Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Spring Dreaming

Spring to me has always meant days of getting to spend outside enjoying the warm days and finding new authors to read. (Well, actually I do that every season) which is why I am always searching for different authors  I can enjoy. Today's guest in My Writing Corner has a new book out that sounds perfect for the next time I want to sit outside on the patio and read. 

Ellen Parker says she was raised in a household filled with books. Because of that, it was only natural that Ellen  grew into an avid reader. She turned to writing as a second career and says she enjoys spinning the type of story which appeals to multiple generations. She encourages her readers to share her work with mothers or daughters – or both. 

Ellen currently lives in St. Louis. When not guiding her characters to their “happily ever after” she’s says she is apt to be reading, walking in the neighborhood, or tending her tiny garden. You can find her on the web at www.ellenparkerwrites.wordpress.com and www.facebook.com/ellenparkerwrites

Her newest book is New Dreams and it is available now. Let's get a blurb:

America beckons with opportunity during the 1850’s.  

Louisa Mueller, a baker’s daughter, arrives in Elm Ridge, Illinois with determination to learn English and work as a baker. Since the death of her sweetheart a year ago, she pushes aside thoughts of marriage. However, she’s intrigued by a fellow passenger who tells the most interesting stories. 


Desperate for a fresh start, a young thief takes the name Hans Hoffmann when a look-alike passenger dies during the trans-Atlantic passage. Vowing to be an honest man in America, Hans discovers temptation wears many disguises. Will the pair be rewarded as they attempt their new dreams in a strange land?

Let's hear directly from her characters:

Today I’m with Louisa Mueller and Hans Hoffmann from the historical romance, New Dreams.

Louisa, please tell us what draws you to Hans.

Thank you. When Hans introduced himself to me on the ship, his voice was polite, sincere, and determined all mixed together. I was flattered he asked to become acquainted and decided very quickly to become his friend.

What frightens you about him?

Each time I inquire about his life before boarding the ship he evades the question. Sometimes he responds with a clever story. Often I am not certain if a village he mentions is where he lived or merely traveled through – for I get the impression he moved a great deal after his mother died.

What do you want most in life, Louisa?

I have always been a dutiful daughter and I feel rather lost when not living near family. While events beyond my control have changed my dreams—I want to work, perhaps own, a bakery. I will be patient and trust a husband and family will follow in due time.

What frightens you about your trip to America?

The distance. Letters from America took many weeks to reach our village. Papa and I will be without other family until we arrive in Illinois. I never had need to leave our village until we loaded the trunks, joined a young married couple, and set out for the port. Will I make friends? 

And now, a few question for Hans. Tell us, what do you want to find in America?

America—land of opportunity—at least according to the talk in the taverns I frequent. I want to earn honest pay for my hard work. I want enough money to live in a comfortable room and not worry if I will be able to eat tomorrow.

What draws you to Louisa?

She is pretty—and intelligent. She tells stories of her girlhood filled with kind, generous people—the sort of family and friends a man wants to populate his past.

What frightens you about her?

I repeat—she is pretty and intelligent. I am often fearful I will not be able to contribute anything to her life. She would make a good wife for an educated, professional man. I am a humble person fighting temptation to do wrong.

Thank you both, Louisa and Hans,  for answering our questions, and thank you, Ellen, for being my guest today. Here are Ellen's buy links for her new book and information on how to get in touch with her.

Do you have any questions or comments for Ellen?

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

A Successful Relationship with Writing

We all have our different stories about how we have become writers and we have different paths to publication. Today's guest in My Writing Corner brings us another unique journey into the land of publication.

Stella Grae is an unassuming English professor, copyeditor, and copywriter who lives in Lexington, Kentucky. She’s the author of the short story “Power Play” that was originally published in the website erotica journal Oysters and Chocolate. Stella says in her spare time she enjoys sipping on bourbon, nibbling cheesy grits, and philosophizing about love and sex in her blog, “Bone Up,” which can be found on her website: stellagraeerotica.weebly.com …along with other sexy tidbits. Her book featured below, Just Call Me Confidence is Stella's first erotica novel to be published. Let's find out more...

