Interview with Elaine Calloway

Tell us about your current series.

Actually, due to insanity running in my family, I have been writing 2 series at once! My Urban Fantasy/Paranormal books, The Elemental Clan Series, is coming to an end this month with the final book, Penance. The series premise is a good versus evil tale, with Elemental beings (those who can wield water, fire, earth and wind) seeking to protect humanity. Meanwhile, the Fallen Angels (very handsome villains) seek to reap human souls to carry out their evil bidding.
My Romantic Suspense/Paranormal series, The Southern Ghosts Series, will have 10 books total and I’m working on Book Four now. Certain individuals can see and talk to ghosts. Sometimes this is a gift, sometimes it’s a curse, but it always makes life difficult for the main character. These ghosts want the hero/heroine to solve their murder in order for the ghosts to pass on to the next realm. What follows is spooky suspense capped off with a bit of romance and Southern humor.

What is your favorite & least favorite part of writing?

Favorite part is when I’m in “the zone” and the characters are talking so fast in my head, I can barely keep up with typing their stories. It’s fascinating when I can surprise myself by what happens in the story. My least favorite part is, when writing the first draft and because I am a pantster, I will occasionally get stuck. On those days, writing is like pulling teeth! I don’t like that aspect, but I know it’s something that I need to push onward to get past.

How much time do you spend promoting your books?  What works best for you?

I always aim for the 80/20 method = 80% writing, 20% promoting. However, like many authors, I often crisscross those numbers. Promotion is a balancing act, for certain. I try to use software tools that allow me to schedule Instagram, Twitter, etc. posts so I’m not doing everything manually. Ideally, I spend my mornings and lunch hours writing, and then evenings doing social media and promoting. My brain becomes mush after about 7 p.m.

What advice do you have for other authors wanting to self-publish?

This is one of the best times to be a writer, because you no longer have to deal with the gatekeepers of the big publishing houses. That doesn’t mean you can submit low-quality work, just that your work has a better chance of surviving. The readers are now the judge and jury. Readers tend to like books that an agent or editor at a pub house may not respond to, but no matter what, always submit and publish your best work that has been edited.

I’ve created a new blog especially for self-published writers. In addition to talking about writing characters such as villains (I have a few Q&A’s on the blog with actors who have appeared in NCIS, CSI NY, and Leverage), the blog features info that will help authors self-publish their books.

Visit my new site here: http://www.howtoselfpublishyournovel.com/savvy-self-publishing/

 What do you have planned for the future?

I plan to continue my Southern Ghosts Series until I finish all 10 books. There are 3 full-length novels out now, plus a novella. Readers want more so I plan to do a book set in every Southeast state. After that, I have a few ideas but I plan to focus on the Southern Ghosts for a while.

Do you have any words of inspiration for aspiring authors?

Yes. Never give up. Stories have been part of humankind and history for millions of years. If you have a story you want to write, do it. Make sure to learn the craft of writing, spend time polishing your book, and learn everything you can about the process and then take the plunge! Whether you go the traditional or indie publishing route, if you have a story, tell it!

What did you want to be when you were a child?  Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

Yes! I loved stories of all forms when I was a kid. I used to eavesdrop on my parents, write down random words they said, and then try to make a story out of all the random words. (Yep, I was a weird kid…) While I allowed family and others’ opinions to sway me from studying writing in college (“be practical, study something else…”) I did wind up becoming a technical writer in my day job. By day I write user manuals, by night and weekend I write fiction. My path was inevitable.

Do you have any rejection stories to share?

Yes! This story actually leads into why I began indie-publishing my books. I’m a member of RWA (Romance Writers of America) along with other local writing groups. Over the years, I’ve attended conferences and given my elevator pitches to agents, editors, etc. One particular agent I sought out requested I send 3 chapters. I did, she immediately wrote back and asked for the full manuscript.

One week later, she called and left me a message on a Friday, saying she had read the book and wanted to talk to me. Naturally, I was gleeful and figured she would want to represent me and my books.

Alas, Monday morning arrived and when she did call me back, she rejected me – over the phone!

Who ever heard of an agent calling someone on the phone to reject them? I was devastated, but I was glad she said she loved my writing but she was a 1-woman shop and she couldn’t figure out how to market my books. She was, honestly, very kind despite my hopes being stomped on.

So I took the plunge after that, published my books on my own, and have never looked back!

BIO:

Amazon bestselling author Elaine Calloway grew up in New Orleans with a love of Gothic architecture, cemeteries, and all things paranormal. She is currently writing The Southern Ghosts Series, a set of romantic suspense/ghost story tales set across the Southern USA. When she’s not writing or reading, she is helping other writers learn how to self-publish and market their books online. To connect with Elaine Calloway the author, go to www.elainecalloway.com. For those interested in self-publishing, check out her newest blog site www.howtoselfpublishyournovel.com/blog. She currently resides in metro Atlanta with her husband and very spoiled dog.

Buy links:

Amazon Author: http://amzn.to/2lgtI2Y

Barnes/Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/%22Elaine%20Calloway%22

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?query=Elaine%20Calloway&fcsearchfield=Author

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ElaineCalloway

Join My Readers List for Coupons, Goodies, Cover Reveals, etc. http://eepurl.com/LCGUb

 

Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorelainecalloway

Twitter: https://twitter.com/writerscanvas

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/elainecalloway/

Writing about the Old West is fun! by E. Ayers

Waving a big hello to everyone! Cynthia has invited me to visit, and I’m always thrilled to be here. As many of you know, I love to write history in a story form. And what’s a story without a wonderful hero and a heroine worthy of him? Being I’m a totally hopeless romantic, how could I not write a story with love tangled into it? Writing about the frontier days of the American West is a time in history that appeals to men and women. But since we’ve never figured out how to travel backwards in time, a book will transport us there. My job is to make certain your experience is as real as possible.

