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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Love of all things historical gets Lizzie writing

Hi Lizzie, and welcome to Adventures in Authorland. Please get comfortable and tell us about your adventure.

Lizzie Tremayne in action
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
     I've always written professionally as a veterinarian, but secretly desired to write novels. In high school, a wonderful English and History teacher inspired me to write, but it was put away until long after I'd finished veterinary school and become an equine veterinarian… 25 years after. An injury offered me the home-time to take my fledgling writing seriously, and I grabbed at the opportunity, but it wasn't until I'd written about 50,000 words that I began to believe I could actually do it!  I think that's why NaNoWriMo makes such a difference to some people! Putting 50K words down on paper, not to mention doing it in 30 days, inspires huge self-belief! I definitely see writing as my new career, although I'm spoiled for choice, being qualified as both an equine veterinarian with a specialty dental practice and a high school science/bio/chem/physics teacher! My current love and next full-time career, however, is writing!

In which genre do you prefer to write and why?
     I prefer to write in the historical genre. I've always felt a strong attraction to stories of the past. The Dark Ages, Elizabethan times and the Old West equally held me enraptured, even as a beginning reader. I'm told I began sounding out the words in the Prince Valiant cartoon strips as a pre-schooler, when all I could otherwise read was "The cat ran up the tree." Perhaps it was the romance of a time different from that in which I lived that hooked me, or perhaps it was my desire for a link to those in my past, or to how I fit into the world. When  I began researching and writing historicals, I found I was seeking answers to questions in my own history and present. My discoveries have helped me become more comfortable with the person I am.

     For example, several towns in the West define themselves as being part of the Pony Express Trail. As a child, the stories of Laura Ingalls Wilder enhanced my understanding of the westward-moving American pioneer, the peoples and lands they encountered, and how the settlers dealt with adversity. In A Long Trail Rolling, my first novel, Aleksandra is the daughter of a Polish immigrant trapper family in 1860s USA. She must survive when she is left alone in the world, and becomes a 'boy' rider for the famed Pony Express. Her adventures offer snapshots of life in the Rocky Mountain wilderness and overland throughout Utah Territory. Although the ‘Pony’ lasted a mere eighteen months, it still captures the imaginations of thousands of people internationally. I use the 'Pony' as a vehicle to show attitudes and interactions between my hero/heroine, other settlers and the American Indians.

     In my second novel, A Sea of Green Unfolding, I show historical aspects of 1862 San Francisco Bay Area, from Redwood City, via La Honda, through to San Gregorio, and 1863 New Zealand. In it, I show why Redwood City grew so quickly and how it was named. After my characters travel by barque to New Zealand, readers are offered aspects of New Zealand history which are not taught in primary, and only rarely in secondary schools.

     As I pore over old documents, I aim to make the unearthed information palatable to someone who might never pick up a book of historical fact, search out an old battle record or travel to a remote graveyard to read the inscription on a tombstone. Can I offer readers some inkling of what happened in their own town or country to give it the unique flavour it carries today? Some idea of why a certain town emerged when it did, or shed light upon why a particular society developed the way it has? Perhaps it will provide a puzzle piece allowing someone to open previously closed doors of the past, permitting healing of hidden societal wounds that prevent peaceful cohabitation.

Can you give us some details about your upcoming release/s? 
     I've just completed my first novel, A LONG TRAIL ROLLING, a Western historical adventure with romantic elements. It comprises a saga of the Old West with a multicultural cast of the people who made up America, and would likely interest adults or young adults who like the Old West, American history, Indians, horses, immigrants, and the Pony Express. This novel was a finalist in the HMB Great Beginnings Contest at the RWNZ Conference last year and is currently a finalist in the RWNZ Pacific Hearts Award, a full novel competition, with the winner to be announced at the annual conference in August!

     In the story, seventeen-year-old Aleksandra Lekarski, alone and running to prevent her pa's killer from obtaining a secret which could allow world domination by the Czar, conceals herself as a 'boy' Pony Express rider in 1860's Utah Territory. Her 'Californio' boss Xavier Arguello has a spirit to match her own—along with a mutually undeniable attraction—and together they overcome the evil that threatens them. I plan to self-publish as soon as the edits are completed.

     I am two-thirds of the way through my second novel, A Sea of Green Unfolding. In this sequel to A Long Trail, Aleksandra and Xavier journey to adventure from the California of 1862 to the turbulent wilderness of New Zealand.

Who are some of your favourite authors?
     The following authors have shaped my world and my writing. I hope to do justice to my favourite writers by placing A LONG TRAIL ROLLING somewhere between Phillipa Gregory, Diana Gabaldon, Jean Auel, and Laura Ingalls Wilder. 

When you are not writing, what are your hobbies, passions, etc?
     I am passionate about my teenaged boys, my partner, horses, dogs,  my hobby farm, medieval re-enacting (fencing, horseback archery, sewing kit), kayaking, carriage competition driving, gardening, singing, cooking and my other life as equine veterinarian with a specialty equine dentistry practice. Following an injury, I work part time at equine veterinary dentistry and part time at high school teaching Science/Bio/Chem/Physics. I REALLY love writing!

Do you have any advice for new writers beginning their adventure?
Just do it. Avoid listening to the naysayers… Do NaNoWriMo, join a writing group! I've found the RWNZ here in NZ to be the most positive, encouraging group of ladies and gents I've ever met! Just DOOOOOooooooo it!

     Seventeen year old Aleksandra Lekarski, alone and running to prevent her pa's killer from obtaining a secret which could allow world domination by the Czar, conceals herself as a boy Pony Express rider in 1860s Utah Territory. Her "Californio" boss Xavier Arguello has a spirit to match her own—along with a mutually undeniable attraction—and together they overcome the evil that threatens them.


