Tuesday, May 31, 2022

A Promise from the Past

It's that time of the year when we start looking for just the perfect book to take on vacation or for those lazy days sitting out by the pool or beach. Today's guest in My Writing Corner has a book that was just released that sounds perfect for afternoon summer reading. Her newest book is Prophecies and Promises.


Alana Lorens has been a published writer for more than forty years. Currently a resident of Asheville, North Carolina, she describes herself as an aging hippie who loves her time in the smoky blue mountains. One of her novellas, That Girl's the One I Love, is set in the city of Asheville during the old Bele Chere festival. She lives with her daughter on the autism spectrum, who is the youngest of her seven children, and she is ruled by three crotchety old cats, and six kittens of various ages.

Her latest book is Prophecies and Promises.  Let's get a blurb:


Tamsyn McKiernan thinks her dreams have come true. She’s engaged to a dashing Key West bachelor and finally in her widowed father’s good graces. But in her heart, she knows something’s wrong. She loves the ocean and the quiet pleasures of nature—so what does the aristocratic life she’ll lead truly hold for her?  


Mercenary captain Drake Ashton is neck deep in preparations for the Spanish-American War, running guns and other supplies to Cuban natives who want out from under their Spanish masters. He and his brother Freddie risk their lives daily, focused on saving his friends on the island. Nothing else matters but his mission.


A chance encounter with a spiny sea urchin brings the two together, and neither of their lives will ever be the same again.


Let's hear directly from the characters:

Tamsyn, what do you want most in life?

 

What every other young woman wants, I suppose—to be happy and have a secure future. Getting married to Thatcher Winslow should accomplish this.

 

What do you hope for in your future?

 

I want to be able to choose my own path when I marry—but sometimes I worry because it seems like the society wives are a closed community and I’ll never be like them.

 

What draws you to Captain Drake Ashton?

 

He doesn’t try to control me. He’s funny and warm and he knows so many things! He wants to share them with me so I can make my own choices. We like natural things, and share a great many interests.

 

What frightens you most about him?

 

Well, he’s a…pirate, right? His life is dangerous. He carries guns with him to give to the rebels. The Spanish fleet wants to kill him—I’m scared for him…and a little bit of him as well.

 

Now let's talk to Drake:

 

Tell us about your current life and why it appeals to you.

 

I’ve grown up on the water. My brother Freddie has been my charge since our parents died, so we’ve wandered a lot. We found the group of rebels in Cuba, families, men, women and children who want to be rid of the Spanish. We’ve taken it as our own cause.

 

What do you want for the future?

 

I can’t think about the future beyond the war. We’ll be lucky to survive that long.

 

What is it about Tamsyn that draws or intrigues you?

 

She’s so interested in the world. Most of those young society ladies hardly have a brain, but she’s brilliant. From outside I can see she’s being drawn into a trap, and I want to help her so badly. She is firmly lodged in a piece of my heart.

 

What worries you about Tamsyn and becoming involved with her?

 

I mean, what kind of future could I offer her even if she would consider me? I’m living day to day on the sea, facing death regularly, not safe at a plushy home like some rich islander like Winslow. As much as I want to ask her to choose me, I know it’s not the “correct” choice as society would see it.


Want more?  Let's get an excerpt:


The wine would go straight to her head soon, she knew from previous, infrequent consumption, so she must sip it slowly. One of them had to keep their wits.


She felt the curious eyes of the crew, some shy, others bolder in their observation. Tamsyn smiled at them all. One broad, bullish man came forward with a blanket, which he spread on the deck. Drake clapped the man on the shoulder.


“Good thinking, Chaney. A picnic it will be!” He gestured to Tamsyn that she should seat herself, which she did without hesitation.


Within a few minutes, trays of food came up from below decks, chicken spit broiled with crispy skins, fruits and cheeses, Bahamian bread with a thick slab of butter. The men vied for the opportunity to serve her until Drake finally dismissed them with a laugh.


“Cook has enough for all below. Go take your supper. We may have some business awaiting us yet tonight.”


The men cheered and noisily went down to eat. The skinny cabin boy remained to serve his captain. Drake saw that the boy got a plate of food, then sent him away. “A few moments alone,” he whispered conspiratorially.


“Just a few,” she said with a sad smile. “Then I must—”


Drake held up a finger, silencing her. “Not a word of that now.”


