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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