         Mr. Jackson stood waiting for her before the log cabin, holding a striking Palouse Indian pony with a pure black coat other than his white blanket patterned with black spots. His dogs circled around Aleksandra when she dismounted, the little brown bitch's lips drawn back into a toothy grimace of a grin while she quivered and wagged her whole body ingratiatingly. The station keeper took only a moment to slip the mochila onto the stallion, sign her time card and check for mail before Aleksandra was off again with a pat for the bitch and a wave.
'I call him Scout!' he called out after us, as we rode away.
Scout wasn't tall, but he was a powerhouse. He hit a long trot up that steep and rocky incline to the summit, never faltering, never looking to the side. Her heart sang. She felt blessed to have such incredible horses to ride, and actually get paid for it. 
 Lookout Pass, she reminded herself as she passed the summit, looking north to see the distant white tops of the Onaqui Mountains and thought again of her papa and the fossil he'd fossicked for her from its rocky ledges. Beginning her mile-long descent at a trot on the handy little horse, she was absentmindedly fingering the fossil inside the medicine bag hung about her neck when she felt the first arrow whizz past her head.
Aleksandra's heart stopped as she flung herself to the left side of the Palouse's neck into a Cossack hang, lying flat against his side.
'Yah! Yah! Let's go, Scout!' she shouted and threw the reins at him.
He needed little urging to run full tilt down the steep and treacherously rocky trail as the yells of Indian warriors filled the narrow valley. The arrows came hard and fast from the southwest, like a mad bunch of hornets.
Smart, she thought, with a hint of a wry grin. The Indians had placed themselves between the trail and the setting sun, so Aleksandra couldn't see her attackers in the glimpses she stole from beneath Scout's neck of the world whizzing past. With the ground only three feet from her head, the scent of sage filled her nostrils when Scout crashed through a clump of brush. Briefly considering what she knew was akin to suicide, climbing back into the saddle to pull a gun from her saddlebag, she tightened her lip in a grimace and stayed put, trusting far more in the pony's speed and handiness to save them. Knowing her full weight hanging off to one side had to put the stallion off his best, she tried to stay out of his way, keeping as still as possible, tucked down on the side of the skidding and leaping beast. Praying the cinch would hold, she sent fervent thanks to the pony selectors for their choice of horses. How I would love to have my bow and arrows, she thought, but I only need to get us through to Doc Faust at Rush
     The Palouse interrupted her musings as he threw up his head and reared, angrily trumpeting and shaking his head for a moment, nearly dropping Aleksandra, then resumed his headlong rush down the hill. When he carried on, she heard whistling sounds with every breath and turned her head forward to see where the noise was coming from.
     Then she saw the arrow.

About Lizzie
 A LONG TRAIL ROLLING my first novel, is newly completed and in the throes of final edits before it is self-published. I am halfway through my second, A Sea of Green Unfolding. They are both historical fictional adventures with romantic elements set in the 1860s, and range from the Old West of Utah Territory, via California to New Zealand. I love history and what it can teach us, and my stories involve the history, the people and the horses that shaped these places today. When I'm not writing, I can be found with my family at our hobby farm in a lovely river valley in New Zealand with our horses, dog and other assorted animals. I might, however, be playing at medieval rapiers or horseback archery, sewing, kayaking, carriage driving, singing, cooking, working part time as an equine veterinarian (veterinary dentistry specialty practice) or teaching high school science.

Mostly, though, I’m writing! I look forward to your visits to my blog and to hearing your thoughts on the above.

Twitter: LizziTremayne
About Me
Justum Perficito ... Do Right and Fear Nothing

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Barbara loves to write character-driven romance

     Welcome back, Barbara. Please get comfortable and tell us about your latest adventure.

     Thank you Jean for having me back here at Adventures in Authorland!  I’m looking forward to chatting.

Barbara White Daille 
What books have influenced your life most?
      I’d have to say I was most influenced by the children’s books I read as a child, because they’re what got me hooked on reading and writing, which are the two most important passions in my life.  I started with mysteries, from The Bobbsey Twins and Encyclopedia Brown books up through the middle-grade to young-adult level Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and Trixie Belden.  And of course, with those young adult books, there was a touch of romance thrown in, which led to my loving that genre.

In which genre do you prefer to write and why?
      Romance, always, because I love a happy ending and I love writing about relationships.  Because romance is so character-driven, I can delve deeply into what drives my story folks—even if much of the info about their backgrounds never makes it between the covers of a book.
      I also love romance because in the type of books I write, I can incorporate quirky secondary characters and towns that almost become characters in their own right.

Have you ever cried during a movie? If yes, which one and why?
      Oh, my gosh!  We don’t have enough space here for me to give you the list.  I’ll cry if the movie’s sad, if it’s happy, if it’s poignant….   I cry every time Dorothy taps her ruby slippers together and says, “There’s no place like home.”  And I choke up over made-for-TV movies, long-distance telephone company commercials, and Hallmark greeting cards.

If you could time travel back, or forward, for one day, where would it be and why?
     This is such a tough question, as I have so many dates I’d like to investigate! 
      But I’ll go with December 14, 1926, the day mystery great Agatha Christie (one of my idols) was discovered at a hotel in Harrogate after an eleven-day disappearance following an automobile accident.
      Her husband was having an affair, and Christie was found to have checked into the hotel using the name of her husband’s mistress.  It’s said that she suffered a type of trauma-induced amnesia due to the accident, and that from the time she was found until her death in 1976, she never spoke a word about her disappearance.  Because she’s my idol, I’ve always wondered what happened in those days she would never discuss. 

If you could have any super hero power, what would it be?
      This isn’t a super-hero power but a paranormal one.  Because I’m so interested in people and what makes them tick, I’m fascinated by psychometry.  This is a psychic ability that allows a person to hold an object and, through that touch, be able to tell its history, as well as being able to pick up on the thoughts and emotions of other people who have held the same object.