Tamsyn started to argue, then realized he would just cut her off again. It was right. What might happen in a minute, in an hour, would not be changed if she took the time to immerse herself in the joy and comfort of this time with Drake.


The food smelled so good in the fresh night air, and Drake urged her to taste everything, from sweet melons to spicy chicken. It was simple fare, but it satisfied her more than any of the expensive delicacies that had been served at the Pickhams’ buffet. Surely it is the company which has improved my appetite. Drake’s dark eyes danced in the moonlight, and he often turned to her with a smile, perhaps wanting to say something but reluctant to break the spell they seemed to be under.


But not yet, Mamma, not yet…Can you see me, Mamma? Tamsyn wondered silently. Can you see how happy I am?


*****


Want more?  Here is a book Trailer followed by the buy links:




Buy Links:


Ebooks:  https://www.amazon.com/Prophecies-Promises-Alana-Lorens-ebook/dp/B09THTHV6H/ref=sr_1_5?qid=1647885952&refinements=p_27%3AAlana+Lorens&s=digital-text&sr=1-5&text=Alana+Lorens


Paperback:  https://www.amazon.com/Prophecies-Promises-Alana-Lorens/dp/1509241442/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1647885952&sr=1-5


And if you would like to get in touch with Alana directly, here are her Social Contacts:


Author Links

Website      http://Alana-lorens.com

Facebook   https://www.facebook.com/AlanaLorens/

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4829967.Alana_Lorens

Amazon Author Page

https://www.amazon.com/Alana-Lorens/e/B005GE0WBC/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1


Bookbub:   https://www.bookbub.com/authors/alana-lorens

Twitter:  @AlexanderLyndi

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alexander_lyndi/


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

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Ghostly Fun

With Spring in the air and Summer just around the corner, it's the time of the year when readers start choosing their great summer reads or the books they are going to pack in their vacation luggage.

Today's guest in My Writing Corner, Beth Henderson, has a new book that sounds like great summer reading.


Beth has been a published author in romance since the year 1990 when her first romantic suspense/comedy was published. Since then she has been a busy writer. She's had a long list of titles released through various publishing houses and under a variety of names.
In 2021 she launched a 4-volume paranormal lite cozy mystery romantic comedy series, the Whichur-Wolfe Detection novels, all of which swept up 5* reviews. 


Her latest release is GHOST NOTES, a romantic suspense released by The Wild Rose Press that has just become available. She also writes Old West historical romantic mysteries.


Tell us about your road to publication. 


As my first book was published back in the Jurassic Era (1990) before there was Amazon or the Internet or eBooks or the Internet, I’m not sure how far back to go! It took 12 years of rewriting and resubmitting my first three books before the first one was picked up. But there were many tumbles from the published pedestal after that, like when Clinical Depression hit and I couldn’t think my way out of a paper bag, or the years when I moved back in with my parents to be their 24/7 caregiver. I started to clamber back on the pedestal in 2019 when an urban fantasy series was picked up, then in 2020 Wild Rose Press snagged a historical romantic western mystery (released in 2021) and then the current book, GHOST NOTES, a contemporary romantic suspense released this month. Still lots of stories to tell, thank goodness! But I decided I wanted to be a published novelist when I was 12 and at least I hit the goal…more than once considering I’m closing on 40 novels written now!


What do you enjoy about being an author?


Well, obviously, it’s a great ego booster to have readers fawn on you and gush about the characters. But I think losing myself in my own story words is the most fun I’ve ever had. I get to be all these people! I get to hang out with the heroes, guys I’m far more attached to than any I ever dated or married. Actually, I tend to call each of the stories by the hero’s name rather than the title. Oddly enough, I’ve met a few other writers who confess to doing the same thing.


How do you develop characters?


The characters just walk onto my stage and do their own thing. I have had to argue with at least one guy who wanted to be the hero when I’d cast him as the hero’s best friend, but once I promised him his own book, he was copacetic with the idea. I’m a total pantser, never knowing quite what will happen though do know how it has to end…and that’s with the hero strolling into the sunset with the heroine (figuratively) after the two of them have wrapped up the mystery.


Tell us more about your latest book and how you came up with the idea to write it?

GHOST NOTES started materializing the first time I heard Jason Gould’s recording of Misty. Only my hero now performs it in my head, naturally. I love music themes, but I also love mystery. Once Pel Flannery told me how he’d nearly died a decade ago and that the guy who tried to kill him was still out there…well, there was no turning back after that. The story flowed as smoothly as Pel’s fingers glide over the keys of his grand piano.


