Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Book Lovers' Delight


February is the month of romance, and today's guest  in My Writing Corner brings us a wonderful tale of her romance with reading and writing.  Author Halle Kenton describes herself as a southern Ohio girl with a lifelong love of horses and books.


Her college degrees reflect those loves. With a B.S. in Equine Science and an M.L.I.S. in Library and Information Science, her decision to leave her library career after twenty years to write full-time was a move she says she doesn’t regret, even if the writing/publishing world can be challenging.


Halle is currently at work on several other books while she searches for her next Equinus Perfectus. She suggests you go to her social media pages if you have any good suggestions on a horse rescue in the wonderful Midwest.  Let's find out more about Halle.


What do you enjoy about being an author?


Telling a story. Pulling myself, and hopefully, my readers into a time and place that takes us to another world or sparks the imagination. 

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

There are several challenges to being an author. Right now, promotion, especially on social media, is the biggest hurdle for me. No matter what the advice is from others in the writing world, this is about my book, not me. As long as readers enjoy the story and identify with my characters, I’m happy. As for what socks I wear while I write, nah, not important.  

Tell us about your road to publication. 

I’ve been writing for twenty years and don’t plan on stopping. My head has too many stories to tell, writing is fun (sometimes), and Hollywood needs my ideas (right, she said with a smirk).

How do you come up with your plots?


Plots and characters come from everywhere. I watch a show or movie or the news, I read a book or article, and out of nowhere, the plot begins, usually with a character attached. Almost all of the stories in my head center on a romance because love makes life worth living.


What is your book that you will feature today and how did you come up with the idea to write it?


My debut contemporary romantic comedy is “A Horse of a Different Color”. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Equine Science and did an internship on a Thoroughbred breeding farm in Lexington, Kentucky. The idea for this story began to percolate at that time and never left me. Also, horses are my forever love.


Let's get a Blurb:

When stable owner Cheyenne Modine meets vet Jack Carter, it's hate at first sight. He may look like the sexiest man alive but his arrogance tells her he's a privileged member of the elite Lexington, Kentucky, Thoroughbred world. Cheyenne Modine is exactly Jack's type–a smoking hot woman who loves horses–but her slurred speech calls up childhood memories of living with an alcoholic father, and Jack isn't about to travel that road again. After several chance encounters, the fireworks between them become a contest to see who touches who first. Can Jack and Cheyenne overcome their mistaken first impressions or will their gallop to the finish line end in murder by horseshoe?


Want more? How about an excerpt:


He studied the muted flush on her cheeks and the slight increase in her breathing. His clasped hands tightened as he fought the urge to pull her against him, to kiss the stiffness out of her. His urge had nothing to do with her desire to help Mr. Tibbles, although that was commendable. It was the mix of pride and vulnerability and fire and guts, and the damn rag on her head. It was her pink, moist lips and the fact that she disliked his wealth and upbringing and… 


“Are you an alcoholic?” 


“What?” Her glance narrowed with disbelief. 


“Do you have a problem with alcohol?” he repeated, unable to let it go, even though sparks darted from her eyes. To hell with the sparks. He’d committed himself, and he wanted an answer. She opened her mouth, her indignation front and center. 


“Just tell me,” he said. 


Her mouth made quirky, little movements like she wanted to spit. He watched her struggle before she jerked to a stand and shouted, “No!” 


He dropped his head and closed his eyes when she stomped off. She was halfway out the door when she flew back to grab her boots. 


“Stop,” he ordered, unsurprised when she didn’t. 


She smacked the door frame with her exit. He followed her out. They weren’t finished, not by a long shot.


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


You name it and I’m working on it. I am editing a completed historical romance trilogy set in the American Gilded Age, and have written half of a science fiction romance that features reincarnation. I’ve started another historical romance set in 1815 America which takes place on the Natchez Trace, and I may write a second romantic comedy about the Kentucky horse world because, well, it’s about horses. I’m sure you understand. 


If you would like more information about Halle and her book, here are the buy links and her media contact information.


A Horse of a Different Color Buy Links:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Good Reads

Books-A-Million


Social Contacts:

Web site:  HTTPS//:www.HalleKenton.com

Email:  HalleKenton@gmail.com

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

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Making a Connection

One of the fun things about doing this blog is that I get to meet so many wonderful authors from so many places and who love to go on so many adventures of their own beyond the exciting places where they set their stories. Today's guest in My Wrting Corner is author, Carol Henry.

