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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Regency and suspense top of Vonnie's list

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

When did you first consider yourself to be a writer?
Actually, it was a very long time ago. I cut my teeth on poetry for magazines and periodicals and for the occasional newspaper. I believe it was when the NZ Herald paid me handsomely (even by today’s standards) for a poem for their Saturday magazine edition. I was about 22 and it was prior to our having kids. But I got paid!

In which genre do you prefer to write and why?
It’s a tug-of-war. I’m known for my Regencies, but I prefer writing suspense, either contemporary or historical, but preferably contemporary suspense. I seem to discover things as I go that add to the story. Every day an alternate track glows in the dark and I lose myself in a maze of “what ifs?” That’s fine. It’s all about layers. My favourite authors all write some type of suspense or mystery.

What books influenced your life?
 I’d have to say L.M. Montgomery’s Blue Castle. Yes, the L.M. Montgomery of Anne of Green Gables. I was about 14. It was one of the first romances I read, although I don’t believe they were termed ‘romance’ then. It was a battered hardback and I can’t remember where I got it; maybe from a secondhand book shop. The Canadian background and plainness of the heroine drew me in. I’ve lost my copy and never found another.

The other book that influenced me most was Marilyn French’s The Women’s Room. Woo-hoo! Roll out women’s lib! It brought to the surface of my mind things and attitudes that had lain dormant and never been expressed. I’m not saying it turned me into a rabid feminist (I was always quietly one beneath the skin), but it did give me the courage to (politely, and with facts to back it up) disagree with a few males such as bosses who had never been disagreed with.

What are your passions apart from writing?
Reading, obviously. I like to read mysteries, non-derivative romances, true crime and dark fictional suspense. If I read paranormal I prefer to have it expertly linked to reality in readable ways i.e. I prefer a writer like Jayne Ann Krentz (or Jayne Castle/Amanda Quick to give her her more correct name when she’s writing a paranormal series). I also exercise a lot, even though I’m no chicken. I began jogging when I was 39, but I’m now down to jog/walking but it’s brisk stuff. Plus I go to the gym once or at the most twice a week. It’s right here on our premises so why not? The arms and body need exercise, not just the legs. Plus I do water aerobics twice a week. Great stuff. The workout without the pulverising damage that running causes. (But I still love running most of all). I also sing in a group that puts on shows, but I don’t do solos. I know my limitations. Oh, and I play the piano/organ.

As a child, did you want to write?
Yes. In fact, I was writing then, from about the age of seven. Later, I wanted to become a print journalist but for our generation ‘nice girls did not become journalists.’ Apparently that was for middle aged men who smoked incessantly and wore gaberdine raincoats.

Who are your favourite authors?
They have remained constant over the years, with just the occasional new person I’ve picked up through the industry. Jayne Ann Krentz in all her pen-names is my standout favourite because she always delivers. Nora Roberts’s latest books (not her earlier ones) and also her J.D. Robb ones. Clever. Although I’ve loved Georgette Heyer for many years, along with thousands of others, I actually like her detective fiction every bit as much as her Regencies and other historicals, whereas most people don’t seem to rate her so highly as a mystery writer. I understand her little divisions of class because of having read her Regencies first. I like some Sandra Brown books, particularly the ones set in the south, and I enjoy all of Karen Rose’s beautifully researched scary stuff. My most recent discovery is K.M. Rockwood (Kathleen), an ex-parole officer, machine operator…you name it, whose trilogy about Jesse who is on parole is brilliant.


A kidnapper makes a grave mistake and faces a revenge he never expected.

Annis's new husband investigates crimes, and Caroline's new husband is a capable ex-Army officer. When their ladies are kidnapped in an effort to suppress evidence of pilfering and murder, Giles and Fort fight their way through all the lies and subterfuge to not only rescue them, but also to avenge them.


     Fort approached the person on the seat. “Mr. Young, we’ve been looking for you.”
     If that was Mr. Young, why was he listing to one side like a ship at sea?
     “Is he injured? Has John hurt him?” She hurried towards them.
     Fort’s peremptory order stopped her in her tracks. She watched as Fort examined Mr. Young’s head and neck. He lifted Mr. Young’s hand. It dropped laxly.
     “He’s dead,” Fort said, turning towards Caroline. “Sweetheart, do you know your way out of the maze? I must stay here with the body. There’s been enough moving of evidence already.”
     Fort gesticulated with a finger across his throat.
     “Oh! I’ll fetch Giles. Sir William Harding will have to be notified too.”  Caroline cast her husband an anxious look. “Please be careful, Giles, in case John comes back.”
     “You be careful too, my love. Walk slowly and listen for footsteps on the other side of the hedge. And if you meet anyone—anyone at all, man or woman—scream. Scream loudly.”
     Caroline nodded and plunged back along the gravel paths surrounded by greenery. To her great relief she met nobody, although she was so rattled by events that she took a wrong turn and had to retrace her steps. “Hurry,” she told herself. “Fort is alone there, and John is on the loose.”


