28 November 2013

Please welcome author Catherine Bennett

I'm delighted to welcome fellow Astraea Press author Catherine Bennett today.
 
Catherine lives in her hometown of Columbus, Ohio. She spent many years writing for pleasure and is now thrilled to release her romantic suspense, “The Trouble With Charlie”. Cathy has two grown sons and resides with her husband and two Labrador retrievers.
 
Catherine: 

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Charlotte Reynolds, the heroine of the thrilling Romantic Suspense, “The Trouble With Charlie”. Welcome Charlotte, or would you rather I use Charlie?

Charlie: Charlie, please! I only use “Charlotte” for my driver’s license and Starbucks card!

Interviewer: (Chuckles) All right. First off, how would you describe yourself to someone who has only just met you?

Charlie: I would say that, even though I’m originally from the Midwest, I’m now the quintessential California girl. Kind of quirky, friendly. A bit out there.

Interviewer: So give me a few examples of what makes you happy.

Charlie: I love to run and I’m always challenging myself to go farther. Hiking is cool and I like spending time with friends and my cat, Punkin. Love Punkin! Oh, and I wouldn’t want to live too far from the ocean!

Interviewer: I can totally understand the last one. Tell me, what is an achievement that you are most proud of?

Charlie: Hmm. I’m proud of the fact that I put myself through college and obtained my teaching degree. I always wanted to make a positive impression on children so that gave me the drive to finish school! And I’m proud of the fact that I’ve managed to rise above some very negative circumstances in my life. I always wanted to live in a way that my parents – had they lived – would be proud of me.

Interviewer: Could you tell me a little about what you mean by “negative circumstances”?

Charlie: Well, my family was killed in a car accident when I was young. The only relatives that I had were an aunt and uncle in California so they moved me out here. Life with them was difficult, but I came out of the experience with a better understanding of how to help kids that live in abusive and desperate situations.

Interviewer: It sounds as if what happened to you made you a stronger.

Charlie: Yeah, it did. It made me more determined, that’s for sure.

Interviewer: Okay, so let’s talk about your love life. Tell me what you thought of Evan Gardner when you first met him.

Charlie: Oh, wow! He was kind of a train wreck. He needed someone like me to kick him in the pants. (Charlie and Interviewer laugh) But seriously… the way he treats his daughter, Abigail, showed me that he is a really great guy and worth the effort I put into him. (Charlie grins)

Interviewer: Perhaps I’ll have to interview Mr. Gardner and see if he agrees! (Charlie laughs) I won’t ask anymore because I don’t want to reveal too much of your book. Let me just say that your story caused me to laugh and cry. Oh, and the suspense kept me guessing until the end. I hope others will read it and feel the same way. Thanks, Charlie for being with us today.

Charlie: You’re very welcome. It was a thrill to be here, Oprah.   

 

COVER BLURB:

Love. Desire. A psycho bent on revenge. But can Charlie Reynolds recognize the most dangerous of the three?
Since being out on her own at eighteen, Charlotte “Charlie” Reynolds is a street-smart “good” girl who hides her desire for love and security behind her feisty and independent personality. She just never expected a more noxious hero than wealthy, self-consumed Evan Gardner, the CEO and founder of Valley Tech., a successful software company in Los Angeles. From the moment Evan rescues her from an apparent random attack, their attraction for each other bubbles just below the surface of all-out passion.

 

