Mae Clair Presents: Christmas Carols by Daisy Banks #SweetRomance #VictorianRomance

I’m delighted to welcome Daisy Banks back to my blog with her newest release, CHRISTMAS CAROLS. I positively adored this sweet romantic tale set in the Victorian era. A great read at anytime of the year, not just Christmas, I can easily see myself reading this book over again, revisiting characters I fell in love with. You can find my 5-star review for CHRISTMAS CAROLS on Amazon. In the meantime, please welcome Daisy Banks, as she takes her lovely book on tour!

~ooOOoo~

HRchristmascarolsThank you, Mae, for your kind offer to help me celebrate the release of my new book Christmas Carols, published by Liquid Silver Books on the 10th of August.

I know readers might think it a little odd to be thinking about Christmas in August but in Victorian England, where my story is set, people were used to starting their Christmas preparations early.  Many projects were begun a full year or more before a specific Christmas. I think that’s an idea many of us now find very strange. With twenty-four hour shopping available in many ways the necessity of advance planning is no longer important. Yet part of the joy in an important event is the planning of it and for it.

In the UK we are at the turning point of the year with many seasonal fruits ready for harvesting and here is a recipe for a lovely wine that utilizes berries from the harvest. This is one of my favorites. I hope if you make it you will enjoy it too.

Damson Wine

This recipe makes about a gallon.

4lb’s of washed and de-stalked damsons
1 gallon of boiling water
4 fl oz of red grape concentrate
1 teaspoon of yeast nutrient
1 teaspoon of tartaric acid
1 teaspoon of pectin-destroying enzyme
2lb of sugar if you want to make a dry wine, or 3 and a half lb’s of sugar if you want a sweet wine.

Make up your yeast starter mix 2 or 3 days before you begin your wine.

6oz of water
1 dessertspoon of malt extract
1 desert spoon of sugar
A pinch of citric acid
Pinch of yeast nutrient
Use Burgundy wine yeast for this recipe.

Put water, malt extract, sugar and citric acid in a pan. Stir over heat until it boils and then turn off the heat.

Let the liquid cool a little then pour into a sterile clean half pint bottle. Plug the bottle top with cotton wool. Cool until the liquid is 70F  or 21 C and then add your yeast. If it’s liquid yeast culture shake before putting it into you half pint bottle. Put the cotton –wool plug back in and leave in a warm place. The yeast will ferment fast and be ready in 2 to 3 days.

When your yeast mix is ready:

Chop damsons, remove stones, and put your fruit into a fermentation bucket. Pour on your boiling water, stir in 1 lb of your sugar, keep the rest back, and allow the mix to cool before you add your other ingredients, and the starter yeast mix. Stir and then cover with a cloth or lid and let the mix ferment for 4 to 5 days. Remember to stir the liquid twice, daily as it ferments.

Strain carefully and don’t squeeze the fruit. Return the liquid to the fermentation bucket.

Over the next 4 or 5 days add the rest of your sugar about a lb at each time. Stir so the added sugar dissolves.

Siphon off into a 1 gallon jar and fit an airlock.

Leave the brew in a reasonably warm place.

At 3 or 4 month intervals you can rack the wine (siphon off sediment) until the wine is clear and ready to drink which can take up to a year.

Once you broach (open) the jar for a jug of wine bottle the rest and seal the bottles so the wine doesn’t go off.

In Christmas Carols Stephen and Alice mainly drink tea but wine is mentioned later in the story.

Excerpt

“Right ho, sir. Enjoy your tea both, and my Rosie will be out with a bowl for Blue in a moment.”

“May I ask if you will pour, Mrs. Broadbrace? I often ask Mrs. Brown or the girl Rosie to do it. I’ve tried myself, but the experience has sometimes resulted in a blister or two on my fingers. Not a good thing when I want to play well.”

“Of course. Blisters, my goodness me. Forgive me for prying, but Mr. Grafton, may I ask who looks after you?”

The soft swish of sound told him she stirred the pot. A few seconds later, he smelled the rich fragrance of the tea as she poured it into a cup. This was followed by the distinct dribble of milk.

“Sugar?”

“No, thank you.”

“Shall I put the cup and saucer by your hand?”

“Place it by my hand on the table, that’s fine. Now, as to who ‘looks after’ me. I have to say Blue takes much of the work.”

“I didn’t mean to offend, Mr. Grafton.”

“Of course you didn’t, I know. I am no different from many single men, ma’am. I have a woman who comes to clean in the house, a manservant who attends to my clothes and other household details such as the ordering of coal and so forth. Does that answer your question?”

Her cup rattled on the saucer as she put it down. “Thank you, yes it does. I’d wondered who had tied the green bow tie you wore for the recital.”

