Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Cool Summer Reading and Research

The first blast of summer heat really hit this week in Colorado and much as it may get me down, it also brought new energy for writing and for reading. Growing up in a small town on the Colorado plains before every house had air conditioning meant we were always looking for the coolest place we could find. Often that turned out to be the downtown library, so I spent at least one afternoon a week there getting fresh reading material or just sitting in the cool air before the long walk home.


This past weekend took me on a research trip to southern Colorado and while the heat was crushing, the experience was uplifting and invigorating because it included a stop at one of my favorite places -- an old library. Learning about family roots, the Wild West, ranching, the world of cowboys and the like is always a fun experience, but doing it in the cool of a library while the temperature is rising outside makes for an even sweeter experience. When you spend so much time inside writing, it can be fun to also do it in a place where research is quickly at hand.
       My research was also very interesting and I will soon be putting that into a book I am working on.  Imagine the story of a young sheepherder of the 1870s who is suddenly confronted with this hyper visitor from the 2000s? Quite a complication, right?  And imagine that person from the present suddenly having to deal with that summer heat in Southern Colorado without air conditioning or all the modern tools of today.  I won't go beyond that with my story idea, but it's something I've wanted to write for a while.

I love setting stories along the plains of southern Colorado or northern New Mexico. One of my first romances, Home Fires Burning, was set in the area not too far from where I was visiting, and we had time to take a drive through that area while we were there.  If you're looking for a fun summer read, you might try the romantic story of Bonita and her cowboy, Max.

"I'm going to marry that boy someday."
Little Bonita Dominguez made that pledge the first time she saw Max Cameron. Now it's about to happen, but nothing is going the way she once dreamed. Carrying a secret she has kept since she left the family ranch ten years ago, she would prefer to be back in California where she has built a new life--a life that doesn't include Max. 

Now a chic, sophisticated entrepreneur, Bonita certain isn't the same playful girl Max remembers from his past. For the past ten years he has devoted his life to his ranch. Does he have room in his heart for Bonita? Does she have the courage to admit the truth about her life to him
Buy link:

Enjoy your reading! And don't forget those libraries for a cool way to spend the day with any book you might want to read or use for research!


                                                                         


  

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Fun Stories for Summer Reading

This summer has started off too quickly for me. There are so many things going on, and already I have a summer trip coming up. Of course that means I need some good reading material for either sitting around the pool or while I am waiting for transportation. Enter an anthology that grabbed my interest immediately... on so many levels. The title, Hunks to the Rescue, had me wanting to start reading right away, even before my trip.

Fantasizing about being rescued by a red-hot hunk? Indulge in this box set of alpha rescuers with a delicious talent for romance. 18 stand-alone novellas from New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning authors will steam up your nights and leave you begging for more. Whether the hunk you lust for is military, a firefighter, first responder, undercover agent, cowboy, bad boy mafioso, or that sexy, everyday guy who plucks you from danger only to kiss you senseless, this bundle has your hero.

18 hunks. 18 heart-pounding rescues. Brand-new stories. 

I don't know about you, but I am more than ready to dive in! 
One of the authors in the anthology, Katie O'Sullivan, has been a guest in My Writing Corner before so knew I was in for some good storytelling.  Katie is a recovering English major who lives on Cape Cod. She says living in the area near the Atlantic influences everything she writes. She specializes in romances and adventure for young adults, but sometimes, like so many of us, she likes to spread her wings and try other genres.

And that brings us to her story in Hunks: Breaking the Rules. 

Jake Campbell hates rules. Undercover to stop a drug ring at a posh Cape Cod resort, he can’t resist the fiery head chef, Abbie Duncan. She may be on the suspect list, but he can’t keep his hands to himself. With a rising body count, he must keep Abbie safe…but can he trust her with his jaded heart?

