Monday, May 20, 2019

Meet Jean Grant and Read About her Contemporary Women's Novel WILL RISE FROM ASHES


About Jean

Jean’s background is in science and she draws from her interests in history, nature, and her family for inspiration. She writes historical and contemporary romances and women’s fiction. She also writes articles for family-oriented travel magazines. When she’s not writing or chasing children, she enjoys tending to her flower gardens, hiking, and doing just about anything in the outdoors.


About WILL RISE FROM ASHES

Living is more than mere survival.





Young widow AJ Sinclair has persevered through much heartache. Has she met her match when the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, leaving her separated from her youngest son and her brother? Tens of thousands are dead or missing in a swath of massive destruction. She and her nine-year-old autistic son, Will, embark on a risky road trip from Maine to the epicenter to find her family. She can't lose another loved one.

Along the way, they meet Reid Gregory, who travels his own road to perdition looking for his sister. Drawn together by AJ's fear of driving and Reid's military and local expertise, their journey to Colorado is fraught with the chaotic aftermath of the eruption. AJ's anxiety and faith in humanity are put to the test as she heals her past, accepts her family's present, and embraces uncertainty as Will and Reid show her a world she had almost forgotten.

A Note from Jean: The Writer’s Journey

Will Rise from Ashes was by far my hardest book to write. For many reasons, some personal, some technical. I’d been writing romances with HEAs for so long, shifting to women’s fiction with grittier topics took some getting used to. The romantic in me though, did toss in a romance subplot, and I am a sucker for a happ(ier) ending.

A few facts about this book
  1. I began writing it in 2015, 4 years ago. The first draft took a year (while working part-time and around kids’ busy schedules). Editing took a few more years…
  2. It underwent at least 8 full-length revisions before I submitted to my editor at The Wild Rose Press. I’ve also written/edited the entire manuscript at least 20 times (that is 400 pages x 20 = 8,000 pages. It’s no wonder authors can be a little nutty!)
  3. It’s my first book written in both first person (AJ, the mother) and third person (Will, the son).
  4. My villain is a volcano!
  5. The book spans over a month of time and over 2,000 miles.
  6. My theme of heartache, healing, and hope dominates this book.
  7. It is the 7th book I’ve written, but 4th published. (Yeah, that’s some funny math. Hint: 3 books are now shoved in drawers as “practice” novels).
  8. The story tackles topics of widowhood, anxiety, autism, and redemption.
  9. I threw everything but the kitchen sink at AJ. I love an emotional journey, but I do enjoy lots of external conflict and roadblocks (teehee, in this case, literal roadblocks).
  10. Its title was changed from the original. And nope, I won’t tell you the first one, but it took quite some convincing from my editor to change it!
  11. This book underwent the most “killing my darlings” (aka scene slicing!) of all my books. All for the better, or course!
Excerpt

Even from far away, I recognized the man’s plaid long-sleeved shirt and the large backpack, but now he was walking alongside a bike on his approach.
“Hey, look! It’s that guy you drove past this morning!”
 I shuddered inwardly. Well, karma just bit me in the butt.
“How did he catch up with us?” Motherly instinct took over as I rose, my legs wobbly. “Will, stay there. Here, take this,” I said, handing him the tire iron.
 “We already tried that, Mom.”
“Not for that, Will.”
He scratched his brown hair, which was overdue for a cut, and looked at me, confusion wrinkling his brow.
“Be my wizard, Will. It’s your sword.”
“Wizards have wands.”
“Will…”
The circuit connected. “Oh…yes, Mom, I’ll protect you!”
I smiled faintly. “Thank you, honey.” I didn’t want to explain further that it was me protecting him. I didn’t want to say that if something happened, to run and hide in the woods. Because he would run and hide. Then what? Who would come help?
I shoved my hand into my front jeans pocket to nestle my fingertips around the pocket knife I had given Harrison for our wedding anniversary. The man slowed his bicycle as he drew nearer. He gave me an understated, yet significant, nod. The nod of understanding, of kindness. I didn’t buy it.
“Hello, again,” he said.
Ouch.

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Feel free to follow Jean on her BLOG TOUR, April 18-June 6. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!





Friday, May 17, 2019

Meet Award-Winning Author Judy Ann Davis and Read About Her New 19th Century Romance, WILLIE, MY LOVE


ABOUT JUDY ANN

Judy Ann began her career in writing as a copy and continuity writer for radio and television in Scranton, PA. She holds a degree in Journalism and Communications and has written for industry and education throughout her career.