My research turns up information that was never taught in schools. Often I wind up spending hours on information that I will never use, and I’m fascinated by all of it. When I started down this path of historical westerns, I had to research everything. I like knowing that what I’ve written is historically correct.

I’ve always admired and enjoyed reading another author, a European history professor Roberta Gellis. She wrote historical novels of old Europe and England. One of the things I liked about her books was the history that she put in the stories. Not just the clothing, but how the people actually lived, paid their taxes, and how those taxes were recorded on sticks. My feeling was why didn’t they teach us this stuff in school? I learned more reading her books than I ever did in a classroom. She showed me that history doesn’t have to be boring.

When I started working on my first historical story, I wanted to bring the same sort of accuracy to my work. Unfortunately, I didn’t have Ms. Gellis’ learned background. I began to research, checking, and double-checking resources. Often I chased my tail, and that can be frustrating. There’s plenty of misinformation, and it’s perpetuated in other places.

I thought the railroad went from point A to point C. No such luck! That section of track between points B and C should have been built by then, but it wasn’t completed for another twenty years. That’s a serious amount of time when writing a story. Yet that completed track between points B and C appears on more than a dozen maps! It was a railroad company historian, who gave me the correct information. I had to toss about 10 pages from a novel I was writing, rewrite those pages, and fix several other pages.

I’ve also had to make some strange decisions, especially when it comes to word choices. There were three very distinct divisions in spoken English. The educated people spoke a very formal form of English. Many recent immigrants tended to speak a broken form of English that also bled over to their children. And then there were those who spoke a regional dialect that almost sounds like gibberish to those unfamiliar with it. As a result, if I wrote exactly as each person spoke, it would make reading very difficult, so I tend to not be as stringent with keeping everything historically correct when it comes to speech. I do use dialects occasionally because it adds flavor, immediately identifies a character, and helps with the setting. I believe that the reader needs to be comfortable reading, therefore I keep such things to a minimum.

Nothing is worse than being yanked from a story over words that you don’t understand or an odd sentence structure. Our language is a mix of several languages and has settled into some speech patterns that we never think about until we study a foreign one. That’s when we discover that our yellow bus is bus yellow in another language because they place the adjectives behind the noun instead of in front of it. If I wrote the way a certain character spoke, it would become a difficult read. But wait, I do that occasionally. Then I read it a million times to be certain that the character’s spoken words are easily understood. A little can go a long way, but constantly deciphering sentences can be distracting. A Rancher’s Woman is sprinkled with such speech patterns, as is A Rancher’s Dream, but most people comprehend the German word Ja and Spanish word Si for our word yes.

The other odd situation arises when attempting to write spoken words by our native tribe members. I haven’t looked closely at all the tribes, but the ones that I am using in my stories often struggled with our English language. It’s a fine line because I don’t want to portray them as being less intelligent. They weren’t. They lived, worked, played, hunted, married, and raised their children within their community. If they stepped outside that community, they were faced with people who spoke a different language.

Some did learn our language and very quickly! But to expect all of them to know and be fluent in our language is as ludicrous as saying everyone who lives in the states that border our Latino neighbors must know Spanish. Depending on the amount of contact with those people, they might or might not. There are also those who might understand what someone is saying, but can’t respond beyond a few words.

And remember when I said there are patterns in our language? We automatically use the past, future, and present tense, but what if there is no past, future, or present tense? It’s implied, depending on the situation. Such is the case with our many tribal languages. Anyone who has studied our American Sign Language instantly discovers that it, too, lacks those tenses.

The more contact between people, the more each learns. So an American Indian might have virtually no knowledge of English until his or her contact is continuous. In my fictional town of Creed’s Crossing, Wyoming, there are several instances where families are fluent in Crow or Lakota and the English language. But learning a new language can be a struggle for adults, yet amazingly children learn so quickly.

In the beginning of A Rancher’s Woman, the hero Many Feathers, barely speaks our language. But it doesn’t take him long to learn because he’s completely surrounded with English speaking people, and he wants to learn. By the end of that story, he’s fluent in English and can read and write it.

Rose who is also a Crow, had no command of English, nor any need to be trained. Then Malene, the heroine, came to visit. The only thing the women had in common was the fact that they were women and understood cooking, cleaning, and babies. I’m certain it didn’t take them long to learn each other’s language once Malene remained on the reservation. The bonds of friendship would encourage the need to converse.

That situation is still true today. My husband’s family spent a little over two years in Naples, Italy, when the US Navy stationed my father-in-law there. My husband, as a teen, came home fluent in Italian. His father never spoke a word of it because he was constantly with other Americans on base, and they lived in a military community. My mother-in-law did slightly better because she had grown up in a French Canadian family and spoke French, therefore she often understood the Italians, but again her contact was limited mostly to shopping in the area, and what she did learn pertained to food names, ingredients, and cooking. But my husband embraced the opportunity to be in a foreign country and learn another language. Outgoing, fun loving, and quick to make friends, he mixed with the local young people. Since he spoke French, he had no problem learning another romance language. By the time he returned home, he was fluent.

Our native people were not stupid even though they often were portrayed as such in old TV shows or movies. They didn’t wander around grunting words like ugg. And anyone who has ever been around a man with a wrench on a rusted lug nut has heard plenty of uggs, grunts, and quite often more colorful words. So it’s easy to see how these people were portrayed when they did hard manual labor. But what we fail to realize is that many of them not only spoke their language, but the languages of neighboring tribes, French because of the number of French trappers that dealt with the tribes for years before the English began to settle there, and then some English because they were placed on reservations and had to cope with English speaking agents who knew no other language and many times had no desire to learn.

