Friday Fanfare Welcomes:
Leanna Sain – Half-Moon Lake
How did the writer’s journey begin for you?
My novel writing journey began at a Halloween party where I saw the “Gate to Nowhere” (the title of my first novel) and the stories just keep coming. My “Gate” books have stacked up numerous awards, from Foreword Magazine’s Book-of-the-Year to the Clark Cox Historical Fiction Award from the North Carolina Society of Historians. My fourth novel, WISH, is a stand-alone, YA crossover.
My Southern romantic suspense or “GRIT-lit,” showcases my plot-driven method of writing that successfully rolls the styles of best-selling authors Mary Kay Andrews, Nicholas Sparks, and Jan Karon into a delightfully hybrid style that is all my own. Regional fiction lovers and readers who enjoy suspense with a magical twist will want my books.
Tell us three things about you-the writer-readers wouldn’t typically know.
- I’m one of the fastest goat-milkers I know.
- I’m terrified of heights
- Wasp/Hornet spray stuns a rattlesnake so you can kill it (voice of experience talking here), but you have to unload the whole can on it.
Well, I know what I’m reaching for next time I see a rattler! LOL
It all began when…
It all began when my husband and I were doing a furniture delivery down in the Nantahalla Valley. The kudzu inspired it.
Where did you get the premise for this book?
I was on a ‘twins’ kick. I wondered about something bad happening to one twin that resulted in their death and the psychological trauma causing amnesia in the remaining twin.
Interesting. What stands out about this story that made writing it different for you?
It was my first book written in 1st person. I actually wrote this one before Red Curtains (the first book in my GRITS series). Everything is in Kate’s POV. It was so much fun I decided to do all the GRITS books in 1st person too.
Were there any difficult challenges or special subject matter you came across while writing this book?
No difficult challenges, but since kudzu plays an important part in the story, I had to do a lot of research about the plant. I wove what I learned into the story. There’s more to it than just an invasive vine.
I thought that said invasive wine. I was about to grab my glass! 😆
What about this book would make us want to read it more than others of similar taste?
I think my characters are just more believable and although it’s a suspense/mystery, it’s a FUN read. I made myself laugh…out loud. Plus Levi is just plain HOT!
What do you want readers to take away from this book?
I want them to love the book so much that they can’t wait to go out and get all my other books.
Tell us about the finished book. Is there anything special we might not know after reading it?
Learning that her name is Katelyn Eubanks is only the first surprise. Second, she had an identical twin sister who drowned at the age of nine. Since Katelyn can’t remember anything prior to that age, it seems more than mere coincidence. The biggest surprise is that her father, a man she never knew existed, left his entire estate to her, enraging other would-be heirs.
With her unremembered, but closest childhood friend, Levi, as well as help from the estate’s deaf-mute gardener, and the outspoken cook, Katelyn searches for answers to questions that have plagued her all her life, but doing so, opens the proverbial Pandora’s box. As her memories return, so does the terrible danger she escaped fifteen years earlier.
I hope readers get their curiosity piqued when the story mentions Half Moon, the Cherokee Indian medicine woman, and the MacKinlay family (see the Gate to Nowhere Trilogy).
Where can readers find you and your books?
Is there anything else you want to share or add?
I love talking to book clubs or women’s groups. If your group is within an hour or two of western NC, I’d love to come see you. Contact me at http://www.LeannaSain.com
I wish I lived closer! Thanks for visiting Leanna!
K folks, it’s a nasty, rainy day here in Oklahoma, and I don’t have a fireplace. So, I’ll gift one commenter with a copy of my ebook Risk Factors if you share this post on FB and Twitter then post both direct links in comments. I’ll draw the winner Sunday night.
Welcome one and all! Grab a beverage of choice, something sweet and sinful. No-no, not the men. What’s the matter with you? You know the hands-on rules… The guest gets first pick! 😉 Take a comfy seat for another, or a first, spin in the Round Pen.
Please show Lisa some real Ranch love!
Before I get to the questions, please, tell us a bit about you.
I am currently going back to school full-time to get my bachelor’s degree in psychology. But I still have plenty of time to write heart-stopping romance!
When I’m not working in my lovely new office upstairs, my writing area is my cozy recliner in the living room. What does your writing space look like?
That’s funny. I have a lovely new office space too. That’s where I spend most of my time writing. Sometimes I spread my computer and research out on the dining room table and write.
LOL I spend more time in my recliner because my office is secluded upstairs and I feel alone in the world if I stay in it too long.
For a lot of writers it’s a life-altering event coming up with titles and character names. Others it comes as naturally as breathing. Which is it for you?
It seems to come naturally to me. The titles and characters come to me before the plot of the story does.
Mine usually do too. Wonder what else we have in common? 🙂
What advice would you offer aspiring and new writers?
Never stop writing. That was advice that was given to me and it has since proved to be worth its weight in gold. Never stop. No matter what people tell you or who tries to stop you.
The constant shift of the industry makes me often scratch my head and ask ‘what next?’ So, what do you think it takes to be a successful author at the moment?
Stubbornness. Refusing to give up. This is a tough industry and it’s hard to be successful but the one’s that are successful have one thing in common: they never gave up.
I agree wholeheartedly!
Who would you like to meet in the publishing industry- dead or alive- and why?
Eve Rabi. She has helped me in enormous ways as an author and I would love to meet her in person and tell her thank you.
It’s time for 3 in 1! I’ll ask the questions and you answer them in one word. 😆
Favorite animal? Butterfly (Calisa says: That’s not an animal, so we’ll call it one. I love it!)
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter? Winter
Favorite food? Chocolate
Well done! 🙂 So let’s share a bit.
What are you working on now?
A sequel to DAMAGED, titled DESTROYED
What are you sharing today?
Staff Sergeant Austin Chandler learned this lesson well. Dealing with the devastating truth that his military career is over, he is discharged from the Marines and returns home from fighting the war in Afghanistan with battle scars he fears will never heal. But the truth is a bitter pill to swallow when he arrives at the airport and realizes his wife has abandoned him when he needed her the most. Broken in body as well as in spirit, Austin suffers not only from the slow-healing scars on his back, but also the wounds that her desertion has left on his troubled heart.
Until a chance encounter with a beautiful artist leaves him wondering if perhaps some things are meant to be. Trisha Morgan has secrets she is desperately wants to hide. With a troubled past and abandonment issues of her own, she fears love only leads to rejection and pain.
But can two wounded souls break through the battered barriers of each other’s hearts?
Where can we find you and your books?
Where will you be next?
To celebrate the release of my fourth book this month, I am giving away four copies of my third book DAMAGED! To win a copy, all you have to do is include your email and tell me what you like about military heroes! The best answers will win a copy of DAMAGED.
So don’t forget to leave your preference and email, folks!!!
Thank you so much for playing along, Lisa! Wishing you much luck with your book and writing. I hope you’ll come visit again one day.
Calisa Rhose presents Caroline Warfield on Tuesday RoundUp #MFRWauthor #historicalromance #thereluctantwife
I’m turning the Round Pen over to fellow author, Caroline Warfield today!
Children of Empire, Book 2
Genre: Pre Victorian, Historical Romance µ Heat rating: R (two brief -mild- sexual encounters)
ISBN: pending µ Page count: 334 pages
Pub date: April 26, 2017
What drives people apart? What brings them together? These are themes I like to explore in my work. I introduced three mischievous boys as supporting characters in A Dangerous Nativity. To my surprise, they imbedded themselves in my imagination.
When I began to plan a new series that would move the characters in my Dangerous Series forward a generation, I thought of those boys. What sort of heroes might they be? How did the problems they encountered growing up mold them? Their interests, ambitions, and responsibilities would take them in different directions. As their stories emerged, however, I realized they had been driven far apart above all by the machinations of a duplicitous woman. (Of course they were! Did you doubt it?) It would take the right women to make them whole again.
Now I have three cousins, driven appar by deception, who must find their way back from the edges of the British Empire.
Their stories, set in the 1830s, began to form in my mind. I knew each one of them would eventually make their way home and find healing in the journey. The first, Rand Wheatly, had become a miserable recluse, living in the Canadian frontier and obsessed with wealth. I told his story in The Renegade Wife, Book one of The Children of Empire. He and his cousin Charles sorted out some of their misunderstandings in that book, but left other issues unresolved. Charles, the Duke of Murnane, will be drawn into upheaval in Canton China before he can bring closure and final resolution in The Unexpected Wife, scheduled for October 2017.
