Debbie Peterson Visits the Ghosts of Berry Pomeroy Castle

I’ve got a special Pen Pal on my blog today–Debbie Peterson, whose novels I love. I’ve read them all, and each time I think she can’t out do herself, she does. I’m currently deeply engrossed in her latest release, SPIRIT OF THE KNIGHT, and think it’s my favorite to date. A Scottish Castle, romance, ghosts, mystery . . . what’s not to love?

Today, Debbie has dropped by to share a few eerie legends about Berry Pomeroy Castle, rumored to be one of the most haunted sites in the British Isles. What better way to usher in her ghostly romance, SPIRIT OF THE KNIGHT, than to set the tone with this thoroughly spooky guest post:

~ooOOoo~

Hello Mae! I’m so excited to be here and share some blog space with you today while I celebrate the early Kindle release of “Spirit of the Knight . . .”

Mariah Jennings, the heroine of “Spirit of the Knight,” believes in ghosts. After all, she has seen her fair share of them since taking on the task of painting castles for “The Gallery of Castles Project.” For instance, shortly after arriving at her first assignment in South Devon, England, she discovered firsthand the wild tales concerning Berry Pomeroy Castle were, in fact, quite true.

The mysterious castle ruins, nestled deep in a wooded valley, charmed Mariah at first glance. She easily imagined William the Conqueror gifting the lands to Ralph de Pomeroy in appreciation of his support during the Norman invasion and all the way through the battle of Hastings in the year 1066. Yet, the lovely fortification wouldn’t grace the area until 1305.

Berry Pomeroy Castle

Berry Pomeroy Castle
Courtesy of Wikimedia, Image in Public Domain

Her research also revealed that two centuries later, Sir Edward Seymour, brother-in-law of King Henry VIII and Lord Protector of England, acquired Berry Pomeroy in the 1540’s. During his tenure as Lord Protector, Sir Edward made a host of enemies. Therefore, it didn’t surprise a soul that in October of 1549, the Earl of Warwick managed to oust and imprison him in the Tower of London. His subsequent conviction on twenty-nine different charges resulted in a death sentence. Edward’s enemies saw him executed on the 22nd day of January, in the year 1552. His death notwithstanding, the Seymour family inhabited the castle until 1668 and retains guardianship to this very day.

Now, the day Mariah arrived at Pomeroy, the locals regaled her with stories of ghostly apparitions and strange phenomena. They spoke of lights without source, disembodied voices, cold spots, and sudden, freak winds. She could testify to all of that and within the first few days of her stay. Those particular events didn’t pose a problem for Mariah. However, becoming a witness to the legendary, full-bodied apparitions took far more courage.

While inspecting the shadowy dungeon, she came face to face with the “White Lady.” This particular ghost haunts the castle prison, and rises up from the tower known as St. Margaret’s, to the castle ramparts. She is the spirit of Margaret Pomeroy, imprisoned by her sister Eleanor, after Lord Pomeroy left for the crusades. Unfortunately, their father left Eleanor in charge. According to legend, jealousy of Margaret’s beauty and her love for the man she too desired, Eleanor slowly starved Margaret to death, following a two-decade incarceration.

Berry Pomeroy Castle

Berry Pomeroy Castle
Courtesy of Wikimedia, Image in Public Domain

Shortly after the shock of seeing the ghost wore off, an apparition dressed in a long blue cape and hood appeared in the doorway as Mariah worked on her first painting of the castle.  Known as the “Blue Lady,” this ominous spirit enjoys luring men into the most dangerous, unstable portions of the castle in hopes of facilitating their death. Why would she do such a dastardly thing? Well, tradition maintains this spirit is the daughter of a Norman Lord who once occupied the castle. His vile abuse resulted in the birth of a child. To cover his heinous deed, the man strangled the infant. Another version of the story states that our “Blue Lady” hated the child so much, she strangled it herself. As a result, her troubled spirit will never find rest. Those who’ve seen her say she wrings her hands in anguish and torment. At various times, the cries of the murdered infant can be heard throughout the castle. (I’m not certain I’d want to stick around after that…)

During her stay, Mariah oftentimes heard unexplained screams accompanied by heavy thuds in a vicinity of the castle known as Pomeroy’s Leap. This, the locals said, was easily explained. Besieged at the castle, with defeat imminent, two brothers dressed themselves in full armor. They mounted their horses, rode off the top of the castle ramparts, and fell into the precipice below. An act–considered heroic by some–they apparently replicate to this very day.

Despite the beauty of the castle, Mariah seemed quite relieved the day she packed her belongings and headed to the next castle on her list. I can’t say that I blame her though, do you?

Thanks Mae, I truly enjoy each of my visits with you!

Book cover for Spirit of the KnightBLURB SPIRIT OF THE KNIGHT:
She fell deeply in love with him in the early days of her childhood. And in return, she captured his heart the moment he first cast his gaze upon her…

Renowned artist, Mariah Jennings hired to paint a thirteenth-century Scottish castle, gets the shock of her life when she encounters the handsome knight who has dominated a lifetime of portraits and sketchbooks.

But Sir Cailen Braithnoch is no ordinary ghost, nor did he suffer an ordinary death. Magic of the blackest kind cast a pall over the knights centuries ago. As the ghost and his lady seek to unravel the paradox surrounding his death, black arts, otherworldly forces, and a jealous rival conspire against them.

Will those forces tear them apart, or is their love destined to last throughout the ages?

ABOUT THE AUTHORDebbie Peterson, Author Debbie has always had a soft spot for fairy tales, the joy of falling in love, and happily ever after endings. Stories of love and make believe filled her head for as long as she can remember. However, it was her beloved husband who encouraged, cajoled and inspired her to take up a pen and write some of them down. Her journey to published author could fill quite a few pages, but in June of 2010, she submitted her debut novel, “Spirit of the Rebellion” to her wonderful, patient, editor at The Wild Rose Press. A few short months after Rebellion’s release, her second novel, “Shadow of the Witte Wieven” was published through InkSpell Publishing. Her third novel, “Spirit of the Revolution” was released in 2013, through The Wild Rose Press.

When she is not busy conjuring her latest novel, Debbie spends time with the members of her very large family. She also pursues her interests in family history, mythology, and all things ancient and historic.

You can find Debbie at the following haunts:
Website
Blog
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads

SPIRIT OF THE KNIGHT is currently available in early release for purchase on Amazon

 

North Parish Book Tour with Rohn Federbush #Giveaway

Today, as a Buy the Book Tour participating host, I’m welcoming Rohn Federbush as she tours with her new release, North Parish. I was initially drawn to this book by it’s gorgeous cover and title, then after reading the blurb, knew I had to showcase it. Please welcome Rohn as she shares her background, writing process, and what inspires her creativity. There’s also a Rafflecopter giveaway link at the bottom, so be sure to enter!

Tour banner for North Parish by Rohn Federbush~ooOOoo~

I lived on farms in Illinois until I was fourteen. Those wind-swept plains can’t compare to the storm-free, surrounding hills of my adopted state of Michigan. I’m dyslectic and uncomfortable in crowds. I’m happier in my old-age than I ever was in the riotous, experimental years of youth. Who hasn’t wanted to know everything about everything?

I first realized I wanted to be a writer when I was sixteen. My sister’s baby died after not completing a day of life. Her name was Diane Thaddeus Schultz. I was shocked because my high-school English class remained unaware of my family’s loss, or the world’s. So I wrote a poem and eulogized my niece, hooking me forever on the potency of catharsis and the power of adding to the remembrance of a lost child. What gave you your first clue that you were one of us, unable to stop putting words on paper?

How long does it take you to read a book? My first writing draft is finished in about three months, but the editing takes even longer. I’m usually at my writing desk by 9:00 in the morning. I outline. I use Elizabeth’s system from “Write Right” and Michael Hauge’s “Six Stage Plot Structure,” which is a furtherance of Debra Dixon’s “Goals, Motivation, and Conflict” structure for characters. I put the finished outline, which includes one-sentence scene descriptions into the body of my manuscript and start writing the Rough Draft. Nothing is ever final, the outline, the sequence of scenes, etc. But the skeleton exists. The next day’s scene can be reviewed before bed and embellished in the morning. If I get stopped, I interview the characters to find out where we’re going.

I’ve been writing full time since 1999, when I retired from the University of Michigan as an Administrative Assistant. Of course, I take breaks, and lunch. However, I try not to stop until I have ten new pages or 4:00 arrives. My completed books are piling up, but I am still happiest and better balanced when new work is created. It is tempting to market full time, but the writer work-ethic in me rebels.

My ideas for books follow my curiosity. How does it feel to be this character or that one? Could I live in this place or that climate? What if I had lived in those times, in that war, or among those gardens? What if my goal had been to be a race-car driver, or a ghost-hunter, or a forest ranger? While I yet live, the wonder of life keeps me intrigued.

When I’m not writing, I paint cartoonish pictures in oil and even watercolors. I love the control over colors. I paint in primary colors, heavy on the brush. After fifteen years of steady fictional work output, my family has pretty much resigned themselves to the fact that I’ll be writing on my death bed. One sister-in-law thought I might have missed a career as a painter, but she received one of my better oils.

