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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Move over Spielberg, here comes Leslie Ann

     Hi Leslie Ann. Welcome to Adventures in Authorland. Please get comfortable and tell us about your adventure.
     Thank you, Jean, for having me as your guest today. I'm thrilled that my audience is from The Land of The Long White Cloud.

Leslie Ann Sartor
In which genre do you prefer to write and why?
     I write romance. From action adventure romance like STONE OF HEAVEN, to a bit sexier like Dare To Believe and then my holiday series Star Light ~ Star Bright. There is romance in varying degrees in all of them.
     For a long time, I didn't tell people that my books were romance, as the first response was always, "Oh, I never read those formulaic books." (This was in the 90's and you know somebody read them as romance sales were over 55% of the market.) But now I'm proud of being a romance inspired writer, because my stories take you on a journey.
     Sure at the end of every book there is a HEA, that's expected, but what intrigues me about romance is how people overcome fears to fall in love.  It's that internal conflict that drives the characters to behave after the external conflict has driven their feet…so to speak.
     So I'm no longer timid or ashamed to say I write romance.

Do you see writing as a career?
     Yes. Now for the long answer.  My bio says how I started, but I began seriously to write in the 90's. Always assuming I'd be the next big best seller.  Didn't happen. Then I got involved in screenwriting and got my first contract and thought I'd be the next Steven Spielberg.  Nope. But I kept plugging away, winning contests, learning more and more. Then my husband started showing me WSJ (Wall Street Journal) articles about authors going the Indie route.  That path finally sounded legitimate to me.  Then I was lucky and retired way early and treated my writing as a job.
     Bad idea. I was miserable. And I've got to tell you that retirement isn't for sissies. It took me a year + before I was comfortable in my new skin.
     Now I treat writing like a career, a long haul, a marathon, not a sprint. Putting the best book out there that I can write at that moment.  Not always fast, so I'm lucky to put out two books a year, but I'm comfortable with that and I know they're my best effort.  Readers deserve that.

Have you ever travelled to a place and come away with a story unexpectedly?
     Oh yes, many, many times. After all, writers observe.  One of my latest inspirations was at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison in Colorado, my home state. Terrifyingly beautiful, sometimes its width appearing to be nothing more than a deep slit, with rock walls and a roaring river below. The viewing areas feel almost suspended over the canyon!  I have noodled around with a mystery set there, and since it keeps pulling at me, I guess I'll just have to write it.  Here's a link to the park: and

If you could have any super hero power, what would it be?
     I'd like to fly. You know that song "Superman" (It's Not Easy) by Five for Fighting?  It's the theme song from the TV show Smallville (do you get that show there?) Well it's an interesting, humbling song about Superman.  Brings him down to almost human scale.
And frankly, I know I could never be a pilot with all the training needed, so flying like Superman would be awesome way to get around. I'm not sure I'd be a good super hero, though I do like protecting the underdog. 

Have you ever cried during a movie? If yes, which one and why?
     Yes, often.  I was re-watching Beauty and the Beast, yes, the Disney version and I cried for the pain the beast was enduring, the meanness of people. I cry at commercials, especially those darn Hallmark commercials.  I figure it's because I'm recalling an emotion I've felt, or a person I miss. I do try and hide it from my husband, but he cries, too.

Can you give us some details about your upcoming release/s?
     Ohhh, yes. Thanks for asking.  Book 2 in the Star Light ~ Star Bright series is coming out in November.  Forever Yours This New Year's Night is Jen's story, Annie's best friend from Be Mine This Christmas Night. It's also set in Boulder, Colorado. 
Viking Gold will be released in Spring of 2015.  Book 2 of the Carswell Adventure Series, set in Norway.        This story features Abby, Tori's twin. Tori was featured in Stone of Heaven.

(Old Blurb)
Book One of the Carswell Adventure Series  

The Recluse …
     Tori Carswell treasures her solitude and simple life.  Her identical twin, Abby Carswell, is the polar opposite, seeking increasingly risky adventures.  Now Abby has put herself in mortal danger, captive of an          ancient Mayan cult.  Her only hope?  Woefully under-prepared Tori.

And the Treasure Hunter …
     Reid Hunter, good-natured and currently broke, aims to beat his ex-partner Abby to the fabled blue jade known as the Stone of Heaven.  But when reclusive, aero-phobic Tori overcomes her fear of flying and tracks her sister to a well guarded tomb deep in the Yucatan rainforest, he realizes Abby is in serious trouble.

