Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Taking a Forward Step

Meeting fellow authors at book conferences or online has always been one of my joys. It is always great to see what everyone is working on at any point in time. It's why writers' groups and conferences or posting this blog have always been important to me. Today, my guest is Kim Janine Ligon. She has appeared before in My Writing Corner where I featured her book, Polly's List.  Now she has a new book out that sounds like a great read.

Kim has been writing stories for most of her life—some on paper and some only in her head. She tells us that she has lots of source material from growing up as the oldest child in a large family in a small town in Wisconsin. Her father was a veterinarian so there were not only lots of children around, but all manner of house pets and farm animals too. Her love of reading comes from her mother who was seldom seen sitting down without a book in her hand. After a demanding career in healthcare information technology, Kim is now getting to do all the creative things she loves which includes writing her stories to share with you. She tells us that she lives with her chief encourager and personal romantic hero, her husband of almost forever, in Alabama.

Her newest book is Landing on Her Feet. It will be published on July 3, 2023 but is in pre-order now. Let's get a blurb:


Kat Russell narrowly escaped death at Dirk Crowe’s hands six years ago. He’s out of prison. To protect her family, she must flee Philadelphia—the only home she’s ever known—with her five-year-old son, Timmy. Is Wisconsin far enough away to escape evil? 

Chase Merrick, father of Timmy’s new best friend, wants to help. What is Kat hiding? Why does she insist she must face whatever it is alone? 

When can Kat stop constantly looking back over her shoulder? Will secrets and shame stop her from accepting Chase’s protection? Or unite them in the face of danger to keep their sons safe? 

Want to know more? Today we are going to try something new. Instead of interviewing the main characters, let's talk to Emma, who was a good friend of Kat's grandmother, Hannah and lives in Wisconsin.

Emma, how did you get your two boarders from Philadelphia?

After six months alone, I finally ran an ad in the newspaper and my late friend, Hannah Schnekker's granddaughter, Katrina Russell and her five-year-old son, Timmy, replied to the online listing. Her mother lived here until she married and moved to Philadelphia. I've known Katrina since she was a baby, but hadn't seen her in years. She used to visit every summer while her grandparents were alive. 


Do you know what has frightened Katrina?  


It took a long time for Katrina to confide in me. I only knew she was in danger and had to get far away. I finally learned a man who tried to kill her six years ago just got out of prison and she's afraid for her life and her son's. She left home to keep her father safe from Dirk Crowe's wrath. There's a lot more to the story but it's Katrina's to share with you. It's very personal and not mine to share.


Do you worry that Dirk will come after Katrina and put you all in danger?

I think it is very likely that evil, motorcycle riding creature will come. It doesn't seem like the type to easily give up. But I don't worry because God is watching over us. Katrina and Timmy are not alone. We all love them and they have extra Divine protection.

Do you think Katrina and Chase are a good match?  

I had an inkling from the beginning they would hit it off, if only Katrina could forget the past and recognize Chase's affection for her. 

They are both single parents of young boys who adore one another. Chase's mother, Claire, is a dear sweet friend who has hoped Chase could find a woman to love after losing his first wife. Katrina deserves to be happy and Timmy wants a good dad. Chase definitely fills that bill.


What do you hope happens in the future for you all?  

I hope Dirk Crowe is captured and Katrina will share the rest of her story with Chase so they can move forward to become a family with their two wonderful sons. I'm just so glad I can be here to help Hannah's granddaughter and great grandson. 

Want to know more? Here's an excerpt:

The unmistakable roar of a motorcycle echoed  through the diner. Kat stopped where she stood. Her  lungs wouldn’t refill. She gripped the counter to steady  her trembling legs. Out the front window she saw a red- helmeted rider atop a motorcycle pull out of a space in front of the diner and drive away.  

Impossible. Not here. He couldn’t know she’s gone. Not yet. Other people with red helmets ride motorcycles. Get a grip, girl! People are staring. Stop  scowling. She wiped away the tear that slipped down  her cheek, plastered on what she hoped was a pleasant  smile, and resumed pouring coffee. She needed to make a good impression. She had to keep this job.