Over a dozen of her short stories have appeared in various literary and small magazines, and anthologies, and have received numerous awards. To date, she was written five novels, a collection of short stories, and a novella. Her works encompass romance, mystery, western, and paranormal in the historical as well as the contemporary arena. Her last novel, Four White Roses, was a finalist in the Book Excellence and Georgia Romance Writers’ Maggie awards.   

When Judy Ann is not behind a computer, you can find her looking for anything humorous to make her laugh or swinging a golf club where the chuckles are few.

She is a member of Pennwriters, Inc. and Romance Writers of America, and lives in Central Pennsylvania.

ABOUT WILLIE, MY LOVE

Can two stubborn hearts find love under the tall white pines?





       The year is 1856. White pine is king of the forest. 
       The last thing Jonathan Wain wants to do is ride miles through Pennsylvania’s wilderness to help his father’s logging partner in the small settlement of Clearfield. His family owns clipper ships in the Chesapeake Bay that carry the coveted logs to the markets each spring, and they can’t afford a loss.
       The last thing Wilhelmina Wydcliffe wants is a handsome sea captain from Maryland meddling in her father’s logging operations under attack by unknown enemies. A feisty tomboy and better known as Willie to her crews, she has a dream to be the largest logging operator east of the Mississippi River.
       When both Willie’s and Jonathan’s lives are threatened, they are forced to work together to find their enemies before both of their companies are in shambles.
       But as their attraction to each other escalates, can they set aside their differences, unearth the truth and troublemakers, and discover contentment in each other’s arms?

 EXCERPT

Smiling, Jonathan took Willie’s proffered hand and shook it, without releasing it. “To show you I bargain in good faith, I offer your pistol as well.” With his free hand, he pulled her small, single shot, dueling pistol from his waistcoat and placed it in her open palm.
“But I have absolutely nothing to trade,” she said with a haughty theatrical voice.
“Ah, ha,” he whispered, pulling her close to him. “A kiss, perhaps?”
Her voice exploded as she tried to push him away. “Why you arrogant scoundrel, I ought to shoot you with this gun.”
His face moved closer. She gasped in surprise before his mouth swooped down on her lips. The kiss was brief, but soft and bewitching, and when he released her, she skidded safely backward.
“Now tell me,” he crooned in a velvet voice. “Why do you carry a loaded pistol?”
“For rattlesnakes.” Her hand fell to her side, the pistol enclosed in the folds of her dress.
“And the knife?”
“To cut off their rattles.”
He laughed, his hearty chuckles filling up the room and silence around them. “I'd rather sit naked with the rattlesnake than with you so heavily armed.” 

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Friday, April 12, 2019

Meet My Fellow Wild Rose Press Author Amber Daulton and Read About Her Latest Romance LYRICAL EMBRACE, Book 4 of the Deerbourne Inn Series

I always enjoy doing blog exchanges with other Wild Rose Press authors, and today I'm hosting Amber, featuring LYRICAL EMBRACE. Thanks again, Amber, for hosting me last Friday!


About Amber


Amber is the author of the romantic-suspense series Arresting Onyx and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through The Wild Rose Press and Books to Go Now, and are available in ebook, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats.
Amber lives in North Carolina with her husband and four demanding cats. Feel free to visit her at http://www.amberdaultonauthor.blogspot.com.


Out-of-work violinist Erica Timberly decides enough is enough. She leaves her abusive boyfriend and flees the big city, but then her car breaks down in the middle of the night. Though wary of men, she accepts help from Dylan Haynes, a stranger driving by on the road, and soon recognizes him as the sexy former drummer of her favorite indie rock band. Maybe, just maybe, her run of bad luck is finally turning around.
Music teacher Dylan Haynes knows Erica is in trouble, and her black eye is only the first clue. The stubborn yet vulnerable woman needs a friend, but he’s determined to give her everything she deserves.
Will Erica listen to the music in her heart and trust Dylan, or will her past always threaten her future?

Excerpt

Dylan deepened the kiss and lightly tugged on her bottom lip. Tears streaked his flushed cheeks as he smiled at her. “I’m so grateful I found you, baby. I heard you screaming. When I saw that bastard press a gun to your head, my heart nearly exploded. I thought I might lose you. I promise you, Erica, I will never control you as Phil did. You will always have the ability to choose. I just want to make you happy.”
She gripped his hand and brushed her lips across his calloused knuckles. “I know. You do make me happy. You took a bullet for me.” A sob constricted her throat, but she pushed it down.
A blast of noise rent the air. Fireworks filled the sky, visible in the alley from the narrow stretch of space between the buildings.
Erica loved the bright colors and designs, but hardly cared about watching the spectacle. She dropped her gaze back to Dylan.
A grin spread across his face. “It’s been one wild Fourth of July. Why don’t we do something more low-key next year? How about no guns and crazy exes? Just us, the creek, and a bottle of wine. Clothing optional.”
She laughed softly, amazed he could make light of the situation. “That sounds perfect. Absolutely perfect.”