Let's get a quick excerpt:

Recognition jolted through Abbie like an electrical surge. Whatever she was about to say to the captain evaporated from her mind while she stared into the most gorgeous blue eyes she’d ever seen.
What w as the hot blond god from the bar doing in her boss’s office?
Her first thought was that he’d tracked her down, but she quickly dismissed the idea. They hadn’t even spoken last night, something she’d regretted all the way home. She cleared her throat and was about to introduce herself when Captain Nickerson interrupted.
“Abbie, I didn’t realize you’d already met my, uh, nephew. He’s on Cape looking for a job. We were discussing the possibilities with John.”
She furrowed her brow and dragged her eyes away from the depths of the blue pools. “I didn’t know you had any nephews besides my brother, Uncle Charlie.”
Nickerson chuckled and twisted his silver watch band. “Jake’s dad is an old family friend, just like your dad and me, Abigail. When the boy needed to get out of Boston for the summer, his dad requested my help.”
Her eyes slid back over to Jake, appraising him. He looked like he was about her age, give or take a few years. Strong jawline, sculpted lips, wide shoulders, capable looking hands… she drank him in from top to bottom, every nerve ending in her body kicking into overdrive. Well-dressed and clean shaven, he certainly didn’t look like some punk kid whose father needed to call in favors to find him a job. And those eyes… she dared another glance at his face and found him looking straight at her, amusement twinkling within that sea of blue. She could happily drown in eyes like those. She wondered whether he was seeing anyone. Not that she’d had much time to date recently but for the right guy she could make time. Maybe. Her gaze slid along angular cheekbones to the scruff on his jawline… yeah, she should definitely carve out some time to get to know this guy.
She wondered what those sculpted lips would taste like, how they would feel on the sensitive skin along her neck… her cheeks blazed anew at the sudden and intimate direction of her thoughts. Nerves jangling, heart suddenly beating faster, she almost missed the rest of what Uncle Charlie was saying.
“…and at least now he’s learned his lesson about making time with the owner’s daughter. Unfortunately, come to find out the man has unsavory connections so we all felt it would be safer for Jake to make himself scarce for a few months. Thanks for offering him a position in the kitchen, John.”

Her eyes widened as she processed the meaning behind the words. “Wait a sec, Uncle Charlie. Let me get this straight. You want to hide a playboy who can’t keep it in his pants at work… hide him from the mob… and put him on my kitchen staff?” 

If you are as ready to buy as I am, Hunks has just been released and here is the website with lots of nice offers as well as the Buy Links:

https://hunkstotherescue.com/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hunks-Rescue-Contemporary-Romance-Novellas-ebook/dp/B06XNQ583Y
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hunks-to-the-rescue-margo-bond-collins/1125960767?ean=2940154259252
KOBO: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/hunks-to-the-rescue

24symbols: https://www.24symbols.com/book/x/x/x?id=2049791

Thanks, Katie, for telling us about your new story and introducing the anthology. Any comments or questions?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

A Summer Romance from the Past

Summer is on its way and there is nothing like a good romance to heat up the days even more!  This week we travel to the highlands of Scotland for a romance that introduces two wonderful characters. The guest in My Writing Corner today is Jean M. Grant.

She is a scientist, part-time education director and a mom. Currently living in Massachusetts, she says she draws from her interests in history, science, the outdoors and her family for inspiration. She also enjoys writing non-fiction articles for family-oriented and travel magazines and has an aspiration to write children's books in addition to her novels.

In 2008, she visited Scotland, the land of her daydreams and she found it breathtaking so it is no surprise that she has set her latest book there. The title is A Hundred Kisses, and it has just been released by The Wild Rose Press.

Two wedding nights. Two dead husbands.
Deirdre MacCoinneach wishes to understand her unusual ability to sense others’ lifeblood energies…and vows to discover if her gift killed the men she married. Her father’s search for a new and unsuspecting suitor for Deirdre becomes complicated when rumors of witchcraft abound.


Under the fa├žade of a trader, Alasdair Montgomerie travels to Uist with pivotal information for a Claimant seeking the Scottish throne. A ruthless baron hunts him and a dark past haunts him, leaving little room for alliances with a Highland laird or his tempting daughter. Awestruck when she realizes that her unlikely travel companion is the man from her visions, a man whose thickly veiled emotions are buried beneath his burning lifeblood, Deirdre wonders if he, too, will die in her bed if she follows her father’s orders. Amidst magic, superstition, and ghosts of the past, Alasdair and Deirdre find themselves falling together in a web of secrets and the curse of a hundred kisses…

Naturally I wanted to interview these fascinating characters.
Deirdre, please tell us about your life and your past.