“Ah, yes. David, my manservant, assists me with such things when necessary. He also attended to Blue’s collar for the evening. A little affectation of mine.” He reached and found the biscuit dish, picked up a biscuit and snapped it in half. “I have learned the audience at the recitals enjoys such things.”

“Yes, of course they do. It makes you seem…”

“What, Mrs. Broadbrace, makes me seem what?” She gave a tiny cough. He wasn’t the only one with little affectations. He reached out, sliding his hand across the lacy tablecloth until it met the coolness of the tips of her fingers. “Do tell me?”

“I think the audience likes the things like Blue’s bow, because, well, because it makes you seem human, Mr. Grafton.”

He leaned back in his chair. “I’m glad to hear it. Please, Mrs. Broadbrace, my given name is Stephen I would be honored if you would use it.”

“Thank you for telling me, and yes, Stephen.” She near whispered the word. “I’ll be happy to call you by name when we are alone as we are now.” She paused and the click of her cup leaving the saucer sounded as she lifted her cup before adding, “My name is Alice. As a friend, I would welcome you using my name.

Blurb

Stephen Grafton, the blind organist at Holy Trinity Church, is gaining a reputation for his fine playing and compositions. Alice Broadbrace’s initial venture back into society after years in deep mourning brings her to the notice of the talented organist, and he offers her the opportunity to sing a solo carol to his accompaniment. His courage convinces her to find her own, while her charm entices him into thoughts of romance. A difficult walk in a snow storm is only the beginning of Stephen and Alice’s journey to happiness. Enjoy this sweet Victorian tale of talent and love blossoming.

Thanks for reading,
Daisy Banks

You can find Daisy Banks at the following haunts:
Blog 
Website 
Twitter @DaisyBanks16 
Facebook    
Pinterest 
Tsu   
Amazon 

Purchase CHRISTMAS CAROLS from:
Amazon

Barnes and Noble
iTunes

Kobo

Daisy Banks is the author of:
Soon to be available with Liquid Silver Books Serving the Serpent
Christmas Carols
Marked for Magic
To Eternity
A Perfect Match
Timeless
Valentine Wishes
A Gentleman’s Folly
Your Heart My Soul
Fiona’s Wish
A Matter of Some Scandal

Daisy’s books are available from:
Amazon  
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
iTunes

Daisy Banks writes a regular monthly story in the Sexy to Go compilations

Guest Blogger, Donna Cummings: An Interview with My Muse, Endora

I’m turning my blog over to my good friend Donna Cummings today, and her very witty, spectacular, beyond-fabulous guest (you’ll understand all of those lovely adjectives in a minute). This post had me grinning in delight, so sit back and enjoy. Oh—and Donna has an awesome treat for you, too, at the end. :)

~ooOOoo~

An Interview with My Muse Endora
by Donna Cummings

After I read the great post here from C. S. Boyack about the raven Doubt, I received an unexpected visit from my muse Endora. She was quite inspired by Doubt’s work, and wanted to renovate the writing cave to include room for an entire flock of ravens. She argued that it would help with our “job share” arrangement—the one where she takes all the credit and I get all the blame.

I know the best way to distract Endora from such a crazy notion is to interview her. So I’ve set things up here to look like a stage, because she’s quite the diva, and is more likely to “cooperate” if we make a big fuss.

Let me just do a quick check to see if everything’s arranged the way she likes. There’s an extra comfy chaise longue for her to lay on while she waves her hand disdainfully. Wall-to-wall mirrors so she can admire herself while ensuring I can see that she’s ignoring me. An applause machine on the “Never Quit” setting.

Yep. I think we’re good.

Ladies and gentlemen, Endora really needs no introduction, but she would twist my arm into a pretzel if I didn’t talk about her in the most glowing terms. She’s the one who inspires me to keep writing. (Usually by leaving me with all the work.) She’s the one who makes me try harder. (By sniffing at all the work I do produce.) But most importantly, she’s the one who keeps me laughing. (Because I’d spend all my time crying otherwise.)

Please welcome the lovely and talented Endora!

Me: *waves hand and coughs* That appearing in a puff of smoke thing never fails to impress. Are you sure you aren’t using more smoke lately?

Endora: *reclines on the chaise longue and arranges her flowing skirts* I have no idea what you’re talking about. I never do.

Me: Oh. Well. Uh, thanks for stopping by. I know you’ve got a busy schedule. *rolls eyes and speaks to the audience* I actually have NO idea how she spends her time.

Endora: It’s a full-time occupation just to maintain this level of fabulous. *fluffs hair* If I wasn’t so busy, I might be able to help you out more.

