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:
Chapter 1

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.

* * * * *

Perish watched the snowy show of petticoats as the dark-headed girl fled toward the stockade. His nostrils flared catching the scent of lilacs.

His father stopped, waiting for Perish to catch up before they continued to the fort. “Her hair is nearly black.”

“Brown eyes.” Perish pulled on one of his blond braids to anchor himself in a suddenly unknown landscape. “But she wasn’t wearing the red-spotted squaw cape.”

“But was she the girl in your vision?” Ponthe asked.

“The vision was taller, older.” Perish moved his hand above his eye level.

“Could have been floating,” Ponthe said. “You haven’t shared your vision with Renault or Kdahoi yet?”

“No.” Perish was still held in the dream world of the girl’s dark eyes. He shook himself to respond in detail to his father. “I wanted to keep my word to meet you at Fort Detroit, before I met with Mother.” He laughed in relief at his good fortune. “Then I ran across your runner’s path.”

“Dorothy Evans might have been less welcoming if she’d seen you when you came into the Bishop’s camp.”

“True.” Perish hadn’t washed for a fortnight and his hair had been dank with sweat and grime. “I hadn’t considered the Bishop’s idea of bathing of much worth, until now.”

“Beauty’s going to have a heyday with your vision.” Ponthe shook his head.

Perish was surprised that even now his father doubted the Great Spirit’s way. “It seems you have a bond with Dorothy Evans.”

“Can’t help liking her courage.” Ponthe said. “Not many parishioners under Jesuit rule voice their doubts in public.”

“She’s still a child.” Perish tried to dismiss his attraction to her bright eyes, her pert smile, that dance of energy.

Ponthe said not a word, only nodded.

“Father.” Perish stopped walking. His stomach attacked him with a great qualm, “I need to see Kdahoi.”

“Of course,” Ponthe said. “Your mother will be waiting. Tell Beauty I will meet with her when she comes to the fort. I’ll make your excuses here.”

Without another word, Perish ran down to the beach and launched his canoe.

* * * * *

Raisin River Camp

An evil wind seemed destined to slow his trip down to the Raisin River’s mouth to his mother’s village. The trip was difficult in the canoe meant for river use instead of slicing the storm waves on Lake Erie.

At the Raisin River camp, the moon’s position told Perish he’d reached Beauty’s isolated wigwam close to midnight. Perish smiled. If need be, he’d be able to find his home blindfolded. He wrapped himself in his blanket outside the entrance and waited for dawn.

“Perish,” Beauty scolded in the morning. “I nearly broke my neck falling over your lazy carcass.”

Perish had missed her laughter. He bowed as men did to their mothers. “I had a vision.”

“I see. First coffee, then symbols.”

After his mother’s breakfast of corn flapjacks, Perish realized a certain tension had left his body. Across the river the Potawatomi village was coming to life. Dogs were barking and familiar cooking sounds marked the morning. “Why is it I can only relax here?”

“You’ve been safe here for many years.” Beauty said. “The world outside is filled with tales of violence.”

“Is it true you told Governor Hull to abandon the fort or you would scalp him yourself?”

“Renault told you that nonsense.” Beauty smoothed her plaited hair down, in her habitual show of vanity, the only one Perish could recall.

“My Copper Harbor dream was a peaceful one.”

“I’m glad.” Beauty cleared away the remnants of their morning meal.

“I stayed in the cleft of rock, where some men leave pictures of their vision guides.” Perish recalled his heightened awareness. “A lightning storm from the west rolled past me but I could still see the islands in Lake Superior. I was wet with the rain, hungry, and cold. Then someone lifted my chin, or I looked up into the pelting rain to the tops of the cliff. A woman in a red-spotted cape drifted on the wind. We were eye-to-eye when she spoke.”

“What did she say?” Beauty couldn’t hold back her curiosity, but she kept her head bowed away from Perish.

Perish tugged on his mother’s buckskin skirt as he had as a child. Still Beauty wouldn’t meet his eyes, so he told her. “She asked me how many generations of children we would beget.”

“Beget?”

“A Biblical phrase. To give birth.” As Perish explained the word, his body remembered his initial visceral response to his dream girl at Copper Harbor, which matched his reaction to Dorothy’s appearance at Fort Detroit. Was she the one, his intended mate? He prayed the Lord’s will would be accomplished.

“That was all?” Beauty seemed disappointed. Her green eyes were full upon him now.

Perish dug into his memory to find something more for her. “Hmm. I think I fell asleep then. When I woke up the sun was shining and even my clothes had dried. I must have slept through an entire day.” Perish stood up and stretched as if refreshed from that long nap. “I have enough energy to run all the way to Fort Detroit.”

Beauty insisted he give her more details. “What did she look like? Was she a white-haired, old witch? A young woman? Smiling?”

Perish attended to his bedroll. “I met her at the fort.”

Beauty dropped the coffee pot. “Already?”

The campfire sputtered, too.

