Good Morning, Booklovers!
I'm happy to welcome a new to me author this morning, Kathryn Jane, with her recent release, Voices, a romantic paranormal suspense novel.
May I pour you a cup of coffee?
KATHRYN: I used to love coffee ice cold with lots of milk and a dash of chocolate… Now, due to allergies, I drink water laced with Jell-O, (think Kool-Aid on steroids). Unique. Well there’s that allergy thing. I live on a bizarre diet of white. The only naturally colored food I can eat is Zucchini.
Ally: What a difficult allergy to have. I don't think I've been asked for that particular drink before, but my magic pot can do anything. :) We'll have something conjured up in a second. In the meantime, please go ahead and show readers your bio.
Ally: I'd love to hear a little bit about your writing: genre, number of books.
KATHRYN: When I sat down to write my first book, it was going to be a mystery. But a romance showed up. All my books since then have been mystery/romance/suspense/adventure. Or as I like to call them, Romantic Suspense with a side order of psychic abilities.
VOICES is the seventh book I’ve written, but the fourth to be published. The other three are still works in progress J
Ally: Tell us about the protagonist of Voices. What are her best and worst qualities?
KATHRYN: Rachel is extremely caring and will stick her neck out for other people and for animals, but growing up in a state of constant uncertainty she doesn’t trust anyone completely—not even the man she fell desperately in love with. After running out on her marriage and vanishing for what she thought were noble reasons, she’s forced to go back to Quinn when she becomes overwhelmed by the Voices.
Ally: Do you believe that real supernatural events happen? Have you experienced any?
KATHRYN: Yes, I believe. I've experienced lots of things, not that I'd call them events. One of my favorites was a visit from a friend who'd died in a plane crash. She came to me in a dream, gave me a huge hug, then said she couldn't stay. She had to leave, but she needed me to get on with publishing my book—she'd read the manuscript only days before her death and loved it. I haven't published that one yet, but I dedicated the first one I did publish to my friend Anne.
Ally: What makes your hero appealing?
KATHRYN: He's the glue that holds his family and his clients together. He can fix all the relationships but his own. He knows how to forgive.
Ally: a few quick answer questions.
- Do soul mates exist? Yes
- favorite type of jewelry: anything with gold and diamonds or turquoise or aquamarine or…
- favorite comfort food: used to be tomato soup and grilled cheese in my head, now it’s toast :)
- your last vacation destination: San Antonio, Texas
- an item on your bucket list: To visit my heritage, Scotland and the East Coast of Canada
Ally: Thank you for visiting the blog, Kathryn. Please come back again! Before you go, we'd love to know more about your book, especially where to find it! :)
She’s desperate to stop a killer….
Rachel Meyers has been on the run long enough—hiding from more than just death. But now the murders happening around her are forcing her to take a stand and the only person she can trust to help is the man she ran away from. Her husband.
He’s desperate to have his wife back….
Quinn Meyers has spent two years searching for Rachel. Now she’s back, scared and asking for help. But Quinn wants answers. Helping her is a given, he won’t say no, but he also won’t let her go again. Not without a fight.
Quinn’s body still aches for Rachel, even though he’s guarded his heart since the day she left. Her continued secrecy is tearing apart any hope of saving their marriage. But more than love is at stake if Quinn and Rachel can’t find the killer.
Kindle Buy Link:
Thanks for stopping by! Come back soon.
Good Morning, Booklovers! While I'm frantically writing the final draft of Eternal Fires (Guardian Witch #7), determined to get it submitted before Christmas, I've placed today's blog in the capable hands of author Angela Myers, who's going to tell you the intriguing story behind her novelette, The Will to Love. Take is away, Angela...
First I have to tell you something about my mother and father. They met during World War II when my father, not quite 21, followed the oil from Texas to Illinois. My mother, just 17, worked in a restaurant where he sometimes ate. Two weeks after their first date, he asked her to marry him. Two weeks later, they were married. They were husband and wife for nearly 65 years before my father died.
About a year after my father passed away, my mother moved from Florida, where the two of them had settled after he retired, back to Illinois to live near me. Another year, and we learned she had Lewy body dementia. (You can read about that on my blog at http://www.angelaparsonmyers.blogspot.com. See the entry called My Mother’s Mirrors.) In another year, she was dead.
We spent a lot of time together during those last two years. One day I picked her up in my new black car to take her out to dinner. She looked it over and said, “(Man’s given name) always bought black cars. A new one every year. His parents were rich, you know.”
I’d heard about (Man’s given name) before—she dated him off and on before she met my father. But for some reason, maybe because she died not long after, it stuck with me this time. About a year after she died, I dreamed a good bit of the plot of this novelette—the will, the mansion, the paintings, the dogs, the love interest… I thought about it a couple of weeks. It seemed like a sign. After all, my novel, When the Moon Is Gibbous and Waxing, started with a dream. But it seemed like a romance, and I don’t write romance. I write urban fantasy. So I called my daughter, Katriena Knights. She has a long string of romances to her credit, including an Amazon contemporary romance best-seller, Where There’s a Will.