How about a blurb:


Jace Hastings, rising music star, is presumed dead in a vehicle collision, courtesy of a stalker with deadly designs. Ten years later, P.I. Gaelen Wyndom can’t believe someone wants her to find him.

Pelham Flannery rejoined the world from ICU, fully aware someone had tried to kill him. To live, he went under the radar, distanced himself from music, and disguised everything that would give away his identity as Jace. After a decade, is it safe to come out of hiding?

Gaelen, delighted to be trained as a professional investigator by her new husband, continued in her new career after he was killed. Assigned to locate Jace Hastings, she isn’t told who wants to find him, but she puzzles it out. If she’s right, it’s the man who tried to kill him before. Which means she needs to find Jace Hastings and save him.

Now, let's get an excerpt:



    When a percussive knock sounded on his open office door, he glanced up. The once soggy guest hovered there, his shirt swamping her upper body, though she’d tied it at her waist. She lifted the carryout bag. 

    “Just wanted to thank you again,” she said.

    He wondered what her rendition of “Georgia On My Mind” would sound like. There was simply something in her voice that hinted at the ability to sing. Yet he doubted that was why she had come to the restaurant that day. 

    “Listen,” she said. “While this sounds like a really bad pick-up line, and that’s not my intention in the least…”

    “No woman’s tried to pick me up in a long time,” he told her. “Go ahead. Shoot. It’ll do my ego wonders.”

     She grinned at the lie. 

    “It’s the least I can do to show my appreciation over the loan of your spare shirt.” 

    “So, what’s the line?” he asked. 

    She tilted her head to the side. The sweep of chestnut hair swung with the motion. “Have we ever met before? There’s something familiar about you, but I can’t put my finger on it.” 

    Warning bells clamored in his mind. 

    “Maybe I’ve got that kind of face,” Pel said and hastily attempted to undermine any lingering suspicion she might have. “You know, overburdened with mediocrity. Are you here auditioning for the vocalist job?” 

    “Oh, no. I just came with my friend. She’s the singer. Are you C.C. Pelham’s son?” 

    “Guilty.” 

    Her smile was back. “Then that’s probably where the sense of déjà vu comes from. You probably have features in common with her.” 

    “Yep, that’s probably the case,” Pel agreed. 

    “Sorry to have disturbed you, Mr. Pelham.” 

    “Flannery,” he corrected. “Pelham Flannery.” 

    “A man with two last names, huh?” 

    “Sadly, yes, though Pel will suffice,” he allowed, then surprised himself by leaving his chair again and heading around the desk. “What were you drinking before the collision?”

    “Coffee,” she said. “I’m probably wearing some of it, too. I sorta fell against the table when the drenching occurred.” 

    As dangerous as it might be, Pel found he wanted to stay within the range of her smile a bit longer. “Not a water-resistant model?” 

    “Not much water to avoid in Phoenix, so I skipped that feature.” 

    “Come with me,” he said, joining her in the hall and pausing only to close the office door.


What’s your next project or what are you working on now?


I’ve got two urban fantasy manuscripts due by the end of the year, but the next romance project will be back to another historical romantic mystery set in 1852 in California Gold Rush country. My bachelor’s degree is in American History and, although I’m an Ohio gal, I spent 22 years living between Las Vegas, Nevada and Tucson, Arizona, following where husbands’ jobs took us. I love the old west, particularly the mining camps. Yes, I married twice and did a lot of personal romance research between the two of them! This next romance has been on a back burner for years. I think it’s time to let the hero take the reins…or attempt to wrestle them from the heroine.


What advice do you have for beginning writers?


Be patient. Continue to develop your craft. I’m a far better writer and spinner of tales today than I was when my first books were published in the early 1990s. But as that was still the era when no one in their right mind self-published (because that was vanity publishing), patience was what it took to work through the submission process, wait for a reply (I waited 18 months on one manuscript because the editor apologized so nicely for the delay…but she did send me a contract on it finally!). The agents and editors get floods of new manuscripts every day and it takes time to wade through them. If your prose or storyline don’t match what they are looking for, there is always someone/someplace else to submit manuscripts to. And, should any rejection (though they call them “passes” these days) actually include a suggestion to improve an element, or the magic words “if you rewrite this, I’d like to see it again”, take the suggestion to heart and do the rewrite. I followed one editor who did this through three publishing houses (she moved to a different one every few years) before she gave me the longed-for contract, although it was for an entirely different book. Still, her suggestions landed that original manuscript a contract elsewhere around the same time. It’s tough to wait, but patience is a virtue that in publishing can pay off.