Me: Yeah, I bet it takes centuries to achieve that particular shade of orange—Ouch! I can’t believe you kicked me.

Endora: I was just stretching my leg out. Your chair is closer than I realized.

Me: *grumbles* Well, let’s get started. I’ve got a few questions that were submitted beforehand by audience members. Oh, this is a really good one: “Why are you always so mean to Donna?”

Endora: *sniffs* Pick one that you didn’t write.

Me: How do you know I wrote it?

Endora: Honestly. I’m your muse. I know what you sound like.

Me: I don’t know how. You’re never around. *shuffles cards* Okay, how about this one? “How did you and Donna meet?”

Endora: *speaks directly to the audience in a sugary voice* She was a fledgling writer, and I decided to take the poor darling under my wing—

Me: It was more like a chokehold. Our arrangement actually started when I was struggling with some early writing, and there was this derisive voice in my head that kept comparing my efforts to all kinds of garbage-y trash-like things.

Endora: It’s exhausting coming up with new variations for those terms. I know I make it look easy–

Me: *glares* Okay, next question. “What’s your favorite of all the books Donna has written?”

Endora: She writes books? *yawns* How droll.

Me: “What’s Donna’s best quality as a writer?”

Endora: Oh, that’s easy. The way she keeps giving so much time and attention to me.

Me: This isn’t going quite the way I planned.

Endora: That’s because you’re a pantser. You don’t plot anything out ahead of time.

Me: *grits teeth* Except your demise. I’m always plotting THAT.

Endora: Are we about done? I’ve got a million things to do today. . .

Me: Oh! So that means you’ve looked at the latest WIP? I could use your help with Chapter 5 actually.

Endora: *exhales heavily* Well, apparently I’ve got a million and one things to do now. But I’ve got to work on the important things first. Like figuring out my new theme song. I’ll catch up with you later.

Me: That line is going to be on my tombstone, thanks to you.

Endora: See? I’m always inspiring you. It’s no wonder I’m worn to a complete frazzle. I need to schedule another 52 weeks of vacation just to rest up.

Me: And I’ve got to schedule an optometrist appointment for all the eye-rolling you make me do. Anyway, thanks for showing up today. It was such a surprise. I mean, it was a real thrill—

Endora: *disappears in a huge cloud of smoke*

Me: You can’t even wait until I finish my sentence?! What a witch.

Endora: *disembodied voice* Thank you.

Me: That wasn’t—oh, never mind.

~ooOOoo~

BEK_medAs your reward for enduring Endora, I will be gifting a copy of my latest release, Bad Ex Karma, to each commenter today (up to a maximum of 20). Just let me know what inspires YOU.

~ooOOoo~


Author Bio
:
I have worked as an attorney, winery tasting room manager, and retail business owner, but nothing beats the thrill of writing humorously-ever-after romances.

I reside in New England, although I fantasize about spending the rest of my days in a tropical locale, wearing flip flops year-round, or in Regency London, scandalizing the ton.

I can usually be found on Twitter, talking about writing and coffee, and on Facebook, talking about coffee and writing.

Look for Donna at these haunts:
Website: http://www.AllAboutTheWriting.com
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/LRgT5
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BookEmDonna
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5349107.Donna_Cummings
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Donna.Cummings.Author
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/bookemdonna/

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You can purchase all of Donna’s books, including her ROGUES GALLERY of three wonderful novels at:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iBooks
Kobo

Guest Blogger C. S. Boyack and a Special Guest

I’ve got a treat for your today. Actually a double one. Craig Boyack of Entertaining Stories and I are doing a blog swap. Craig and a “special guest” I asked him to bring along are taking over my blog, while I’m hanging out at his. I’m talking about my experience offering a book for free on Amazon. Was it worth it? You’ll have to check my post on Entertaining Stories to find out. :)

Meanwhile, I’ll leave Craig and his companion to keep you entertained. The special guest he brought along is only one of the many colorful characters from Craig’s imagination that haunt his blog. I just happen to be partial to this particular character. Maybe because I can relate to how it feels when he drops in for a visit. You’ll see what I mean in a minute, so sit back and enjoy Craig’s post. . .

~ooOOoo~

I walked up to the shop and checked the map on my iPhone. A huge raven whooshed over my head and landed in a tree. This looked like the right coffee shop, and I took a seat outside. Mae asked me to come here and write about my editing process and the blessing/curse that follows me around.

The truth is, I don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to editing. I’ve learned a trick or two and made notes in my living document. I looked around the parking lot, but there was no sign of Mae. I took a table outside so I could watch for her.