She listened politely, but she was all wrapped up in hockey-playing vampire erotica, so she didn’t do anything with the story. Then, after about another year, I dreamed the title.
I had to write the story.
My novelette, The Will to Love, is now available from Amazon.com. The e-book can be purchased for only $2.99 at http://www.amazon.com/Will-Love-Angela-Parson-Myers-ebook/dp/B00KRQ3EG4/, and it’s also available as a paperback.
Amada Payne is a struggling artist in Central Illinois. When her family’s lawyer calls to tell her a man she knew only by name has left her a mansion, a ranch, and a fortune in Texas, she thinks it’s a mistake. She doesn’t know that her benefactor’s ghost and the spirit of her dead grandmother are conspiring to fulfill the destiny they set in motion nearly 50 years ago.
A modern-day Cinderella story with a fairy godmother who’s a dead Texas oilman, a handsome prince who’s very much alive, and rattlesnakes.
Thanks for visiting the blog today!
Exhausted from shopping? Put up your feet and read a good mystery with a touch of romance. With Wink of an Eye, author Lynn Chandler Willis is the first woman in ten years to win the St. Martin's Press/PWA Best 1st PI Novel competition.
When twelve-year old Tatum McCallen finds his father, a deputy sheriff, hanging from a tree in their west Texas backyard, he sets out to restore his dad's honor and prove he didn't kill himself. Tatum and his disabled grandfather hire Private Investigator Gypsy Moran, who has his own set of problems--like a double-cross that sent him fleeing Vegas in the middle of the night.
Gypsy agrees to help the kid because he feels sorry for him. When Tatum shows Gypsy his dad's private file, the PI knows the kid's father was on to something when he died. Eight missing girls, a cowardly sheriff, and undocumented workers are all connected to the K-Bar Ranch.
Gypsy is quite familiar with the K-Bar. He spent his summers as a teenager working there and romancing the owner's beautiful daughter Claire. Now married to a state senator, Claire is managing the ranch and is more involved with the case Tatum's father was investigating than Gypsy wants to admit.
Aided by adolescent Tatum and a sexy female reporter, Gypsy begins pulling the pieces of the puzzle together, but it could end up costing him his life. Or worse—Tatum's life.
B & N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wink-of-an-eye-lynn-chandler-willis/1118174098?ean=9781250053190
“My father didn’t kill himself.” The kid’s voice crackled with pubescent hormones. But other than the wavering voice, he had an unflinching determination. It was the third time he’d made the statement since showing up at my sister’s house this morning.
The kid was twelve, and staring at me through a clump of blond hair that fell over his right eye. He was in dire need of a haircut. But I’m not the fashion police so it didn’t matter to me if he got one or not.
“Look… Tatum, sometimes we don’t always understand why people do the things they do.” My own voice was scratchy from morning grogginess.
“He didn’t kill himself.” That was number four. Not that I was counting.
“Gypsy—can’t you just hear him out?” My sister, Rhonda, asked. She joined me and the kid at her kitchen table.
It was 8:00 A.M. I was functioning on two hours’ sleep after an eighteen-hour drive. Plus, I was still on my first cup of coffee.
“There’s a lot more to it than just Ryce’s death,” Rhonda said.
“My dad,” the kid said. “Ryce McCallen. And he didn’t kill himself.”
“I meant to call you a couple weeks ago when Tatum told me about everything that had happened,” Rhonda said. “And then when you showed up on my doorstep this morning at four-thirty, I thought, wow, divine intervention.” She gnawed on her bottom lip, a habit she’d picked up during our messed-up childhood. It meant she wasn’t sure. I’d think twice, too, before considering my presence divine intervention.
“Look, kid. I hate that your dad’s dead. But I don’t know what you want me to do about it.”
“You’re a private investigator. I want you to prove he was murdered.”
Sure. And after that, I’d look into something simple like JFK’s assassination. I scratched my chin, the morning stubble pricking my hand. Maybe I should have stayed in Vegas. There, people just wanted me dead. They didn’t want me to actually work. “Homicide investigations are complicated. They’re not easy to—”
“I have detailed notes.”
Of course he did.
“Plus, I have the files of the cases he was working when he died.”
I hated to ask but curiosity got the better of me. “What cases?”
“The eight missing girls.”
I scratched my chin again. “Why didn’t he just turn it over to the police?”
“He was the police.” He rolled his eyes, an annoying rite of passage at his age.
Rhonda jumped in to defend the eye-rolling action. “He told you all this. It was before the coffee.” She nodded quickly, like that made everything okay.
I was drawing a blank. “Refresh my memory so I’ll feel better about saying no.”