Can you give us some details about your upcoming release/s?
      Yes, thank you for asking!
      THE TEXAN’S LITTLE SECRET debuts next month.  It’s the story of Carly Baron, the wild child of an influential Texas family, and Luke Nobel, a single dad and the manager of the Baron family’s ranch.  After years away from home, Carly returns and becomes involved in a search for her birth mother, who abandoned their family when Carly was a child. 
      While Carly and Luke have a shared past, she has a secret she can never share with him.  It’s a secret with a twist that has haunted her since she left home—and Luke—years ago.
      I’m also happy to share I’ll have more books out with Harlequin American Romance.  The Hitching Post Hotel is a three-book series that begins in 2015.  The series revolves around a small family-owned hotel and a matchmaking grandpa who plans to find mates for his granddaughters—whether they want them or not!


     Coming home might be the worst decision Carly Baron has ever made. Each minute on her family's busy ranch is one minute closer to seeing him—her first love—the man who broke her heart seven years ago. While coming face-to-face with Luke Nobel again brings back painful memories, Carly quickly realizes there are other strong feelings just under the surface…. 
      Luke would be a lot better off if Carly had stayed away. Being a single dad to an adorable two-year-old girl and managing the Roughneck is tough enough, but resisting the sparks that fly whenever he and Carly are together is near impossible. But first she must tell him her secret. The truth could heal their past…or forever destroy their chances of becoming a family.

     The cowboy standing in the barn doorway started toward the truck, his long legs in worn jeans eating up the space more rapidly than she'd come up the drive.  He wore a battered Stetson, the wide brim shading most of his face, but no matter how much she tried to convince herself this was just any old cowhand striding toward her, she couldn't believe the lie.
     There was no mistaking those mile-wide shoulders or that sandy-blond hair.  No mistaking the way her heart pounded.
     The last time she'd seen Luke Nobel, he had turned and stalked away from her in anger, leaving her teenaged heart crushed in the dust beneath his boots.  To this day, she hadn't healed right, and probably never would.
     She wasn't ready for this meeting.
     He wasn't giving her a choice.
     Seconds later, he halted within arm's reach of her driver's door, his eyes seeming to hold the power to pin her into her seat.
     All these weeks of worrying, and here was the one situation she had wanted to avoid.  All the years of running, and here stood the one man she'd tried so hard to leave behind.
     "Carly Baron," he said.  "At last...."

About Barbara:

Originally from the East Coast, award-winning author Barbara White Daille now lives with her husband in the warm, sunny Southwest, where they love the lizards in the front yard but could do without the scorpions in the bathroom.  Barbara writes romances—usually with cowboys, kids, and a touch of humor.  Her current title is Rancher at Risk, and she’s excited that her upcoming book, THE TEXAN’S LITTLE SECRET, releases in less than a month! 

THE TEXAN’S LITTLE SECRET can be found at:
Amazon UK

Barbara would love to have you drop by her website:

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Unusual "pets" spawn futuristic novella

Hello Deryn and welcome to Adventures in Authorland. Please get comfortable and tell us about your adventure. Deryn writes as Virginnia de Parte

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Deryn Pittar
     I’d submitted my first novella to three previous publishers and each had made suggestions, which I’d followed. The last had said it didn’t fit their stable, but they felt someone would take it. When the email arrived from the fourth publisher I presumed it would be another ‘thank you but no thank you’ with helpful attachments to soften the blow - but at the very end of the attachment list was “con…” and as I scrolled along the words “Contract with Secret Cravings Publishing” appeared. At that moment I knew I’d made it. It was a blissful moment that made all my efforts worthwhile.

What book are you reading now?
      I have an eclectic taste in books and belong to a book club. The latest novel we received is ‘A State of Wonder’ by Ann Patchett. I loved her other book, ‘Bel Canto’, and already I’m deep into this story. I’m trying to objectively understand how it is written, but the story overwhelms me and I give in and enjoy reading it instead.

Do you see writing as a career?
     Yes, I do.  It’s an ideal career and one I can do at home, without the hassle of going to work and bending to an employer’s demands. I’m lucky enough to be retired. The art of writing suits me. It allows my imagination free rein and it keeps my brain extremely active. I am constantly learning new skills both electronically and manually.  I belong to several writing groups, have had to learn to objectively edit my own work and absorb and accept critiques from other authors. I’m lucky to be in contact with other writers as the actual act of writing can be rather solitary.

Have you ever travelled to a place and come away with the idea of a story?
     Yes, this happened to me at an airport, on our way home from a holiday. I sat, quite weary, watching people hurry by and noticed the latest fashion in suitcases. They were upright with four wheels on the bottom. The owners hugged them against their sides, holding the handles firmly, as if they were children. My novellas are set in the future and it occurred to me that I could use these upright suitcases as ‘pets’ that would follow their owners. I soon worked out how. They would need to follow an electronic signal worn by the owners. From this I began a whole new novella, ensuring that somewhere in the story I had the airport scene with the suitcases.  I’ve had feedback from readers wanting me to contact suitcase makers about this idea.  All of them love the suitcases and want to know where they can get one. They just need to live long enough. Someone will make them one day, I’m sure.

Do you have advice for new writers beginning their adventure?
     It’s the old maxim write, write, and write some more. Take courses on-line, get critique partners and read lots of books.  The more you read the more your brain absorbs the flow of words and your vocabulary increases. Don’t ask your family to read your efforts. Find an outsider, a beta reader, who will give you honest feedback. Most of all – believe in you, be prepared to be wrong and be prepared to listen. Then dash off and write some more. Don’t give up.
     I can’t write for M & B. I tried years ago and my brain will not write to their formula. I didn’t write for ten years after two manuscripts were rejected; but it no longer matters that M & B don’t want my efforts. I now write for myself.