You are so right! How can readers buy your books or get in touch with you?

Buy Links

Amz getbook.at/GhostNotes

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ghost-notes-beth-henderson/1141022856?ean=9781509241798

https://books.apple.com/ro/book/ghost-notes/id1612001433

Social Media Links

Website: www.4TaleTellers.com 

Twitter: @Beth__Henderson 

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2GvFyog

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/search?q=Beth+Henderson&qid=RQNZb2Izfd

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/ghost-notes-by-beth-henderson

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

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

The Joy of Writing

We're moving toward the lazy days of summer, and I don't know about you, but summer has always been one of my favorite times for reading and discovering new authors. When I was young, I walked to my town library once a week looking for new books and new authors to enjoy. I'm still on the hunt for new authors. Usually those book contain romance and today's guest in My Writing Corner fills that order with what sounds like a wonderful new book.

My guest today is L.B. Griffin. She has been happily married for over 40 years and is surrounded by her family in Wiltshire. She says she has always written around her full time paid job. She has held a range of jobs from cleaning, barmaid, childminder, social worker and is proud to have lectured for 21 years.  She absolutely loves writing fiction. Her stories touch upon social issues and are filled with gentle hints of romance. Her women don’t see themselves as courageous, strong, or survivors, but they certainly are. Let's find out more about L.B.

Why do you write? 

I love writing. Its as simple as that. I get an idea and I have to put it down. But its when I hear back from my readers, when they tell me something positive about themselves or the book, it really makes my day. One reader wrote after reading Secrets, Shame, and a Shoebox: “I’m so glad Harriet was fired from her job. At least she didn’t have to put up with that dreadful employer!” Another person: “I hated that CJ. What a monster!” My heart sang. It’s such a compliment, and so heartwarming to know that they’ve enjoyed my book. It means that I have done my job. What more can I ask? I’m truly humbled to think my stories provoke thought and emotion with people they can identify with.

What do you write?

In four words:

Romance>Mystery>Suspense>Crime 

How do you come up with your stories?

Coincidences. How many times have you been on holiday and bumped into someone you know in a far-flung country? Or met someone that you knew as a child and found lived for years just a stone’s throw away? What are the chances? But they’ve happened to me. I bet they have happened to you. Or maybe you know someone who has talked their experiences anecdotally at a party or over coffee.

Plus, my characters are really bossy! They often wake me up in the middle of the night shouting “hey listen, I’ve got something to say, come on write it down. Now!” How can I possibly ignore that? They are real, honest, lovely hardworking people but of course, there’s always that pesky villain that shines and everyone loves to hate. 

What’s the fun part of writing and why? 

I love the way the characters grab me by the hand and lead me along paths I could never have dreamed of. They tell me what they want to say, and what’s going to happen next. Who would have thought it? I love that, and I love them. They are survivors, though they don’t see themselves that way, they sure are! 

Why did you write The Twenty-One-Year Contract that we’re talking about today?

I’m an observer of life. Like most writers I imagine, and I’ve been fortunate travel and to have worked alongside and taught some amazing people. But those I taught, taught me so much more! I’ve admired their strength of character, their courage, and will to live. I learned so much from them it has been astounding. I needed to share their experiences in a way that doesn’t affect them, but hopefully shows others they can be brave too. Just read my books. 

Let's get a blurb:

Talented, a little wild, at times rebellious, but always popular—has a fun, easy life in rural Somerset, with a doting family. 

Suddenly, they are gone, everything is changed, and she has only Uncle Jack. Try as he might, he cannot be father and mother to her—he has a business to run and his own life to manage.

Kathleen takes a chance and becomes Kate Westfield, fending for herself in London, with a new life built on her hopes and dreams and new friends. She could hardly have imagined that one of those friends has a shoebox full of answers.

Let's turn things over to L. B. to learn more about her characters:

Kathleen Gray is our central character of The Twenty-One-Year Contract. Kate, as she is now known, agreed I could ask her a question for this blog. I think I floored her when I did. It was difficult for her I have to admit. 

“In a nutshell Kate, why did you run away?” Kate gave me such a look.

