16 April 2014

Paula Martin and Irish Inheritance

Please welcome fellow author and friend Paula Martin today. She is talking about her latest novel Irish Inheritance and how and why she picks her settings.
Paula Martin lives near Manchester in North West England and has two daughters and two grandsons.

She had some early publishing success with four romance novels and several short stories, but then had a break from writing while she brought up a young family and also pursued her career as a history teacher for twenty-five years. She has recently returned to writing fiction, after retiring from teaching, and is thrilled to have found publishing success again with her contemporary romances.

Apart from writing, she enjoys visiting new places. She has travelled extensively in Britain and Ireland, mainland Europe, the Middle East, America and Canada. Her other interests include musical theatre and tracing her family history.
Setting my novel in Ireland
I tend to set my novels in places I know, or at least have visited, and as I’ve done quite a lot of travelling, I have a wide choice of possible locations. In a sense, however, I don’t actually ‘choose’ because as soon as I start thinking about a story, it seems to decide its own setting.
That was certainly the case with ‘Irish Inheritance’. Although the original idea came from an article about a Paris apartment that had been abandoned over 70 years ago, I knew my story would be set in Ireland, not in Paris. I even had the first few sentences in my mind:
“A house in Ireland?” Jenna Sutton stared over the mahogany desk at the lawyer. “Someone I’ve never heard of has left me a house in Ireland?”
I did then have to make a decision about exactly where in Ireland this house was going to be, but that was fairly easy to decide, as the part of Ireland I know best is the west coast – especially the counties of Galway, Clare, and Mayo. I deliberately kept its exact location fairly vague, apart from saying it was a few miles from the small town of Clifden in western Galway (because I know there are no large Victorian houses in the specific area I was actually imagining!)
In this case, I’ve used the name of a real town, but in my other novels, I have sometimes given a real town or village a different name. This allows me to take some liberties with the topography of the place, and also to move buildings around!
When Jenna and Guy, my hero and heroine, take a trip across Ireland to the east coast, I was able to draw on my memories of similar trips, and so they visited some of the places I’ve visited, such as Galway City, the Cliffs of Moher, the remains of the medieval Glendalough monastery and the wild area of the Wicklow Mountains.
They explore the small town of Dalkey on the east coast, and I had no problems with this, as I have been there several times. I was delighted when my Irish beta reader (whose assistance I had requested in checking my Irish facts) said she thought I had the atmosphere of the town “just right.”
This comment sums up why I feel happier using locations that I know personally. Not only because it means I can see the place in my mind but also because I have absorbed some of the atmosphere, which I hope my readers will experience. That’s why I have been over the moon when reviewers of ‘Irish Inheritance’ have made comments like, ‘Paula's description of the scenery and charm of the Irish countryside is amazing,” and my favourite comment, “(The) evocative descriptions of Ireland’s countryside linger even once the story is finished.”
Blurb for ‘Irish Inheritance
English actress Jenna Sutton and American artist Guy Sinclair first meet when they jointly inherit a house on the west coast of Ireland. Curious about their unknown benefactress and why they are considered 'family', they discover surprising links to the original owners of the house.
They soon unravel an intriguing tale of a 19th century love affair. At the same time, their mutual attraction grows, despite personal reasons for not wanting romantic involvements at this point in their lives.
A local property agent appears to have her own agenda concerning the house while other events pull Jenna and Guy back to separate lives in London and America. Friction builds over their decision about the house and its contents.
Will their Irish inheritance eventually bring them together – or drive them apart?
Available from Amazon USA     Amazon UK
                          and Smashwords