The Reluctant Wife tells the story of Fred Wheatly who sought a military glory in the Bengal Army. He left England as a young man oblivious to the disasters he left in his wake. lll-suited to the politics and beaurocratic nonsense he encountered there, failure dogs his steps. Does he dare go home and face them?
Has anyting ever driven you away from family or friends? How did you resolve it? Or did you?
I will give a kindle copy to one randomly selected person who leaves a comment. The prequel to this book, A Dangerous Nativity, is always **FREE**. You can get a copy here: http://www.carolinewarfield.com/bookshelf/a-dangerous-nativity-1815/
When all else fails, love succeeds…
Captain Fred Wheatly’s comfortable life on the fringes of Bengal comes crashing down around him when his mistress dies, leaving him with two children he never expected to have to raise. When he chooses justice over army regulations, he’s forced to resign his position, leaving him with no way to support his unexpected family. He’s already had enough failures in his life. The last thing he needs is an attractive, interfering woman bedeviling his steps, reminding him of his duties.
All widowed Clare Armbruster needs is her brother’s signature on a legal document to be free of her past. After a failed marriage, and still mourning the loss of a child, she’s had it up to her ears with the assumptions she doesn’t know how to take care of herself, that what she needs is a husband, and with a great lout of a captain who can’t figure out what to do with his daughters. If only the frightened little girls didn’t need her help so badly.
Clare has made mistakes in the past. Can she trust Fred now? Can she trust herself? Captain Wheatly isn’t ashamed of his aristocratic heritage, but he doesn’t need his family and they’ve certainly never needed him. But with no more military career and two half-caste daughters to support, Fred must turn once more—as a failure—to the family he failed so often in the past. Can two hearts rise above past failures to forge a future together?
About Caroline Warfield
Traveler, poet, librarian, technology manager—award winning author Caroline Warfield has been many things (even a nun), but above all she is a romantic. Having retired to the urban wilds of eastern Pennsylvania, she reckons she is on at least her third act, happily working in an office surrounded by windows while she lets her characters lead her to adventures in England and the far-flung corners of the British Empire. She nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart.
Caroline has an active blog and her newsletter list recently zoomed past 3000. She is a RONE award winner and has five star reviews from Readers’ Favorite, Night Owl Reviews, and InD’Tale. She is also a member of the writers’ co-operative, the Bluestocking Belles. With partners she manages and regularly writes for both The Teatime Tattler and History Imagined.
Amazon Author http://www.amazon.com/Caroline-Warfield/e/B00N9PZZZS/
Good Reads http://bit.ly/1C5blTm
Get control of yourself, Clare, a small part of her brain urged, dimly aware that exhaustion and relief made her foolish. She didn’t care. Just that moment his arms around her back and his shoulder firm beneath her cheek felt solid. Safe. Dependable.
“Easy, easy. It’s only a tent,” he soothed, one hand making gentle circles on her back.
“You thought about us. No one ever—” He had looked after her, she realized, from the moment he found her at the inn in Calcutta comforting his children. No man ever took care for my comfort before.
She took a shuddering breath. Dependable? This is Fred Wheatly holding you, the man who— She didn’t remember what just then. She felt his kiss on her head, then her ear.
She raised her head and his mouth came down on hers. The gentle kiss made no demands, forced no response, and asked only trust. No man had ever kissed her like that. She couldn’t resist him. When he withdrew to look down at her, she closed the distance and kissed him back, tasting sweat, sand, and male.
“Papa? Are we there?”
He broke off the kiss and tipped his forehead to hers, silent laugher rocking him. “We have come to a place. That much is certain,” he responded. Clare didn’t think he referred to the way station.
What a great peek into The Reluctant Wife. And you’re offering up a FREE copy to a commenter! Readers, be sure to leave your email for the drawing.
Thank you, Caroline!
Linda Nightingale’s WINNER update on vampyre origins #winner #mfrwauthor #deadvsmutation #gcgiveaway
Popping in to announce JEANNA as Linda’s winner of the $10 Amazon GC! Congrats Jeanna!!!!!!! Whoot!!!!!!!! Thanks to everyone who visited and played! 😀
Welcome to the cover reveal with a wonderful friend and Wild Rose Press author, Linda Nightingale! Sit back and learn a new theory of how vampires came to be. 🙂
Many years ago…Sinners’ Opera, then called The Vampyre Effect, was the first book I wrote. I loved the hero and followed him everywhere—to parties, concerts, but not the bathroom—and the manuscript grew to over 100,000 words. Needless to say, it had to be trimmed considerably before I could submit it. Sinners’ Opera and its sequel Sinners’ Obsession are both available in eBook and Print from the publisher, Double Dragon Publishing. I began a prequel featuring Morgan’s (the hero) early life and becoming a vampire, but haven’t finished it yet.
Morgan D’Arcy: A Vampyre Rhapsody is a collection of short works cataloging his stroll through the years. Soon to be released by The Wild Rose Press, it should be a good pick for anyone who likes to read about vampires. Try a different variety! My vampires are viral mutations rather than re-animated corpses.
(Calisa says: And in case you’re curious- Linda told me that Vampire (with an I) is an individual. Vampyre (Y) is the race. Nice to know. 🙂 )
I don’t have a release date yet from The Wild Rose Press, but I wanted to share the cover and the blurb. Ladies and Gents, I hope you’ll enjoy meeting Morgan D’Arcy, English nobleman, concert pianist…and vampire.
The greatest enemy of a vampire is boredom. Four centuries of existence have taught Lord Morgan Gabriel D’Arcy to fear nothing and no one – humans and their weapons have little chance against his vampire speed and strength. Still, the Vampyre code requires secrecy, and he has learned to hide his nature from the world.
Being the last of his aristocratic British line, he hasn’t given in to his fate or given up the hope to pass his title to an heir. The lure of a return to mortality, of a life in the sun puts Morgan again and again at the mercy of calculating human women. Even grooming a bride of his own from infancy proves to be fraught with heartbreak. And second chances are not always what they seem.
This book is a journey through the pages of my days. Please allow me to introduce myself.
I am Morgan Gabriel D’Arcy, the Earl of St. Averil, a concert pianist and…a vampire.
Born in 1634, in Devonshire, a county in South West England, I was a young man during the English Civil war and fought with Charles II at the ill-fated Battle of Worcester. By the time he was restored to the throne in 1660, I was a creature of the night.
If I dissect myself into the separate parts listed above, I shall begin with the Earldom. In 1645 when my father perished fighting with the Royalist army at the Battle of Naseby, the title passed to me. My ancestral home, Royal Oak, commands a view of the sea from a hill overlooking a hamlet on the coast of Devon. Most of my time, however, is spent at my London residence in Eaton Place Mews, Belgravia.
As to the classical pianist, I learned my art on the harpsichord from an Austrian genius named Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Later, I studied with Liszt, Ravel and Debussy. In this twenty-first century, I am a celebrated performer in concerts worldwide. Nevertheless, I have played Mr. Piano Man in a smoky piano bar in Charleston, South Carolina to an audience too drunk or too sad to listen, but that’s another story…
I was a fighter pilot in World War II, flying night missions over Nazi Germany. Today, I fly a Lear jet to and from Royal Oak and London, sometimes ferrying members of my brethren to the Europe for continental fare.
The vampire was born in 1659 on a winter night in Paris. Rather than pay time its due, sacrificing youth and beauty, I gave my mortal life to Dominique du Montcleare. To this day, the name Dominique reminds me of the word dominant. My transformation was my reward for winning a cruel wager that ultimately ended eternity for Dominique.
The Vampyre are not walking dead. In a ritual blood exchange, a fragile virus is introduced into the host. The blood borne pathogen is a mutagen. The transformation from mortal to immortal is a mutation of human DNA by the Vampyre virus.
I have embraced my vampire nature, reveling in the hedonism and amorality. I love women to a fault, sometimes to my detriment, sometimes to theirs, as you will see in the following pages.
I sincerely hope you enjoy my reminiscences.
Ever your servant,
A born-and-bred wanderer, born in South Carolina, Linda has lived in England, Canada, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Atlanta and Houston. She’s seen a lot of this country from the windshield of a truck pulling a horse trailer, having bred, trained and showed Andalusian horses for many years.
Linda writes all across genres and has won several writing awards, including the Georgia Romance Writers Magnolia Award and the SARA. She is the mother of two wonderful sons, a retired legal assistant, member of the Houston Symphony League and enjoys events with her car club. She loves to dress up and host formal dinner parties.