Tatum scooted his chair closer. “My dad was a deputy with the Winkler County Sheriff’s Department. Back in the spring, my friend told me about her sister and how she’d gone missing. I told my dad about it and he started his own investigation, outside the department.”
“Why didn’t he go through the proper channels?”
He and Rhonda glanced at one another like they were sharing a secret. “He didn’t trust them.”
A paranoid cop who commits suicide. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that unusual. “And you think this is related to your dad’s death?”
“My dad didn’t hang himself. He would never have left me like that.”
I never thought my dad would leave of his own accord, either, but he did. Packed a bag and walked out. Just like that. In that respect, I could relate to this kid. “Look, Tatum, we don’t always know what’s going on in someone’s head.” I tapped my finger against my temple for illustration purposes.
“If he wanted to kill himself, why didn’t he swallow a bullet like most cops would do? Why’d he hang himself?”
The kid had a point. I needed more coffee. I pulled myself up and slowly moved to the coffeepot on the counter. After pouring a fresh cup, I stood there a moment staring out the window of the house I grew up in. The house, and the care of our eighty-year-old grandmother, now belonged to Rhonda and her husband, Rodney. My mother lived a maintenance-free life in a condo in Kermit when she wasn’t working at the hospital; my father was who knows where. We weren’t so unusual. Still, I left Wink, Texas twenty years ago with no intention of ever coming back. And yesterday, or was it the day before—hell, I’d lost track of time—I left Vegas and probably shouldn’t go back. Not if I enjoyed living.
“Gypsy?” Rhonda’s voice reminded me I wasn’t alone in the kitchen. At thirty-six, she was two years younger than me and as far as kid sisters go, she was a keeper. She avoided trouble like the plague, volunteered at the adult enrichment center, and taught math to hardheaded know-it-all sixth graders like Tatum at Wink Elementary as a career choice. And some called me stupid for going into the private investigation field.
I took my coffee to the table and resumed my position of avoidance. “Look, Tatum, I don’t know how long I’m going to be here. I’m kind of on vacation,” I lied.
“We’ll pay you.” He obviously didn’t understand the concept of a vacation.
“Tatum lives with his grandfather. It’s just the two of them now,” Rhonda said, giving me that look that said there was more to this story and she’d explain later.
I didn’t care if the kid lived with a tribe of pygmies. I had my own problems. I didn’t know if I was even going to be alive tomorrow. I had issues with committing to anything other than lunch plans.
It's time for our weekly book talk!
DL Richardson is with us today and has brought her brand new boxed set, Curious, and is offering a Giveaway!
Welcome, Debbie, can I pour you some coffee?
DL: Absolutely! Single shot, black, with one sugar.
Ally: Although you've visited with us before, please remind us and introduce new readers to your biography.
Music first captured the creative interest of D L Richardson. She got her first acoustic guitar at age ten, and in high school she sang with the school band. When she left school she helped form her own rock band where she sang lead vocals, played bass guitar, and wrote all the lyrics. At age 26 she realized she wanted to write novels for the rest of her life, or die trying, so she sold her equipment, quit pursuing a music career and began writing instead. She’s had two young adult novels published and is currently pitching a third and writing a fourth. She lives in Australia on the NSW South Coast with her husband and dog. When she’s not writing or reading she can be found practicing her piano, playing the guitar or walking the dog.
Author contact links:
Ally: Now that we have our coffee, let's move straight to the questions. Why did you decide to do a three book boxed set?
DL: The first two novels The Bird with The Broken Wing and Feedback were published through a small-press publisher. I’ve always liked the idea of having a publisher because a) it’s what I’ve worked towards for so many years, and b) they can provides avenues otherwise closed to self-published authors. However, if that publisher is unwilling to do anything with the books other than slapping the covers onto the online sites, then they’re not doing me any favors. My third book, Little Red Gem, was self-published. Suddenly I had all the control. I could do so much more – discount the price, change the blurb, change the category/tags/metadata. The rights to my first two novels reverted to me a few months ago. It was both a sad and happy occasion. Sad in that I’m no longer published with a publisher. Happy in that I can take what I’ve learned and do what I do best – grab that ball and run for the goal. The books needed new covers, new blurbs, new categories in Amazon. And because these were effectively re-hashes i.e not new, I decided to do something altogether “new” and bundle them together. It’s also a great way to showcase my work for the same price as buying one book.
Ally: I admire how you bounced back and tried something new. How did you choose the name Curious?
DL: I have to confess that my writing distraction is the online character quizzes. You know the ones: Which mythological character are you?; Which city should you actually live in?; What is your ideal career? If you haven’t done one of these quizzes yet you might like to try one. Here’s the link. http://www.buzzfeed.com/quizzes Be warned, you might become addicted like me.