Well, my past…my mother died when I was young. My father keeps arranging marriages for me and my husbands, well…I’d rather not say. I just pity the man he chooses next.

What is your unusual “gift” and what frightens you about it?

Just between us because I could be cast out as a witch and my father’s lands taken away from him, our clan ruined…but I can feel the lifebloods of people. The lifeblood is a person’s aura, their essence, their emotions. As much as Da pretends I don’t have this power, he uses it to his own advantage when the unscrupulous come to Hall.

How has it helped you or hurt you?

I fear that my ability to sense life has the opposite effect on my lovers, my husbands. I feel cursed. It has helped me weed out the righteous from the unjust though. I know who to steer clear from. In fact, there is a lifeblood so evil, so cold and deathly that emanates from an evil Scottish baron; it incapacitates me.

What do you wish most for in your life now?

I yearn to travel to the isle of Uist to learn more about my ability from my mother’s people, the Ancients of the isles. (sigh) And to find out why my husbands keep dying.

What are your feelings about this strange new man who has come into your life?

This man has a red hot lifeblood unlike any I’ve felt before. He baffles me. I sense there is more to his past than he lets on, but I find myself unable to escape his touch, his kisses, his presence…

Thank you, and now, Alasdair,  what about your past and what you want in life? 

I’d rather not talk about my past. My mother’s dead. Died at the stake due to my father’s delusions and fears. Can we just move on to the next question?

What about this new woman who has appeared in your life?

She’s enchanting. There’s just something about her that mystifies me. She’s feisty, determined, and I feel this pull to her that almost seems surreal or predestined. She’s unlike the ladies I’ve met in court.

What draws you to her or frightens you about her?

She seems to know more about things and people than she lets on. It’s like she has this extra sense to know or feel things. It perplexes and scares me. Like I am under a witch’s spell or something. But I don’t believe in such nonsense

Thank you both! We'll have to read the final answers in A Hundred Kisses.
Here are the buy links:
Links on TWRP:


And here is how you can reach Jean:
Twitter: @JeanGrant05

Thank you, Jean, for introducing us to these great characters.  Any comments or questions for Jean?


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Start Summer Reading with a Ghostly Romance

June has always been the beginning of my summer reading. When I was in school I always spent my summer days with a book, often romance. Sometimes I delved into spy novels or I let a book carry me off into space. At least one day a week I would walk to the library and check out two to three books. Vacations always meant I got to buy a couple of paperbacks to take with me. Those summer reading habits haven't changed much. Every summer I seem to read more so I am always on the look out for new books and new authors to sample.

Today the author guest in My Writing Corner is Sandra Tilley who has a new book out from The Wild Rose Press. It has all all the promise of those summer romances I love to read. Sandra is a former teacher turned writer who says she is a Southern girl who loves living near the white beaches of the Gulf of Mexico and she likes writing stories set there.

Beach side romances sound like a good way to start my summer reading, especially when you add in ghosts and intrigue, so let's get the details on her latest release, The Ghost and Mrs. Miller.

Libby Miller is a good Southern girl and good Southern girls know the rules. But Fate has no rules.  On her nineteenth wedding anniversary, fate whips up a tornado of turmoil when Libby finds her husband Neil in the arms of his assistant. But the storm's not over. Neil flips his BMW, and Libby comes home to find his ghost in the dining room. How is Libby supposed to grieve and move on with Neil's ever-present, meddling ethereal presence in her life?  With her twentieth high school reunion looming, Libby finds herself torn between two men from her past. One man promises passion and a new beginning, and the other wants to pick up where they left off. Neil stirs up a maelstrom of mischief, making it almost impossible for Libby to sort through the rubble. Libby anticipates a confrontation between her two suitors--not a shadowy stalker who choose the reunion as his setting for a showdown.   

In Libby's quest for independence, she rejects the one man who can save here. Can she compromise the price of her freedom, or will it cost her a second chance at love and put her life in danger?

Now that sounds like a great story to start off my summer reading!

