Author Speed Dating – Katharine Ashe

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match.

This week’s guest: Katharine Ashe

 

 

 

16 Questions

1. If you celebrate, name a holiday food you would eat your weight in if you could do it guilt-free.

Homemade ginger bread (with hot chocolate on the side!).

2. Give the title of the first manuscript you ever wrote. How many years ago did you pen this masterpiece, and whatever happened to it?

Teen Girl Lusts After Hot Landscaping Guy Who Turns Out to Be Heir to a Fortune. Seriously! I don’t remember the actual title, but that was the gist of it. Eventually I started writing historical romance, but I still write hot heroes with secret identities.

3. If you could keep only the possessions that would fit in one suitcase, and you were limited to two books – one you wrote and one by someone else – which titles would you tuck inside your bag? Explain your choices.

I CAN’T!!! I love too many books to choose one, so here’s my latest favorite, which I found doing research for my next novel: THE LOVE OF STRANGERS: WHAT SIX MUSLIMS STUDENTS LEARNED IN JANE AUSTEN’S LONDON by Nile Green. It’s a look at English Regency-era history that most of us lovers of historical romance have never seen, and it’s all about friendship and love. I adored it. Among my novels, I would tuck THE EARL  in the suitcase. Enemies from childhood, the hero and heroine are fleeing together through the Scottish countryside from an angry mob, and they have turn to each other for survival. I adored writing how the scales fell from their eyes as they learned and grew and fell in love. And it makes me laugh.

4. In the winter, would you rather be zipping through powdery snow on skis or a snowmobile or escaping to a sandy beach? Now how do you really spend most of your winter?

Always the beach! But I love snow too. 🙂 My fave winter treat is curling up on the couch before a crackling fire and reading or writing.

5. Which character in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is your favorite, and what does that say about you?

Rudolph! I’ve never really fit in. That said, I have yet to pull a sleigh — but, you know, I’m hopeful someday… 😉

6. In which genres and sub-genres are you published, and which others do you plan to add to the list in the next two years?

I mostly write big, epic, emotional love stories set in the early nineteenth-century British Empire. I’ve written a time-travel novella, a Regency ghost novel, and a contemporary novella too, and I have a series set in the Regency period with a special fantasy twist to each novel.

7. If you could visit the studio and hang out with any visual artist, past or present, whose creative space would you be invading? Why?

Oh oh oh, please!!! Sir Thomas Lawrence, the brilliant British portrait artist. The hero I’m writing now (in THE PRINCE) is a portraitist, and I’ve modeled his style on Lawrence’s.

8. Do you listen to music when you’re writing? If so, name some of the artists whose work you use to get you creative juices flowing.

Not usually while I’m writing. But for each book I do make a playlist—my own personal soundtracks that inspire characters and scenes, and that I play when I’m driving, walking the dog, running, or doing errands. Depending on the novel, the music runs the gamut from Taylor Swift and Avril Lavigne to The Heyday and Breaking Benjamin. The soundtrack for my latest novel, THE DUKE, includes a lot of Scottish traditional music and epic movie soundtracks.

9. What are you reading now, and what is the best book you’ve read in a long time?

Today I read two fascinating history articles: one on Mary Shelley’s revolutionary novels and the other on medieval smugglers between Spain and North Africa—and both of them gave me ten different ideas for novels! I love history. It’s full of fantastic story ideas. 🙂 For best book, see #3 above. And I also just read Kate Claybourn’s debut contemporary romance BEGINNER’S LUCK, which was pure adorable small town pleasure.

10. What is your strategy for writing over the holidays?

Revise revise revise! I have a January 2nd book deadline. 🙂

11. Name three things that are in your purse or pockets right now.

A Sharpie pen (for signing books), a little notebook bound in Black Watch tartan, and a tiny Advent daily prayer book.

12. Do you write a synopsis before you write a book, and, if so, does your finished product look anything like that road map?

I don’t write a synopsis. I usually plot on a big whiteboard (using Alexandra Sokoloff’s totally brilliant system). Sometimes the novel even comes out looking like what’s on the whiteboard! 🙂

13. Are you a fan of reality TV, or could the current Bachelor marry every contestant on Cake Boss and then sing his lungs out on The Voice for all you care?

Binge watcher here. I tend to like historical mysteries, love stories, light modern comedy, and Superhero® shows. So, not a reality TV fan, but I never say never. 🙂

14. What is your biggest dream for your writing career? The New York Times bestseller list? A movie deal? Your own island in the Caribbean? All of the above?

Honestly, to make enough money each year to be able to keep doing this for a living. I simply adore writing love stories and sharing them. That’s my dream. (Although, you know, an amazing sports car and a neat little flat in—say—Verona, Italy, would be swell too.)

15. What is your biggest hope for a reader when she opens one of your books?

That she will laugh and sigh and cry and fall in love and read the final page with a big happy smile of pure joy and satisfaction.

16. Are you more a Times Square-ringing-in-the-New Year-type on New Year’s Eve, or will we find you at home, tucked into bed by nine o’clock?

Tucked in bed (after eating every flaky pastry appetizer available in my grocery store freezer section, natch).

 

***

 

The Duke

By Katharine Ashe

 

“You do not frighten me.” She snipped the syllables to hide the quaver.

His gaze that was black in the dim light scanned her face—her cheeks and hair and lips and chin.

“Then you are unique among women,” he rumbled. “Now remove that key from your bodice and open the door.”

“Why won’t you speak with me?” This was frankly terrifying. She had not anticipated this or planned for any scenario like this. She had imagined that when she finally cornered him he would act like a regular person and converse. Unwisely, she realized belatedly. He had never been anything like a regular person, after all.

“Five and a half years, yet not even a little small talk?” she said. “Come now. Let us give it a try. I will start. I hear you have become a duke. And an abductor of innocent maidens. And possibly a practitioner of the dark arts. How do you find all of that?”

“Lass.” The word was a warning shift of tectonic plates. “Open the door now or I’ll be taking that key.”

“You cannot deter me, Urisk.” Now her words quivered quite obviously. “Either you will sit down here now and answer my questions until I have asked them all, or you will in fact be obliged to take the key from me.”

In the darkness, the gleam in his eyes was like a knife’s blade.

“As you wish,” he said as though he whispered in her ear.

Her heart slammed into her lungs.

His hand surrounded her hip.

She gasped.

He was not smiling. Large and strong, his five fingers and broad palm took complete possession of her flesh.

“The key now,” he said very deeply. His fingers moved on her. Not painfully. Rather, stroking, kneading as though she were bread dough.

She swallowed over the shock clogging her throat.

“No,” she croaked.

He bent his head and in the murky silence in which the gay music of the ball was only a distant echo, she could hear his breathing, each inhale and exhale a perfectly controlled statement of composure.

“You are certain?” he said as calmly as though he were asking if she preferred tea to coffee.

“Yes.”

His hand slid up her side and wrapped around her waist.

“What are you doing?” she rasped.

His thumb stroked along the ridge of her lowest rib and a cascade of pleasure descended.

“Getting closer to that key,” he said.

***

THE DUKE, a Devil’s Duke novel and a September 2017 release from Avon Romance, may be purchased from these and other retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million.

***

About Katharine

Katharine Ashe is the USA Today bestselling author of historical romances that reviewers call “intensely lush” and “sensationally intelligent,” including her latest novel, THE DUKE, which won starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus, and an RT Book Reviews Top Pick!, and is on Amazon’s list of the Best Romances of 2017. Katharine lives in the wonderfully warm Southeast with her beloved husband, son, dog, and a garden she likes to call romantic rather than unkempt. A professor of history, she writes romance because she thinks modern readers deserve grand adventures and breathtaking sensuality too. For more about Katharine’s books, please visit www.KatharineAshe.com.

Katharine is also Dr. Katharine Brophy Dubois, Lecturing Fellow in the departments of History and Religious Studies at Duke University where she teaches courses on history and popular culture, and organizes the UNSUITABLE Speakers Series about women, fiction and popular culture.

***

A Note From Katharine

Thanks for inviting me to speed date, Dana! Happy New Year’s, everybody! xoxo


Author Speed Dating: Patricia Kiyono

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match.