I started writing this blog post; any available minutes can be precious. The raven swooped down and landed on my table. See, he’s a gift from my Muse, and tries to keep me looking professional. The bird’s name is Doubt.

I’ve learned to search out my personal sin words, like “that, very, was, and the various forms of its and there.”

These days I’m trying to eliminate what I call stage directions. These are usually things like “said, heard, saw, smelled, felt.” If we’re in a character’s point of view, it’s better to describe someone walking across the parking lot, than to write, “she saw someone walking across the parking lot.” This is a new one for me, but I believe my writing is better for it. I learned that from Doubt.

Doubt pecked at my hand. Krik krik blork.

Ravens make hundreds of noises, more than common crows. I really don’t know what they all mean. This one even manages to mimic a few human words. I’m guessing he doesn’t like me using contractions in a blog post. It’s a blog post, it’s supposed to be a bit more familiar to readers. Now I have doubts. That’s how he works.

Raven sitting on a thin stump of wood, head bent to claws

I have to put him away when I draft my novels. If I listen to him during the draft phase, I never get anything done. My Muse says he helps me, but I have my doubts.

I love my stories, all of them. I even love the trunk novels that no one will ever see. Doubt gets into my head, and keeps me from the most egregious mistakes. The run of the mill mistakes are mine, and sometimes they get in. I’ve learned not to listen to him in every case.

I thought he was going to peck my hands bloody, when I edited Will O’ the Wisp. This is the first thing I ever wrote in first person point of view. He didn’t like the over use of “I and my.” I changed what I thought I could, but some of that has to happen in first person point of view.

The trick is to listen to Doubt, but to also override him when needed. I’m still not sure who’s right in some cases, but I’m learning. Doubt would have all my fiction looking like a lawyer wrote it, and he would take all the character out of it. Fiction needs character, and sometimes it’s the best part of the story.

Too much input from Doubt leads to perfectionism. Perfectionism is the bane of many writers. It prevents us from putting out acceptable work for fear it might have a mistake. I personally believe we learn more from drafting new material. Not everyone feels this way.

Kaw! Doubt pecked at my iPhone.

“We’re at the right address.” I checked again anyway. “I wonder if I wrote it down right in the first place.” See how he works. A little Doubt goes a long ways. “Why don’t you fly around and see if you can spot Mae Clair. Maybe she’s at a different coffee shop.”

Doubt slit off the table and took to the sky. I kind of hoped to give him to Mae for a month or so. I get a lot accomplished when I don’t have Doubt getting in my way.

~ooOOoo~

Craig’s newest book is WILL O’ THE WHISP, a highly entertaining  novel which combines elements of magical realism, mystery, and fantasy, as well as an appealing coming of age theme.

Book cover for Will O' the Wisp by C. S. Boyack depicting a ghostly floating light over a stream with treesBLURB:
There is something evil up Bergamot Holler, and it’s been targeting the Hall family for generations.

Patty Hall is fifteen years old. She loves stargazing, science fiction, and all things related to space exploration. This leaves her perfectly prepared for the wrong problem.

Patty is afraid her mother will send her to a care facility if she tells her what she’s seen. If she doesn’t figure things out soon, she’s going to join her father in the Hall family cemetery plot.

Patty has to come to grips with her own physical handicap, face the wilderness, and an ancient evil all alone if she’s going to survive.

Will O’ the Wisp is suitable for young adults. It involves elements of suspense, and is set in the mid 1970s.

Purchase From:
Northern American Continent 
Rest of the world 

Author C. S. BoyackYou Can Follow Craig at the Following Haunts:
Blog 
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Find all of Craig’s novels here  

 

Mae Clair Presents: Choosing the Highlander by Jessi Gage #giveaway

Before I introduce my guest author today, just a quick note to say MYTH AND MAGIC is still touring and you can find me at the BooksChatter blog if you’d like to pop in and say hello. I’m doing a Giveaway on this tour, for a $15.00 Amazon or B&N gift card, so be sure to enter while you’re there.

And now, I’m delighted to have long-time friend Jessi Gage back on my blog today with the third novel in her Highland Wishes series, CHOOSING THE HIGHLANDER.  Jessi’s time-travel highlander books have been a hit from day one, burning up the romance charts. If you haven’t already discovered these fun, adventurous and romantic stories, you’ve got a treat in store. Please welcome, Jessi back to my blog!

Book cover for Choosing the Highlander by Jessi Gage depicts an isolated castle on a bluff with a pendant in the foreground

~ooOOoo~

Fifteenth-Century Highland Warrior Listens to Billy Joel… And Likes It

Thank you, Mae, for hosting me on my release day!