If you'd like to read on, you'll need to buy the book which is available for pre-order.  Here are the Buy Links:

Barnes and Noble:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/landing-on-her-feet-kim-janine-ligon/1143205488


If you'd like to know more about Kim, please follow her further adventures at www.spinningromance.com

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

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

A Final Visit to A Far Off World

Do you enjoy the idea of visiting far off lands?  Today's guest in My Writing Corner, Jennifer Ivy Walker, has appeared on my blog previously featuring the first two books of her  "The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven" trilogy and is ready to take you back to that magical land once more!  

Enthralled with legends of medieval knights and ladies, dark fairy tales and fantasies about Druids, wizards and magic, Jennifer always dreamed of becoming a writer. She says she  fell in love with French in junior high school, She continued her study of the language throughout college.  Eventually, she became a high school teacher and college professor of French.


As a high school teacher, she took her students to the annual French competition every year, where they performed a play she had written, "Yseult la Belle et Tristan la Bête"--an imaginative blend of the medieval French legend of "Tristan et Yseult" and the fairy tale "Beauty and the Beast", enhanced with fantasy elements of a Celtic fairy and a wicked witch.

Her latest book is “The Emerald Fairy and the Dragon Knight." It is book three and the conclusion of “The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven” trilogy. The series is a blend of her love for Celtic legends, the romantic French language, and epic fantasy. It is a paranormal fated mates adaptation of the medieval legend of "Tristan et Yseult" (Tristan and Isolde), interwoven with Arthurian myth, dark fairy tales from the enchanted Forest of Brocéliande, and otherworldly elements such as Avalonian Elves, Druids, forest fairies, and magic. 

Want to know more? Let's get a blurb:

Wielding a trio of enchanted Elven weapons to battle a dark wizard and a legion of diabolical dwarves, Tristan is faced with the impossible choice between saving the woman he loves or defending his endangered kingdom. Inexplicably compelled to remain in the sacred forest where he hears the voice of her heart, the heir to the throne of Cornwall incurs the wrath and scorn of his army when he decides to hunt for his captive mate.

Her verdant magic greatly enhanced by the mystical Morgane la Fée, Issylte must summon a coalition of Naiad nymphs and celestial fairies to destroy a nascent evil as she fights to reclaim her rightful crown.

When the Black Widow Queen unites with a malignant menace and a ghost from Tristan’s haunted past, the Emerald Fairy and the Dragon Knight must ally with a triad of shapeshifting warrior tribes to defeat a Viking Trident and defend their trinity of Celtic kingdoms.

Interwoven fates. Otherworldly mates.  Destiny awaits.

Now let's get an excerpt.

She held the églantine to her nose, inhaling the delicate fragrance with a smile of wonder. “Thank you, my love. It reminds me of the nightingale in the woods of Avalon. You never cease to amaze me.” Gratitude shifted to empathy as she intently searched his face. “How does it feel to come home?”

Tristan looked out at the cerulean sea. The blue waters of Lyonesse. His home. “I feel…conflicted. Tremendous guilt and grief, mingled with incredible joy.” He raised the hand in which she held the wild rose, lifting the pink blossom to his nose. He inhaled its soothing floral fragrance—Issylte’s essence—to ease his heavy heart. “When I saw the edge of the forest where Goron held me that day…I relived the horrors…” A violent shudder shook his body. 

Issylte wrapped her arms around his waist and nestled her head against his thundering chest.

 He kissed the top of her head, cocooning her in loving arms. “But now…with you here…I remember the love.” He rocked her in his arms as fond memories flowed, washing away the sadness and sorrow. “My mother’s tender touch…my sister’s beautiful smile…my father’s noble face. All the happiness we shared here. All the laughter. All the love.”

Issylte raised her tear-stained face to beam at him. “Love conquers hate. It is the Goddess’ greatest gift. And I am eternally grateful that She has healed your broken heart.”

He kissed her. His Wild Rose. His green golden goddess. His Emerald Fairy. “Aye, my love. She has. Through you.”