“I hope so.” Perish frowned. What if Dorothy wasn’t the same woman as his vision? Where would he start his future if Dorothy wasn’t his intended mate? “Her hair was nearly black and her eyes a dark brown.”

“A native.” Beauty seemed satisfied.

“No.” Perish watched his mother sit down too hard. “Her name is Dorothy Evans. Her mother is the Jesuits’ cook.”

Beauty held her head with both hands. “I know of them. I’ll have to meditate on this. I’ll make more coffee. Did you bring any tobacco?”

Perish was embarrassed now. “Sorry, Mother.” He began to gather the rest of his belongings. “I can barter for some at the fort.”

“Don’t go on my account. ” Beauty flashed angry green eyes at him. “Renault will be here tomorrow.”

“Should I wait to tell him about my vision?” Perish decided to stay with his mother until then. He loved the quietness of their home camp. “I could help you get ready for winter.”

“Will you be gone?” Beauty seemed worried.

“You’ve been without me for three winters now.” Perish accompanied Ponthe when he tended his fur traps throughout the last few winters. The landscape was safer because fewer white men ventured out in the heavy snows.

“I’m getting older.” His mother straightened her back as if a kink had suddenly caused a pain. Not one year of age showed on her face, her eyes were clear, her teeth sound.

“I could bring Dorothy here for you to meet.” Perish refused to think of Beauty as an aging woman. “Or, you can visit with her when we join Ponthe at the fort.”

A bright smile flickered for a second across his mother’s face. “Yes,” she said. “We’ll wait for Renault to join us.”

Beauty retreated into her wigwam and Perish laid down resting his head on his bedroll. “Now that I’m a man, Mother.” Perish tried to choose his words carefully but there was no gracious way of asking. “Where do your green eyes come from?”

“A Chinaman,” she called from inside the wigwam, and then laughed.

The old answer kept its secrets.

Perish said, “I wish you could have seen Ponthe with President Monroe.”

“I know Ponthe was taller.” Beauty exited her rounded abode, straightening from her bowed position. She handed Perish a new porcupine-quill vest. “Why do the whites need more land?”

“White men want to carve a new river out of dry land.” Perish stood and Beauty placed the vest over his head, helping him tie the side trusses. “Wagons will float farther west for settlers to claim more of our land. “Mother, the vest is beautiful.”

Perish picked at one of the beads on his vest.

Beauty slapped at his hand. “Careful you’ll undo a whole string.”

Perish knew the land-grab story was old, only the excuse was new. “They call the new river they want to build the Erie Canal.”

* * * * *

When Ed Renault arrived the next day, his canoe wasn’t filled with beaver pelts. Perish remembered Renault’s stories of when he first came to the new world as a young trapper, when the land was still thick with beaver. The deer hides and a few fox furs bore witness to Renault’s honed and deft trapping skills. In the weeks since he delivered Perish to Copper Harbor, the man had plied his trade well.

At times Perish speculated Renault might be a relative of his mother’s, but she denied any family link other than a long affiliation with their French trapper friend.

Renault’s hair was streaked with gray. Perish couldn’t recollect the gray when they had parted at the slip of the new moon. Had he been so wrapped-up in his own adventure not to notice signs of aging?

“Hard trip, friend?” Perish asked, helping to beach the loaded canoe.

“A bear tried to talk me out of life.” Renault drew up his shirt, where the claw marks of the beast still showed red, ugly welts.

Perish forgot his upbringing and drew the big trapper’s head down in a manly hug. “I’m glad he changed his mind.”

Renault grinned from ear to ear. “Me, too.”

“A few salves will erase most.” Beauty had caught sight of Renault’s raked chest before he could lower his rough blouse. She shook the trapper’s hand, a rare occurrence for them.

A glint of moisture shimmered in the old man’s eyes before Renault’s booming voice told them of other fights with Indians and settlers. The trapper was a peaceful man and Perish chalked up most of the stories to historic bravado in the face of the bear disaster.

Renault finished off another story with a cup of Beauty’s coffee, before asking Perish, “So you’re a man now?”

“And he’s met the woman of his vision.” Beauty teased him. “At the fort, a white girl.”

“When do we leave?” Renault laughed. “Have to check out a new member of this tribe.”

“I’m not sure she was the girl, Mother.” Perish could feel a blush rising as his body started to come alive again. Now that he was a man, he’d hoped to control at least this reddening of face.

* * * * *

Fort Detroit

Later that week Dorothy’s mother was too busy ordering her helpers around the kitchen to be bothered. So, Dorothy was trapped into taking Bishop Pascal and Father Sebastian a decanter of sherry and glasses into the rectory library. She sat the tray down safely, but her curtsy to the Bishop was clumsy. If she had been more graceful, she could have disappeared without them noticing.

“Bella parva,” Bishop Pascal said.

“Dorothy, let me introduce you.” Father Sebastian pushed her forward. “She has read nearly every book in the library.”

“Lovely,” the Bishop said. “What do you think of Saint Augustine’s conversion?”