I’ve completed 15 novels. The three historicals about Michigan and Ann Arbor history are my favorites. But the one I’m working on, editing or writing new scenes, always claims my heart. When an idea presents itself for a story, the title usually comes first and then the resolution. I think we all write with a purpose. Sure to entertain is required, but to last in the world of more books than people, the need to share an understanding of how life works and my belief in a Higher Power, Our Father’s presence in our lives motivates me.

Hiring my GirlFriday, Florence Price, has saved me from frustrating chores I don’t have the patience to learn. Such as my website design, promotion ideas and an increasing number of tasks I ask her to undertake.

I like being married better than living alone. Of course, I am married to the best man in the universe. I’m also thankful for moderate good health in old age. My grandchildren are perfect and my children claim every ounce of affection I own. Isn’t this  every woman’s dream?

Have you read any of my books on Amazon, yet? I’m on Linkedin and have two               Facebook pages. Feel free to contact me at rohn@comcast.net. My website is             www.rohnfederbush.com

NORTH PARISH BLURB

An Ann Arborite, Professor Silas Douglas, became the first president of Michigan’s Historical Society. He was a teenager who witnessed the 1818 Maumee River treaty signing by seven tribes for President Monroe’s Erie Canal. The names of the tribes and the individual natives have been preserved in the Ann Arbor Public Library.

North Parish follows the diplomats around the Great Lakes.

* * * * *

Book cover for North Parish by Rohn FederbushParish North is the blonde adopted son of a Huron native, and with his manhood-quest completed in time for his father’s trip with a Jesuit bishop, he’s allowed to participate in the efforts to secure powwow agreements from seven tribes around the Great Lakes for the building of the Erie Canal. During the trip, Parish recognizes his vision temptress in Dorothy Evans.

Hoping to join the delegation, Dorothy Evans dreams of escaping duties as her mother’s cook-helper at Fort Detroit. Exciting windows to the wider world open for the girl in the Fort’s Jesuit library. Two centuries worth of European books convince her everything good and pure comes from nature. And when Dorothy meets the blond native, Parish North, she feels her heart quicken when he smiles in her direction. She’s positive Parish is half of her future.

When a bishop assigned to the trip persuades Dorothy’s mother to allow him to chaperon her intelligent daughter on the trip to facilitate her education, Dorothy’s mother accepts his kind offer with the comforting knowledge that Dorothy is under the protection of a man of the Church. But the Bishop’s intentions may not be as pure as they appear and Dorothy’s virtue is in danger. Will the Bishop’s unholy plan succeed?

EXCERPT:
Fort Detroit, Fall, 1817

Cheers from the fort’s crowd drew sixteen-year-old Dorothy Evans to the river’s shore. Two high-ended Algonquin canoes from Lake Erie and a smaller French trapper’s canoe advanced toward them on the Detroit River. With each new shout, more yellow aspen leaves tumbled to the ground, crushed under the feet of soldiers and civilians rushing along the riverbank. The sober clothing of the throng clashed with the riotous colors of the maple trees.

A Chippewa runner had arrived the night before to warn, or rather to assemble the fort’s population for Bishop Pascal’s arrival. Father Sebastian, the Jesuit pastor, rose on his tiptoes to peer down river. Dorothy and her mother stood on either side of the nervous priest. Elizabeth’s short, plump figure advertised her success as the rectory’s cook. Dorothy considered herself a competent but reluctant cook’s helper.

Preparations for meals left little time to think, to read, to dream. She hurried through her daily chores to escape into the priest’s extensive library. For more than a hundred years, the Jesuits at Fort Detroit had collected Europe’s finest literature. The tomes whetted her appetite for adventure and romance.

As Dorothy waited for the Bishop, histories of Florence, its free thinkers, faces of popes and red-garbed cardinals swam in her head. The band of young and seasoned soldiers from the fort held no interest. They smelled, and treated her as the stuck-up cook’s daughter. She was only someone to hand out an extra cookie or two when their buddies weren’t around to tease. But in her secret heart, Dorothy was a mysterious spy, an adventurous temptress, a princess waiting to be rescued.

No hint of cardinal reds were in the approaching crafts, only more drab brown and black clothing. Dorothy sighed, breathed in the cool, tannic-scented air and prayed for patience as the ceremonies began. Her chores awaited and her fingers itched to re-open the Italian history she had set aside.

After the first boat emptied its passengers, a sergeant among the troops yelled, “Attention!”

The thirty or so men lined up, tucked in their shirts and squared their shoulders. The newly arrived, tall, mustached officer with soft gray eyes under menacing bushy eyebrows introduced himself to the sloppy, disgraceful bunch. “Lieutenant C. Louis Cass.” He returned their salute and marched past them taking time to point out an unbuttoned tunic, dusty boots, or straighten a jauntily placed cap. “Where is your commanding officer?”

“Abed.” A young private in the rear yelled without fear of detection.

“This way,” Father Sebastian motioned for the Bishop to follow the troops on the half-mile trek back to the fort.

Dorothy’s mother gestured for her to follow, but Dorothy shook her head. Elizabeth delayed and tidied her hair until Dorothy relented and drew closer for what she thought would be a reprimand. Her mother merely whispered. “They’re going to take more land from the natives. Mark my word.”

“Not again. Where will they let them farm now? Is that why the Bishop came?”

“Father says the seven tribes around the Great Lakes will be affected.” Elizabeth tucked a loose black strand of hair behind Dorothy’s ear. “I guess the Bishop thinks a missionary is needed to persuade the tribes to attend the new treaty powwow.”

Dorothy shook her head. “What chance do the natives have to survive, if they disagree?”

“Hurry back to help me.” Her mother scurried away to catch up to Father Sebastian.

Dorothy wandered closer to the river. Dark clouds threatened to stop the sunshine’s play with the sparkling waves. The second smaller canoe purposefully tread water in order not to be drawn ashore. Dorothy examined its crew. A tall, straight-backed Huron sat in the front of the boat. Behind him a younger native caught her eye. The shifting sunbeams highlighted the man’s blond hair. His face seemed lit from within.

His eyes dreamily swept the shoreline past her, then sharply returned as if he had been startled into remembering something. Something important.

Me, Dorothy thought. He’s looking at me. For a moment her breath seemed to stop.

She couldn’t help rushing forward to mingle among the native men helping the two pull the boat onto the sandy shore. The natives nearly bowed before the tall Huron. He spoke kindly to each. Did he personally know their families? Then he introduced the younger man to them, “My favored son.” The older man inclined his head proudly in the direction of the blond young man, whose ethereal bearing evoked the capability of walking on water.

Noticing Dorothy among the group, the older man said, “They call me Ponthe Walker.”

Dorothy nodded but could not keep her face turned away from the infinitely more interesting younger man.

“And my adopted son, Perish North.”

“I’m…I’m,” Dorothy was sure she’d never remember her own name. “Dorothy Evans. My mother is Elizabeth, the rectory cook.”

Perish stepped forward. “A pious believer then?”

Dorothy gained full use of her tongue. “More of a favorite doubter of the Lord’s. Like Saint Thomas? You know the one who had to put his hand in Jesus’ side before he would believe in the resurrection?”

Ponthe seemed to lose interest, but Perish didn’t move.

“I’ve just returned from my vision quest,” he said.

Dorothy believed he grew an inch before her eyes. She slipped a glance down to his boots to see if he’d stretched up on his toes. As she brought her gaze up, she noted his waist adornments, his broad shoulders covered in buckskin. His light blue eyes seemed bleached by the sun, or his vision.

“The manhood rite,” she said, trying not to check. A stiff breeze lifted her hair, cooling the nervous sweat on her brow.

“You’ve heard of the Midewiwins?” Perish took a step closer.

Dorothy could smell a scent of juniper. “I have, but aren’t you too young?”

Perish laughed.

A thrill passed through her at the clear, rich tones of his voice.

When his father began to lead the natives back to the Fort Detroit, Dorothy boldly pulled at Perish’s elbow. “Walk with me.”

Perish slowed to stroll beside her.

Dorothy smiled as winningly as she knew how. “Tell me.”

“I can only share Orenda’s vision message with family.” His face was serious but his eyes were friendly.

“Adopt me,” Dorothy said, then raced ahead of the group. Aware of her silliness, she knew her mother would be needing help.

*

Author, Rohn FederbushABOUT ROHN FEDERBUSH
Rohn Federbush retired as an administrator from the University of Michigan in 1999. She received a Masters of Arts in Creative Writing in 1995 from Eastern Michigan University. Frederick Busch of Colgate granted a 1997 summer stipend for her ghost-story collection. Michael Joyce of Vassar encouraged earlier writing at Jackson Community College, Jackson, Michigan in 1981. Rohn has completed fourteen novels, with an additional mystery nearly finished, 120 short stories and 150 poems to date.

Connect with Rohn Federbush at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Google+ 

PURCHASE NORTH PARISH FROM:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

THE GIVEAWAY:
Enter Rohn’s Rafflecopter drawing to win
$15 Amazon Gift Card
Winner’s Choice of North Parish ebook
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Adventure and Romance with Cd Brennan: A World Apart

Stack of old letters with ink quill and feather penI’m happy to have another Pen Pal on my blog today. Cd Brennan has led an adventurous life, traipsing all over the globe before settling down in Michigan.

From yacht racing in Ireland, to gutting fish in Alaska, and working on a ranch in the Australian Outback—you name it, this girl has done it! And she’s used those adventures to her benefit in creating a wonderful series of novels called “Love Where you Roam.” Please welcome Cd, as she shares the latest book in this series, A WOLRD APART.

