Monday, June 6, 2011

Throw Open The Library Doors

Welcome fellow Desert Breeze author and friend, Toni Noel as she talks about her love of libraries and her newest release Temp to Permanent, available now.

Take it away, Toni!!!!


When my mother read to me as a child I'd beg her to turn the page long before she finished reading from the one she was on. Even though the book had no pictures, I couldn't wait to find out what happened next.

Books still affect me this way. Owning a few books makes me want more. I no longer buys as many as I'd like, but luckily I discovered lending libraries at an early age. Our neighborhood drug store had a bookcase in the corner filled with paperback books written by Zane Grey customers were allowed to check out. Summers I'd stop in on my way home from Bible School, check out my limit and pedal the three miles home with my bicycle basket loaded with books for my father and me to read over the coming week.

To my eternal joy the school I attended in eighth grade had a library. Once a week we were allowed to go and check out books. How I treasured those books in their shinny covers. I had a thirst for knowledge nothing satisfied, and sometimes tried absorb the contents of those books simply by hugging them. Later I'd open one and slowly turn the page. I've never been a speedy reader. I wish I were, but I still love to read.

Author Judith Dupre wrote, "When I was the kid, Saturday was the very best day – the day I could go to the library and stock up on books for the week! Books were my magical passports to the whole wide world. To this day, libraries thrill me, and yet feel as familiar as home."

The main library downtown is closed on Saturdays.

In Animal Dreams Author Barbara Kingsolver wrote, "Libraries are the one American institution you shouldn't rip off."

The fall I entered eleventh grade the newly built high school opened. For the first few months while construction was completed the glass-enclosed library sat a rounded peninsula in a sea of red mud, but nothing keep me away. Inside, every book was new and the room hushed while I reverently removed books and checked them out.

In high school, I couldn't wait for spring when the English teachers gave out term paper assignments. I always earned A's on them. I'd make several trips by City bus to the main library to do my research, laboriously keeping notes for the bibliography on index cards, spending long hours late at night bent over our portable typewriter writing my paper and loving every minute of it. That's how I learned I had a flair for words.

My first week on the campus of George Peabody College for Teachers I discovered the library stacks, overflowing bookshelves placed on see thru floors. I gladly joined the other bookworms visible on floors below and above me browsing through the stacks.

I've always entertained the need to read. Early in my marriage we moved to a small Tennessee town without a library. I talked the church pastor into setting aside some unused space, organized a bake sale, and started a church library. In the next town, I repeated the process, this time securing a large room devoted entirely to books, with a volunteer librarian to check them out and in.

After moving to a growing California subdivision serviced weekly by a Bookmobile, and it appeared all available land would go to build service stations instead of a promised library, I appeared before the City Council and the City Planning Commission to urge the prompt purchase of a suitable site. I pestered City officials so much the City Councilman for our District invited me to turn the second shovel of dirt at the groundbreaking service for our branch library.
Opened over thirty years ago, our branch library is hopelessly overcrowded, with no available funding for the foreseeable future, so the promised expansion is on hold. Because of the City's budget crisis the branch library is closed two day a week and most mornings. In the fall it will be open even fewer hours, thanks to deeper cuts in service.

Cicero wrote, "If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need." In our two story home surrounded by flowers there are fourteen tall bookcases, and every shelf is jammed.

The inscription over the door of the Library at Thebes reads, "The medicine chest of the soul."

It's up to all of us to keep the library doors open.

My fondest wish is for our branch to someday offer one of my novels for checkout. By the time I publish a print book those doors may very well be closed for good, but you can download my romantic suspense eBooks, Temp to Permanent and Law Breakers and Love Makers, from Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc,, Barnes & Noble, and All Romance eBooks.

And visit my website: to read more about the fate of libraries across the country in the coming months.

Temp to Permanent excerpt 1

Carina Carrington's fingers flew across the computer keyboard.

Not fast enough.

She'd never meet her schedule without another pair of hands. Of all possible days, why did Rachael pick today to call in sick?

And what happened to her replacement? The temp agency had promised to send a secretary an hour ago. What was keeping her?

At the scrape of a leather shoe sole, Carina's concentration cracked. "There's no one at the desk out front," a husky male voice rasped.

Startled, Carina hit a wrong key. Unless his face matches that heart-stopping voice, I'll kill this salesman. She abandoned the keyboard and swiveled around in her chair. Six feet of tanned muscles crossed her carpet. No death warrant for this hunk.

Surrounded by masculine scent, Carina riveted her gaze on his business card, then glanced up. Devilish blue eyes locked with hers. She looked away to conceal her unprofessional, very unladylike reaction.

"I'm Gregory Lawless from Data Services. Pat Kilpatrick said to see Mrs. Carrington. Your receptionist--"

"Has the flu."

This perfect example of centerfold material could not possibly type.

With all the work still to turn out, I'll kill Pat, instead.

Reluctantly Carina pushed back her chair and stood to shake his hand. Good grip, self-confident. "That's why you're here, Mr. Lawless. I'm short handed today. And it's Miss Carrington."