Can Opposites Accomplish the Impossible?
     Abby no longer trusts Reid. Can Tori risk doing so now, and join forces with him to save her sister?  Or will Reid put riches before life and love? 

* * * *

(New Blurb)
For the Adventurer and Romantic in all of us
 STONE OF HEAVEN, Book One in the Carswell Adventure Series
Hurricane Michaela lashes the Yucatan Coast and uncovers what had best been left buried, the fabled Stone of Heaven.
Two twins couldn't be more different …
     Tori Carswell is happy with her simple if reclusive life. But she worries about her younger twin, Abby, an adventure junkie seeking increasingly dangerous quests.
When Abby vanishes in the Yucatan rainforest, feared captive of an ancient Mayan cult, Tori is the only person who can rescue her.
     Until, unbelievably, Tori runs into her sister's ex-partner, Reid Hunter.  A ridiculously  handsome Southern gentleman without a conscience,  interested in only one thing.
     He'll help Tori find her sister, in return for all the treasure, the fabled blue jade called the Stone of Heaven.
The two rescuers couldn't be more different…
     Tori can't trust him, even as she's drawn to the excitement and the raw masculinity that Reid wears like a second skin.
     Will he help save her sister or will he put riches before life and love?

About Leslie Ann:
     Leslie Ann Sartor (aka L.A. Sartor) began telling stories around the age of 4 when her mother, at Leslie’s insistence, wrote them down and Leslie illustrated them.  As an adult she writes suspense and action adventure novels with a dash of romance, and screenplays—she's had a contracted adaptation!  She lives in Colorado with her husband whom she met on a blind date.  Leslie loves to travel and thinks life is an adventure and we should embrace the journey.  She has a blog: She is also one of the Five Scribes at

     If you'd like to be on my mailing list for release dates please use this link;
     I really don't send out many newsletters, maybe 4 a year.  So you won't be inundated, but there are usually great deals included in the letter.
     Here is a fun challenge.  Comment on which blurb you like the most, old or new, and you'll be entered into a drawing for a digital copy of STONE OF HEAVEN. 
     I may have a slightly new cover as well. But I don't think they're ready to reveal yet.
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Thanks again for having me, Jean. It's been a lot of fun.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Historical series began as a mistake

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

Sasha Cottman
What inspired you to write your first book?
     I spent a couple of years trying to write something after I mistakenly enrolled in a writing course at the local adult education centre in Melbourne. In the end I realised I didn’t like my heroine, the story had saggy bits and the plot kept changing. The one thing I did have was a strong secondary character who eventually became the heroine, Millie Ashton, of my first published book, Letter from a Rake.

In which genre do you prefer to write and why?
     When I first started reading romance novels about six years ago I naturally gravitated toward historical books. I have always been a history buff and it seemed to just be a natural fit for me to try and write them. The Regency period is such a great era to write about, the only other era I think I could possibly write about would be Medieval. (I studied Medieval and Renaissance history in my final year at high school and loved it.)

Can you give us some details about your upcoming release?
     My new release is AN UNSUITABLE MATCH, which is the second book in the Duke of Strathmore series. Lady Clarice Langham has discovered that David Radley, the illegitimate son of the duke is her secret admirer. Her father, Lord Langham, forbids them to be together.  The central theme of the story, is learning to accept who you are and through that challenge the world to take your rightful place. I loved writing this book and parts of it are set in a village in England in which members of my family live. I was fortunate to visit Sharnbrook when I was in England in April of this year.
     I am currently editing the third book in the Duke of Strathmore series which has Lucy Radley, David’s sister as the heroine.

As a child what did you want to do when you grew up? Writing or something else?
     Unlike many other authors I had no ambition to be a writer when I was a child. I wanted to either be an archaeologist or an astronomer. Neither career had many job opportunities, so I ended up with a MBA in business and have worked in finance all my working life. Having worked in publishing many years ago, I at least know how hard it is for authors to make a living out of writing.

If you could have any super hero power, what would it be?
     My family had some input in this answer. My daughter suggested compulsion, which I think means she plans to be a super villain. My husband said super strength, but then was disappointed that he would be too slow to save the world. I decided immortality would be fun, it would give me plenty of time to finally get my overstuffed wardrobe sorted in the bedroom.