Anyway, my “ideal career” happened to be Writer. I breathed a sigh of relief. Nothing worse than putting years into something that, according to an online quiz, I’m not suited to. The quiz answers give you fun profile snippets, and one of those fun facts for a writer was “you are curious”. I totally agree that a writer needs to be curious. I also totally believe that a reader needs to be equally as curious. So I chose Curious as the title.
This book is like a bridge between myself as a curious writer and those curious readers out there. Two lines from the first review captured my attention: “My favorite book was …” “The only reason this wasn’t my favorite was…” As an author, having a reader/reviewer wrestling to choose which of these stories are their favorite, is like me holding out my hand for a reader to cross the bridge into my world and they’ve taken it. I hope readers are curious enough to pick up this book and give it a go.
ALly: Are the characters in the three stories related or are these standalones?
DL: All three stories in Curious are standalones and none of the characters cross over into other books. There is a common theme, though. I write speculative fiction, and much of what I write features a supernatural element, predominantly the afterlife. When I look at these three books in this bundle that theme is really noticeable. I’m not sure what it says about me. Am I curious about what happens after we die? Or am I wishing for a second chance to do life over again?
Ally: What are you working on next?
DL: I’m working on my first series. It’s an apocalyptic story combining virtual reality and video games. The three main characters are Jack and Kelly who are brother and sister, and Ben who is Kelly’s boyfriend and Jack’s best friend. There’s friction as well as closeness as they work together to survive inside this apocalyptic environment. Book One is with a publisher on their To Read pile. I have to check back in the new year to hear if they will take this project on or not. In the meantime I’m writing Book Two. I’ve written the overview for the entire series and all up there will be four or five books. Thankfully I’ve gotten faster and better at writing and I can now complete each 120k book in about four months. That’s my 2015 writing calendar filled.
Quick answer questions:
Ally: Now I'd love to have a look at your first boxed set...
- a. favorite Christmas song: All I Want For Christmas Is You
- b. last Christmas movie you watched: Probably Santa Claus 3. At the moment they’re playing cartoon animation Christmas movies and I’m not so much into them. What I do watch every Christmas is the stop-motion movies made my Rankin/Bass Productions. I happily own Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Santa Claus is Coming To Town, and Little Drummer Boy. For years they weren’t available to own and they stopped playing them on TV in favor of Disney/Pixar productions. Finally they released them on DVD and I had a very merry Christmas that year. Sorry that not a quick answer.
- c. Do you make New Year's resolutions? Always. Never. As in I always make them and never keep them. haha
- d. If you could spend the holidays anywhere, where would that be? I’m dreaming of a white Christmas. No joke, we have blazing-hot, melt-your-makeup weather in Australia on Christmas day. The Richardson’s Christmas lunch is shrimp and champagne on the river in our little boat. Yet we watch all the Christmas movies with snow, turkey, roaring fires. I’d like to experience that one year.
- e. One thing Santa always puts in your stocking. A book. This year it’s Marian Keyes’ latest novel The Woman Who Stole My Life.
Book blurb: Three full length novels in one supernatural collection. In THE BIRD WITH THE BROKEN WING, a guardian angel finds herself trapped in Purgatory with a young soldier she was assigned to watch over. She knows the terrible secret that's keeping him trapped in limbo, but can't understand why she's stuck with him.
In FEEDBACK, three teenagers receive the organs of a deceased CIA agent and take on the task of completing the mission the spy died midway through, that of deactivating bacteria bombs threatening millions of lives.
In LITTLE RED GEM, bad advice from a ghost, magic courtesy of an unsuspecting half-sister, and a televised music talent show see this teen make more of a mess in death than she ever made in life.
That's over 500 pages of action, drama, adventure, teen issues, and romance in one unputdownable book.
Buy Link (Amazon only):
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00O7GQRLY
Enter the Curious Blog Tour Giveaway!
Thanks for stopping by today! Come back soon...
Communication is key in war. And I don't mean among the armed forces on both sides of the conflict. I refer to the soldiers and their families, between those behind enemy lines and those on the home front. Long before the days of email and text messages, there were letters and newspapers.
To keep the lines of communications open between families and soldiers in World War 1, to give hope to those in occupied Belgium and Northern France, brave men and women had to step forward. The Germans promised to deal with these couriers 'severely.' And records indicate that some were executed. But who were the leaders?
Legend has it that a priest set up a underground letter carrier service after one of his parishioners witnessed a courier trying to extort money from an old woman in exchange for a letter from her son. When the old woman couldn't pay the outrageous fees, the letter was torn up in front of her eyes. When Father de Moor and Belgian businessman Van Doren set up their postal service, letters were carried for free.
But that wasn't the only lines of communications these two men opened. Beginning in 1915, they along with an editor named Jourdain started an underground newspaper called La Libre Belgique (The Free Belgium). Despite offering a reward of 50,000 francs for their capture, the Germans remained ignorant of their identities. The paper ceased publication on the day King Alfred rode into Brussels in November, 1918.