This week’s guest: Patricia Kiyono

 

 

 

15 Questions

1. Are there any traditional Thanksgiving dishes that you can easily resist or dishes you refuse to even sample during your family’s holiday meal?

No. I love to eat EVERYTHING!

2. As a reader, name a few of your favorite books of all time. How have these books influenced your writing?

Rebecca Winters’ romances first got me hooked on romance. She takes characters embroiled in impossible emotional conflict and somehow manages to take them to a happily-ever-after! I guess this is why I start writing my books by deciding on the central conflict, rather than the characters. My favorite Rebecca Winters books are BRIDE OF MY HEART (and the others in the Nevada Bachelor series), and THE NUTCRACKER PRINCE.

3. Which Scooby Do character are you most like? Bonus: How are you at solving mysteries?

Velma Dinkley. I wear glasses, and I’m prone to losing them (along with lots of other things). I read a lot about obscure topics and am a fount of useless information. But unlike Velma, I’m not that good at solving mysteries.

4. In which genres and sub-genres are you published, and which was the hardest and easiest to write?

I write sweet historical romance and sweet contemporary romance. I don’t think either one is easier to write. There’s a lot of research involved with either one. But with historical, I don’t have to worry so much about sounding dated. My daughter proofs almost everything I write, and one of her consistent criticisms of my contemporaries is that all the characters, regardless of age and social station, sounds like a 60-something educated woman.

5. If you could serve as a roadie for any band, past or present, for which group would be you be schlepping speakers and testing audio equipment?

Chicago! During my senior year in college, “If You Leave Me Now” was on the radio every day while I student taught. I loved all their songs.

6. If someone has never read one of your books, which title would you recommend she read first?

I guess it depends on whether they prefer contemporary or historical, long or short! For contemporary romance fans I guess it would be my most recent one, THE ROAD TO ESCAPE. For historical fans, my Partridge series are short holiday novellas set in Europe, and THE SAMURAI’S GARDEN is a longer novel set in Japan.

7. As a shoe shopper, are you all about the shoe warehouse where more is better, a discriminating shopper of only designer brands or a devotee of comfort with little concern for fashion?

It’s comfort all the way. I haven’t worn heels since the day I got married.

8. Favorite octogenarian actor: Robert Redford, Judi Dench, Diahann Carroll or Morgan Freeman?

Morgan Freeman. Love his voice, and he has a regal presence no matter what role he plays.

9. Which one of your own fictional heroes would you have taken home if you could?

Tom Cooper from THE ROAD TO ESCAPE is (in some ways) based on my own husband. He’s closer to my own age, so he has some of the same life experiences as me. But unlike my husband, Tom can’t cook!

10. What would you choose as your super power, and what would you do with it?

I would love to be able to organize my stuff. Papers, craft supplies, books, musical instruments and all sorts of other things are strewn about my house, and I often have to spend extra time looking for things I know I have. If I were a better organizer I’d have more time to write and indulge in my hobbies.

11. In 10 words or less, give your best advice to aspiring writers.

Join a group, learn from others, and write.

12. Sitcom in reruns: Seinfeld or Friends

I never “got” Seinfeld. He was way too whiny, and his friends were strange. I guess I’d choose Friends because I found it was less annoying.

13. What would you consider your strengths and weaknesses as a writer? What have you done to become a better storyteller?

I guess one of my strengths is the mechanics – spelling, grammar, and punctuation. I’ve learned a lot about making the words into a story from online classes and the speakers at my writing groups.

14. Preferred activity in the fall: outside at the apple orchard or a leaf tour while inside a warm car?

I like to be outside, but I have to remind myself to go outside. I’m not sure I’d enjoy a leaf tour. At least at the orchard I’d gather fruit to eat!

 15. Name your favorite compliment you ever received from a read or reviewer.

I’ve received a few reviews that complimented my historical accuracy. That makes me glad I did my research!

 

***

 

 

 

Four Calling Bards

in

Nine Ladies Dancing

By Patricia Kiyono

 

 

“Across the nation, women are ending, or at least decreasing rapidly, their use of the sweetener. We’ve already started to see a decline in the number of ships engaging in the trade. But there’s more that you can do. Sharpen your quills and write. Petition the government to stop dallying and end the practice of slavery. England has always prided herself for being civilized. What we are doing to our fellow human beings is anything but civil!”

Slight applause followed her pronouncement. One woman stood.

“This is a very noble cause, Mrs. Opie. I’m willing to cut back on my household’s use of sugar, but my husband will not stand for me writing letters to demand anything of Parliament.”

Other women nodded in agreement.

“I understand,” the woman replied. “Anything you can do to further the cause will be appreciated.”

“I can write letters,” someone said.

The room grew silent. Amanda watched the ladies turn to stare and, with growing horror, realized she’d been the one who’d spoken.

***

FOUR CALLING BARDS is included in NINE LADIES DANCING, a boxed set of ten clean historical romances. This Nov. 2, 2017, release from Dingbat Publishing is available only at Amazon.

 

***

About Patricia

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level.

She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her children and grandchildren. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspire her to create stories about different cultures.

Stay in touch with Patricia through her website, www.patriciakiyono.com and blog and through these social-media channels:Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest.

 

 

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Author Speed Dating – Elizabeth Meyette

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match. 

This week’s guest: Elizabeth Meyette

 

 

 

 

15 Questions

1. If you had to wake to one song on your clock radio or cell phone dock every morning for the rest of your life, what song would you choose and why?

Definitely “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey because it took many years between writing my first book and its publication, but I never stopped believing. Besides, who wouldn’t want to wake up to Steve Perry singing to you?

2. Since one of our September guests is also the author of a nonfiction book on writing (Debra Dixon), name some of your favorite books to help writers.

I saw Debra Dixon’s post on your blog and ordered her book. 🙂 Stephen King’s ON WRITING is at the top of my favorites list. Even though her book is not strictly on writing, Elizabeth Gilbert’s BIG MAGIC truly inspires me. 

3. Favorite TV hottie: Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) from White Collar, Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams) from Grey’s Anatomy, Angel (David Boreanaz) from Angel or Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore) from Criminal Minds?

Tough choices, but I have to go with Matt Bomer/Neal Caffrey partly because I love the premise of White Collar. May I also nominate Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner) from Poldark? *swoon*. 

4. In which genres and subgenres have you been published, and what does your narrow or sweeping focus say about you?

I’ve been published in historical romance and mystery with romantic elements. I have also published poetry. My sweeping focus illustrates my love for diversity in what I read and write or that I’m ADD. Which I am.

5. Is social media a bad habit for you, and, if so, what is your favorite time drain?

Often, I won’t allow myself to launch Chrome until I’ve fulfilled my writing goals for the day because social media is a black hole for me. Facebook is my weakness because my family of origin lives in Rochester, NY, and my daughter and grandkids live in Houston (they made it through the hurricane unscathed). Facebook is like visiting with family. But what really gets me is marketing opportunities for writers. It’s like following a trail of bread crumbs and suddenly it’s midnight. 

6. Name the most embarrassing concert you’ve ever attended?

Middle school beginning band/orchestra. All of them. Yet, I had tears in my eyes.

7. Which is your preference to write: love scenes or murder scenes?

My murder scenes are not gory, but I enjoy writing the suspense that leads up to them. Love scenes are always fun to write.  

8. Name one thing you wish you could change about yourself.

No more plantar faciitis. I want to wear pretty shoes. 

9. Favorite autumn activity: roasting marshmallows by a fire, driving miles for fall-leaf tours or cuddling with a special someone for an indoor movie marathon?

Love to cuddle. My daughter called one evening asking if we wanted to join them at her friend’s for a drink. We had just settled in for a movie and were in our pjs. I said, “No, we’re watching a movie on Netflix, so we’re just going to chill.” She had to educate me on what I’d just said. LOL.

 10. Name a theme you often see popping up in your stories.

I have this epigraph by Lao Tzu in the beginning of my current book: “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” I think that is an overarching theme in all my books, romance and mystery.

11. If you had no audience, and no regrets would follow, what midnight snack(s) would you be gorging on tonight?

Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting.