Vonnie is a New Zealander living in Australia. When she returned to the workforce after having children, she first went into the legal field, then found what she really wanted to do—-executive search. The research required appealed to her. Though now retired from that field, recruitment is still one of Vonnie’s interests from which her friends and relatives occasionally benefit.  

Her hobbies include jogging with her dog, water aerobics and singing. Writing is now her job and the business research experience from her working years helps her considerably.

Vonnie primarily writes Regencies and suspense novels, although she also writes many articles for blog sites and magazines (both on-line and hard copy) and she is open to fresh genres such as boomer lit and mainstream.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Intriguing unsolved mystery of early Colonists

Jo Grafford
Thank you for hosting me today on Adventures in Authorland – just LOVE the name of your blog, Jean.
Thank you Jo, and welcome to Adventures in Authorland. Please get comfortable and tell us about your adventure.

Do you see writing as a career? Yes. Writing is a gift. It defines who I am, it’s what I spend most of my time doing, and it’s what makes me happy.

How many books have you written? Two so far but my goal is a total of four in 2014: BREAKING TIES (published last October by Astraea Press) and Trail of Crosses (under contract - coming soon!)

Can you give us some details about your upcoming release? Love to! Both books are part of the Lost Colony Series, which is based on the Lost Colonists of Roanoke Island – one of the world’s most intriguing unsolved mysteries to date. BREAKING TIES reveals who wanted the Lost Colonists to disappear and why. Trail of Crosses reveals what happened next…after the last person to see them alive returned to England.

Do you belong to any non-writing organizations? Yes. I’m an Army wife and serve as co-leader of a Family Readiness Group for soldiers and their families. We hold monthly social events for our members and fundraise to send care packages to deployed soldiers and provide welcome baskets to new families joining our unit.

Who are some of your favourite authors? I read every book I can get my hands on from these authors: Nora Roberts, J.D. Robb, John Grisham, James Patterson, Catherine Coulter, Brenda Novak, Stephenie Meyer, Steven Pressfield… How much time do you have? I have an extremely long list of favorites! My third story library is wall to wall with books.

When you are not writing, what are your hobbies, passions, etc? I run several days a week, play the piano, and serve as a literacy volunteer for elementary school students.

BLURB – BREAKING TIES, first book in the Lost Colony Series:

An intelligent woman ahead of her time, ROSE PAYNE'S world is shattered after a secret betrothal to the duke’s son costs her job as a clerk in his father's household. Without a letter of recommendation, Rose becomes an easy target for recruiters to the Colonies. Desperate for work, she signs up for a risky overseas venture and sails for the New World, vowing never again fall for a wealthy gentleman.

Returning from a diplomatic tour in London, CHIEF MANTEO is bewitched by the elusive, fiery-haired ship clerk and determined to overcome her distrust. He contrives a daring plan to win her heart – a plan he prays will protect her from a chilling conspiracy involving murder, blood money, and a betrayal of their fledgling colony so terrifying it can only be revealed in BREAKING TIES.

Based on real people and real events, BREAKING TIES is the "rest of the story" of the Lost Colonists from Roanoke Island.