She indicated a chair and waited for him to sit. "The agency didn't say they were sending a man." Oops. Maybe employers weren't supposed to say things like that anymore.

"Is that a problem?"

She wasn't about to acknowledge how difficult he made the simple act of speech. "Only if you can't do the job."

He folded his lanky frame into the visitor's chair she'd indicated and placed a folder on her desk. "Ms. Kilpatrick asked me to give you this copy of my resume."

A deep cleft creased his chin. How could she work with that distraction? With her weakness for cleft chins she couldn't hope to actually work around this distraction. His devastating smile belonged in a bedroom. In a bar. Anywhere but in her office ruining her concentration.

Carina sank into her own chair and opened his file to study the brief list of qualifications while steadying her heart beat. San Diego Data Services normally provided exceptional help, but Pat had explained this flu epidemic had also left her short handed. Gregory must be the last healthy soul available.

Healthy? He was that, all right. From what she could see, far healthier than a man had any need to look.

He'd indicated a willingness to work. Any warm body could man the phones in her secretary's absence. Surely she could control her body's response for the next few hours.

What about this unexpected heat? Maybe Mom was right and she was sex-deprived.

Perhaps tomorrow Pat would have a real secretary available, or not such an attractive man. Her mind pictured a prim woman. Someone wearing a skirt whose very presence wouldn't launch her pulse into orbit.

She glanced up from the resume to study Gregory. Information in the agency's file was scant, little more than name, address and social security number. He looked about her age. Why would a man approaching thirty-five resign himself to temporary work?

Carina drew a steadying breath. "Have you been with Data Services long?"

He tilted his head as if mulling over a reply. "This is my first assignment."

Great. Disgruntled by his admission, she looked away. Few skills and even less experience. Carina stole a glance. The smile hovering about his mouth prevented objective reasoning. "With a busy week ahead of me, there won't be much time for training."

He peered at the scribbled notes on her calendar and lifted one cocky eyebrow, giving him a rakish appearance that almost brought her out of her chair. "Tell you what. Let's not waste any more time. Give me a chance to help and if I don't meet your requirements, you don't owe me a cent."

Desperation evident in his voice caused her to give him a sharp look. "So you're a gambler, too."

He straightened his back against the chair, then leaned forward and gazed at her. "I've nothing to lose," he admitted with admirable honesty.

Carina thought about everything she would gain if Gregory could fill Rachael's shoes. She wouldn't need to postpone tomorrow's meeting and might still land that contract. Provided she somehow kept her mind on her business and off this man. Could she do it?

Quick decisions were her trademark. "I'll only expect you to answer the phone. On Mondays it rings constantly."

He grinned, nodding. "How shall I answer?"

Criminey. Would she need to hold his hand and walk him through the office as well? "Carrington Graphics will do."

"I'll manage. What is the nature of your business? Ms. Kilpatrick said you needed someone in a hurry and didn't take time to fill me in."

"Advertising." From the bookcase behind her desk Carina selected two brochures and unfolded them for Gregory to examine. "This is a terrible time to come up short handed. I've two important presentations scheduled, one tomorrow, and another on Friday. Rachael always handles my prepress. Without her, I'll never be ready."

After a moment, Gregory leaned across her desk to return the brochures. Fragrance, spicy-clean and fresh, teased her nostrils. Aftershave and a recent shower, a masculine scent she adored.

"I've had some experience with--"

"It's likely the phones will occupy all your time." She couldn't picture his neatly trimmed fingertips flying over a keyboard.

Imagining his hands in her hair though...

Easy, far too easy.

Cut that out. "Why don't I get you settled at the front desk, Gregory."

He followed her into the outer office. "Call me Greg."

She ignored the thump of her heart his seductive tone induced. His voice ranked among her all time favorites, too. "Greg it is."


About Me

Since the day my mother started reading The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew to the four of us books have been an important part of my life. As a small child I couldn't wait to learn to read, and in school I devoured every printed page I could get my hands on. Summers in Birmingham I rode my bicycle three miles to the local drug store to check out Zane Grey novels which I shared with my father, a tireless breadwinner and avid reader. As a young wife and mother I started church libraries in two small Tennessee towns. Later, when the Bookmobile no longer satisfied the needs of my growing daughters, with the encouragement of my husband, I appeared before the San Diego City Council and City Planning Commission, urging them to purchase property for a library in our fast-growing subdivision before the preferred sites were snapped up by service stations. I bugged city officials so much I was later invited to assist the Mayor at the ground-breaking ceremony for the promised library. Although that library now needs expansion, it is my fondest dream that they'll save room on those crowded shelves for the romance novels I write.


  1. Good for you for all your efforts on behalf of libraries. I don't live in the US, but it saddens me to hear how libraries are suffering so much from budget cuts. I'm also distressed to hear how publishers are refusing to let libraries license their ebooks for lending. It really is a tough time for librarians and their patrons.

    Loved the excerpt. Looks like a fun story. ( :

  2. Hi, Gabriella, from wherever you live.

    Thanks for stopping by.

    These are tough times for writers, too.