Stella, tell us about your road to publication.


I have been writing for decades, mostly short stories and poetry, and I’m fairly new to erotica. I’ve had some small successes with mainstream short stories, but erotica was a final frontier of sorts. I discovered that I was pretty good at it, and what I liked was that psychological component to it. Everyone has fantasies and what I enjoyed in the writing was living those in my mind, but not necessarily doing them. I enjoy rewriting and editing, so I just kept plugging away and the rest is history, as they say. It’s been a long road to publication, but if you have a good attitude, can take constructive criticism well, and really enjoy the process of writing then success will follow. 

What do you find is the most challenging part of being an author?


One of the most challenging parts of being an author is finding the time to write when inspiration hits. A lot of times, I have to do some quick notes, sketch out characters, conflicts, or other ideas and then return to flesh out details. I try to make some regular time to write, even if I don’t feel like it. 


What is your latest book and how did you come up with the idea to write it?


So, this will be an interesting answer because most authors pull some part of themselves into a work, even if it’s just their own personal fantasies. Just Call Me Confidence and its sequel, which I’m working on right now, were both born of a failed relationship. I was lonely in the relationship, but didn’t want to do anything stupid, so I created characters and situations that were based a little on reality, but twisted them to create the kind of relationship that I actually had wished I had had. The relationship fizzled, but the plot sizzled. 


Let's get a blurb:


Jenna Craig is a 40-year-old freshly-minted “hot momma” looking for a little love in her post-divorce life. After a night out with her cougar tribe, she wonders whether she’s still got “it”—the double-takes from the college clowns at the bar quickly put her doubts to rest. Though she may be alone, she knows she’ll never be lonely. 


Jenna’s newfound confidence is buoyed by some swim club eye candy: Travis the lifeguard. Hot trysts in the locker room leave her wondering if she might want something more. When her naughty, new boy toy introduces her to his friend, Collin, Jenna is engulfed with waves of emotion that she thought she might never feel again. With two younger men vying for her heart, will she choose the perfect guy for right now, or the man who could give her another shot at love?

The experienced Ms. Craig is certain of one thing: She better bring the confidence to pull off the choice of her desire. 


Want more? How about an excerpt?


    “I’m glad we’re friends, and that you think nothing of racing to my house to help me with my man woes, and my panties. But you know what I appreciate most?”


    “You appreciate my sarcastic, brutally honest, down-home wit?”


    “No, the fact that you don’t judge me or what I do, or don’t do. You’ve never said you think I’m acting like a whore.”


    Fielding hugs me and doesn’t let go. Patting me on my back she responds, “I’ll never stoop to calling you a whore because you’re simply acting like a woman with a man’s morals.” 


Let's go back to Stella. Tell me, how do you develop characters?


A lot of the characters I’ve created are an interesting amalgam of people I know, read about in the news, or in other books. Of course, when one writes, characters are often shaped by plot, or they take an interesting turn because it just feels like that’s what they need to do. Some of the development is planned, but a lot of it is organic. 


How do you come up with your plots?


I guess I have a crazy good imagination, and I’ve lived a fairly interesting life. So, art imitates life—and maybe a little vice versa! 


What’s your next project? 


I’m working on some poetry right now and a short story called “The List.” In the very near future I’ll dig into the sequel to Just Call Me Confidence, which will be a little darker, but every bit as sensual. I’ve also got some non-fiction pieces in the till that I’d like to get placed. I’m also working with a friend on her memoir. There’s never a time I don’t have multiple projects going; I find that’s a great way to gain perspective on a work, and I very rarely have writer’s block. 


Following are Stella's Buy Links for her book and her social contacts.