EXCERPT:
“No, Amanda. There’s nothing between Charlie and me.”
Before Charlie could move, think, or even breath, Evan caught Amanda up in his arms. She heard Amanda’s gasp of pleasure – or pain – a second before his mouth crushed hers. Charlie loosened her grip on the tree. The scene in front of her seemed to slow to a crawl. She staggered back a step.
Someone bumped into her from behind, causing her to let out an unladylike “ugh.”  Evan let go of Amanda so quickly that she fell to the pavement.
“Charlie?” His voice penetrated the fog in her brain. She spun around and ran, willing her feet to go faster than the strappy sandals would allow. She exploded out of the grove of trees, pushed her way through the crowd, and headed toward the parking lot. Her spiked heels dug into the soft turf. Swearing soundly, she bent down and yanked the shoes off, breaking the straps in the process.
Without them she could fly. She rounded the side of the building, dodging potted plants and party guests. She scanned the long line of cars through a blur of tears. They all looked the same. She continued down the drive to the street, juggling her purse, shoes and the car remote.
“Charlie!”
Her pace quickened. How many black SUV’s can there be?  Little stones dug into the bottoms of her bare feet, but she barely felt them. Holding the remote in front of her, she clicked it several times, hoping to see a set of headlights switch on in the dark.
A hand grabbed her from behind and spun her around. Charlie’s free arm swung out quicker than the scream that followed it. The heel of her sandal barely missed the side of Evan’s head.
“Get away from me, Evan!  Just get away!”  Charlie brought her knee up, but he sidestepped.
“Woman. Would you stop trying to maim me?”
“I’m leaving. Now!”
“Would you calm down and come over here?” he demanded. She resisted, but he kept a firm grip on her arm and wrestled the remote out of her clenched fist. After dodging her flailing purse, he clicked the passenger door open and nudged her in. He ran around the front of the vehicle before she could escape, swung the door open, and slid in next to her.
Charlie didn’t look at him. She simply folded her arms and stared straight ahead. They sat in angry silence for a few minutes. She wiped the back of her hand under her runny nose. He snapped open the glove box, handed her a tissue, and leaned back in the seat.
“What did you hear back there?” he asked finally.
“Everything.”
Evan ran his hand through his hair. “Did Amanda know you were spying?”
“Even if she did, you’ve got control over what you say. Over what you do.”
“I know. I know. I was angry. She was pushing me.”
“Angry? So that’s your excuse? That’s why you kissed her?” She balled her fist up and he flinched. Good. Let him be afraid. Let him be very afraid.
Buy Links:Amazon:    Barnes and Noble:    Astraea Press: 

Where To Find Catherine:Website:     Twitter:    Goodreads:
 

 

26 November 2013

Tuesday Tales - Revisited



Welcome to Tuesday's Tales  
 
Once again, many thanks to all those who drop by each week. I also appreciate, and often act upon comments and suggestions left.  Many thanks.
 
This week we are doing something different. Each author is going back through their Tuesday's Tales offering and choosing one of their personal favourites. This week I am revisiting my first ever Tuesday Tale. Why? When it is such a dark story, and I normally write 'sweet' or Regency romances, have I chosen this one?
 
Well... because it was my first challenge and arrived so quickly it took my breath away, and because the content astonished me.


 Lies  First posted for TT. on January 2012
Jenny  skipped along the street, her pigtails flying, her eyes shining, and a permanent smile on her face. She carried her present for Shirley in the plastic carrier bag hanging from her arm, her Cinderella costume blowing in the breeze. Today her bestest friend was celebrating her ninth birthday with a fancy-dress party,
and next week it would be her turn. Somehow, the figure nine seemed more grown-up than eight. Nearer double figures.

“You going to Shirley’s party?”

She’d seen the boy in the school playground. Always on the edge of a group, always watching, and, she shivered now, something about his eyes made her uneasy. Today  was no different, and his costume didn’t help. His smile was inviting, warm and almost gleeful; yet, secretive, Shirley decided.

“What are you dressed up as?” She studied his cape and the scythe he carried, its blade gleaming in the sun.

“The Grim Reaper,” he said. “And my friend Herakles will be joining me in a moment.”

Damien, that was it! She’d never liked the name because it always made her think of demons; and demons, she knew, were scary. Lately they filled her dreams, turning them to nightmares.

She never quite saw their faces in her dreams, only heard their laughter, when it turned dark and evil and woke her up.

For the last couple of nights, she’d tried in vain to wake from the nightmares. The demon stood there watching her. Whatever she did, wherever she went in her dreams, the demon stood there watching in silent celebration.


Jenny looked at the boy walking beside her. Strange, she’d never noticed before, but if her demon had a face it would be like Damian’s.

“How old are you?” she asked in an effort to shake off her qualms. “Aren’t you too old to come to Shirley’s party?”

“Age, is in the head.” Damien smiled. “After all, you think nine as far more grown-up than eight, don’t you? When in reality it’s just the beginning of another day, another number you’ll hang on to for a year.

“If you’re lucky, that is.”

His eyes, dark as obsidian, gleamed in the sunshine, his hair reminded her of the huge raven that stole food off the bird table this morning, and cawed at her mother when she chased it away.

Sometimes, in a certain light, Damien reminded her of the old man who lived in the end house on the street. Rumour and gossip abounded about him, and the school children ran past his home; half hoping he’d come outside, and terrified he
might!

“Never see a light on in that house, me dear,” old Mr. Hawkins, from two doors down, told her one day. “Best to stay clear of the place. That’s what I say.” And cackling he’d wandered off into the nearest shop.