I’m really excited about my new release CHOOSING THE HIGHLANDER. This one is #3 in my Highland Wishes series, and it features a hero and heroine readers might remember from WISHING FOR A HIGHLANDER, Constance and Wilhelm.

Writing this one was super fun, because Connie is from 1981. As I researched this era, I remembered so many fun things about the 80’s.

Remember when a Sony Walkman was the height of technology? If you had one that could record as well as play back, you were one of the cool kids. As a child of the 80’s I remember those days well.

I remember the day I got my first Walkman and I wanted to play it for everyone at our family gathering. I was completely unprepared for the fact that there was no speaker, only headphones. I was like, “What? You can’t use it like a boom-box?”

I remember sharing music with a friend by detaching one of the headphones and holding it out in invitation. I remember making mix tapes by hovering over my father’s boom-box and hitting record and play as quickly as possible when a song I love started up on the radio. I would go through packs of batteries listening to mix tapes on my Walkman.

This little miracle of music delivery is by FAR my favorite product of the 1980s. In fact, a Walkman plays a pivotal role in CHOOSING THE HIGHLANDER.

To celebrate release day, I’m hosting a Rafflecopter giveaway on my blog. Drop by to enter the giveaway and take a fun 1980’s toy quiz. Skip directly to the giveaway here, if you want to enter with minimum clicks!

Here’s the blurb & buy links:

CHOOSING THE HIGHLANDER

As a mechanical engineer in 1981 Chicago, Connie designs plumbing systems. She has also designed her life to perfection, right down to the man she hopes to marry. But when Mr. Right proposes, she can’t say yes. A head-clearing vacation brings her to the Scottish Highlands, where her free-spirited twin wishes for Connie to find true love. Neither sister expects the wish to send Connie hurtling five hundred years into the past.

Wilhelm Murray, heir to the barony of Dornoch, hopes to one day hold a seat in parliament and bring urgently needed reform to Scotland. But everything changes when a woman slated for execution proclaims her innocence using the most peculiar language. Powerfully attracted to the brave beauty, he rescues her even though it means becoming a fugitive and forfeiting his dream.

As Connie and Wilhelm evade capture, she discovers his passion for justice. Scotland needs his ideas. It needs him. And so does she. But in order to clear Wilhelm’s name, she will have to turn her back on everything she’s worked so hard for and embrace the magic of love. 

EXCERPT

“Tell me your name,” he commanded.

Her eyes flashed in that way of hers that told him she didn’t make a habit of following orders. Och, her brazen spirit drew him from the moment he first saw her, when she’d been demanding Ruthven let her go despite being nude, bound, gagged, and outnumbered. Such bravery! Such intrepid determination!

“You told me no questions tonight.” Her voice scratched like sun dried wool not yet tamed into softness. The damage to her tender throat and lungs made him lust to slay her abusers all over again. Noticeably absent was her feigned English speech.

He suppressed a grin, wondering if she’d done it intentionally. “Simply telling me your name would have required fewer words than the rebuke, my lady, if your throat pains thee.”

“It wasn’t a rebuke.” A look of affront tugged her eyebrows low over those captivating eyes. How was it her every expression affected his viscera? With each change in her features, his stomach leapt and dove like a hawk in pursuit of prey. “Only a reminder.” The briefest flicker of nervousness belied the stubborn lift of her chin.

The kiss had made her uncertain. Before, she’d approached him as an adversary, though why she should do so, he could not guess. Now, she recognized the connection between them, but, if he guessed correctly, she feared it.

The lass needed time. She needed food and rest. He would ask no more of her tonight. Not even her name. It mattered not. His heart knew her regardless of what she called herself.

“Consider me reminded, sweet lady.”

Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo | Google Play | Goodreads

Thanks for having me, Mae! Thanks in advance to anyone who shares or tweets using Mae’s nifty blog buttons. And don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

ABOUT JESSI GAGE 

zz_Jessi Gage headshot2USA Today Bestselling Author Jessi Gage is addicted to happy-ever-after endings. She counts herself blessed because she gets to live her own HEA with her husband and children in the Seattle area.

Jessi has the attention span of a gnat…unless there is a romance novel in her hands. In that case, you might need a bullhorn to get her to notice you. She writes what she loves to read: stories about love.

Do use the contact page on jessigage.com and drop her a line. There is no better motivation to finish her latest writing project than a note from a happy reader! While you’re visiting her website, sign up for Jessi’s newsletter so you never miss a new release.

Website | Blog | Facebook Fan Page | Twitter | Goodreads | Newsletter

Mae Clair Presents: Proving Ground by Stanalei Fletcher #Intrigue #Romance #Adventure

Hello, friends. I love today’s post for so many reasons, it’s hard to know where to start!

