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Yes, we have an ice cold drizzle falling here today. I’m sure the rain is good for the garden, but I would love a day or two of sunshine.

How about an excerpt?

From GAMBLER’S FOLLY

Karianna woke to the sound of raindrops on the balcony. She had always liked the rain, and had often taken long walks under an umbrella to enjoy the quiet. Tossing the covers back, she rolled out of bed, put on her dressing gown, and went to watch the rain.

Damiano paced the floor, every inch an angry cat. His kiss was brief and unsatisfying, the hug nearly an afterthought. “What’s wrong, honey?”

“Nasty weather. Rain is depressing.”

“You don’t like the rain?” she asked.

“No.”

“Can you elaborate? I always thought it was kind of nice. So quiet and restful, unless there’s thunder.”

“Elaborate?” he snarled. “Fine. It is wet, it makes spots on my clothes, ruins my shoes and makes my fur all matted and smelly.”

She couldn’t contain her amusement at the image of a large black leopard dripping with water, ears laid back, and snarling at the sky.

“It’s not funny,” Damiano protested. “First I get wet, and then I have to get even wetter to get clean. Most annoying.”

“But you love to swim or take a bubble bath. Why don’t you like the rain? It’s like a shower.”

“It isn’t anything like a shower. It’s cold, you can’t turn it off, and it makes nasty puddles everywhere.”

“Alright, so we won’t go out sightseeing today. We can stay in and relax.”

“How can I relax with that noise?”

“Really, Dam, it’s not that loud. We can put on some music or watch a movie.” After waiting for some sort of answer, she gave up on conversation. “Fine. I’m making some coffee. If you want any, come in the kitchen.”

Still chuckling to herself, Karianna turned on the tap, let the water run so it would be fresh, and put a coffee packet into the machine. Pushing the button to turn it on, she heard it filling. So she closed the tap in the sink and went in to relax on the sofa until the coffee was ready.

Her usually even-tempered husband stood, arms crossed over his chest, glaring out the glass doors at the pouring rain. If he’d been in his cat form, his ears would have been laid flat against his head, tail lashing.

“Damiano, if you don’t like the weather, draw the drapes and come sit down.” She heard a low, chesty growl in return. “Don’t you growl at me, Damiano Leone. I’ll come over and smack your nose again.”

“You wouldn’t dare,” he retorted, his head snapping around.

“Well, I’m not going to stay in all day with a sulky leopard. So either close the drapes and shut out the rain, or go back to bed and sleep it off. But don’t ruin my day being snarky.”

“If you like the rain so much, why don’t you go for a walk and let me sulk? And if you get all wet and filthy, don’t complain to me about it.”

“I do not believe what I’m hearing. One of the most powerful men on the planet, and a great big leopard as well, and you’re put off by a little water falling from the sky? Really, Tiger, get a grip.”

The sound of the coffeemaker turning off got her attention, so she stormed back to the kitchen, trying to control her temper. Pouring a cup of the aromatic brew, she took it back into the living room, so she could stretch out on the sofa.

Sniffing the air, Damiano watched her get comfortable before asking, “Did you bring me any coffee?”

“No, I didn’t.”

“But I always have coffee in the morning,” he said, whining.

“When you can be civil, I’ll bring you some coffee. If you can’t be civil, get it yourself. I don’t cater to spoiled brats. Or cats.”

She might as well have slapped him from the look he gave her. Stomping into the bedroom, he slammed the door. “Well,” she murmured under her breath. “Great big pussycat has his tail in a knot this morning.”

“I’m not a pussycat and my tail is not in a knot,” he shouted through the door. “But I have very good hearing.”

“Then hear this, pussycat,” she shouted back. “You can either get over your damn self, or you’re in time-out. I will not put up with this.”

After her third cup of coffee and a couple croissants, the bedroom door opened and Damiano stepped back into the room. She ignored him.

“Karianna,” she heard, in a gentle, apologetic tone. “I’m sorry, Karianna. The rain and the darkness, they put me in a bad mood.”

“Did you have to take it out on me?” she asked tersely.

“No, cara. That was wrong. The rain is not your fault, and it is good for the growing things outside. Even if I don’t like it, it is necessary.”

“I’m sorry you’ve had a bad morning, lover.”

“It is alright, now?” he asked, so very much like a little boy who was sent to his room until he could behave.

“Yes, come over and sit down,” she answered, patting the sofa with her hand.

Damiano padded quietly over to where she sat, looked down at her with big, questioning eyes and asked, “May I have some coffee now, carissima?”