If you're hooked, here are the buy links for The Emerald Fairy and the Dragon Knight:

Amazon link:  https://www.amazon.com/Emerald-Fairy-Dragon-Knight-Raven-ebook/dp/B0C28XRHR2/ref=sr_1_1?crid=WC4MNXW6LNY2&keywords=the+emerald+fairy+and+the+dragon+knight+jennifer+ivy+walker&qid=1683425307&sprefix=the+emerald+fairy%2Caps%2C125&sr=8-1

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-emerald-fairy-and-the-dragon-knight-jennifer-ivy-walker/1143179531?ean=2940161094518



As stated earlier, My Writing Corner has been fortunate enough to previously feature Book 1 - The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven and Book 2 - The Lady of the Mirrored Lake in "The Wild Rose and the Sea Raventrilogy.  To learn more about Jennifer Ivy Walker and explore her realm of Medieval French Fantasy go to her web site. She hopes her novels will enchant you.



For more information here are Jennifer's Social Contacts:

Website:  https://jenniferivywalker.com/

Goodreads Author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/22671046.Jennifer_Ivy_Walker

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/bohemienneivy

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

Tiktok: https://www.tiktok.com/@jenniferivywalker


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


Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Dancing into Danger

With the hot days of summer keeping us inside or relaxing by the pool, a good book to read is a necessity!  My guest today in My Writing Corner is Natalie Cross and  she brings us an offering that sounds like a perfect summer read.  Natalie says she's a  lifelong lover of the written word and used to spend her school recess hours reading books like  Jurassic Park  or the works of  Jane Austen.  She says not much has changed since then, except now she says she writes stories about strong, smart women and the people who adore them. She also says sometimes there are even pirates involved.


Natalie tells us she lives in Los Angeles, where she is married to a man who literally brings life into the world. She says she is mom to two lovely young munchkins who despise brushing their hair and eat way too much cake. She also says she is unapologetically terrible at taking selfies.

Natalie, what do you enjoy about being an author?

Connecting with other readers and writers. I’ve always been a huge reader, and meeting more people who love the same books and stories that I do is so much fun. If even one other person reads and likes one of my books, that is so incredibly satisfying. 

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

I know a lot of people say marketing is the biggest struggle, but I have a serious problem with titles. I second guess them constantly, even after the publication stage. And blurbs. Writing a captivating blurb is so much more difficult than writing a 50,000 word novel.

Tell us about your road to publication.

I wrote my first book, the romance suspense Ballroom Blitz on a whim, and had absolutely no idea what to do with it after I wrote it,  so I joined the Romance Writers of America and their subchapter the Kiss of Death. I took a few classes, learned more about story structure, editing, different publishing routes, including self-publishing vs traditional. When Kiss of Death held their annual Pitchfest, where you pitch certain agents and editors, I figured I would try that, and if no one nibbled at Ballroom Blitz, then I’d go down the self pub pathway. I had a low frustration tolerance at the time, haha. To my incredible surprise, The Wild Rose Press was interested in my story, so I signed contracts, and Ballroom Blitz was released to the world October 2022.

Writing Ballroom Blitz and the excellent experience I’ve had with The Wild Rose Press inspired me to keep writing, and now I also self publish, some under the name Natalie Cross, and then also some spicy novellas under the name NC Ross. 

Let's find out more about
Ballroom Blitz.  How about a blurb: 

In the glamorous world of ballroom, love and dancing do not always mix.

Professional dancer Anita Goodman has learned that lesson the hard way. With her studio and her reputation on the line, she has to take a chance on the last person she ever wanted to partner with: her best friend.

Patrick O’Leary has loved Anita since high school, but he has languished in the Friend Zone for long enough. He will take this last chance to prove to her that love is greater than winning.

Neither of them realize that conquering their rising attraction won’t be their biggest obstacle. Someone does not want them to be together, and will stop at nothing to get their way.

Love, dance, and danger. It’s a Ballroom Blitz.


We want more. How about an excerpt?