Portraying our tribal, or any group of people, accurately and keeping the reader flowing through the story becomes a balancing act for the author and sometimes an editor. Many authors avoid the problem completely by pretending these people did not exist, or by showing them as completely fluent in English. Add one more piece into the puzzle – keeping things politically correct according to today’s standards. Huh? Not in what I write! I refuse to whitewash the truth.

Sometimes I get to giggling over reviews where my readers say my language is so clean, meaning no foul words, but it’s not unusual for my characters to curse. The difference is today we think nothing of the word darn, but in the late 1800’s, darn was not a polite word and tarnation was even worse! Although it was not on a par with the worst of the curse words today, it was still shocking. (One of the worst and most blasphemous was Dad!) And that brings up the question about some of today’s vulgar language. Did those words exist back then? Yes, but they were not in general use. There are several words today that are considered quite vulgar. But in the late 1800’s, they weren’t. If they were used, it was in normal conversation, and had to do with cattle breeding. It’s an interesting study. But foul words have almost always existed throughout time. And the curse words a man might utter back then when things went awry don’t raise an eyebrow today. That makes reading some novels rather funny when they use today’s curse words.

I will do my best to show things as they were and not as we’d like to think they were. I refuse to ignore the truth. I walk a thin line while writing. The desire to keep everything accurate, while allowing for comfortable reading, makes writing dialog a little challenging.

Today’s foul words were never used then as intensifiers. But I wonder what words will be tomorrow’s foul ones? What’s your favorite word when things go wrong?

A Visit with Sylvia Hubbard

How did you get started writing? According to my mother, I used to lie to her when I was young (about six years old)  and she would punishment me by making me write my lie down. I found that my lies look better on paper than verbally

What genre(s) do you write in and why? I love romance suspense. I love the HEA and then I love pushing people to their limits; not necessarily always in that order.

Tell us about your current book. Currently, I am promoting Tanner’s Devil. A street doctor, former prostitute trying to go legit, but falling in love the her john all the while trying to escape her last pimp who believes if he can’t have her no one will.

What move best describes your life?  Why? I’m bad on paper so I can be good in life.

What inspired your latest book? Putting together a street doctor and an English duke in the 21st century was a challenge. I love challenges.

What is your favorite part of writing? Plotting. Figuring out the problems I’ve caused for my characters and getting them out of the mess the only way they know how.

What is your least favorite part of writing? Not being able to type fast enough or not having enough time to write. If Only I had two more arms.

What is your next project and when will it be released? This year, I hope to come out with Beautiful. It’s about a woman who would do anything for a man to feel beautiful.

What is your typical day like? I get up and do as much of my social media as possible before going to work at a full-time job. I’m a single mom of three kids living in Detroit so that’s an all day responsibility. During the noon time, I write as much as possible. And then I’m a mom again. I blog during the afternoon and then write late at night before going to sleep and starting everything all over again.

How much time do you spend promoting your books?  What works best for you? At least two hours a day goes into some type of marketing for my books. Online or offline.

How has your experience with self-publishing been? I love it! I’m a control freak so independent publishing works well for me. I’ve been at this since 2000.

Where do you get the ideas for your stories? Everywhere actually. I’ve always been a what if kind of person and I want to press the boundaries of the human soul in my characters.

BIO

Detroit Author & Founder of Motown Writers Network, Sylvia Hubbard has published over 40 books on suspense romance.

As a happily divorced mother of three, Sylvia has received numerous awards and recognitions for her work such as the Spirit of Detroit from Detroit City Council and State of Michigan Governor’s Certificate of Tribute Emerging Minority Business Leader Award. She’s spoken all over the United States and Canada about independent publishing, social media, 21st Guide to Marketing for writers and authors, How Readers can make money promoting their favorite authors and even how to be a single mom.

Recognized as an avid blogger by HoneyTech Blogs, Ms. Hubbard runs over five blogs including How To Love A Black and has had five #1 Best Sellers on Amazon. Her current work is Tanner’s Devil and she has six books coming up in 2016, including four live stories on her website. http://sylviahubbard.com

 

Related websites:

www.SylviaHubbard.com

www.MotownWriters.com

www.HowToEBook.org

 

Social Media:

www.facebook.com/sylviahubbard

www.twitter.com/sylviahubbard1

www.instagram.com/sylviahubbard1

www.youtube.com/sylviahubbard1

www.periscope.tv/sylviahubbard1

www.snapchat.com/sylviahubbard

www.goodreads.com/sylviahubbard

www.amazon.com/author/sylviahubbard

Book Link

www.sylviahubbard.com/tannersdevil

www.sylviahubbard.com/beautiful

Heiress Bride by Cynthia Woolf

Here is an excerpt from my book HEIRESS BRIDE. It’s another fantastic book from the ONCE UPON A KISS boxset. Check out the blurb and a short excerpt below, then buy the box set from one of the links at the bottom of the excerpt. You can’t go wrong ten books, ten fantastic authors for one low price of  $0.99

HEIRESS BRIDE BLURB

Heiress Ella Davenport survived a carriage accident that killed her father.  Her life saved in exchange for savage scars marring her beautiful face.  Her friends, socialites, showed their true colors, casting Ella aside like damaged goods and leaving her a social pariah. Even her wealth can’t buy her the kind of marriage she wants. Desperate to find a husband who can accept her despite her scars and, without knowing about her money, she seeks to become a mail order bride.  Matchmaker & Co. is her one chance to start over and leave the pain and betrayal far behind her.

Nathan Ravenclaw was run out of town by the father of the girl he was courting once he discovered Nathan’s Arapaho heritage. It didn’t matter that Nathan was a successful rancher, businessman, and a positive member of society.  The white community suddenly saw only a half-breed. Even his money couldn’t buy him a wife. That was ten years ago.   He moved and rebuilt everything that cold rancher once took from him.  He has it all…except a wife.  Matchmaker & Company promises to send him a woman willing to start a new life with him.  But Nathan’s battered heart lacks the ability to trust. He longs for children, not romance.  His new bride, scarred and cast aside like himself, promises to be perfect for him.  Until he meets his mail order bride.  Fierce desire and an even more dangerous hope roar back to life within him.   Two things he swore never to indulge in again.