“Silly,” she said without thinking.

“I beg your pardon,” the clerics said together.

Dorothy collected her wits. “St. Augustine based his conversion on his mother’s natural worry about his future.” The sober pair remained unconvinced. “On a laundry day among the drying linens.”

“I don’t remember that,” Father Sebastian said.

“Never happened,” Bishop Pascal declared.

Dorothy nodded believing the whole thing was made up so the saint could paint himself as a devoted sinner in order to relive the deeds. “Don’t you think he dwelt on his errors more than he needed to?” It seemed an innocent question to her.

“Of course not.” Bishop Pascal was obviously scandalized. “Father, I think you need to review the studies of your pupil more closely.”

Father Sebastian scratched the remaining hair on his balding head. “She reads Latin and has read the Old Testament four times, the New Testament eight.” He turned to Dorothy a proud smile on his face. “Isn’t that true?”

“Yes,” she said. “Every morning I wake with a hundred doubts, read all day and put them to rest before I can sleep.”

“Doubts?” the Bishop asked in a warning tone.

Undeterred, Dorothy continued. “I think the book of Ecclesiastes says it best when it rightly names belief in a Supreme Being as our vanity’s willingness to find the best in ourselves.”

“Dorothy!” Father Sebastian seemed embarrassed.

“A lot of work is needed, Father.” The Bishop ignored Dorothy so she slipped out into the hall, careful to eavesdrop. “That child could infect a whole nation of natives. Correct her before it’s too late.”

“She reads everything,” Father Sebastian tried to explain.

“Lock this room up and allow her only texts that will illuminate her belief.”

“But the Bible?”

“Needs careful interpretation.” Bishop Pascal raised his voice to stop further debate. “The laity is ill-equipped.”

“I can see that.” Father Sebastian acquiesced to his superior. “I’ll make sure she is forbidden to enter the room.”

Dorothy was devastated. The library was lost to her? Life wouldn’t be worth living. Where would her mind go to find solace? Her stomach hurt and angry tears burned her cheeks. She ran to the kitchen. Mother would fix it.

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

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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!

~ooOOoo~

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

Cover Reveal with G*I*V*E*A*W*A*Y: Wishing for a Highlander by Jessie Gage

My friend, Jessie Gage, has re-released her sexy highlander novel with a new cover. This is a fun time travel romance with a highlander who will melt your heart and a heroine you’ll cheer for. To celebrate she’s even doing a giveaway (see details below).

So, without further ado, presenting (drum roll, please) WISHING FOR A HIGHLANDER:

JessiGage_WishingForAHighlander_2500px

In a nutshell: A single and pregnant museum worker accidentally wishes herself back in time and is forced to marry a Highland warrior with intimacy issues.


Click on the word GIVEAWAY to go to Rafflecopter’s secure site and enter for a chance at a $25 Amazon gift card and an ecopy of Wishing for a Highlander. If you’re like to leave a comment, answer the question: Who would you bet on in a battle between a sparkly vampire and a sparkly Highlander? I think you already know my answer…

Blurb:
Be careful what you wish for. It might just come true.

Single-and-pregnant museum worker Melanie voices an idle wish while examining a Scottish artifact, that a Highland warrior would sweep her off her feet and help her forget her cheating ex. The last thing she expects is for her wish to be granted. Magically transported to the middle of a clan skirmish in the sixteenth-century Highlands, she comes face to face with her kilted fantasy man.

Tall, handsome, and heir to his uncle’s lairdship, Darcy Keith should be the most eligible bachelor in Ackergill. Instead, thanks to a prank played on him in his teenage years, he is known for being too large under his kilt to ever make a proper husband. “Big Darcy” runs his deceased father’s windmills and lives alone at his family manor, believing he will never marry.

But a strangely-dressed woman he rescues from a clan skirmish makes him long for more. When the woman’s claims of coming to Ackergill by magic reach the laird’s ears, she is accused of witchcraft. Darcy determines to protect her any way he can, even if it means binding her to him forever.

Excerpt:
Size might have its advantages when it came to fighting, but those few boons fell far short of making up for the problems it caused. Being the biggest and the strongest had gotten him into far more trouble than it had gotten him out of. Swallowing his regret for how careless he’d been with her, he sought to determine whom she belonged to, whom, saints forbid, he might owe.

“Whose wife are ye, then? Not a Gunn’s or I wouldna have had to rescue you from one.”

“I’m not married,” the lass said. “And thank you for the rescuing, by the way. I can’t believe I dropped the dirk. Stupid.” She shook her head.

His heart warmed at her thanks. He didn’t hear many kind words from the lasses and would take what he could get, even from a dishonored woman who had caught a bairn out wedlock. Oddly, he didn’t think poorly of her. Whether it was her worried brow, her guileless, soft mouth, or her vulnerable size, he had not the heart to condemn her.

He didn’t even mind so much that she found him distasteful for his size, although talking with her now, she didn’t seem overly upset to be in his arms. He endeavored to keep her talking, keep her distracted from her disgust.