And don’t forget Book 2–DANTE’S ANGEL

For more info, follow me on Facebook!

https://www.facebook.com/meleighscreations

 

 

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Want more information on my books? I have a page for each of my series–Esperance and  Speranza (Gambler’s Folly) on Facebook and a separate page for my books under the name Sultonna Nadine.

I’m also on Twitter.

And for general information about what’s happening in my writing world, there’s always Meleigh’s Creations page on Facebook.

I’m back to work on Talents, so I’ll post a few excerpts later. For now, here’s a peek into Dante’s Angel, the second book from Gambler’s Folly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Not that you could stop it, actually. But it is snowing in Georgia! Big, fluffy, soppy flakes began earlier in the day. You could almost hear the sploosh as the hit the ground they were so bit and wet. The chickens weren’t sure about coming out of the hen house, and I can’t say I blamed them. Eventually they ventured out far enough to eat and scratch around a little.

Now, with the bamboo bowed over the driveway and the path to the garden, the snow is turning to rain and sleet. I hope this doesn’t mean freezing rain later.  Snow I don’t mind. Rain is fine, but freezing rain is not fun.

So far we still have power, there’s soup simmering on the wood stove, which is guarded by the cats–Miss Kitty and The Monster. With a little luck, they may stay warm enough…

Seems like a nice day to do some writing.

Or perhaps you would prefer to read.

And I have just the thing–two fantasy worlds to choose from.

Esperance–a distant highland world full of mischief, magic and romance.

Speranza–a futuristic world filled with intrigue, romance and shape-shifters.

So grab something warm to drink, curl up in your favorite chair by the fire, and check out a new world.

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My favorite season! How about you?

Cool evenings, crackling fires, and a good book. And don’t forget the spiced cider! What better reading than a good romance?

What are you reading tonight?

ESPERANCE

Jareth, First Lord

Viviane, First Lady

Morgan–The Pixie and the Green Man

 

 

 

 

 

SPERANZA

  Gambler’s Folly

Dante’s Angel

 

 

 

 

 

(and don’t Forget–

    to share the Romance…)

 

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If you can’t take the time off right, now, how about a literary vacation? Visit a place that exists only in the mind of a half-crazed author…

I have two series going right now. One is Esperance–a highland world full of magic, mischief, and romance. Book one introduces Jareth and Viviane and follows their courtship. Book two follows Viviane’s attempts to gain control over her blossoming psychic talents. And Book 3 tells of Morgan’s and James’ romance.

The second is Speranza–a futuristic world with shape-shifters of all sorts. Book one takes place on the pleasure world, Gambler’s Folly. The second follows Damiano and Karianna to Earth, where Dante meets his soulmate, throwing the whole family and wedding plans into chaos.

So if you can’t take a vacation right now, take a little time and visit one of these worlds. You’ll always be welcome.

ESPERANCE SERIES

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Mellie+Miller?_requestid=231514https://

http://www.smashwords.com/books/byseries/29658

SPERANZA

http://amzn.com/1627405844

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/738377https://

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dantes-angel-mellie-miller/1126709987

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Yes, I’ve finally reached the end of The Russian. And now begins the work. Taking that 99,000 word draft and shaping it into a story, and cutting it down to size in the process.

Many people think coming up with an idea and writing the first draft is the difficult bit. And maybe it is for some people. What most don’t realize is that the first draft is only the beginning. Yes, it gets your idea down on paper–so to speak. You now know where you’re beginning and how it all works out in the end.

Does the guy get the girl? Is it a “happily ever after” romance? Is it something much darker? Mainstream or erotica? Mystery or intrigue?

But the first draft isn’t a story yet. It hasn’t been shaped or molded. It is the raw material, the bare bones, from which your story can grow into something wonderful–with work.

Some authors have trouble getting up to a novel length word count. Some of us overwrite–sometimes a lot–and have to pare the story down to size. This is my particular problem.

But it’s okay! It’s the first draft. It’s a place to start, the clay to shape into your masterpiece. A potter doesn’t take a huge lump of clay, slap it down onto the wheel and say, “There it is! Isn’t it marvelous?”

It’s just clay at this point, nothing recognizable. But with a little work, the potter can make it into something beautiful or useful. Or both!

If you’re beginning to write, that’s fantastic! But don’t get stuck in your first draft.

And don’t stop writing because your first draft isn’t perfect. No first draft is.

But you must have a first draft before you can have a finished product. As one of my friends says, you can edit a first draft. You can’t edit a blank page.