Web Site: http://www.lindanightingale.com – Visit and look around. There’s a free continuing vampire story.
Blog: https://lindanightingale.wordpress.com/ – Lots of interesting guests & prizes
Current Thunderclap Campaign- http://thndr.me/lQLjpy
Thank you for sharing your new cover and book, Linda! Such an interesting take on the vampire world. 🙂 For my readers, Linda is generously offering a prize to one lucky commenter. Comment below with your preference of vampire beginnings (viral mutation or living dead) to be entered for a $10 Gift Card for Amazon !
As always, thank you for stopping by and/or subscribing to my blog if you choose to do so!
Post shares appreciated, too. 🙂
Welcome one and all! Grab a beverage of choice, something sweet and sinful. 😉 Take a comfy seat for another, or maybe it’s your first first, spin in the Round Pen.
I’m thrilled to welcome my wonderfully talented guest today, Amber Daulton, who is sharing her book Timeless Beginnings with us!
Please show Amber some real Ranch love!
Before I get to the nosy part of this interview, tell us a bit about you.
AD: For me, writing is the fruit to happiness. I try to live my life by that one belief but I’m not normally so Zen. I’m a fan of contemporary, paranormal and historical romance novels alike and I can’t get enough of feisty heroines and alpha heroes. My mind is a wonderland of adventure, laughter and awesome ways of kicking a guy when he’s down. I probably wouldn’t be too sane without my computer and notebooks. What can I do when there are people jabbering away in my head and it’s hard to shut them up? Write! Nothing else works.
CR: Okay, here we go! Although I have an awesome office upstairs that hubby created for me last winter, my favorite writing area is a super comfy chair in the corner of my living room. What does your writing space look like?
AD: I have an awesome office. Bookshelves cover every wall and I have cute little decorations like stuffed animals, shiny wall hangings and butterflies everywhere. My professional-looking stained desk somehow became horribly scratched up a few years ago when my husband and I moved to our new house so my hubby sanded it down and I painted it an off-white color and drew ivy and flowers all over the legs. It’s very whimsical now and fits great with my frou-frou decorations.
CR: I love the sound of your office and the desk is adorable! I can see why you love it.
For a lot of writers it’s a life-altering event coming up with titles and character names. Others it comes as naturally as breathing. Which is it for you?
AD: Deciding on titles is a slight hassle (I usually pick titles with double meanings or a play on words) but coming up with names is such a chore. The names have to fit with the characters I see in my mind perfectly or I can’t use them. I usually choose the names based on their personality, physical characteristics, family dynamics/heritage, the time period of the novel or just what I find sexy! I’m very picky (especially with the heroine and hero) and I sometimes spend hours, if not days, just scouring through baby name books and websites for the best names.
CR: What advice would you offer aspiring and new writers?
AD: Make friends with other authors and readers via social media. Don’t be shy. Start a blog even if you aren’t published and join blog tours. A tour is a great way to get a free ebook as long as you write a review and post it on your blog. The author’s readers will then come to your blog to read the review. They’ll see YOUR name. And that’s what you want. To get your name out there.
Just keep trying. I know it sounds cliché but there’s nothing else to do. If you don’t try, you won’t succeed. Period. Keep your hopes high, take rejection letters in stride and if a publisher or editor gives you feedback on why he/she rejected your work, listen to their feedback. They know what they’re talking about.
CR: The constant shift of the industry makes me often scratch my head and ask ‘what next?’ So, what do you think it takes to be a successful author at the moment?
AD: The publishing world is in an uproar and I doubt it will smooth out anytime soon. To be successful, you need to know your audience and market your genre to those people. A reader who loves paranormal romance probably won’t be interested in a historical novel and vise-versa. You gotta do a ton of promoting, whether you pick the free options or the ones that cost a fee. Most publishers offer very little assistance so the responsibility falls to the author. It can be a nightmare but it’s something we authors have to deal with and struggle through. After all, if the reader doesn’t know your name, he or she won’t buy your book.
CR: Great answer, Amber. So, who would you like to meet in the publishing industry- dead or alive- and why?
AD: I’d love to meet a few of my favorite authors. Sherrilyn Kenyon and Christine Feehan are the first ones that come to mind.
CR: It’s time to get personal. Bwahaha. LOL I’ll ask some questions and you answer them in one word. 😆
Favorite animal? – Cat
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter? – Fall
Favorite food? – Chinese
CR: Okay, love this. Well done! 🙂
What are you working on now?
AD: I’m in the process of editing the fourth book in my Arresting Onyx series. The sexy, dirty-talking contemporary romance series will span five books with a standalone HEA for each rough-and-tumble hero and their spunky heroines. The first book is out on call and I hope to have it picked up soon.
After I finish Arresting Onyx, I plan to edit a set of currently unpublished vampire novels. My poor vamps need a grueling overhaul but I’m looking forward to the task ahead.
CR: What are you sharing today?
Leonora Harris fled her newly-wedded husband’s home in Georgian England, 1725, and took shelter in a cave during a rainstorm. She woke up in a cold, barren land and a handsome stranger with a mechanical carriage offered her shelter.
Undercover American operative Rodger Ramsey never expected to find a runaway bride in the magnificent Salar de Uyuni. Assigned to Bolivia to investigate Communist activities, he just wrapped up his two-year mission in 1963 and followed his heart to the salt flats one last time.
Sparks flew and attraction sizzled. The lost, stubborn woman kicked his protective instincts into overdrive. Rodger took her home with him, determined to help her before he returned to the States, and Leonora flourished under his guidance. Their hearts intertwined. He wanted her, needed her, but could he truly love a woman who believed she jumped two hundred years in time?
Will they find a way to stay together, despite the obstacles between them, or will Leonora survive in this strange new world alone?
(Author’s Note – Timeless Beginnings is a standalone prequel to Timeless Honor, another time travel story that came out last year. The books don’t need to be read back-to-back in order to enjoy or understand them.)
“I’ll do or say whatever you wish, illegal or not.” Leonora steeled her spine as the words tore up her throat. “I thought you trusted me. What can I do to earn it?”
Rodger ate up the distance between them with three long strides and shackled her wrist in his large hand like a manacle. She stumbled toward him. Tension permeated the air around him in waves of red-hot heat.
“Have you heard of the CIA, Leonora? The Central Intelligence Agency?”
“No, I have no idea what that is.”
“What can you tell me about the communist activities and alliances in this country?”
“Nothing. I don’t know. What kind of questions are these? What are you talking about?”
His head tilted to one side and his lips thinned. Rodger stared at her with a long, hard gaze even as she squirmed, the steel in her spine gone. Stress lined his face and the tendon in his neck throbbed against his skin like a tic. Minutes passed, or maybe just seconds, and air whizzed out through his nostrils. The anger in his face seemed to drain and he somehow looked older.
“How can this be? You told me the truth about everything.” He stepped back and stroked his fingers up her arm. “Though you squirmed under my gaze, you did so after you answered me and only because I intimidated you. You didn’t once respond with a typical facial or verbal nuance to indicate you lied. I feel the truth of your words in my gut and in my soul.”
“I haven’t once lied to you.”
“I just—I don’t understand. This is so unbelievable. I wish you could provide me with some kind of undeniable proof you’re from the past.”
“As do I, Rodger.”
“If we do this, you’ll stay with me until I decide otherwise. I’ll protect you. I’ll kiss you and touch you. You should know that right away. I respect you, Leonora, but I’m not a strong enough man to deny my desire for you indefinitely. I won’t bear my frustration and keep my distance anymore. Do you understand what I mean? I need to lay with you, again and again, with no regrets. Do you accept those terms?”
Rich honey poured into his every word, every syllable, and wrapped around her like a sweet promise. Blood thundered in Leonora’s ears and her lungs expanded with air to the point they might burst. The longing in his eyes scorched her.
Caught like a fly in a spider’s web, she nodded, her voice gone.
“Tell me, dearest. I need to hear the words.”
“Yes. Yes, I accept.”
Where can we find your books?
You can find Timeless Beginnings here:
I also have eight other stories currently available. They can be found on Amazon, B&N, ARe, Smashwords and Kobo and range between sweet (no sex/sex behind closed doors/mild petting) to spicy (explicit scenes with dirty language).