Jenny stopped at the pedestrian road crossing and waited for the lights to change from red to green.

“It’s safe to cross now.” Damien told her.

She stepped into the road, thankful Damien hadn’t followed. Reflected in the shop window ahead of her she saw him standing on the pavement, watching her, his smile one of satisfaction this time.

She didn’t hear the car that ‘came from nowhere,’ didn’t hear the screams of horror that filled the air when the car never stopped, never saw Damien vanish into thin air, to reappear beside the driver of the car.

“Promise me she didn’t suffer,” he demanded of Herakles. “I didn’t like lying to her, she was a sweet kid.”

“She didn’t suffer,” his companion assured him.
  


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and several others are permanently available over at http://authorsherrygloagtheheartofroman.weebly.com/lies.html
 
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Thank you for reading this week's offering, 
there are lots more free reads at  

22 November 2013

Please Welcome author Frank Borne today


Author Bio 

Frank Borne has authored numerous non-fiction books and short essays concerning Jefferson Parish history and politics, and served as editor of The West Bank Beacon, a good-news community newspaper, for three and a half years. In 2012, he self-published his first novel, But for the Grace of God, and in 2013, Astraea Press released his novel Fame and Misfortune. Borne serves as Chief Deputy Clerk of Court with the Jefferson Parish Clerk of Court's Office in Gretna, Louisiana, where he has been employed since 1994. He graduated from Southeastern Louisiana University with a bachelor's degree in government and a minor in history. Borne lives in Harvey, Louisiana, with his wife Schlise.
 
What prompted you to write Fame and Misfortune?
 
The idea for Fame and Misfortune came to me one evening last December as I was about to attend a cocktail party. Years ago, I was very overweight, having grown up "husky" and otherwise fat, and my weight was ratcheting up at least 5 pounds per year. In 1998, however, I changed course, adopting a healthy lifestyle. Ultimately, through exercise and wise eating habits, I lost 135 pounds. Fifteen years after losing the weight, I still dwell on what might have been...How heavy would I be today had I not said "enough!"? F&M was originally intended to be told entirely through flashbacks...a thin man reflecting on his accomplishments. As I began writing the book, I developed the story differently, and I am pleased with the outcome.

 Readers will note how prevalent food is throughout the book, ironic because the story is about a fitness guru who was successful in losing weight. Food is all around us, however, and for some is an addiction. In the novel I address the fears and insecurities that formerly overweight individuals face.

Despite some heavy moments, readers will enjoy the romantic element, Mika Kalua's infatuation and frustration with her boss; the intrigue between Kevin (the fitness guru) and his business partner and trainer, Johnny Robertson; and Kevin's quest for his ex-wife, who befriended him at age seven. 

Last year I self-published my first novel, But for the Grace of God. Previously I had written and published numerous publications concerning local history. I was ecstatic and honored when Astraea Press accepted Fame and Misfortune. There is nothing like being recognized by one’s peers. Several good friends and my family read the book as I completed each chapter. I am so grateful to them for helping guide me through the story.


I’ve got several ideas for new projects, including a May-December—nee—October romance trilogy that takes place in the realm of Mardi Gras here in New Orleans.


Fame and Misfortune  Blurb:
Kevin Clayton wanted to be thin, attractive, and wear normal sized clothing. However, after rising to prominence as an accomplished fitness guru following an extraordinary transformation and weight loss of 200 pounds, he finds that happiness remains elusive. His marriage to his childhood sweetheart shattered, his relationship with his daughter destroyed, and unable to trust the countless women who swoon over him because of his new looks, Kevin struggles to find meaning for his remarkable accomplishment and his efforts to teach others how to change their lifestyle and lose weight. Kevin longs for his wife and wants to make amends with his daughter, but his career and staff have other plans for him. Ultimately, he is torn between pursuing his ex-wife, Jennifer, or yielding to the advances of his sexy young assistant, Mika, whose motives are questioned when Kevin discovers that she and a trusted ally, his trainer, may be responsible for altering more than his diet.

Excerpt
The two chatted for about an hour, during which time Kevin's glass was filled several times. Many of the guests had left, and Mika was sitting at the wet bar watching over her boss from the adjoining room.