Buy Links

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/83767444-just-call-me-confidence

Barnes and Noble:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/just-call-me-confidence-stella-grae/1142958506?ean=9781509248223

Amazon: https://a.co/d/iY2aojG


Social Contacts:


Website: https://stellagraeerotica.weebly.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SGraeErotica

AllAuthor: https://stellagraeerotica.allauthor.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/159637845-stella-grae

Email: stellagrae@proton.me

Amazon Central Author Page: 

www.amazon.com/author/stellagraeerotica


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

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Inspired by History

As writers, we are often asked where we get the inspiration for the stories we write. The answer to that question is easy for today's blog guest, author Susan Leigh Furlong. 


First of all, Susan says she knew she had a special connection with words since she was a child. When she was 9 years old, she wrote and directed her first play for the neighborhood children. 

But she also had a love for history and she says that inspiration helped move her along in the writing world. She credits that combination with fueling her resilience against the sneezes and coughs that old books give her as she delves into research for unique events to inspire her historical fiction romance novels. Susan captures her readers’ imagination with a highly enthralling style, chronological events, and smoothly flowing narratives that keep one’s eyes glued on her novels from the first page to the last. 


Susan has written two non-fiction books and three novels set in sixteenth century Scotland as well as several short stories published in national magazines. My Writing Corner has had the pleasure of featuring one of her earlier books, Keeper of My Dreams.  Her most recent release is Desperate Hope, a novel set during the American Revolution. When Susan is not combing through history, piecing together her next novel, she writes, directs, and performs with a music and drama group. 


Let's get a blurb on her latest book, Desperate Hope:


His new country needed him. He needed her more


Revolutionary War soldier, Gavin Cullane, has desperate choices to make. He vows never to give up the fight for American freedom, but his role as colonial liaison between the Americans and the British brands him a seeming traitor to his own country. When he discovers the woman he loves is part of George Washington’s secret spy chain, his only choice is to expose his own lies so she can escape.


Tansy Carter risks her life to send messages to George Washington from the captured city of New York. When she is discovered, she must flee the city, and trusting her life to the traitor, Cullane, is the desperate chance she must take.


Will their freedom come at the cost of their love?


Now let's hear directly from the characters. We'll start with Gavin.


What is your main goal?


I made a promise to my best friend, Alden Carter, before he died in my arms, that I would fight for American freedom any way I could, so my first goal had to be getting off the British prison ship. My only choice was to pose as a British liaison and spy on the Americans. I played my role well, but I kept searching for ways to send information to George Washington, making me seem to be a traitor to both sides. Then I met Alden’s widow, Tansy, and playing a double role became impossible. I discovered she sent secret coded messages to George Washington from the captured city of New York. My British handler tricked me into revealing the truth, but my love for her, and my promise to Alden, made it impossible for me to do anything but help her escape.



What draws you to  Tansy?

When I first saw the portrait of Alden’s wife in his pocket watch, I thought, here is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.  Alden told me so many stories about her, I felt like I knew her, and I fell in love, if only in my daydreams. After his death, and I discovered her living in New York, everything changed. She was all Alden had said about her, courageous and strong, with a caring heart. She was everything I had ever wanted in a woman, but to her I was a traitor and a threat. I needed her to know the truth about me without sending both of us to a British noose.


What frightens you about her?


She has taken over my life, first in my daydreams and now in my living. I’ve lost control. Working as a servant all my life, I had been taught the proper order of things, but the war, and now Tansy, threw all that into turmoil. I didn’t have guidelines to follow. I was on my own, and I struggled to make things right, sometimes failing miserably. What happens to me doesn’t matter, but what happens to her is everything. Can I save her or will my mistakes cost her life? 

What do you see for your future?

Until this war is over, my future doesn’t exist. I live to get through the next moment, to tell the next lie.  More than anything I want to make Tansy my own, but I can have only one goal now, to get her and her family out of British-held New York City and into Continental-held territory in New Jersey. Not until she is safe with her family in southern New Jersey can I make any decisions about my own future. 

Now let's hear from Tansy:

Why do you want to help George Washington?

The war killed my beloved husband, Alden, leaving me alone to raise his unborn child. The British put the city of New York under martial law, and the restrictions to life here are crushing. Not everyone can fight against tyranny with a gun, some do it with words and actions that no one can see. I long for a better life for myself and my son, one that only freedom can bring.