“Ye never answered my first question,” he said. “Who are you? And where are ye from if ye’re no’ English?”

“Ugh. I don’t know. Is there an answer that won’t get me burned at the stake or locked up in a ward for the hopelessly insane?”

Like most things out of her mouth, that had been a peculiar answer. “Ye could try the truth,” he offered, slowing his pace since he heard Archie’s voice not far off.

“No,” she said flatly. “I couldn’t. At least not the whole truth. How about we just go with my name, Melanie, and with the honest fact that I’m a long way from home and I have no idea how to get back.” Her green eyes pierced his. “I’m afraid you might be stuck with me, Darcy Keith.”

Purchase WISHING FOR A HIGHLANDER from:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Connect with Jessi Gage at the Following Haunts:
Website
Blog
Facebook Fan Page
Twitter
Goodreads

zz_Jessi Gage headshot2

Bio:
Jessi lives with her husband and children in the Seattle area. In addition to writing paranormal romance, she’s a wife, a mom, an audiologist, a church-goer, a Ford driver, a PC user, and a coffee snob. Her guiding tenet in her writing is that good triumphs over evil, but not before evil gives good one heck of a run for its money. The last time she imagined a world without romance novels, her husband found her crouched in the corner, rocking.

Guest Blogger, Daisy Banks: Do You Believe in Fairies?

Today I’m pleased to turn my blog over to my friend, Daisy Banks, who has a delightful post about fairies. Not only does she have a fairy-themed release coming from Liquid Silver Books, VALENTINE WISHES, but she just may convince you the fey folk are still flitting about.

She’s also doing a giveaway, so check out the details at the end of the post to see what you can win. In the meantime, grab your beverage of choice, help yourself to the virtual pastry tray, and enjoy the story as Daisy provides a bewitching glimpse into the realm of the wee people.

~ooOOoo~

I do believe in fairies. I do! I do!
by Daisy Banks

Thanks so much for inviting me to the blog today, Mae. It is a pleasure to be here.

Now, it might strike the readers as a little odd a grown woman will say I believe in fairies, but it is true, I do. I grew up in a family who all knew fairies existed, and the little people certainly played a part in my childhood in our family home. I have tried to look up some fairy lore to explain about the fairy habit of ‘borrowing’ items. It seems generally agreed fairies do this, sometimes to the point of great irritation of the mortal owners of the objects they take. Some say fairies will only take things you as a mortal don’t value enough, and other sources say fairies will only take food items. I think I’ll just have to continue to believe if an object vanishes and later reappears it is because some fairy or other had need or desire for it for a time.

During my childhood, and still today, things disappeared in my parents’ house on a regular basis. Not big things like furniture, but small things, pretty things, items fairies might find interesting or useful.  I have a couple of examples of these disappearances I remember well and can share with you. One was a ring of my mother’s, a very dainty item that went missing from its usual storage place in a cranberry glass bowl in a cabinet. My mother hunted high and low but to no avail, until resigned to her loss she announced ‘the fairies have borrowed it’. I’m not sure if when mom spoke those words she influenced the wee folk to return the ring, but eventually they did. The strangest thing was, the ring turned up one day in its usual place in the cranberry glass dish. There is no logical explanation to this at all.

A similar thing happened with one of my dolls, not the doll itself, but one of its shoes vanished. I was quite put out about loss, as I liked the shoes and only had one left for my doll to hop in. My mother consoled me by telling me the fairies had borrowed the shoe and if I was patient, eventually I would get it back. Some time passed, several weeks I believe, until one day my mother went into the front parlour for something, a room we didn’t use every day, and there placed on the arm of a wing backed chair was my doll’s shoe. How the doll’s shoe got into a room I wasn’t allowed to play in, I have no idea, and no explanation springs to mind.  All I can say is I agreed with my mother; the fairies had returned the item to me.

I guess you can understand that with such a background of fairy experiences it’s not surprising I have written a story involving a fairy. My latest story, to be published by Liquid Silver Books on the 10th of February this year is Valentine Wishes. This is a sweet and saucy Valentine story of a fairy who grants a big wish to help her mortals and creates chaos.

Valentine's Wishes-high-resHere is a little snippet from Valentine Wishes:

“There yer are, I knew yer were here. I’ve been waiting for ye all night.”

She spun around at the velvet caress of a voice she remembered so well. “No,” she squeaked.

Him!

Not possible.

Her stomach knotted and she wanted to crawl away and hide.

His golden hair glinted in the glow of the colored lights and he smiled wide in greeting. She could hardly keep herself in the air. A wave of heat scorched her face.

“Poppy, ‘tis me, Cedar Heartwood. Yer remember me, don’t ye, darlin’?” He flew a little closer, and she nodded.

Her knees sagged.

Jellified.

I remember you … who couldn’t? You haven’t changed at all.