If you’re interested in the sweet variety, check out: Forever Winter (historical), Lightning over Bennett Ranch (western) and Cinderella’s Enchanted Night (cont. romance with a magical twist).
Or the spicy: A Hero’s Heart (romantic-suspense), Mistletoe in the City (new adult), Timeless Honor (time travel), My Valentine Adventure (cont. romance), and Calla’s Summer Fantasy (erotic ménage à trois).
Also, check out the Cinderella Treasure Trove. It’s FREE on Amazon and at other retailers. Last year, 15 romance authors, including myself, formed the Glass Slipper Sisters and we produced an excerpt book to showcase snippets of our Cinderella-themed stories. Recipes and party ideas are also part of the freebie.
Where will you be next?
I love to hear from readers, so please feel free to follow or contact me below:
Blogsite – http://amberdaultonauthor.blogspot.com/
Facebook Author Page – www.facebook.com/amber.daulton.author
Twitter – https://twitter.com/AmberDaulton1
Pinterest – http://pinterest.com/amberdaulton5/
Amazon Author Page – http://amzn.to/14JoZff
Google Plus – plus.google.com/u/0/110099048961325762869/about/p/pub
I’d love to give a free ecopy of Timeless Beginnings to one lucky commenter.
Question: Timeless Beginnings is a time-travel/historical/contemporary romance book. Whew! What a mouthful! Do you prefer to read books that fit into one single genre or into multiples?
Thank you so much for playing along, Amber! Wishing you much luck with your book and writing. I hope you’ll come visit again one day.
AND THE WINNER IS……… SANDY BRUNY! CONGRATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Send me a message and I’ll get your prize to you Wednesday. 🙂
I super appreciate everyone who joined in the Blog Hop fun this year!
Welcome to this years’ spook-a-licious Snarkology Halloween blog hop running from October 26-31 with lots of prizes to be won from participating authors! Just click to follow this Linky to find all the participating blogs and fun. Be sure to join our Grand Prize Drawing for a chance to win one of FOUR grand prizes! Read to the bottom for my special giveaway right here on the Ranch. 😀
Dust covered everything and her nose itched with the musty scent of age. Silence, eerie, but for the creaking shift of the wood and foundation. Winter-bare branches of the oak trees scratched against grimy windows from somewhere outside, echoing through the abandoned mansion. Elise Crane’s underactive imagination went into sudden overdrive and envisioned a witch’s needle sharp claws screeching against the cold glass. Coming for her. The intruder.
This was a stupid idea. She knew haunted houses were a figment of imagination derived from situations just like this. Spooky house. According to stories she’d heard during interviews with townsfolk before she got to the house, no one entered Bramm House uninvited. Apparently, no one lived to share their story if they did. Not even other Bramms. Look what happened to the latest Bramm to perish. So young, so dead, while walking around in this very house two years ago.
Elise craned her neck, swiveled and double-stepped to regain lost balance the awkward spin caused, then aimed her light to gawk at the upper level. It was open from the ground floor view with nothing but spindly rails as protection to anyone on the other side. What had the news story said? He’d fallen, Brandon Bramm had…from up there…
One rumor suggested he might have been pushed to his death. Had he? By whom? Everyone thought the house was haunted by the many Bramms who’d died there. Others believed those restless spirits resented the living and forced all away who dared enter.
“Well, I don’t even believe in you—ghosts. I’m not afraid.” Creeped out a little, maybe. Okay, a lot. She added an audible “hrumph” as punctuation to the bravely murmured declaration. “The only reason I’m here is because my twittle-brained boss is hell bent on a “real” ghost story to publish for Halloween.” Air quotes emphasized her non-belief of apparitions, paranormal, supernatural, or any other name slapped on them. She guessed that was why Rick had chosen her for this assignment. Insurance of a story with a no nonsense approach to add credibility. And possibly for Elise’s degree in psychological disorders, also deemed by her boss as devious mind digging. He probably expected her to do a session on one of the ghosts reportedly living here. Her lungs resisted the hard dusty breath, she coughed and sighed. She desperately needed a new job.
A cold breeze crept over her left arm—only—as if in challenge, and she flicked the tiny flashlight around. Nothing. Of course. Just the stale, chill air of the mausoleum-like building that she’d disturbed.
A sharp crack sounded from behind her. In the next instant she felt her blood cease to flow, or maybe her brain was just stalling in her fear. Whirling around the opposite direction, the light wobbling in her shaky hand, she fought for breath. It was more difficult to explain the tall door swinging open stiffly across the foyer. An invitation to enter? Or some…one—thing—coming out?
A dark leg stepped through the opening, and a masculine hand wrapped on the jamb. Elise backed a step and screamed…before all went dark.
Mason Deen scrubbed his hand through already unruly hair and stared at the young woman he’d laid on the dusty-sheet covered sofa. Who was she? More importantly, what was the tiny blonde doing inside Bramm House? She was brave going in alone, if rumors were true, and she was alone. A quick search of the area had assured him of that, no footprints beside hers and his on the dusty floor.
Rome wouldn’t be happy when he learned the location had been contaminated. Damn it.
A soft moan carried in the still room, lit only by the halogen lamps he’d set up in the library, which would be base during PRU’s investigation during the next forty-eight hours. According to Paul Bramm, current and sole owner, it was the only room that had very little, if any, activity.
Go figure. Even ghosts didn’t want to hang out in a dreary book room. Mason returned to the couch to check on the new complication lying in the sepia shadows behind the lights. What was he supposed to do about her?
Mason was still unsure why Paul had allowed the team go into his family home at last. He’d said he wanted to sell the old place to the city to turn into a museum and be done with it. But just when they’d almost given up gaining entry, he’d said yes. Rome had been trying for a year to get inside, with no luck. Until now, on the verge of its eminent sale to a city who’d already said there would be no “ghost hunts” once it sold. Their fear being that it would make a mockery of their town’s history, instead of embracing the paranormal explosion most towns would jump at.
Pulling the covered wing-back chair near the sofa, Mason sat, elbows propped on knees and studied the woman. He chuckled softly. She’d fainted. He must have really scared her to pass out like that. Served her right for illegally trespassing. Ah well, he supposed he should try to wake her and get her out of location ASAP, then see what damage she might have done before Rome and the team arrived in, he flicked a glance at his watch, an hour. Damn it all, he hadn’t even gotten things set up yet and time was running low.
He touched her shoulder. “Hey, Sleeping Beauty, wakey-wakey.” Nothing but a shrug from her. “Come on, now, it’s time to get up and out of here.”
A small hand flung to her head and she groaned. He knew she hadn’t hit hard since he’d leaped the distance between them and caught her just as she slumped to the wood floor. The hand dragged restlessly over her face as her eyes opened and met his. Coal black. Her eyes looked black as a demon’s in the dim room, relieved only by the whites as her gaze grew huge. Then she was sitting up. Not really sitting, he corrected, but on all fours scooching along the couch seat like a crayfish.
“Wh-what are you?”
What was—? “What do you think I am? I’m Mason Deen, equipment technician for PRU. Who are you?” He bit his cheek until he tasted blood, his belly ached with barely contained laughter.
“What are you doing here? I was told nobody is allowed here.” Her accusatory tone raised his hackles.
“Exactly, so how did you get in?” Tit for tat.
Ah. He stood to go open the door and glanced around the exterior wall with a flashlight and nodded in understanding before taking his seat once more. “You found the broken window and snuck in. Now I know the how, why don’t you tell me the who?”
Elise nibbled her lip until it hurt. He had already revealed himself, turnabout was only fair. “Elise Crane, journalist for Unnatural E’zine. I’m here for a story. What is RUP?” She crawled forward, still at a safe distance, and faced Mason.
“P.R.U, Paranormal Research Unit. We have permission to be here. Do you?”
His tone said he knew she didn’t, so no sense lying when she was no good at it anyway. “Not so much, um… No.”
“Right.” He’d heard of journalists who did whatever it took to get their story. Sorry, sister, not this time. “You have to go before Rome gets here or he’ll toss you out on that cute ass.”
He considered her butt cute? Well, well. She could use that little crumb. “I’m not leaving. I can’t or…I’ll lose my job.” Not that she wanted it, but she did need it, no matter how crummy Rick treated her.
“You can’t stay. This is an investigation site for the next two days. But, after we’re done you can come back and—”
Two days? “I have to be home in two days with a story for the ’zine, or I’m out of a job.” Then his previous words struck her. “Wait…you’re part of a paranormal group. Maybe we can help each other. Look, you investigate, what, ghosts? I need a “real” ghost story for our Halloween issue to make my boss happy. What if you do your thing, I’ll stay out of your way and get my story?”
