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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Fairytale romance and Christmas bring magic to Montana



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

Alanna Lucas
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
     When I joined RWA it was with the commitment that I was going to make every effort to make writing a career. However, it wasn’t until I received my first contract that I truly felt like a writer.

In which genre do you prefer to write and why?
     I write historical romance. I have always enjoyed researching and learning about different time periods. It seemed only natural to write what I enjoy. There is one downside—it is far too easy to get wrapped up in research and forget what I am supposed to be writing.

Can you give us some details about your upcoming release/s?
         Coming later this year from Boroughs Publishing Group…Face to Face.

     Miss Penelope Ashurst wanted one night to shed the strict rules and proper decorum of Regency society.  While attending a forbidden masquerade, she meets the man of her dreams.  It is love at first sight.  His secret identity only adds to the excitement of the evening.  Before she discovers who the mystery lord is, a ruthless man who is only interested in her dowry kidnaps her.
      When Ranulph, The Earl of Monfort, first spies the goddess in a golden mask, something inside comes to life and stirs a deep longing.  The weight of responsibility that had been bearing down on him his whole life dissipates. But before he can profess his love to his goddess, she disappears.
      In a race against time, Ranulph searches for Penelope.  However, their ordeal does not end once Penelope is rescued.  While trying to evade the kidnappers, Penelope and Ranulph find their lives in jeopardy.  But as they escape one danger, others lurk to destroy their newfound love.  Can their love conquer all, even death?

What place inspires you the most?
     The historical richness of Europe is always inspiring to me. If I had to choose one place in Europe (that is a tough one), it would probably be Rome. The Colosseum and Roman Forum, especially at night, is one of my favorite areas to explore.

Do you have any advice for new writers beginning their adventure?
    
Learn your craft, know your genre, and most important, join organizations. After I joined RWA and discovered my local chapter, everything seemed to fall into place. The support and encouragement from my fellow chapter mates has been an amazing part of this journey.

Share three fun facts about you that most people don’t know.
     I love to drive and recently did a lap on the Nurburgring in Germany. It was quite thrilling!
     I am stubborn and very competitive (which has rubbed off onto my husband).
     We have game night in our household. My kid’s favorite game is Sorry!, followed by Apples to Apples.

BLURB: ONCE UPON A MONTANA CHRISTMAS
    Miss Eva Kenward does not want to spend another Christmas alone. Leaving Queen Victoria’s England, she journeys to America in search of an uncle but finds herself on the rugged frontier of Montana. And with no money and no acquaintances, the rudest man she has ever met is the one she must engage. Especially considering the precious bundle in her arms.
     “Hunt” Strauss has been fooled before by beauty. So when the ravishing young woman arrives on his doorstep, he suspects her of ulterior motives. But perhaps the baby she holds truly is his kin...and when Miss Kenward finds herself stranded after a hotel fire, he reluctantly agrees to help. Bringing her to his sprawling ranch, Hunt tries to keep his distance. But the enticing woman and her enthusiasm for the season soon prove that fairy tale love stories—and holiday wishes—really can come true.

EXCERPT
“Oh! It’s here!” Eva heard Aunt Carol bellow from downstairs. She gathered Lily in her arms and went down to see what all the fuss was about.
            Eva arrived downstairs just in time to see Hunt and Mr. Walker carry a large crate into the house and place it beside another.
            Aunt Carol’s face was bright with excitement. “Oh, dearie, you are just in time.”
            “Just in time for what?” Eva said as she edged closer to the crate.
            “Christmas decorations, tinsel, and treats from my brother in Germany!” As Aunt Carol explained about the contents of the crates, Hunt and Mr. Walker pried them open, revealing wrapped packages and tins full of fragrant spices.
            Eva sat down on the floor with a very curious Lily on her lap. When she opened a tin with the embossment of a German landscape, the scent of cloves filled the air. The next package Eva pulled contained a smooth wood block engraving of a Christmas tree. “This is beautiful,” she said as she admired the engraving.
            Eva was surprised when Hunt began to explain the significance of the wood engraving. “It’s a cookie mold. We use the molds to make decorative Lebkuchen, a type of spiced cookie, and ornaments for the Christmas tree. It has been a tradition in my family for many generations. My Oma taught my siblings and I how to make them.”
            She could hear the pride in his voice. Despite his tough exterior, underneath it all was a sensitive man. Not for the first time, Eva wondered what had hardened him.
            “Did you have any family traditions, dearie?”
            Eva did not know how to answer that question without raising sympathy from Aunt Carol. Her family was not close and they would never dream of sitting on the floor, rummaging through crates. She could hear her stepmother now: “That is why we have servants. Let them get their hands dirty.” Looking away, she shook her head without a word, and continued on with unpacking their traditions, wishing desperately she had some of her own.

About Alanna
     Alanna Lucas grew up in Southern California. From an early age, she took an interest in travel, incorporating those experiences into her writing. When she is not daydreaming of her next travel destination, Alanna can be found researching, spending time with family, or going for long walks. Alanna Lucas is a member of the Romance Writers of America, East Valley Authors, The Beau Monde, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers.

Buy links

Boroughs Publishing Group

Amazon

BN.com

Allromanceebooks

kobo



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!

Blurb: A LONG TRAIL ROLLING
     
     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.

EXCERPT

         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.

Links:
Blog: http://lizzitremayne.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/lizzi.tremayne 
Twitter: LizziTremayne
About Me http://about.me/Lizzi_Tremayne
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!

Blurb: THE TEXAN’S LITTLE SECRET:

     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.

Excerpt:
     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    
Amazon UK

Barbara would love to have you drop by her website:  www.barbarawhitedaille.com

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 sci.fi 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!

Blurb: ROMANCING THE MEMORY COLLECTOR
     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.

EXCERPT:
     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:  http://bit.ly/1s3SyV6
Amazon:  http://amzn.to/1n65fqb

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.

Blurb: MORE THAN THE MONEY
     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.

EXCERPT - MORE THAN THE MONEY

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?

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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 - http://www.krispearson.com 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!

BLURN and EXCERPT: BEAUTY AND THE BARBARIAN

     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.

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Twitter: @amyjarecki