Wednesday, December 26, 2018

A Date in Space

When I first began checking out novels from the library (as opposed to children's books from the school library) I fell in love with science fiction. Well, perhaps it was because my older brother had been reading sci-fi books and I would sneak them out of his room and read them after he finished and before he returned them. Naturally when I began reading grown up fiction I still read science fiction... until I discovered my next love affair with a genre -- romance. So naturally I was quite excited about our guest today in My Writing Corner -- Haley Cavannaugh -- and her new book Astraeus.

Haley is military veteran, wife and mother who says she loves diving into any book that grabs her interest.  She is a graduate of Columbia College and loves spending time with her family when she's not writing. Here's a blurb: 

When Dr. Sakota Thorell signed onto the mission to scout out a new, habitable planet, she knew discovering extra-terrestrial life was always a possibility. But she never expected to find an alien adrift in space, nor for that alien to be so intriguing. Sakota feels an instant and undeniable attraction to Astraeus, but represents a million possibilities, and just as many threats. 

There are others hunting Astraeus, and his rescue may cost Earth its last hope.

Want more? Let's get an excerpt:

    “What are you called? What’s your name?”
     He opened his mouth, and she moved closer, eager for his first words. Instead, he focused on her lips with obvious fascination. His intriguing eyes caught the light. Despite her disappointment that he couldn’t speak, a rush went through her. Alien or not, he was the most handsome man she’d ever laid eyes on, with the kind of ethereal elegance some upper-class, privileged men on Earth spent fortunes on plastic surgery trying to achieve.
     “It’s okay if you don’t want to talk, or if you can’t. We’ll get there. Now, I’m going to check you.” 
She kept her voice gentle, as she might use with a child. She pressed the button to disengage the protective bubble over the med bed and shone the retinal scanner in her own eye to demonstrate. “I just need to look at your eyes with this.” She motioned with the scope to him. “It won’t hurt. I promise.”
      Warm puffs of his breath blew on her neck as she leaned in. She paused, noting the remarkable eight-pointed star-shape of his pupils. The mutation was his one physical difference, and only if one looked closely. The pupils dilated when hit by the scope’s light. She’d never seen eyes as remarkable.
     “You’re doing great,” she soothed. Her head burst with countless questions. 
Where are you from? How did you get here? What do you want?
       He appeared to like the cadence of her voice. His posture relaxed, and his breath against her was steady. How long had she been staring into his eyes? Should she push her luck and try to examine his mouth?
       Before she could try, his finger stroked her inner arm. He was still restrained at the wrists, but he could reach her.
       She allowed it. He stroked a featherlight finger along her forearm. As he did so, his gaze never left hers. She offered a kind smile. “That’s right. Friend. Sakota. Sa-ko-ta.”
      He opened his mouth and let out a chicken-like squawk. “-Ota,” he said in a throaty, deep voice.
      She raised her eyebrows. “Good. Very good.”
      He tilted his head, watching her lips. “Gooood.”
      Excited, she lowered the retinal light. “Can you understand me?”
      He looked confused. “Me…”
      “Okay. That’s a no. Then let me take this opportunity to say, in no uncertain terms, you, my friend, are the stuff of dreams and legends. I’ve waited my whole life for this. Are you getting this, Alistair?” she called out.
      He came in over the speakers. “
I am. Amazing. I’ll get to work on a linguistics program. Our friend seems to want to communicate.
       She moved to pull away, but the man’s fingers closed over her wrist.
      “Let me go.” She jerked her arm, but he wouldn’t release his grip. She gave him a cautionary look, and he loosened his fingers, though he still held her. Warning bells went off.
What if he’s not here in peace?But his eyes sparkled impishly. He seemed to enjoy her skin pressed against his. Maybe he hadn’t been touched in a while. Or maybe he had a crush. Who knew.
Before she could extricate herself, the intercom chimed. “
Sakota, are you okay?
     “Yeah, I’m fine. He’s just being friendly—”

If you want more information or want to get in touch with Haley, here is her contact information:

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

A Fantasy for the Holidays!

For those of you still looking for a good book to give someone this holiday or if you just need something great to read in those quiet moments when you want to hide out and relax in a comfy chair with music in the background, we have the perfect suggestion for you. Today's guest in My Writing Corner is award-winning Celtic paranormal and fantasy romance author, Mary Morgan.