Her train of thought shifted fast enough to cause whiplash, but Mason seemed to go on high alert just as quickly. “I don’t think so. Rome doesn’t allow any interference on his sites, and you are definitely a distraction.” One Mason clearly didn’t want either.
“‘Unnatural’ has a mega-reach with thousands of readers. I’ll spotlight your team in my story, you get widespread publicity and I get to keep my job at the end of the day.”
He dragged air into his lungs and puffed out his already-impressive chest and began to shake his head slowly.
“It’s a win-win. You can’t say no.” Or she hoped he couldn’t.
With a final shake, he stood and turned as if to leave but, instead, tugged a cell phone from a noticeably tight back pocket and punched buttons. He walked across the room to speak softly for several minutes, then his taut shoulders visibly gave, as if he’d lost a battle. Mason disconnected the call and returned stare at her.
“Rome’ll speak to you when he gets here. No promises, other than he’ll tell Paul you’re with us if he asks so you don’t get in trouble for trespassing. That does not mean you get to stay. Only that he’ll talk to you.” Mason swung away and began unpacking electronics as she watched from a distance, itching to ask questions.
Two hours into the investigation, in which very little had happened, her obvious curiosity finally won out. Elise peered over Mason’s shoulder as he studied the monitors in front of him and Kevin, the secondary tech and team historian.
“So…do you really believe in ghosts? Spirits? Apparitions, whatever you call them?”
Her body heat warmed his shoulder and her sweet scent surrounded him. He stiffened his resolve, then shot a glance at her and shrugged. “If you’ve seen the things I have, you learn to have an open mind about a lot of things.”
“What, you’ve seen ghosts? Really?”
“Really.” Not necessarily since he’d joined PRU, but definitely when he was younger. Yes, he’d seen things. Those combined experiences were the reason he was here now. “Hear that, Kev?” Mason leaned close and stared into the screen then lifted a walkie-talkie to his face. “Rome, I’m hearing sounds near you.”
The voice crackled back and Elise sat beside Mason to listen and take notes in a small pad she seemed to carry everywhere. She studied the images on the screen and no doubt heard what sounded like someone approaching the area where his boss stood.
“Someone else is there. Maybe they heard the noise,” Elise whispered, pressing closer against his arm.
“Footsteps. Is Jule there? Maybe she heard it.”
The image in the monitor walked to the doorway. “I’m alone.”
“I just heard what sounded like someone walking close to your room.” He glanced at Elise and Kevin, both nodded. “Elise and Kev heard it too.”
“Ohmygurdohmygurd— Oh. My. Gurdle!”
When Elise whispered the phrase in an odd voice Mason jerked his gaze to her. She pointed above the monitors at the closed door directly in front of them. “Wha-what is that? Is that some kind of trick?”
Mason followed the direction she was pointing. Just that quick the air he breathed became paste. The room grew narrow and out of proportion, and very cold. A light mist grew before their eyes, quickly gaining opacity and form.
His feet wouldn’t obey the command to get out, or to go anywhere. Something he couldn’t begin to name creeped up his spine and he had a sudden mental image of a hundred tiny teeth about to snack on his back bone. Too many damn alien movies as a kid. His eyes ached and he struggled to breathe, as if the air in the room had thickened to sludge. He couldn’t speak.
But he had to.
He huffed air in and keyed the walkie, then spoke slow and low for all to hear. “Lady and gents, we have one…in here…with us.”
At that precise moment all electronics lost power.
Total darkness and silence ensued…
Chances Are– You’re never alone…
What are the chances of finding love on another plane? Go on a spirit walk with Romeo and Juliet.
It’s not your mother’s ghost story.
And remember to hop in for more fun at www.thesnarkology.com/snarkology-halloween-hop-oct-26-31st/ and enter: http://goo.gl/forms/e1BlpY69bj for a chance to win:
(1) $100 Amazon or B&N Gift Card or
(1) $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card or
(1) $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card or
(1) $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
Winners to be drawn Nov. 1.
Did you enjoy this sneak peek into the prequel for my Chances Are duet (in progress)? Let me know in comments! I’m gifting a $5 Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter, to be chosen and contacted** November 1. Since I’ll be traveling the 3-4th I’ll announce/award the winner on the 5th. All you have to do to enter is, sometime during the hop (Oct. 26-31), tell me what you think happens next to sassy nay-sayer, Elise Crane. Do you think she will become a believer, or will her logical mind win?
And for fun; do you think Elise and Mason would make a good couple, or should each get their own story (btw- Mason is a sexy Irishman!)?
Be sure to leave your email in a comment so I can contact the winner, or check back** to see if you’ve won.
Also available from:
Love, like life, is not without risk.
Veterinarian Vivian Dane has purchased her uncle’s practice in the tiny town of Wales, Missouri, where most residents still doubt her ability to treat their pets. But Viv is used to being considered less-worthy than her predecessors. After all, her parents are world-renowned wildlife vets, and most everyone is unimpressed she’s chosen to not follow directly in their footsteps.
Now Connor, a patient’s owner, is hot for Viv, but clearly doesn’t think she’s dating material because he has a daughter…whom he believes no woman is good enough for. Being a perfect dad is EMT paramedic Connor’s life focus. He can’t seem to stay away from sexy Doctor Viv, but attraction is as far as he’ll ever let it go. His mother abandoned him, leaving him to be raised in the foster system, and then his wife abandoned both him and their daughter. He absolutely will not risk bringing another woman into his little girl’s life and having her feel the hurt of being left…again.
Forfeiting is easier than attempting and failing. So why does Viv feel compelled to prove she’s a sure bet for Connor and his daughter? Can Connor trust Viv–and himself–enough to play the possibilities?
Happy Halloween! Thank you for stopping by to read my contribution in the Snarkology Halloween Blog Hop 2015! Many thanks to Melissa Snark for putting this Hop together. Remember to leave your email and a comment for a chance to win this week!
** Winner will have 48 hrs to claim your prize- CHECK BACK HERE if you don’t leave an email for me to contact you, or RESPOND BACK to my prize alert email when I contact you. After 48 hrs I’ll draw a new winner with RANDOM.org.
AND THE WINNER IS!!! ~ Calisa Rhose and Tuesday RoundUp welcomes ~ Starr Gardinier #mfrwauthor #winner
Congratulations Mae Clair!!!!!! WOOT!!!!!! You’ll be contacted shortly by Starr ti deliver your copy of The Other Side- Melinda’s Story!
We thank everyone who visited and commented! 😀
Welcome one and all! Grab a beverage of choice and something sweet and sinful. No-no, not the men. What’s the matter with you? You know the hands-on rules… The guest gets first pick! 😉 Take a comfy seat for another, or a first, spin in the Round Pen.
I’m thrilled to welcome my wonderfully talented guest today, Starr Gardinier, who is sharing their book, The Other Side: Melinda’s Story with us!
Please show Starr some real Ranch love!
Before I get to the nosy 5-3-4 part of this interview, tell us a bit about you.
A paralegal by day, she’s an author by night. Apart from being an award winning author for her short story “Cut,” Starr Gardinier has appeared in a blaze and made her mark on the literary world with her Ivanovich series and now her Other Side series.
Having studied and obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Literature/Creative Writing, she has found her unique style and is known for her works’ distinctive voice, making every character stand out.
She’s the founder and owner of Editing by Starr. She’s also the former executive editor for Suspense Magazine. She has been interviewed in the newspaper and on the radio with relation to her fiction work. She has been a co-host on Suspense Radio.
Starr is a member of International Thriller Writers (ITW) and of Sisters in Crime, Los Angeles Chapter and nationally. She has won three Best Speaker awards as well as Best Evaluator at the Voice Ambassadors chapter of Toastmasters. She has always been active in events. As co-chair and main coordinator for the West Coast Author Premiere, she arranged weekend-long events to help authors from all over network, learn and share their work with the public. Starr has also been instrumental in compiling authors and planning a local author event at Barnes and Noble in Ventura, California along with the store’s event manager.
Okay, I’ll begin with five questions, then follow with three more, and end with four final ones.
My writing area at the moment is a corner of the couch in my living room. What does your writing space look like? Wow. Most of the time, pretty much the same place. On the chaise part of our sofa with my dog next to me (or on top of my keyboard). I actually do have an office, but rarely use it.