7 April 2014

Tuesday's tales - Lemon

Welcome to Tuesday's Tales
This week I'm returning to my WIP Born Again. Amanda has returned to her bed & breakfast accommodation after rushing away from the fairground... 
The scent of lemon furniture polish assailed her the moment she opened the bedroom door, ousting recent events at the fair ground allowing loss and guilt to fill the vacuum.   How come she hadn’t noticed the scent when she was first shown into the room earlier in the day?
The night she’d learned of her origins. The night that weird happenings in her late grandfather’s room sent her scuttling back to her grandmother.
The night her life changed forever.
She pushed the door closed behind her, looked round the bed and breakfast accommodation and wondered whether she should cancel her second night’s booking and leave first thing in the morning.
What was she doing here anyway? It was just another destination in her self-imposed ‘time-out’ to try and find herself. But that would never happen while she aimlessly wandered from one end of the country to the other.
Where had that thought come from, and was it true? Was she running from her past, too afraid to face a future without the solid foundations she’d grown up with?
They hadn’t gone anywhere, had they?
Yes!  They had. However much she tried to hang onto the love lavished on her all her life, the lies, like a smoke screen, kept blurring the reality.
Shock kept her where she stood, her back to the door, the queen sized bed in front of her, and moonlight drifting in through the window to her left.
Was she running? She thought, if anything, she was working up the courage to start a search for her true family. But… There was that hateful three-letter word again. The one that knocked the props out from beneath all her good intentions.
Should she try?  Was it fair to the people to dredge up the past again? They probably moved on and not want to revisit the era of what surely must be their greatest pain.
But… The not knowing. If it was her, she knew the not knowing would eventually destroy her. If not physically…
On legs threatening to give way she staggered to the bed and dropped down.
A blast of music from the fair ground filtered through her window.
Something about the two men bothered her. If she stayed and tried to find out—what? What was is about them that stirred her psyche? Within all the metal confusion buzzing around in her brain, the one certainty that she’d never set eyes on either of them before remained steadfast. So why did they refuse to budge out of her head?
She looked at her travelling clock on the bedside table. Ten-thirty. Not dark, but dark enough for the moon to spread her light around the room.
The knock when it came didn’t surprise her.
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6 April 2014

Sunday Snippet 6th April

This week I am sharing a snippet from my upcoming release,
He's My Husky
A light paranormal romance.
  No! It wasn’t happening. Sue’s news had unsettled her, forced old memories to the surface. Her imagination was playing tricks on her. But the apparition kept on coming.
The man approaching their table was no phantom.
“Max?” What was the father of her almost ten-year-old son doing here? Now? And — the thought almost pole-axed her — how did he know where to look for her?
 Amazon UK    Amazon
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30 March 2014

Sunday Snippet

This week's snippet is my last from my first Regency novel,
No Job For a Woman
(now available online for the special price of $2.99)

 “If she will not see sense we are done for. And I cannot imagine where we will find a suitable groom in time who she will accept.” His glance leveled on his friend’s disbelieving face.
“You’ve said it yourself, Deborah has no intention of wedding again,” Julian snapped. “Why should I leg-shackle myself to a woman who’s loyalty is with her late husband’s estates and people? You said she and Harold were married for eight years and they have no children. Why should I hitch myself to a woman who may be infertile?

No Job For a Woman is available from:-
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26 March 2014