My guest blogger, Stanalei Fletcher, is one of the very first friends I made online when I waded into the world of publishing back in 2012. It was great to connect with someone else who was just starting out, too.

Stanalei now has a number of titles to her credit, including her latest, PROVING GROUND, an adventure/romance/intrigue novel. I LOVED this book for soooo many reasons! Please check out my five-star review on Amazon.

And if that isn’t enough, Stanalei is sharing her thoughts on a topic that resonates strongly with me−−series novels. Her comments are spot on! Perhaps that’s why I enjoyed PROVING GROUND so much, and look forward to the next entries in this fantastic series! :)

Please welcome, Stanalei Fletcher . . .

~ooOOoo~

Author, Stanalei Fletcher in a casual poseThank You, Mae, for sharing your blog and your audience today. I’m excited to be here to post a bit about my new Northstar Security Series and the first book in the series, Proving Ground.  

Why Write A Series? 

Who doesn’t love a good television series or a sequel to a favorite movie…as long as the sequel is as good or better than the first movie?

I love a good series. But I’m picky about the type of series I watch. For instance, I also love closure. I’m not a fan of cliffhangers. I feel incomplete and frustrated at the end of a season finale cliffhanger, or part I of II of a movie sequel. Of course, I’m anxious to see the next installment, and I’m likely to pay good money for a seat. But what if I lose the opportunity to see or read the end of the story? I already have an uneasy feeling about the last episode, why would I put myself through that emotional rollercoaster again?

That said, I get the reasoning behind cliffhangers, or a continuity thread that waits to wrap up in book 3. Readers love to know there is more to come with their favorite character or storyline. Marketing loves a hook. “Leave ‘em wanting more” has been a tried and true marketing message for decades.

So if this is how I feel about a series, why did I write one? And what are my stories like?

For starters, that ol’ marketing adage, “leave ‘em wanting more”, makes sense. But my Northstar Security books are not cliffhangers. I want readers to close that last page with a satisfied feeling of a complete story. I hope they’ll come back and look at the next book in the series, but if they choose not to, then I don’t want to leave them frustrated.

Each of my Northstar Security books features a couple who experience challenges and conflict in their circumstances. But in the end, the two are destined to win the day, and find happiness with each other. Readers can enjoy just one book and not feel like there’s unfinished business at the story’s end. Or readers can look forward to the next book in the Northstar Security series to see what other characters are up to and if they, too, will find their own satisfying conclusion.

I hope that the first book in my Northstar Security series, Proving Ground, offers such a read.

Thank you for spending a few minutes of your valuable time with me today. For more information about the upcoming stories in my Northstar Security series, you can check out the book’s website page here. Or sign up for my newsletter here.

I have a Goodreads Giveaway going on now until June 30th for Proving Ground. Please feel free to pop on over to Goodreads and enter for a chance to win an autographed copy. Here’s a link 

A little bit about Proving Ground: 

“A wonderful new voice in romantic suspense. Caitlin Malone is a true heroine: tough and intelligent.” ~Dana Marton, New York Times Bestselling Author~

“PROVING GROUND is an intriguing story filled with tension. A strong debut.” ~Laura Griffin, New York Times Bestselling Author~

Book cover for Proving Ground by Stanalei Fletcher, book 1 of the Northstar Security seriesBLURB:
Screw-ups don’t get second chances. That’s what Caitlin Malone believes when she returns to Oregon after failing her first Northstar Security assignment. When she inadvertently stumbles across a plot to steal deadly pathogens from the bio-lab near her hometown, she sees a chance at redemption.

USDA Forest Ranger, John ‘Mac’ MacAlistair, doesn’t want to babysit the motorcycle club holding their annual rally in his national forest. To make matters worse, Caitlin is attending the rally with Mac’s estranged uncle. Having her home again brings up feelings that are better left buried.

It’s early September. Any spark will send the dry timber into a raging fire. The terrorists are counting on that distraction to work in their favor. When Caitlin is trapped by the wildfire, her only hope of rescue is pinned on Mac, the man she’s tried two years to forget. Before they can share their feelings, Mac and Caitlin must first escape the burning forest and stop the terrorists from releasing the deadly pathogens.

Proving Ground is available from all of these bookstores:
The Wild Rose Press – Trade Paperback 

The Wild Rose Press –ebook 
Amazon.com 
Barnes and Noble 
iBook/iTunes 
Google Play 
Kobo Books 
All Romance eBooks.com

About the Author:
Stanalei Fletcher’s love of writing romance stems from reading favorites such as Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Barbara Cartland, and Alistair MacLean. She has over twenty years of training in the martial arts and holds the rank of Sandan, a third-degree black belt, in Aikido.