I have an office, too, but it’s not set up yet. Don’t you love-hate remodeling? 😆 For a lot of writers it’s a life-altering event coming up with titles and character names. Others it comes as naturally as breathing. Which is it for you? Titles for me aren’t a problem. Names however, are. In my newest release, the protagonist is Melinda James and her supporting character is Trent Miller. I look at the names now and think, ‘My gosh, I could have done better than that!’
I like those names and I’m sure readers will too. What advice would you offer aspiring and new writers? Never, ever give up. If writing is your passion, then keep doing it. Don’t let anyone tell you to give up.
Popular advice and I agree with you. The constant shift of the industry makes me often scratch my head and ask ‘what next?’ So, what do you think it takes to be a successful author at the moment? At the moment? I’d say it’s the same for any moment. And that is, write what you feel. The industry has a tendency to rock one way or the other as to what genres readers are after. But it all circles back around. Let’s say, romance is in. By the time you start your novel and it gets published, readers have changed their minds and now it’s fantasy. Again, I say, write what you feel.
Great advice. Who would you like to meet in the publishing industry- dead or alive- and why? Tough question. There are many. Edgar Allen Poe because I’d love to know what drove him, what in his life called out to him to be a poet. Another is Stephen King; I’d like to know what honest impact his major accident had on his writing career.
Interesting choice and I actually saw an interview years ago where he answered that question. Sorry, I don’t remember who interviewed him or his answer. ;). Okay, it’s time for 3 in 1! I’ll ask the questions and you answer them in one word. 😆
Favorite animal? Dog
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter? Fall
Favorite food? Pizza
Well done! 🙂 I’m a dog person too. Okay, Flash four. Ready? What are you working on now? The third in the Other Side series: Ben’s Story. The first, Melinda’s Story is out on September 18, 2015 and the second, Trent’s Story is done and with the copy editor.
Congrats on the second contract! What are you sharing today? The Other Side: Melinda’s Story
Melinda’s family is dead, killed for information that is hidden deep within her mind. Her father tries to warn her from the ‘Other Side’ that she is in danger from the killers who want what only she can give them. Committed to Skyview Haven, she must determine if the ‘Other Side’ truly exists or if it is a trick of her heart and mind. With time running out Melinda must determine who she can trust. Is it the ghosts of her family, a boy who may not be who he appears to be, or the doctor who is determined to cure her? Can she figure out the truth before it is too late?
I walked to my window and just as I’d done so many times in the past, looked down, hoping to spot Beth. And suddenly, she was there. She was waving up at me to come down. I could see her forming the words, Come on. I smiled like I haven’t smiled in a long time. I knew it. I knew she was alive. I put my index finger up to tell her I’d be there in a minute. I quickly stuck my feet into some shoes and grabbed a jacket. I tiptoed all the way downstairs and through the kitchen to the back door. I looked out the window first to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. Nope. She was there! Right there at the foot of our path. I smiled again, quietly opened the door, and slipped out. I hugged her hard and she pulled away.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
“What do you mean? I’ve missed you. Where the hell have you been? They said you were dead. I didn’t believe them,” it all came out in a rush, in one long sentence, hardly a breath in between words.
“I’m right here. Remember? We promised to be in each other’s lives for always.”
“I know, but…”
“Ssshhh,” she cautioned. “We have to be quiet. Come on,” she tugged at my arm.
We walked a short way down the path. Before we got to her backyard, she suddenly stopped and I ran smack into the back end of her.
“What the hell?”
“Shit! I can’t…”
She looked at me with a frown on her face then smiled. “Let’s go to our place!”
“Okay, but you do know it’s the middle of the night. We’ll get into trouble if they know we’re out here.”
“Everyone’s sleeping. They won’t know.”
She grabbed my arm and tugged at me when I hesitated.
I smiled and said, “Nothing. Let’s go!”
I was happy and nothing was going to spoil it for me. I knew Beth wasn’t dead. I knew it!
‘Our place’ was a fort that we constructed in the woods. Well, not a real fort. We found some wood and leaned them all around a tree, sort of forming a teepee. Then I brought some old curtains my mom didn’t use anymore and we draped it over top of the wood. The inside was small, but it was ours. We sat huddled under old blankets she brought from her house a while ago. It was dark in our fort, but we had a flashlight if we needed it.
We chatted for a while. I told her all about how everyone thinks she’s dead, that she’d drowned. After I told her they had a funeral for her and everything, she giggled.
“Why are you laughing?”
“Because it’s funny. I’m not dead, I’m right here.”
She laughed again as she pinched my arm.
“Ow! Damn it!”
“If I was dead, I couldn’t do that, could I?”
I laughed with her, but it felt wrong. Something was not right. Then it hit me. If Beth was alive, that meant my dad was dead.
“Beth, you’re alive.”
“Yes, silly, I know that.”
“But then what about my dad?”
“What about him?”
“Beth, I think he’s dead.”
Tears started trickling down my face again.
“What are you talking about? You’re dad’s fine. I saw him earlier today.”
I knew the answer. Deep inside, I knew the answer and I can’t tell you how I knew.
“I saw him on the bridge. At least I think it was him. It was raining pretty hard. But I know it was your car. Hey! Where are you going?”
As she talked, I got up and left the fort. It started raining, but I didn’t care. Beth was here, which meant Dad was dead. The little pleasure I got seeing Beth again didn’t last long. I couldn’t win. I felt like I had to choose between Beth and my dad. It wasn’t fair.
“Melinda, what’s wrong?” she pleaded. “Aren’t you happy we’re together?”
“Yes, but my dad…” I said, standing there in the rain.
“He’s fine. Can we go back under now? I’m getting freakin’ soaked.”
“I have to go.”
I turned abruptly and began running back home. The rain made everything slick and I fell a few times, getting branches stuck in my hair and plastered with mud. In my backyard, I stopped and looked at our house. Every light seemed to be on. I saw Kyle pass by the kitchen window. I stood rooted to the spot. Do I go back to Beth? Somehow knowing if I did, it meant my dad would be dead. Or do I go in the house and accept the fact Beth was gone?
Chilling excerpt, Starr! I love the cover, too. Where can we find your book?
Where will you be next? I have several blogs who are hosting me. Here is the information:
9-14-2015 – Alicia Dean’s blog
9-17-2015 – QueenWriter blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
9-18-2015 – L.A. Kelley’s blog
9-19-2015 – Peggy Jaeger’s blog
9-21-2015 – Marie Tuhart’s blog
9-22-2015 – Abigail Owen’s blog
9-23-2015 – Debra Doggett’s blog
9-24-2015 – Sandra Dailey’s blog
9-25-2015 – Judy Reynold’s blog
9-28-2015 – Isla Grey’s blog
9-29-2015 – Calisa Rhose’s blog That’s today! Thanks for visiting!!!
10-6-2015 – Mary Morgan’s blog
Feel free to go back and check out any you missed. Plus, on October 3, 2015, along with several other authors, I am hosting and participating in a FB Launch Party. Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1204016436282600/. I hope to see you all there! Authors are offering FREEBIES!
That’s a great lineup, Starr. I’ll be sure to try to stop by the FB Party!
I hope to see you all there! Today I’ll gift one copy of the digital version of The Other Side: Melinda’s Story to the 1st person who can answer this question [hint: you can find the answer on my website at www.QueenWriter.com] What is the name of the other series I’ve written in the past and what genre is it?
I know!! I went to find out, but I’ll let others guess. It’s just a click away, so go get your answer.
Thank you so much for playing along Starr! Wishing you much luck with your book and writing. I hope you’ll come visit again one day.
It was great being here, Calisa, and I would love to return. Thank you for the fun day on your Ranch!
Visitors- Don’t forget!!! Leave your email address in a comment so we can contact the winner of Starr’s ebook. 🙂
Robin Dricoll email me, please so Brenda can send *your copy of HANOVER HOUSE to you girl!!!!! Thank you for commenting. Congrats on getting picked by Random.org!