She tells us that her passion for books started at an early age along with an overactive imagination. Inspired by her love for history and ancient Celtic mythology, her tales are filled with powerful warriors, brave women, magic, and romance. But it wasn't until the closure of Borders Books where Mary worked that she found her true calling by writing romance. Now, the worlds she creates come to life in her stories.

If you enjoy history, tortured heroes, and a wee bit of magic, then time-travel within the pages of her books. Her latest work is Trial of a Warrior. 

"You met them in the Order of the Dragon Knights. Now, journey to the realm of the Fae and witness their legends!”

A warrior sentenced to die.

On trial for breaking a supreme Fae law, Fenian Warrior, Liam MacGregor has no regrets. He is prepared to accept his sentence—even if it means his death. However, freedom comes in an unexpected manner, and brings with it certain dangers as he travels through the Veil of Ages. 

A princess honor-bound to remain hidden.

Princess Abela might be a priestess and the daughter of royalty, but that doesn’t prevent her from doing the unimaginable. She sacrifices duty and honor to set free the man who captured her heart so many years ago. No matter the severity of his crimes, she cannot let Liam die.

A rescue that will bring about a war and divide a kingdom!   

In their quest to secure a treaty to forestall Liam’s death sentence, they must fight their desires for one another, as well as the Fenian Warriors sent to capture them.

Want to know more? Let's put our guest couple on the spot and ask them a few questions about their situation.

Ian, tell us a little about the predicament you find yourself in.
I am awaiting trial in the Room of Reflection. In human terms, I’m confined to a prison. Several seasons have now passed and my patience is diminishing.

What law have you broken and what are the possible consequences?
I took Aidan Kerrigan, who was banished from our kingdom many years ago, through the Veil of Ages. At the time, he believed his daughter, Aileen, was in grave danger. She had ventured through the ruins of Arbroath Abbey and stepped into the past. Aidan wished to rescue his daughter from 13th century Scotland.
The consequences of my actions? Death.

How did you meet Princess Abela?
Many centuries ago, we met in the Royal Gardens one day. I caught a glimpse of her radiant beauty as she strolled through a patch of bluebells.

What are your thoughts about her?
She captured my heart the instant our gazes locked. Regardless of my feelings, I was destined for the Brotherhood of the Fenian Warriors, and Abela was a princess of the realm. Forbidden to me.  

What do you admire about the princess?
Her unwavering strength and positive attitude. She storms into a situation with utter confidence, regardless if the odds are not in her favor.

Now let's turn things around and talk to the Princess Abela. Tell us, what is the most important thing in your life?
To remain true to my vows to the kingdom, while maintaining the love I hold within my heart for a certain Fenian Warrior.

 What are your fears for your kingdom?
That I have brought shame and dishonor to our people, especially to my parents, the king and queen. By using the powerful magic from the temple of Mother Danu to free Liam, I have broken a sacred trust.

Why would you want to help Liam?
Death should not come to this honorable warrior. I deem his actions were righteous. In truth, I love him. I will risk my own life and freedom to release him from his chains.

 Want to know more? Let's get an excerpt:
He could feel her heart beating against his skin, and the air cooled around them. Sunlight faded, and he slowly lifted his head. Unable to focus on their surroundings, he rolled over and brought her still quaking body against his chest. He tried to calm his own rapidly beating heart and closed his eyes. When he finally did open them, he glanced upward.

“Where is our sunshine?” asked Abela, her question muffled against his chest.

He stroked a hand down her back. “The sun and moon are as one.”

Abela visibly shuddered, her eyes growing wide. “No,” she whispered.

Liam wiped a finger across her worried brow. “What troubles you? It is only a solar eclipse.”

“Have you not heard the legends about a Fae witnessing the appearance of both—sun and moon—at the same time?”

“I believe it is only a tale told of—”

“Two Fae who defied the kingdom and married,” she interrupted.

“And they were banished,” he concluded, kissing her lips. “It is a story about a couple on our homeland, Taralyn. I do recall it was when the moons crossed with the sun. We are in the mortal world.”

She pursed her lips in concentration. “Yes, you are correct.” Glancing over her shoulder, she added, “Yet, can this similar occurrence be an omen?”

Liam cupped her cheek, forcing her to meet his stare. “Again, we are in the human world and not our own. This does not apply to us.” Tucking a strand of hair behind her ear, he asked, “Are you truly worried? Have I brought you shame?” He held his breath, fearing her reply.

“No, no,” she whispered against his lips. “I have waited a lifetime to be with you, Liam. My heart is yours. It has always been yours. Why do you think I freed you?” She swallowed. “I love you.”