Buy Links:

Available on Amazon and The Wild Rose Press

Contact Sandra at:

http://www.sandratilley.com/

Thanks you, Sandra, for introducing us to The Ghost and Mrs. Miller.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

On the Road to Romance

Stories about authors and how they became published can be as fun and rewarding as reading their books at times. I always love to find out how authors discovered they wanted to be writers and then how the journey toward publication began for them. Today in My Writing Corner, I asked author Erin Bevan for her story. 

Erin, when did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I toyed with the idea, loosely, when I was about 23 or 24. Just kind of a what if thing, nothing serious. I had a job, a new husband, we were trying to have our first child. It was just a “wouldn’t it be cool if I could do this in life” kind of thought.

Then., fast forward about two years and I was alone in an apartment in South Korea while my husband was at work and my daughter was in a Korean day school program. I thought “this is my time”, so I signed up for an on-line writing class through the London School of Journalism and I gave it a shot. Writing became an outlet for me to not feel so lonely, and then it got kind of addictive, and so here, I am back in the United States and still writing. I guess you can say, I like it!

Please tell us about how you got published.

Well, as I started writing for pleasure, and to keep my mind busy when I was in Korea, I figured I might as well try to publish something. Little did I know how hard that actually was. After two or three years (my memory fails me) of dabbling in writing, I had pursued the publishing route and received lots of no’s. So many no’s actually! In December of 2013, I’d been waiting to hear back from one editor about a short story I had submitted. I had told myself if this editor came back and said “no” I was quitting. Everyone thought I was a joke anyway. At least that’s how I felt. When I told people I had started writing, they would look at me kind of like I was a desperate housewife. I was, but still, they could have at least acted like they believed me.

Well, one December afternoon, I opened my inbox to receive a long email. The first two paragraphs told me how bad I was. My finger hovered over the delete button. I didn’t need my EMAIL to tell me I sucked! So many people already had. But, for some reason I kept reading, and I saw a huge BUT. I continued reading only to see that a contract was attached. Despite the fact I sucked and had a long way to go, the editor wanted my story, and me! And that’s how I got published. My finger hovering over the delete button, milliseconds away from throwing my writing career away.

Where did you get the idea for your newest book, Tank?

A ladies’ night out and a few margaritas down the hole, someone started talking about bikers. I really can’t remember all the details, but then the group BACA-Biker’s Against Child Abuse was brought up, and my friends explained to me what this group did. A bunch of leather clad dudes that stood like vigilantes outside of abused children’s homes helping them feel safe. Right then, I knew that was a story.

What do you like best about your characters in this book?
I like a secondary character, Father, probably the most. I envisioned my husband’s uncle when I created the character, and I tried to incorporate a little of his humor. Overall, I feel like he came off the page pretty well, and I’m proud of how I’ve portrayed him.

Do you always know how your story is going to end?
Umm… yes-ish. I think. I don’t know the full story when I sit to write it. I see scenes, hear the way the characters would speak to each other… all the details, those come over rewrite after rewrite, but usually I have an idea of how the ending will go.

How about a blurb?

Tyler Wilde moves to Black Widow, Texas, to join the Blue Guardians, a local biker club that helps abused women and children. He's intent on starting his life over, but a small piece of his past collides with his present when he runs into the local waitress, Annie Carter.

Annie's the girl of his boyhood dreams, and Tyler can't wait to get reacquainted with her. Only problem is, Annie's engaged. But what has Tyler more troubled than the diamond on her finger is the bruise that graces her arm. To make matters worse, Annie's abuser and intended husband is also the town's Chief of Police. 

Tyler is determined to offer Annie a safe haven, but she refuses his help until her life is hanging by a thread... 

That certainly catches my attention! What would you tell writers who are just starting out that you wish you had known?
Believe in yourself and your stories. If you like it, chances are someone else will, too.

How can readers reach you or find you online?

Twitter: @ErinBevan

Buy Links

Thanks, Erin for being my guest and sharing your story and your new book.  Any questions or comments for Erin?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Escape to Romance

Spring is the perfect time to travel the world and read romances from different lands. This week I am off on a reading adventure set in the mountains of Iran with author Judy Meadows. Her latest book from The Wild Rose Press, Escape from Behruz, really grabbed my interest so I wanted to ask her about her writing life and how she developed her ideas for this book. 