And love?  For these two battered souls, that’s the biggest risk of all

EXCERPT

She arrived in Denver on April 6, 1871.  A date she would forever remember as the start of her life.  It was almost like another birthday.

The weather was cold.  The wind rushed off the plains and collided with the mountains to the west, keeping the chill in the air.  The buildings weren’t as tall as in New York, but the wind still whistled between them and over the platform where she stood.  She was glad of her good wool coat and lined boots.  They kept her warm while she waited for Mr. Ravenclaw to find her.  There wasn’t anyone else wearing a veil so she didn’t think he’d have much problem identifying her.

She wasn’t really sure what she expected, but it wasn’t the tall, devastatingly handsome man that approached her.  He had a square jaw shaved clean and a tiny dimple in his chin.  Black eyebrows slashed over his eyes, the color of which was hidden by the shadow from his hat, pulled low on his head.  For once she was glad of her veil.  He wouldn’t be able to see her mouth hanging open, gawking at him.

“Miss Davenport?”

“Yes.  Are you Mr. Ravenclaw?”

“I am.”

Ella was surprised to find her hand trembled as she held it out to him.  “Ella Davenport.”

He removed his glove and enveloped her hand in his big one.  His fingers brushed the skin of her wrist just above her glove.  The tingle that traveled clear to her toes was unexpected and her gaze snapped up to his.  She looked up into the most beautiful blue eyes.  They seemed to question the chemistry between them as much as she did.

He held her hand for what seemed like a lifetime and they simply starred at each other.

“Miss Davenport….”

“Ella.  Please.”

“Ella.  I would like for you to lift your veil.”

“Are you sure you wish to do this in public.  It can be…shocking.”

“I’m sure.”  He squeezed her hand and then let go.

“Very well.”  She lifted the heavy lace, prepared for him to be taken aback by the ugliness of it.  She wasn’t prepared for him to lift his hand and gently trace the thin, putrid purple scar all the way from her left eye over her cheek and down her neck to the top of her collar.

There was no disdain on his face.  His blue eyes took in everything and accepted it, but even so he said the last thing she expected.

“You are a very beautiful woman.”

She stood there with her mouth open until he raised her chin with his knuckle.

“Why are you surprised?  Surely you have heard the compliment before.”

She shook her head to clear it and find her tongue.  “Not since the accident, except from my brother.  But he’s biased.  He loves me.”

“He but states the obvious.  Your scars do not detract from your beauty.”

“I must thank you because good manners dictate it.  However, I believe we should see about getting you some glasses.”

He laughed.  A rich, deep baritone.  “I’m glad you have a sense of humor.”

“Who was joking?”

Here are the buy links for ONCE UPON A KISS. Remember just 99 cents.

Amazon – http://a.co/8vk6CxX

Apple iBooks – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1195459460

Barnes & Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-historicals-presents-once-upon-a-kiss-laurel-odonnell/1125454182;jsessionid=268F4B199A6DFCB4EA51C96FD6C581F5.prodny_store01-atgap09?ean=2940154233863

KOBO – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/love-historicals-presents-once-upon-a-kiss

Angel’s Assassin by Laurel O’Donnell

Here is an excerpt from my book ANGEL’S ASSASSIN. It’s another fantastic book from the ONCE UPON A KISS boxset. Check out the blurb and a short excerpt below, then buy the box set from one of the links at the bottom of the excerpt. You can’t go wrong ten books, ten fantastic authors for one low price of  $0.99

Short blurb –

Damien is an assassin, a man with a tortured past. Sold into slavery, he is trained to kill. Lady Aurora of Acquitaine is the epitome of purity and goodness. When Damien enters Aurora’s life, tempting her with promises of forbidden lust, he threatens to tear her peaceful world apart.

Angel’s Assassin Excerpt –

Aurora climbed to her feet.

“Where is my sword?” Damien demanded, searching the forest floor.  He could not look at her.

“Here.”  It had been hidden beneath the flare of her dress when she was lying down.

Damien nodded in satisfaction.  He picked it up, pausing as he looked into her eyes.  They sparkled a pale blue in the moonlight.

Aurora stared at him for a long, pensive moment.  Then, she dipped her head in thought.  The furrows of her brow deepened as her gaze stopped at his thigh, lingering on his wound.  “How do you feel?” she asked.

“Well enough to see you back to your castle.”  He sheathed his weapon and took a step toward Acquitaine.

“Damien,” she called.

He hesitated.  He didn’t want her to fear him.  Would she condemn him now for his violence?  The silence stretched.  Finally, he turned to her and his breath caught in his throat.

She stood in middle of the forest, bathed in a pool of moonlight.  Her blonde hair, loose from any constraints, fell to her waist in thick waves.  Her back was straight, her tiny body alluring and curvy and delectable.  But it was her eyes that captured his attention.  He saw no fear in her eyes.  It was concern.  Had he mistaken fear for concern?

Damien had never felt such an overwhelming need for anything in his life.  He trembled with his want of her.

A swirl of emotions played over her face.  Concern, regret, helplessness.

It took all Damien’s willpower not to go to her and sweep her into his embrace.  He didn’t want to scare her.  He didn’t want to harm her.  He didn’t want to taint her.

“I will never leave you,” she finally confessed and tears entered her eyes.

Damien came toward her then, like a tumultuous storm cloud.  “You don’t know what you are saying,” he warned in a savage whisper.