She is a #1 best selling author who married her high school sweetheart, and lives in the beautiful New York State Finger Lakes area, where they are surrounded by family and friends. Carol and her husband took an early retirement from Cornell University to write, and travel the world. As a world traveler, Carol writes about her visits to exotic locations for major cruise lines' deluxe in-cabin books, and takes pleasure in sharing her adventures with her 'characters' and readers in her romantic suspense adventure novel 'Connection' series--Destination Romance--Exotic, Romantic Suspense Adventures--where the heroine discovers more than the 'wild and wonderful' world around her--she finds her inner courage and a once-in-a-lifetime love. Carol also delights in writing contemporary and holiday romance novels.

Her novels have consistently received awards from the Preditors & Editors Reader's Polls, and her holiday romance, Nothing Short of a Miracle, was a #1 Amazon Best Selling Holiday Novel.

Carol is also the local historian for her home town ,and has written several history books, including the historic novel, Ribbons of Steel, based on the 1877 Railroad Strike, where a fictional family is caught-up in the struggle of survival

Carol, what is the book that you will feature today, and how did you come up with the idea to write it?

My latest novel is Arctic Connection, coming out in February 19, 2024. It’s the 5th in my Connection Series and takes place along the Norwegian Coast up to the North Cape. It’s a light romantic suspense (think Indiana Jones meets Romancing The Stone), and has my characters dealing with a touch of climate change, which is believed to be causing the decline in of fish in the Arctic, but is actually a black-market scheme my hero and heroine have to deal with as they research, travel up along the coast, and interact with each other. Not to mention the involvement in family matters, when it is believed that the heroine’s family is involved in wrong doing. 

As a world traveler and travel writer, having visited the locations/countries/cities I write about, has been the inspiration for my Connection Series, and thus Arctic Connection. My titles—Amazon Connection, Shanghai Connection, Rio Connection, Cairo Connection, and my newest novel Arctic Connection, all take place in countries we’ve visited and have had fascinating adventures and connections with the people. I’m always thinking about which location I can use to make awesome backdrops for my characters to experience their own adventures. Still, I do a bit more research for each location in which I turn my characters loose in order to bring my time period up to date. I admit, I love to share travel experiences with my readers, so instead of just telling readers where my characters are, I ‘show’ them so they can experience it for themselves. As a travel writer, I want my readers to enjoy the location as well as the story.

Let's get a blurb: 

When marine biologist Brianna Murphy goes to Norway on assignment to determine the cause of the decline in fish, she discovers her uncle’s fishery is under suspicion in a black-market ring. Working with an international team of specialists, she goes solo with the team’s climatologist, Conner Holt, and they become the target of several suspicious accidents. Thankfully, Conner has her back. Or does he? 

Conner feels responsible for the accidents they encounter, but he’s not sure he trusts Brianna to be objective since her family is under suspicion. Their investigation heats up as do their interactions. Neither is looking for a long-term relationship. But, will they make that Arctic connection when they finally reach the North Cape?

How about an excerpt?

Reluctantly, Brianna followed Conner back to their vehicle. The weather was ideal, and she was loath to leave this spectacular setting behind. But she knew this wasn’t a vacation, and there were many more scenic sites to enjoy along the way. Still, they had work to do. She climbed into the car, buckled her seat belt, and sighed. She was glad she’d agreed to join him on this impromptu expedition. She couldn’t wait to share her memories with her parents when she returned stateside.

Conner leaned out the window to double-check for oncoming traffic before pulling out of the parking area. Finding it clear, he slowly maneuvered the SUV onto the highway. A large, tan-colored van came careening recklessly over the knoll, heading right at them on the wrong side of the road. Conner veered to the right in order to avoid a head-on collision. The oncoming vehicle, instead of correcting its path, swerved directly toward them, their front bumper hitting against the SUV’s right back fender. The loud crash twisted their SUV sideways, causing it’s rear-end to bang back against the guardrails, next to the overhang, heading in the opposite direction.

Brianna was thrown against the inside of the door, hitting her shoulder. She screamed, then held her breath, closed her eyes, and hoped the railing was sturdy enough to keep them from careening over the cliff and the mile-high drop-off into the rocky ledge and gushing water far below.