More than news and ideas, these gentlemen and their cadre of workers delivered hope to a people in need of it. And hope is the most precious gift this time of year. We spread it through so many little ways but the most important way is to let someone know either by letter, email, or card that you are thinking about them. How do you let those in your life know they are important?
This blurb is from one of two of my Christmas releases. Hans had been on his own for years now and the gift he's about to receive is worth more than anything, but gaining it won't be easy.
Hans Lubeck lost his birthright to a woman's deceitful games. Ten years later, he's on the cusp of fulfilling his dream of captaining his own ship. And another woman could jeopardize everything.
Schoolteacher Lenore Kerrigan devotes her time to her pupils and good works. She has no use for a man or the damage he could do to her reputation.
But this holiday season, fate and an island of matchmakers have other plans. Will they accept the gift of a lifetime, or will the past steal away any chance at happiness?
A Gift from the Author, Linda Andrews: As my holiday gift to you, the first book in the series, Hearts in Barbed Wire, is free until November 30, 2014. Only on amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Hearts-Barbed-Wire-Historical-Romance-ebook/dp/B00J4YICBW/
From our house to yours...
INTRODUCTION BY THE AUTHORS:
Authors of Main Street is a well known contemporary romance author group. All with very different voices and with books that are neither too hot nor too sweet, they appeal to the average person. Each author is a known best-selling author. The various members of the Authors of Main Street have collected some of the highest awards in the romance genre, and it’s not unusual to see one or more of the names on a coveted top 100 list.
Scattered across the United States and into Canada, twelve of the thirteen authors have bundled together complete holiday books and boxed them as a present to their readers. Christmas on Main Street for 99 cents USD. And for a little extra holiday fun, all thirteen authors have created Holiday Decorating as a FREE book where they share their favorite decorating tip or craft.
BLURBs for boxed set:
Nobody’s Cinderella by Joan Reeves.
Darcy Benton is the oldest cliché in the world--a woman in love with her boss, but she's not a blip on his radar. Until she wishes on a Christmas star. Uh oh! She should have been careful what she wished for!
A Snowy Christmas in Wyoming by E. Ayers
A Native American cowboy with his thirteen-month-old daughter and a national news anchorwoman have nothing in common, except for their pasts, but in this season of giving, will fate reach through time and give the gift of love?
What if...this Christmas by Kelly Rae
Will a marriage proposal be the end of Katie and Chris' forever?
The Christmas Wish by Tori Scot
Merry is a long way from home and missing her family as Christmas approaches, until she falls right into Santa's lap.
Her Christmas Cruise by Mona Risk
The perfect fiancé is a cheater and the fabulous Christmas wedding is off. But the Christmas cruise may fulfill many dreams for Julia and her unexpected companion.
The Christmas Con by Jill James
Two reformed jewel thieves, Robin and Ian, are on the job to retrieve a priceless necklace, but Santa has special plans for a reunion of the ex-lovers.
A Light in the Christmas Cafe by Kristy Tate
A food thief, a haunted house, a matchmaking grandmother and a handsome stranger: Are the apron strings tying Deirdre to her grandmother’s café tangling up her life plans or are they leading her to love?
A Potters Wood Christmas by Leigh Morgan
A plot to steal an ancient artifact in the Bennett’s possession could be the key to opening an even greater prize. Will Cian find family and the spirit of Christmas again?
A Smoky Mountain Christmas by Carol DeVaney
Falling in love wasn’t in Tina’s plans. She’d survived the snowstorm, but could she survive the love of recently divorced Hank Gordon who’s sworn off women?
The Christmas Gift by Pepper Phillips
When an opportunity to make money presents itself, eleven-year-old George faces the biggest decision of his life. Will he become a thief like his father or will he discover the fact that giving, rather than receiving, is the best gift of all?
Small Town Glamour Girl Christmas by Stephanie Queen
Small town girl Julie hates being an Audrey Hepburn look-alike. When the big city man of her dreams comes to town for Christmas will she sell out to model in the city or settle into small town life on his terms?
A Baby for Christmas by Susan R. Hughes
When Ryan opens his home to Paige, a beautiful stranger who happens to be pregnant, will it take a Christmas miracle to make them realize where their hearts truly belong?
Buy Links for Christmas on Main Street:
Amazon International Buyers Link: http://authl.it/B00GCPPALG
Hoped you enjoyed this boxed set spotlight. Stop back soon!
On a quest to make amends for a long-ago indiscretion, Honor unexpectedly discovers the one thing she’s been missing in her life.
Honor Quirk arrives in Ireland excited—and a bit anxious—about meeting up with the estranged family of her late great-grandmother. The welcome from the residents of Robinhill Farm, Dermot and Bryan, is confusing and far from comforting. One is warm, the other aggressive. The outwardly antagonistic Bryan makes it very clear he doesn't want her there, branding her a gold digger.
Dermot, on the other hand, is delighted to meet her.