His eyes still entranced with hazel gleams. She ached to throw her arms around him, and as she steadied herself, she swept her gaze up to his face again. He still had the most enticing lips she’d ever seen.

Oh, by the wind in the leaves. How many hours did I sit among the daisies and wonder what it would be like to kiss him? She shook herself, torn between long held hopes and tonight’s despair. He had to go, at least until later. “I can’t speak with ye now, Cedar. I’m busy.”

Connect with Daisy at the following haunts:
Liquid Silver Books
Blog
Website
Twitter: @DaisyBanks12
Facebook Page
Pinterest

Don’t forget! VALENTINE WISHES will be available on February 10th. What better combination than romance and the Fair Folk in a month devoted to romance? :D

GIVEAWAY ALERT:
Comment for a chance to win a copy of Daisy’s ghostly romance, YOUR HEART MY SOUL. One lucky commentator will be selected at random.

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

 

Cover Reveal: Van Locken’s Witch by Debbie Peterson

Today, I’m delighted to share the absolutely gorgeous cover of my friend Debbie Peterson’s paranormal romance, VAN LOCKEN’S WITCH.  It’s just stunning!

Cover-Title---Van-Lockens-Witch

As always, Debbie weaves the supernatural with romance and history, a combination I love. I’m so looking forward to reading this and have already snatched up my copy from Amazon!

BLURB
Kapitein Rand Van Locken has no idea what awaits him as he boards the Spanish galleon on behalf of the Dutch West India Company, or that the beautiful woman imprisoned within will change his life in ways he never imagined or even desired. Until now…

Lissa Capoen, didn’t plan for the Spaniards to capture her while attempting  to rescue her sister. She didn’t foresee the handsome sea captain coming swiftly to her aid and offering his assistance. Nor did she expect him to steal her heart and claim it as his own.

Yet, as destiny brings them ever closer together, Armando Manera is determined to recapture the witch and present her to the Spanish King. No matter what it takes…

VAN LOCKEN’S WITCH is available from Amazon
Add VAN LOCKEN’S WITCH to your Goodreads list

photoDPAUTHOR BIO
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

The Howling Heart by April Bostic #ParaRomance #BuytheBook

October is the perfect month to get wrapped up in a paranormal romance! Today, I’m presenting The Howling Heart, by April Bostic to tickle your love of all things spooky and romantic.

Tour Banner - The Howling Heart

BLURB:
Paige Donovan is an ambitious college graduate who aspires to reach the top of the corporate ladder. She’s climbing fast when given the promotion of a lifetime at a prestigious fashion magazine in New York City. Her bright future comes to an unexpected halt after news of her father’s death. She inherits his old cabin in the Colorado Rockies, and just when she thinks her luck couldn’t get any worse, she has a car accident in the mountains and awakens in the small, remote community of Black River.

Soon, she’s engulfed in the mystical world of Varulv—wolves descended from 13th century Scandinavia and blessed by Norse gods with the ability to appear human. Paige is desperate to return home, but never expects to fall for her rescuer, Riley Gray, a charming young werewolf from England who offers her an alternate future with his pack.

Now, she must choose between the career she’s always wanted and the love she’s always dreamed.

EXCERPT:
I wasn’t expecting us to have this type of conversation so soon, but there we were, sitting on the riverbank while discussing Varulv sex. He didn’t seem embarrassed to talk about it, and I was getting more curious.

“Have you ever made love to a human?” I asked timidly. My ears felt hot, and I looked at him through shy eyes. I hoped I wasn’t overstepping the boundary of personal information.

He answered quietly. “No.”

His revelation came as a surprise, but I was still curious. “What about a wolf?” I don’t know why I asked. I knew there was no possible way this extremely attractive man was a virgin.

He hesitated this time. Seconds ticked by before he replied, “Pack law states we can only make love after we claim a mate and the leader recognizes our union.”

His indirect answer caught me off-guard, and I couldn’t keep the sarcasm from my words. “You’re not one to follow the rules, so I’ll take that as a yes.”

I looked away and lifted my feet out of the water. With my legs bent, I pressed my knees against my chest and wrapped my arms around them. I thought the conversation was over, but Riley was determined to have my attention. His fingers grasped my chin to turn my head toward him.

“That’s probably the only law I haven’t broken.”

Our gazes locked, and he almost stole my breath, again. “Why? I know abstinence can’t be easy for you.”

His voice was almost a whisper. “Not anymore.”

I noticed his green irises had flecks of amber in them—the same color as his wolf eyes. That’s when I realized our heads had moved closer.

Riley’s warm breath caressed my face, and it smelled of hickory and clove. “I’m not interested in any she-wolves in the pack.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
April Bostic is a New Jersey-based, Adult Romance author who enjoys unleashing her creativity and letting her imagination run wild. Her love of romance books inspired her to become not just a reader, but also a writer. In December 2008, she self-published her first novel, a contemporary romance with a supernatural twist entitled “A Rose to the Fallen.”