Compatible Weirdness By Christina Cole

Compatible Weirdness By Christina Cole 
I’m a lucky woman. I’m married to the love of my life. He’s my lover, he’s my best friend, he’s a part of who I am. During the day we often pick up our cell phones to text one another, only to find that our texts have crossed in the ether because we’ve texted at the exact same moment. We finish each other’s sentences; we share each other’s thoughts. We are what New Age believers call “Soul Mates”.
Yes, there are differences between us. I take a “do-it-now” approach to solving problems in life, where he’s a procrastinator. I tend to sulk and get the blues when life gets me down. He just gets mad when things go wrong.
Of course, we both have our little “quirks” -- all of which are too silly to mention here -- and we laugh at what we call our “compatible weirdness”. That expression comes from a quote I found one evening while browsing online: 
We are all a little weird
And life’s a little weird
And when we find someone
Whose weirdness is compatible with ours
We join up with them in mutual weirdness
And call it LOVE. 
Before I move on, let me quickly say this. Although most online sources attribute these words to Theodor Geisel, who wrote as Dr. Seuss, the “compatible weirdness” quotation actually comes from Robert Fulgham, author of Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten and True Love. The quote is included in True Love.
Thinking of my own relationship led me to ponder fictional love affairs...both those from romance novels I’ve read and those in romance novels I’ve written. I find that I’m drawn to love stories (and compelled to write stories) in which the hero and heroine are true soul mates. They are, it seems, destined to be together. Of course, they may not recognize that at first. They may even fight the attraction. But, as Polly Washburn laments in Summertime... 
“I don’t think it was chance that brought you back to Brookfield now. I think maybe it was fate." She sagged against the edge of the table. "I can fight you, Linnie, but I can’t fight fate. Nobody can fight what's meant to be." 
So how do characters discover that they’re “meant to be” together? What signs occur along the way? Needless to say, as I’m writing, I draw upon my own thoughts and feelings about love. I think of my own relationship and the feelings that come from all my husband and I share.  
·       My characters usually feel a sense of security and strength from one another. The heroine may often turn to the hero for comfort; when she’s hurting, she feels that he’s the one who can make things right again. The hero, in turn, needs the encouragement and hope the heroine offers. Whether they recognize it at a conscious level or not, they each realize they are stronger together than apart.
·       My characters think about each other often. At odd moments throughout the day, memories slip into their minds. At night, they see each other in their dreams. Their thoughts may not always be pleasant, especially during times of conflict, but those thoughts are always there, always drawing them together again.
·       My characters notice things about one another. They become accustomed to those little “quirks” each has. Gestures, expressions, and attitudes all become familiar, so much so that one can often predict what the other’s response will be to a situation.
·       They are “in tune” with each other. At times it seems as though one character must be reading the other’s mind. They can “read” each other emotionally, as well. When he’s got something on his mind, she knows it. When she’s upset, he’ll recognize it, even if she’s trying to hide what she’s feeling.
·       They laugh together. This, I think, is one of the most telling “signs” of true love. I once heard it said that if you want to know whether or not two people are really in love, listen to how much they laugh. Hearing that, I knew for sure I’d found the man I was meant to be with. We’ve always laughed together. A lot. We laugh over the silly things we do, we laugh about all the stuffed puppies I have scattered across the bed, we laugh about the dishes I haven’t done, the leaves he hasn’t raked, the mistakes we make. Life is better when lived with laughter, and love is the greatest joy in life. Live, laugh, love. The words naturally go together, just like the heroes and heroines in a good love story.
Yes, the heroes and heroines in my romance novels have problems to resolve, issues to work out between them, and at times, the path of true love might get a bit bumpy. What they learn, however, is that reaching out to one another, drawing strength from each other, and above all, risking their heart and falling in love helps them overcome their fears, face up to their doubts, and rise above the obstacles life has thrown in their way. Love heals old hurts. Love brings courage. Love lights the way to the future.
Life is never perfect. Not for me, not for any one of us, and certainly not for the men and women whose stories we read in romance novels. Life isn’t meant to be perfect, and that’s why love is so important. With love, we can face life with all its problems, all its hardships, and  yes, all its weirdness.

* * * *

Bio: Christina Cole believes in the power of love. She writes romance novels with characters you'll care about and remember long after the end of the story. To learn more about Christina and her books, please visit her website: Christina Cole Romance. 

23 March 2014

Snippet Sunday 23-03-14

This week's snippet is from my first Regency novel,
No Job For a Woman
(now available online for the special price of $2.99)

“If we all turn up and start asking questions, it would get back to the Graingers. They may assume we know about their latest threat, but equally, they can’t be certain.”

Husband and wife waited when Julian paused.

“On consideration let me go alone tomorrow. I’ll tell Deborah you’ve invited her to spend next weekend with you, Henri, and if Brandon hears of the invitation, there’s little he can make of it.”

“Why would you go, and not me?”