*Robin has 48 hours to contact me before I choose another winner. Thank you all for visiting, and a special thank you to Brenda!! 😀
I’m thrilled beyond belief, truly, to be able to welcome one of my favorite-of-all-times authors to the Ranch today! Have you ever read the “Perfect”suspense trilogy? In case that hint isn’t enough, I’ll shout share who…
Please welcome the lovely and uber-talented bestselling author and all around wonderful woman, MS. BRENDA NOVAK to the Round Pen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oy. Was that as loud as it sounded in my head? I think I spooked Sonny and Apple. Sorry, my horse darlins. Now to get the Chihuahuas to shush so I can think. 😆
So, a couple of weeks ago I happened across a Twitter notice in my email that Brenda Novak was following me. What? My favorite writer, Brenda Novak? Me? Doubting Thomasina that I am, I checked and, sure enough, it really was her. Did I mention I’m a HUGE fan? 😀
I’ve admired her writing—and live vicariously through her as a suspense writer (since I can’t write the genre to save my life, and she does it so splendidly)—for a very long time. After fangirl faded, I turned strictly Ranch owner (well, maybe still a little fangirlish) and invited Brenda to join me in the Round Pen and she graciously agreed. What a wonderful treat, I tell ya, folks! I’m all fangirl again here. She’s sharing her newest release, the one I just grabbed, here today with all of you, too! I’ll let her tell you all about HANOVER HOUSE as part of our visit today. (For convenience’s sake, I hyperlinked her name above directly to this book for you to check out, along with all her other books. You’ll be glad you did, I promise. 😉 )
We tried to keep this short, but Brenda agreed to let me interview her, and I came up with some things to ask her about.
So, Brenda, you are a NYT and USA TODAY bestselling author multiple times over, with many, many books in various genres; historical, contemporary and, my favorite, your suspense. First off, congratulations on your exciting achievements. But—
1) When you first realized you were a success—something we all dream of, but are secretly afraid might actually happen—how did you handle it in the beginning and move forward?
I don’t think there’s ever been a point where I’ve decided I’m a success. Like most people, once I hit one goal, another one appears right behind it, so my career is more of a journey than a destination. That’s why I think it’s so imperative to enjoy the process. Success to me isn’t necessarily hitting the big lists (although that’s always nice!). It’s turning out work I’m proud of—and having my readers be excited about each new story.
I think all authors need your perspective. That’s a great way to look at success!
2) Not all books are easy to write. Some stories are what one author refers to as pineapple babies—they hurt coming out. Which of your works or genre gave you the most difficult time, either with the writing or editing, and how did you get through it?
The most difficult book I’ve ever written was probably A BABY OF HER OWN. I was still a relatively new writer and, when I finished the story, I could tell something was wrong with it, but I wasn’t experienced enough to identify what needed to be changed. I turned it in, hoping for the best. I’ll never forget meeting with my editor at the RWA conference (which was coming up). She told me that I had a subplot in the book that was warring with the main story–and overtaking it. Fortunately, she was so kind about the way she shared this news that it didn’t crush my confidence. As I flew home, I was trying to figure out how to solve the problem. Taking out that subplot would mean losing 25% – 30% of the book. I wasn’t eager to do that. In the end, I knew that was the right path, however. I made myself remove that subplot, focused on the main story and finished that book. Then I used the subplot to start a new story that was related to the first. So that mistake actually spawned my first series! If I hadn’t screwed up in that way, and if my editor hadn’t been sharp enough to catch it, I probably never would’ve written the Dundee series. I would’ve continued writing stand-alone novels. As you can imagine, I’m now very happy that I had to go through that exercise! The Dundee books are some of my readers’ favorites.
How awesome for you to get an editor to walk you through that at such an early stage of your career.
3) I keep Dr. Pepper (or coffee) at hand, and chocolate when times get rough, listen to music and I have a little stuffed Captain Jack Sparrow doll that cheers me on in that swooningly sexy voice only Johnny Depp can master…ok, maybe that’s just in my head. What is your go-to ‘thing’ while writing, if anything?
I don’t keep anything on hand (other than some trail mix since I don’t like to interrupt my work to eat), but there are certain things I do to kick-start my muse, or to remind me of how much I love what I do. Usually, if I want to be inspired, I listen to the soundtrack for LES MIS or PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. Or I watch LAST OF THE MOHICANS. There’s just something about those works that really get my imagination going. Also, reading a really good book will get me excited to create again.
While writing my current release I was forced (by my heroine) to listen to an Opera CD while working. Apparently Viv liked Opera. Who knew? 🙂
4) Where do you draw from for the intensely deep, emotional impact your books all seem to be packed with?
I’m not sure where that comes from, to be honest. I think I’ve always been a student of human behavior, so I have a pretty good grasp on human motivation. That definitely helps. And I tend to like big, dramatic books, movies and music. I think those preferences just bleed into my work. (And thank you for the compliment. I want my books to resonate emotionally, so this is really great to hear. :))
They definitely resonate with me, so you’re welcome!
5) Since I began writing I hear that we should celebrate each finished manuscript, each sale, etc. What do you do to celebrate new accomplishments? Following that, what do you do for fun when not working on a book?
I don’t really do anything to celebrate. I think I’ve been in the business too long to worry about those rewards! LOL Finishing seems to be reward enough. I do love the relief, the letdown of the pressure, however. When I finish a book, especially if I’m really proud of it, I feel as if I’m walking on air for the next couple of weeks. That emotional high is a wonderful thing! As far as what I do for fun, I love to travel, read, shop, play volleyball, ride bikes and just hang out with my adult kids.
*Sigh* I still grab cheesecake and wine to pat my own back. LOL
6) I love that you’re not just a writer, but an advocate of a great cause. Can you tell us about the juvenile diabetes auction you created, why you did it and how/where can we get involved in the cure for this awful disease?
My youngest son has Type 1. He was diagnosed at just five years old. I’ll never forget hearing the list of side-effects he will likely suffer in his lifetime. That made me want to fight back, to do everything possible to protect my child. So I started Brenda Novak’s Annual Online Auction for Diabetes Research, which I ran for ten years. Then, a year ago, I shut down the auction and changed up my fundraising efforts by procuring a digital boxed set containing stories from some of today’s most popular authors, which I sold to raise money. So far, with everything combined, I’ve managed to raise $2.5 million (thanks to the generosity of all those who have been so good to support me), and I hope to keep adding to that total. Keep an eye on my website for next year’s boxed set! Anyone who’d like to get involved or learn more can visit www.brendanovakforthecure.org.
I can only imagine the heartbreak of learning your little one is ill, and those are both extremely wonderful causes you’ve created. $2.5 million? That is incredible, and amazing to hear of the generosity of others. I hope putting this out will help bring that number up even more for juvenile diabetes research.
Now for a sneak peek at Hanover House and the eerie cover, which I love!
Welcome to Hanover House…
Psychiatrist Evelyn Talbot has established a research facility in remote Alaska where she studies serial killers. She’s determined to solve the mysteries of the psychopathic mind. But dealing with so many twisted killers means she has to be careful. Terrible things could happen if only one thing goes wrong…
Here’s an excerpt:
To hide the fear that slithered, snake-like, just below her skin, making the hair on her arms stand up, Evelyn paced across one end of the small, concrete cell, pretending to be absorbed in her notes. It’d taken a few days, but she was back at San Quentin, and they were bringing Hugo Evanski to meet with her. Only this time she was prepared for anything he might do—and so were they. The warden had told her Evanski would be escorted by two correctional officers instead of one, and he wouldn’t be allowed to get out of control again.
When he didn’t appear as soon as she’d expected, however, she set her notes aside and leaned on the desk to haul in a deep breath. She’d only been released from the hospital two days ago, still had a bandage covering her stitches and a black eye to show for that earlier incident—embarrassing proof that she’d allowed herself to be hurt by someone she’d known was dangerous. There was no excuse for that, especially because her detractors wouldn’t hesitate to use what Hugo had done to undermine her efforts, if word ever got out. She had to be careful about what showed up in the press, couldn’t allow Hugo Evanski to jeopardize a program that was still in its infancy and needed time and support in order to grow.
A clang signaled she’d soon have company. She snatched up her notepad so that no one would be able to tell that her hands were shaking. Although she told herself the same thing wouldn’t happen twice, no amount of self-talk could overcome the emotional response that welled up whenever the slightest sound, smell or other trigger reminded her of what Jasper Moore had done twenty years ago. And Hugo’s attack definitely reminded her of Jasper. Just about any violence did.
She watched as the heavy metal door slid open and two hulk-like correctional officers walked their charge into the room. They tried to seat him in the steel chair bolted to the floor, probably so that he couldn’t launch himself at her again, and, when he stiffened instead of bending, forced him into it.
“Sit your ass down,” one of the guards growled.