But Honor is no pushover and stands up to Bryan, letting him know that his bad attitude and trail of baggage have nothing to do with her. Despite their confrontational and hostile relationship, an undeniable attraction to each other creeps insidiously into the house on Robinhill Farm. They both desperately try to stifle the sparks, but living under the same roof makes it impossible. Unable to cope with the turmoil of living with Bryan, Honor runs away, straight into the arms of a charming newfound friend, Sean, who offers her a home—and love.
Shattered, Bryan finally takes control of his irrational belief that all women are evil, and fights to bring back the woman he loves. But is it too late?
Secret Cravings Publishing http://store.secretcravingspublishing.com/index.php?main_page=book_info&cPath=4&products_id=978
B and N http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/honors-debt-noelle-clark/1120690761?ean=2940046390445
“Em, Honor.” He cleared his throat. “My guess is you’re wonderin’ why it is that I’ve turned up here.”
Her hand, holding a spoonful of porridge, was midway from the bowl to her mouth. “Course I am. Surely it’s not just a coincidence.” She hadn’t meant her words to come out all snarky, but they did. She’d grown accustomed to the verbal battles with Bryan, and now it was second nature for her to be ready with a barbed retort even when, on rare occasions such as this, there was no need. “Sorry…I didn’t sleep well.”
She felt foolish and lowered her eyes.
“Ah, I don’t blame ye for hatin’ me. I’ve been a total jerk.” He reached out and placed his hand on hers. “I’ve come here to…apologize. I’m truly sorry for the way I’ve behaved.”
She felt her eyes widen as she looked at him, and something about the tone in his voice made her heart melt—just a fraction—well, maybe just soften slightly. Here he was, her nemesis, her enemy, her cousin who was always so…angry. And he was apologizing? For some ludicrous reason, a surge of affection for this grizzly, difficult man, washed through her.
“No!” He squeezed her hand. “I’ve been bullish and horrible, and here you are still mourning the recent loss of your Nan. I’ve been a right bastard, Honor, and I’m very sorry.”
That was it. Suddenly her eyes misted over, and she blinked, hoping he hadn’t noticed her unbidden show of emotion. The flame of embarrassment heated up her cheeks. For a moment she thought this man before her must be an imposter. It didn’t even sound like Bryan. This man’s voice was warm and—dare she say—kind.
A laugh, one that sounded like a mixture of a blub and a laugh, burst out from her. Shocked, she didn’t know what to say. “OK, whoever you are. What have you done with the real Bryan?”
His face transformed into that of a handsome man, and the smile that lit up his eyes adorned his mouth as he tilted his head slightly to one side. “Indeed, it is I, your ladyship, humbly begging your forgiveness.”
About Noelle Clark Noelle Clark is an Australian author of contemporary romance and historical novels. Her books weave romance, intrigue, and adventure into colourful and often exotic locations around the world. Widely travelled, Noelle uses real life experience of places, culture, and people, as a backdrop to her stories, giving the reader an authentic taste of the location. Her novels feature strong, mature, heroines and heroes, who—often without knowing it—are ready for new beginnings.
She lives close to the sea and shares her home with two cats and two dogs. She has two grown up children, and five very small grandchildren. When Noelle's not writing and travelling, she plays guitar, tends her vegetable garden, enjoys the company of family and friends, and—of course—reading.
Happy Wednesday, booklovers!
It's time for our weekly chat about books and the writing life. Our guest today is Rachael Kosinski, the author of our featured book, The Christmas Lights.
Welcome, Rachael! How do you take your coffee?
RACHAEL: As dark as I can find, with just milk or maybe with creamer. It has to be strong. I’m a college student, so it’s really all about what’s on hand. I have enough money for Starbucks? Awesome! Hand me something complicated. But usually I make it in my dorm, in a white tin mug with the phrase “Keep Calm and Carry On” emblazoned across the front in red. It looks small but actually holds about three cups.
Ally: My magic pot will have no problem with that request. Besides being a student, tell us something about yourself.
Bio: Rachael Kosinski decided at a very young age that, if she never became a writer, she would simply die. Seven years later, she now possesses a quirky knowledge of world mythology, an addiction to coffee, and a penchant for making overly expressive faces at her laptop. On any given day she can sit atop Westminster palace alongside a thief as he listens to a crown princess spin fairytales, or scour an Egyptian temple for hidden chambers laid by Ancient Greeks, or wander Europe with a boy as he tries to gather enough wealth to marry his betrothed. She can cry, rage, laugh and scheme in front of her laptop for hours as long as coffee is at her side—and she wouldn’t want it any other way.
Something unique not in my bio? I am extremely uncoordinated: there’s a scar on my knee from when I tripped over a puddle and sliced up my jeans, I stumbled over a shadow once because I thought it was my dog…if you can picture someone falling shamefully, that’s me. J
She can found playing with gifs or writing about her books at http://the-doodling-booktease.tumblr.com OR email her at email@example.com . Also she has an Instagram: rachael4elizabeth.