“Because you want to spend time alone with your wife before Clara returns from visiting her aunt in Leicestershire. And—,” he added, “I think Deborah may not be so resistant if the information and conclusions we have reached come from me rather than you.”
No Job For a Woman is available from:-
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19 March 2014

Wendy Kinight ~ Best selling author ~Author Spotlight

Hate can start a war, but a shattered heart can fuel it for centuries.
Everything Ada does is wrong. She’s the daughter of a Duke but she isn’t proper or formal. She prefers the company of her servants—particularly Christian, the boy she’s loved since she was six years old, and his sister, Charity, Ada’s very best friend in the entire world.

Ada isn’t just the daughter of a Duke. No, she’s the daughter of one of the most powerful Edren sorcerers alive, and no matter how strong she is, it isn’t strong enough. Ada will give up almost everything to earn her father’s pride.

Christian has loved Ada since the day his mother became her governess. But two societies are determined to keep them apart—the aristocracy who say a groom will never be good enough for a Duke’s beautiful daughter, and the sorcerers who say a Carules and an Edren can never be together. Christian will do anything to make Ada his—even drive himself to madness.
When Ada suspects her father of hurting Charity and Christian in his quest for knowledge, she is torn between loyalty to him, and a fierce determination to protect them. The division tears her soul and breaks her heart.

The pieces of her broken heart will start a war that can only be stopped by the death of the most powerful warrior alive by the hand of the boy who loves her.
**Bonus Story –Feudlings in Peace**Join  Ari, Shane, Ada, Christian and everyone they love as they chase their happily ever after.
He sprinted down the path, into the forest, leaping over huge rocks and tree roots and through streams he couldn’t see but his magic told him were there. He had no idea where he was going, but there seemed to be a tether from his heart to hers — he always knew where Ada was. He ran straight to them, nearly colliding with her father’s guards as he raced through the thick trees.
“What happened to her?” he bellowed, jerking Ada out of Davis’s bloodstained arms.
“She was hit, saving me,” Harrison answered. “Can you help her?”
If there had been time, any time at all, Christian would have paused at that. How exactly had his tiny little Ada saved the giant Harrison? But there wasn’t time. He laid her on the thick grass, searching for the wound. But there was so much blood.
“There!” Davis snapped, jabbing the air above her stomach.
Flames roiled across Christian’s hands and he held them above her, letting the flames soothe the skin before he tried to touch it. They swirled through the air, seeping and mending the broken, charred skin.
“Does she breathe?” Harrison asked, crouching close to put his face next to her mouth.
Christian ignored him. He didn’t care if she breathed or not.
She would breathe, or he would die with her.
“She does.” Harrison sat back, relieved.
“Can you not heal at all? Stop the blood flow from her shoulder!” Christian snapped.
Harrison gaped at him. “We’re Edren. We don’t heal.”
“I’m Carules and I can throw a lirik if need be,” Christian muttered under his breath, but he couldn’t argue with them now.
She moaned.
They all froze in shock, and then redoubled their efforts. Davis jerked his shirt off and held it to her shoulder while Christian’s blue flames leaped and danced from his hands, fighting the poison eating through her body.
“Christian. I knew—” she whispered as her skin healed, leaving only pink burns behind.
“Shhh. Don’t speak. You’re still very weak.” He moved from her stomach to her shoulder, pushing Davis’ shirt out of the way. It was stiff with dried blood and she shrieked when he ripped it from the wound. “Forgive me, dear one,” he whispered, his mouth near her temple, kissing the pain away. “Forgive me.”
“I knew… you would come. I knew you… could heal me.” Her eyes fluttered open, dazed with pain, dark orbs barely reflecting the moonlight.
“Always, Ada. Forever.”
Author Bio and links:
Wendy Knight is the bestselling author of the young adult series Fate on Fire and Riders of Paradesos. She was born and raised in Utah by a wonderful family who spoiled her rotten because she was the baby. Now she spends her time driving her husband crazy with her many eccentricities (no water after five, terror when faced with a live phone call, no touching the knives…you get the idea). She also enjoys chasing her three adorable kids, playing tennis, watching football, reading, and hiking. Camping is also big—her family is slowly working toward a goal of seeing all the National Parks in the U.S.
You can usually find her with at least one Pepsi nearby, wearing ridiculously high heels for whatever the occasion. And if everything works out just right, she will also be writing.
Social Media Links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorWendyKnight
Twitter: https://twitter.com/wjk8099
Instagram: http://instagram.com/wendyjo99