What draws you to Gavin? 

My first reaction to Gavin when he threatened to arrest my nephew was to get rid of him like I would a rat in the flour bin. Yet, something about him made me want to know what kind of man he really was. Maybe it was that he knew my late husband or maybe it was his compassion in not taking my nephew to prison or even how his eyes spoke of a pain deeper than he could express. I felt guilty thinking about him in a positive light, but his actions kept showing me a generous heart and a keen mind, revealing to me a man I could love.

What frightens you about him?

The first time I met him he came to arrest my nephew, Charles, for stealing a British mail pouch, and I hated what he stood for. Yet I wondered how a man so intelligent, strong willed, and caring could work for the enemy. I watched him risk punishment by bringing supplies to people devastated by a city-wide fire while at the same time threatening to reveal my part in a network of spies for George Washington. I couldn’t put Gavin into the proper place in my heart or my head. The confusion of my thoughts was overwhelming, but he became the only one I could trust with my life and the lives of my loved ones. I prayed I was right about him. 

How do you see your future with him or do you see one?

I was a widow with a young son to raise, and the British occupation of the city made the world seem darker than it ever had been. The handsome traitor threatened me and my family with being hanged as spies, so I lived “holding my breath” that disaster wasn’t around the next corner. After Gavin Cullane convinced me of his true character and his true feelings, we were on the run from the British officer, Simon Duffy. Repeatedly, Gavin put his life on the line to protect me, and when we got to the safety of my family home, I believed our future would be there. But Gavin said he couldn’t live the life I had envisioned for us, the life of a dairy farmer. He said he needed to choose his own path, so I vowed that his future would be mine. Where he was, I would be also.


Want more? How about an excerpt:


Tansy Carter and her brother-in-law, Nate Hemstead, send secret spy messages to George Washington from the British held city of New York. Gavin Cullane, an American patriot posing as a British Liaison officer must now convince Tansy of his true loyalties to save her from being captured and hanged.


        “You can’t be seen with me. My orders include providing the evidence that will lead to your arrest, and Nate’s too. Please, let’s get off the street.”

        Tansy lifted her skirts and started running away from him. Taking chase, he caught up with her two blocks later. After shoving her, none too gently, into a recessed doorway, he held her against the wall. 

        … “I want to help you escape New York so Simon Duffy can’t find you or any of the family. I’m telling you the truth.”


        “Who in the name of all the saints is Simon Duffy?” she asked with a sharp punch to his gut that made him double over….


        “He’s the British officer I’ve been reporting to,” he choked out, knowing what he would say next would damn him to Hell. “He’s the one I’ve been giving information to about anyone not loyal to the crown. …He wants me to persuade Nate to send a coded message to George Washington that could be a turning point for the war in British favor.” 


        She didn’t respond. 


        “Then Duffy will arrest him and you, Daisy, and Charles and hang all of you.”


        Her fist cocked. He prepared himself for her second punch to his gut by tightening his stomach muscles….


        “Traitor!” she shouted. 


Want more? You'll have to buy the book! Here are Susan's buy links and social contact information:


Buy Link For Desperate Hope:

https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B0BGX9WXZK/ref=sr_1_4?crid=23MFNBIIZKMHX&keywords=Susan+Leigh+Furlong&qid=1664572163&qu=eyJxc2MiOiIyLjI3IiwicXNhIjoiMC4wMCIsInFzcCI6IjAuMDAifQ%3D%3D&sprefix=susan+leigh+furlong%2Caps%2C117&sr=8-4

Universal Link:

https://books2read.com/u/bzVKjz

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/64412012-desperate-hope?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=7xRaTp2R1H&rank=2

https://www.bookbub.com/books/desperate-hope-by-susan-leigh-furlong 

Books are also available through my website – www.SusanLFurlong.com

Social Media

Facebook.com/SusanLeighFurlong

Twitter@FurlongLeigh

www.SusanLFurlong.com

Susanleighfurlongwriter@gmail.com

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

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Taking a Romantic Tour

Every since my first trip to British Columbia many years ago, I've loved reading stories set in Canada or books written by Canadian authors so I can "visit" any time I want through the authors' eyes. Today's guest in My Writing Corner, Margot Johnson, hails from Canada and has visited my blog before, so I am pleased to host her again with her latest story,  Let it Simmer.  It's part of her Merilee Tour Series and has just been released. 

