Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Meet Joan Koster, Another Author Who Writes About Women In History Who Made A Difference

I contacted Joan when I saw her website featuring the strong women she writes about--I also write biographical novels about women in history who made a noise in the world, but we haven't written about the same women--yet.

I'm happy to have Joan as my guest. Read about her and her book about Anna Dickinson, THAT DICKINSON GIRL.

About Joan




When she is not writing in her studio by the sea, Joan Koster lives in an 1860s farmhouse stacked to the ceiling with books. In a life full of adventures, she has scaled mountains, chased sheep, and been abandoned on an island for longer than she wants to remember.

An ethnographer, educator, artist, and award-winning author who loves mentoring writers, Joan blends her love of history and romance into historical novels about women who shouldn’t be forgotten and into romantic thrillers under the pen name, Zara West. She is the author of the award-winning romantic suspense series The Skin Quartet and the top-selling Write for Success series.

Joan blogs at JoanKoster.com, Women Words and Wisdom, American Civil War Voice, Zara West Romance, and Zara West’s Journal. She teaches numerous online writing courses.

That Dickinson Girl, longlisted in the Mslexia Novel Competition, finaled for the Historical Fiction Company Award, and finished second in the Romance for the Ages Contest.

Connect With Joan

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Who Was Anna Dickinson?



In 1863, at the height of the Civil War, Anna Elizabeth Dickinson (1842-1932) was the most photographed woman in America. Her name a household word. Her image printed on teabag labels. 

She stood nose to nose with the great men and women of her time and argued them down. She was the first woman to give a political address to Congress. A diminutive bundle of unflagging energy, with a passion for justice, she had the showmanship of Lady Gaga and the political astuteness of Rachel Maddow. 

Known as America’s Joan of Arc, Anna Dickinson was sixteen years old when she stepped onto the world’s stage in 1860, rising to speak at a public debate on women’s rights and driving a man from the hall with the power of her words alone. 

Scooped up by the abolitionists of the day and hired by the Republican party to campaign for them, the young girl found herself catapulted to the height of fame and fortune by the age of twenty-one.  Click here to read more about her.

About THAT DICKINSON GIRL

Eighteen-year-old Anna Dickinson is nothing like the women around her, and she knows it. Gifted with a powerful voice, a razor-sharp wit, and unbounded energy, the diminutive curlyhead sets out to surpass the men of her day as she speaks out against slavery and for women’s rights. There are only two things that can bring her downfall—the entangling love she has for her devoted companion, Julia, and an assassin’s bullet.

Forced to accompany the fiery young orator on her speaking tour of New England, Julia Pennington fights her growing attraction to Anna while protecting her from the onslaught of the press. When a traitor sets out to assassinate Anna, Julia must risk her life to save the woman she loves.

Loosely based on the life of forgotten orator, feminist, and fighter for justice, Anna Dickinson, THAT DICKINSON GIRL is the story of one woman’s rise to fame and fortune at the expense of love during the political and social turmoil of the American Civil War. 

Excerpt

Everyone loved her. Anna bowed low as two thousand admirers roared their approval, the sound filling the hall at Cooper Institute. 

All of New York City had gathered to hear her and pay the twenty-five-cent admission. She looked out at her paying admirers. One thousand dollars. For one speech. Unheard-of income for a woman. And tomorrow, she’d speak again to the thousands who’d not been able to squeeze inside tonight. 

She was going to be the richest woman in America. The most famous. Her name splashed across the headlines in every newspaper. And she deserved it. How could she not when Julia loved her, and her heroine, Susan Anthony, and her friend, Elizabeth Cady, sat in the first row, cheering her on? She had spoken for them and for women everywhere. 

Imitating a homing pigeon, she swept past the smiling faces of the mayor of New York, George Opdyke, and Charles Gould, Henry Ward Beecher, Horace Greeley, Theodore Tilton, and the other dignitaries, and headed toward the two women who stood with their hands outstretched in womanly welcome. 

“Friend Anthony, I’m so glad you came.” Anna held out her hand. 

“My dear, dear Anna.” Anthony ignored the proffered hand and drew her face-first against her bosom. Anthony’s other hand crushed her curls. 

Anna struggled to pull back, to gain a breath. Beneath her cheek, the grand lady’s chest vibrated with continued praise, the words no more than the cooing of a dove. She felt like a prodigal entrapped in the mothering she had left home to escape. 