        The ballroom still thrummed with the clack of heels and the slide of suede, though its last inhabitants had vanished over an hour before. Applause and cheering from the final night party echoed across the hallway. The tables were strewn with hair pins, empty water bottles, and sweaty towels tossed with exhilaration before another heat. The perfume of sunless tanner and hairspray drifted toward the apex of the ballroom’s ceiling, and it almost seemed that a few notes of a Viennese waltz still clung to the utilitarian white hotel tablecloths.

        Rapid footsteps broke the waiting silence. Stilettos from the click click click, glimmering with crystals, a few of which scattered from the shoes with a brackish clatter as the heels struck the parquet of the ballroom floor. Heavy breathing, panting. “No!” A stumble as one heel of the red satin crystal-encrusted stilettos snapped. Sobbing. 

        Then another pair of footsteps, flats, fashionable. Something hard, with an edge that might draw blood. These footsteps were measured. No panic. No anxiety. Calculating.

        The sobs intensified. “Please, please, please, no, I didn’t do anythi—”

        A gurgle, a grimace, a thud. The wash of silk from a bone-white evening gown susurrated along the cold parquet floor. The scent of copper flooded the air.

        A grunt, a vicious exhale, an audible sneer.

        Then the ballroom closed upon itself again. The tables, the cloths, the chandeliers, the lights. All waiting for its new secret to be discovered.

Want to read more? Here is the buy link to get Ballroom Blitz:
Natalie, what is your next book and how did you come up with the idea to write it?

The sequel to Ballroom Blitz, titled Ballroom Fever, comes out October 2023, and I am so excited for it. I get ideas for books in all sorts of strange places, and the idea for Ballroom Fever was no different. Probably when I was half awake one morning, I thought, “hey, what if there was like a Rear Window situation, where Patrick broke his leg but he thinks he witnesses a crime next door, and then it uncovers all this other shady stuff going on in the town.” I am also really into psychological and domestic thrillers, so a lot of those vibes leeched into Ballroom Fever, too. I am so excited for its release. It’s heartbreaking and funny and I’ve introduced some really great new characters, along with some old faves.

How do you come up with your plots?

Most of the time it starts with a vague idea, like what if two ballroom dancers were old friends but secretly were in love with each other, and then they have to solve crimes? It’s probably obvious that I listen to a lot of true crime podcasts. That’s where I come up with a lot of my other romance suspense ideas. The whole ripped from the headlines thing, because truth sometimes is stranger than reality. 

I’m a pantser, but I try to have a loose outline. If a story goes off the rails, I try to roll with it, because most of the time it works out really well. It just means that editing and re-editing is my life. 

What’s your next project?

Currently, I’m working on the third book in the ballroom mystery series, but it’s taking me a while because the original idea I had didn’t fully pan out. It’s the problem with being a pantser haha.

I am also working on the spicy billionaire novella series I self publish under my other pen name, NC Ross. The series is International Desires, and it follows the premise of a travel agency that provides bespoke couples’-focused experiences in faraway lands. That’s the PG explanation. The first book in that series is Two Dukes in Denmark, and I’m working on the third, Tied Up in Thailand. They’re really fun to write, and it’s like taking a fantasy vacation, delving into each of these places.

Good luck with your new book! Thank you, Natalie, for being my guest today.

Here is Natalie's social media contact information.

Website and Newsletter: www.nataliecrosswrites.com

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/natalie-cross

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

Instagram: www.instagram.com/nataliecrosswrites

Tiktok: www.tiktok.com/nataliecrosswrites

 Any comments or questions for Natalie?

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

A Summer Treat

What do you do when the summer rain starts? Well, the answer can be simple. Find a good book!

Our guest today in My Writing Corner has a possibility that sounds perfect for the beach or the lake, or just sitting inside while the rain comes down. Welcome to Rosemary Kubli who says she likes to write the type of books she loves to read - intrigue and suspense mixed with a pinch of romance and a clever plot twist or two. 