12. What was the lowest point in your writing career, and how did you recover from it?

Writing my fourth book, BURIED SECRETS, was misery at one point. I wrote it during NANOWRIMO, which is antithetical to my process, so at the end of the month I had a crazy-quilt book, and I’m a linear pantser. I sent it to my beta readers way too soon, so I had more suggested revisions than I knew what to do with. I put that book away three times, never intending to return to it. I couldn’t see how to fix it. But it kept nudging me, and my editor, Julie Sturgeon, helped me stitch it together beautifully. 

13. With no money limit, if you could construct the most perfect writing space, what would it look like?

I remodeled my office last year and I love it. All it needs is a lounging sofa and a wet bar. 

14. If a director made a movie about your life, which actress (living or dead) would you like to portray you, and which one would more likely be cast?

Too funny. This is a conversation my family often has. I would like Annette Bening to portray me (young Annette Bening, of course), but my daughters say Annie Potts.   

15. When you’re not writing (or working a day job), what are some of your favorite ways to spend your leisure hours?

I like to golf, hike, swim, and read. An ideal day of leisure would be on the beach. I love to travel.

***

 

 

 

Love’s Destiny

The Brentwood Saga Book 1

By Elizabeth Meyette

 

 

“It is a beautiful evening, Captain Brentwood.  Shall we step out onto the terrace?” she asked trying to steady her trembling.  It did not help that the room seemed to be moving, too.

The half-moon perched on a treetop, and the stars sprinkled across the ebony sky. They walked silently out to the garden, the smoky smell of well-stoked fires filling the crisp air.  Emily felt a little steadier.  They sat on a bench beneath a tall oak.

“May I speak frankly, Captain?”

“By all means, Miss Wentworth,” Jonathon smiled.

“I do not want to go to Virginia with you any more than you want to be burdened with me.  I fully intend to stay here with my brother.  Father’s intentions were good, but he was wrong to do this to either of us, and I believe you see the sense in this, too.”  Emily folded her hands in her lap as if to end the discussion.

“Miss Wentworth, may I also speak frankly?”

“Of course,” Emily nodded.

“In the carriage on the way over here, I would have given anything to be rid of this responsibility.  But now, having met you, Miss Wentworth, I am not so sure I want to be relieved of my duty.  I was expecting a young child.  Instead, I find a beautiful young woman who has made it perfectly clear that she does not need me.  Yet I find that this is just what I want—for her to need me.”  Jonathon could see Emily’s embarrassed blush even in the moonlight.  He could not help but continue to tease her; she was so serious.  “No, I do not think I will be remiss in my duty.  In fact, I am sworn to my promise even more having met you.  How can I desert this fair damsel in distress?  Why, it is my opportunity to be a knight in shining armor come to rescue a fair maiden.”  He leaned forward taking her hand. “Is it possible, my lady, that out of many I might claim your heart?”  His voice was low, his eyes sparkled.  “Oh, but one kiss from your sweet, gentle lips to carry with me forever would be so kind.”

Emily felt a new rush of warmth course through her that had nothing to do with the brandy.  She knew he was teasing her, yet she tingled with excitement.  Just the thought of his soft lips against hers, being held in his strong arms…what was she thinking? She stood quickly.

“I fear you mock me, sir, when all I desire is to settle our lives so we can each go our separate ways.  Please just agree with me that this solution would be best and we shall be finished with it.”

“I do not mock you, Emily,” Jonathon spoke softly, “but even if I wanted to, which I do not, I could not agree to your plan.”

“Why ever not?” she cried near tears.

“Because your father’s will states that I hold everything in trust for you until you marry.  Or, if you do not marry, until you reach age twenty-one.  I am afraid you cannot be on your own until such time.”

***

THE BRENTWOOD SAGA, a bundled release of two complete novels, LOVE’S DESTINY and LOVE’S SPIRIT, is a July 2017 release from Crimson Romance, part of Simon and Schuster Digital Sales, and may be purchased from these retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunesKobo and Simon and Schuster .

***

About Elizabeth

Believer in dreams-come-true and self-confessed chocoholic, Elizabeth Meyette is the author of four novels. THE CAVANAUGH HOUSE and its sequel, BURIED SECRETS, are mysteries set in 1968 in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. LOVE’S DESTINY and LOVE’S SPIRIT are historical romances set in colonial Virginia and are available together in THE BRENTWOOD SAGA bundle.

Elizabeth is an Amazon Best-selling author, a PAN (Published Authors Network) member of Romance Writers of America, a member of Sisters in Crime and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Before pursuing her writing career full time, Elizabeth taught English, Journalism, and Library Science/Technology. After retiring from teaching, Elizabeth embarked on her writing career full-time and, in addition to her four novels, has published poetry, magazine articles and her blog site, Meyette’s Musings. A friend said of her, “You haven’t retired, you’ve refired!” She is currently working on her fifth and sixth novels.

Elizabeth and her husband, Richard, live in west Michigan where they enjoy the beauty of the Great Lakes. They have an agreement that she cannot cook on writing days after he endured burnt broccoli and overcooked chicken.  Fortunately, Richard is an excellent cook.

Stay in touch with Elizabeth through her Website, Blog, Amazon Author Page, Facebook. Twitter. Goodreads, Pinterest and Linked In.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Author Speed Dating – R.C. Matthews

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match. 

This week’s guest: R.C. Matthews

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15 Questions

1. Which ALICE IN WONDERLAND character would best describe you when you’re writing on deadline?

Hmmm … I have no idea. Other than Alice and the Mad Hatter, I don’t think I can name any characters from ALICE IN WONDERLAND. Is that bad? So I’ll pick Mad Hatter. He’s pretty crazy.

2. Have you ever based a character, at least in part, on a real person you knew, and was that person able to see himself/herself in your story?

I do this all the time. My entire Wish Come True series is based on my nieces and nephew. They love having a story where the heroine/hero is modeled after them. 

3. Hot rockers over 50: Lenny Kravitz, Bruce Springsteen or Bono?

Sting. I know, I’m a rebel.

4. What is “dressed up” for you: a designer dress and stiletto heels or clean yoga pants, a sweatshirt and tennis shoes without holes?

The first one. When I get “dressed up”, then I go all out.

5. What was the most unusual comment you’ve ever received in a fan mail letter or a review?

“Like good chili, it was really spicy.” That one made me laugh.

 6. What do you do when you’re in the middle of a book and a new idea pops into your head?

I write it down and file it away for later. I’ve written twelve books, and I don’t think I’ve ever let one jump the line.

7. If you could invite three of your favorite authors over for a summer barbecue, who would be chowing down on hamburgers and brats (or veggie burgers) in your backyard?

Elizabeth Hoyt (DUKE OF SIN), Liliana Hart (J.J. Graves Mystery Series), and Ron C. Nieto (Faerie Sworn Series).

8. How old were you when you had the first inkling you might be a writer, and what gave you that hint?

Around 12 years old. I loved writing poetry and those books in elementary that we had to write annually.

 9. Do you ban all pets from your house, tolerate them for your family’s sake or are you a pet lover, typing with a dog, cat and maybe a bird sitting on your lap right now? And if you are a pet lover, list your brood.

My son is highly allergic to dogs and cats, so animals are banned from our house. But I grew up with dogs. My favorite was a poodle named Angel.

10. If you could write a novel containing any generally “off-limits” element, what would we find in your story?

I think I might be the queen of off-limits. One of my heroes wanted to kill his mother for 90% of the book, and the other hero killed the heroine’s mother. I was told that couldn’t be done. Challenge accepted. (Tortured Souls Series).

11. Name a hero or heroine from one of your books you loved a little more than all the others. (Yes, it’s like picking a favorite child.)

Victor Blackburn from BLACKBURN CASTLE. His background story is heartbreaking.

12. Name the most unique vacation you ever took, and what was your favorite thing about it?

When I was a senior in high school I went to London with a group of runners over the Christmas holiday. Favorite thing? Exploring an amazing city with no parents! 🙂 

13. What book are you reading right now, and what is the best book you’ve read in a long time?

SEDUCED BY A STRANGER, Eve Silver (gothic romance) is what I’m reading right now. TIES THAT BIND (The Veil Series #5) by Pippa DaCosta made me wicked-crazy cry. I was devastated and couldn’t stop thinking about what happened for at least a week. But you have to read the whole series.

