Author Speed Dating – Tracy Bilen

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: Tracy Bilen

 

 

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?

Keith Urban’s “Cop Car” because it’s about teen love and a bad boy (although actually it’s the girl who runs from the cops!) 

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.

ON WRITING: A MEMOIR OF THE CRAFT by Stephen King

PAGE AFTER PAGE by Heather Sellers

REVISION AND SELF-EDITING by James Scott Bell

 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?

Definitely Neal Caffrey. I love that he paints! And his buddy Mozzie is adorable.

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

YA romantic thrillers – I love to be scared as long as I can fall in love too.

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

Social media isn’t as much as of a problem for me as Yahoo News. I spend too much time on tragedies and celebrity gossip.

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

A singer at a teacher conference singing super old and awful French songs.

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

Murder scenes, of course! It’s less cringe-worthy. 

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

I’m too shy. I wish I didn’t hate parties. 

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?

A movie marathon with lots of Nicolas Sparks and “Anne of Green Gables.”

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

Overcoming a loss.

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

Pizza, soft pretzels, M&M’s, and 3 Musketeers.

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

Lowest point: querying a book that didn’t sell.

I recovered by writing a better book!

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

A tree house in Switzerland with a window seat and a beautiful view of mountains, a river, and a waterfall.

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?

I’d prefer Piper Perabo.  More likely: Meg Ryan.

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

Reading, biking, clogging (like tap dance but with jingle taps), hiking in the woods or the mountains.

***

 

 

 

What She Left Behind

By Tracy Bilen

CHAPTER 1:  MONDAY

I sometimes have this dream that I’m drowning in a giant bowl of oatmeal. That’s how I feel when I’m at home. When I’m at school, it’s different. I hang out with Zach, sneak Ritz Bits crackers during class, and read horror novels in history. I like horror because it puts things in perspective. I mean, at least I’m not being chased by killer bees and no one’s trying to hack off my arm.

First period is band. Right now it’s marching season, which sucks because it’s all about football. I hate football. Usually I stuff a copy of Soap Opera Digest between my uniform and my real clothes so I have something to do between the pregame and half-time shows.

What I really like is concert season. That’s when I get to trade in my big, clunky, ordinary clarinet for my E-flat clarinet. Matt—that’s my brother—used to call it the “shrunken clarinet,” as if I had left it in the dryer too long.

I’m playing my shrunken clarinet in the living room, trying to chase away that oatmeal-dream feeling, when my mom comes in and stands right next to me. “Sara, we have to go,”  she whispers, even though my dad isn’t there to hear her. She’s not crying. She’s calm. Matter-of-fact. As if she’s asking me whether I want mayo or mustard on my sandwich. Except in secret.

I know it’s time to go. I’ve known for a long time.

“You must think I’m an idiot for not getting us out of here sooner.”

“It’s O.K.,” I say. I twirl my ponytail, like you do to turn off the faucet when the hose is spraying all over you.  I do that when I’m nervous. Or lying. Or both. “I’ll go get my things.”  I open the case and put away my clarinet.

“We’ll leave at lunch tomorrow. I’ll pick you up at the Dairy Dream.”

Tomorrow? When you decide to do something you should just do it. Otherwise you might change your mind. Especially if you’re my mom.

“Don’t pack a lot. Just your duffel bag.”

One bag? How do you put a whole life in one bag?

“Leave it under your bed. I’ll stop and get it just before I come pick you up.”

That’s it? This is Mom’s plan?

“Hurry. Before he gets home.”

            On your mark, get set…

“Sara, we have to be careful. Your dad said –”

“Can’t we talk later? Like, tomorrow in the car?”  I know what she wants to tell me. She forgets I was there.

***

WHAT SHE LEFT BEHIND, a 2012 release from Simon Pulse, Simon & Schuster, may be purchased through these retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound and Powell’s.

***

About Tracy

Tracy Bilen is the YA author of WHAT SHE LEFT BEHIND (Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster). She is a high school French teacher in Michigan where she lives with her husband and children. Tracy studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and taught Spanish at a high school ski academy. She loves biking, traveling, and red velvet cake. Stay in touch with Tracy through her website, www.tracybilen.com, and through Facebook and Twitter.

 

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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.

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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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