Her professional experiences run the gamut from Human Resources and training to accounting and banking, with publishing being her most recent endeavor. Aside from the seven years she lived in southern California, she has always called the northeast corner of Ohio her home. Rosemary and her husband of 45 years enjoy traveling - on land to visit family and friends and on sea to any destination a cruise ship will take them. When not working on her next novel, she can be found discussing the latest in literary fare with her book club, playing a rousing game of Bunco with some of her oldest and dearest friends, researching her ancestry, volunteering in her community, burying her nose in a book, or obsessing over the latest binge-worthy TV series.

Rosemary, what do you enjoy about being an author?  


Of course, I enjoy creating the narrative and the characters through which I tell the story, but what I love most about being an author are the comments I receive from my readers. I was so incredibly delighted when a reader told me that a suspenseful moment in the plot literally made her jump out of her seat, and when two ladies said they loved the story so much they intended to read the book a second time. But the comment that’s my personal favorite came from a reader who said Jonathan Woodward (the male main character in Gullible) is the man of her dreams and she will marry him some day. I get goosebumps knowing that my story is as enthralling to others as it is to me, and that my audience loves the characters in Gullible as much as I do. Even those not so complimentary comments serve as reminders that my writing can always be improved.


Tell us about your road to publication.


My long and bumpy road to publication started about eight years ago. With no qualifications other than a lifelong desire to be a published author, in the fall of 2015 I decided to get serious about writing and began penning my first novel. I quickly realized that, once the novel was completed, I had no idea how to go about getting it published! I wish I’d kept track of how many hours I spent researching the answers to my long list of questions. I learned what a beta reader is and how to construct a query letter. I contacted several published authors and asked a lot of questions. I watched a ton of YouTube videos. I joined a local writer’s critique group and took their advice to heart. Then, when my novel was completed, edited, and polished to its shining best, I sent out queries to a multitude of literary agents and independent publishers. A few were interested enough to request the full manuscript, but in the end they all turned down my project. 


So, I set aside that first novel, went back to the drawing board, and began writing what eventually turned into Gullible. Again, the queries went out and the rejections came pouring in. While waiting to hear back from two agents who had expressed serious interest in Gullible, I decided to give The Wild Rose Press a try and thank goodness I did! The two agents ultimately turned me down, but the wonderful editor at TWRP who had been assigned to my manuscript saw the potential in my story and worked with me toward a contract. So, although it took nearly eight years and I came close to giving up on my dream many times, today I am thrilled to hold a printed copy of Gullible in my hands!


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


The plot of Gullible, my debut novel, is completely different from my original concept. Even the title is different! I intended to write a story about a husband who thinks he’s married to the perfect wife until she disappears one day, and he slowly learns she’s been hiding a deep, dark secret from him. Kind of the reverse of Laura Dave’s The Last Thing He Told Me, but long before that novel was published. Somehow – I don’t even remember the process I went through – my idea evolved into a story about a savvy con artist with a perfect track record. When she suffers a few missteps in the con she’s running, she begins to question who the gullible victim in her scheme truly is – the man she’s conning, or herself.


Let's get a blurb:


     Siena Ricci is shrewd, seductive, and an expert in the art of deception. Masking her identity behind the guise of Marie Lacroix, a specialist in antiques and objets d'art, she swindles her employer's wealthy clients out of their valuable possessions. She hasn't yet met the man she can't manipulate, but then the con she's playing on Jonathan Woodward has only just begun. 


     Jonathan proves to be an easy mark, but he's also enticingly irresistible. As their relationship heats up, her plot to steal his multi-million-dollar antique trinkets begins to unravel. Noticing a subtle change in Jonathan's demeanor, Marie questions whether she's still in control of the con or if she's blindly become the gullible victim of her own scheme.

Let's get an excerpt also...

 

        Gus frowned. “You’re not saying you’re giving up on this job, are you?”   
        “Of course not.” Marie was insulted Gus would suggest she could be defeated so easily. “I promise I’ll wrap up the job as soon as possible. But, more importantly, I discovered Jonathan Woodward owns something of much greater value than the Somerset Necklace.”

       Gus took a swig of beer and washed down his food. “What would that be?” 