That's all we're telling you! But this sounds like a  good gift for the holiday, promising a great story! Here are the buy links:

Buy Links:

If you would like to know more about Mary or get in touch with her:

Social Media Links:

Thank you, Mary, for being my guest today! Comments or questions for Mary?

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Writing the Holiday Romance

As we move to the heart of the holiday season, it's really coming down to the wire to get those wonderful holiday-themed books to read or to give to your friends. I've worked on holiday-themed stories in the  past and I know how tight the deadlines can be and how hard it can be to come up with special books aimed at a certain time of the year. Today's guest in My Writing Corner is Kathy Otten. She was with us a few weeks ago and she is back with a new holiday book, Ordinary Angel.

Kathy, what are the joys and difficulties of writing a story for the holidays?

The time line is my biggest problem. I start to get in the mood at Christmas time and come up with a story idea. I work with a small press and for a story to come out for the following Christmas, it needs to be submitted by February. Which doesn’t give me enough time to write it, which means it would have to be written during that year and submitted the following February in order to come out that next Christmas, two years after my original idea. That’s why I write holiday novellas. For me a year isn’t enough time to research and write a whole novel. I don’t write that fast and I’ve got several other projects going at the same time as well as family and a full-time job.

I love writing them because it’s fun to incorporate all the elements of Christmas I enjoy, but with a historical twist. The characters and their stories are a way to remind people that Christmas is about making memories, family, friends, giving of ourselves and love. Things we tend to lose sight of the rest of the year.

Best wishes for a happy holiday season.

Thanks, Kathy. How about a blurb on Ordinary Angel?

A lifetime of polite indifference is all Julianne Spencer sees when she envisions a future with her current suitor, Mr. Terrel Lee Parker. She is looking for someone more passionate, more heroic, who can love her for who she really is, and not the proper young lady she pretends to be. 

Her future seems hopeless until Christmas Eve, when fate drops a wounded outlaw at her door and she comes to realize true heroes can be found inside even ordinary men.

Let's talk to Julianne, and find out more about her story:

Julianne, can you tell us a little about yourself?
 Yes, I live in Ashville, Colorado. It’s a small town surrounded by small outlying ranches. I’m the youngest. My sisters are all married and have started their own families. My father is a doctor. I help him out when he’s busy, though my mother doesn’t approve. I enjoy singing and I help out with the annual Christmas pageant at church.

Have you been lucky in love?
No, I’ve had several suitors, but they have always bowed out early in our courtship. Mother blames me. She constantly reminds me I’m a young lady and that I need to mind my tongue and comport myself appropriately. But I can’t see how any of it was my fault. Mr. Paul Carson dropped his suit because he saw me take a ride on Sue Ellen Pomfret’s velocipede. My skirt blew up and people were able to see above my ankles. Niles Rutledge thought I was flaunting myself like a painted lady because I was swimming in the pond. I had on my chemise and drawers. It’s not my fault those boys were spying on me. And Howard Benton took offense because I told him his mother was better off divorced, than to stay married to Howard’s father, who is a cruel, sadistic man with a terrible temper.

What did you think of Terrel Lee Parker at first?
 Mr. Parker is a fine southern gentleman. I thought him a handsome man, but stuffy. All we ever talked about was the weather, or what a fine sermon the reverend gave. I could not see a future with him, other than one of polite indifference.

Did you feel an immediate attraction to Terrel Lee?
Not many men wear spectacles, but Mr. Parker looks quite fine in them. He has a battered hat he wears constantly, with the brim pulled low. My friend Maggie thinks he should buy a new hat, but somehow that old hat suits him. There were times when we were alone, I’d see him looking at me, and I’d just wish he’d grab me and kiss me, really kiss me. I understand him better now. He was not only raised to be a gentleman, but he was painfully shy.

What do you see for your future together?
 Lots of happy years. I love living at his ranch. Watching the sunset from the front porch is something we do almost every day. And it’s all right if he doesn’t say a word. There are layers to Mr. Parker, and like a gift inside a gift, I unwrap a new one every day.

What is your favorite thing about Christmas?

 Trimming the tree. We string popcorn and cranberries for garland. After the Christmas Eve pageant we light the candles on the tree and sit in the dark. He puts his arm around me and pulls me close. He never says much, but I can feel his love. We eat a few Christmas cookies. I know his favorite now. It’s quiet and peaceful. I love him.