    “Someone might walk in,” I hissed. “What are ye doing?”
     “Distracting you from the pain. Is it working?”
     I chuckled breathlessly. “What pain?” I glanced through the doorway, but the beach was almost vacant of colonists now. We hadn’t much time left before the ships raised anchor.
    “I’m glad you refused to heed your brother’s warnings.”
    “Even though I brought with me such an ill run of luck?”
    “I am not complaining.” His voice was low against my neck. 
    I drew a shaky breath. “Are not ye afraid?”
    “Nay.” He reached around and laced his fingers through mine. Our scars from the blood oath rested palm to palm.
    My heartbeat quickened. “I must look like a rag doll.”
    “Your attire offends me no more than usual.”
    “English women hide beneath too many layers.”
    I choked out a laugh. “I saw the governor’s watercolors. Do your people truly wear so little?”
    “Including the ladies?” 
    “Aye.” His voice was earnest. “Thank the gods.” 
    I flushed scarlet. “I-I could not!” I twisted to look at him. “’Tis scandalous by any English standard.” 
    He tugged me back against him. “Then I pray you change your mind.” 
    My chest rose and fell rapidly. We were surrounded by danger and his thoughts were centered on seeing me naked, or nearly naked, I corrected.
    He trailed the back of his hand down my cheek.
    Tendrils of apprehension squeezed my heart. Manteo desired me, but he spoke not of love. I’d walked this path before.
    The stinging of my feet intensified. I sat up, needing space. He grunted in protest but loosened his arms. 
    “Agnes will be here any moment.”
    He moved quickly. My heartbeat quickened to see him crouched before me, whiskey eyes dark with emotion. He lifted my hand and pressed the scarred palm to his heart. The wound tingled from the heat of him.
    “There is one English custom I like very much.” He bent his head over mine until his breath stirred my lips. I stopped breathing. He took my upper lip between his in a caress as light as a bird’s feather.
    A breathy sigh escaped me. ’Twas several moments before I gathered the strength to open my eyes. He was gone.

Jo is a mega reader of all genres and loves to indulge in marathon showings of Big Bang Theory, CSI, NCIS, and Castle. Her favorite books are full of rich history, Native Americans, and an occasional creature from the otherworld – dragons, vampires, and time travelers.
From St. Louis, Missouri, Jo moves a lot with her soldier husband. She has lived in the Midwest, the deep South, and now resides in Bavaria. Jo holds an M.B.A. and has served as a banker, college finance instructor, and high school business teacher. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and From the Heart Romance Writers RWA Chapter. 
Jo writes historical and paranormal romance. She is currently writing a series published by Astraea Press, which is based on the Lost Colonists of Roanoke Island – one of the world’s most intriguing unsolved mysteries.

Twitter: @jografford

YouTube Book Trailer:

Barnes and Noble: 
Astraea Press:!/~/product/category=662245&id=28863116

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Ella's inspiration comes from the Regency

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

Ella Quinn
When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I think this is an important question. During the first draft of the first book I wrote, I considered myself a writer. I see so many people who describe themselves as “aspiring writers.” You either are a writer or you’re not. If you’re making up stories and writing them down, you’re a writer.

I do know that it sometimes takes a bit of encouragement for people to claim being a writer. Diana Love told a funny story about being at a writers’ conference early in her career. Person after person asked her if she was an author, and she kept saying no, those other people are. Then a tall, good-looking guy asked, and she replied. “Yes, I am.”

How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?

I’ve written seven. Four of them, The Seduction of Lady Phoebe, The Secret Life of Miss Ann Mash, and Lady Caro’s Accidental Marriage are complete and sold. They comprise the first four books of my series, The Marriage Game.  I’m editing the fifth book now.

Two are from a detour I took during Nanowrimo, and will be the first two books of my second series.

I have to say I love them all. Lady Phoebe may edge out the others just the tiniest bit, but only because she was the first.

You’ve recently signed with a publisher. Tell us about your writing journey before and after this point.

Although the story is long, it’s actually been pretty fast. Just over two years ago, I started out doing what most authors do. I wrote a book, then wondered how to sell it.

In May I joined a general writers’ forum, and discovered that I actually needed to revise my book. What you mean it’s not perfect now? Aren’t editors supposed to fix anything that’s wrong? Apparently not. Oh, and there was something called POVs I was supposed to get a handle on, and don’t forget craft. It took me a couple of months to actually figure out what POV was, but I digress.

The Brenda Novak Auction was in full swing, and I won a critique with an agent. She ended up telling me I needed to work on my craft (there was that pesky word again), but she thought I’d be published. Well, I can tell you that was all I needed to start sending Lady Phoebe out on queries. Imagine my surprise when I received rejections. They, however, did not deter me. By then I’d heard a lot about rejections and figured it was part of the process.  In June I’d I heard about RWA, and immediately signed up, found a couple of special interest chapters and joined them as well. I also took the rejections and parlayed them into PRO status.

I have to say that had it not been for that I would not have found a couple of wonderful critique groups that ended up helping me get my MS to the point where they were ready for submissions.