14. Which of your books gave you the most trouble, and what helped you make it to “the end”?

BLACKBURN CASTLE gave me the most trouble because it’s a Gothic romance, but it wasn’t striking me as dark enough. About twelve chapters into the book I brainstormed with my critique partner, and we came up with some great ideas on how to make the story darker.

15. What has been your scariest moment as an author?

I made a short video of myself for a collage that Crimson Romance put together of their authors. Eeekkk! That was scary.

*

 

 

 

Blackburn Castle

By R.C. Matthews

 

 

 

Mercy stared at the letter in her hand until the cabin door crashed against the wall, jerking her out of her trance.

“Bloody hell!” Victor roared, stalking toward her with a fierce scowl. “What do you think you’re doing?”

He tore the letter out of her hand and shoved it back into the envelope. His entire body shook with rage, and she slunk back against the wall, her heart thundering. Within seconds, he had righted the contents of his trunk and slammed the lid shut. He leaned his hands against the top, heaving in deep breaths.

“Victor, I—”

“Not another word!” He leveled her with his heated stare. “Do you hear me? The contents of that chest are none of your concern.”

Of course, he was right, but it didn’t matter one whit. She had seen the contents and read a sample of what lie within, and now it was impossible for her to set it all aside and pretend she had not.

Her knees wobbled, and she splayed her hands against the wall for support as she gathered her courage. “Tell me why you never posted your letters. Victor, please. Why would you choose not to go home?”

His nostrils flared, and he unsheathed a dagger from his hip. The distance between them vanished with a few long strides of his powerful legs. Her stomach leaped to her throat as he wrapped her hands around the hilt and pressed the sharp edge to his heart. His hands held hers in an iron grip, unyielding.

“Life is full of choices, and I would rather die than reveal the reasons for mine,” he said, bowing his head. “Here’s your chance for revenge, Mercy. Take it now, but be forewarned. Once you plunge the knife into my heart, it can never be undone, and you will relive the horror every single night in your dreams.”

His tortured eyes met hers as he pushed the knife harder against his breast, slicing through the cloth. A speck of bright red appeared around the tip.

Bile lurched in her throat as his blood soaked into his white cotton shirt.

He meant every word he said. She could read it in his eyes, feel the weight of his guilt pressed against her hands. Killing her mother had taken mere seconds, yet Victor had paid for his actions every day of his life. He wasn’t supposed to have a conscience. But he most certainly did.

So Victor wasn’t a cold-blooded murderer, yet he laid his life in her trembling hands. Could she kill him here and now? She’d dreamed her whole life of making him suffer. All she had to do was lean her weight into their joined hands, and he would be dead.

*

BLACKBURN CASTLE, Book 2 in the Tortured Souls series and an April 2017 from Crimson Romance, may be purchased from Amazon.

*

About R.C.

R.C. Matthews is the author of contemporary and historical romances featuring bold, sassy heroines and magnetic alpha heroes. Warning! The chemistry between her characters is off the charts hot, so read at your own risk. She resides in the Midwest and is surrounded by men: her husband and three sons. During her free time you’ll find her watching “The Walking Dead”, reading a fabulous book or hanging out with her family.

Connect with R.C. though her website, www.rcmatthews.com, or on Facebook, Twitter or Goodreads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Author Speed Dating – Lenora Bell

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match. 

This week’s guest: Lenora Bell

 

 

15 Questions

1. If you had the chance for front-row tickets AND backstage passes with any band, past or present, which one would you be jamming with? Explain your choice.

Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings – I’m an alt-country girl at heart and their music is so hauntingly poetic and heartfelt.

2. What is the one thing you wish someone else had told you before you published your first book?

Don’t sweat the Goodreads reviews. Seriously – I stopped reading them because my mood would swing with the good and the bad opinions. So I just stopped. I have enough critical voices in my own head.

3. Keith Urban or Adam Levine?

I steer more country than pop, though I do like a man with lots of tattoos, and I’ve been known to have the moves like Jagger while I’m vacuuming.

4. What are your go-to meals for the final week before deadline?

Um, meals? More like grabbing fistfuls of chips and chocolate and washing it all down with wine.

5. Give the title of the first manuscript (published or unpublished) you ever wrote. What was the story about?

I honestly can’t remember the title of my first manuscript, but here’s the elevator pitch: A bad boy opium trader falls for a missionary’s daughter in Victorian-era Shanghai.

6. Books by George Orwell or Kristin Hannah?

I’m going with Orwell. Very relevant for the uncertain times we live in.

7. At which time of day are you more productive as a writer, mornings or nights, and is caffeine a friend or foe?

I’m a night owl and my favorite time to write is after 10pm. Coffee is my BFF, the stronger the better.

8. Which WIZARD OF OZ character were you most like during your junior high years?

I’m going to have to go with Dorothy since I played her in a grade school production of the Wizard of Oz. My family dog, a miniature schnauzer named Pepper, portrayed Toto, to great critical acclaim.

9.  In addition to writing, what are your other outlets for your creativity?

My husband and I are musicians and we like to sing and play instruments together. We’re always hunting for country/rock/jazz/blues on vinyl, and our record collection is getting out of control.

10. What type of shopper are you: mall rat, online shopper, bargain sleuth, or none of the above?

I navigate every city I visit by the location of the thrift and vintage stores because I love hunting for treasures.

11. Have you ever experienced misgivings as an author, and, if so, what are some of the ways you’ve tried to keep those feelings at bay?

I experienced the dreaded second book syndrome. I felt like the book would never get written, would never be good enough, and I’d have to give up writing. I dedicated the book “To all the girls who doubt themselves” because that’s exactly what I was doing. What helped me get through that dark time was the advice of fellow authors who had been through it themselves, and the book BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert.

12. Scandal or Pawn Stars?

Marvel’s The Defenders.

13. How many books have you published, and how many are still tucked in a drawer somewhere?

I’ve published a three-book series, and I have at least four half-finished books and two novellas languishing on my hard drive.

14. What was the most challenging revision you ever had to make in a manuscript?

Book two of my debut series was challenging all around. I had to completely rewrite it twice. Thank heavens my editor, Amanda Bergeron, was so very patient and brilliant. I never would have made it through without her.

15. Sure, it’s like picking a favorite child, but which one or two of your titles do you secretly love just a little more?

My debut novel featured a strong heroine who knew jujitsu and had a tattoo. Not your garden variety Regency heroine, and probably always my favorite.

***

Blame It on the Duke

By Lenora Bell

 

 

“What are you thinking about, Miss Tombs?” Lord Hatherly asked in a deep, sonorous voice that harbored a rumble of amusement.

Alice startled, blushing even harder. “Nothing. Nothing at all.” She struggled to calm her rapid breathing.

Regain your composure this instant, Alice Perpetua Felicity Tombs, she admonished sternly. You don’t want to bed him, you want to bedevil him. Inspire him to leave and never come back.

She was immune to his particular type of decadence. Well, wasn’t she? She risked a sideways glance. No one should have a jaw so chiseled or eyes so silver. It made her almost angry how handsome he was.

His appearance is the only agreeable thing about him, and he can’t take credit for what God gave him. Be rid of him quickly and thoroughly.

She must marshal her thoughts to order. Lead the charge. Hunt the hunter.

“Now then, Dimples,” he said. “Why don’t you tell me the real reason you don’t wish to marry.”

Had he just called her Dimples?

He was definitely going down in flames.

 

***

BLAME IT ON THE DUKE, Book #3 in the Disgraceful Dukes series and an April 2017 release from Avon Books, may be purchased through these and other retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and Harper Collins.

***

About Lenora

Lenora Bell grew up in a small Alaskan town by the ocean that still has no traffic lights or fast food. An English teacher with an MFA in Creative Writing, she travels the globe using music to bring smiles to classrooms. She currently lives in the Midwest with her carpenter husband and two naughty tiger-striped kitties. In 2014, she won the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award for Best Historical, and her first Regency romance was published by Avon Books in 2016. Stay in touch with Lenora through her website, www.lenorabell.com, or through these social-media channels: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Author Speed Dating – Ruth Kaufman

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match. 