After a taste of life on both U.S. coasts, she now resides in the beautiful Rocky Mountains with her hero, who is also her best friend and husband. Together they enjoy the open road astride a Harley, visiting museums and exploring ghost towns.

~ooOOoo~

Thank you for stopping by Mae’s blog to visit with me. I’d love to hear from you. You can find me at any of the following locations:

Website   
Twitter –  @StanaleiFletch 
Facebook  
Blog 
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Mae Clair Presents: In His Corner by Vina Arno

Today, I’m welcoming a new guest author to my blog, Vina Arno, with her knock-out romance (I couldn’t resist :) ) IN HIS CORNER. Vina is a Lyrical Press sister and dropped by to share some fun facts about the characters from her debut release. Check ’em out:

InHisCorner_VinaArnoIn His Corner: 12 Fun Facts about the Characters

By Vina Arno

My debut romance, In His Corner, starts with a singular encounter in the ER between Dr. Siena Carr and Tommy Raines, an Olympic gold-medalist boxer known as the Juggernaut. Their attraction is immediate, but as it turns out, they are opposites.

She was born into a rich East Coast family, while he comes from a blue-collar West Coast family. She’s an Ivy League graduate. He’s a college dropout. She’s four years older than him. All of these make for a tempestuous romance. Below are some fun facts about them.

The Juggernaut

  1. Tommy Raines, the most promising American boxer today, meets Siena Carr during a make-or-break point in his budding career—three months before a million-dollar fight, his first as a pro.
  1. He’s not only a fierce boxer, he’s also a talented wrestler. His smooth wrestling maneuvers in bed drive Siena wild!
  1. He’s a middleweight fighter, the same weight division as these famous champs: Jake “Raging Bull” LaMotta, Sugar Ray Robinson, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Oscar de la Hoya.
  1. Although women are crazy for the Juggernaut, he has dated only one other woman aside from Siena.
  1. He lives in a former warehouse the size of a mini football field. It’s the only place he could find in San Francisco big enough for an indoor boxing ring.
  1. He lives with Iggy, a cream Labrador he rescued from an animal shelter. The dog is 11 years old and arthritic.

Siena Carr

  1. Her parents named her after Siena, the city in Tuscany, hence her name has only one “n” as opposed to Sienna, the Anglicized and more popular spelling.
  1. She has been traveling to Italy since she was eight. A self-professed lover of all things Italian, she feels spiritually connected to the country.
  1. She volunteers five to eight hours a week in a clinic located in the most hardscrabble part of Oakland.
  1. She’s a fashionista. She wears a Calvin Klein dress on her first date with Tommy, a red Christian Dior dress at her hospital’s fundraiser, and a Marc Jacobs ensemble at his fight in Las Vegas.
  1. She loves art-house films, which Tommy fondly describes as “snoozers.” She likes films by Terence Malick, Alain Resnais, and Ingmar Bergman.
  1. She’s allergic to animals, including Iggy. In spite of that, she grows to love the Labrador.

Book Excerpt:

Dr. Siena Carr dropped the clipboard on the counter and washed her hands. When she turned around, she gasped. “What are you doing?”

The Juggernaut was undressing. Before she could say another word, he was naked. A glorious sight that sent her heart racing and her face burning. Did he know that he looked like a sculpture by Michelangelo? Except for the tattoo on his right shoulder, this man was David incarnate.

She looked away abruptly, grabbing the clipboard. She didn’t even know his name! She looked at his paperwork. Tommy Raines. “Mr. Raines, please put on your clothes.”

She continued scanning his form. Occupation: boxer. Age: twenty-two. Weight: 160 pounds. Height: six feet. Blood type: O positive. No pre-existing health conditions. His temperature and blood pressure were normal. Reason for ER visit: a cut sustained from sparring.

She faced him. Thank God, he was clothed again.

“Sorry about that,” he said. “I thought you’re supposed to check me out.”

Did he just say check him out? “Mr. Raines, this is an ER, not a bar. I don’t check out patients. Do you mean to say check up?”

He smiled. “Yeah, check up.”

“I’m going to take care of your cut, but I’m not doing a checkup. If you need one, you should go to your primary care doctor.”

“I don’t like doctors. I avoid hospitals and clinics as much as possible, but my cut kept bleeding even after I showered. So here I am.”