Have you ever cried in a movie? Which one and why?
      Doctor Zhivago completed undid me. I wept at the sadness of the story, the suffering of the child, the horror of her hand being let go in that crowd. (I was a young mother at the time)The scenery was magnificent and the love story tragic.  I couldn’t listen to the music for years afterward and never ever went to see the film again. Even today Lara’s Theme haunts me if I hear it. I don’t go to see a film if I know in advance that it’s a ‘weepy’. Why torture myself? I’m still getting over Dr. Zhivago!

     When genetically altered Thomas meets Kate, who collects memory bubbles, an unlikely romance begins. A love match may not eventuate because theirs is a roller-coaster romance.
     KATE BENTLEY, is short-sighted but too vain to wear glasses. When she is tossed backward by the up-escalator at Sydney Airport she is rescued by THOMAS WINTERS. She falls for his kindness and melted-chocolate voice and doesn’t notice his lined face or the double-chins caused by his blood-hound genes - until she puts her glasses on.

     The moment she put her foot down, she regretted it. The moving plate of the escalator pushed her backward, and she tumbled over her suitcase, arms flailing, her shoulder bag swinging around and hitting her in the face.
    God, she hated being short sighted.

     Vanity, utter vanity, stopped her from wearing her glasses in public. At least with them on she would have noticed people coming toward her. Fellow travellers now staggered around her as she waited for the ringing in her ears to stop and the sting in her cheek to ease. Some uttered apologies as they stepped over or around her. A suitcase caught her ankle, clipping it with a nasty crack before the owner apologised and lifted it clear.
     I will not cry. I will not cry.
     She sniffed back tears, before crawling out of the way. She fumbled in her handbag for her damn spectacles that looked like the bottom of two wine bottles when she put them on. They enlarged her eyes until they looked like those of a frog. She’d grown up to the taunts of “googly-eye.” Today’s experience might cure her vanity because her present position verged on the ridiculous, baggage and legs strewn about, creating a traffic hazard.
     “Sit,” a voice commanded. Surely the man couldn’t mean her?
     She wanted to shout, ‘What do you think I’m doing?’ but at that moment a firm hand rested on her shoulder and a voice, as warm as a chocolate liqueur sliding down her throat, asked, “Are you all right, miss? Here, let me help you up.” She gave up looking for her glasses.
     With one hand in her bag, and the other reaching out for the handle of her case, she couldn’t refuse the offer. The man cupped her elbow, put an arm around her waist, and lifted her slowly to her feet. He held her until she steadied. Gratitude flooded her, tears welled and she sniffed again, unable to spare a hand to find her handkerchief. A large soft white cloth appeared under her nose and she grabbed it, grateful to be able to wipe her nose and cheeks. It smelled of pine trees after the rain. Without thinking she put it in her sleeve.
     “Thank you so much,” she said. “I’m sorry I’ve caused a traffic jam, it’s just I don’t see very well.” What an understatement. She peered at his shape in front of her. Then, realising she was frowning, she straightened her back and smiled. “I really should wear my glasses.” She gestured to where she thought her suitcase might be. “If you could pass me my case I’ll be on my way. Obviously the next escalator is the down one. Silly me.”
     Chocolate Voice moved to the side and disappeared, coming back a moment later. She could hear the wonky wheel of her suitcase. “Oh you’ve found it. Great.” She reached to take the handle. It didn’t arrive.
About Deryn
     I write futuristic romances under the pen name of Virginnia De Parte with a series of five e-books published by Secret Cravings Publishing. By writing about the future I have the pleasure of watching science catch up to my imagination.
     I have an erotic novella e-book published by Totally Bound, called Memoirs of Lady Montrose.
     My first Young Adult was published under my legal name last December, called A Taste of Gold,  it was released by Evernight Teens as an e-ook and POD.
     My other love is writing poetry and I am published in this genre, both on line and in hard copy. A love of words, and changing the way they are arranged, drives my writing. I endeavour to insert poetic prose into my fiction.
     I belong to writing groups and have several critique partners, all of whom help to keep me on-track and well edited.

Buy links
Secret Cravings link:

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Texan hunk and NZ heiress make a sizzling duo

Welcome back, Kris. It’s great to see you again.

Kris Pearson

First of all, thanks so much for inviting me back to your blog, Jean. It’s lovely to be here.

Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, absolutely. I can’t wait to give up my ‘day job’ to write full-time. I thought this would be happening at Christmas, but I’m still spending far too much time up a ladder! My husband and I have a two-person decor business and we specialise in installing curtains and blinds. It's a wonderful way to meet people though, and I do get to see some fantastic properties. Simply being in some of these places makes stories start to bubble in my brain.

How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?
 I think it's fourteen now (well, plus a couple that were just practice and will never see the light of day.) My favourite is always my most recent and in this case it’s called MORE THAN THE MONEY. That's because I'm always closest to the people I'm currently writing about.
A strange thing has just happened though. Seven of us are putting out a boxed set of contemporary romances and I was sent the final formatting to check last night. The boxed set is called Second Chances, and the book I'm including is The Wrong Sister. As I skimmed through it I was amazed how much I enjoyed it, and that's a book I published at the very end of 2011. In some ways perhaps I'd say The Wrong Sister is also a contender for favourite book because it has strong links to both my sister and my mother because of a breast cancer connection. That makes it sound sad and dreary, but it's not. It’s a hot and sexy romance!

In which genre do you prefer to write and why?
Always contemporary. Historical research leaves me cold, and I’m too much of a realist to enjoy inventing fantastical creatures or complicated crimes.

Can you give us some details about your upcoming release/s?
 My best-selling book is called Taken by the Sheikh. It has been consistently popular from the day I published it. Therefore I am writing another two Sheikh novels, and am three chapters into the next one. Desired by the Sheikh’ will be out later this year, with a third to follow as soon as I can manage it. This third one is planned to solve a mystery which I put into the first.