This week’s guest: Ruth Kaufman

 

 

 

 

 

 

15 Questions

1. If Disney made an animated movie about you as Princess Ruth, which Disney hero would you choose as your Prince?

Princess Sparkle (because I love all things glittery and shiny!) would choose Prince Charming, because he’s, well, charming, and she’d love to live in a castle.

2. In which genres and subgenres have you been published, and what does your narrow or sweeping focus say about you?

I’ve published 4 Medievals (and a Medieval novella), but my next two will be humorous women’s fiction. The one after those should be a time travel to Elizabethan England with a paranormal hero. I hope writing in multiple genres and mixing genres says I’m creative with a lot of ideas and characters and that I love research.

3. Denzel Washington or Leonardo DiCaprio?

Definitely Denzel. He’s so talented and cool.

4. What is one of the biggest risks you’ve taken as a writer?

I released two versions of my first book, one with an “open bedroom door” that has the hero on the cover and one with a “closed bedroom door” that has the heroine on the cover. I’d hoped to interest readers who like some heat and those who prefer sweet. Unfortunately, the heroine’s book didn’t do very well.

5. If you could keep only the possessions that would fit in one suitcase, and you were limited to two books – one you wrote and one by someone else – which titles would you tuck inside your bag? Explain your choices.

I’d take FOLLOW YOUR HEART, my second book, because I love the characters and that the heroine is a stained-glass painter. And I’d take Margaret George’s THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF HENRY VIII because I couldn’t put it down and it’s very, very long.

6. How many rejections did you receive before you sold your first book, and what did you learn from them?

I received hundreds of rejections for more than 10 manuscripts and also at least a dozen revision letters from agents and editors before I self-published (meaning they were very interested in this or that project but wanted some changes before offering a contract). I learned that I wasn’t going to get the traditional publishing call I’d wanted, so I self-published.

7. For your social-media fix, do you prefer crazy cat videos or trivia quizzes on ’80s movies and Biblical characters?

None of the above. I’m also an actor, so if I’m going to spend time online in addition to following or contributing to my feeds, I’ll watch a web series or film someone I know is in or from someone I hope to work with.

8. Which character from one of your own books do you wish you were more like?

Annora of Amberley from my fourth book, MY ONCE & FUTURE LOVE. I appreciate her willingness to take risks, her determination and ability to remain mostly positive in the face of adversity. 

9. Perfect outfit: cowboy hat and boots or sundress and sandals?

Sundress and sandals.

10. Are you a pantser or a plotter in your writing, and have you always written this way, or have you changed methods throughout your career?

Pantser! And I give workshops about it. I read books about plotting and took workshops, and though I tried and tried, couldn’t get words on the page until I went back to pantsing.

11. What is your most ridiculous fear, and what have you done to challenge it?

I’m afraid of the dentist’s drill (my mom says it’s because when I was four, a dentist drilled with no Novocain). I force myself to go for a cleaning every time they send the reminder postcard because I’m more afraid of what might happen if I don’t.

12. What are some of the activities you’ve participated in, people you’ve interviewed or places you’ve visited to do research for one of your books?

For AT HIS COMMAND, I visited Castle Rising in England and made it the heroine’s home. And I took the picture of it that’s on the cover.

13. Name the strangest snack or food combination you love to eat when no one is watching.

Does everyone have a strange snack/combo except me? I love peanut butter and chocolate ice cream in general, and in particular Target’s Market Pantry version. I wish it came in a single-serve size because it’s so tempting….

14. Faith Hill or Lady Gaga?

Lady Gaga…amazingly talented.

15. In 10 words or less, give your best writing advice to aspiring authors.

Set weekly word goals and keep writing new pages.

***

 

 

At His Command

By Ruth Kaufman

 

 

 

Sir Nicholas Grey’s scout leaned forward in his saddle, holding up two fingers to let the others know two horses approached. Nicholas heard only the slight jangling of harnesses blended with wind rattling through the trees, but relied on his scout’s uncanny ability to hear what no one else could.

He and his eight men sat alert, deep enough in the forest to avoid being seen while maintaining a clear view of the road through leafless branches. Nine armed men could frighten travelers. ‘Twas best to let them pass.

Each man watched, each horse sinking deeper into chilling mire as a mud-covered, black palfrey plodded over the rise in the road, its long mane whipping in the frigid winds.

“No rider,” Martin, the scout, murmured.

“Look again,” Nicholas replied. At first he too had thought the horse was riderless. Now he could see a woman collapsed on the animal’s back. Her dark hair draped down its flank, mingling with the horse’s mane. The palfrey placed each step as if trying not to jostle its burden.

Another horse, this one a brown rouncey ridden by a thin, balding man, galloped after the palfrey. A look of triumph brightened the man’s face as he spotted the horse ahead of him. He bent forward, extending his hand. Fingers like talons grasped the woman’s tangled hair.

“Mine!” he cried.

Amice Winfield jerked awake. Agony forced her head back, allowing her to see the man who gripped her hair as though he’d perish if he let go.

Harry Winfield.

She screamed. Arrows of fear pierced her as she clawed at his fingers. Her horse bolted, leaving her dangling from Harry’s hand by a small clump of hair. The long strands held for a few seconds, then tore from her head.

Pain seared her scalp. She dropped into a puddle. Stunned by her fall and her stinging head, Amice could only stare at her tormentor while freezing water soaked her clothes. How she hated him. How she regretted her desperate flight from home. But what other choice did she have?

Harry gaped at the dark tresses hanging from his hand. He threw them to the ground as she struggled to rise. Panic gripped her as his hostile glare changed to a slow, confident smile.

“There’s nowhere to run. I’ll catch you if it’s the last thing I do,” he vowed. He leapt off his horse.

Amice tugged her sodden skirts, trying to haul them out of the puddle. Where was her mount? Too far away to reach without being caught, weighted down as she was. Sprays of water flew as she heaved her skirts over her arm. Heart racing, she ran for the trees. A branch snagged her. With a cry of frustration, she pulled the wet wool until it wrenched free.

Ignoring twigs tearing at her skin and icy mud that sucked away one of her shoes, she forged ahead. She gasped for air as she plunged into a tiny clearing, then came to an abrupt halt at the sight of a group of mounted men.

 

***

AT HIS COMMAND (Historical Romance Version), Wars of the Roses Brides Book 1, is available for purchase through Amazon.

 

***

About Ruth

Ruth Kaufman is the Amazon bestselling author of the Wars of the Roses Brides trilogy (AT HIS COMMAND, FOLLOW YOUR HEART and THE BRIDE TOURNAMENT) and MY ONCE AND FUTURE LOVE. Accolades include 2016 Booksellers Best Award Best Historical and Best First Book winner and Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® award winner.

An actor, speaker and storyteller with an M.S. and J.D, Ruth has had roles in independent feature films, web series, pilots, national TV commercials and hundreds of voiceover projects. She enjoys living in Chicago and singing in a symphony chorus. Learn more at www.ruthkaufman.com, www.ruthtalks.com and her blog “Gainfully Unemployed” . Follow her through these social-media channels:  Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, her Amazon Author Page and Instagram @ruthjkchi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Author Speed Dating – Victoria Craven

 

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match.

This week’s guest: Victoria Craven

 

 

 

15 Questions

1. If a director made a movie about your life, which actress (living or dead) would you like to portray you, and which one would more likely be cast?

I would like to be portrayed by Renée Zellweger. She seems to understand chaos. If Madelyn Khan were still alive, I would more likely be portrayed by her as the drama queen.

2. What are some of the things that have changed in publishing since your first book was published?

The thing that has changed the most is social media. There is more exposure than ever, and if you’re not paying attention, you’re going to miss something.

3. Us Weekly or Newsweek?

Newsweek. I like the coverage of their stories.

4. As a reader, do you sneak a peek at the end of the book, or do you make yourself wait for answers until the very end?

I never, never take a peek at the end. Reading a book from beginning to end is part of a journey I take with the author.

5. Have you ever, even for a moment, forgotten that one of your characters was…you know…fictional?

I talk about my characters as though they are real. I give them a life of their own. They are very real to me. My family thinks I’m crazy. I don’t disagree with them.

6. In which genres and sub-genres are you published, and which others do you plan to add to the list in the next two years?

Currently, I’m published in paranormal, historical romance, but in the next two years I hope to be published in suspense.