Just when she thought she would have to extract herself with unmannerly force, Anthony released her, and she fell back on tottering feet, the taste of black dye on her lips, her cheeks burning. 

Stanton’s plump face peeked over Anthony’s shoulder. “A brilliant political speech on behalf of the Union, my heart. So young. So wise. What a credit to womanhood. The first of our new true women who will challenge men in their own domain. I’m so glad I was able to hear you again. You certainly have all those generals well-pegged.” 

She patted Anna on the arm. “I wish I could talk politics with you all night, but I regret I must run back to the children before they run the nurse ragged. However, Susan’s promised to take you in hand. She’s going to talk you into attending our National Convention in May. So off with you, my girl.” She flicked her hand toward the newsmen streaming up the aisle toward her. “Go speak to your admiring press. Susan will await you at the side door.” 

Anthony laid a hand on her arm. “Watch your words with those vultures. One misstep, and they will chew you up and spit you out.” 

Anna nodded. “I don’t answer questions, merely smile and tell them to come to my next speech if they want to learn more. It doesn’t please them, but no matter what I say, they go back and write whatever idiocy pops into their heads, anyway.” 

“Smart girl. Slip away as soon as you can. We’ll dine at Delmonico’s.” 

With a last touch to her arm, Anthony whirled with the grace of a hawk in flight and escaped unnoticed as the men of the press, in their wrinkled black suits, crowded round their celebrated victim. 

Purchase THAT DICKINSON GIRL

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Sunday, December 11, 2022

Christmas and New Year's Eve in THE END OF CAMELOT

 

THE END OF CAMELOT CHRISTMAS




THE END OF CAMELOT is Book Three of the New York Saga. Vikki McGlory Ward is the granddaughter of Vita Caputo McGlory, the heroine of FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET, set in New York City’s Lower East Side in 1894. Book Two, BOOTLEG BROADWAY, features Billy McGlory, the gifted musician who couldn’t stay out of trouble. He married his pregnant girlfriend Pru in 1933 and became Vikki’s father when he was 25. Vikki is 30 years old in FROM HERE TO CAMELOT and is desperate to find out who murdered her husband Jack Ward, on the same day, November 22, 1963, and in the same city, Dallas, Texas, as President Kennedy was assassinated. Jack went to Dallas to prevent the assassination and never came home.

The next Christmas, Vikki was growing fond of her bodyguard, Aldobrandi Po. Her godfather Rosario celebrated a traditional Italian Christmas at his Palm Beach estate:

Vikki’s siblings, Thomas and Theresa, came down, and, combined with Rosario’s family, they had the traditional Italian Christmas. On Christmas Eve, after the feast of fried eel dredged in flour and fried in olive oil, baccala and male crabs, baked mussels in tomato sauce—and stuffed with scrambled eggs, parsley, garlic, and Romano cheese—and a pincushion fish her godfather Rosario called “la ritz” in dialect, they gathered around the tree to open their presents. Rosario gave her a mahogany jewelry box with a blue Tiffany’s box in each drawer. Opening each box, she gasped in wonder at a sapphire pendant, topaz bracelet, ruby necklace, emerald choker, three-strand pearl necklace, and a diamond tiara.

She smiled over the tiara. Where would she ever wear something like that? Jackie Kennedy had never even worn one. Or had she?

Her father’s gift to her was much more practical: a shiny new .25 caliber Bauer automatic pistol fitted into a box designed to look like Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. “Thanks, Dad. I was going to buy another piece.” She had to admit, it felt custom made to fit her hand.

NEW YEAR’S EVE

An Excerpt:

“It’s New Year’s Eve, we’re two people intensely attracted to each other, and the moment was perfect. Can you deny that?” Al asked her.

She didn’t know what she had the strength to deny at this point. With her knees still wobbling, she looked away and focused on the huge gravy pot simmering over a low flame. Not the only thing simmering around here, she realized, forcing her breath to even out.

“No, but I don’t know if you’re aware of my situation. I’m a widow. A recent widow. I shouldn’t be doing this. It’s forbidden,” she echoed the nuns. “It’s very disrespectful to my husband’s memory, and I’m ashamed of myself.”

“Your godfather told me you’re a widow. I’m very sorry.” His timing for the condolence could’ve been better. But what else could he have said? “Are you really ashamed of yourself? Do you think you’re being so disrespectful?”