Cd, let’s start with your background. Please share a bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing.

I grew up in Michigan but as soon as I was out of Uni went traveling the world and didn’t return “home” for a very long time. Married an Australian cowboy and rugby player and have two sons, two and five who are the tornado in our life in which we revolve. When we lived in Australia, a neighbor across the street, and a good friend, challenged me to write a romance for a contest through Mills & Boons New Voices. I came mid-pack in results, but it prompted me to keep going. My friend kept me motivated by setting chapter goals, and I doubt I would have finished my first book if she hadn’t. I had a toddler and was pregnant with the second, and working! But I’m proud to say I had it published and then after the first, the next ones come easier. A World Apart is the second book in the Love Where You Roam series.

It’s wonderful to have a friend who motivates you like that and believes in your talent. My previous critique partner was my cheerleader for twelve years. She passed away before I submitted and was published, but I still smile when I think of all the motivation she gave me. I’m so glad your friend did the same. Do you have a favorite place and/or time of day to write?

I don’t! It’s called squeeze-it-in-when-I-can :) With my day job and the kids, running the house and everything else, I’m pretty buggered, but I try to even get a few sentences down every night. I know that might not seem like a lot, but I force myself to commit to even that small amount of time.

Any commitment to writing is a great discipline—and that’s a lot you’re juggling! Good for you squeezing those moments in each night. I really enjoyed the first release in your Love Where You Roam series, WATERSHED, and am looking forward to losing myself in A WORLD APART. Without giving too much away, please share a bit about your favorite scene.

I have a few favorites, but the one that comes to mind right now is when Hamish climbs the fire escape to try and break into the rooms where Lizzy lives above the hotel she works at. Okay, it might sound a bit Pretty Woman, but its significant to Hamish as he isn’t the impulsive type, the exact opposite and his love and adoration for this sunshine of a shiela compels him to step outside his box. It’s pissing rain (as they say over there) and he’s clumsy as heck getting up the old rickety metal escape. It’s a big humorous, a bit profound. :)

I love “pissing rain,” LOL. It sounds like a great scene. How did you choose your setting?

A World Apart Old Book Cover

A World Apart Old Book Cover

A World Apart is set in Bridge of Allan, Scotland, a small beautiful town just outside the University of Stirling where I attended to get my MPHIL in Publishing Studies. I actually worked and lived in the Queen’s Hotel where much of the story takes place. I utterly and completely fell in love with not only this quaint Scottish village, but all of Scotland. A bit of my heart still remains there.

I would love to see Scotland someday. It must have been phenomenal to live there. Would you like to share the first three sentences of your book?

“Pass those empties, mate.” Lizzy prodded the man with her free hand, the other balancing a stack of empty pint glasses.

“Would you shut it?” The man ignored Lizzy’s request.

A mighty roar bellowed in the room, the wallop of noise raising the hairs on Lizzy’s arms.

Nice! I wonder just what that noise is all about. :) Now, let’s learn about Cd. When you’re not writing (or reading) what do you do to unwind?

Honestly, I rarely unwind, unless I am comatose asleep at night, and that’s unless our 2-year old wakes me up :). But I think it’s important for everyone to take time for themselves. It makes them better at all the other roles they play – a better and happier mum, a more creative writer, a more dedicated employee. So, I took the first step and combined exercise and unwind time by walking our dog. I also indulge in red wine a few times a week. For a frazzled mum, it’s a godsend! And not too unhealthy :)

You’re so right that we all need some “me” time. I like your methods for unwinding! If you couldn’t be a writer, what else would you choose to do?

Cowgirl, definitely. Or do you mean something that actually pays a wage? Helicopter pilot was one of my dreams when I was much younger, but since I have developed a fear of flying, that just won’t do anymore. LOL I guess I am stuck with writing, and I love my job as an Editor, as well.

A fear of flying would definitely impinge on being a helicopter pilot, LOL. It’s great you have writing—and a job as an editor—to keep you happy. And now for a few quick favorites:

Dream vacation gifted to you by a fairy godmother: Cologne, Germany for Octoberfest! My sister lives there so I get to see her and her family along with great beer in a stein and the beautiful German countryside.

Favorite season: Summer, too much Aussie in me to totally appreciate the winters in Michigan.

Favorite time of day: Morning, yep I’m one of those. I used to irritate the crap out of my housemates when I was younger.

Favorite color: Maroon – earthy and warm

Favorite type of music: Right now – classical. I have enough “noise” in my house with two wee boys and a dog. It soothes me LOL

Germany for Octoberfest would surely be an experience to remember! I love your choice of maroon—most unusual when I think of color. And I’m with you on summer and mornings (I’m still trying to figure out how I went from being a night owl when I was younger to being a morning person). It was great to have you visit today, Cd. I wish you much success and many sales for A WORLD APART. I already have my copy on my Kindle. It’s great to know there are even more books planned for this adventurous series!

~ooOOoo~

As a side note, when you go shopping for A WORLD APART, note that the book cover has had a redesign. As a result, you may find some sites still have the older cover (above) while others have the new adult book cover, below. Either way, you can be sure you’re still getting the same great tale!

Author Cd BrennanAuthor Bio
Having traveled and lived all over the world, Cd Brennan now talks with a strange accent, a mix of distant terminology, a blend of culturally cute but confusing euphemisms that leaves everyone looking at her with a blank stare. Luckily, her Australian husband (who she met in Ireland) and her two Aussie/Yankee sons have no problem understanding her – well, except for the word NO.

Now settled back “home” in Michigan, she enjoys reliving her glory days by writing about them. She considers the last fifteen years abroad the perfect research for her Love Where You Roam series; matchmaking women and men from different cultures, even different hemispheres, helping them find their true one across oceans of difference.

As destiny plays a hand in all the stories, Cd Brennan truly believes that what is for you, won’t pass you by. She hopes to inspire others to get out there: “Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” [Mark Twain]  And of course, fall in love.

Get in touch with her at www.cdbrennan.com

Connect with Cd at the following haunts:
Website
Blog:  Sundae With Nuts at the above address
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads

A World Apart New Book Cover

A World Apart New Book Cover

BLURB FOR A WORLD APART:

She left home to find herself…and found love along the way.

Lizzy travels to Scotland to track down her roots, hoping where she comes from will help her figure out where she needs to go. An Aussie girl through and through, tough as nuts and a bit wild, she believes there’s nothing so wonderful as a world seen through wine-tinted glasses…

…until she meets Hottie Hamish, Bridge of Allan’s most eligible bachelor.

Hamish is Lizzy’s polar opposite in every way. He’s serious, driven, and motivated, focused on becoming the youngest associate professor at the Glasgow School of Art. But he’s hiding a social phobia behind his gruff exterior that makes it almost impossible to connect with people…

…until he meets Lost Lizzy, all sunshine and lightness, an Australian beauty with the proverbial heart of gold.

Where they come from may be worlds apart, but atop a Scottish Munro, they begin to realize where they’re going is best traveled side by side.

CONTENT WARNING: Graphic descriptions of haggis ingredients.

A Lyrical Press Contemporary Romance

PURCHASE A WORLD APART FROM:

AMAZON   AMAZON UK   AMAZON AUSTRALIA  iTUNES   B&N   KOBO  BOOKWIRE

 

 

 

Meet Author Joanne Wadsworth with Witness Pursuit

I’m super excited to welcome my Kensington Books/Lyrical Press sister, Joanne Wadsworth, back to my blog.  Joanne is burning up the bestseller charts with her with numerous releases. This is a girl who writes fantasy YA romances, romantic suspense and historical highlander tales with equal skill. She’s dropped by today to share one of her awesome releases, WITNESS PURSUIT.

Joanne, what attracts you most to your chosen genre?
I write within three fabulous genres: YA fantasy, contemporary, and historical Highlander. I simply adore YA fantasy because it’s fresh and fast-paced, and the dialogue is sassy and fun. Even within my historical books, I bring an element of this freshness across too. My heroines have all traveled back through time to the past, and they’re young and vivacious, as well as prepared to challenge their Highland heroes in every way. Within my contemporary line, I write about bodyguards, and that’s where I allow my love for mystery and suspense to take over.

I enjoy reading in all those genres. You’ve chosen some fantastic lines for spinning tales. Are you a draft writer or someone who invests a lot of time in editing and polishing as you write? Why does your method work best for you?
I plot around 50-80% of my storyline, and that allows me to write quite a clean and tidy first draft in about six weeks. The second draft is done in two to three weeks, and the third a week.  Two to three months from beginning to end, and I’m ready to submit.

WitnessPursuit

It sounds like you have a great system in place! How about sharing some details on WITNESS PURSUIT.
WITNESS PURSUIT is the story of Lydia and Tyler, and is set on board a super-yacht traveling the South Pacific. Lydia is an eye witness on the run, a young woman who finds her path colliding with the bodyguard who once saved her life.

A year after Tyler was shot protecting Lydia, her handler decides to get her further from the killer’s reach by placing her on board Tyler’s super-yacht during his family’s vacation. Lydia though detests the thought of being close enough to endanger the one man who nearly died protecting her, except she has no choice. Her only consolation is that Tyler suffered memory loss from that time, and doesn’t recall her.