7. Brad Pitt or David Beckham?

Brad Pitt he is aging beautifully. David Beckham is young enough to make me feel like Mrs. Robinson.

8. If we imagine that a reader has lived on a desert island and missed the opportunity to read one of your books, which title do you recommend that she order as soon as she returns to civilization?

The first book in my series, IMMORTAL LOVE.

9. Do you have a green thumb or black one, and, either way, how are you gearing up for spring planting season?

I have a black one. I have managed to kill everything I attempted to grow. Thank goodness I live in a condo.

10. When and how did you first decide you wanted to be an author?

I decided to be a writer when I got my first computer. There were blank pages calling to my imagination.

11. Antique Roadshow or Law & Order: SVU?

Antique Roadshow. I love the unexpected treasures people were hanging on to and had no idea what it was worth.

12. What is your favorite song of all time, and what do you do when it comes on the radio or when you stream it?

“Piano Man” by Billy Joel. Every time I hear it, I just have to sing.

13. What do you believe is your biggest strength as a writer, and what has been your approach to tackling some of your weaknesses?

My biggest strength is character development. I have to use an outline to tackle the events that get them from point A to point B.

14. Regarding board games, Scrabble or Left, Right, Center?

It has to be Left, Right, Center. I suck at Scrabble. It’s a shame to admit for a writer.

15. What is your biggest hope for a reader when she opens one of your books?

That they love the characters and their journey that brings them together.

***

 

Destiny’s Promise

By Victoria Craven

 

He carried Carina to her chambers and laid her limp body on the bed. She was growing cold. His mind reached out to listen to her heartbeat. It was slow but steady. He piled blankets on her and stirred up the embers in the hearth adding new logs.

He sat back down on the bed and rubbed her cold hands. “Come on Carina, wake up.” She was barely breathing. He shook her shoulders, “Come back to me, sweetheart.”

Kiera ran through the door. She looked at Carina on the bed. “What happened?”

“We were talking then all of a sudden she collapsed.”

“Let me see what I can do.” Kiera took Carina’s hands and closed her eyes. Soon color returned to her face and her breathing was more audible.

Eleanor and Arelia charged in. “What’s wrong,” Eleanor said.

“She collapsed.”

Arelia placed her hand on Carina’s head. “She’s coming out of it.”

Fury burned inside of him. The table began to shake. Eleanor turned to him. “You better get out of here before you hurt someone.”

“That’s exactly what I plan to do.” He ran out of the room and headed for the stairs. He took them two at a time, then out of the Great Hall and headed toward the Golden Goblet. He could feel the energy building inside him, and his fingertips tingled.

When he first walked in he didn’t see Disa, but felt her presence. He crashed through her chamber door. To his satisfaction she jumped. He heard her two henchmen running up the stairs and he sent a bolt of energy, knocking them end over end. To his satisfaction she looked worried, but soon covered it up with a smug expression.

“Why, my Lord to what do I owe the pleasure.”

“I want you to stop doing what you’re doing to Carina.”

“Like I said. No.”

She said it with such finality, his temper flared, shattering the mirror on the wall. “Don’t test me, Disa.”

“Oh, please, what are you going to do, make it rain?”

He opened his palm and summoned a lightning ball. Then he opened his other palm and summoned another. Disa had barely enough time to throw up a protection spell before the lightning splintered toward her, yet her spell wasn’t strong enough and it began to crack. She threw another one to reinforce it.

Another bolt hit her wall and it began to crack again. With one final push of energy he’d broken through and her protection spell shattered, blowing her back on the bed.

He closed his fists and walked over to her. His face merely inches from hers. “Leave now,” he said with a deadly growl, “or so help me God, I will make you suffer.” Then stormed out of the room.

***

 

DESTINY’S PROMISE, Book 3 in the Love Conquers All series, is a March 7, 2017, release from Tell-Tale Publishing. It may be purchased from Amazon.

***

About Victoria

Victoria Craven was born to tell stories. Throughout her childhood she was a daydreamer. Growing up, she told the most outrageous tales to her friends that got her in trouble now and then. She escaped the mundane to live in her fantasies: She was a mermaid, a princess, a spy, and an explorer trekking across the tundra in Antarctica. Even as an adult, she saved just a little part of herself to drift into her dream world.

Then one day she said to herself, “I’m going to write a book,” and that’s what she did. She had no idea what it took to be a writer, thinking all you had to do was add some words and ideas to a page and poof, a book, and every word was golden. What a rude awakening when her writer friends took her into the light and showed her just how much she had to learn. That process is still going on today!

Victoria has published the first three books in a historical paranormal series, Love Conquers All.

Currently, she resides in the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area with her wonderful husband, who spoils her rotten. And from time to time is her critique buddy.  She is the mother of three beautiful daughters and grandmother to four wonderful grandchildren.

When she isn’t writing, she doting on her grandchildren, curled up on the couch with her husband, or having a sleepover with her best friends.

And she still saves just a little bit of her life for those daydreams.

Stay in contact with Victoria through her website, www.victoriacraven.com, or connect with her through Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

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Author Speed Dating – Rosanne Bittner

Author Speed Dating(1)

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match.

This week’s guest: Rosanne Bittner

Rosanne pic

 HISTORICAL ROMANCE

 

15 Questions

1. If you were to make an appearance at Comic-Con, which Superhero costume would you be rocking?

Sorry, but I watch very, very little TV.  I don’t know what Comic-Con is, but if I wore a superhero costume (actually I hate dressing up in costumes and never do it – ever) – but if I had to, I would probably be Catwoman.

2. At which time of day are you more productive as a writer, mornings or nights, and is caffeine a friend or foe?

I am most productive in the wee hours of the morning – like 1 a.m. to 4 a.m. Caffeine is my best friend. I probably drink too much coffee. I am not a heavy sleeper and never have been. Four to five hours is enough for me, and I’m always up by 5 or 6 a.m. even if I go to bed at 4 a.m. At 72, I have too many things I want to do in this life and too many books I still want to write to waste my time sleeping.

3. George Clooney or Bradley Cooper?

Bradley Cooper in a New York minute.  He’s gorgeous, and he seems like an ordinary man.  And his acting in American Sniper was phenomenal.

4. What is your biggest dream as an author?

My biggest dream as an author has already been realized – to actually make a living writing and to write many, many books.  I’m up to #65. My only other dream would be to have a movie made out of one of my books.

5. Name a movie you’ve watched countless times but one you’ll still tune in to whenever it’s on cable.

Oh, my gosh, there is more than one movie I watch over and over and never get tired of it. The Shootist is one, for so many reasons.  It was John Wayne’s last movie, and just like the character, he, too, was dying of cancer.  And it reminds me of how my outlaw character would want to die if he knew he was already dying.  Jake Harkner would have to go down with guns blazing. I always ball my eyes out at the end of The Shootist. How very fitting it was for John Wayne.  I also love Pale Rider with Clint Eastwood, and The Big Country with Gregory Peck – and my favorite comedy would have to be Rat Race.  I laugh ’til I cry.  I could name so many more, probably at least 25.

6. How many books have you published and in how many genres and sub-genres?

My one and only genre is historical romance – I love, love, love American history and the magnificent western landscape.  My Christmas story coming in October will be book #65, and I have many more I want to write.

7. Love It or List It or Modern Family?

Again – I don’t watch TV.  I don’t know what Love It or List It is.  I have seen some episodes of Modern Family and I loved it, so I’d have to say Modern Family.

8. What is your favorite way to celebrate after you receive a new book contract or get a great review?

My favorite way to celebrate after signing a new contract?  I sit down and start writing. By the time I sign the contract, the book it is for is usually already half written, and I’m relieved it’s truly a done deal because I love every story I write and am always thrilled it will finally be published. I “live” in my stories, and my greatest pleasure is being with my characters as I write. I’m not outwardly effusive, and I don’t drink, so I just get busy writing.

9. What is your best advice for new writers?

My best advice for new writers – WRITE WHAT YOU LOVE!!!  DO NOT WRITE FOR THE MARKET.  And if you are a born writer, you will never struggle with ideas and you will never look at writing as work … and you will never come up with excuses as to why you don’t have time to write.