Aurora did not run for cover; she did not shrink from his approach.  She stared up into his face with those damned clear orbs.  And for the briefest of moments, Damien saw himself reflected as she saw him.  A hero, a good man.  A man worthy of all he could attain.

He stood before her, stunned.

The sound of horses thundering through the clearing pounded a warning through the ground.

Damien grabbed Aurora’s hand in one hand, and drew his sword in the other.  He watched the group of men approach through the forest, clumsily maneuvering their steeds through the tight trees.  He pulled Aurora behind him.

These men were no brigands.  They wore heraldry, and while Damien couldn’t be sure, he suspected they were from Acquitaine.

As they drew closer, his suspicions were confirmed.  One of them called out, “Lady Aurora!”

Damien refused to relinquish her.  For just one moment, she had been his.  And it had been the most glorious moment of his life.

“Lady Aurora!” another called.

His time alone with her was over.

“I am here,” Aurora called out, a reluctance in her tone.

Four men came forward, three of whom wore red tunics with a white dove embroidered onto it, the symbol of Acquitaine.  But the leader wore a different crest.  A black lion on a white background.  He reached them first, reining his horse to a stop before them.  His blonde hair waved gently in the breeze.  His dark eyes swept them.  “Lady Aurora,” he gasped, dismounting.  He brushed his blonde hair aside and knelt before her.  Practiced, polished.  Fake.

Damien hated him on sight.

Aurora stiffened.  She released Damien’s hand and stepped toward the knight.  “Count Ormand,” she greeted.

Ormand stood and his gaze shifted to Damien with just the right disdainful curl of his lip, then back to Aurora.  “I came to rescue you as soon as I heard an attempt was made on your life.  Imagine my surprise at finding you gone.”

“We were attacked by an assassin.  Damien was struck by a poison arrow.”

One of Ormand’s eyebrows rose.  “Another assassin?”  He looked at Damien, then back at Aurora.  “Were you hurt, m’lady?”

“No,” she said.  “Damien saved me.  Again.”

Ormand looked at Damien.  “This must be the amazing Damien.”

Aurora nodded.  “Ormand, this is Damien.  Damien, this is Count Ormand.”

“I am Aurora’s betrothed,” Ormand stated with a slight lifting of his chin so he could stare down at Damien.

Betrothed.  The word rang in Damien’s head like a thunderous bell and his teeth clenched.  Betrothed.  Betrothed.  What did it matter?  But the word did not stop clanging in his thoughts.  Betrothed.

Ormand’s pompous stare swept Damien suspiciously from head to foot.  “Why is he half naked?  And what in heaven’s name were you doing out in the forest knowing that your life is in danger?”

Bio –

Award winning author Laurel O’Donnell lives in Illinois with her four cherished children, her beloved husband and her mischievous cats. She finds precious time every day to escape into the medieval world and bring her characters to life in her writing.

Here are the buy links for ONCE UPON A KISS. Remember just 99 cents.

Amazon – http://a.co/8vk6CxX

Apple iBooks – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1195459460

Barnes & Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-historicals-presents-once-upon-a-kiss-laurel-odonnell/1125454182;jsessionid=268F4B199A6DFCB4EA51C96FD6C581F5.prodny_store01-atgap09?ean=2940154233863

KOBO – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/love-historicals-presents-once-upon-a-kiss

The Prince’s Passion by Nancy Morse

Here is Nancy Morse’s excerpt from her book THE PRINCE’S PASSION. Another fantastic book from the ONCE UPON A KISS boxset. Check out the blurb and a short excerpt below, then buy the box set from one of the links at the bottom of the excerpt. You can’t go wrong ten books, ten fantastic authors for one low price of  $0.99

Blurb:

By secret decree, Nicholas Romanov, a prince of Imperial Russia, is next in line to the throne. Driven by dark passions and yearning for freedom, he has sworn to avenge the death of his father who led an ill-fated revolt against the Tsar and the murder of his mother who spurned the Tsar’s love. But the dangerous charade he plays is threatened by those who would stop at nothing to prevent him from reaching the throne, and by the fiery American beauty who teaches him that, without love, freedom is just an illusion.

What begins for Alana Welles as a capricious European holiday turns into a journey of deceit and betrayal, where friends become adversaries and misguided affections lead to heartbreak. From the blood-soaked sands of the Spanish bullring to the verdant English countryside, from the war-ravaged Crimea to glittering St. Petersburg, Alana follows her reckless heart into the arms of the handsome Russian prince whose secrets can topple an empire.

Excerpt:

“Leaving so soon?” Nicholas asked. He stepped in front of her, barring her path with his tall frame. “Tell me, what is your name?”

She answered with all the courtesy due royalty.

“Ah, the Senator’s daughter from America. If I am not mistaken, your room should be on the floor below this one. Are all Americans so lacking in direction? Or is it discretion?”

Alana’s blue eyes flared. “I told you, Your Highness, I lost my way.”

His green eyes sparkling brightly, he said with a laugh, “I assure you, Miss Welles, the title is as decorous as the uniform. I don both for special occasions. As you can see, my personal tastes are somewhat simpler.”

He had removed the jacket with the gold buttons and was dressed casually in a plain white cambric shirt that was opened to expose a chest of darkly curled hair. The black trousers tucked into the tops of well-worn riding boots and the wind-tossed look of his hair told her he’d just come back from an evening gallop. Without the garnishment of his uniform and jewel-studded scabbard, there was nothing to distract from his alarmingly good looks. That, and his disarming candor, threw Alana off her guard.

“Why do you dress like that, then?” she inquired.

“They have come to expect it to me.”

“And you oblige them?”

He shrugged elegantly. “Whenever I can.”

She began to grow uncomfortable beneath the heavy weight of his stare. Gathering her skirts in her hands, she brushed past him. “If you will excuse me, I’ve been gone far too long and I wouldn’t want Monica to worry.”