Want to know what happens next? You'll have to buy the book. Here are Carol's Buy Links and Social contact information:

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

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Escaping to Romance

 Having former guests return to My Writing Corner is always fun because it means they have a new book coming out that we can all enjoy.  Today's guest is Maria Imbalzano, and her newest book is Island Detour, which will be released next week. It is available for pre-order right now!

Maria is an award-winning contemporary author who writes about strong, independent women and the men who fall in love with them. She recently retired from the practice of law, but as readers will discover, legal issues have a way of showing up in many of her novels. When she is not hard at work at the keyboard writing her next book, she is on the go. She says she loves to travel both abroad and in the states.  Maria lives in central New Jersey with her husband but close to her two daughters. Let's chat more with Maria.

Please tell us about the new book that you are featuring today and how you came up with the idea to write it? 


Island Detour took many years to finalize and finally get published, so, I'm thrilled that it will be released on February 19th. Twenty years ago, I had learned about a school in the Bahamas that was associated with The Lawrenceville School – a private high school that is about a mile from my house.  It was a semester abroad type program for high school students where they would learn about the marine environment and conservation while continuing their normal studies. I was intrigued. So I asked a lot of questions back then about this opportunity for students, and eventually developed a story based on this setting. Although The Island School is in Eleuthera in the Bahamas, I set my story in a similar environment but placed it in the Florida Keys.


I chose the Florida Keys because my husband and I have been going down there yearly for 37 years. We have two time shares in Key West and I love it. Sunrise Island Key in the book is based on Key West. 


Let's get a blurb:


Falsely accused of wrongdoing at a Princeton Prep school, Sophie Kearns accepts a temporary teaching position at an environmental school in the Florida Keys to wait out her suspension. The time away is meant to be an anxiety-free escape, but her clashes with the hot but arrogant marine biology teacher, Max Heaton, are anything but tranquil.

 

Max is determined to start an environmental research institute at the school, but he suspects the gorgeous new Lit teacher, who lacks even the most basic outdoor skills, is there to hinder that dream. Yet, something about her tames the demons from his past, and he can no longer ignore the fire she’s lit inside him.


Want to know more? Let's talk to Sophie:

Why did you choose to get a job at the Valen School (a Princeton Prep school)?


The Valen School is one of the top prep schools in the nation. I love working with bright students who are invested in their education. I didn’t have the opportunity to go to the Valen School when I was in high school. My parents couldn’t afford it, and I didn’t receive a scholarship, although I had applied. I’m now working in the school where I had always wanted to be, but now I’m in a position to make some changes. I was just nominated to be Chair of the English Department—a huge stepping stone to my goal of eventually becoming the Head of School. 


What draws you to Max?  


He’s a loner most of the time, and I feel bad for him. I know there’s a reason he acts the way he does (which on some occasions is downright rude—especially to me). But I’ve learned that something happened in the past to make him feel the need to be in control of every situation. When he gets that way with me, I resist, and we end up arguing. But he usually comes around and apologizes. When he’s being nice Max, I have to try to keep myself from falling into the depths of his intense brown eyes. But when he smiles at me, I’m a goner. 


What frightens you about him?  


His need for control. I’ve learned that you get farther in life by collaborating—a lesson he clearly hasn’t learned. Since I’m a bit strong-willed, but in a good way of course, I refuse to follow his rules. Which infuriates him. In the long run, my goal is to teach him collaborate to get what he wants. Eventually, he’ll come around.  


What do you want for your future? 


After my semester at Sunrise Island School, I hope to go back to Valen and take my rightful place as Chair of the English Department. Then when Headmaster Ryan retires in a few years, I’ll be in the perfect position to apply for the Head of School job. 


Now let's hear from Max:


What about Sophie attracts you? 

 

Besides the fact that she’s beautiful, in a conservative, nerdy sort of way, she’s a fireball. She speaks her mind and calls me out when I say something she doesn’t like. She’s the type of person who wants to learn about her new environment, even though she doesn’t have a clue what she’s doing. And she’s even offered to help me get organized enough to put a proposal together for a research institute I want to start, despite the fact I haven’t been exactly nice to her. 


What bothers you about her? 


 I’m not a very trusting guy, and I definitely don’t trust her reason for being at Sunrise Island School. She says she needed a break from the Valen School before she becomes Director of the English Department. That doesn’t make sense. If she needed a break, why come and teach at a school that requires their teachers to kayak, camp, fish, and swim (none of which she can do). Why not go on vacation at some posh resort? I’m afraid she’s here to convince the school’s director to bring her Summer Teaching Institute down here—which will assuredly interfere with my plan. 