10. Extra-large French fries or a perfect square of dark chocolate?

A perfect square of dark, dark chocolate – at least 75% cacao.

11. Which of your books gave you the most trouble, and what helped you make it to “the end”?

I never have trouble finishing a book.  I start a story (no outline) and just let things happen. It almost always works out. I guess if I had to pick one that gave me trouble it would be WHERE HEAVEN BEGINS because the hero had to have a redeeming moment that turned his life around at the end of the book. (It was an inspirational story.)  All the way through the story I had no idea what that redeeming moment would be or how it would happen. I just trusted that it would come to me when I reached that point, and it did. God was guiding me.

12. Do you have a music playlist for writing? If so, list some of your go-to artists.

Oh, yes, I definitely have a music playlist.  Too many artists and themes to list.  It depends on how I picture the characters and what the theme of the story is.  I have several albums (in my iPhone of course) from the great westerns of the past, and I listen to those a lot. I sit at the computer with earphones on to drown out the TV while I write – or, of course, I write deep in the night when it’s nice and quiet.  My favorite would have to be the theme from The Big Country.

13. Virginia Woolf or Maya Angelou?

Actually, neither one.

14. What do you do when you’re in the middle of a book and a new idea pops into your head?

If a new idea for another story pops into my head while I’m working on a book, I simply create a new document and record the idea so I don’t lose it.  Sometimes I even give it a title. Believe me, this happens a lot. I have trouble shutting off my brain. New ideas just keep coming. And, by the way, I never start a book without a title. For some reason, I have to settle on a title before I can write the story.

15. Were there other authors who helped you along the way on your writer’s journey, and how did they make a difference for you?

I need no inspiration from other authors to sit down and write – and when I started writing back in 1979, I didn’t know any other authors. I wrote about 12 books before I even met another published author.  There were no writers’ groups like Romance Writers of America – no help or guidance of any kind. I wrote on a manual typewriter and just picked out publishers who published the kind of books I wrote and started sending out my manuscripts. I had probably at least 70 rejections and had written 9 books before I finally sold one. It was that 9th book that sold, and the publisher asked if I could turn it into a series of 4 books and I said “yes” with absolutely no idea what I would do. It ended up becoming my 7-book Savage Destiny series, which to this day are still my best-selling books even though they are over 30 years old!!

 

***

 

LOVE'S SWEET REVENGE COVER

 

 

 

Love’s Sweet Revenge

By Rosanne Bittner

 

[Note: Here Jake is all man and “there” for his wife.  This has nothing to do with sex.  This is a very serious moment, as something terrible has happened to Randy and Jake needs to be strong for her.  Most of their married life it’s been Randy who is strong for Jake because he is an emotionally unstable man who is often visited by his dark past and lives on the edge of sanity and insanity because of his incredibly cruel childhood.  Now Randy needs him in a way she’s never needed him before, and he has to stay right with her on this and see her through it.  Jake loves this woman so much that he rises above his own needs to be the strong, supportive husband she needs right now.]

He held her tighter.  “Who do you belong to?”

She jerked in a sob.  “I don’t know.”

“Yes, you do,” he said softly.  “Say it.”

She hugged him tighter around the neck.  “You.”

“Say my name, Randy. Who do you belong to?”

She curled so tightly against him it was as though she wanted to crawl inside him.  “Jake Harkner,” she whispered.

“You bet. Nothing has changed that, and nothing ever will.”

“Tell me you’re not in trouble, Jake.”

“I’m not in trouble.”

“You won’t go away?”

“Never.”

“No one is coming to get you?”

“No one’s coming to get me.”

“I was always scared you’d … never come back … back in Oklahoma.  Don’t take that job, Jake … that ranger job.  I don’t want you to go away.”

“I’m not going anywhere.

“Don’t let go.  I love … being in your arms.

“And that’s where you are right now.”

“I knew you’d come.”

“I’d walk through the fires of hell for you.”

***

LOVE’S SWEET REVENGE, published by Sourcebooks Casablanca, may be purchased from these and other retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million.

 

***

About Rosanne

USA TODAY best-seller Rosanne Bittner has been writing almost 40 years.  SWEET PRAIRIE PASSION, her very first book, was published in 1982.  That was 66 books ago, and she promises more to come!  Rosanne’s first love is American history, especially the Old West and Native Americans.  In March, 2017, a new Native American romance by Rosanne, CAPTURE MY HEART, will be published in print and e-book by Amazon. Rosanne writes well-researched books that have won numerous awards, including the prestigious WILLA award from Women Writing the West. She was named ”Queen of Western Romance,” by Romantic Times Reviews, who nominated her second “Outlaw” book, DO NOT FORSAKE ME, for “Best Western Romance for 2015”.  Nearly all of her novels have garnered great reviews by Publishers Weekly.

Rosanne belongs to several writers’ groups and historical societies.  She and her husband, Larry, have been married almost 51 years.  Together they have traveled the west for over 40 years, mostly for research for Rosanne’s stories.  Her newest novel, LOVE’S SWEET REVENGE, is the third book in her acclaimed “Outlaw” series, with a fourth book coming in September, 2017, THE LAST OUTLAW. In October, her Christmas story, “A Chick-A-Dee Christmas,” was published in an anthology called CHRISTMAS IN A COWBOY’S ARMS.

Learn more about Rosanne through her website, www.rosannebittner.com, and blog, www.rosannebittner.blogspot.com, and stay in touch with her by email or through these social media channels: Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter.

 

 

 

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Author Speed Dating – Alyssa Alexander

Author Speed Dating(1)

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match.

This week’s guest: Alyssa Alexander

 

Alyssa Alexander Seated

 HISTORICAL ROMANCE

15 Questions

1.Which character in “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is your favorite, and what does that say about you?

The Abominable Snowman, Bumble. Poor thing has no teeth at the end, but he does the whole lemon out of lemonade thing and is quite happy when all is said and done…Who knows what says about me! LOL!

2. What are some of things you do to work your way through a plot problem?

Shower. Meditate. Wine. Hash it out with CPs. Wash dishes (this seems to work best!)

3. Name your favorite author who writes in a genre that you never write.

Tough one. Um…I don’t know!

4. Cherry cordials or candy canes?

Candy canes. Because yuk on cherry cordials. *shudder*

5. How many full manuscripts did you have to write before you were first published?

Trick question! 6 full drafts of one manuscript in 6 years, but it was a full rewrite each time so it was like 6 books. The “second” book, I cut out 100 pages at one point and did serious rewrites—probably the equivalent to 2 books. So, technically, 2 books, but in reality, 8 books. And, are you confused yet?

6. In 10 words or less, give your best tip for aspiring authors.

Write. Dream. Write. Ignore inner critic. Write. Trust Yourself. Write. Find good CPs. Write some more.  [Editor’s Note: That’s 10 plus some bonus words. :)]

7. Lifetime Christmas movies. Yea or nay?

Yea!

8. What was the lowest point in your writing career, and how did you recover from it?

I’ve had a few low points for different reasons—but the recovery is always the same. Keep on keeping on. BICHOK. Bottom In Chair, Hands On Keyboard. Fight for what I want! I’ve had people tell me I couldn’t do be an author for various reasons—I’ve never believed. Or, at least, not for long. 🙂

9. Are you traditionally published, self-published or a “hybrid” author, and why did you choose that path?

Traditional, mostly because I worked full-time and didn’t want to figure out how to go it alone!

10. “O Holy Night” (Josh Groban version) or “White Christmas” (Bing Crosby version)?

“O Holy Night”, ANY version. Though I might have crush on Bing’s voice.

 11. Which character from one of your own books do you wish you were more like?

Tough one. Grace, because she’s got a steady coolness I can’t dredge up. I’m much more like Lilias from In Bed With A Spy, or Vivienne from my upcoming release from Entangled—they don’t hesitate to kick a$$. I have a temper! Usually well buried, but when it comes out…whoo boy. Run. But Grace has something softer about her that I wish I could find in myself.

12. What is your strategy for writing over the holidays?

Same as always… BICHOK. It’s actually easier to write over the holidays because I have more free time!

13. Of all the delightful treats available during the holiday season, which one would you prefer to hide in a closet so you don’t have to share it with anyone?