“Of course,” she shot back. “He’s not gone two months yet.”

“Don’t, Vikki.” He traced his finger along her jawline. She tingled all over. “You have to forgive yourself. You’re human. We all are.”

“This must never happen again.” But did she really mean that? God, it had been so long since she’d been kissed that way.

THE END OF CAMELOT: NEW YEAR 1964

Vikki glanced at the clock. Ten minutes till midnight. She ducked into the ladies’ room to touch up her lipstick and perfume. When she came out, Al walked directly towards her, arms extended. Without a word they glided onto the dance floor together. Her father started playing his promised “Stardust” and she closed her eyes, breathing in Al’s mingled scents of cologne and creme de menthe. The crowd started counting off the seconds, and at the bursts of “Happy New Year!” the band broke into “Auld Lang Syne.” She swept her glasses off, Al lowered his lips to hers, and everything converged into a blur. Her arms wound around him. She wept, for her loss, for fear of the future, of the unknown, of this man whose mouth claimed hers.

Purchase THE END OF CAMELOT

A Review From Locks, Hooks and Books: 

The End of Camelot is a fabulous read. It takes place back in time when President Kennedy was tragically assassinated. The main character, Vikki, is dealing with her own tragedy when her husband is also assassinated. She is determined to connect the two murders and find out the truth of what happened. I enjoyed the mystery and suspense. It kept me intrigued throughout. I never knew what was going to happen next. I recommend it to other readers, especially the fabulous performance of Nina Price in the audio version. She does a great job!


 

 

 

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Meet Jennifer Wilck and Read About Her Holiday Romance WAITING FOR A MIRACLE, and her Hanukkah Traditions

 

About Jennifer 

Jennifer started telling herself stories as a little girl when she couldn’t fall asleep at night. Pretty soon, her head was filled with these stories and the characters that populated them. Even as an adult, she thinks about the characters and stories at night before she falls asleep or walking the dog. Eventually, she started writing them down. Her favorite stories to write are those with smart, sassy, independent heroines; handsome, strong and slightly vulnerable heroes; and her stories always end with happily ever after. 

Jennifer is an award-winning contemporary romance author for readers who are passionate about love, laughter, and happily ever after. Known for writing both Jewish and non-Jewish romances, her books feature damaged heroes, sassy and independent heroines, witty banter and hot chemistry. Jennifer’s ability to transport the reader into the scene, create characters the reader will fall in love with, and evoke a roller coaster of emotions, will hook you from the first page. You can find her books at all major online retailers in a variety of formats.

In the real world, she’s the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men she knows. She believes humor is the only way to get through the day and does not believe in sharing her chocolate. 

Jennifer's Hanukkah Celebrations

In our house, we celebrate Hanukkah. Through the years, many things about our celebration have changed. When the kids were young, we of course made a big deal about the holiday. We’d play music, serve latkes (potato pancakes), play dreidel and on a few of the eight nights, give presents. As the kids have gotten older, our traditions have changed. 

The entire family gets together one night to exchange gifts with the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. We all bring our menorahs—candelabras with room for nine candles—and we take big group photos of everyone lighting the candles. 

We get together with friends one night and our photos over the years show how much the kids have grown (and how willing or unwilling they are now to smile). 

One of the eight nights is dedicated to giving back. Instead of presents for ourselves, we donate to a charity. Some years we’ve made blankets and quilts for our local animal shelter. Other years we’ve sent money to a charity we all agree on—a small miracle in and of itself, since we rarely all can agree on anything. Once when the kids were little, we went to the toy store, bought toys and games for kids who didn’t have any, and brought them to a local preschool. 

My specialty for Hanukkah is making fried Oreos. The holiday celebrates the miracle of the oil lasting for eight nights, so our traditional foods are those made with lots of oil, like donuts. Several years ago, my husband and I went to a county fair in the summer and had fried Oreos. We loved them, and since they are deep fried, they fit the holiday perfectly. I found a recipe online to make them and ever since then, family and friends have demanded them every year. 

Now that my daughters are away at college, I mail their gifts early, trying to figure out the exact right time so that everything arrives on time and we can celebrate with them over FaceTime. Technology is terrific for that, but I confess to missing having them home and celebrating in person. 