"Why don't you and I find some privacy?" the woman suggested. "Surely there's somewhere in this huge house where we can be alone," she whispered. She placed her hand on his chest and slowly moved her fingers into his shirt. The two rose from the white leather sofa, and Kevin stumbled, yet managed to recover his balance. He and the woman giggled as she clung to his arm, and together they made their way toward the corridor that would lead them to the stairs to Kevin's bedroom.

"Greg, come with me," Mika directed as she ran into the kitchen. She and the chef rushed along some passageways and managed to intercept the amorous couple before they reached the stairs to the second floor living quarters. Along the way, she dialed her cell phone. The pair exited a small room adjacent to the pantry and stepped out to stop the couple.

"You're going home," Mika said to the woman. "A taxi is on its way to pick you up."

"Excuse me? Who are you, little girl?"

"You're going to bed." Mika frowned at her boss. Kevin's eyes were droopy, and he swayed as he listened to the feisty little Hawaiian lass.

"C'mon, boss." Greg put Kevin's arm over his shoulder. "Goodnight, miss. Our driver will take you to the front gate, where a taxi will get you. The fare is on us."

Kevin's head drooped. The woman stormed off.

Mika and Greg took Kevin to his bedroom. "I guess he's too drunk to remember what that tabloid did to him last time this happened," Mika sputtered.

"Man, he's heavy." Greg dropped his boss onto the bed. "Can you imagine if he was still four hundred pounds? At least now he's two hundred and ten pounds of lean beef."

"Thanks, Greg." Mika sighed. "I can take it from here. Make sure that tart gets in that taxi."

"Yes, ma'am." Greg closed the door and returned to the living area while Mika undressed her boss. She took off his shoes and socks and pulled off his trousers. After experiencing considerable difficulty removing his trousers, she figured it was impossible for her alone to get his shirt off too, so she only unbuttoned it.

Exhausted, she sat on the bed next to him for a moment and watched him sleep. She sighed, and then lifted his head onto a pillow. Mika wiped the sweat from her forehead, and then rose to leave Kevin alone to sleep off the champagne. After pausing at the door, she returned and sat on the bed, then reached out with her left hand to feel his chest, for the first time ever touching his magnificent body. Her hand quivered as she opened his shirt to expose his full torso, and then she ran her fingers along his abdominal muscles and back to his chest. She leaned over and kissed him lightly on the lips, then left the bedroom to find sanctuary in her own living quarters.


Buy Links:
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Author Link:

 

20 November 2013

Please welcome best-selling author Patricia Kiyono

 Please welcome best-selling author Patricia Kiyono

Author Bio:
In a previous life, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary school students by day and changed diapers at night. Now she teaches college students part time and changes diapers only when she's taking care of grandkids. She loves to do anything that doesn't involve exercise. Right now her favorite activities, other than writing, include scrapbooking, sewing, and making music. She and her husband live in southwest Michigan, near their five children and nine grandchildren.

To learn a little bit more about Patricia, I asked her a few questions.
1. How you do create your characters or do they turn up ‘fully formed’?
I wish my characters could arrive in my mind fully formed! I go about things a little differently from many authors. First, I decide on the central conflict. Then I create characters who would be affected by that conflict, perhaps in different ways. Since I write romance, I also choose a conflict that seems to prevent them from being together. Then I go about creating a backstory that causes them to behave in certain ways while trying to resolve their conflicts. The physical characteristics, unless they are crucial to the conflict, are the last to be added.


2. How do you choose the name for your characters? Do you deliberately use names to give clues to your characters traits?
For the most part, I choose the first name that pops into my head. But once in a while, names are chosen to fit a purpose—for example, Mitch's daughter is named Angela because she proves to be an angel in his life. And in my historical novel The Samurai's Garden, my characters are named for their meanings—Hiromasa means "wise and straightforward" and Hanako means "little flower".
I loved The Samurai's Garden.

3. Are you a pantser or a plotter, and if a plotter do you have the same routine for setting up and plotting out your story and characters?
I guess I'm more of a plotter. I've tried writing without a plan, and the result was disastrous. I'm not as much of a planner as some people, but I do need to know where the story is going. Once I have the conflicts nailed down and the motivations behind the characters' actions, I usually write up a general outline, or list of events that need to happen. Once in a while the characters will change course, but for the most part this technique works for me.
Oh wow, I think you've just a solved a sticky little problem with my current WIp with this answer :-) Thanks.