Do they serve potato chips at the holidays? Because I’ve actually hidden in my pantry so I could eat cheddar and sour cream chips and not have to share. I might have also been in recovery after a Terrible Twos tantrum.

14. Do you belong to a critique group, and how has that membership affected your writing?

Not a formal critique group, but a few friends who trade manuscripts back and forth…It’s been invaluable. Absolutely invaluable. We were at the same points of our career, which meant we discussed craft, too, and though I still have so much to learn, I wouldn’t know what I do know without them!

15. What is your usual New Year’s Resolution, and how quickly do you usually break it?

Lose weight, naturally! Some years I do, some years I don’t. But I recently decided not to make that resolution. My 2017 resolutions are: Be happy. Be healthy. Be strong. Love on my family. Forgive myself for mistakes, but always persevere. Go to the gym not because I want to lose weight, but because I want to be a healthier version of me…I think that about covers it!

***

AlyssaAlexander_book

In Bed With a Spy

By Alyssa Alexander

 

It didn’t seem possible a person could be abducted from a London townhouse in the middle of a crowded ball. But it had happened.

Now here she was, sitting in Angelstone’s carriage, with the faint glow of the lamps highlighting his inflexible jaw and cutting cheekbones. All lean legs and broad shoulders, he filled the vehicle’s interior. In the partial light, with his unreadable gaze and his unruly queue of hair, he looked much more dangerous than a fallen angel.

“Angelstone.”

“Mrs. Fairchild.” The words were clipped. No seductive purr, no sensual smile from those lips. Lips that had kissed her senseless and reminded her she was a woman with needs and desires. Even now, she could she taste him. Rich brandy and wild heat.

Embarrassment washed through her. She’d been forward and shameless, and look where she found herself. Hands bound and trapped in a man’s carriage, destined for parts unknown and heaven knew what treatment.

“I demand to be released.”

“No.”

“Why am I here?” she fired back.

“I think you are quite aware.” He watched her steadily as he pulled off first one glove, then the other and stuffed them in his pocket. It was an unpardonably rude gesture for a gentleman. Obviously, he was not a gentleman.

He was close enough she could kick him. But she wouldn’t be able to open the carriage door quickly with her hands bound. And he had the medallion. The final gift from her husband, one he gave her with his last breath.

She refused to leave without it.

“The medallion is mine,” she said.

“Is it? Interesting.” The conversational tone of his words was oddly frightening. “Well, now the medallion is mine.” Propping his elbows on his knees, he leaned forward. He filled the space between them until his face was only a foot from hers.

The instinct to shrink into the seat was overwhelming.

So she leaned forward to meet him. And smiled. Slowly. “Give me”—she angled her head insolently—“the medallion.”

 

***

In Bed With a Spy may be purchased from these retailers: AmazonBarnes & Noble and Books-A-Million.

 

 

***

About Alyssa

Alyssa Alexander is an award-winning author who survives the cold Michigan winters by penning romance novels that always include a bit of adventure. Her debut release, The Smuggler Wore Silk, was awarded 4.5 Stars and Top Pick by Romantic Times and nominated for the RT 2014 Best First Historical and the 2015 Best First Book RITA. Her second book, In Bed With a Spy received a Starred Review from Publishers Weekly and 4.5 Stars and Top Pick from Romantic times. She has been called a “talented newcomer” and “a rising star you won’t want to miss.”

Connect with Alyssa through her website at www.alyssa-alexander.com or through these social media channels: Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest and Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

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Author Speed Dating – Gina Conkle

Author Speed Dating(1)

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted to my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match.

This week’s guest: Gina Conkle

 

Gina Conkle pic

Historical

15 Questions

1. If you were a My Little Pony character, what image would be tattooed on your butt?

A heart with a banner reading “sweet” across the middle.

2. What was genre of the first piece you can remember writing, and how old were you when you penned this masterpiece?

A dystopian story titled “The Girl Who Stopped World War III.” I was in 5th grade.

3. Since all of November authors are Americans, name some dishes that are must-haves for your Thanksgiving dinner.

Mashed potatoes, pies (peach, Dutch apple, and pecan).

4. If you could write a novel containing any generally “off-limits” element, what would we find in your story?

This is too funny! I’m putting the finishing touches on my “off-limits” story (The Proper Care and Feeding of a Broken Heart). A few months ago I gave myself permission to write this no-holds barred contemporary romance with profanity and off-the-charts sex. It releases in December, part of a “Kissables” series.

5.  Project Runway or Designated Survivor?

 Neither. Except for Fixer Upper‘ and Flip or Flop, I avoid reality TV.

6. Is social media a bad habit for you, and, if so, what is your favorite time drain?

Oh time suck, thy name is Pinterest!

7. With no money limit, if you could construct the most perfect writing space, what would it look like?

Big windows. A fireplace. Built in shelves. A comfy couch.

8. Sushi or pepperoni pizza with extra cheese?

Sushi.

9. What book are you reading right now, and what is the best book you’ve read in a long time?

Reading now: Warrior by Nicole Jordan (a throwback to the ’90s) and The Master by Kresley Cole. Dream of Me by Josie Litton is best book.

10. How many full and partial manuscripts remain in your never-published collection?

1) First few chapters of French Scribe. 2) A partial manuscript of Secrets in Amber, a Viking romance started in 2012 and has only this year gone out on submission (so far no takers). 3) A hot and steamy contemporary novella, “Anything But Safe”, that I entered in an erotic contest years ago – it came in 3rd and I shelved it. I swore ABS would never see the light of day. Now, it’ll be part of the Kissables duology releasing in December.

11. Bob Dylan or Dylan Thomas?

Bob Dylan (I saw him in concert in Santa Barbara).

12. Name your favorite hero or heroine from one of your books, and share what made that character special.

I love Cyrus Ryland from The Lady Meets Her Match. He tried to fit into Society, but he was big and out of place, a commoner who eventually saw through ulterior motives.

13. Who was the first person – besides your mom and dad –   who told you that you could write?

Mrs. Miller, my 5th grade teacher.

14. Dogs or cats? Pedigree or mutts?

Dogs. Rescue mutts.

15. What is your favorite point while you are writing a new story?

I love when characters reveal deeper story issues. No matter how hard you try to plot those moments, characters are like friends who share themselves on their own sweet time.

***

GinaConkle_ToFindAVikingTreasure_HR 1A

To Find a Viking Treasure

By Gina Conkle

 

 

Brandr sliced the oars through water…back and forth, his body’s motion hypnotic and smooth. “Go ahead. Talk to me.”

The Viking could be a mystical warrior dressed in black against waning fog, his graveled voice working a kind of silken magic. Sun shined through clouds, the pearled orb anointing his head. Perhaps Odin did send Brandr to save the day.

Wraiths rose up from the channel as if to push them along. Did the Norse gods want them to succeed? She didn’t believe in Odin and his Valkyries, but the stories Vikings spun at night entranced her.

“You could tell me what you’ll do with your reward,” she said.

He snorted. “I said you could talk to me. Not the other way around.”

“That’s not how it works. People take turns talking and listening to each other. It’s called conversation.” She angled her head coyly. “Vikings can do it. I’ve seen it happen.”

Brandr squinted at tree tops rising above the mist. “Never been much for talk.”

“Your mouth never stops when trading jibes with me.”

His chuckle was raspy and low. “You have a way of loosening my tongue.”

To her shame, his laugh cut a scorching path through her body and her legs fell open under her skirts. Her knees were heavy, and she left them open.

“You’re a warrior long in service to Lord Hakan. Surely you’ll get a bigger reward than a handful of coins?”

His tarnished silver eyes pinned her. “Maybe I get you.”

***

To Find a Viking Treasure may be purchased through these online retailers: Amazon   |  B&N  | Kobo  |  iBooks   |  GooglePlay.

 

***

About Gina

Hi, I’m Gina Conkle, writer of Viking and Georgian romance. I grew up in southern California, and despite all that sunshine, I love books over beaches and stone castles over sand castles. Now my family, which includes my favorite alpha male, Brian, and our two sons, live in Michigan where I dabble in gardening (I grow organic tulips) and try my hand at cooking (which meant feeding Viking recipes to my family this last summer). If you’re looking for free guilty reads, check out my newsletter.

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Pinterest

 

 

 

 

 

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