During all of this, I was writing Lady Serena and entered several of contests. In fact, if you count up the number of contests offered between July and September, that would be the number. Judges either loved my submission or hated it. There was loads of advice, some useful, most not. One published author, I wish I knew who it was, made a comment that made up for all the negative remarks.

 By September of that year I was editing Lady Serena and writing Anna Marsh. In October I attended the RWA New Jersey regional conference, met some wonderful authors, and pitched Lady Phoebe. I was thrilled to get requests for partials. In November for Nanowrimo I wrote Lady Grace’s Rendezvous (one of my detours), and in December started querying Lady Serena. That was when I started receiving requests for fulls. On February 1st I signed with my agent.

She handed me over to her lovely assistant, Claire Cavanaugh, who taught me how to edit and polish my books.  In December I received the offer from Kensington.

When you are not writing, what are your hobbies, passions, etc?

I love to read, travel, and being in the water. I paddle board at least once a week. I help out with the local races on the race committee and when Rolex is down here for their international regatta. I greatly envy a friend who has taken off and is sailing the world. I just want my own sailboat, but I would like to hang out in the Med on it for a summer.

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

I’d love to visit the Regency era and gather up as much knowledge as I could, especially about some of the things we debate about.

If you could have any super hero power, what would it be?

Ever since I first saw the TV show, Bewitched, I’ve wanted to be able to wiggle my nose and get things done or be somewhere.

 I’m extremely fond of two of my secondary characters, Lady Horatia, and John Whitton. So, I decided to give you an excerpt with them in it.

     “Oh!” She glanced up. Captain Whitton. Her breath caught. “Good day, Captain.” His hand seemed to burn through the thin cashmere of her gown and three petticoats. This was not good. She didn’t need a man to offer her carte blanche again. Even if he was sinfully handsome and her body responded to him as it never had to anyone. His heat soaked into her. No, she could not do this. Whatever this was. “I was just going . . .”
     Horatia’s voice faded. He stared down at her. His eyes twinkled with humor. Her gaze dropped to his lips, tilted once more into his crooked smile. The dimple made an appearance, and her lips tingled in response.
     His arm tightened, causing her breasts to brush against his coat. A shiver shot straight to the apex of her thighs, and she stopped breathing. Horatia closed her eyes, resisting the urge to rub against him like some wanton cat.
     She inhaled and opened her lips to tell him they were standing much too close together and he really shouldn’t have his arm around her. Oh Lord, he looked as if he’d like to devour her. 
     Slowly, he bent his head, kissing and nibbling his way from the edge of her lips to the center. By the time he got there, her mouth opened, wanting him, begging him to continue. His tongue ran across her teeth, teasing. When she could stand it no more, she put her hands on his face and caressed his tongue with hers. He tasted like tea and the ocean. He lifted her as he tilted his head, and she pressed into him, moaning. After several moments, her brain finally caught up with her long-starved senses. What was she doing, kissing him like this? She tried to jerk away. “Captain Whitton.”
     The indignation she’d tried to infuse into the words didn’t come out quite as she’d planned. Her voice was much too soft and breathy, as if she meant to encourage him rather than the opposite. She put her hand on his chest and pushed. He loosened his hold but didn’t move away. She could not allow this to happen, not now. She had too many duties to focus on.
     Horatia tried again. “Captain Whitton, I may be a widow, but I am a chaste widow. I do not engage in love making outside of the marital bonds.”
     “Very well.”
     As his head bent to kiss her again, she hauled back one arm and slapped him.
     Whitton’s head jerked up with a frown. “What the deuce was that for?”
     “I told you…”
     “Yes, you told me you had to be married to make love with me, and I agreed.”
     Something was terribly wrong with this conversation. She narrowed her eyes. “Agreed to what?”
     “Marry you, of course.”
     All the air rushed out of her as if her lungs were a bellows. “Marry me? Have you lost your mind? Or do you go around suggesting marriage to every lady?”

     Amazon and Barnes & Noble bestselling author Ella Quinn’s studies and other jobs have always been on the serious side. Reading historical romances, especially Regencies, were her escape. Eventually her love of historical novels led her to start writing them.

     She is married to her wonderful husband of twenty-nine years. They have a son and granddaughter, Great Dane and a Chartreux. After living in the South Pacific, Central America, North Africa, England and Europe, she and her husband decided to make St. Thomas, VI home.

     Ella is a member of the Romance Writers of America, The Beau Monde and Hearts Through History. She is represented by Elizabeth Pomada of Larsen-Pomada Literary Agency, and published by Kensington.