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Like so many writers, since I was a child. Since I was a young bookworm going to the public library in my small town in Minnesota with my daddy.

Tell us a little about your road to publication?

I wrote the draft of Escape from Behruz (just out from The Wild Rose Press) and two other novels in the early 90’s. Life got complicated, so I put all three manuscripts in a banana box, put the box in the garage, and focused on life (kids, husband, moves, jobs, etc).

Fast-forward 25 years… I wrote a nonfiction book, Touching Bellies, Touching Lives: Midwives of Southern Mexico Tell Their Stories, and sold it to the first publisher I sent it to. Researching it had consumed me for more than ten years. Writing it had consumed me for about four. So…when the editing was done and the publisher said, “That’s it; no more changes,” it left a void in my life. I missed my early-morning writing sessions.

I remembered those old romance novels that I thought were probably still out in the garage (even after three moves). I found them and read two of the stories. (One I knew was hopeless.) The story that became Escape from Behruz was my favorite, so I decided to resurrect it.

First problem: my original work had been stored on floppy disks. The disks were in the box, but I no longer had a computer that could read them. I had to find a floppy disk drive. Good old Ebay solved that problem, but it took a while.

While I was waiting for the disk drive to arrive, it occurred to me that maybe I should abandon my old work on the story. I’m so much wiser now (I reasoned), and I have the experience of writing and publishing one book under my belt. I could probably do a better job now.

So, I started writing the story again from scratch. After about 30 pages, I remembered how much work it is to structure a story. I got out the old original and read it again. I realized it was good! I loved the charming details my younger self had known to include. (The story is set in the Middle East. I was then just back from a year in the Middle East.) So, I plugged in my new old floppy disk drive and got to work.

The final result was probably about 70% rewritten, but the bones of the story and many of the little details that make a story sparkle are from the original. I ended up with a new respect for the woman and writer I was 25 years ago.

Where did you get the idea for the book? How did you come up with the characters?

My goal from the beginning was to write a secret baby story with a believable and powerful reason for keeping the secret. (I like secret baby stories but not ones that hinge on the fact that the hero “would never forgive her” if he found out she didn’t tell him. That’s not enough motivation for me.) All the plot elements and the character development were driven by my desire to come up with really strong and believable motivation for keeping the secret.
It turned out that not only does the father of the baby not know the baby is his, he doesn’t even know he’s the heroine’s. A powerful man with a powerful reason has claimed the baby as his own (but he lets the heroine care for him). If the she ever reveals the baby’s true parentage, she’ll lose her child forever.


So far, readers have found the premise not only believable, but gripping and very satisfying.

What a wonderful writing story!  How about a blurb from Escape from Behruz?

Rashid will escort Olivia and the baby through the mountains to Iran in order to escape the violence in Behruz, but he won’t let Olivia near his heart. Not again. Not after the way she trampled it two years ago.

Olivia accepts his help, but she has no interest in his heart. She’s never forgiven him for abandoning her when she needed him most. Still, she has to be careful. He mustn't learn that the baby the world thinks is heir to the Behruzi throne is actually her son. And Rashid’s.

Can they make it through the trek, sharing a tent each night, without giving in to the attraction that has always drawn them together? Can Olivia hold in the secret that could destroy her?

Buy Links:




How can readers get in touch with you?

Facebook: Judy Meadows - Romance Writer

Thank you Judy for being my guest today.  Any comments or questions for Judy?


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A Romance from the Past

A romance involving a journalist -- now there's a line that will catch my reading interest every time.  As a former TV news person who often writes stories involving reporters or broadcast journalists, I'm always looking for new stories to read in that same field.  So imagine my joy at finding a new romance that also goes back in time to one of my favorite time periods. I'm referring to a new romance from Laura Strickland, my guest today in My Writing Corner.

Her latest release is Words and Dreams. The words of heroine Dorothea Sinclair and the dreams of hero O'Hare sound like a good combination for a romance from the past.

Dorothea Sinclair has left her small home town in Maine and come to Boston to begin a career as a newspaper reporter. But so far her job on the Guardian has proved disappointing. More skivvy than reporter, she's even been subjected to a humiliating proposition from the chief editor's son. She needs a break but never expects it might come from a chance meeting with an Irish Ruffian. 