Her first short story, “Right Here, Right Now,” released in January 2012, is an erotic romance with a dash of S&M. The following year, she released two more short stories: a romantic urban fantasy inspired by the Greek myth of Eros and Psyche entitled “Eros, My Love,” and a sexy romantic comedy entitled “Love Addiction.”After five years, she released her second novel, “The Howling Heart” in August 2013, a paranormal romance that delves into the mystical world of werewolves and Norse gods. To end her busiest year in publishing, April will release her fourth and final short story in December 2013, a historical vampire romance entitled “A Dark Scandal.”

Connect with April at the following haunts:
Website
Goodreads

The Howling Heart is available for purchase from:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
iTunes

Wizards with Words: Annette Drake and Celebration House

Before I introduce you to a fab new wordsmith, I’d like to mention I’m visiting my Lyrical Press sister, Kyra Jacobs, today and doing a short Q&A on her blog. Please pop in if you get a chance, and say hello!

And now, I’d like to introduce Annette Drake who has just released CELEBRAtION HOUSE, a novel right up my alley. The moment I read the blurb I was hooked. Check it out:

3Celebration House by Annette Drake - 1600-300dpiqCarrie Hansen spent her life caring for cardiac patients. Little did she know she would become a patient herself. After recovering from her own heart surgery, she realizes she has a special gift: the ability to see and talk with the dead.

Now, with her new heart failing, she leaves the bustle of Seattle behind and returns to Lexington, Missouri, the small town where she spent her childhood. Here, she sets out to restore an abandoned antebellum mansion and open it as a venue for celebrations.

Carrie’s work is cut out for her. The 150-year-old Greek revival house is in need of serious repair. Her sister, Melanie, tries to bully Carrie into returning to Seattle, predicting “her little project” is doomed to fail. Finally, Carrie’s health gives out on her, requiring emergency surgery.

But she will not give up. Carrie’s unique gift allows her to build relationships with the mansion’s original occupants, especially Maj. Tom Stewart, the handsome Civil War soldier who died a hundred years before Carrie was born. He encourages and comforts her, though not in the physical way they both desire.

Then there’s the builder of the house, Col. Bartholomew Stratton. If there’s one thing this 19th century horse trader cannot abide, it’s the living trespassing on his estate. He delights in scaring these intruders away, even if they are paying guests.

Will Carrie finish restoring Celebration House or will it finish her? And how can she plan a future with a man who has only a past?

Awesome, right? Oh, yeah, I can’t wait to read this one! The moment I saw the Civil War solider on the cover and read the blurb, I was a goner — hook, line and sinker! It’s already downloaded on my Kindle and high on my TBR list. I was thrilled when Annette contacted me and asked to be a guest on my blog. Please make her feel welcome and say hello:

Annette, please share a bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing:
I’ve been in love with books my whole life. Growing up in a small town in northeast Missouri, there wasn’t a lot to do. The day I discovered the local library was a good day indeed. I spent lots of hours there, crawling on the floor to look at books on the lower shelves or listening to books on vinyl records and cassette tapes. Just soaking up stories. When I went to college, I decided to pursue a degree in journalism because I’ve always loved the written word, but I needed a way to support myself. My dream was to write for the Washington Post before I turned 30. I started writing my first novel when my oldest daughter was about 2. She’s now 22. It’s finishing the book that has always challenged me the most.

Well, I’m delighted you finished Celebration House! What attracts you most to your chosen genre?
That’s a great question. My debut novel is a paranormal romance. I’m marketing a middle-grade novel, Bone Girl, and actively writing a contemporary romance, A Year with Geno. I’ve also recently queried a picture-book manuscript, The Carwash Dragon. I don’t know what the heck I’m doing! I don’t have a chosen genre, but boy, many days I wish I did. For me, it’s all about the characters and their stories.

I completely agree with you! I cross genres when I write and, although I concentrate mostly on romance and romantic mysteries, I have several manuscripts in varying genres, including urban fantasy, fantasy and light horror. Getting back to characters, what do you develop first, characters or plot? Characters. They decide the plot. I just try to keep up.

Well said. Which do you find easier to write and why – description or dialogue?
I love writing dialogue. I think like many new writers – and that’s what I am, a newbie – I struggle with knowing how much description to include. I often ask my critique group – do you want to know what this character looks like? Do you want more description of the house or garden? That’s a struggle for me. I’ve just discovered Dana Stabenow. Wow! She writes great description. I’m reading her work because my current WIP, A Year with Geno, takes place in Alaska. Although I lived there several years, I struggle with wondering how much description to include. A Year with Geno is the first book I’ve written in which I want setting to be a vital part of the book.