16 March 2014

Sunday Snippet 16-03-14

This week's snippet is from my first Regency novel,
No Job For a Woman
(now available online for the special price of $2.99)

“I’m saying no more than it’s a possibility,” Julian said. “Tomorrow is Sunday; are you going to church as normal?

When Freddie nodded Julian let out a sigh of satisfaction. “What say we go over and spend the day at Stavely Manor?”

“If I came too, I could stay with Deb while the two of you make discreet enquiries,” Henrietta offered.

“If it would not tire you too much, I’m sure Deborah would enjoy your company.”

“It wouldn’t work.” Julian’s contemplative tone drew Freddie’s attention from his wife.
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14 March 2014

Please welcome Lydia Michaels

Bestselling author, Lydia Michaels,
writes all forms of hot romance. She presses the bounds of love and surprises readers just when they assume they have her stories figured out. From Amish vampyres, to wild Irishmen, to broken heroes, and heroines no man can match, Lydia takes readers on an emotional journey of the heart, mind, and soul with every story she pens. Her books
are intellectual, erotic, haunting, always centered on love.
 Title: Faking It {McCullough Mountain 4}
Author: Lydia Michaels
Genre: Romance
Heat Level: Erotic Romance (graphic)
Book Length: 223 pages
Date of Publication: March 12, 2014 (On Amazon and other sites by March 19, 2014)
(Please Note: ARCs can be provided for previous titles in a series upon request)

Sheilagh McCullough has been pretending to be someone else her entire life. When she takes her rebellious act too far, her overbearing brothers decide it’s time for her to grow up and face her future. After six years of procrastination and parties, Sheilagh is finally going to college.

Dr. Alec Devereux is an ethical man, but when Sheilagh McCullough enrolls in his class, his morals as a professor are put to the test. Brilliant, tenacious, and a contradiction to herself in so many ways, Alec is enchanted by his new student and unable to resist temptation. Persistent and logical, Alec unravels the mysterious woman who has captured his heart only to discover the greatest threat to their future might be her past. 

A courageous journey of the soul that confronts one woman’s fears of love and embraces the truth in her heart.
Excerpt: ---WARNING --- Strong language ---
“You have no right!”

“Shut up!” the three of them shouted at once.

Her eyes prickled with unshed tears as they drove. Under the passing shadows she saw each one of them staring away from her, fury stamped into their set jaws. She kicked the seat in front of her and Tristan grunted. 

After she discovered Luke and Tristan’s affair, Tristan handled her with kid gloves. Sheilagh didn’t want his pity. She was tougher than that. She was a McCullough, for Christ’s sake. She had five crazy brothers and she could hold her own with every single one of them. 

The farther they drove out of town, the more self-doubt crept in. “Where are we going?”

No one answered. The commercial storefronts faded away as Kelly turned the SUV onto the highway leading out of town. As they took the jug handle onto the interstate her concern doubled. Their anger was so thick it seemed to siphon the air right out of the car. 

Her concern for herself doubled as her eyes rapidly blinked back tears, forcing those telling little spills to stay put where others couldn’t see. Her entire existence focused on hiding those telltale signs of weakness from the world.

She hated that her stupid, childish heart was permanently damaged and her life derailed. Since the day she’d discovered Luke and Tristan, she’d been going at the world like a runaway train, making one poor choice after another and leaving nothing but self-destruction in her wake. It was the only way she knew to control the pain, control herself. But in truth, over the last few years she felt out of control and with every stupid transgression came another reason to hate herself. 