Do you belong to any non-writing organizations?
Yes, I’ve been a member of Soroptimist International for 28 years now. This is a worldwide service club for women, and we raise money for local, national, and international projects. Of any service club in the world we have raised the most money for the clearance of landmines, which is something I'm very proud about. I'm a past member and local past president of the New Zealand Camellia Society, and am still very keen on my garden. I always put a few garden shots on the last page of my website.

Do you have any advice for new writers beginning their adventure?
Don’t say you’re going to be a writer, just BE a writer. Don't say you're ‘going to write a book’, write the damn book. Writing is a job which takes a great deal of determination and persistence. It's hard. It’s either too lonely or you’re being interrupted all the time. There’s nothing for it but to DO IT.
Exercise your writing muscle every day. I find it’s a real help to keep a word-count total on a sheet of paper beside me. Not a computer file – a sheet of in-your-face paper that begs to have its total updated every now and again. And that’s how I know I’m 12,093 words into my next Sheikh.

     Exiled from his family for half his life, hard-living cowboy Rory Morrissey finally quits Texas and embarks on a desperate and delicate mission: to return to New Zealand, convince shy Kiwi heiress Alfreida Hamlin to marry him, and earn a fresh start, respectability, and one hell of a farm. 
     Alfie might be shy but she’s no pushover. When she learns about the succession deal being hatched between her autocratic grandfather and the handsome Texan stud, she rebels. There’s no way she’ll stand by and have her expected inheritance and freedom stolen away, so with only one month to outwit the scheming duo, she throws caution to the wind and snuggles up to the man she’s been ordered to marry. After all, she needs to know her enemy if she expects to beat him at his own game.
     Warning: Contains one hunky cowboy determined to ride down his heiress, hog-tie her, and bundle her into his bed.


So this is the girl?
Rory fought to keep his curiosity from showing as she slid, eyes downcast, into the gracious old sitting room. The dry-pine smell of the recent Christmas tree was overpowering, and he was trying not to sneeze.
The grandfather immediately abandoned his small talk, heaved himself to his feet, and began introductions. “Rory, may I present my granddaughter Alfreida. And this is Rory Morrissey, who you’ve heard me talk about from time to time, Alfie.”
She looked up then, and nodded politely enough to him. Offered a slim hand to be shaken. Somehow made it perfectly plain that a cousinly kiss on the cheek would not be acceptable. And bent to pet the big grey cat which had stalked into the room with her.
Rory burned at her cool rebuff. She hadn’t even spoken to him.
“You have a lot to do with the animals here, I guess?” he drawled, just to get a reaction.
“She’s called Dorothy,” the girl replied without looking at him again.
So—a soft husky voice that strummed over his nerve endings like a flick from a chiffon scarf. But her aloof attitude just begged to be tamed. “I meant the bigger animals.”
That brought her eyes up to his. Clear blue-green eyes, fringed with dark lashes, each tipped with gold. She straightened with noticeable reluctance.
“We run mixed beef-and-sheep mostly. Angus cattle—the black ones. We’re not a dairy farm.”
“No, I know that.”
She gave a ‘why-did-you-ask’ kind of shrug and looked down at the cat again.
Rory decided she was a bad mannered little bitch, undoubtedly spoiled from the day she’d been born.
He studied her, knowing old Alfred Hamlin was studying him in turn.
She was tall. Slender. Badly dressed in a shiny frock that seemed strangely formal and sandals with leaf mould clinging to them. He amused himself by imagining her long chocolate ponytail freed and falling down her back in a soft wavy mass. Definitely an improvement. The dress had narrow straps; her arms were bare and lithely muscled. He wanted to take her by the elbows and shake her so he had her full attention. This was too important to mess up.
Still ignoring him, she bent again to stroke the cat as it wound around her legs, and he was granted an unexpected view of gorgeous breasts—a total surprise after her standoffish greeting.
His groin prickled and he ruthlessly squashed the sensation. But it was good to know she turned him on. It could only help later.
Frosty. Gauche. Spoiled. Not ideal qualities for a wife, but by God he’d take her to get Glenleighton Estate.
“Champagne!” old Alfred barked, heading for the gleaming mahogany sideboard where there was an opened bottle gussied up with a white napkin around its neck. He took it from its resting place in a silver bucket of rattling ice cubes and began to pour with a less than steady hand into three waiting flutes.
Rory drew a deep breath, grateful to have a distraction from those enticing breasts, and nearly sneezed as the Christmas tree scent hit him again. “Thought you’d be a whisky man, Alfred?”
“Any other day, yes. But we always celebrate with champagne at Glenleighton.”
“Celebrate?” the girl asked, still stroking the cat.
“It’s not every day we have a visitor from the other side of the world. Drink up, drink up. You too Alfie—leave that disgusting beast alone. Make an effort to be sociable, for heaven’s sake.”
She ignored the insult with a slow closing of her deep-lagoon eyes. “Dorothy’s almost due to have kittens.”
This time she looked up at Rory. The smoky voice, unfettered breasts and candid eyes made him wonder if she was in on the plan. Did she know she was part of a hellish bargain? Was this her way of showing him she might be worth having?

Buy links:
About Kris:
If it's fine, Kris gardens. If it's wet, she writes. And if the writing's going well, the garden can look after itself...
Her latest books are her Heartlands series and June 9 saw the launch of the third, MORE THAN THE MONEY.
Kris writes sizzling contemporary romances, and is the current membership secretary for Romance Writers of New Zealand. Six of her books are set at least partly in the capital city of Wellington so she can make use of the beautiful harbour in the plots. She's called them her Wicked in Wellington series. (There's a boxed set of three Wickeds if you'd like to save some money.)
In a new adventure, two of these are now available translated into Spanish, with at least two more to follow. The first titles are 'La cama del constructor de barcos' and 'Zona prohibida'. There's a Spanish version of her website - just click the flags at the top right of it to change languages.
Kris hopes you enjoy reading the titles so far available, and assures you there are more to follow. Keep checking her Amazon author page, or her website - for up-coming stories.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Amy loves to write ideal Highland heroes

Hello Amy and welcome to Adventures in Authorland. Please get comfortable and tell us about your adventure.