       “Are you familiar with the Singing Bird Pistols from the nineteenth century?”

       “Yeah, sure. I researched them last year when you told me you helped Woodward buy one at auction. They’re remarkable pieces, no doubt, but their real value is in keeping them together as a pair. Separately, they’re not that easy to fence. Woodward owns one of the Bird Pistols, but no one knows the whereabouts of the second one.” He took another bite of his sandwich.

       “Oh, but you see, I do.” Marie tingled with excitement, as if she were about to tell Gus he held the winning ticket in last night’s lottery drawing. “The second Bird Pistol is in Jonathan Woodward’s library.”

       Gus swallowed hard. “He owns both pistols?”

       “Yes.”

       “You’re certain?”

       “Gus, I wouldn’t lie about something like this,” she said indignantly. “He keeps it in his glass showcase. I viewed it with my own eyes and held it in my hand.” Marie described the showcase Jonathan kept hidden behind the sliding wall in his home library.

       “But you didn’t see both pistols in the case?”

       “No. The second pistol is at his son’s home in Connecticut.”

       Gus sat back in his chair. “This is incredible. Last year, after you told me about the bird pistols, I sent out some feelers. One of my Asian buyers told me, if we ever located both pistols, he would be 

extremely interested in obtaining them. He loves anything having to do with his

country’s history and said he’d be willing to pay upwards of $10 million for the pair.”

       Marie’s breath caught. Ten million dollars! Splitting a purse of that size with Gus would have a huge impact on their futures. Anticipating Gus would be all-in on the job, she’d already fleshed out a plan to acquire both Singing Bird Pistols.

       “The fact that you have an interested buyer means we have no choice but to take advantage of this opportunity. There can’t be any chance of messing this up, Gus. A sale of this size means we can both retire from the business. I know I’m ready to call it quits, and I think you are, too.”

       Gus gazed at her with sadness in his eyes. “I’d miss it, for sure. It’s been my life. But my fingers aren’t as nimble as they used to be, and the strain on my eyes is becoming a problem. I’ve been thinking about turning the operation over to the younger guys for a while now.”

       Marie made the decision for them both. “Then, let’s do it!”


What’s your next project?


After writing Gullible, I realized these characters have a lot more story to tell. Currently I’m working on the sequel, Vengeful, and I’m fleshing out the plot for a third novel to round out the trilogy.


Wonderful! How do you develop characters?


By taking snippets from the personalities of the people I know – including myself! For instance, if the character needs to be strong-willed and determined, I visualize someone I know who has those traits and, while I’m writing that character, I imagine how the person I know would behave if placed in my character’s situation. I also complete a profile for each character, especially for those minor characters that might not appear until several chapters later, so I don’t make the fatal mistake of unintentionally altering their personality and making the reader wonder why this character was a nasty so-and-so in chapter 6 but in chapter 15 he’s the sweetheart who runs the town’s animal shelter.


What advice do you have for beginning writers?


Be diligent, be professional, and do your homework. Join a local writer’s critique group and use their feedback to improve your work. Write in a genre with which you’re comfortable. And read! Read a lot and from different genres, not only for pleasure but to learn from other authors’ voices and writing styles. Lastly, write, even if it’s only for a few minutes every day. You can’t get good at something if you never practice!


Following are the Buy Links for Gullible and Rosemary's social contact information.


Buy Links:


Link to Amazon: www.amazon.com/Gullible-Rosemary-Kubli/dp/150924851X

Link to Barnes and Noble:  www.barnesandnoble.com/w/gullible-rosemary-kubli/1143179526


Social Links:


Linktree for all links   https://linktr.ee/rosemarykubli

Website   www.rosemarykubli.com

Facebook   Rosemary Kubli - Author | Facebook

Instagram   www.instagram.com/koobswrites/

Twitter    twitter.com/KubliRosemary

Thank you, Rosemary, for being my guest today. Any questions for Rosemary?



A Writing Quest

With the cold days of winter in the rearview mirror and spring taking a firm hold, it's time to look forward to all the reading we want ...