Here’s to first drafts –the  misspelled, grammatically challenged, run-on sentence laden,  unedited  trash from which our stories grow.

Cheers!

 

Looking for something to read–that isn’t a first draft?

Check out my Esperance Series:

Or get a copy of Gambler’s Folly or Dante’s Angel from the Speranza Series.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/738377

 

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Who’s ready for a sneak peek at Dante’s Angel?

You?

Well, here you go! Here’s Chapter 1!

Chapter 1

“Karianna! We’re going to miss the flight,” Damiano shouted from the front door. “Anything you forget we can buy on the shuttle or once we get to Rome.”

Damiano was the classical Mediterranean male–tall, with dark hair and gray eyes. His wife, Karianna, was tall, with dark hair and mischievous green eyes.

He’d sent the luggage down to the car already and was simply waiting for his wife to get her personal bag. At the rate she was going, she would take everything in her wardrobe.

“All right, Dam. Ready.”

“Benissimo, cara,” he said as he kissed her.

They finally made it to the car. Marco was driving and Paulo was in the front with him. His two friends and team mates were also going back to Earth for the wedding. Dante was going as well. Marco and Paulo were a little older than Damiano, but they looked like they could be relatives. Dante was the youngest member of the team, but shared their Mediterranean heritage.

“Marco, where is Dante?”

“He said he would meet us at the spaceport. He’ll be there, Damiano. I think he needed a little independence.”

The drive took about half an hour through traffic. Being one of the major ports on Gambler’s Folly, made Speranza exceptionally suitable for hotel and entertainment ventures. Damiano had certainly done well for the family there.

“So, cara, what do you want to do when we get to Rome?” he asked Karianna, his lovely wife.

“I have no idea,” she admitted. “I’ve never even been to Europe. What is there to do in Rome?”

“So much, Kari, so very much to do and see. Since we will be in there for only one day this time, we’ll decide on one venture when we get there.”

They had chosen to take a day for themselves once they reached Earth, before his family overwhelmed Karianna with their well-wishes and wedding plans.

Yes, they were married, but his mother insisted on a cathedral wedding, one they could share with the family. His was an old, religious family and his mother was not entirely happy about their civil marriage.

Once they arrived at the spaceport, they left their things with the porters. Given Damiano’s standing on Gambler’s Folly, their boarding was expedited, which made the whole trip so much more bearable. Their suite was ready when they boarded and their luggage arrived soon after they did. Marco and Paolo were in adjacent rooms, and Dante had a smaller room across the hallway.

Speaking to Marco, Dam asked, “Have we heard from Dante yet?”

“Yes. He’s in the process of boarding now. Has he travelled much before?”

“I don’t think so. Why?”

“He seems uncomfortable, uneasy. Maybe it’s simply nerves about the trip.”

****

Dante had waited as long as he could before he left for the shuttle. He’d never been off-planet before and was homesick before they even left. The rest of the party was already on board and enjoying the amenities before he even got to customs.

On top of it, the whole reason for the trip was the wedding, yet another reminder that he was single and had no prospects at the moment. And here was Damiano, with everything in the world going for him, going to Earth to marry his mate, his bond-mate. It just wasn’t fair.

What was wrong with him? He glanced at his reflection in one of the large plate windows. All right, he wasn’t as tall as Damiano, Marco, or Paulo, but he wasn’t a midget. He was six feet tall and around one hundred eighty-five pounds, with no fat to spare. Dark hair and dark eyes completely the look, from his Mediterranean heritage.

He’d been told he could be mistaken for Damiano’s younger brother, but it didn’t seem to do him much good. He was awkward in crowds and women tied his tongue in knots before he even started talking. He hadn’t had a date in over a month, and now he was going to a wedding on a planet he’d never seen.

Sighing deeply, he answered the questions at the customs desk, handed over his papers, jumped through all the hoops, and finally boarded the shuttle.

“May I help you?” the older man asked.

“Yes. I’m trying to find my berth,” Dante said.

“Ah! Take the lift to the fourth level, turn right, and it will be on your right.”

“Thanks.”

Trudging to the lift, he followed the instructions, used his pass card on the door, and took a look around.

His suite was nearly as big as his apartment, he decided. He’d have to thank Damiano for his generosity. Of course, they would be on the shuttle for a week. At least he wouldn’t go stir crazy. He stowed his luggage in the wardrobe and checked the time.

Pushing the button on his communicator, he checked in with Marco.

“Did you have any trouble, Dante?”