He stepped aside with a speculative look. “I see. But it is rather uncommon of you to care what others think, is it not?”

The accuracy of his remark took her back. “How would you know what is uncommon of me?”

With a cool but devastating smile, he replied, “Just a guess.”

Alana started for the door.

“Will you join me for a ride in the morning?”

His invitation sounded more like a command, causing her to bristle. Tersely, she replied, “I have promised someone else.” She saw no particular reason to tell him that she had already committed her morning to Ross.

“Perhaps you would consider changing your plans to accommodate me.”

She whirled to face him, indignation brimming in her blue eyes. “I realize you must be accustomed to having your way,” she said heatedly, “but in this case, I’m afraid you cannot.”

“Oh?” he ventured. “And is that a guess into my character?”

“Not at all,” she replied. “Your reputation has simply preceded you.”

She was almost blinded by his luminous smile “I will take that as a compliment.”

“It was not intended as one.” And with that, she swished past him out the door.

Here are the buy links for ONCE UPON A KISS. Remember just 99 cents.

Amazon – http://a.co/8vk6CxX

Apple iBooks – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1195459460

Barnes & Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-historicals-presents-once-upon-a-kiss-laurel-odonnell/1125454182;jsessionid=268F4B199A6DFCB4EA51C96FD6C581F5.prodny_store01-atgap09?ean=2940154233863

KOBO – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/love-historicals-presents-once-upon-a-kiss

A visit with Gina Danna

What genre(s) do you write in and why? I write Ancient Rome, Regency, Victorian and American Civil War

What inspired your latest book?  This book was inspired by the movie Sweet Home Alabama – I liked the twist of 2 heros for the heroine to choose and the viewer could find both men worthy, so her decision wasn’t set exactly.

What is your next project and when will it be released? The 2nd book in my Civil War series, called Unconditional Surrender

What is your favorite dessert/food? Anything with chocolate; make it dark chocolate and I’ll love it!

Do you have a view in your writing space?  What does your space look like?   My writing space is a nook built into my apartment with a computer desk and bookcase. Like this little nitch.

Do you prefer to read in the same genres you write in or do you avoid reading that genre? Why?  I like reading Regency and English Victorian but American Civil War & Rome I just can’t. These two are usually depicted poorly, not historically correct, especially the Civil War. I’m a historian by degrees and a Civil War reenactor, so it’s gotta be right.

What are you currently working on? Finishing my manuscript for Unconditional Surrender (Book 2 in Civil War series) and then plan to finish the 3rd book in my gladiator series (its about ½ written now)

When did you start writing toward publication?  I started seriously writing about 8 years ago, when my son went to college, giving me the time to devote to it.

 

What is your writing routine like? My writing routine is write as often as I can, even bringing my laptop to work to write on my breaks – not that I always can or do but that’s my goal.

Excerpt – This Love of Mine

“Capt’n!”

Before him, two of his men stumbled into the room, their hands holding a woman’s arms. She fell down, dragging Norm with her.

“Billy, whatever are you doing?” Where the hell had a woman come from? No doubt, one of the men snuck her aboard for whatever reason, though he could guess what. Or worse, she was a runaway who stole aboard to escape whatever issue plagued her—prostitution, irate father, poverty, drunkard, or many more excuses.

“Found ’er in the hold, sir, hidin’,” the taller, bulkier pirate sputtered.

He gave her a look-over, a little deeper than previous. She was petite just in comparing her size to Norm, who was one of the shorter pirates aboard the Equuleus’s crew. Definitely young, her skin was ivory white and her golden sable mane looked as if it had been coiffed up at one point during her voyage, but now, long locks of curls escaped the few hairpins’ hold. Her gown, a striped blue and white garment, held tears and stains of a harsh life but it’s silk material made him wonder if she wasn’t some kept courtesan with a brutal lover she escaped from. Her brilliant blue sapphire eyes stared at him with no hesitation or fear, which surprised him and instantly made him decide she must be a runaway. With a deep inner breath, he would have to correct her plans, for stealing onto a pirate ship was the worst choice a woman could make.

“Who might I be addressing here? Miss….?”

His addressing her seemed to snap her into her position now and she struggle to free herself of the two men. He motioned to them to let her go and once they did, she bounced to her feet—her bare feet.

She stood, glaring at him, anger and frustration reflected in her gaze but somehow, he didn’t think it was necessarily at him. If nothing more, his attraction to this waif was growing, for she didn’t appear the slightest concern at being on a pirate ship.

“The question, dear captain, should be who are you?” She glanced back at her escorts. “To call me to your ship, only to throw me into the grasp of your underlings.”

A visit with Wanda Ann Thomas

How did you get started writing?

Two books were milestones for me prior to my taking up writing. Pride and Prejudice introduced me to the world of historical romance. I was always drawn to historical novels, but adding a romance totally enchanted me. Julia Quinn and Mary Balog books are on my keeper shelf. In my search for historical fiction containing a great love story, I eventually stumbled onto Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. I loved, loved, loved Jamie and Claire, and they provided the inspiration for me to try my hand at writing.  As an odd juxtaposition, I had also read the works of the ancient historian Josephus, and fascinated by that time period I wrote several Christian Fiction/Romance hybrid books. Once I had honed my writing skills I published a three-book series – The Herod Chronicles.

The time period limited my word choices, but stretched me as a writer. Most clichéd phrases and similes are too modern to work in ancient times, which forced me to be creative. The Herod Chronicles is a family drama, and I learned I enjoyed creating a world centered around the love, joys, trials, and tribulations of a dynamic family. The experience also taught me that I enjoyed writing the romance more than the history.

 

Tell us about your current series.