Thank you, Julianne, and thank you, Kathy, for bringing us another special romance.
Here is the information to contact Kathy and to buy Ordinary Angel.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Romantic Holiday Reading

As we move closer to the holidays and start choosing books for gift giving, or books we can read while collapsing in our comfy chairs after shopping all day, we'll be looking at some wonderful choices for our reading pleasure.  There's nothing quite like relaxing with hot chocolate and a good book when we want to just kick back and read after the craziness of crowds and shopping chaos. Today we start with a wonderful offering that is both fun and romantic. The book is Learning to Love by Jennifer Wilck.

Dina Jacobs is a single librarian who has never fit in due to her off-the charts intelligence., frizzy hair, and rounder-than-socially acceptable figure. She left her past behind until she receives an initiation to her ten year high school reunion, and all her insecurities return. 

Adam Mandel is a single corporate attorney who just missed his third deadline at his father's law firm, the law firm where he is up for junior partner. With his reputation on the line, Adam needs all the help he can get to convince his father that he deserves the promotion. When Dina and Adam run into each other on a deserted road, Dina thinks Mr. Flashypants can't possibly be interested in someone like her. Adam thinks Dina is just the person to help him improve his reputation. Lies and insecurities force them to take a look at themselves. Can they trust each other to look beyond the surface?

Sounds like an intriguing dilemma, doesn't  it? I wanted to ask Adam and Dina more about their situation. Sio, let's talk to them.

Dina, what do you like or not like about your life now?  
I love my current life. I’m a librarian, which is a job I love. I’m surrounded by books. I’ve a few close friends with whom I’m comfortable. So overall, I’m happy. I confess to being a little…jealous is too strong of a word, but I wish I had a family like my best friend, Tracy does. She’s married with a new baby and I hope I have that someday.

Why did you decide to attend your high school reunion? 
High school was difficult for me. I was smarter than the rest of the kids in my class, so I didn’t fit in. People didn’t talk to me unless they wanted to cheat off my homework or tests and I was more comfortable around the teachers than the students. So the thought of going to my reunion, well, I was planning to throw the invitation in the trash. But then Adam saw it when he came to pick me up one day and he convinced me to go to it, with him. I’m still not sure why I agreed.
What are your best or worst memories of high school?
 Like I said, high school was a rough time for me. I don’t have too many happy memories, other than some special teachers who made it bearable.
What are your thoughts of Adam? 
My initial thought was that he was Mr. Flashypants, all style, no substance. He was consumed by what others thought of him and by outward appearances. But as I’ve gotten to know him better, I realize that initial thought was wrong. He’s much deeper than he appears. I want to get to know him better.
Adam, what is your life like currently? 
Ha! It’s a disaster. My dad fired me from my job. I’m a lawyer at his firm and I was up for junior partner, but my cases have tanked recently due to things being misfiled and everyone is blaming me. The problem is, I didn’t do anything wrong. But my dad and everyone else thinks I’m a screw-up, so they’re not willing to consider someone else might have caused the problem. I can’t tell Dina, because who would want to date a guy whose own dad fired him? 
What were you like in high school? 
I was kind of a clown.
What were the expectations for you then?
My dad has always had high expectations of me, ridiculously high ones. And no matter how hard I try, I’ve never been able to meet them. 
Why did you decide to go to the reunion with Dina? 
Everyone should go to at least one high school reunion, if only to see how people have changed. Dina didn’t want to go to hers because she was afraid no one would know her and she’d be all alone. So I offered to take her. I’ll make sure she has fun and that people are nice to her. And she’s helping me to improve my reputation with my father, so we have a good bargain. Plus, I love spending time with her, and this just lets me extend that.

What do you think of Dina now? 
She’s amazing. I love her hair. She’s kind and intelligent and she’s able to read me better than anyone ever has, which makes me uncomfortable but is kind of nice at the same time. I almost feel like I can be myself around her. I love talking to her and she’s one of the sexiest women I’ve ever met. I can’t wait to get to know her better.

Now that sounds like wonderful reading material on a cold winter evening. Here are the buy links.

Buy Links: 

 If you would like to get in touch with Jennifer, here is her contact information.

Author Links:

Thank you, Jennifer, for introducing us to your latest book. Any comments or questions for Jennifer?

Characters Lead the Way

We're in the heart of the summer and it is time to relax and enjoy a few good books by the beach or in some secluded mountain cabin. To...