Margot says she writes feel-good stories about dreams, family and romance. She is the author of five romances--the novels Love Takes Flight and Love Leads The Way and three novellas in the Merilee Tours series--Let It Snowball, Let It Melt, and Let It Simmer. Her characters can't possibly find their happy endings...or can they?

Before turning her focus to the fun writing life, Margot held leadership roles in human resources and communications. She says her motto is "Dream big and work hard." When not writing, she tells us she loves to connect with family and friends, volunteer with SK Writers Guild, and walk at least 10,000 steps a day (except when it's minus 40!) She lives with her husband in the Canadian prairies.

Her latest book is Let it Simmer, part of her Merilee Tours Series:

He crashed her holiday…but will he break her heart?

In this book, Merilee’s Tours visits Waskesiu, located in beautiful Prince Albert National Park, Saskatchewan, Canada. Margot says, "Our family holidays there every summer, and it’s one of my favorite places."

Let's get a blurb:

A sensible, mature widow like Susan doesn’t belong on a tour bus seated next to her high school crush. Thirty years later, Phil is as charming and handsome as ever, but she doesn’t need a new partner, especially not a love-’em-and-leave-’em guy.

Happily single, Phil tags along to celebrate his matchmaking mom’s eightieth birthday. She’s embarrassingly persistent, but maybe she’s right he should, finally, settle down with the right woman.

Susan only wants a little family time with her two cousins and a scenic vacation to Northern Saskatchewan…so why does she feel like a fluttery teenage girl? Can Phil spark even more excitement than games, scenery, and wildlife?



How about an excerpt?


Phil swam to greet her. “You didn’t dunk your head.”

“I like to keep my head above water.” She smiled and tilted into a side stroke, but with a huge, open lake in every direction, why did she choose to drift so close? Next to the shade of the water, his eyes glinted azure, and with droplets of moisture sprinkled over his face, he glistened youthful, refreshed…and more handsome than ever.

Slowing, he flipped upright and faced her just a few feet away.

She treaded in place and watched him float closer and sweep his gaze over her face and shoulders. Her body tingled, and she imagined the touch of his warm, gentle lips. Without a doubt, he wanted to kiss her…but was now too soon for a romantic interlude? She hadn’t kissed a man in eight, long years, and she’d only become reacquainted with Phil mere days ago.

She hardly knew the man, except she felt this deep, unexplained connection. The holiday freed and unburdened her—like a woman who deserved a new kind of happiness. Should she allow a kiss? Could she?

She closed her eyes, parted her lips, and…tasted a faceful of musty water. Sputtering, she snapped open her eyes, spewed it into the lake, and wiped her drenched face. What just happened?


Want to read on, you'll have to get the book! Here are a few of Let It Simmer's buy links:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

If you would like to contact Margot here are the links:

Website: margotjohnson.ca

Facebook: MargotJohnsonAuthor

Twitter: @AuthorMargot


You can find Margot’s books here:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

BookBub

Goodreads


What do Readers say about Margot's books?

“Between the delicious-sounding meals, beautiful scenery, and sparkle of romance, this book is a page-turning joy!”

“What a fun and entertaining read!”

“A funny, cute, and romantic story”

“Full of sweet anticipation and laugh-out-loud moments”

“A story as sweet and warm as summertime at the lake”

And this new book, Let It Simmer sounds like another fun visit to Margot's world. Thank you, Margot, for being my guest today. Any questions or comments?

Mysterious Doings

As the  summer begins, it is time to start selecting those books we want to take on vacation or for sitting around the pool or at  the beach...