I love books set in Alaska and will be looking forward to A Year with Geno. Please tell us about your current release, Celebration House.
Celebration House is the story of a woman who leaves the bustle of Seattle and moves back to her childhood hometown of Lexington, Missouri. There, she restores an abandoned antebellum mansion, which she then opens to the public for weddings and celebratory events. I started writing Celebration House in 2007. I literally woke up from a dream with the plot. I was working as a registered nurse in a cath lab at a hospital in Seattle, and I would see the same patients come in for procedures again and again. I thought, wow, that takes courage. From these patients, my main character, Carrie Hansen, was born. Because we share the same profession, readers may think I envision myself as Carrie. I do not. I do not have her courage. I never will.

It sounds like you’ve created a strong heroine. How did you choose your title? Initially, the working title was The Celebration House. When Tirgearr Publishing offered me a contract, I sought out the advice of the local writers guild president. She suggested I drop the word “The.” The title means more to me, though the house is offered to the public for celebrations. I hope readers will take away the idea that “celebration” also refers to celebrating Carrie’s life and their own.

Great! Share the first three sentences of your book.
With pleasure!

“It hasn’t been lived in for quite a while. It does have electricity though,” said the Realtor. She pushed in a button on the switch plate. The weak overhead light fizzed and, with a loud pop and a puff of white smoke, burnt out.

That puts us right in the setting. Without giving too much away, please share a bit about your favorite scene.
In one of the later scenes, Carrie dances with the male lead, Maj. Tom Stewart. It’s the first time she’s touched him, and like me, Carrie has no idea how to waltz. He teaches her. I love that scene. I fantasize about seeing it on a movie screen. Is Hugh Jackman available? Because he is yummy.

*fanning face* Oh, dear! I’m sold on that scene! There is something so exquisitely romantic about a waltz. I’ve always wanted to learn. And I will now be imagining Hugh Jackman as Maj. Tom Stewart as I read the book. Great choice! :)

If you couldn’t be a writer, what else would you choose to do?
If I didn’t need to make a living, I would love to be an actress. I’ve always been overly dramatic. I would also love to be a farmer, growing any kind of food that goes in a pie, such as strawberries, rhubarb, raspberries or blackberries. I also love the idea of owning a bakery/coffee house/used bookstore. Wouldn’t that be fun?

I would love to own a coffee house or a bookstore! I’d probably fail miserably with the bakery or farm and I’m too introverted to be an actress, LOL.

Name a book that had a profound effect on you and explain why:
I love the book, The Help, by Kathryn Stockett. I love this book because of the character, Skeeter, and how she just doesn’t fit in a small Mississippi town. I also love Minny, who cannot keep her unwanted opinions to herself. I relate to these two women because I didn’t fit in my hometown, and I say things I sure wish I hadn’t.

But another reason I love this story is because it was rejected 60 times. Sixty! I’m struggling to find an agent or publisher for the best book I’ve ever written, Bone Girl, and I tell myself that until I hear no 60 times, I can’t give up. Thank you, Ms. Stockett, for setting the bar so high.

Good for you, being willing to tough it out! I’ve read that about The Help and it’s so hard to imagine. I wish you much success with Bone Girl. The title is riveting.

And now for a couple of quick glimpses on things you enjoy:
Favorite season
: I love the fall. Halloween is my favorite holiday. No presents to buy. No big meal to cook. Just dress up in silly costumes and beg for chocolate? That’s a great holiday. Sign me up.

Favorite color: Yellow, like sunflowers or the sun. I didn’t know how important the sun was to me until I lived in western Washington and Alaska. My longest stretch without seeing the sun: 33 days. Not a fun time in my life.

Favorite type of music: I love bluegrass. I even own a fiddle and have learned a few tunes. I play a mean Liza Jane.

Favorite TV show: I love the Stephen Colbert report. My fantasy is to someday be a guest on his TV show after my first two books are made into movies. Hey! We all have fantasies, right?

Favorite animal: As much as I love the basset hound, I love horses more. I’ve always been an admirer of the horse.

You got me on thirty-tree days without the sun. I think it takes a special kind of person to be able to live in Alaska. Beautiful country, but wow, what an adjustment! And I’ll look forward to seeing you on the Stephen Colbert report. Maybe you’ll do a little fiddling there too, while sharing your latest bestsellers. :)

Annette Drake (Color)AUTHOR BIO:
Annette Drake’s work is character-driven and celebrates the law of unintended consequences. Her debut novel, Celebration House, debuted on August 1st in e-book format for readers everywhere from Tirgearr Publishing.

Annette left high school after two years to obtain her GED and attend Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. There she earned a degree in journalism before working as a reporter and editor for newspapers in Missouri and Kansas. She earned a bachelor of science in nursing in 1994 from Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri, and worked as a registered nurse in hospitals throughout Missouri, Alaska and Washington for 18 years before returning her focus to writing

Annette recently completed her middle-grade novel, Bone Girl, and is hard at work revising her steamy contemporary romance, A Year with Geno.

She is the mother of four children. The oldest just graduated from the University of Washington; the youngest just graduated from kindergarten. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. She loves libraries, basset hounds and bakeries. She does not camp.