“In a nutshell?” Her eyes watered, I felt guilty for asking, but she plowed on ever the determined character she is. “I think you know the answer to that, but honestly, I wanted to find my birth mother. But then of course there was Uncle Jack. I absolutely adore him.  Since my parents died… he had to take care of me… I knew he needed to get on with his own life. He needed to settle down, get married, have a family of his own. He couldn’t do that with me hanging around.”

*****

Dorian Craddock is a secondary character in The Twenty-One-Year Contract. She’s pure evil, but in my opinion, she shines out as one of those people you love to hate. I thought I’d push one of her buttons to get a response.  

“Dorian, I think you owe an answer to our readers as to why you feel the need to be so mean to so many people.” I handed her the mic. And started typing furiously.

“I owe the readers an answer, do I? Seriously? Who do you think you are, pushing me about, asking me to tell the readers about my business? Really, I’m mean? Besides, you know full well Harriet and Kate got everything they deserved! It could have been so much worse.” She gave me one of those sly smiles.  “Read the dialogue, read between the lines. You wrote it. I’m owed plenty, as you well know, and I’m going to get what I deserve.”

(Little does she know!)

The Twenty-One-Year Contract - snippet

‘After a glass of water, Jack made himself a cup of tea and returned to the job in hand. This was going to be much harder than he could ever have imagined. Working deep through the night, Jack methodically sifted through volumes of paperwork until light inched its way through the curtain. Though he felt thoroughly ready for bed, he continued searching, his aim to find at least a smidgen of information about his niece. Randomly tidying up as he went, Jack noticed an encyclopaedia oddly extended over one of the top shelves. He tried pushing it back into place. It was jammed. It looked awkward. Pulling it out to check the depth of the book, he found a box file hidden behind. Upon the side panel was one word, capitalized in thick bold lettering: KATHLEEN As the hazy sunlight grew, puzzled, Jack pulled the curtains to lend natural light, took the file off the shelf, sat back in Henry’s chair, and looked inside…’

The book sounds great. Now that we've heard from your characters, we'd like to hear from you again! As the author, what do you think is the most difficult part of writing and why? 

Okay, well let’s get down to brass tacks. Finding time and that difficult word: Marketing! It stops me doing what I love most. Writing!

For me marketing is a real issue. Unless you are a natural born salesperson, which I am not. Some people can sell snow to the Inuit’s or send sand to the Sahara! But I’ve never been good at bragging about myself, and that’s what it feels like. Selling my brand, telling everyone I’m great, my books are great. Go out and buy my books. Really, that’s not me. I’m shy enough as it is! But it would be wonderful if you did buy my book! My sincere thanks go to every reader who has, or is considering buying my book.  Without you lovely readers, writers wouldn’t be needed. So, thank you from the very bottom of my heart.

How do you get to know your readers? What do you learn from your readers? 

Reviews are brilliant. They tell a story. I learn from that and thank them for their valuable time and effort who have shared their kind thoughts.

I also blog. I offer simple writing suggestions for budding authors and share what I’ve learned and am still learning!

I offer to host authors, new and experienced, to give my readers a chance to see who else is out there and listen to how they work. 

If there’s anything else I think might be of interest, I post again on social media. And I get a real buzz to hear back from them. However, here comes an apology with regard my blog. www.wifeinthewest.com because I have temporarily stopped responding to my blog readership. Why? Because unfortunately I have had over a 1000 scams/trolls ruining perfectly good dialogue my readers, with genuine questions. I take hours to read through messages to weed out the good from the bad. I’ve begun with a clean-up program, hopefully that will resolve the issue.

Oh, and I’ve also recently listed my recent up to date program on my blog so readers knew what is available, rather than them having to trawl through every post.

Thank you L.B., for being my guest today! Here are her buy links and social contact information:

Buy links

https://fb.watch/b3c2bZPyRF/

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0971T3RGC

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0971T3RGC

Also available : Blackwells >Barnes&Noble>Waterstones>and all good bookstores

Social Contacts and blog link:

Blog: www.wifeinthewest.com

www.facebook.com/lynngriffinauthor

www.instagram.com/lynngriffinauthoruk/

www://twitter.com/LBGriffinAuthor/

Does anyone have any questions or comments for L.B.?

A Bag Full of Romance and Suspense

When I think of purses, I always think of my mother. She was constantly shopping for purses of all shapes and sizes, and I think she passed ...