So whatever you celebrate, and however you do so, I wish you and your family happy and healthy times together!

About WAITING FOR A MIRACLE




Benjamin Cohen, widowed father of six-year-old Jessie, is doing his best to hold it together through order and routine. The last thing he needs is his matchmaker mother to set him up with her next door neighbor, no matter how attractive she is.


Rachel Schaecter's dream of becoming a foster mother is right within her grasp, until her meddlesome neighbor tries to set her up with her handsome son. What's worse? He's the father of her favorite kindergarten student! She can't afford to let anything come between her and her dream, no matter how gorgeous he may be.

Can these two determined people trust in the miracle of Hanukkah to let love and light into their lives?

Excerpt

Six-year-old bodies were good at many things— bouncing, hugging, and racing. Rachel was thankful they were also good at hiding her surprise. Never in her wildest dreams did she imagine her favorite student, and her student’s father, would be at her neighbor’s house the same night she was invited to celebrate Hanukkah.

She met the hard gaze of Jessie’s father across the room. Eyes narrowed as if he suspected her reasons for being here. His broad shoulders were stiff. His jean-clad muscular legs were spread apart in a solid stance. Square hands fisted at his sides, and one of them held a menorah. Did he plan to throw it or club someone with it?

Giving Jessie a last pat, she rose. With an arm around Jessie, she extended her other hand to her father. “Happy Hanukkah.”

“Ms. Schaecter.”


“Mr. Cohen.”


“Oh, please,” Harriet said, “Such formality between you two. Rachel, this is my son Benny. I mean Benjamin.”

Benny. Rachel filed the information away for later, along with his flushed skin at the nickname. Interesting.

“And Benjamin, this is my neighbor, Rachel. We’re not at a school event. You can call each other by your first names.” Harriet pointed at Jessie, who gripped Rachel’s hand so hard, Rachel’s fingers lost their circulation. “Except for you,” Harriet added. “You have to call her Ms. Schaecter.”

Jessie giggled. “Yes, Grandma.”

Purchase WAITING FOR A MIRACLE

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Monday, December 5, 2022

An Old Italian Holiday Recipe--Honey Balls--and an Old New York Romance

Can an Italian sweatshop worker and an Irish cop fall in love on Manhattan’s Lower East Side in 1894? The answer is a big YES, and once they’re enjoying wedded bliss in their Greenwich Village brownstone, they spend their first Christmas together feasting on her Strufoli! (Italian for honey balls).


In FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET it's 1894 on New York's Lower East Side. Irish cop Tom McGlory and Italian immigrant Vita Caputo fall in love despite their different upbringings. They know their love can survive poverty, hatred, and corruption. 

Purchase FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET on Amazon




Here’s Vita’s Honey Balls recipe:

When my grandparents came from Naples and landed at Ellis Island in the early 1900s they brought many recipes with them, but only in their heads. No one brought cookbooks or recipes along with their possessions. A favorite Christmas treat is Struffoli, better known as Honey Balls. One Christmas when I was a kid, I watched my grandmother make them and scribbled down the ingredients as she sifted and mixed and baked and drizzled. Here's an accurate recipe in English!





Ingredients

Dough:

•2 cups flour, plus extra for dusting
•1 large lemon, zested (about 2 teaspoons)
•1/2 large orange, zested (about 2 teaspoons)
•3 tablespoons sugar
•1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
•1/4 teaspoon baking powder
•1/2 stick (2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature
•3 large eggs
•1 tablespoon white wine, such as pinot grigio
•1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
•Canola oil, for frying
•1 cup honey
•1/2 cup sugar
•1 tablespoon lemon juice
•1 1/2 cups hazelnuts, toasted 
•Vegetable oil cooking spray
•Sugar sprinkles, for decoration
•Powdered sugar for dusting, optional


Directions:

For dough: In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together 2 cups of flour, lemon zest, orange zest, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the eggs, wine, and vanilla. Pulse until the mixture forms into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece of dough until 1/4-inch thick. Cut each piece into 1/2-inch wide strips. Cut each strip of pastry into 1/2-inch pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a small ball the size of a hazelnut. Lightly dredge the dough balls in flour, shaking off any excess. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, pour enough oil to fill the pan about a third of the way. 

Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted in the oil reaches 375 degrees F. (If you don't have a thermometer a cube of bread will brown in about 3 minutes.). In batches, fry the dough until lightly golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. (The rested and quartered dough can also be rolled on a floured work surface into 1/2-inch thick logs and cut into equal-sized 1/2-inch pieces. The dough pieces can then be rolled into small balls and fried as above).
In a large saucepan, combine the honey, sugar, and lemon juice over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the fried dough and hazelnuts and stir until coated in the honey mixture. Allow the mixture to cool in the pan for 2 minutes.

Spray the outside of a small, straight-sided water glass with vegetable oil cooking spray and place in the center of a round platter. Using a spoon or damp hands, arrange struffoli and hazelnuts around the glass to form a wreath shape. Drizzle remaining honey mixture over the struffoli. Allow to set for 2 hours (can be made 1 day in advance). Decorate with sprinkles and dust with powdered sugar.

Remove the glass from the center of the platter and serve.

Note: To toast the hazelnuts, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven 8 to 10 minutes. Cool before using. 

Total Time: 4 hr 12 min
Prep: 1 hr 30 min
Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Meet Kathy Wheeler and Read About GAMING HELL CHRISTMAS, Volume 2 of the Georgian Romance Anthology, Just Released Yesterday

 

About Kathy

Kathy loves the NFL, NBA, musical theater, travel, reading, writing, and … karaoke!

A note from Kathy:

A couple of years ago, Amanda McCabe and I came up with this fabulous idea! Six young women who attended school together, each looking for their own happily ever after. With a couple of little twists. Volume one came out last year. Volume two, 12/1. Volumes 3 and 4 in the next couple of years. We have a special things planned down the road that includes unusual promotional items, but, alas, that is a story for another day. 😊

About GAMING HELL CHRISTMAS - VOLUME 2: 

Mysteries abound at London's most fashionable Hell

The Kerse Who Saved Christmas 

Kerse: He, of the no nonsense approach, is stymied by She, a woman considered long past prime marriageability who needs a keeper more than he requires a wife. Yet the dreamy-eyed, impractical, and much too optimistic Philomena still manages to steal his heart despite her unrealistic beliefs and trust in fortune tellers.

(Also included in this 2 book anthology: THE THIEF WHO STOLE CHRISTMAS by Amanda McCabe)

Excerpt

Of course, no lady’s maid trailed her. The woman needed a keeper. Didn’t she realize how dangerous it was for a woman? Out and about, alone?

Someone needed to inform her, and it appeared he was the only one about. Kerse started in her direction, but a tow-headed tyke darted out and beat him to her, snipping the reticule right off her wrist and was off like a musket ball.

Her stunned gaze jarred Kerse into action.

The miscreant, who couldn’t have been more than twelve, proved agile and swift as a… a thief running for the Thames, and in broad daylight.

Kerse was on him. He swept out an arm but the urchin ducked, simultaneously tossing Lady Philomena’s reticule several feet away and its contents scattering.

The wind picked up and Kerse dove for a piece of cardstock, then went down on his knee to gather the rest of her belongings. A tablet of paper with feminine scribblings, a small pouch of coins, a stick of graphite, a lace handkerchief marked with graphite, and a book titled The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne. A horrid novel? He should have suspected. His eyes rolled skyward, and he stuffed everything back in her now soiled reticule, still holding the card, and glanced down. Then paused. Girls of Wite? Wearing white?

What was this nonsense? And who the devil was Lady X?

Shaking his head, he noted a tea to be held three days before Christmas at the La Sous Rose, then hurriedly stuffed the invitation in as well and strode back down the street meeting Lady Phil halfway.

“Did you—oh, thank heavens,” she gushed. “You were able to—oh…” Her voice trailed off in dejected disappointment. “It’s ruined.” She pawed through the clipped opening.

“I’m afraid so,” he said, surprised by the regret welling through him that he had failed her. “I’m pleased to report your coin pouch is intact.”

Then her smile lit up the gray day, showcasing the dimple in her left cheek. An engaging vision he found himself fantasizing many times over in the depths of night in his lonely bed. “More importantly,” she went on, “you saved my tablet and book, my lord. Your effort was valiant, and I couldn’t be more grateful. I don’t know how to thank you, sir.”

Plenty of ideas filled his head of his too-celibate state. Unfortunately, none of which could be shared on a public street. Her smile was so guileless, so innocent, he had to still the uneasy softening of the band across his chest. “Where is your maid, my lady? It is quite inappropriate for you to be unaccompanied,” he said more harshly than he’d intended. 