What inspired you to write your first book?
Amy Jarecki
I have always loved to write. As well as romance, I read action/adventure novels and thrillers. One of my favourite authors is Tom Clancy, and in the late 90’s I read a book that had Tom’s name on the cover, but it was written by a ghost writer. Needless to say, it wasn’t the best Tom Clancy novel ever written (right). And I said to myself, I’ll bet I can write better than that. So, I actually sat down and wrote a thriller, and then another. The problem? They were AWFUL! I had no idea what I was doing. The good thing is that while I was writing those two horrible manuscripts, I was taking writing classes and going to seminars and conferences, and learned a lot about the craft.

But writing continued to be a hobby until ten years later I wrote a Native American Historical novel, Boy Man Chief, that won the League of Utah Writers award and the Spark Book Award and was subsequently picked up by a small press.

How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?
Right now I am working on my fourteenth manuscript—and most of my books are 90,000 words. Boy, it’s really difficult to pick a favourite. I usually say it’s the one I’m working on (LOL). I really like Captured by the Pirate Laird. It’s different, because it’s about a Highlander and a pirate, and I love the hero, Calum. He forms my ideal of a Highland hero. I also like Beauty and the Barbarian because Merrin is my favourite heroine. I have a series coming out next year that are Highlander novels, but more sophisticated than the Highland Force books. I’m a little worried about what everyone will think of those, but they’re my favourite too!

Can you give us some details about your upcoming release/s?
Yes! Thank you for asking. In August, the fourth and final (so far) book in the Highland Force Series, Return of the Highland Laird will be released. It’s a novella, so a great read for a plane ride. The story’s about Alexander’s fall from grace and his journey back to power as Laird MacLeod of Raasay…and his romance with murderess, Lady Jane Drake.

In October, Rescued by the Celtic Warrior and Celtic Maid will be released. These two books represent my first foray into historical romances from the British Isles, and are Pict/Roman action/adventure romances.

In 2015 the Highland Dynasty Series will come out. I presently am working on the third book in the series, for which I have seven books planned (at the moment). That should keep me busy for a while!

In which genre do you prefer to write and why?
Interestingly, I found my voice with Scottish historical romance. I’m of Scottish descent, and received my master’s degree from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. I’ve travelled to Scotland several times and love it there! Of course I must say there’s nothing like a good Highlander romance!

When you are not writing, what are your hobbies, passions, etc?
I suffer from “so many fun things to do, so little time” syndrome. But I bike about 10 miles per day to stay in shape, or if it’s cold outside, I fall back on the old faithful Zumba dancing tape. I like to golf and hike. I have shown Chihuahuas, though my two are champions now and dog shows are no longer easy to drive to. I like to sing, play the oboe, and I play the piano badly—so I mostly do that when no one is home.

Have you ever travelled to a place and come away with a story unexpectedly?
Oh yes. Travelling is a wonderful way to spur one’s imagination. When I arrived in Utah, I visited the Parowan Gap Petroglyphs. I was there all by myself, and marvelled at the intricate patterns inscribed in the rock by the ancient Fremont Indians. I’d never heard of the Fremont, so I started researching them as well as the meaning behind petroglyphs all over Southwest Utah. As I was researching, a story began to hatch in my mind, and thus sprang Boy Man Chief. This also happened when I went to Belize and saw Mayan ruins, but it wasn’t until about five years later I started writing Virtue about a dancer who gets a job on a cruise ship and ends up on the sacrificial altar of a Mayan cult. In the 90’s I visited Hadrian’s Wall, and didn’t write my Roman/Pict stories until 2011.

If you could time travel back, or forward, for one day, where would it be and why?

I’d love to visit fifteenth century Scotland. It was such a brutal time period, I might prefer to have an invisibility cloak, but I really, really would love to travel back in time. The smells must be horrific, and I imagine the food was very bland. But I’d love to see the clothing first hand. I’d love to actually get to know the people who existed back then and really understand them. How amazing it would be to have first-hand experience of medieval Scotland and then write about it!


     Born with the mark of the devil, Merrin has been hidden on the islet of Eilean Fladda for near twenty years. When the body of a Highlander washes ashore, the innocent lass presumes him dead. Brushing the hair from the rugged warrior’s face, her fingers connect with warm flesh. Warm.
     Ian MacLeod wakes to a woman so radiant, he believes her an angel. But when the lass recoils from him, he fears she knows of his evil deeds. While he heals, Ian is stunned when he exposes her witch’s mark, yet he’s spellbound by Merrin’s allure. He’d do anything to erase his haunting past and earn her love.
     But there’s a henchman after Ian’s head, and when that man learns the Highlander is still alive, the couple is forced to flee Merrin’s sheltered world. Fighting for survival, destiny demands they each face their demons, but doing so may forever ruin them both.