Ally: Now that we have our coffee and have read your bio, I'd love to hear what type of books you write.
RACHAEL: All the stories I’ve written have had some kind of adventure involved. In The Christmas Lights, Louis has to travel all across Europe and figure out how to make enough money to please Emmy’s father. There’s a ticking clock somewhere and various objectives to achieve. However, there’s always some sort of relationship happening in the background. Louis is only running around Europe because he loves Emmy so much he can’t bear the thought of not being with her. If their love wasn’t so strong, he might just say, “Eh, I don’t need to marry her that badly.” But the thought doesn’t even cross his mind. I like books where there is a romance, but it’s not the sole focus. I guess that’s kind of the way I write. People have friendships tested or strengthened, people get together; but it’s not the only thing happening. I just can’t keep my attention when the sole thing going on in a story is, “Oh, does he/she love me?”
Ally: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
RACHAEL: I’m going to be really corny and say right where I am now. Well, not exactly where I am; I don’t want to live in a dorm for the rest of my life. I mean near my family. That might mean New York City, it might mean Boston—but definitely the East Coast of the US. I’m nineteen and I FaceTime my family every night to talk to them. On the other hand, I’m also dying of wanderlust. Paris, London, Dublin—they’re all on the wish list. I want to go all over the world, but I don’t want to live permanently anywhere else.
Ally: After the first draft, how much revision do you do before it goes to your editor? Do you have specific things you look for in self-editing?
RACHAEL: Hmm. Well, it depends on the book. The Christmas Lights is a novella, so it’s like a novel but half the size, which means less stuff to sift through. It was originally just a 2012 Christmas gift for my mom, and last Christmas I submitted it to a few publishers on a whim. In that case, I wrote it within four weeks and the super original copy—the printed one tied up with red ribbon that my mom has on her dresser—has a few spelling typos. When I got my first round of edits back from Nicole Zoltack (my editor from MuseItUp), it was more about varying the sentence structure in some paragraphs, or context issues. My novella is told in the first person and Louis is nearly blind. Once, I had him describe a door in perfect detail. Nicole gently reminded me that there was no way he could be descriptive like that. As for self-editing, I look at my sentence structure a lot. I also can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to type “definitely” and had it autocorrected to “defiantly.” That makes the story gets a little weird sometimes!
Ally: Tell us about your next writing project: title, genre, tagline. Maybe why you chose it. Whatever you'd like to reveal.
RACHAEL: Ooooohhhh. Well, there’s this novel. A NOVEL, big and complex. It’s my pet project, and I’ve loved it and cried over it and even gave up writing once because of it. It’s titled Serpents and Flame. This story developed one day in the summer before ninth grade (yeah, this baby’s been in the works a long time), when my hair was all snarled from a shower. I must have been reading Greek mythology at the time, because the first thought that occurred to me was, "If this hurts me, imagine using a comb when you have snakes for hair!" The thought stayed in my mind for the rest of the day. What IF you had snakes for hair nowadays? How would you deal with that? That was truly the first time an idea came to me and wouldn’t let me go. The character of Celeste, daughter of one of the Gorgons and half mortal, came about. She’s easily grumpy and self-conscious but adventurous too. I figured a girl with snakes for hair nowadays would have quite a few problems, and, well, she’d have to have someone to help her, right? Then the idea of Andro (whose name changed QUITE a few times from the earliest MS until now), the purple-haired grandson of a god with a primal goddess for a best friend followed. Their story is the one I’d like the world to see next.
Ally: Let's finish up with a few quick answer questions:
- a. favorite kind of cake: No. Not cake. I’m not a big cake fan. Brownies! Cheesecake swirl brownies!
- b. last book or movie that made you cry: Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen. It was actually really hard to get into, but then I did and the ending stole a tear or two. You end up rooting really hard for Captain Hook.
- c. your typical breakfast: Aw, uh, okay. I’m that terrible college cliché where I don’t eat until noon most days. And that’s bad. NOBODY FOLLOW MY EXAMPLE. It’s not even that I roll out of bed late; I’m up by 7:15 or 8:30; I just have classes and no time. However, on a good day I’ll eat breakfast at around 10 am, and that’ll be an omelet loaded with ham, tomato, onion, mushrooms, peppers—the good stuff, mixed with home fries.
- d. an item on your bucket list: Go to Dublin! Ireland calls my name. If I get to explore ruined castles and sprint across the moor, I’ll die a happy girl. All the green, the pub music, tweed, and sheep fields…I’m a total dork about Ireland.
- e. favorite hobby: Drawing, definitely. There’s this thing on social media right now called Inktober, where you make an ink drawing for every day of the month. I’ve actually kept up with it too; it forces you to create new characters or find good references every day, and my style’s gotten stronger because of it. It’s also really cool to see how other people do ink. But, yeah. Drawing. I sketch, watercolor, use pens. It’s extremely relaxing after doing work all day.