Hugo gave his chains a rebellious jerk but eventually complied, lifting his nose in the air and smiling at her as if he was too preoccupied with and delighted by what he’d done to her face to be bothered by correctional officers who were determined to show him they were in charge. “Looks like you’ve had an accident,” he said to her.
She fingered the tender spot near her temple. “It’s nothing. Someone of your reputation…I would’ve expected you to be able to do a lot more than simply knock me into a table.”
When the two officers on either side of him barked out a laugh, obviously surprised by her response, the smile disappeared from Hugo’s clean-shaven face. “Maybe it won’t go quite so well for you the next time.”
Hanover House- http://brendanovak.com/books/posts/hanover-house/
You are an inspiration to so many with your fundraising and your writing. I’ll definitely check out the link and the boxed set! Thank you so much for hanging out on the. I hope you’ll visit again.
Welcome visitors. Leave a comment to Brenda for the chance to win an ecopy of Brenda’s Hanover House only here on the Ranch!! 😀
LOVE, LATTES, AND MUTANTS
Blurb: Finding love is hard, even when you aren’t a mutant.
Like most seventeen-year-olds, Piper Dunn wants to blend in with the crowd. Having a blowhole is a definite handicap. A product of a lab-engineered mother with dolphin DNA, Piper spends her school days hiding her brilliant ocean-colored eyes and sea siren voice behind baggy clothing and ugly glasses. When Tyler, the new boy in school, zeroes in on her, ignoring every other girl vying for his attention, no one, including Piper, understands why…
Then Piper is captured on one of her secret missions rescuing endangered sea creatures and ends up in the same test center where her mother was engineered. There she discovers she isn’t the only one of her kind. Joel is someone she doesn’t have to hide from, and she finds herself drawn to the dolph-boy who shares her secrets. Talking to him is almost as easy as escaping from the lab. Deciding which boy has captured her heart is another story…
Multi-published author Sandra Cox writes YA Fantasy, Paranormal and Historical Romance, and Metaphysical Nonfiction. She lives in sunny North Carolina with her husband, a brood of critters and an occasional foster cat. Although shopping is high on the list, her greatest pleasure is sitting on her screened in porch, listening to the birds, sipping coffee and enjoying a good book. She’s a vegetarian and a Muay Thai enthusiast.
A Piper-approved necklace and $10 Starbuck Card
A Piper-approved bracelet
For readers to enter for these great prizes: a Rafflecopter giveaway
For any visiting hosts to enter for this great prize: a Rafflecopter giveaway
Calisa Rhose presents ~ End of Lonely Street by Alicia Dean – Plus an Awesome Giveaway #TWRP #MFRWAuthor #ElvisPresley
I’m turning the round pen over to friend and fellow TWRP author, Alicia Dean to share her new release and much more. Who doesn’t love Elvis Presley? Mostly those of us from the 50s, 60s and 70s grew up listening to his smooth, sensual and sexy voice and swooned. I still can see my older sister planted in front of the radio, chin in hands, during one Christmas when I was eleven as Elvis sang White Christmas as if he were singing a love song just to her. She was a big fan. 🙂
I have one very dear friend who, having been born in the 40s, literally grew up listening to and watching Elvis and to this day she’s a huge fan. She could probably rival Alicia in that respect. I was there several years ago when my friend’s husband gifted her with a hand gun with Elvis’s likeness and signature engraved into the pearl handle! Even though I grew up with his heavenly Christmas and love songs, I’m not even close to the fangirldom as that of my talented guest, Alicia Dean.
She can take you inside that fangirl world, and does on her own blog. Have a question about this crooner? You might find an answer here. In the meantime, she’s written a book titled after one of Elvis’s most famous songs. I’ll be reading this one for sure!
Take it away, Alicia! 🙂
I’m excited to share my latest release from The Wild Rose Press on what would have been Elvis’ eightieth birthday. ‘End of Lonely Street’ is a Vintage Romance Short Story set in 1957, in the era when Elvis first burst on the scene. Like my heroine in the story, I am a diehard Elvis fan. (As you probably figured out, I took the title from a line in Heartbreak Hotel, which was Elvis’ first million selling record).
Check out End of Lonely Street and enter to win GREAT prizes…
GIVEAWAY: – Entries accepted from January 8, 2015 through noon on January 22, 2015
Three prizes –
Elvis Gift Basket including DVD, CD, plus more
$25 Amazon Gift Card
$10 Amazon Gift Card
First place winner has first choice, second place winner has second choice, third place winner receives remaining prize.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Amazon Buy Link: http://amzn.com/B00QQO3BK0
Can she let go of the past, before it destroys her future?
All Toby Lawson wanted was to go to college to pursue her dream of becoming a teacher and to be free of her alcoholic mother and the painful memories of finding her and the guy Toby loved kissing. But when her mother nearly burns the house down, Toby must put her dreams on hold and return home to care for her. The only time she isn’t lonely and miserable is when she’s listening to her heartthrob, Elvis Presley. His music takes her away, helps her escape from everything wrong in her life.
Noah Rivers has always loved Toby, but no matter what he says, and even though she knows her mother initiated the kiss, and that he didn’t kiss her back, she can‘t seem to get past what happened. He soon realizes that the true problem lies in Toby’s belief that she’s not good enough for him and in her fear that she will be just like her mother.
Mapleton, Tennessee, November, 1957
Toby Lawson closed her eyes and shut out all sounds of the diner, except for Elvis Presley’s voice. He was crooning about how she was the only one for him…no matter where he went or what he did… he’d spend his whole life loving her…
Rough hands landed on her waist and shattered the fantasy. She caught a whiff of hair tonic and too much cologne, and she snapped her eyes open. Wes Markham’s hateful face replaced the image of Elvis’ beautiful, crooked smile and smoldering blue eyes.
“Let me go.” She gritted her teeth, keeping her voice low. If her boss, Mr. Winstead, knew there was trouble on account of her, he’d explode. He’d barely let her have the job in the first place. Everyone in Mapleton knew the Lawson women were trouble.
Toby gripped his right wrist with one hand, tightening her hold on the utensils she held in the other. “I said let me go. Now!”
She shoved against him, but he didn’t budge.
He pulled her tighter. “Your momma’s a whole lot friendlier than you are. They say the apple don’t fall far from the tree, so how’s about you cut the pretense and we go someplace quiet? Winstead won’t miss you for a few minutes.”
Her cheeks heated. She didn’t dare look around. No doubt the customers were watching, listening. Elvis had stopped singing and everyone in the place could hear what he’d said about her mother. It wasn’t like they didn’t all know, though. Constance Lawson hadn’t exactly kept her escapades a secret.
Toby clenched her teeth and brandished the utensils. She spoke loud enough for everyone to hear. “Release me this instant, or I swear, you’ll be pulling this steak knife out of your eyeball.”
He held her gaze for a split second, then gave a laugh that was somewhere between nervous and furious. “Sure, sure. Okay.” He released her and stepped back. “I was just foolin’ around anyway. I got better things to do with my time than waste it on a used up chick like you.”
Muffled laughter rose around her. Oh God, she could crawl into a hole.
“How about you apologize to the lady, then beat it?”
Toby whirled at the male voice. Noah Rivers stood behind her, looking handsome and sharp in his police uniform—even with his dark hair in the military buzz cut. Her knees weakened, and tingles swept over her skin. She swallowed against the sudden dryness in her throat. She’d heard he was back, but hadn’t seen him until now. And what a time to have a reunion.
*** 10% of all of Alicia Dean’s net royalties for End of Lonely Street will go to
The Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation ( http://www.graceland.com/epcf/ ) ***
Alicia Dean lives in Edmond, Oklahoma. She has three grown children and a huge network of supportive friends and family. She writes mostly contemporary suspense and paranormal, but has also written in other genres, including a few vintage historicals.
Other than reading and writing, her passions are Elvis Presley, MLB, NFL (she usually works in a mention of one or all three into her stories) and watching her favorite televisions shows like Vampire Diaries, Justified, Sons of Anarchy, Haven, The Mindy Project, and Dexter (even though it has sadly ended, she will forever be a fan). Some of her favorite authors are Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Lee Child, Lisa Gardner, Sharon Sala, Jordan Dane, Ridley Pearson, Joseph Finder, and Jonathan Kellerman…to name a few.
Find Alicia here:
Geez… What a scene. 🙂 Be sure to do the Rafflecopter for your chance to win!
Thanks, Alicia. Many wishes for ultimate success with your release!