When I decided to write Sweet Historical Westerns I knew I wanted to write romance focused stories. I centered the series around a family of adopted brothers struggle to carry on the legacy of operating a cattle ranch dedicated to rescuing homeless boys.  The cowboy heroes of the Brides of Sweet Creek Ranch have been fun to write.  The tone of these books is lighter, a change that is a better fit for me.

 

What genre do you write in and why?

I love writing historical romance for the same reason I love reading it.  The chance to escape into past worlds, with larger-than-life heroes and heroines finding their happily ever after.  If I ever venture outside writing historical romance, the only genre that holds any appeal is a post apoplectic / syfy story.  Which makes a strange sort of sense, as it is an escape into a future world of limitless possibilities.

Excerpt – The Mail-order Bride Carries a Gun – Book One Brides of Sweet Creek Ranch

Ella jumped at the knock on the plain wooden door. The tinkle of out-of-tune piano music drifted up from the saloon. She smoothed the wrinkles of her blue woolen dress. “Come in,” she called, her voice too shaky for her liking.

Ty Haven ducked through the door and removed his hat. Sandy-blond bangs slid over dark perfect eyebrows. “Miss Hunter…ma’am, may I call you Ella?”

Good glory, a justice of the peace was waiting below to make them man and wife. Ty Haven would be her husband before the next song on the piano faded. How was she going to marry the man who killed Johnny? “Call me any name you like, Mr. Haven.”

“Call me Ty, ma’am…um I mean Miss Ella.” A slash of red showed on strong cheekbones and he held out a box tied with a rose ribbon. “A wedding present.”

She backed up and bumped into the narrow bed. Ty Haven’s towering presence stole her breath. “You didn’t need to do anything special.” Heart pounding in her ears, she ran her fingers over the smooth satin bow.

She stared into Ty Haven’s golden-brown eyes for the telltale signs of the man she’d seen twenty years ago. She wanted to snatch up her journal and compare the photo pasted inside with the man standing before her. Could this man who took in homeless boys be the same person who had murdered Johnny?

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

What was wrong? She was attracted to a no-good Yankee devil, and sweating like a thousand-pound hog, and her brain was in danger of turning to mush. She didn’t come to Wyoming Territory for pretty presents. She was here to take back Johnny’s saber.

She shoved the box at Ty Haven. “Are you prepared to uphold our agreement?”

His eyes clouded. “A man doesn’t forget a small matter like agreeing to not consummate his marriage on his wedding night.”

Author Bio

Wanda Ann Thomas is the author of Sweet Historical Western Romances and Historical Christian Fiction. She adores heart-felt love stories, featuring honorable heroes and courageous heroines. Men and women who will brave any danger for loved ones and who struggle against overwhelming obstacles to win their happily ever after.

A native of Maine, Wanda starts each day bright and early at her computer writing and drinking coffee. When the weather allows she and her husband average three rounds of golf a week. She confesses to being overly fond of chocolate chips cookies, winter vacations spent in sunny Florida, and her large boisterous family.

Author Website

www.WandaAnnThomas.com

Amazon Author Page

http://dld.bz/Bookpage

 

The Sweet Taste of Love by Anna Markland

The Sweet Taste of Love is by Anna Markland. Here are the blurb and excerpt for your enjoyment. It’s another fantastic book from the ONCE UPON A KISS boxset. Check out the blurb and a short excerpt below, then buy the box set from one of the links at the bottom of the excerpt. You can’t go wrong ten books, ten fantastic authors for one low price of  $0.99

Blurb:

 Bound by guilt, freed by love

Riddled with guilt after the drowning deaths of his parents, Aidan FitzRam takes himself off to Lindisfarne in Northumbria, determined to atone. He immerses himself in caring for the bees essential to the production of mead the abbey is known for.

Nolana Kyncade is a Scot fleeing the tyranny of a cruel stepfather when she bumps into Aidan at the market.

Smitten with her, Aidan quickly realizes that he is not cut out to be a monk.  But her stepfather intends to marry her to an older man who will pay handsomely for the privilege.

 

Excerpt:

Aidan was ready to collapse with fatigue. He had never been a lethargic man. His mother had often complained he had too much energy. He and Blythe had on occasion led their parents a merry dance when they were growing up. What he wouldn’t give now for a scolding glance from his mother.

He raked his fingers through his hair and leaned back against the wooden frame of the stall, brushing away the horseflies drawn by the honey. What would it be like once he was tonsured? His hair had always been long, dark like his father’s.

Memories of his parents filled his head. A lifetime would not be enough to atone for the manner of their deaths. Their bodies had never been recovered. His father’s long-held desire to be interred alongside his father in the crypt at Montbryce would not be fulfilled.

A shuddering breath caught in his throat. He eyed the containers of mead, estimating how much longer they would remain in the crowded marketplace. His sandaled feet were caked with dust, his throat bone dry. Idly wondering how he might filch a sip of the precious mead without the Abbot noticing, he closed his eyes, absorbing the sounds of commerce around him.

A fly buzzed in his face. He swatted at it and forced one eye open. A young woman was walking to the haberdashery stall across the way. At least, he thought she was a young woman. How odd to be shrouded by a playd on such a warm day. But her bearing and figure bespoke a young person. He stood up straight to get a better view. Her garb indicated she was a Scot, but not a lowlander, and not a person of low birth. Her léine had been dyed saffron. She reached out to finger the colored ribbons hanging from the crossbeam, glancing around furtively, drawing the brown playd further over her head.

She’s afraid.

His gut clenched. When she turned to look directly at him, her obvious nervousness did nothing to detract from her loveliness. His mouth fell open. She turned back to the stall, reaching up to point to a particular ribbon. The merchant handed it to her. She raised her arms. The playd fell to her shoulders, revealing the flame red bounty of her hair. Aidan’s breath caught in his throat. For once he was glad of the shapeless robe. His erection was a rod of iron.