Tyler struggles as he feels an incomprehensible attraction to Lydia, along with an incredible drive to protect her. Theirs is an intense and all-consuming relationship, and they undertake a journey which is never quite as it seems. Twists and turns abound. It’s a real who-done-it.

It sounds amazing. How did you choose your setting?
I love using the countries within the South Pacific as my backdrops, and the moment I had the characters and plot sorted for Witness Pursuit, I knew I needed them onboard a super-yacht. Hello, a super-yacht. I loved that, and I immediately set them adrift from New Zealand toward the islands of Fiji.

Love that! Please share the first paragraph of your book.
“That is one massive super-yacht, and one I shouldn’t be on.” Lydia crossed her arms, eyeing the four levels of darkened glass and sleek white panels as the luxury ship sat proudly in its private berth at Auckland Marina’s gated wharf. And was that a— Shoot. Yes, it was. A huge kidney shaped pool glistened from the center of the one-hundred and fifty foot yacht. All the comforts one could desire, except not her. She shouldn’t even be here.

And now a look at what you enjoy reading: Name a book that had a profound effect on you and explain why.
Nalini Singh’s Kiss of Snow. It’s like the tenth book in her Psy-Changeling series, and the first I’d read of her work. After devouring it, I went out and got every other one. She writes urban fantasy and can world-build to the most amazing degree. Something I adore.

I’m familiar with her but haven’t read any of her books. Maybe I’ll start with that one too. :) If someone gave you a working time machine tomorrow, where would you visit and why?
The Scottish Highlands since I write Highlander books. I’m completely intrigued by their rugged and beautiful land, the myths and legends, and abundance of castles. Teleport me now.

I’ll take a ticket too! And now for some quick questions. What’s your:

Favorite Season: Favorite season: Summer. Bring on the beach. (And luckily, it’s summer right now where I live Down Under.)

Favorite time of day: 8.30 AM. Yes, that specific. The kids have just caught the bus, and I’m like a bullet heading to my office to write.

Favorite musical group or singer: One Direction (UK boy-band). Because my fifteen-year-old daughter doesn’t let me play anything else in the house. :)

Favorite TV show: Usually all I see are the kids’ cartoon programs, from the kitchen, as I’m cooking.

Favorite animal: My Maltese/Chihuahua puppy. He’s the cutest, and like my fifth child. He lets me listen to whatever I like, and watch whatever I like. He might just be my favorite.

Thanks for your fun answers and for visiting today, Joanne! I’m so jealous you get to write all day once the kids catch the bus. And I’m right there with you on summer (currently looking forward to ours). Between One Direction, your boys, teen daughter, and your Maltese/Chichuahua, it sounds like the Wadsworth homestead is a fun place to hang out!

WITNESS PURSUIT BLURB:

One witness…one bodyguard…one life.

Twenty-one-year-old New Zealander Lydia Sands witnessed the hit-and-run of a powerful man’s son. Her bodyguard is shot when the killer returns to dispose of her and The Program puts her in hiding. A year later, the case remains unsolved and her handler needs to get her further from the killer’s reach. Lydia detests the thought of being close enough to endanger the man who nearly died protecting her, even if it’s aboard a super-yacht traveling the South Pacific.

Tyler Whitehall’s shooting stole weeks from his memory. Physically recovered, he oversees security for Whitehall Shipping. While on a family holiday, Tyler is suspicious of the woman accompanying them without notice or security clearance, as his nephew’s caregiver. Stronger than suspicion is his incomprehensible attraction to her, and his instinct to protect her.

Once sensitive information is leaked, Lydia undergoes re-identification to evade a killer and protect the man who’d die to save her. Her bodyguard has just begun his pursuit, and she may have underestimated his abilities.

CONTENT WARNING: Sexual content

A Lyrical Press Contemporary Romance

Buy WITNESS PURSUIT at:
Amazon Kindle / Amazon Paperback
B&N Nook & Paperback
iTunes
Kobo
Lyrical Press

Look for JOANNE WADSWORTH at:
AUTHOR WEBSITE & BLOG
AMAZON PAGE (For books)
BARNES & NOBLE PAGE (For books)
FACEBOOK FAN PAGE
TWITTER
GOODREADS

Book Trailer link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tq_RXMhHTdg

WITNESS PURSUIT EXCERPT:
Down the super-yacht’s hallway, Lydia walked toward Tyler then slowed as her gaze dropped to her case in his hands. “What am I going to do with you?” She shook her head, tut-tutting under her breath.

“You’d already packed.” He slid a hand around her waist and led her to his room. “I’m simply moving your belongings from one room to another, and I’ll show you exactly what you can do with me.” He closed his bedroom door and flicked the lock.

She set her hands on her hips. “Ah, is that to keep me in, or others out?”

“Both.” He dumped her bag beside his drawers and unzipped it. “What did Saria say?”

“We had a long talk, and she said yes. She’ll let me go through re-identification first, and follow as soon as she sits her finals. They’re in just a few weeks.” She stepped up to him. “Ben will place my application tomorrow, although he said it might take a few days for all the arrangements to be made. He told me to hold tight and wait.”

Gritting his teeth, he opened his bottom drawer and piled her clothing in. “He approved of it all, this fast?” He’d have words with Ben. She should be with him.

“Of course. It was his idea to start with.” She gripped his arm. “I never said I’d move in with you, and now you’re unpacking for me?”

“Lee.” He dragged her into his arms. “I want you here, no matter the length of time.” He lifted her and laid her on his bed. Stealthily, he moved in to lie over top.

“I know you do. Oh, do you feel that? The ship’s moving.” Cranking her head to the side, she peered out the windows where the lights of the resort flickered.

“We’re sailing to the far side of the island. There’s a quiet cove, and it’ll be the safest place for you.”

“I hadn’t forgotten.” She slid her hand down his chest and played her fingers over the ridges of his abs under his shirt. “As long as we’re all safe, I can deal with it, for a short while.”

He lowered his forehead to hers. “Since you insist on going through re-identification, I need to be able to track you once you go under. I’m giving you fair warning now.”

“Ah, excuse me. That sounds highly illegal. The whole point of re-identification is so no one can find me.”

“Yes, but I’m not a threat to you, and only you and I will know what I’ve done.”

“And what will that be? Ex-act-ly?”

“By track, I mean I’ll place under your skin a very small tagged chip. It’s like a GPS system, but it’ll have a direct signal to me.”

“And…” Her gaze narrowed.

He rubbed his cheek against hers. “I’ll be able to check in with you, no matter where you are in the world. We can hardly have an exclusive relationship without there being some form of relationship.”

“Sooo, you’re asking me to go against the rules of re-identification?” She gave him a look that said she wasn’t going to agree.

“You’re very stubborn, but I happen to be twice as bad. Whether you agree or not, I’m going ahead with it.”

No one would take her from him. Not ever again.

He’d make certain of it.

Author Bio:Joanne Wadsworth (2) JOANNE WADSWORTH 

Where Romance Meets Fantasy and Adventure…

Reading romance books captivated Joanne Wadsworth as a teenager, particularly when she tucked herself into bed at night and continued to dream those stories as she slept. She’d visualize the direction, taking the hero and heroine on an adventure unparalleled to what she’d read. Today she is devoted to writing romance, bringing her imagination to life within the lines of young adult, contemporary, and historical Highlander.

Born in New Zealand, Joanne works both as a writer and a financial controller, all while keeping up with her four energetic children and dreamy husband.

Visit Joanne Wadsworth at http://www.joannewadsworth.com

Sara Walter Ellwood Second Honeymoon Book Tour with #G*I*V*E*A*W*A*Y

Today, I’m happy to welcome Sara Walter Ellwood to my blog during her Second Honeymoon Book Tour. Sara is one of my sister authors with Kensington Books/ Lyrical Press imprint. She’s dropped by for a friendly Q&A interview and has an awesome giveaway going on! So grab some virtual coffee or tea, sit back and enjoy! And before you leave, don’t forget to sign up for Sara’s giveaway (details at bottom).

2nd Honeymoon button

Sara, please tell us a bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing. 

I live in an area South Central Pennsylvania that has the best of both worlds. I live about half-way between the state capitol of Harrisburg, which is a decent sized city, and Gettysburg. There are small towns that surround the entire area, but between those towns and housing developments are tons of dairy farms and corn fields.  I grew up on a small farm west of where I live now. Because life on the farm wasn’t very exciting, I wrote my first novel in 11th grade as a journaling exercise I had to do in school.

I’ve started many novels over the course of the next 20 years, but never finished any of them. Then I got interested in Star Wars fan fiction and wrote about 40 stories (both novels and short stories). In 2008, I decided to try my hand at something publishable and wrote A Hunter’s Angel which was published in 2012 by The Wild Rose Press. The other four books that I’d written in the years after 2008 were quickly acquired by publishers in the following year.

That’s fantastic! And as a Central Pennsylvania native myself, I’m always pleased to welcome another Keystoner. Are you a draft writer or someone who invests a lot of time in editing and polishing as you write? Why does your method work best for you?

Oh, to my eternal frustration I polish as I go. I often can’t move on until what I’ve already written is perfect. It slows me down and makes me crazy, but I don’t know how to even write “fast” where I just get ideas down and not worry about editing.  The one time I tried this it paralyzed me. I couldn’t write a thing! I just can’t write like that… So even though my internal editor makes me positively nuts at times, I don’t know how to write without it.