What do you see for your future? 


 I love working at Sunrise Island School as a marine biology teacher, but I have bigger plans. I want to start an environmental research institute at the school that will draw professors from around the country during the summer to work on experiments and share their findings on marine conservation with the world. This was something that my brother and I talked about for years and it’s my goal to see it come to fruition.  


Want to know more about Island Detour? Let's get an Excerpt: 


     “People usually wear bathing suits when they go out on the water,” he growled, knowing the only purpose of his statement was to attack her. “Although, maybe you don’t own one. Swimming may be too outdoorsy for you.”


     Even that didn’t give rise to a comment from her. She just pulled her knees closer to her chest and stared ahead. But he needed a fight. And even though Andy should have been his target, he had Sophie sitting in his boat.


     “You must have really snowed Andy for him to give you a job here. Unless there’s another motive.” Come on. Tell me.


     “You make it sound so sinister. I am not here for any disingenuous reason, as you seem to think.” Her words steamed through gritted teeth.


     She wasn’t going to admit it. He’d just have to hit her over the head with it, then. “Has Andy talked to you about bringing your teaching academy down here? Is that why you came?”


     “What?” Her eyes flew open wide, along with her mouth. “What are you talking about?” Genuine shock emerged at his accusation.


     He was either totally off base or witnessing a superb actress at work.


     She sat up straighter. “I’m here because I wanted to take a break. Andy was nice enough to give me a job for the semester. Why would he want me to bring my teaching academy down here?”


     Irritation put more color in her cheeks, and she seemed to be breathing easier. He guessed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation was uncalled for. Too bad.


Want to read on? Well, you'll have to buy the book!  


For more information about Maria and her books, please visit her website at http://mariaimbalzano.com where you can also sign up for her newsletter.


Buy Links


https://books2read.com/u/4D20y7


Social Media Links

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/mariaimbalzanoauthor

 

X-Twitter

http://www.twitter.com/mariaimbalzano

@mariaimbalzano

 

Instagram

Mariaimbalzano_author

 

Website Link 

http://www.mariaimbalzano.com


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

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

A Delicate Balancing Act

As somone who started reading books set in the realm of the supernatural back when I was a teenager, today's guest in My Writing Corner immediately caught my attention with her latest book. My guest in My Writing Corner is M. (Mickey) Flagg, and her newest work, His Soul to Keep, sounds like a page turner. It is book three in the Champions Chronicles series.

As an avid reader, she says, the realm of paranormal fiction was the perfect landing point for her after a successful career as a music teacher and an urban school administrator. While Mickey spins stories of passion, love and redemption, she also has been a contributor to a book on urban music education and has also authored an article for Still Standing, a web-magazine about loss and healing. Named a Distinguished Music Educator at the Yale Music Symposium, Mickey is a life-long New Jersey resident, and a member of Liberty States Fiction Writers and NJRW. 

Mickey, what is your book that you will feature today and how did you come up with the idea to write it?

His Soul to Keep is Book 3 in The Champion Chronicles, a paranormal romantic suspense series that‘s been revised and republished by The Wild Rose Press. 


To be honest, I didn’t start out to write a series. Book 1, The Vampire’s Retribution introduced Michael, my main character, and his fantasy of love and redemption. Book 2, Mystical Consequences is the reality of Michael’s survival, his love for Alana and his troubled human son, Lukas. 


Then, my imagination kept spinning with all the possible ‘what ifs’ for this unique mystically enhanced vampire. With that in mind, Book 3, His Soul to Keep came about. Originally entitled Inheritance, the number of books with that title resulted in TWRP requesting a title change. 


So, what does an author do when you see the title in your mind because it makes perfect sense, and then you have to unsee it, with a deadline approaching? Michael reclaimed his soul and survives a second unique Divine Intervention. The nighttime prayer, "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep", kept rerunning in my brain. It just took some time to realize the connection, but voila, the right title was born.


I wrote these three books before 2010. I assumed that, after not writing for over a decade, my very vivid characters now rested in peace. Once retired, I played around with a minor character in the series, trying to write a story, just on a whim. When I realized her true love interest was Michael’s son, Lukas, the story came to life. But, in order to believe Martine’s love for Lukas, His Soul to Keep needed the most revising to support their world of witches, vampires, and mystical warriors. The new series, Moonlight Benedictions, picks up in present day with Night of the Crescent Moon, in final edits with my fantastic TWRP editor of 17 years. Michael and his eternal love are still in the picture, so are other characters, near and dear to me.  