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Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Meet Mystery Novel Author Lynne Kennedy--Read About Her Books That Blend the Past & the Present

I started reading Lynne's historical mystery novels, and now I'm hooked. I read TIME EXPOSURE after I learned that it's set during the Civil War, and as a huge Civil War/Lincoln buff, I read every book I can get on the subject, and even wrote one!

I purchased several of her other books, then just last week, noticed she'd written a mystery set around the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, THE TRIANGLE MURDERS. On March 25, I sent Lynne a message about this great find, and she mentioned that day was exactly 107 years since that horrible fire where 146 people perished.

Lynne is my guest today, so meet her and read about her books.

About Lynne



With a Masters’ Degree in Science and more than 28 years as a science museum director, Lynne has had the opportunity to study history and forensic science, both of which play significant roles in her novels. She has written six historical mysteries, each solved by modern technology.

Time Exposure: Civil War photography meets digital photography to solve a series of murders in two centuries.

The Triangle Murders was the winner of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Mystery Category, 2011, and was awarded the B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Award for independent books of high standards.

Deadly Provenance has also been awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion and was a finalist for the San Diego Book Awards. With the release of Deadly Provenance, Lynne has launched a "hunt for a missing Van Gogh," the painting which features prominently in the book. "Still Life: Vase with Oleanders" has, in actuality, been missing since WWII.

Her fourth book, Pure Lies, won the 2014 “Best Published Mystery” award by the San Diego Book Awards, and was a finalist in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award.

Time Lapse, her fifth mystery, premiered at the end of 2016 to all 5-star reviews.

Lynne’s newest novel, Hart of Madness, premiered August of 2018 to all 5-star reviews.
She blogs regularly and has many loyal readers and fans.  



About Lynne's Work in Progress, THE FINAL NOTE

Thank you to the readers and writers who responded to my query about a concept for my next book.  Your input and my proclivity toward war(s) has helped me decide:  I shall return to World War II.  Instead of the Nazi confiscation of art and a missing Van Gogh painting as in my book, Deadly Provenance, I will focus on music and stolen music manuscripts.  Working title: The Final Note.
Historical fact: Beginning in the early 1930s, edicts against the Jewish population began emerging in Germany.  These edicts became increasingly distressing and disruptive, causing Jews to forfeit their businesses, their homes, their possessions.  Slowly and inexorably they were impelled toward the Final Solution where they would forfeit their most precious commodity: their lives.
In 1933, a group of German Jews set up Der Jüdische Kulturbund, a cultural federation consisting of unemployed Jewish musicians, actors, artists, and singers.  The Kulturbund, or Kubu, was created with the consent of the Nazis strictly for Jewish audiences. The Nazis cleverly permitted this association in order to hide its oppression of the Jews. The Kubu was illustrative of Jewish creativity in response to cultural exclusion.
The Kubu performed theatrical performances, concerts, exhibitions, operas, and lectures all over Germany, allowing Jewish performers to earn their livelihood, however scarce. Under the watchful eye of Sturmbannführer, Hans Hinkel, whose boss was Joseph Goebbels, Kubu survived for eight years performing for audiences that continued to diminish.
My research into the life of Jews at this time is only part of my work.  Since the Kubumusicians were permitted to play only “Jewish” musical compositions, I will be researching music history during this period.  In addition, my musician protagonist in the back story will be writing his own compositions. While I play the piano, I have little music theory background and have never written music.
Writers of historical fiction must become artists, teachers, police officers, lawyers, detectives, photographers, doctors . . . all manner of occupations in their novels.  For this book I will become a musicologist.  Well, I can only hope.
The stolen music manuscripts will lead to dire consequences when we fast forward to the modern storyline. Can the manuscripts be authenticated?  Can we learn through modern science and technology, the attribution of these brilliant symphonies?  My task is to find the answers.
Your ideas are welcome.