I completely understand that. With the exception of trying NaNoWriMo last year, I am a polish-as-I-go-writer and, like you, can’t move forward until I have my existing material as close to perfect as it can be. Obviously, that method works for you, given how prolific you are! You actually brought three books to talk about today, so how about sharing the first three sentences from each?

From Gambling On A Secret:
“You’re twenty minutes late, Mr. Quinn. It wouldn’t hurt to show a little punctuality if you wanted a job.” Charli Monroe stopped at the gate in the broken picket fence of her newly purchased, broken-down ranch.

From Gambling On A Heart: 
“Have either of you seen Bobby?” Tracy Parker all but barked, and immediately lassoed the irritation. She might have a ton to do, but taking her crappy mood out on her brother and father wasn’t fair. “Lucinda needs him next for pictures.”

From Heartstrings: 
Seth Kendall parked his Escalade and stared out at the people who had known him all his life. What the hell was he doing here?

With a sigh, he opened the door, and all eyes turned in his direction as he got out.

Great beginnings. They all sound equally intriguing! When you’re not writing (or reading) what do you do to unwind?

I like movies and I have several TV shows that I’m hooked on. I also crochet while I’m watching. Once the weather gets nice, I’m out in my garden. I have a huge country/English garden that my hubby calls “the jungle” and in it I have just under 200 different kinds of plants.

It sounds gorgeous. I’m horrible gardener, but I’ve always wanted to have that English/country look in my yard. I just haven’t found a magic wand that does the trick yet! :) 

Do you have any guilty pleasures you’d like to share?

I would have to say it’s TV. If it’s paranormal, science fiction or western/southern themed drama, I’m all over it. Some of my favorite shows are the new Dallas, Nashville, Being Human (I’m so sad that show is ending), The Originals, Bitten, Sleepy Hollow, Falling Skies, Deliverance, Continuum… See? I’m all over the place when it comes to what I like on TV.

LOL!  I know a lot of people who follow Being Human. I didn’t realize it was ending. I love Sleepy Hollow and can’t wait for that one to return. Switching topics, do you have any pets? Pets and writers just seem to go together like peas in a pod.

I have a cat. Penny is my writing buddy. If she isn’t on my desk, she’s sitting on the chair beside me looking out the window at the birds that flock in my flower garden in the back.

I love hearing that! My cat used to do the same. I miss him a lot. Speaking of flower gardens, what’s your favorite season?

Late Spring/Early Summer

Favorite type of music? 

Country—I like everything from sounds of the old stuff like  Patsy Cline and Willy Nelson to the new stuff from Florida-Georgia Line and Taylor Swift.

Favorite ice cream flavor? 

I’m boring–Chocolate

Favorite social media platform? 

Facebook

Mountains or beach? 

Beach! Especially after the winter we’ve had around here.

I’m sooo with you on that one. Central PA weather has been dreadful (and reluctant to leave) this year! Thanks for visiting my blog, Sara. It was a delight to have you!

If you’d like to know more about Sara Walter Ellwood, connect with her on the following haunts:

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Newsletter Signup

Sara Walter EllwoodAbout Sara…

Although Sara Walter Ellwood has long ago left the farm for the glamour of the big town, she draws on her experiences growing up on a small hobby farm in West Central Pennsylvania to write her contemporary westerns. She’s been married to her college sweetheart for over 20 years, and they have two teenagers and one very spoiled rescue cat named Penny. She longs to visit the places she writes about and jokes she’s a cowgirl at heart stuck in Pennsylvania suburbia. She also has paranormal romantic suspense published under the pen name Cera duBois.

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Gambling On A Secret by Sara Walter EllwoodGambling On A Secret
Book 1 of The Colton Gamblers

BLURB:

When Charli bets everything on a secret, will she find the deck stacked against her?

Former runaway-turned heiress Charli Monroe is hiding her sordid past and planning a future in Colton, Texas. Attending the local college for a degree in social work, she intends to raise cattle on her newly purchased ranch, which she plans to open as a home for troubled teens. Only a few glitches—the Victorian mansion is crumbling, the barn needs a roof, and her oilman neighbor wants more than friendship. When she meets Dylan Quinn, Charli is willing to take a chance on the town drunk to help her rebuild the rundown ranch.

Dylan has his demons, too. The former Special Forces commander can’t get past his ex-wife’s betrayal and the botched mission that left him with much more than a bad limp. Certain the greedy oilman next door to Charli wants much more than just her heart, Dylan’s even willing to stop drinking in order to protect her.

When things get dangerous and secrets of the past are revealed, is he only looking out for his new employer, or is she the new start he so desperately needs?

Buy Links:
Lyrical Press | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iTunes | Kobo

~ooOOoo~

Gambling On A Heart by Sara Walter EllwoodGambling On A Heart
Book 2 of The Colton Gamblers

BLURB:

She once lost his heart on a bluff. Will she risk everything to win it back?

Beautician Tracy Quinn spends her days making the women of Colton, Texas beautiful, while living down the nickname of Olive Oyl, given to her by the only man she has ever loved—Zack Cartwright. She spends her nights alone, despite what her ex husband wants their friends and neighbors to think.

Ex-rodeo cowboy. Ex-bad-boy. Ex-Marine. Widower and single dad Sheriff Zack Cartwright can describe his life in exes. One ex in particular reminds him of what’s missing in his workaholic life: Tracy Quinn. For years since she broke his heart, he’s practically made avoiding her a second job. He still wants her, but can never go after her.

When cattle rustlers target her brother’s ranch, Tracy and Zack are stuck working together. Her son could use a positive male role model, and his daughter is wild for a chance at a “substitute” mom. But Tracy’s ex threatens to sue if she lets Zack near her son, and the Colton grapevine is abuzz with rumors about their past relationship. Is it worth the gamble to see if what they have is more than lust?

Buy Links:
Lyrical Press | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iTunes

~ooOOoo~

Heartsrtings by Sara Walter EllwoodHeartstrings

BLURB:

He’s determined to set things right, no matter the cost.

The last person Abby Crawford wants to face down is country music superstar Seth Kendall. Last time she did, she flat-out lied so he’d go to Nashville without her. She’s never understood why their mutual best friend proposed, but she went with it so her baby wouldn’t be fatherless. Now she’s a divorced mother of a teenager, and secretly Seth’s biggest fan.

Seth is home in McAllister, Texas for his father’s funeral…and a chance to meet the daughter he’s never known. He’s willing to face the music of his own making and admit he’s known about his little girl all along. For fifteen years he’s kept his distance because Abby told him to follow his dreams without her, insisting she didn’t love him. But now he won’t leave until he knows his daughter and she knows him, even if it means facing the woman who broke his heart for good.

Confessing she’s lied about her daughter’s paternity all these years won’t be easy for Abby, especially with her ex blackmailing her to keep the secret. And Seth doesn’t know the hardest truth of all: Every love song he plays on his guitar still plucks her heartstrings.

Trailer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wGmgAkdsyM

Buy Links:
Lyrical Press | Amazon | Barns and Noble | iTunesKobo

~ooOOoo~

Follow the Second Honeymoon Blog Tour HERE

RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY:

Sara is giving away a beautiful treasure box full of goodies:

1. A thumb drive containing Sara’s novella The Birthday Fantasyand her paranormals A Hunter’s Angel and A Hunter’s Blade

2. A signed paperback copy of Carolyn Brown’s Just a Cowboy and His Baby

3. A retractable black ink pen

4. A decorative diary style notebook

5. A mouse pad

6. Sara’s own custom designed jewelry (necklace and earring set)

7. $10 Starbucks gift card and more.

A total prize package valued at $100.

The giveaway ends April 30 and the winner of the Swag Pack will be announced on May 1, 2014. Must be 18 years old or older and a resident of the USA to qualify. Void where prohibited by law. See http://sarawalterellwood.wordpress.com/giveaway-rules/ for complete list of terms and rules.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

 

 

Veronica Scott and Dancer of the Nile

Love letterI’m showcasing another Pen Pal on my blog today. Please welcome Veronica Scott, who is here to share her novel, DANCER OF THE NILE, an intriguing story set in ancient Egypt.

Let’s get started!

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When it comes to plotter vs. panster, I think even plotters veer from their outline to a degree during the writing process. When you finish a novel, how closely would you say the end product resembles your original concept — 100%? 50%? Something else entirely?

I’m a seat-of-the-pants person, no doubt. When I start writing a novel, I know the hero, the heroine, the setting, how the story begins, how it ends and maybe 2-4 of the really big scenes that will occur along the way. I don’t deviate much, although I may add a few fairly major scenes I didn’t know the characters were going to go through before I got there. I think my books are probably 90% what I envisioned before I started, just with more details filled in.  For Dancer, I ended up adding a bit more interaction with Renenutet the Snake goddess. In Magic, I added a river voyage that was really necessary to show some aspects of the heroine’s personal challenges.

You seem to have a good grasp on your style. What attracts you most to your chosen genre?

I write in two very different time frames. First is a paranormal series set in ancient Egypt, which is what I’m primarily here to talk about today. Dancer of the Nile is my most recently published novel in this connected series and Magic of the Nile is coming out in March. (I also write science fiction romance set in the far future.)  I love the possibilities inherent in the paranormal – that you can be living your everyday normal life and yet all these very cool, mystical, impossible things could be happening. Shifters, vampires, magic…in my  Egyptian novels, the gods become personally involved in events, although I usually write about a human heroine and the man she falls in love with as the main characters. Magical things happen…

I love that magical element. No matter the time frame or setting, the inclusion of paranormal aspects always intrigue me. How did you choose your title?