4. Why writing? Why not a racing driver, lol, or pastry chef?
I drive every day, but I would be a horrible racing driver—I tend to be a defensive driver, which wouldn't work on the race track. I love to cook, but don't have to. When my husband and I married, he took over the cooking, since he got home from work three to four hours ahead of me. I taught elementary school, so I was always dealing with reading and writing. Many of my colleagues and I joked about writing our memoirs after retirement. So while my stories aren't exactly biographical, most contain an element of myself or my experiences.

5. Do you find one word continually recurring in your stories, if so how do you avoid echoes?
My editors are always finding word echoes in my writing. I find I use "it wouldn't do" quite often. I'm also quite guilty of pronoun confusion. If I have two or more characters in a scene of the same gender, it can be difficult to determine which character "she" refers to.

6. What is your favourite colour?
Blue, in any shade!

7. What is your favourite flower?
I love to look at flowers, but for the life of me I can't keep them alive! For admiring and smelling I guess I like roses, but if they're going to be in my house, they'd best be made of silk.

8. Cinema? TV? Or a book?
I don't watch much television, probably because I always feel like I need to be doing something else. In order to watch a show from beginning to end, I need to be in a place where I can't do anything else, so I guess I enjoy the cinema more. But books are even better because I can go back and re-live the best scenes.

9. Do your read the same genre of book you write for? Who is your favourite author?
I definitely read more romance than anything else. I love Debbie Macomber and Robyn Carr. I also enjoy cozy mysteries, and Donna Andrews is a master at that, and Joanne Fluke's series are very entertaining.

10. Please will you share one special moment in your writing career.
While attending a writers' retreat at the university where I now teach, I ran into a former student from my days teaching elementary school music. She is now a colleague, working toward her doctorate in Spanish. When she found out I had been published in romance, she shared my Facebook author page with her Facebook friends. Many of them were also former students of mine, and several are now following me, reading my books, and writing wonderful reviews!

That's so lovely :-) Thank you for sharing. You must have been a wonderful teacher, because I wouldn't give any of mine the time of day if I met them again!! lol.

 

About Christmas Wishes:
Tagline: Before you wish for dreams, know what's in your heart.
Blurb:
Mitch Carson is tired of the big city. In his former life, he'd been a news photographer in Chicago, where the dangers are endless. But now, he just wants to settle down in this quiet town with his daughter, Angie. Here, his only fear is losing his daughter to his scheming mother-in-law.

Sophie Gardner wants to be a screenwriter. She's ready to leave small town Zutphen, Michigan and go to Hollywood. With a theater degree under her belt, she's busy writing scripts while helping out her sister Joanie, who's bedridden with a difficult pregnancy. Unfortunately, Joanie has somehow coerced Sophie into directing the Christmas pageant at Zutphen Community Church.

When Sophie and Mitch meet, the attraction is instant and mutual. But each wants what the other is trying to get away from. Can they deny their feelings and pursue their dreams? Or will the holiday prove to them that their true wishes might not be what they'd thought?

Excerpt:
Mitch Carson studied the nutrition labels on the boxes of cereal in front of him, wanting to choose wisely, but six-year-old Angie kept pulling on his arm.

“Daddy, I have to go to the bathroom.”

“There’s no bathroom here, sweetness. You’ve got to wait.”

“I can’t wait, Daddy. I need to go now.”

Mitch threw a box of cereal into the cart, hoping it wouldn’t taste too much like cardboard. He took Angie’s hand and headed toward the checkout lanes. “I’m sorry, honey, but I can’t go in the bathroom with you, and you’re not going in there alone. Besides, we’ll be home in just ten minutes.”

“Daddy, I can’t wait ten minutes.” She hopped up and down, her face strained with discomfort.

Mitch grimaced. Why did this always happen when they were out of the house? He was searching for the words to reassure her again when a gentle feminine voice spoke.

“The bathroom is right over here, behind the meat counter.”

Mitch looked up into a pair of wide green eyes. Exotic and enticing, yet capable and compassionate. The eyes were set in a small heart-shaped face and surrounded by a cloud of honey blonde hair. He closed his mouth before he embarrassed himself by drooling. And he tried very hard to keep his voice from squeaking as he answered.

“Thanks, but I can take her home.”

“Daddy, I need to go!” Angie continued her hopping, clearly uncomfortable.

“It’s a nice bathroom, and they keep it very clean,” the blonde told him. She disappeared into the doorway she’d indicated and then came right back. “No one’s using it now, so you can go in and help her if you want.”

“Daddy? Please?” Angie’s face was starting to turn red. “I can do it myself.”