Thursday, April 4, 2019

Meet Roxanne Howard and Read About WHEN YOU CLOSE YOUR EYES, Now on Audio



About Roxanne

Roxanne D. Howard is a U.S. Army veteran who has a bachelor's degree in Psychology and English. She loves to read poetry, classical literature, and Stephen King. Also, she is an avid Star Wars fan, musical theater nut, and marine biology geek. Roxanne resides in the western U.S., and when she's not writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband and children. Roxanne loves to hear from her readers, and encourages you to contact her via her 
website and social media:







About WHEN YOU CLOSE YOUR EYES 



He’s stepping out of her hot fantasies and into her life.


Dreams are the perfect shelter for fantasies, safe havens to step inside without changing our daily lives. For Lark Braithwaite, all that is about to change. During the last six months, Lark has dreamt of a mysterious Irish lover who knows what she wants and gives her exactly what she needs. In her waking life in busy London, things aren't as ideal as her long-term relationship with her controlling fiancé Charles has hit a dry spell.

When Lark is called home to Oregon for her father's funeral, she comes face to face with the demons from her past, but she never expects to meet her dream lover in the flesh. Niall O'Hagan steps straight out of her fantasies and into her life, and the powerful connection they share rocks her foundation. Although she's dealing with the bitterness of her fiancé's betrayal and his jealousy, Niall soon stirs Lark's awareness of her superficial existence and reawakens her sexuality....and her soul.

Excerpt

Her fantasy lover is real…
“Why are you wearing a suit and tie this time?” She squinted against the sunlight. Please, God, let this be a dream. He moved his head and put her in shade.
“This time?” He lifted an eyebrow, perplexed. “You’ll have to forgive me, lass, but I’ve no idea what the devil you’re talking about.” He maneuvered himself off her and sat upright at the end of the swing.
She tucked her feet against her, sat up, and blinked at him in utter disbelief.
“I came to knock on the door when I saw you on the swing. You tossed and turned, and with the way you grunted, I assumed you were in the middle of some sort of a seizure.”
He turned his head and licked his lips, full and abused by her kisses. A mushroom cloud of mortification bloomed inside her, steadily bigger by the minute.
“Erm, you…begged me to kiss you, and then you yanked me down. One thing led to another and, well, that was pretty much the way of it. I am only human, though I know it’s no excuse.” He swallowed and stared at her, his Adam’s apple moving in his throat. “I apologize. I shouldn’t have gone down when you pulled me, but it was strange—like you knew me or something.”
Lark leaned forward and rubbed her eyes. This couldn’t be real. He had to be a hallucination. When she opened her eyes, she’d see a man in his fifties with a receding hairline, glasses, and a beer gut. She reopened her eyes, and there he was: The full package.



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Monday, April 1, 2019

Meet D.M. Burton and Read About her New Release RESCUING MARA'S FATHER, a Middle Grade Science Fiction Adventure

April and a Giveaway

A note from D.M.:

The beginning of April has always signaled Spring to me. It doesn’t matter what the calendar says. We could have snow on the ground, but when I turn the calendar page and see April, I know Spring has finally sprung. A bit of green pokes through the brown grass, the daffodils and tulips send their spears up through the cold ground. April also signaled Major League Baseball’s Opening Day. Not anymore. The season is starting in March now. But I still think about baseball as April arrives.

One of my favorite reasons for living in the Midwest is the changing of seasons. Not every place on this planet has the distinct seasonal changes that we have. What about other planets? The Goldilocks planets (places where it’s “just right” for humans) would have temperate climates as well as seasons. In my science fiction adventure story Rescuing Mara’s Father, the weather changes depending on where the action takes place. Hot days and cool nights are common in arid regions, while the higher into the mountains Mara and her friends travel the colder it gets.

I wrote Rescuing Mara’s Father so my grandkids could read one of my books. Since they’re in middle grades (3rd and 6th grades) they have to grow up before they read my adult books. Still, they are avid readers, as well as Star Wars fans, like their grandmother. I had to set my story on another planet where in order to get off (to search for Mara’s father), almost fifteen-year-old Mara has to pilot a starship. What kid wouldn’t want to do that? Hey, forget kids. I want to pilot a starship. 😊

When I was in middle grades, adventure stories were no where near as plentiful as they are today. I’m thrilled that kids have so many choices. Stories that carry them to foreign lands or to alien planets expand their minds while entertaining them. That’s the point of my story. Widening kids’ (and adults’) imagination and entertainment.


The first time D.M. Burton saw Star Wars IV: A New Hope, she was hooked on science fiction and space travel. The Star Trek movies made her want to travel to other planets. Alas, she is still Earth-bound. D.M. and her husband live in Michigan, close to their two children and five grandchildren.

Join D.M. Burton's readers’ group on Facebook

For more info and excerpts, visit D.M.’s website

She writes adult fiction as Diane Burton, where she combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides writing science fiction romance, she writes romantic suspense, and cozy mysteries.