* * * *
Sprinting onto a thin strip of beach, Ian raced for the shore. Rain pelted his face as he skidded to a stop. Gasping for air, he sucked in deep breaths and peered through the dark night—north, then south. Thank God. A lone skiff sat askew, poorly camouflaged at the tree-line edge.
His side cramping from his frantic escape, he darted to the tiny boat with a pained hitch to his step. The deerhounds’ barks grew closer. If he hesitated, they’d be upon him in a blink of an eye.
Ian’s heart hammered his chest as he bore down on the skiff and shoved it into the angry swells. He jumped over the bow and snatched an oar. With every muscle, every sinew, he paddled against the surf and ignored his fatigue. A single oar made the boat fishtail, but there was no time to set them in their locks. Ian gritted his teeth and slammed the oar into the white swells in a hurried rhythm, side to side.
Over the roar of the surf and the driving rain, dogs yelped in an excited frenzy. Men shouted. Ian didn’t turn around—he needed more distance. As sure as he breathed, they were ramming lead balls down their muskets. With luck, the rain had soaked their slow matches, rendering the guns useless.
Ian sped his determined paddling and squinted through the pelting rain—across to his home, the Isle of Raasay. He hadn’t set foot there since he was four and ten, but the sight of the island enlivened him. He could barely make out the black outline of Dùn Caan, the flat-topped peak that forever identified the isle as Clan MacLeod land.
A sharp jab struck him from behind. Ian’s body propelled forward. His nose slammed into the wooden hull. An ear-shattering musket clap followed, piercing through the wind. Something stung, burned his back. Ian slid his hand over the screaming pain. Hot blood oozed through his fingers.
More claps blasted from the beach, thudding into the tiny skiff. Ian rolled to his side. Icy water spurted over him. Frantically, he worked to hug both wooden oars against his chest. A thousand knives attacked his skin as salt water swallowed his lifeline to Raasay. The last thing he saw was the looming outline of Dùn Caan.
Blackness engulfed him.

About Amy

     Amy adores Scotland. Though she now resides in southwest Utah, she received her MBA from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. Winning multiple writing awards, she has focused on the genre of Scottish historical romance. Her favorite eras are the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries as well as the time of the Barbarian Conspiracy during the Roman occupation.

Buy Links:

Twitter: @amyjarecki

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Murder mysteries a series tongue-in-cheek romps

Hi Jean, and welcome to Adventures in Authorland. Please get comfortable and tell us about your adventure.

Jean Harrington
Do you see writing as a career?
Writing as a career?  Absolutely.  To write is to have a compelling incentive to get up in the morning, to exercise your creativity, to have a reason to live.  I love the time I spend spinning my stories and getting involved in my fictional world.  But beware.  When it comes to financial rewards, the arts do not recognize a middle class.  A few writers become super stars, the rest do not.  So gird your loins.

How many books have you written?
Eleven.  I’m currently working on the twelfth.  Seven have been published.  So I guess I did gird my loins.  My latest release is ROOMS TO DIE FOR, #4 in my Murders By Design Mystery Series.  The books are all set on the Florida Gulf Coast, and all are tongue-in-cheek romps with a red-haired interior designer as amateur sleuth.  Number 5, The Design is Murder, is due for e-book release in November.

Do you belong to any non-writing organizations?
Don’t know if it’s officially an organization, but for the last 15 years I’ve belonged to a discussion group of seven women.  Seven dear friends.  We discuss everything from Somali pirates to Alice Munroe’s stories to our husbands’ idiosyncrasies.  We meet every 2 weeks at one p.m.  Each member takes turns hosting, and with the sky the limit conversationally, we have a blast.  Next time we’re scheduled to discuss our wedding nights.  I’ll keep you posted!

If you could time travel back, or forward, for one day, where would it be and why?
I would love to go back and spend one more day with a very special person.  Just sit together and talk and have him tell me one more time, “Jean, you are such wonderful company.”

If you could have any super hero power, what would it be?
To have that special day I mentioned.

Do you have any advice for new writers beginning their adventure?
Yes.  Write every day.  Every day.  Every day.  Even if only for fifteen minutes, or an hour if you can.  Train your brain to perform on a regular basis.  Like anything, the more you write, the better (I’m not sayin’ easier!) it becomes.  Oh, and don’t pay a damn bit of attention to how much better, faster, wittier someone else writes.  It’s your authentic voice and style that matter in the long run.

Share three fun facts about you that most people don’t know.
Let me see . . .
  1. After 2 wines (maybe 3) I sing on top of pianos. (Not really, but that does sound like fun, don’t you think?)
  2. My hair has been dyed six different colors.  (Not all at the same time.)
  3. My thighs are my best feature.  (Amen!)

About Jean: 
     Jean Harrington is the author of the Naples-set Murders by Design Mystery Series.  A former English prof at Becker College in Worcester, Massachusetts, USA, Jean is now living in Florida with her husband John.  (“We’ve been married forever.”) These days—and nights!—she’s writing for the exploding field of electronic publishing and is awed by its impact on readers and writers alike.  For excerpts from her tongue-in-cheek series—Designed for Death, The Monet Murders, Killer Kitchens, Rooms to Die For, and The Design is Murder, Jean invites you to visit her at


     Interior designer Deva Dunne finds more than fabulous furnishings on her trip to the design mall; she and her client come upon the body of one of Deva's favorite shop owners, swinging from the atrium railing. It looks like suicide, but Deva feels sure that the purveyor of Florida's finest antiques would never leap to his death from a tacky blue stool.
     Deva's boyfriend, studly and stoic police lieutenant Victor Rossi, looks into it, but there's not much to go on. He's focusing on their future these days, and he wishes Deva would steer clear of danger.
     But everyone around Deva seems to be keeping secrets, and she's getting some strange reactions to the designs she's doing for a big charity event. When she experiences a mysterious attack, she knows she's at the center of something huge—and if she doesn't outwit this killer fast, her only future will be six feet under

ROOMS TO DIE FOR and the other mysteries in the series are available as e-books through

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Debut novella set in medieval Scotland

Hello, Marlow. Welcome to Adventures in Authorland.  Please make yourself comfortable and tell us a about your adventure.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Even though The Wild Rose Press have accepted two of my novellas for publication, I don’t consider myself a writer, and probably never will. I really just want to tell stories and that’s what I aspire to be – a storyteller. The best part about putting my narratives on paper is when I write the first draft. I turn off the spelling and grammar function and just let the words flow. I don’t censor anything, any mistakes can be cleaned up when I edit. I just want to release the story in my head.
Plus, I’m probably the worst writer in the world when it comes to grammar and spelling. Just ask my family. I’ve been known, on more than one occasion, to ask my ten-year old how to spell something simple like – rabbit or maybe its rabit – okay, I’m not really that bad, but it’s close.