GAMING HELL CHRISTMAS VOLUME 2 is the second steamy Georgian Romance Anthology. Available everywhere! 

Purchase Link

Download an entire list of Kathy’s books at https://kathylwheeler.com/project/a-gift-for-you/



                                          Kathy and Amanda


Other books by Kathy and Amanda

GAMING HILL CHRISTMAS Volume 1
REGENCY CHRISTMAS KISSES - a collection of short stories






Monday, November 21, 2022

 

THE END OF CAMELOT

My Historical Mystery Romance 

November 22, 1963, a day that changed America forever. Who killed President Kennedy?

 I've been a HUGE Kennedy assassination buff since that very day. Everyone who was alive on November 22, 1963 knew exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. I was in my first grade classroom. The teacher got a call on the classroom phone and told us ‘the president was shot.’ A collective gasp went around the room. I was 6 years old and in first grade. It was ten years before I saw the footage of Ruby shooting Oswald, on an anniversary documentary.

          But it was my grandmother who got me interested in the biggest mystery since 'who killed the princes in the Tower?' (I'm a Ricardian; that's for another post).  She got me embroiled right along with her.

          She listened to all the radio talk shows (those who lived in the New York area might remember Long John Nebel, on WOR, WNBC, and WMCA, all on AM radio (FM was really 'out there' at that time).


          She recorded all the radio talk shows. She bought whatever books came out over the years, along with the Warren Commission Report, which I couldn't lift at the time, it was so heavy. But my interest never waned in the 51 years that followed.


          In 2000, I began the third book of my New York Saga, set in 1963. The heroine is Vikki McGlory Ward, daughter of Billy McGlory, hero of the second book, BOOTLEG BROADWAY, set during Prohibition. This was my opportunity to write a novel showcasing all my current theories, and continue the saga. It took a minimum of research, since I remember all the 60's brands, (Bosco, Yum Berry, Mr. Bubble...), the fashions, the songs, and I even included a scene set on that unforgettable night when the Beatles first appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, February 9, 1964.

About THE END OF CAMELOT 


    

The third in the New York Saga, The End of Camelot centers on Billy McGlory’s daughter Vikki, whose husband is murdered trying to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Vikki uses her detective skills to trace the conspiracy, from New York to New Orleans to Dallas, and at the same time, tricks her husband’s murderer into a confession. A romance with her bodyguard makes her life complete.

November 22, 1963: The assassination of a president devastates America. But a phone call brings even more tragic news to Vikki Ward—her TV reporter husband was found dead in his Dallas hotel room that morning.

Finding his notes, Vikki realizes her husband was embroiled in the plot to kill JFK—but his mission was to prevent it. When the Dallas police rule his death accidental, Vikki vows to find out who was behind the murders of JFK and her husband. With the help of her father and godfather, she sets out to uncover the truth.

Aldobrandi Po , the bodyguard hired to protect Vikki, falls in love with her almost as soon as he sets eyes on her. But he's engaged to be married, and she’s still mourning her husband. Can they ever hope to find happiness in the wake of all this tragedy?

Purchase THE END OF CAMELOT on Amazon

 

Excerpt:

It was New Year’s Eve, they were alone, and he was harmless. So far. So she took the necessary two paces over to him and placed the honey ball between his custom-made choppers.

He closed his eyes, and she watched him savoring the sweetness. She didn’t dare say another word as she ran her index finger over a glob of cream on the cannoli plate, raised it to her lips and licked. “Mmmm,” she voiced, wishing she hadn’t.

Their eyes met and locked. Faster than lightning, they came together like magnets. Their lips met, sweet and sticky and hot. She didn’t want him to stop, but her inner voice screamed how wrong it was—It’s forbidden!—echoing the nuns in Saint Gustina’s. She shooed it away like an annoying fly. Leave me alone, I’m not a kid anymore. Her arms circled his neck, and his hands slid down to the curve of her back. Dare she move in closer, pelvis to pelvis, an unthinkable act three seconds ago? Her body was betraying her, betraying Jack, taking on a will of its own as she crushed herself to him. The kiss intensified. She tasted cannoli, and her fogged mind told her he’d been sampling them all day. She breathed in his cologne, so foreign it repelled her, so new it aroused her even further. Her tiara slipped off her head. She caught it just as he pulled away.