About RESCUING MARA'S FATHER


Her father is gone! Taken by the Queen of Compara’s agents. Mara has to rescue him before the Queen tortures and kills him.

Instead of the kind, loving father she’s always known, he’s become demanding, critical, with impossible expectations—not just as Father but also as the only teacher in their frontier outpost. Mara would rather scoop zircan poop than listen to another boring lecture about governments on Central Planets. Give her a starship engine to take apart or, better yet, fly, and she’s happy. Now, he’s gone.
Never mind, they’ve had a rocky road lately.

Never mind, Father promised she could go off planet to Tech Institute next month when she turns fifteen, where she’ll learn to fly starships.

Never mind, she ran away because she’s furious with him because he reneged on that promise. Father is her only parent. She has to save him.

Along with her best friend, eleven-year-old Jako, and his brother 15-year-old Lukus, Mara sets off to find her father. Her mentor, old spaceport mechanic, seems to know why the Queen captured Father. In fact, he seems to know her father well. But, does he tell her everything? Of course not. He dribbles out info like a mush-eating baby. Worse, he indicates he’ll be leaving them soon. And Lukus can’t wait to get off our planet. Mara’s afraid they will all leave, and she’ll be on her own. Despite her fears, Mara has to rescue her father. 

Excerpt

“There you go again.” I ignore Father’s startled look. “Why does everything have to be so hard? You used to make learning fun.”

“You were a child then. You are almost an adult. You must try harder.”

“I do try. It’s boring. Why can’t you teach interesting stuff like Basco does? He doesn’t lecture me. He doesn’t tell me I’m not good enough.”

A pained look crosses Father’s face. “That is different. When you work with him at spaceport, you work with your hands. I am trying to teach you to think, to analyze, to make—”

“What difference does it make now? I’m going to the Tech in three tendays.”

He takes a deep breath. “I know you have been looking forward to going—”

No. He wouldn’t. “Don’t you tell me I can’t go.”

“Excuse me?”

“I mean it.” I fist my hands on my hips. “You are not going to tell me I can’t go. You can’t. I’ll be fifteen in three tendays. I’m going.” We’ve had a lot of arguments, but I’ve never defied him before.

“You may be old enough to enroll in the Institute. You still need parental approval.” He lets that sink in.

I’m stunned speechless. Not for long. “You wouldn’t. You wouldn’t punish me like that.”

“Mara, you must obey me on this. You must stay here. You will pay attention in class. You will apply yourself.”

“Like Perfect Lukus? Maybe you wish he was your son instead of a stupid girl like me.”

His eyes widen. “Mara.”

My eyes burn. I’m going to cry, like a stupid girl. “I can’t believe you would forbid me to go to Tech just because I’m not a perfect student in your stupid class. You don’t love me. I’m probably not even your real kid.”

My words hang between us. My chest heaves. I clench my teeth, so I don’t start bawling. I can’t believe he won’t let me go to Tech. Worse, I can’t believe I blurted out the horrible thought that has been festering in the darkest corner of my mind for several tendays.

I wait for him to tell me I’m wrong. That he does love me. That I am his child.
Father slumps into the chair I abandoned. I’ve never seen such a look on his face. Like he’s been kicked in the stomach by a hican. For a sec, before he sat, I thought I saw something else in his eyes. Guilt? Couldn’t have been. He doesn’t care enough to feel guilty about forbidding me go to Tech.

I’m ashamed of my outburst, ashamed that I revealed my worst fear—the fear that he isn’t my real father. We’ve argued before, but I always kept my fear a secret. Now, he knows. I can’t bear to look at him, to see reproach in his eyes. I race into my bedroom and slam the door. I force myself not to throw myself on my bed and cry.
Instead, I lean against the door and try to control the anger I just spewed in the kitchen, anger still rising up inside me. Anger at myself for letting my temper get the best of me. Anger at Father for not letting me go to Tech. Anger at him for not denying my accusation, for not taking me in his arms and saying, “Of course, I love you. Of course, you are my child.”

Anger at him for not coming after me.

If he did come, he would probably tell me again how I don’t try, how I don’t measure up. I’m not sticking around for another lecture. I grab my jacket. My trousers are heavy, but the shirt won’t be enough in the chilly evening. I search under my bed for my emergency pack—the one Father insists I keep ready at all times, ever since the riots. I grab it and slip out the window. Automatically, I close it behind me so critters can’t get in. I don’t have a plan. I just know I don’t want to see Father for a while.

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