She wasn’t sure she’d ever be normal again. She wasn’t breaking hearts, just breaking herself, battering pieces of her broken heart, little by little, with each poor decision.

Suddenly the car swerved. She slammed into Luke and he pushed her off. Gravel spewed under the tires as Kelly tore onto the shoulder and threw the SUV in park. 

It was dark and no one said a word. Fear tickled her spine. Why were they there? It was completely dark and eerie and she wondered if this was their version of some kind of confessional.

The sound of their breathing sawed out of their lungs and she waited. Luke, of course, broke the silence. “Are you out of your god damn mind?”

She turned to unleash the fury inside of her. “Oh, shut up, Luke! You have no right to pass judgment on me!”

Kelly swiveled in his seat, his blue eyes boring into her through the dark. “What did you suspect people would do after you bared your titties for the town? Praise you? Christ, Sheilagh, use your fucking head!”

“Like you have any room to talk, Kelly! There isn’t a woman in Center County who hasn’t seen your wank!”

“And do you think I didn’t pay a price for my actions, Sheilagh?” Kelly stormed. 

No, she didn’t. Kelly lived the high life and still managed to find his soul mate. No one in this car had a right to even pretend they understood what it felt like to be invisible.

“It’s like the sheep fucker!” Kelly snarled and turned toward the windshield.

What? “What?”

“Shamus the sheep fucker!” her brother snapped. “The old Irishman in the bar that built the church and sailed the sea, but no one remembers that because he fucked one sheep.”

“No one’s fucking a sheep, you moron!”

“Well, what do you think people would say if you started stripping? You wouldn’t be Sheilagh the beautiful McCullough or Sheilagh the genius. No, you’d only be Sheilagh the stripper. Do you want that kind of reputation?”

She crossed her arms over her breasts and glared out the window. 

Tristan turned. “Why would you do this, Shei?”

She blinked repeatedly. Because no one notices me anymore. Forcing an expression of indifference, she shrugged. “Why not?”

“You’re better than that. You know you are,” he said in a soft voice.

She didn’t know what to say back. Maybe she wasn’t better than that. Maybe that’s all she was meant to be, a stripper in some Podunk town. 

Luke wouldn’t look at her, but she still heard him growl. “This is bullshit. When are you going to grow up?”

She pivoted and turned her glare on him. “Me? How about you, Luke? When are you going to grow up? You have an awful lot to say about how everyone lives their life, when you don’t have the balls to let the world see who you really are!”

The car grew deathly silent. Kelly said her name in warning and she snapped. “No! I’m sick of it! Just say it! Say it!”

“What do you want me to say?” Luke roared.

Tristan’s stare cut to her and she felt a pinch of regret much like the lament she saw in his eyes. Why couldn’t they just come out and let everyone know they were in love?

“This isn’t about Luke,” Tristan said quietly. “It never was. I’m sorry, Sheilagh. I know this isn’t what you asked for, but sometimes life is unfair.”

She fumed as she glared back at him. “I wanna go home.”

No one said anything for quite some time. “You’re going away,” Kelly finally announced.


“You’re going to college. There’s nothing for you here and you know it. It’s time for you to get on with your life and make something of yourself.”

Buy Links:     
B&N:    iBooks:     Kobo:    ARe:    Amazon:  

Lydia Michaels loves to hear from readers! She can be contacted by email at Lydia@LydiaMichaels.org

Webpage: www.LydiaMichaels.org

Other Titles by Lydia Michaels:
Falling In

Breaking Out

Coming Home

Sacred Waters



Faking It

Forsaking Truth

As Tears Go By

Simple Man

Breaking Perfect

White Chocolate

All 4 You

To Catch a Wolfe

Chasing Feathers

Called to Order

Calling for a Miracle

Destiny Calls

Call Her Mine

McCullough Mountain: Family Tree