took in the young woman standing on his doorstep with the envelope between her teeth.

“We got some more of your mail,” Aimee said matter-of-factly around the

edges of the item in question, the words slightly garbled because of the obstruction.

“So I see,” Doyle returned, reaching for the envelope and eyeing the faint teeth marks on it with obvious displeasure.  “And you decided to eat it?”

“In my defense,” said Aimee. “It is lunchtime.”

She got no response, not even a twitch of an eyelid.

Had this guy ever been fun?  He couldn’t be past his mid-thirties, and yet more often than not it seemed like he was channeling his inner curmudgeon.  “Oh, come on.  Lighten up.  It wouldn’t kill you, would it?”

He said nothing, but she could have sworn his eyes narrowed even further, if that was possible.

“Brr.  Did you feel that?”  She made an exaggerated shiver.  “I think the temperature in this hallway just dropped by about thirty degrees.  Happens every time I come by here.  How do you do that?”

“Thank you for my mail.  Are we done here?”

“Almost.”  Aimee thrust the plate of scones at him.  “These are from Gram.  She insisted.”

For a moment she thought his cool exterior thawed.  “Please thank her for me.”

“I will.”

“Good.”

“Okay, now we’re done here.”

Without another word, Doyle closed his door, leaving Aimee alone in the

hallway.

“Ah, there we go,” Aimee said aloud as she turned to go.  “Warmer in here

already.”

So… there you have it!  🙂  What do you think?

Have I Got A Girl For You…

Despite what the title of this post might suggest, I’m not actually trying to match anybody up with the girl of their dreams, although I do appreciate a good love match as much as the next person.  I’m thinking about book heroines today, primarily because I read someone else’s post about unlikable heroines, and it got me thinking:  what really makes for the best heroine in a story?

Personally, I like my heroines a little on the flawed side.  Not unlikable, just imperfect. You know, like most of us are in real life.  For me, that makes them more relatable, and I get more emotionally invested in what happens to them.  Flaws are tricky things, though.  Too wimpy, and they’re just annoying.  (I never cared for the heroines whose only flaw is something along the lines of “she’s too caring” or “she’s too generous;” give me a flaw with some meat on its bones!)  But on the other hand if flaws are too shocking, the author risks alienating the reader.

But a lead character has to have something to overcome if there’s going to be any kind of story, whether it involves an inner struggle or an outer struggle, and sometimes a really juicy flaw can lead to a more profound storyline in the end–just so long as there’s still something about the character that makes you want to root for her more than you want to throttle her.

Blake Snyder wrote a terrific book about that kind of thing called Save the Cat, and even though it’s aimed primarily at screenwriters, it’s a wonderful tool for novelists, too.  In it, he describes how it isn’t enough for a character to be “cool;” there’s got to be something about her that makes you care.  There has to be a moment early on in the story that somehow defines the character and makes us care about her and whether or not she achieves her goal, and that’s what he calls the “save the cat” scene.  It doesn’t literally have to involve saving a cat from a tree or a burning building, but I’m sure you get the general idea.

So what do you look for in a heroine?

Possibilities in 2014

The end of one year and start of another always seems to be the perfect time to reflect on things that have happened in your life, changes you want to make, and dreams you want to pursue.  It’s a good time to take stock and consider what possibilities might be out there and whether or not what’s holding you back is reality or just self-doubt.

2013 was a busy year for me in many ways, both personally and professionally.  It was the year that a long-time dream of mine finally came true:  I became an author with an honest-to-goodness publishing contract!  (Thank you, Crimson Romance!)  For years I had set writing aside in favor of more practical things and told myself that I would get back to it when I had more time, and then it sank in a few years ago that unless I made time for it, it would never happen.  It’s just too easy to let life get in the way, you know?  So I started writing again, a little here and there on weekends or during evenings after work–and sometimes it was really hard to keep at it, but I’m so glad now that I kept plugging away.  And there’s still a long road ahead of me, but at least I’m actually on it now, and that feels wonderful!

I wish that feeling for everybody out there for 2014!  If you’ve got something you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time, I hope this year is the year you’re able to take the first steps in making that dream a reality.  Even small steps add up, so why not take them?

Here’s to a wonderful New Year, and because I love all things Celtic, here’s a traditional Irish blessing:

In the New Year, may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship but never in want.