Ally: Thanks so much for visiting with me, Rachael! Before you get away, let's take a look at your historical Christmas novella...
“Where do Christmas lights come from?”
The tiny bulbs of color that burn on a Christmas tree, or outside a house to shine in the night; does anyone really know where they originate? What if someone told you they weren’t intended for Christmas at all, but really for a miracle? That they were for love, a desperate idea, to light a boy’s way home?
In that case, you must have some questions. What boy? What love?
In that case, allow me to tell you a story.
“No.” Emmy covered her mouth with a hand. “No, you aren’t going to London. How could you? No one loves you there. No one knows you there…”
Your father seems to think it is my home country.
“Emmy. Emmy Emmy Emmy.” I held her close, stroking her hair. “I don’t plan to work there.”
She sat back. “What?”
“I’ve heard Mr. Godfrey talk about them. A London factory is the last place I should work. Your father means well, but I can’t do that. They wouldn’t take a blind boy.”
“Wh—where will you go, then? How on earth will you make money?”
“I have family in Paris. Mother says they have wine vineyards. I’ll work for them.”
“That…” Emmy’s fingers traced the veins on the back of my hand. “That’s much safer.” She was silent for the longest time. “You’ll be safe? And come home quickly?”
I pulled her hands away and stood, playing with the ring on her finger. “I will. I love you.”
“Emmy. I don’t have a choice. You want to marry me, don’t you?”
“Of course I do. But, Louis…”
“How long will you be gone?”
How long? How long to board a ship, to find a place I’d only heard about, to earn and save an impossible amount of money? How long, indeed.
I set my expression. “I’ll be home by Christmas.”
Thanks for having coffee with us! Stop back soon...
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Kingdom of Cymmera Book One Betrayal lies cloaked in shadow. Seventeen year old Ryleigh Donnovan is certain her life is cursed. Nothing ever goes smoothly, and her first job interview is no exception. An earthquake rocks the building, sending Ryleigh on a frantic search for her younger sister, a search which lands her in the hospital. Terrified they’ll push her for answers she can’t afford to give, Ryleigh flees with a mysterious stranger.
Jackson Maynard is about to be ordained as a Death Dealer, a warrior for the Kingdom of Cymmera, but first he must pass one more test. When he fails to acquire the human girl the prophet has chosen, he’s forced to stand trial for treason. Banished from his realm, he seeks out the girl from the vision, Ryleigh Donnovan, and together they embark on a journey to save his dying kingdom.
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Excerpt: Jackson clutched the stone wall of his chamber and gasped for air. What had just happened? He had returned to Cymmera, of that he was certain, but how? He hadn’t accessed the gateway. At least he didn’t remember opening it. A vision of her assailed him, beat at him, reminded him that he’d failed.
Oh, man. He was in trouble. He pushed away from the wall.
Images of his target taunted him.
He shoved a chair aside and tore through the pictures scattered across the table in a desperate search for salvation. There. He pulled the shot from the mess but found only condemnation. The long blond hair flowing behind her in the snapshot had not been visible to him, but there was no mistaking the deep blue of her eyes.
The pounding of a fist against the heavy wood door released him from whatever spell she’d cast.
“Jackson.” Another loud thud punctuated his name.
He struggled to get his bearings, tried to slow the racing of his heart. “Yeah, one minute.”
“Now. Your father wants to see you, immediately.”
Kai, his father’s most trusted warrior. He was in more trouble than he’d originally thought. Was it possible the king would sentence him to death for ignoring a direct order? Surely not without offering him a fair trial, or at least granting him the opportunity to explain. But what could he say? What explanation could there be for failing to deliver the girl? None.
“I won’t knock again.” The warrior would soon break down the door and drag him before the throne.
He crumpled the offending photo, the evidence of his disgrace, into a ball. Instead of tossing it in the trash as he’d intended, he shoved it into the small leather satchel he wore at his waist. With a deep breath, he released the latch and pulled open the door.
“Come.” Kai turned his back on him and strode purposefully down the corridor, their footfalls echoing through the silence of accusation.
The thought of escape taunted him, but he would never make it out of the castle. He had only recently completed his warrior training under Kai’s watch and would be no match for the seasoned soldier. Besides, Kai was a stickler for the rules. If he tried to run, the warrior would surely take him down, protégé or not.
Dani-Lyn Alexander lives on Long Island with her husband, three kids and three dogs. She loves spending time with her family, at the beach, the playground, or just about anywhere. In her spare time, which is rare, she enjoys reading and shopping—especially in book stores. Some of her favorite things include; Bernese Mountain Dogs, musicals, bubble baths and soft blankets. She’s an incurable insomniac and has an addiction to chocolate. Social Media:
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