My favourite authors?
     All historical romance authors. Stephanie Laurens, Anna Campbell, Julie Quinn and Eloisa James. I am about to start reading my very first Courtney Milan and really look forward to it.


The Favourite Heiress..
     Once engaged to the future Duke of Strathmore, the beautiful Lady Clarice Langham now finds herself in the humiliating position of celebrating his marriage – to another woman.  As a result of the scandal, it seems her reign as London's most eligible debutante has come to an end.  But things begin to look up when handsome and charming rake David Radley makes it clear that, at least as far as he's concerned, she's still the catch of the season.
The Illegitimate Son…
     The eldest son of the Duke of Strathmore, David Radley has been raised alongside his father's legitimate children.  But while he is generally received as part of the family, not everyone thinks he should be, and especially not Clarice's father, the Earl of Langham, who forbids her from having anything to do with him.
An Unsuitable Match…
     David's been in love with Clarice for years, and it isn't long before the attraction between them develops into something deeper. Yet he senses Clarice is hiding something and until she reveals her secret, she won't be free to follow her heart. Despite everything, David will not give up on Clarice, not even when another seems set to claim her.

I dream of the hours when you and I can finally be alone.
Softly sharing whispered words of love.
London, Mid-Summer 1817
As the carriage slowly snaked its way up Park Lane, Clarice picked at a loose piece of thread on her gown. No matter how hard she pulled, it refused to come free.
            She sighed, dreading that this was a sign of things to come. Tonight was going to be a trial, no matter what.
            And I have no-one to blame but myself. You could have done it all in private, but no, you had to go and make a huge public scene. Well done, Clarice. Well done.
            ‘At this rate we shall have to get out and walk if we are to arrive at the dinner on time,’ Lord Langham grumbled.
            Stirred from her thoughts, she looked across the carriage to her father. Everyone, it would appear, was headed to Strathmore House for the wedding celebrations of the Marquess and Marchioness of Brooke. It had taken them nearly an hour to get this far in the slow-crawling line of carriages.
            ‘We could turn the horses around and go home,’ she offered.
He shook his head. Reaching out, he took hold of her hand and gave it a gentle squeeze.
            ‘We have to do this, my dear. We must show the rest of society that you are not crushed by the unfortunate event of your failed betrothal to the groom,’ he replied.
            She mustered a hopeful smile for him. Her father was right, of course. If she stayed away from the wedding celebrations it would only confirm what the rest of the ton no doubt thought of her. She was Lord Langham’s poor little broken bird. An object of pity.
            ‘Yes, of course, Papa,’ she replied.
            The truth was, she didn’t particularly mind what the rest of London thought of her. In fact, she rather preferred they didn’t think of her at all. Being unremarkable was at times a blessing. 
            She shifted in her seat and forced herself to sit upright. As she straightened her back, the tight garments under her gown shifted and eased. She took in a shallow breath. The discomfort meant little. For her father’s sake she would endure far worse.
            Tonight she would stoically bear all the whispers and sly looks that came her way. This evening was for her father. London’s elite would know Henry Langham was a man capable of forgiveness. But Clarice knew there was a limit to her father’s magnanimity.
She knew she could never confess her terrible crime against him. To have him know that she had stolen from him the thing he had held most dear. Earl Langham might forgive others for their sins against him, but Clarice knew there could be no forgiveness for what she had done.

     Born in England, but raised in Australia, Sasha has a love for both countries. Having her heart in two places has created a love for travel, which at last count was to over 55 countries. A travel guide is always on her pile of new books to read.
     Sasha lives in Melbourne with her husband, teenage daughter and a cat who thinks sitting on the keyboard is being helpful. Her family have managed to find all but one of her secret chocolate hiding places.
     When not writing, she is busy working full time as a Chartered Accountant. On the weekends Sasha loves walking on the beach while devising new ways to torture her characters.

Letter from a Rake:
Finalist 2014 Romantic Book of the Year. (Ruby).
Winner 2013 Book Junkies Choice Award for Historical Romance.
Finalist in the ARRA Awards Best Historical Romance and Best New Author.
Sasha’s newest release AN UNSUITABLE MATCH is released through Destiny Romance on 16th September 2014.

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AN UNSUITABLE on pre-sale at Amazon.