You can follow her writing at http://annettedrake.com. She welcomes correspondence at: Write2me@annettedrake.com

Purchase Celebration House from:
http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Drake_Annette/celebration-house.htm

Visit Annette at the following haunts:
Blog
Facebook
Twitter (@annettedrake13)
Goodreads
 
 

A Pen Pal Welcome to Christina Cole and Summertime!

bigstock-Stacks-of-old-letters-on-woode-43415203I’m thrilled to turn my blogging pen over to Christina Cole today as she shares her new release SUMMERTIME, along with some amazing memories of summers past. Oh, how I wish I had my very own catalpa tree and could “go down to Frank’s” in Indian Grove!

Please welcome Christina and enjoy these wonderful memories!

~ooOOoo~

Memories of Summertime
by Christina Cole

With the recent release of Summertime, my latest historical romance from Sweet Cravings Publishing, I’ve been talking to readers a lot about their favorite summer memories from childhood. Today, I thought it would be fun to share a few of my own.

First, I have to point out one fact. I’m old. Ancient, is the way my kids put it. I’m old enough to remember when houses were cooled with window fans, and the few stores with air conditioning bragged about it in their advertisements. Oh, how refreshing it was to walk into a “dimestore” that featured that latest, and greatest technology. The unfortunate thing was that you couldn’t stay there forever. Once you’d finished your shopping, you had to step back out into the sweltering heat. Needless to say, shoppers dawdled as long as they could.

Another sweet summer memory was going to the Dari-B. It wasn’t a big, fancy place like today’s Dairy Queens or Baskin-Robbins, just a little wooden building with a sliding window at the front. You stood outside, placed your order, and when the window opened you could feel a rush of cold air from inside. Your only choice was vanilla or chocolate, but those cones sure tasted good on a hot summer’s evening. You had to lick fast though, because a single scoop could melt away in minutes. Going to the Dari-B became even more of a thrill when I was about thirteen and had a gigantic crush on one of the boys who worked there. Nothing came of it, but I sure ate a lot of ice cream cones that summer.

One of my favorite summer places was the old catalpa tree. It was in Dick Moore’s yard, several houses down the street from where I lived. Dick Moore was an oddity in the neighborhood, a single man living among a dozen families with children. He was a lawyer, and I always had the idea that he made a lot of money, but that was all I ever knew about him. I remember how everyone in the neighborhood poked their heads out of their doors to gawk the one time Dick Moore brought a lady home to his house. We probably scared her away!

All the kids loved the old catalpa tree. We climbed it, held club meetings beneath its branches, and we girls used its huge, heart-shaped leaves and fragrant flowers to design fanciful hats and bracelets. Mr. Moore would sometimes come home to find a dozen of us either in the branches, underneath, or scattered about his catalpa tree. He’d wave or nod and go inside. Never once did he ask us to leave.

On really hot days, we’d beg and plead for someone to drive us to Lake Maurer, a public swimming pool and recreational area on the outskirts of town. If all else failed, we’d gather our swimsuits, towels, and suntan lotions, and set off on foot. Usually some kind soul would take pity on us and give us a lift. Back then, there were no strangers, and nobody had ever heard the term “stranger danger”.

We’d swim in the pool all day, splashing and kicking, shrieking and laughing, and when evening came, we’d finally crawl out of the water, exhausted and waterlogged. Next we’d play a round of miniature golf, or ride the Lake Maurer Special, a wooden train that took us around the bend and back.

Farmhouse DrawingThe best memory of all was “going down to Frank’s.” Frank Zungs was my great-uncle, although I hardly knew him. He passed away when I was very young. He’d bought a huge old farmhouse in a little place called Indian Grove. The population of the Grove was about 12, which included Frank, his widowed sister, Nina, and his brother, Mike. My grandfather would take my sister and me “down to Frank’s” every summer. Even after Frank was gone, we still called it “going down to Frank’s.” It was always fun to read the “society pages” of the newspaper from the nearest town, because we were society! Yes, in a little place like Indian Grove, it’s news when somebody sneezes, and having relatives come to visit was worthy of several paragraphs. We really thought we were important!

I have a lifetime of beautiful memories from the summers I spent in Indian Grove, and many of my thoughts and feelings found their way into Summertime.  As I wrote the story, I thought about that old farmhouse, about sitting on the porch in the evenings, about listening to the sounds of the bullfrogs as I fell asleep.

Summer is always a special time. Thanks for letting me share a few of my memories with you.

~ Christina

Beautiful sunset over a field with podsolnuzami

Don’t you just love this gorgeous cover?

About Summertime:
Linn Sparks wanted all life had to offer. Fame, fortune, glamour and excitement. She found it as a star of the stage at the Crown Theater in San Francisco.

For Ed Ferguson, life was far less complicated. All he wanted was Linnie Mae, but she’d left him standing alone at the altar seven years before when she’d run off to pursue her dreams.

Now, Linn has come home to Brookfield, Kansas.

You can find Summertime at the following online booksellers:
Secret Cravings Publishing
Amazon
Bookstrand
All Romance Ebooks