Book Blurb:

WORK OUT

No sex for almost a year could kill a guy, but when you’re the boxer known as the Juggernaut, it’s the price you pay for turning pro. Tommy’s fully dedicated to his craft, until he meets the incredibly gorgeous Dr. Siena Carr. Now he’s looking forward to taking on this prim and proper lady in a wet and wild workout…

KNOCK OUT

Siena has seen many patients come through the ER, but none as sexy as Tommy Raines. With a nasty cut over his eye, she knows he needs stitches, but after he takes off his shirt, she needs some air. With rock-hard abs and taut biceps, it’s clear this man takes care of his body. And all Siena can think about is letting him take care of hers

Purchase IN HIS CORNER from:
In His Corner by Vina Arno, published by Lyrical Press, is available at:
Amazon.com 
Barnes & Noble 
Kobo Books 
Kensington Books 
iTunes 
Google

Author, Vina ArnoAbout Vina Arno:
Vina Arno is a pen name used by Cindy Fazzi, a Philippine-born American writer who has worked as a journalist in the Philippines, Taiwan, and the United States. Her short stories have been published in the Snake Nation Review, Copperfield Review, and SN Review.

Read this Forbes article about Vina Arno:
3 Career Reinvention Tips From A Reporter Turned Romance Writer 

Connect with Vina Arno at the following haunts: 
Web site 

Facebook 
Goodreads 
Google+

Mae Clair Presents: Blood Stitches by Erin Fanning #giveaway

Today, I’m happy to welcome Erin Fanning back to my blog with her new release, BLOOD STITCHES. You might recall this fabulous cover being splashed on my blog before, but now the book has officially been released, and Erin has dropped by to answer a few questions. Whether you’re a writer, reader or both, I think you’ll find her post interesting.

She’s also got a giveaway going on for a $20 Amazon gift card, so be sure to check out the Rafflecopter link at the bottom!

BloodStitchesCover

~ooOOoo~

From Erin:

Over the past several months, I’ve received lots questions from friends and family about my novella Blood Stitches. It seems like the top three are always the same, sort of universal questions about writing:

How do you come up with your ideas?

I spend a lot of time outdoors–biking, hiking, skiing, and kayaking–so I’m heavily influenced by nature. Current events and everyday encounters often get stuck in my imagination. Turkey vultures perched along the road look like a coven of witches or an ordinary tapestry resembles an opening to another world.

These story ideas churn around in my brain for days, months, sometimes years, until they practically force their way out through my fingertips. Next I jot down several paragraphs or pages, whatever I can. Then I take a breath and make a rough outline of the plot and characters, filling in the blanks, and reworking it as I go.

When do you find time to write?

I’m lucky in the sense that my “regular” job as an online editor for a global information provider, searching the web for international financial news, allows me to work from home. So I often find time to write during the morning, but even though my schedule has more flexibility than most people, I still have to be disciplined. I’m the Queen of Procrastination and Distraction!

How long did it take you to write Blood Stitches?

Along with being the Queen of Procrastination and Distraction, I’m also possibly the slowest writer on the planet. I’m in awe of authors that seem to whip out two books each year. I started writing Blood Stitches several years ago and then put it aside. About two years ago, I picked it up again and finally finished it.

~ooOOoo~

I love Erin’s take on where she gets her ideas from. That’s definitely a writer’s mind at work. And although she may consider her writing turnaround on the slow side, I’ve no doubt the results are well worth waiting for. See for yourself:

Blurb for Blood Stitches:

Love and danger intertwine…

It’s called El Toque de la Luna—The Touch of the Moon. At least that’s how nineteen-year-old Gabby’s older sister, Esperanza, refers to the magical powers she inherited from their Mayan ancestors. Esperanza says women with El Toque weave magic into their knitting, creating tapestries capable of saving—or devastating—the world. Gabby thinks Esperanza is more like touched in the head—until a man dressed like a candy corn arrives at their Seattle home on Halloween. But “Mr. C” is far from sweet…

Soon, Gabby and her almost-more-than-friend, Frank, find themselves spirited away to a demon ball, complete with shape shifters—and on a mission to destroy Esperanza’s tapestries before they cause an apocalyptic disaster… And before it’s too late to confess their true feelings for each other.

View the book trailer here

Purchase Blood Stitches from:
Kensington/Lyrical Press

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Google
Itunes 

Author, Erin FanningAbout the author:
Erin Fanning spends her summers on a northern Michigan lake, where her imagination explores the water and dense forest for undiscovered creatures. In the winter, she migrates to central Idaho, exchanging mountain bikes and kayaks for skis and snowshoes. She’s the author of a mountain biking guidebook, as well as numerous articles, essays, and short stories.

Find Erin at the Following Haunts: 
Website 
Goodreads 
Twitter @WriterErin
Amazon

Rafflecopter Giveway Alert!
Enter to win a Rafflecopter giveaway for a $20 Amazon gift card here: a Rafflecopter giveaway