One of my favorite old “B” movies made in the 1950’s is entitled “Princess of the Nile”, so my titles are a tiny sekrit nod to that movie but also when I began this connected series, I wanted Readers to know they were going to be in ancient Egypt. I like the convention for naming subsequent books “of the Nile” to show there’s a connection.

DancerOfTheNile_1600x2400I like that too. :)  I imagine there had to be a good deal of research involved in this novel. What was the most interesting item you discovered?

I’m constantly doing research into aspects of ancient Egypt. I’m totally fascinated with their 3000 years of civilization and the rich culture and mythology. You should see my tower of scholarly tomes! But for Dancer of the Nile, I think my biggest challenge in some ways was writing the dance scene. You can’t give your book a title like that and not have a dance, right? I’m not any kind of trained dancer myself and you can only get so much insight from the preserved tomb paintings of dancers. So I developed a performance piece for Nima, my heroine that combines what we do know about actual ancient Egyptian dance, a touch of belly dancing (thank you, youtube), a hint of Hollywood and Bollywood ideas what ancient dance consisted of and a dash of ballet. The latter is in terms of describing some arm and leg positions – I didn’t have Nima in toe shoes 3000 years before ballet was invented, I promise! In the book, she’s also spent a few days with a company of dancers from the Land of Minos, so she could well have picked up a few steps or moves that weren’t Egyptian.

Your research definitely sounds like it enriches the book. I love when an author takes the time to “get it right.” How about sharing the first three sentences of your novel?

The chariot jounced over deep, hard ruts, and Nima had to grip the railing tight with her bound hands to avoid falling. As the ride smoothed out again, she tossed her head to keep stray tendrils of hair out of her eyes and squinted, glancing behind at her fellow Egyptian prisoner. About an hour ago, a small unit had joined the bigger column that held Nima, dragging this man with them.

Awesome opening! It drops the reader right into the heart of the moment and definitely makes you want to learn more. Why is she a captive? Who is the other prisoner? So many intriguing tidbits!

And now for a few quick personal favorites. Please share your:

Favorite season: Autumn!
Favorite time of day: Dawn (definitely a morning person)
Favorite color: Purple
Favorite animal: Red Tailed Pandas – so cute! But I live with two cats…
Food you never grow tired of: Blueberries

I had to Google Red Tailed Pandas. They’re so adorable! I love am besotted with cats (nice Egyptian connection there). Blueberries are a favorite of mine too. I like to sprinkle them on plain Greek yogurt along with granola, my breakfast of choice during the week.

It was great having you here today, Veronica. Thanks for dropping by to share your book and answer my questions! Best of luck with the series. I love the time period!

Thanks for having me as your guest today, Mae! You certainly gave me some fun questions to answer…

Connect with Veronica at the following haunts:
Blog  @vscotttheauthor   Facebook   Goodreads

Veronica ScottAUTHOR BIO:
Best Selling Science Fiction & Paranormal Romance author Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library full of books as its heart, and when she ran out of things to read, she started writing her own stories. Married young to her high school sweetheart then widowed, Veronica has two grown daughters, one grandson and cats Keanu and Jake. Veronica’s personal motto is, “Never boring.”

MISC FACTS ABOUT VERONICA
Received a 2013 SFR Galaxy Award for her novel WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM and a 2014 SFR Galaxy Award for ESCAPE FROM ZULAIRE.

Proud recipient of the NASA Exceptional Service Medal but must hasten to add the honor was not for her romantic fiction!

DANCER OF THE NILE:
Egypt, 1500 BCE

Nima’s beauty and skill as a dancer leads an infatuated enemy to kidnap her after destroying an Egyptian border town. However, she’s not the only hostage in the enemy camp: Kamin, an Egyptian soldier on a secret mission for Pharaoh, has been taken as well. Working together to escape, the two of them embark on a desperate quest across the desert to carry word of the enemy’s invasion plans to Pharaoh’s people.

As they flee for their lives, these two strangers thrown together by misfortune have to trust in each other to survive.  Nima suspects Kamin is more than the simple soldier he seems, but she finds it hard to resist the effect he has on her heart.  Kamin has a duty to his Pharaoh to see his mission completed, but this clever and courageous dancer is claiming more of his loyalty and love by the moment. Kamin starts to worry, if it comes to a choice between saving Egypt or saving Nima’s life…what will he do?

Aided by the Egyptian god Horus and the Snake Goddess Renenutet, beset by the enemy’s black magic, can Nima and Kamin evade the enemy and reach the safety of the Nile in time to foil the planned attack?

Can there ever be a happy future together for the humble dancer and the brave Egyptian soldier who is so much more than he seems?

AVAILABLE on Amazon   Barnes & Noble   All Romance eBooks  Smashwords iTunes

Guest Blogger Gemma Brocato: Listening To The Muse Even When She Whines

I’ve got a treat for you today as Gemma Brocato, author of COOKING UP LOVE, has agreed to share her thoughts about The Muse. Gemma and I connected as sister authors at Lyrical Press, now the digital imprint of Kensington Books. Initially, I had an interview planned with Gemma for today, and wanted to put the spotlight on COOKING UP LOVE. As we wait for everything to sort itself out between Kenstington and Lyrical, book titles are temporarily unavailable, but rather than cancel her visit, Gemma agreed to write a post on a subject I adore — mythology!

Let’s see what she has to say about the elusive, fickle, and oh so wondrous, muse!

~ooOOoo~

Thanks to Mae for inviting me by today, and for being flexible about what type of post I would present to her lovely followers. See, I’d completed a post about my debut novel, Cooking Up Love and had it ready to go. But the Muses moved the powers that be at Lyrical Press and Kensington to form a partnership that I’m very excited about. Unfortunately, it means my book is temporarily off the market and it doesn’t make sense to promote the book. So, I was inspired talk to you about the Muses.

AThe word Muse actually means desire or wish. As in, I wish I knew where this post was heading.

Did you know there were nine Muses? And they were all girls (wouldn’t you hate competing for bathroom time in that house?). According to Greek mythology Zeus bewitched Mnemosyne and spent nine consecutive nights with her, producing the Musai. The goddesses were born in Pieria, at the foot of Mt. Olympus. Their names might be recognizable for what they’ve come to inspire in present day. Here’s a chart:

Muses Chart

When I look at their names, I see Choir, Eros, Hymn, and Ha.

After the girls were born, Zeus fostered them out to Apollo to raise them. Apollo moved them to Mt. Elikonas where he helped them dedicate their lives to the arts, teaching them to support and encourage creation, enhance imagination and inspire artists. But the power most frequently attributed to them is the power to bring to mind…and clarify…the story the writer wishes to tell. Apparently, listening to what the Muse had to say was important. Ignore it, and she could be spiteful; leaving the artist blind or the singer or poet mute. I suppose that’s what we’d call writer’s block today.

Since the days of Ancient Greece, writers, musicians and artists have called upon their Muse for help and guidance. Homer asks his Muse to tell him the story in the proper way in both the Iliad and The Odyssey.

Eric Clapton spoke about his Muse this way: “I wish I could write easily. I’m one of those guys who’s visited by the Muse when things are dire.”

fotolia_36132060_xsOne of my favorite authors, Harlan Coben, has this to say about his Muse: “The Muse is not an angelic voice that sits on your shoulder and sings sweetly. The Muse is the most annoying whine. The Muse isn’t hard to find, just hard to like – she follows you everywhere, tapping you on the shoulder, demanding that you stop doing whatever else you might be doing and pay attention to her.”

Donatella Versace has a one and it looks a lot like her: “My Muse changes all the time because I think every designer is a bit of a Muse for themselves in a way – they just don’t want to say it.” While I do believe some of her creations are inspired, I wonder what her Muse actually wears? I’m thinking maybe Chanel.

Can you summon your Muse at will? Or must you wait for her to come? I think Amy Tan answered this best: “Who knows where inspiration comes from. Perhaps it arises from desperation. Perhaps it comes from the flukes of the universe, the kindness of the Muses.”

All I know is when my Muse speaks, I listen to her, even when she whines.

~ooOOoo~

cookinguplove_CoverWhat a great post! I loved that line about the bathroom. Cat fight, guaranteed, LOL. I’m anxious to hear your thoughts and answers to Gemma’s questions about your personal muse. And although COOKING UP LOVE is temporarily off the market, you can still add it to your Goodreads list, here.

Author Bio
Gemma’s favorite desk accessories for many years were a circular wooden token, better known as a ’round tuit,’ and a fortune from a fortune cookie proclaiming her a lover of words; some day she’d write a book. All it took was a transfer to the United Kingdom, the lovely English springtime, and a huge dose of homesickness to write her first novel. Once it was completed and sent off with a kiss even the rejections, addressed to ‘Dear Author’, were gratifying.

After returning to America, she spent a number of years as a copywriter, dedicating her skills to making insurance and the agents who sell them sound sexy. Eventually, her full-time job as a writer interfered with her desire to be a writer full-time and she left the world of financial products behind to pursue an avocation as a romance author.

Her gamble paid off when she was a 2012 Finalist in the prestigious Golden Pen contest for Romantic Suspense and she received contracts for her first and second book.