Mitch swallowed. If the restroom was empty and he stood outside the door, nothing bad could happen to her, right? “Okay, sweetness. I’ll be right here.”



Buy links: Christmas Wishes can be purchased at
Amazon,       Barnes and Noble,        and other ebook outlets.

 Author links:

Patricia Kiyono can be found at
her website,            blog,                facebook,        Amazon,
and twitter @PatriciaKiyono

19 November 2013

Tuesday's tales ~ Loose



Welcome to Tuesday's Tales  

 
Once again, many thanks to all those who drop by each week. I also appreciate, and often act upon comments and suggestions left.  Many thanks.
 
This week I have jumped forward quite a bit and am now in the hero's -Joshua's- POV

“What’s on your mind, Josh?”

No way to say it other than straight out, Josh decided. “Do you believe you can find Mandy after all this time? Aren’t you at a stage where you’re simply chasing windmills?”

“Is that what you’re really asking, or are you wondering whether I’m racking up your parents’ bill for my own benefit?” The reply was as straight up as his question, so why did resentment curl in his gut?

He had wondered that, once upon a time, but not now. He’d spent two weeks last year working beside the guy, seen his dedication to the search, witnessed his frustration when he discovered a lead had died or been a wild goose chase. “No I don’t think that, and I’m sorry the thought even crossed your mind.” Josh stepped back held the P.I.’s gaze, “But what will Shawn unearth that you’ve failed to?”

“I don’t know. But there’s always a chance something will turn up. For instant, look at that woman over there…” He pulled out a digital profile of what the professionals thought Mandy would look like now and then pointed to a woman throwing hoops in the hope of winning the giant purple teddy bear. “For all we know she could be married with kids of her own by now. It’s a reasonable assumption.”

Why had the thought that if she survived, Mandy could be married never entered his mind? And why did it disturb him so much? Josh looked over at the stall where the faint tinkle of laughter carried on the warm air and wondered if it was hers. Something about her raised the hairs on the back of his neck. A finger of breeze caught a loose strand of her hair and flipped it across her face.

“From the back she could be a dead ringer for that photo.” Josh tapped the sheet in the P.I’s hand. “What are you going to do?”

Together they watched the woman shake her head, laugh, and then turn away from the stall.

“I think it’s time I tried my hand at a few of those stands,” he said and sauntered off.

Josh followed, keeping his distance. He wanted to see the woman’s face. So far he’d seen her back and her profile, but the prickling sensation on his neck had him inching closer. He cast a glance over his shoulder towards the tea-tent and saw his father studying him through narrowed eyes. Their gazes locked before Josh saw the slightest nod. His father had seen the woman too and was watching for the outcome. Joshua just hoped his mother hadn’t been so observant.
 
Thank you for reading this week's offering, 
there are lots more free reads at  

15 November 2013

Please welcome author Kay Harborne


Please welcome fellow Astraea Press author, Kay Harborne, who has kindly agreed to answer some questions today.

Karen, thank you for being my guest today.
Thank you so much for inviting me.

 
1. How you do create your characters or do they turn up ‘fully formed’?
They just pop into my head and start telling me their story. Usually I get their appearance and name. Then I start thinking more about them, what they like, what they dislike, their family and friends, their greatest desire, worst fear, etc. I write a profile about them, jotting down far more detail than I use in the story. I like to really know my characters before I start but they still take over and surprise me when I’m actually writing the story.

2. How do you choose the name for your characters? Do you deliberately use names to give clues to your characters traits?
My main characters usually pop into my head complete with name. Amber and Jed seemed the right names for my heroine and hero right away. I did have to think about the names for my secondary characters, Randy and Callie, for a bit. I think names are really important and try to choose names that I think suits my characters’ personality. The name ‘Amber’, for example, conjures up a completely different character to ‘Callie’ in my mind.

3. Are you a pantser or a plotter, and if a plotter do you have the same routine for setting up and plotting out your story and characters?
I’m a bit of both. I loosely plot so that I know the basic storyline and have a structure to work too but sometimes the characters take over and the story goes off in a direction I hadn’t planned.

4. Why writing? Why not a racing driver, lol, or pastry chef?
Well, I’ve only recently passed my driving test and I’m not a great cook.... Seriously, I’ve always written because I love writing but I didn’t set out to write for a living. I wanted to be a ballet dancer when I was little (but I can’t dance in step) then an air hostess, a nurse and finally was all set to train as a teacher when I asked to write regularly for children’s magazines.