There's  a great deal of injustice in Boston, and O'Hare, embroiled in his fight for equality on behalf of Boston's Irish, is well aware of it. When he rescues Dorothea's hat on the waterfront, he's surprised to learn she's a reporter. And when she offers him the opportunity to state his case in the Guardian, what can he do but accept? It's the perfect chance to put his dreams into his own words--and the only sure way to see her again.

And of course, putting on my own journalist's hat I had to ask Laura if I could interview O'Hare to find out a little more about him. So, O'Hare, I have some questions for you.  Give us a little of your early history.

Ah, now that’s a story and a half, that is. And a sad story, to boot.  Are you sure you want to hear it, pretty lady? There was a great deal of hunger involved and me being sent out at an early age to work for what stray pennies I could earn. Running errands for wealthy toffs; sweeping up after their horses; even working as a boot black in one of the big houses. Learned a lot there, I did—mostly what I could do without and not to expect anything from anyone.

What brought you to Boston and keeps you there?

My mother brought me away with her when she ran off from the small town in Maine where we lived. I must have been about three at the time she met a traveling salesman, Eugene Browne, and threw in her lot with him. Before that she worked as a barmaid at a tavern called the Hogshead. Gene dragged us hither and yon, being more con man than salesman half the time, and at last to Boston where we settled, if you could call it that.

Why do I stay in Boston now? Well, I guess it’s home, or as close as I’ve got. My employment’s here; I ‘prenticed to a cabinetmaker and worked my way into a fair wage. And there’s the Cause. I’m engaged in the fight for Irish equality here in Boston. You might say I’ve made a bit of a name for myself as Hare O’Hare. Some people call me infamous.

Tell us about meeting Dorothea. What was your first impression of her?

I first saw Dorothea on the waterfront when she was chasing down her hat, that the wind blew away. I don’t think I ever beheld a lovelier woman. Black hair and eyes the deep blue of a sky at night. Skin like alabaster kissed by a rose. She had the class of a lady and the sweetness of a child all rolled into one. Did I fall for her right then and there? I’m not telling.

What draws you to her?

A thousand things.  The way her face lights up when she smiles. How smart she is and how quick her mind, bright as a new penny. The way she can spin words together, making music of them and touching people’s hearts. Most of all, though, I admire her warmth and compassion; Dorothea sees people as people, regardless of how much money they have in their pockets. She’ll feel a stranger’s pain, she will, and weep with him. I’d lay down my life for such a woman.

What is her one trait that makes you upset or drives you to anger?

Well, some people might say she talks too much. I never would, mind, though she will run on and on, especially when she’s happy or enthused about something. I find it a charming trait and love listening to her. I’m not one for saying much, myself, and I like the way she fills up the silences.

What is your biggest hope or dream for the future for yourself?

I learned long ago not to hope for anything. A lad who’s hungry just feels that much hungrier once he starts hoping to get his belly filled. And the less you want, the less disappointed you’re bound to be. Dreams, now, dreams are different: they’re precious things that come along and whisper to you when your guard’s down. Sometimes it’s hard to steel your heart against them. If I were to let myself dream…but no, better not.

For your family or people?

I want justice for the Irish in Boston. I want men who work hard in dirty jobs no one else would tackle to be treated fairly and earn enough so their families won’t go hungry.  I want people to stop calling the Irish here ignorant and lazy, drunkards and savages. I want folks to know these immigrants love and value each one of their children, even if they do have a great flock of them. I want safe conditions on the docks, and rights so a man can’t be turned away from his job just for making a complaint. How can I think about myself, when there’s a fight to be won?

Thank you, O'Hare, and good luck to you in your work and your life and your future with Dorothea.

Here are the buy links if you would like to learn more about O'Hare and Dorothea's romance: 


If you would like to reach Laura, here's how:

 Author Web site: www.laurastricklandbooks.com
Author Facebook: 

Thanks, Laura, for being my guest and for bringing me such a wonderful interview subject. I'm looking forward to reading Dorothea and O'Hare's story. Any questions or comments for Laura?