You’ve recently signed with a publisher. Tell us about your writing journey before and after this point.
Although, I’ve always imagined characters and tales, I didn’t start writing them down until quite late in life. I suppose I was always busy, you know how it is, travel, jobs, family and children. The first thing I wrote was a full-length novel. It was terrible, so bad that normal editing couldn’t fix it. Then I read somewhere (I wish I could remember where.) the art of writing is in rewriting. So that was it, I had to learn how to rewrite. But the problem was that it took me a year to write the terrible novel, was I going to spend another year writing a novel and then learn how to rewrite it. I decided I would start with three novella-length pieces. The first one took a long time because of the learning curve but by the time I had reached the third one I’d cut my time down considerably.

My first novella, A WOMAN OF HONOUR is due to be released this summer. My second, A Woman of Love, has just been contracted by the Wild Rose Press and I’ve yet to submit the final story A Woman of Courage.
I’m also working on a full-length novel to follow A WOMAN OF HONOUR, but that’s still in the first draft stage.

Can you give us some details about your upcoming release/s
My historical romance novella A WOMAN OF HONOUR, is due for worldwide release 27th August 2014. It is set in medieval Scotland at the time of the Scottish Wars of Independence. I wanted to write 
a story about a woman who seems to be a nobody, but is, in fact, vitally important. And that’s my heroine, Isabel. She’s like a lot of us, in as much as, she sees herself as worthless. She’s very tall and thin, and while I don’t say it in the story, I picture her to be at least 6ft tall. She has no home, no dowry, and no prospects. But she does have integrity and honour, and is determined to do the right thing.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? Writing, or something else?
When I was six years old I told my father that I wanted to be a carpenter and make beautiful furniture. I was devastated when he told me that girls couldn’t do things like that. I think that’s why I like to write about strong women who defy the mold, because until recently women’s lives were so restricted, not just in their chosen careers, but socially too.

Do you have any advice for new writers beginning their adventure?
You only need to do three things - learn, learn, and learn. I could study for ten years and still not know all there is to know about writing and the world of publishing. I will say this, try and learn from those who are already successful. Read books that are well written so that you know the standard you wish to achieve. And don’t listen to anyone who says romance is not real writing. Write what’s in your heart, and follow your own path.
Have you ever travelled to a place and come away with a story unexpectedly?
I don’t think there’s ever a time when my mind isn’t imagining different people, and unusual scenarios, but living in Western Canada we travel a lot. Taking off on road trips in the summer is part of our culture. And I suppose every place has a story to tell.
On one such trip we went to a place called Fort Steele. It’s nestled in the Kootenay region of British Columbia, Canada. A hundred and fifty years ago it had a population of 3000 people but when the railway bypassed the town it died and by 1950’s it was a ghost town. Fort Steele has been resurrected as a museum, with its buildings restored. Actors roam the town enacting skits for passing tourists. It’s a wonderful place and one can’t help but imagine different storylines as you walk through the Victorian buildings and touch the objects that were used by people so long ago.

     Duncan Campbell wakes to discover he is imprisoned with a woman in his enemy's dungeon in the Highlands of Scotland. The disenchanted warrior hopes his last few moments on earth will be spent in the arms of the sweet-voiced Isabel. If only she will cooperate.
     Isabel Douglas has no intention of obliging the crude captive. The penniless noblewoman considers herself too tall and thin to be desirable. She intends to become a nun. But first, disguised as a boy, she must deliver an important letter to Scotland's hero in hiding, King Robert the Bruce.
     Together, the pair make a daring escape that plunges them into the bleak countryside in the middle of winter. In the struggle to survive, they learn the true strength of their feelings for each other. But when Duncan's animosity towards the king becomes evident, Isabel must decide between her heart and her country.

     Duncan Campbell drifted into consciousness and opened his eyes to absolute blackness. He lay perfectly still on the cold, dirt floor listening. A small rustle of fabric echoed in the darkness. He cocked his head, getting a sense of the sound’s location, then rose to his feet. “Tell me who you are before I tear you apart,” he roared, seizing his opponent.
     Whoever it was didn’t answer, just silence. A fist punched him on the nose. Pain ricocheted through him, and he grabbed his face. In the dark, he lost his balance and fell in the dirt, cradling his head in his hands.
     “Oh my, are you all right?” asked a small voice.
     “No, I’m not.”
     “You threatened me, and I wanted to give you fair warning I will fight back if you touch me.”
     The lyrical voice stunned him. A woman? She spoke Gaelic with a strong, lowland accent. He shook off the pain and asked,  “Where am I?”
     “Dunstaffnage Castle. Don’t you remember your capture? I’ve heard of people getting a bump on the head and not remembering their own name. Is that what happened to you? Did you bump your head?”
     Lord, she was talkative.
     “Is it?”
     “I remember I was hit from behind scouting the bast….Are we in the dungeon?” He rose to his feet.
     He grunted. On the bright side he hadn’t gone blind. On the other hand they were in a dank, windowless cell with no hope of escape. There wasn’t even a sliver of light coming through the door.

About Marlow

     After being thrown out of England for refusing to drink tea, Marlow Kelly made her way to Canada where she found love, a home and a pug named Max. She also discovered her love of storytelling. Encouraged by her husband, children and let’s not forget Max, she started putting her ideas to paper. Her need to write about strong women in crisis drives her stories and her curiosity regarding the lives and loves of historical figures are the inspiration for her characters. Marlow has published several short stories some of which can be found on her website at