She replaced the shawl quickly and paid for the ribbon. Four or five armed men came into view, sauntering through the market. He did not recognize the devise they bore on their tunics. The woman lowered her head, turned away and hastened in the direction of the stall selling mead.

Jesu! She’s coming this way!

Here are the buy links for ONCE UPON A KISS. Remember just 99 cents.

Amazon – http://a.co/8vk6CxX

Apple iBooks – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1195459460

Barnes & Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-historicals-presents-once-upon-a-kiss-laurel-odonnell/1125454182;jsessionid=268F4B199A6DFCB4EA51C96FD6C581F5.prodny_store01-atgap09?ean=2940154233863

KOBO – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/love-historicals-presents-once-upon-a-kiss

An Interview with Dorothy Callahan

What genre(s) do you write in and why? I tend to write in many genres, since the stories demanding to be told don’t care! So far, I can throw my hat into the rings of contemporary, time travel, paranormal and I’m also tweaking a young adult trilogy.

What is your favorite part of writing? Oh, I love writing myself into a corner and then trying to figure out how my characters are going to save the day with only seconds left to save themselves. It’s the ultimate brain-strain and I seriously get a rush when the solution comes to me. Oh! Oh! I know what happens next! Yeah. That’s me.

What is your least favorite part of writing? It’s not my least favorite, but it’s definitely the hardest part, and it’s marketing and advertising. Hard work! Whew!

Where do you get the ideas for your stories? Oh, dear, they honestly come from everywhere. Some are literally from dreams I’ve had, while others have been prompted by newspaper articles. Sometimes it’s a minor character who has caught my attention, and then suddenly I’m trying to figure out who that person is and what they need and who the heck is the perfect match? I don’t seem to lack for ideas; the more I write, the more I want the ideas to gel with the perfect person.

What advice do you have for other authors wanting to self-publish? Make sure your book is really publisher-ready. Get a professional cover. Hire proofreaders and editors to make sure the story makes sense. Run it by critique partners to make sure the story is coherent. And give yourself plenty of time to learn the ins and outs of the industry.

Do you have critique partners?  Absolutely! I have the two best CPs around. Laurie Gifford Adams, author of YAs, and Lorraine Lander, author of MGs, are my peeps. Seems like a weird combination, since I write romance, but our strengths are such that we can take a story down to a microscopic level and it still works.

Was your road to publication fraught with peril or a walk in the park? It was like crossing the Sahara with two twisted ankles and blistering with sunburn and having only a test tube of water to keep me alive while being chased by poisonous scorpions and then falling down and landing on a cactus. Yeah.

Give us an elevator pitch for your book. Is it possible to forgive and trust the only man who ever shattered you?

Tell us about your hero.  Give us one of his strengths and one of his weaknesses. Matteu MacKenzie is a hot Scottish bagpipe player, a Master Piper for a fictitious traveling band. He is crazy talented and super driven to accomplish his goals, but they always came at the cost of choosing his music over Cora. Now that he’s accomplished his goals, he assumes she’ll forgive him and take him back.

Tell us a little about yourself and your latest book.  I’ve worked with animals in many capacities in my life, and knew I wanted to write about a veterinarian someday. My newest release, Ever Since, happens concurrently with Crazy Little Fling, but they are both standalone novels. In Crazy Little Fling, the veterinarian, Carla, goes on her dream vacation, but something bad happens to her technician, Cora, while she’s gone. So Cora goes home for the Christmas break and finds her family playing the matchmaker with Matty, the man who broke her heart. They have until the ball drops on New Year’s Eve to make the relationship work, or say goodbye forever.

Here’s an excerpt from EVER SINCE:

Matty accepted a plate from Nana and scooped up his slice of lasagna, his full attention on Cora, though she thought she did a credible job of pretending he didn’t exist, even going as far as to suggest some great colleges for her younger cousin to consider, throwing herself fully into the conversation.

But her cousin took one look at Matty’s glower and pushed out of his seat. “Cousin Matty! Here, take my seat. I’ll go sit with my brother.”

“How verra kind of ye, lad.” He set down his plate to her right and almost sat before stepping back into the kitchen.

The sisters exchanged glances. Cora whispered to Sherry, “Was it something I said?”

They chuckled and focused on their meal when Matty returned to her side, holding a sandwich plate with two slices of bread, one lightly buttered and one heavily.

“With a sprinkle of sugar, just the way ye like it,” he said, pointing to the barely-buttered one as he placed it between them.

Sherry audibly sighed.

Cora impaled her with a deadly stare. Not a peep for fourteen months, and his first words to her were about sprinkled sugar? No greeting, no apology, just a snippet that would ensure any of her family would believe he’d never left her side.

Cora seethed at his assumption that she’d blindly play along.

 

About the Author

Dorothy Callahan is one of those authors who annoys other authors by refusing to be tied down to one genre. If a tale demands to be told—even if she’s never read a single story like it—she’ll find a way to write the book of her heart. This is the only way to quiet those demanding characters begging to be heard.

She lives in New York with her wonderful husband, a pride of demanding cats, and two loyal dogs, all rescued from shelters (well, not the husband). Her love of both animals and writing prompted her to start READ AND RESCUE, an organization where animal-loving authors and readers can find one another. The unique aspect to this group is that each author pledges a portion of proceeds to his/her favorite animal cause.

When Dorothy is not writing, she and her husband enjoy shopping for antiques and renovating their pre-Civil War house. If you are interested in learning more about Dorothy or how to help other animals in need, please visit her at dorothycallahan.com, dorothycallahanauthor@gmail.com, Facebook at Dorothy Callahan Author, or Twitter @Callahanauthor.

 

Thank you, Cindy, for letting me join you today. I had a great time hanging out, and hope you did, too. Happy New Year, and happy reading!