Gemma BrocatoConnect with Gemma at the following haunts:
Website
Blog
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads

Pippa Jay talks Sci-Fi and Writing: Terms and Conditions Apply

Love letterToday, I’m welcoming “Pen Pal” Pippa Jay to my blog as she shares her sci-fi romance, TERMS AND CONDITIONS APPLY. I don’t know about you, but sci-fi has been a genre I’ve adored since junior high.

As I got older, however, the romantic in me couldn’t help wishing for some tender interludes between hero and heroine. Remember the first time you saw that spark between Han Solo and Princess Leia? LeSigh! And what about Dr. Daniel Jackson and Sha’uri in the film Stargate? That’s still one of my all-time favorites.

I’m anxious to see what Pippa has to share, including the story behind an interesting space-station called Venus Ascendant that has the ability to make romantic dreams come true!

Thanks for visiting with me today, Pippa. Let’s start with your writing habits. Do you have a favorite place and/or time of day to write?
These days I’m curled up on the sofa with my laptop, while my three little monsters are at school.

LOL! I bet they’re adorable. Especially when they scurry home at the end of the day, flush with excitment. Which do you find easier to write and why – description or dialogue?
Descriptions, definitely. I love writing descriptions and creating settings.

Terms & Conditions Apply_600x800_300dpiI’m partial to descriptions too. There’s something about painting a picture with words. Let’s talk about your title next. I think it’s extremely clever. How did you choose it?
My two characters were discussing the contract under which my hero was tied to the space-station the story is set on. As soon as I wrote the word ‘terms’ it reminded me of the phrase Terms and Conditions Apply, which we see on almost everything these days – contests, contracts, sales info on pretty much everything we buy etc. I just thought it would be fun to use a common but often ignored legal phrase as a title.

Fantastic idea! Which character did you enjoy writing the most and why?
I quite liked Marie, because she was different to the characters I’d written before. Maybe not a strong person at the start and definitely naïve, but you see her develop even in such a short story, and her bravery over her final choice proved she was stronger than I’d thought.

Isn’t it great when characters surprise you? How did you choose your setting?
The setting was chosen for me! I originally wrote the story for an anthology call, and the space-station Venus Ascendant was part of the canon. I’d not written anything set in such a confined space before, and it had some interesting quirks to use – Frisnik’s bar, for example, and the holographic suites that could be anything the customers desired. In fact, the suite was the greatest challenge because I had to imagine something that Marie really wanted.

I’d love a vacation at a holographic suite, LOL! Was there research involved in this novel? If so, what was the most interesting item you discovered?
I’d done a lot of research on artificial intelligence, artificial skin and robotics before this story, so I put them to good use.

Share one sentence – - yes, only one! – - of dialogue or description you love.
That’s so mean! Okay, one line of description that I love: “They hovered in the fiery remnants of a long dead star.”

Coming up with just one is really tough, isn’t it? :) But I love the line you chose. To me, it’s visual and poetic. Do you have any guilty pleasures (i.e, type of food, music, TV show, shoe obsession, silly distraction) you’d like to share?
I’m a scifi geek, so rewatching some of my favourite series, making costumes, and collecting the odd bit of scifi related goodies are some of my indulgences.

I have a small collection of sci-fi too, mostly old magazines, books and DVDs related to favorite shows and movies. Now for a quick glimpse into some of things you enjoy. Please share your:

Favorite color: Turquoise
Favorite type of music: Alternative rock
Favorite TV show: Doctor Who
Favorite social media platform: Twitter
Pie or cake: Cake!

Ooo, I  love the color choice of turquoise! I’m wearing a turquoise jacket as I type this. Beautiful color. Pippa, thanks so much for dropping by and being my guest for the day.
Thanks for having me!

You can find Pippa at the following haunts:
Website
Blog 
Twitter
Facebook

Goodreads

Author Bio
A stay-at-home mum of three who spent twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay bases her stories on a lifetime addiction to science-fiction books and films. Somewhere along the line a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moments trying to learn guitar, indulging in freestyle street dance and drinking high-caffeine coffee. Although happily settled in historical Colchester in the UK with her husband of 20 years, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head. Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the SFR Brigade, a community of science fiction romance authors and publishing professionals committed to writing and promoting the very best in the genre.

Blurb for TERMS AND CONDITIONS APPLY
“Welcome to Venus Ascendant, a Public Grade space station in the Andromedan Galaxy. With our open-to-all policy, any being in the universe can find their perfect romantic getaway at our purpose built resort. The on-board empathic AI Ganesa ensures that anyone coming to Venus Ascendant will find their heart’s desire, with suites that transform from luxurious boudoirs to sunset-lit beaches. So come to Venus Ascendant and find exactly what you’re looking for!”

It was meant to be a romantic getaway for Marie and the love of her life Jaisen; a chance for him to get to know her better after months of her denying him more than a few stolen kisses. Instead, Marie finds herself dumped and alone on Venus Ascendant with no credit for a transmat and the next starship home not due for another hour.

But the all-seeing AI isn’t going to leave anyone aboard the space station with their dreams unfulfilled. Marie’s boyfriend might not have made it to the station, but there are others willing and able to take on the role – even if they aren’t entirely human.

A Science Fiction Romance Short Story
A Gulf Coast RWA Chapter Silken Sands Self-Published Star Award Finalist 2013

Buy links
B&N
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Smashwords 
Add it to your Goodreads shelf here

Welcome Christy Olesen, Author of A Daddy for Luke #tenderromance #contemporary

I’m delighted to extend a Pen Pal welcome to Christy Olesen who is celebrating her latest release, A DADDY FOR LUKE. Christy and I originally connected through Savvy Authors when we took a course together, and have remained in contact ever since. Christy is also the author of HER SCOTTISH CEO, a charming contemporary romance set in Scotland. I hope you’ll help me welcome Christy back to my blog! 

 ~ooOOoo~

Hi Mae, thanks for inviting me to your blog today. I’m looking forward to answering your questions and talking a little about my new release A DADDY FOR LUKE.

Fantastic! Let’s start with a bit about you. How long have you been writing?
If you discount my feeble attempts at writing when I was younger — especially after one teacher wrote in the margin of my paper “Learn to use commas!” — I’d say I’ve been writing for nearly thirty years with the first twenty years hit and miss. I’ve been writing, and studying the craft of writing, seriously for ten years.

The dreaded comma. I’ve been tripping over those for almost the same amount of time, LOL. Plotting is also one of my downfalls, but I think even plotters veer from their outline to a degree during the writing process. When you finish a novel, how closely would you say the end product resembles your original concept — 100%? 50%? Something else entirely?
I’m a pantster (working more toward plotting). Since I usually don’t know the ending when I start I’d have to say 50%, because I have only a vague idea where it is going in the first place.  With A DADDY FOR LUKE I knew David couldn’t stay in Center City for long or he’d run into his past, but I didn’t know until the third rewrite of the ending just what his “past” was.

Very interesting. I love characters with a past! I’m working toward learning to plot better too (I’m with you on the 50%. NaNo made me realize there are benefits to plotting). My favorite part of starting a novel will, however, always remain choosing character names. What’s your favorite part and how do you go about it?
My favorite part of starting a new novel is coming up with an unusual way to start. I like to find that moment when the characters life takes a turn. They may not know it at the time, but the reader can see it. In A DADDY FOR LUKE I could have started where Sandy met David at his book signing, but I decided to make it a bit more dramatic by placing them both at a crosswalk before they’ve met. As they start to cross David notices a sports car not slowing down. He pulls Sandy from the car’s path just in time. After that they go on their separate ways until they meet again a short time later at David’s book signing event.

ADFLcover72A heart-pounding moment. Please tell us more about your new release.
A DADDY FOR LUKE is my second novel. It is the first in my loosely connected Cottonwood County Chronicles series, which takes place in an area much like where I live in northwest Nevada.

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Lake Tahoe in Nevada. Beautiful area. Which character did you enjoy writing the most and why?
David, because, as a tortured hero who had buried his past, he was challenging to write. I needed to bring his emotions to the surface and he fought it.

Without giving too much away, please share a bit about your favorite scene.
My favorite scene is in the Cottonwood County Cemetery. My beta reader said, “You made me cry again, you RAT FINK!”

LOL! Share the first three sentences of your book.
David Winston stood on the corner of Main Street waiting for the signal to cross. He shrugged the tension from his shoulders and glanced furtively at the others also waiting. He hoped no one in Center City would recognize him, particularly those residents who had been responsible for his abrupt exile eight years ago.

Oooh, love that opening. Now share one sentence – - yes, only one! – - of dialogue or description you love.
A pang of tenderness swept over him when he realized the little angel marker was made of cement, not the marble he’d first thought.

I’m guessing that’s from the cemetery scene. NaNo backed up my reading list, but I can’t want to learn what that’s all about and about David’s past. I love tortured heroes. Now back to you — if you couldn’t be a writer, what else would you choose to do?
I always wanted to be a licensed illustrator, like Mary Engelbreit, Susan Branch and so many others.

Your illustrations in HER SCOTTISH CEO were beautiful. A lovely touch to the novel settings. I’m going to switch gears now and ask about pets, because pets and writers naturally go together like peas in a pod. If you have pets, tell us about them and whether or not they shadow your writing time and space.
photo2

This is Cheetah. Need I say more?