5. Do you find one word continually recurring in your stories, if so how do you avoid echoes?
I use ‘that’ and ‘then’ far too much – as my editor pointed out! I have to go over my work and delete a lot of them. It makes my writing a lot tighter and I find most of them aren’t necessary.

6. What is your favourite colour?
It’s a tough choice between red and electric blue but I think blue just about wins.

7. What is your favourite flower?
Orchids. I love them and have several in my house. They’re the only potted plants I can manage to keep alive.

8. Cinema? TV? Or a book?
A book. Nothing beats reading although I do like to watch TV and go to the cinema.

9. Do your read the same genre of book you write for? Who is your favourite author?
I read all sorts of books in many different genres. I’ve just read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and Before I Go To Sleep by S.J.Watson – brilliant! I also love Sophie Kinsella’s books and Sharon Shinn’s ‘Samaria’ series.

10. Please will you share one special moment in your writing career.
I write children’s books too and often visit schools to encourage children to write. A really special moment was when a teacher came up to me after a workshop and thanked me, saying that one little boy had never even written a full sentence before but had actually written a little story in my workshop. He was so proud of what he’d achieved it brought tears to my eyes.
Oh that's so wonderful :-) Thank you for sharing.


Please will you tell us a little bit about your new release, The Millionaire's Plan?


Tag Line: Love or money – what would you marry for?

Blurb
Amber Wynters is on a mission to find a millionaire to marry – and fast. Her parents are nearly bankrupt and forced to sell the family home, a beautiful Tudor house that had been in the family for generations. And it’s all thanks to Amber’s ex-fiancĂ© Rod persuading them to invest in his dodgy shares. So armed with a ‘How to Hook a Millionaire’ Book and a ten point plan, she sets off to hook herself a rich husband. Then she meets the drop-dead gorgeous Jed Curtess. The attraction between them is sizzling but Jed is only a hired hand on one of the millionaire’s yachts. Can Amber ignore her heart and follow her plan?

Excerpt:
Whoa! What was she thinking of, kissing Jed like that? She pulled away, fighting down the fire that was threatening to engulf her entire body, and looked over at the dog standing in the doorway.

“I think she’s trying to tell us to stop congratulating ourselves. She did all the hard work,” she said, hoping her voice sounded steadier than she felt. She didn’t dare catch Jed’s eye, dreading what she’d see there. He’d just given her a light kiss on the lips and she’d practically thrown herself at him! He already had a low enough opinion of her because she was planning on hooking a millionaire, now what must he think?

“So she did.” Jed’s voice was light, as if nothing had happened between them. Well it hadn’t, had it? It had only been a quick kiss, for goodness sake.

You call that a quick kiss?

She heard him get up but still didn’t trust herself to turn and face him.

“I’ll just go and write up my notes and check through the photos I’ve taken,” he told her. “I’ll be in Mike’s study if you need me.”

“Okay.” She nodded.

The next minute he was gone, leaving her to her thoughts.

Oh, nice one, Amber. Great timing to snog the guy like that when you’ve got to spend the whole evening together, not to mention tomorrow morning and the boat trip home.

Hang on, he kissed me.

Yes, but you didn’t have to kiss him back quite so enthusiastically, did you? She cringed as she remembered the way she’d ran her fingers through his hair, pulling his head closer to her. What had come over her?
 
 


Author Bio
The Millionaire Plan is Kay Harborne's second romance novel. She has also written several romance stories for womens' magazines. Better known as children's author Karen King, she has had over a hundred children's books published and written for many children's magazines.

Author links:
Website
   ~   Amazon page:

 

 

14 November 2013

Nell Dixon introduces her latest release.


An Uncivil War is the new release from multi award winning author, Nell Dixon.


Overworked, over budget and just so not over him! Kate would like an engagement ring from Steve but instead he's lumbered them with a thirteenth renovation project, and doing up Myrtle Cottage disturbs a ghost from the English Civil War who has romance troubles of her own.



~An Uncivil War was formerly published as Renovation, Renovation, Renovation by Myrmidon Press~

Writing Renovation, Renovation, Renovation was challenging in many ways. The dual storyline, Mary Ann’s story from 1643 and Kate’s story in the present day both had to work together. The research for the present day story of Kate, her sister Lou and the current story of Myrtle Cottage involved looking at everything from boy bands to planning regulations, sĂ©ances to tracing the history of a property through time. Then there was Vegas weddings, the Osmonds and international crime so lots of things to consider.