“No, sir. Just huge crowds of people. But I’m in my room now, so everything is good.”

“All our rooms are across the hall from yours. Damiano suggested we all get together for dinner, around seven this evening. But until then, relax and enjoy the trip.”

“When do we lift off?” Dante asked.

“In about an hour. They’ll make an announcement. Follow the instructions and you’ll be fine. It’s much like flying, but the take-off is a little stronger. Don’t worry, amico. I’ve done it several times.”

With nothing else to do, a nap sounded like a good idea. Slipping out of his shoes and jacket, he dropped onto the bed and closed his eyes. Maybe he could at least dream of happy times.

****

“Marco, is everything all right with Dante?” Karianna asked.

“Sì, signora. He’s a little nervous about leaving Gambler’s Folly. He was born here and has no family on Earth. He’ll be fine once we’re underway.”

“If you’re sure,” she said reluctantly. The first time she’d left her home planet, she’d been lost on a bet, divorced from her husband, and married to the strongest of the underworld syndicate bosses—Damiano Leone.

“Should someone go check on him?” she asked.

“Cara mia, he’ll be fine. He’s probably taking a nap. We’ll see him for dinner this evening,” Damiano assured her.

It wasn’t long before the lift-off announcement was made. As far as Karianna was concerned, this was the worst part of the trip. Flying always affected her in the same way. Too much imagination.

At least it didn’t last long. Marco called to check on Dante after lift-off. He chuckled as he ended the call.

“So, how is he?” she asked.

“Dio! He’ll be fine. He swears he’s never doing it again, though how he plans to return to Gambler’s Folly without it, I don’t know.”

“I didn’t think it was that bad,” Karianna reflected. “The one from Earth to here was worse.”

“Don’t worry wo much, cara,” Damiano told her. “Why don’t we send these guys on their way and see what there is to do?”

Knowing her mate, she had a good idea what he meant.

Their friends took their leave, so she was soon alone with her husband.

“So, cara, I think it’s time to enjoy this most comfortable bed, don’t you think? And from what I’ve heard about your last trip, I doubt you’ve ever been loved on an intergalactic flight.”

“Time for a first then, isn’t it?” she answered as his hands unzipped her dress, before they corrected the oversight.

Karianna showered after their lovemaking and decided on a nap before dinner. Later, when she tried to stretch, she was wrapped in Damiano’s embrace. Snuggling deeper into his arms, she drifted off once again.

“Karianna, cara. Time to dress for dinner,” she heard. The kiss did more to wake her up.

“I suppose we should go to dinner,” she said, as her stomach rumbled. “Unless you want to come back to bed.”

“Now, cara, you know we’re all meeting for dinner this evening. We can go back to bed later.”

“Promises, promises.”

“You want promises, cara?” Damiano asked her. “I promise you, before I finish with you later, you’ll be begging.”

“You’ve got rather a high opinion of yourself,” she teased.

A fierce kiss and swat on her bottom told her the night was going to be exciting.

“Now, come on. Put on some clothes before I change my mind.”

When they finally arrived in the dining room to meet the rest of their party, Karianna was still slightly flustered. Damiano’s friends had made an effort this evening. Even Dante was well dressed for dinner. Why he never seemed to have a girlfriend, Karianna couldn’t figure out. He was good-looking, intelligent, and had plenty of money.

“To the most beautiful woman in my world,” was Damiano’s toast to start off the evening. She’d finally gotten used to his flattery. Her first husband never made her feel pretty, let alone beautiful.

Dinner was tasty and the atmosphere around the table relaxed. These four men had worked together for a long time, through dangerous situations. But they had welcomed her into their circle and made her feel safe, even though “safe” could be a relative term around Damiano and his business.

“Dante, are you settling in all right?” she asked.

“Sì, Signora. The lift-off was sort of tense, but I’m fine now.”

“Are you ready for your first look at Earth?”

“I’m not sure. I don’t know what to expect. Everyone tells me it is special, but how can it be any better than Gambler’s Folly?”

“I think it’s the history of humanity there,” she explained. “I haven’t been back since I left nearly two years ago. I want to find out how I react to coming home again.”

“I’ve never been anywhere but Gambler’s Folly. Everyone else here has ties to Earth but me. I feel like an outsider, in a way. Everyone else is coming home, but I have no home to go to.”

“Dante,” Damiano said. “My home is yours. We’re all brothers here—except for Kari, of course. And once Mama meets you, you’ll have trouble leaving.”

“If you say, Damiano. If you say.”

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