And because I also love a bit of humor…

May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions.  ~Joey Adams

Happy New Year!  🙂

The Things You Learn When Researching For A Story…

Part of the writer’s life includes researching all kinds of things for stories, from whether or not something besides a carbon-based life form could potentially exist on other worlds to zoning ordinances in Peoria, Illinois.  (Now if only I could figure out a way to combine BOTH of those things in one story, I’d really be onto something….)

Well, for Playing Cupid–the third Heavenly Bites novella–one of my characters is a history professor with a deep love for that particular subject matter, so I did a little research to see what kind of historical figures he might find particularly interesting or inspiring.  And that’s when I stumbled onto a man named Witold Pilecki.

I had never heard of him before, and maybe you haven’t either.  If you haven’t, he is apparently the only known person to voluntarily enter Auschwitz during World War II.  He was a Polish army captain who suspected something awful was happening inside the camp–at the time people believed it was just a POW camp–and he decided to get himself arrested and thrown into the camp in order to smuggle out intelligence.  For two and a half years, that’s exactly what he did, opening the eyes of outsiders to the real horrors going on inside of Auschwitz.  He even hoped to organize a mass escape but was unable to get the support he needed, and then finally–suspecting his death was imminent–he was forced to make his escape.

I’m sure he had his flaws like the rest of us, but I was floored by his story.  And then I read further and discovered the sad reason why I, and probably many others, had never heard of him.  There are several articles about him online, and if you’d like to read a little more about him, here’s a link to an article on www.npr.org called Meet The Man Who Sneaked Into Auschwitz.

Kind of makes me wonder how many other incredible real-life stories are out there that few people–if any–know about…

Merry Christmas :)

December’s been a crazy-busy month, but I didn’t want to let it go by without wishing you and yours a very happy holiday season, so… Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  To help get you in a celebratory mood, here are some festive holiday music samples for you, starting with a clip from the movie Love Actually–who doesn’t like a little romantic comedy mixed in with their Christmas fun?

And for those of us who are dreaming of a white Christmas but find ourselves nowhere near snow, here’s a little dose of that, too:

But if all you really want to do is curl up in front of a cozy fire, sip a little something hot, and snuggle with someone you love or at least–hopefully–like an awful lot, here’s a fire of your own that’s nicely low-maintenance:

Warmest holiday wishes!  🙂

10…9….8…You Get The Idea…

Wow, 10 more days until Christmas!  Are you ready?  It’s kind of amazing how fast it sneaks up on you, isn’t it?  I still haven’t baked any Christmas cookies. I’ve EATEN plenty, but that probably doesn’t count.  And I’m still looking forward to sipping a cup of hot cocoa beside a roaring fire while Christmas carols play.  Guess I’d better get right on it.

We did get our tree up, though.  It didn’t take long since it’s only about a foot and a half high and I basically just lift the thing out of a big plastic bag already fully decorated:

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It’s a snap to put away, too.  Now that’s my kind of tree!

What’s freaking me out a wee little bit is the fact that January 1st is only a couple of weeks away, and certain things that I told myself that I’d have done by the end of year aren’t quite there yet.  What about you?  Do you still have a few things on your 2013 to-do list, too?  Ah, well, it’s not really the holidays unless you’re hyperventilating, right?

So here’s to a busy couple of weeks–don’t forget to stop and take a breather now and then!  🙂

Brrr…

Wow, what a weekend!  Did the winter storms hit the region where you live, too?  This weekend was proof to me that Mother Nature likes to throw the occasional monkey wrench into people’s plans, you know, just to prove she can.  And yet, I’m sure we were lucky compared to many other folks…

The frozen pipes this morning weren’t much fun.  But on the plus side, the snow certainly has been pretty!

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The icy roads, though–not so much:

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Lots of slipping and sliding going on out there the past couple of days.  Hope you and yours are able to stay in where it’s safe and warm!

To quote Michael Conrad from Hill Street Blues:  “Let’s all be careful out there…”

Time To Celebrate!

Today we’re celebrating reaching 1,000 Likes on Facebook, having a fourth book just recently released, and heck–just life in general. Plus the fact that it appears I’ve successfully gotten my first Rafflecopter giveaway up and running on Facebook!

Although I may have just jinxed it by saying that… Oops.

If you’re on Facebook, hop over and check it out–there’s a $20 Amazon gift card up for grabs. Click here to see for yourself.   🙂

I also wanted to say a quick thank you to everyone who has bought one of my books, posted a review, and helped make 2013 a memorable year.

Thank you!!!