So adorable! I’m such a cat person. And yes, they’re notorious for wanting attention when we’re working, LOL. Cheetah looks so comfortable, snuggled up with you. 

And now for a few quick questions:

Dream vacation gifted to you by a fairy godmother: A croft cottage on the Isle of Skye
Favorite season: Autumn
Favorite animal: Cats
Favorite ice cream flavor: Chunky Monkey
Sunset picnic or night on the town: Sunset Picnic

Thanks for a fun interview, Christy! Please share where readers can find you:

Website 
Blog 
Twitter: @christyolesen2
Facebook: ChristyOlesenWriter
Goodreads

ChristyOlesenAuthor Bio
Born and raised in L.A., romance writer Christy Olesen found a home in Northwest Nevada just over the hill from Lake Tahoe. Her travels to Scotland, England, Europe, and Canada, as well as living in the high desert of Nevada have inspired her contemporary tender romances. When not writing Christy enjoys traveling in her 1955 self-restored travel trailer. She enjoys gardening, reading and painting. She has worked for over 20 years as a graphic artist for a local community newspaper, an experience which has sparked her series of Nevada tender romances: Cottonwood County Chronicles, and Cottonwood County Sheriff’s Office.

A DADDY FOR LUKE
Blurb
David Winston’s reputation and fame come from his popular novels. Born to parents who hadn’t planned a family, David was taught to think he wouldn’t amount to anything, so becoming a popular author is a surprise to him. He wants to hang on to his success. Born in Center City, then forced to leave eight years ago, he’s back, but not for long. It’s a gamble just being in town: he risks colliding with his past, which could ruin his future. Then he meets Sandy Archer and tempts fate by staying in town a little longer.

Sandy Archer is content to care for her son Luke, work her way up in her job at the Cottonwood County Chronicle, and stay away from any more disastrous relationships. She has lived in Center City all her life and has adapted well to being legally blind. She’s touched when visiting author, David Winston offers to read his book to her. She discovers a kindred spirit. But her budding relationship is threatened when a relative cautions Sandy that David is not who he seems to be.

Purchase A DADDY FOR LUKE from Amazon
Kindle 

Or from Create Space
Print on Demand

 

Wizards with Words: Tera Shanley and Love In the Time of the Dead

bigstock-magic-book-9719930It’s time for Wizards with Words! Today I’m happy to welcome back my bubbly Lyrical Press sister, Tera Shanley. I recently did a cover reveal for her Omnific zombie romance,  LOVE IN THE TIME OF THE DEAD. I hope you’ll sit back and join us as I toss a series of questions at this perpetually upbeat author who always brings a smile to my face. :)

It’s great to have you here Tera. Let’s start with the basics. Tell us a bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing.

Righty, all about me. My name is Tera Shanley, but I’m more often called by a nickname. In fact, when people use my real name I usually hunch inwardly like I’m about to get in trouble. Little Lady, Thumbalina, and T-ray top off a long list of (g-rated) names given by my guy buddies and usually have to do with my not even 5 foot stature. I met Mr. Tera the first day of college classes and married him two weeks after I graduated and we have two little kiddies, both of whom are his mini-dopplegangers (which I love). I’m owned by two gray-faced pooches and live in Texas. Relatively new to writing novels, I started just two years ago, but I was writing poetry and songs (I play guitar) for a long time before that.

Those nicknames are adorable! And hey, I have a sister-in-law who is a bundle of energy and always the life of the party at 4’11”, LOL.

My favorite part of starting a new novel is coming up with character names. What’s yours and how do you go about it?

Oh goodness, I always have a running list of names! Like a maniac, I’m forever scribbling names down on random scraps of paper and leaving them all over the house. If I see someone’s name I find interesting in the news or in an article, I keep it and hope for an opportunity for it to fit one of my characters someday. Names come easily; titles I’m rubbish at.

That sounds just like me! Which do you find easier to write and why – description or dialogue?

Description is so fun, it really is, but dialogue comes more naturally to me. It’s likely because my characters are so loud in my head and my story lines usually come from conversation yet unnamed characters have with each other, usually while I’m in dreamland. I’m realizing a lot of authors have that schizophrenic-insomnia that comes with trying to shush your imaginary friends so you can catch some uninterrupted zzz’s.

LTD_coverSo true. I especially have that problem on Sunday nights, after a several hours of concentrated writing. Please tell us about your new/upcoming release.

Love in the Time of the Dead is a modern day, post zombie apocalyptic romance set three years into the outbreak. Laney is finally getting over the heartache of someone she’s lost and is slowly opening up to the possibility that life goes on and that she can find this sort of unexpectedly beautiful existence in ruined surroundings if she just lets herself. She and her team have been nomadic for years but with the realization she is immune to dead bites, they have to figure out who they can trust with the information and pick a colony to settle down in.

The goal is to extract a vaccine out of her, but she has to survive some harrowing adventures if that’s going to come to fruition. And right in the middle of that chaos are two men fighting for her and she has an impossible decision to make. One between her brother’s friend Mitchell, who’s been fighting Deads with her since the outbreak, or colony leader, Sean Daniels, who is dark and mysterious, moody and hunted. It’s a story of self-discovery that tests the bonds and strength of character in a group of unlikely friends. It releases today!

YAY! I love having you here on your release day, and can’t wait to delve into the story. The romantic triangle and the description of the two guys have me really intrigued. How did you choose your title?

I didn’t! The book was originally called Dead Run River, for the colony Laney and the boys land in but the team at Omnific came to me with a name that better fit the guts of the book. They were really cool with how they approached me about it. I’d never want someone to pick up the book expecting straight horror and gore because it’s not. The most important part of the story is the character growth and the love triangle romance. I loved it. I didn’t balk at all because I’d been concerned with the original title already ,so it was an easy ‘yes’ for me.

How fantastic it worked so well. And having “love” in the title does lend itself more to romance in my humble opinion. :) Which character did you enjoy writing the most and why?

Mitchell, hands down. He’s such a smart-ace and finds such in enjoyment out of being a splinter. He was supposed to die off in chapter three but he wiggled his way into my heart and gave Sean a run for his money. Sean’s so collected and confident and I loved the way Mitchell can shake him up when it comes to Laney. I just couldn’t bring myself to kill him!

Now you have me really intrigued! Share one sentence – - yes, only one! – - of dialogue or description you love.

“I breathe for that stupid word on your lips.”

Yum! I have an idea of what that “stupid word” might be but can’t wait to find out. Name 3-5 books you’d horde for a deserted island.

Eeeeew, I like this question. Okay, 1.) Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, B.) Jane Eyre, aaaaaaand, oh geez, this is like choosing a favorite child…okay and 3.) Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs.

LOL! It’s hard choosing among favorites, isn’t it? Name a book that had a profound effect on you and explain why.

When I was eleven years old, my cousin gifted me a signed copy of Beauty by Bill Wallace. I read it (too many times to count) and that was it for me. It was the first time I remember where I was all in for books. Beauty was the first book in my hoard..eh herm…personal library.

I have a vague memory of reading that too. As a kid, I was in love with any story that involved horses.  If someone gave you a working time machine tomorrow, where would you visit and why?

I’d pull a Claire Randall and Outlander myself straight back to 1700 Scotland and find me a redheaded Scotsman named Jamie. Why? Book boyfriend.

Oh, yum! Book boyfriends are great. I’ve got a few of those guys in my cache, LOL. And now for some quick lightning-round answers:

Favorite season: Autumn (I live in Texas. Summer cooks you.)
Favorite animal: Horse
Food you never grow tired of: Key Lime Pie
Mountains or beach: Mountains

Thanks for being my guest today, Tera, it was a delight to have you. BTW, I have wanted a horse ever since I was a little girl. There is a tradition in my family…on every birthday, before the birthday guy or girl is ready to blow out the candles we all yell “wish for a pony” no matter how old we get. Some things you just never outgrow!

author picAUTHOR BIO
Tera Shanley writes in sub-genres that stretch from Paranormal Romance, to Historic Western Romance, to Apocalyptic (zombie) Romance. The common theme? She loves love! A self-proclaimed bookworm, she was raised in small town Texas and could often be found decorating a table at the local library. She currently lives in Dallas with her husband and two young children and when she isn’t busy running around after her family, she’s writing a new story or devouring a good book. Any spare time is dedicated to chocolate licking, rifle slinging, friend hugging, and the great outdoors.

~ooOOoo~

You can find Tera at the following haunts:

Website
Blog
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads

BLURB:
Laney Landry has been fighting Deads alongside her brother and friends for three years. But she has a secret. She’s immune to Dead bites and has to find the right people to trust with the information. Her team rallies around her to find a doctor who can extract a vaccine from Laney which could fight the virus that ended the world.

Sean Daniels leads a colony that provides her team with much needed shelter and supplies. He is obviously interested in Laney. The question is whether he’s only intrigued by her as a source for the possible vaccine, or for something more. Tests for the cure might push her body beyond what it can endure, and just as she faces a ghost from her past, her longtime teammate Derek Mitchell hints at an interest in more than just her Dead slaying abilities.

Two honorable and alluring men – one colossal decision to make. Despite historically bad taste in men, can she rise above the chaos of the apocalypse and choose the one who deserves her heart? The right choice could mean the difference between surviving…and living.

LOVE IN THE TIME OF THE DEAD is available from Amazon, Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble
Add to your Goodreads list here