His Soul to Keep is the crucial bridge between then and now, between father and son in a world where the battle between evil and good continues. 


Let's get a blurb.


Too many questions, too many doubts… Michael Malone’s new existence is beyond puzzling. Yet keeping his distance from Alana, his soulmate, and Lukas, his troubled son, only makes more of a mess in these important relationships. The mystically enhanced vampire’s beast-within is now safely entombed in consecrated ground. When it is resurrected by dark magic and implanted in a teenage girl, he fully senses this aberration… feels responsible. Will he be able to destroy the entity, or will he be forced to take it back within his soul to save an innocent? Alana and Lukas are integral during his quest to locate the wicked wizard and a beautiful but cunning female vampire he knew centuries ago who inspired this heinous act. When his new reality, his very human life, hangs in the balance, together they face unparalleled evil. Many innocent lives are at stake—should they not succeed.


Want more? How about an excerpt:


        In a familiar way, Alana settled between his long legs. Pulling out of the steamy kiss, her head rested on his heart, and every thump filled her with wonder. No ordinary man could wear snug black jeans and a simple black shirt with its sleeves rolled up the way Michael did. Dark colors enhanced his singular, intense look. Even with her eyes closed, she could see only him. She could sense strength in his soul, in his muscular body. His embrace was a place of comfort as well as erotic joy.

        Years apart, and then realizing how much she loved him... What he had put himself through ten months ago had reshaped their destiny, and now, the possibility of a long life together had real meaning. She felt him deep in her soul. Being with him made her very core ache with a lover’s need. In an intimate way, she studied his day-old beard, the width of his shoulders, the lines of his face. Her hands weren’t willing to leave his chest. He shifted, and she drifted farther away to sit on her heels, to drown in the full vision of him. His eyes shimmered as his warm fingers threaded hers.

        “How’d it go with Lu? Did you get a chance to talk?” 

        “Jeez, Mom, that’s a tough one. Couldn’t we start with something easier?” 

        She chuckled. “I think Mom sounds sweet. He lets me call him Lu.” 

        “If you’re okay with it, so am I.”

        “Where is he?” 

        “Anywhere I’m not, apparently.” He groaned in a frustrated way and pushed back to sit up against the padded arm. His hands slipped out of her hold, and he laced them to his chest.  When he blew out a slow breath, shivers ran down her spine. 

        “Did something happen?”

        “I expected non-stop questions, not a sudden shutdown.”

        “Do you have any idea how unbelievable this is? How unexpected—” 

        “No, really,” he said with a touch of sarcasm. A distant look she’d never seen before settled on his face. “I asked for an end to my existence. I didn’t ask for life.” 

        His eyes dulled while hers blazed. Sucking in a breath, she held it. Maybe she’d misunderstood. “You wanted an end to your existence? Meaning… the forever kind of death?” 

         “Alana, I’m not about to lie.” 

        “Nope, rewind and talk. Talk fast.” The proverbial romantic, rose-tinted glasses had just ripped right off her eyes. 

        “What I did in undeath, unexpected questions fired at me by twelve individuals to explain or clarify… then sitting in the church after a six-hour inquisition—which took place a full month after I completed their Document of Atonement. I fucking came undone. Before I left you last May, I had no right to ask for your love.” He looked at the wall, down the hall, at anything but her.

        “Michael—”

        “And whose idea was it to have my son here, waiting for my return?”

        “We all thought—”

        “I told him I’d come for him when I was ready. That was the deal. He should have been forced to stay at school in England. I had no right believing I could teach him how to deal with life, either.”

       “Michael, stop,” she managed to whisper. Illogical words came from a most rational man. She couldn’t swallow, didn’t recognize the chill in his tone.

Want more? You'll have to buy the book!   Here are Mickey's buy links as well as social contact information.

Buy Links:


All three books are available on Amazon and Barnes & Nobles



Social Contacts:


website https://www.mflagg-author.com   

Facebook:    (1) M. Flagg | Facebook

Twitter: Michele Flagg (@flagg_michele) / Twitter   https://twitter.com/flagg_michele

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

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 ...