Just to make things harder, for Mary Ann’s story, the research involved looking at the English Civil war, key battles, clothes, food, lifestyles and Myrtle Cottage as it would have been when it was barely a hundred years old.

To ensure accuracy I visited the archaeological dig at Shakespeare’s house at Stratford Upon Avon, went to a Civil War re-enactment at Kenilworth Castle with the Sealed Knot society and studied volumes of books on history and costumes.

I handled cooking pots and samplers, examined bonnets and skirts and studied medicines and uses of herbs. The scent of lavender plays a big part in the story, both in the past and in the present day.

Here’s a taster:
Large white cabbage butterflies flapped around the weed ridden bed of herbs and fat, lazy bumble bees droned amongst the white daisies and blue lobelia that spilled all over the stone flags of the patio. It was too nice to wait inside the cottage so I wandered around the neglected flowerbeds, wondering where the lavender scent that I’d noticed the previous day had come from.

Sage, thyme and rosemary straggled out onto the path and Mr Flibble lay stretched out and content in a sunny patch amongst the mint. There was no sign of any lavender, just bindweed, nettles and a rampant bed of foxgloves.

I poked around in the undergrowth with the handle of a broom. A lavender bush must be lurking somewhere. I found nothing. 

© Nell Dixon 2013


Amazon UK          Amazon    

 
Author Bio:
Nell Dixon is a Black Country author, married to the same man for over twenty-five years she has three daughters, a tank of tropical fish and a cactus called Spike. Winner of the RNA’s prestigious Romance Prize in 2007 and 2010, she writes warm-hearted contemporary romance for a number of publishers in the US and the UK including Myrmidon Press, Samhain Publishing, Little Black Dress, Astraea Press, E-Scape Press and Freya’s Bower.

Find her at
http://www.nelldixon.com

Facebook
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nell-Dixon/228642037151856

Or Twitter @NellDixon

12 November 2013

Tuesday's Tales - Picture



Welcome to Tuesday's Tales  
 
Once again, many thanks to all those who drop by each week. I also appreciate, and often act upon comments and suggestions left.  Many thanks.
 
My story continues on from last week. Norma's name has been changed to Amanda, and in this clip she's struggling to come to terms with information that will change her life. . ~~I am also using NaNo to continue with this story. :-)

“Your grandfather is waiting for me,” her grandmother said again. “And I am ready to go home.”

Home? Did she no longer consider this house her home? Unfair, even unreasonable as it might be, the thought triggered a sliver of jealousy, abandonment, and yes, anger. Had all the love been false? Offered as a sense of duty? She almost wished she’d never left her bed this morning. Wished she could unheard what she’d learned this evening. Wished that the black thread of jealousy would fade away.

The question hovered in her head, growing, darkening, and sharpening. And in the end it refused to lie down.

“Did you ever love me, or was it just a token duty emotion?”

With surprising strength her grandmother leaned forward, caught Amanda is a strong, hard hug and crooned her denial. “Of course it wasn’t duty. Nor was it from guilt,” she added before Amanda could open her mouth.

“You were such a pretty baby we all fell in love with you the moment we saw you. That doesn’t mean we didn’t intend to find your rightful home. We did. All of us, except your mother, of course.”

The dilemma, Amanda thought, what a dilemma, saving her daughter-in-law’s sanity and possibly even her life, or doing the rightful thing and returning her, Amanda, back to her rightful parents. Perhaps she was callous, as perhaps she was unreasonable to judge when she’d never faced such a dilemma, but Amanda felt sure she would have returned the child and risked the consequences. As it was they, her non-family had made their choices and it looked as though she’d be faced with the consequences for the rest of her life.

A rock and a hard place didn’t even begin to cover the situation she found herself in.

“Go on,” Amanda encouraged when her grandmother stopped speaking. It was obvious to Amanda her grandmother was fading fast, and she was desperate to hear everything the older woman had to say before it was too late.

“The key,” her grandmother repeated. “Do not lose the key. There should be another matching box that shares the same key. Your grandfather had them built to share the same key.”

Another box? “Where? Where is this other box?”

Her grandmother slumped back against her pillows, her eyes shut, her breathing coming in shallow gasps.
She looked round the room and her gaze settled on the picture of the lilacs. For a moment she couldn’t turn away from it. When she looked round again her grandmother was staring at her.
 
Thank you for reading this week's offering, there are lots more free reads at  Tuesday's Tales