He held her at arm’s length as in a tango. “Oh, cara mia,” he growled—and if he said another word in Italian, she knew she’d explode. A passion long dormant stirred inside her.

My favorite passage from the book:

Billy came down the stairs for a nightcap and glanced into the living room. He noticed the glow in the fireplace, Vikki’s eyeglasses and the anisette bottle on the table. The couch faced the other way, but nobody was sitting on it. “Where’d they go?” Then he realized they hadn’t gone anywhere—and they were on the couch, but not sitting. Before he got out of their way, he placed a long-playing record on the phonograph. Jackie Gleason’s “For Lovers Only.”

 

 

 

 



 

 

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Meet Anastasia Abboud and Check Out TREMORS THROUGH TIME, Book One of the TREMORS THROUGH TIME Series

 Anastasia is my fellow Wild Rose Press author, and also writes time travel romance--my favorite subgenre of romance. Since we both had time travel novels released about the same time, we're hosting each other on our blogs--and another big thanks to her for hosting me featuring my time travel romance, 

NOW AND ALWAYS.

* * *

About Anastasia 

For me, playing is the best -- playing outdoors in nature or in my garden, experimenting in the kitchen, spending time with those I love. I also enjoy disappearing into a good book, attempting crafts, learning, writing, exploring, discovering. I especially like to mix it up and have yet to perfect any of it; and I've come to realize that perfection's not the point. It's all wonderfully fun. That's the point!

​I prefer authentic and natural, be it food, lifestyle, people. I passionately enjoy both history and science, and certainly sociology to a degree, and I am most truly a romantic.

​​My husband and I have been married for over forty years. We reside near Houston, Texas, surrounded by loved ones. We have a blast with our little grandchildren.

​I thank God for this wonderful life.


* * *

About TREMORS THROUGH TIME


She's made mistakes and paid the price, but Deidre Chisolm is no quitter. She'll never again be a fool for a man, not even her gorgeous new neighbor with his haunted eyes and strange accent. She'll be friendly, but nothing more. 

Lachlann has to go back to fourteenth-century Scotland. He can't forsake his family, his son. But when a beautiful, kind, funny lady buys the house next door, he's never been so drawn to anyone in his life. Would she believe his story? After years of struggling through nightmares and flashbacks, headaches and illiteracy, dare he ask her to help him return?

An Excerpt

Lachlann sauntered across Deidre’s driveway just as she was locking her front door. She turned toward him, smiling. He froze. She was wearing a saffron-colored leine, or tunic, underneath a blue, fitted surcoat. He should have known! She was a woman from his own time. His heart and head began to pound as he stared at her.

“Lachlann?” Deidre’s voice reached him, soft and hesitant. “Don’t you like my costume?”

Costume. Of course, it was a costume. He struggled to regain his voice as his heart rate calmed. “It’s great,” he managed, giving himself a mental shake. Fool!

“Thank you,” she replied, her voice still uncertain. She looked at him inquiringly. “I surprised you, didn’t I? I’m sorry. I should’ve warned you. I like to wear something fairly authentic in case I run into some of my students.”

“You do look authentic.” He managed a wink. “Bonnie as well.”

She blushed. “You’ve probably seen lots of costumes like this in Scotland.”

“Not so many, and none in Texas.”

It was a wonder to him that he was still standing. Her costume, as she called it, was perfect. She might have fallen through time like himself. It was an even greater wonder that he had not yet carried her off to bed. He’d never wanted anyone as he wanted her.

Now, dressed in such a familiar manner, she suddenly seemed more tangible than ever. She looked magnificent, the clothing emphasizing her generous breasts and hips, her deep red tresses flowing freely down her back.

His mouth went dry as he wondered how he might persuade her to dress like this more often.

Their eyes met. To hell with time.

He stepped toward her.

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 A Personal Interview With Anastasia



Hi, Diana. Thanks so much for hosting me! 

Let’s start with your inspirational journey to publishing.  

Other than British historical romances, what genre(s) would you consider writing and why? 

I love romance and have written contemporary as well as my latest time travel story, which is sort of half and half. I might enjoy writing a western romance or something set in the roaring twenties. Outside of romance, I’ve thought about women’s general fiction and  nonfiction. In fact, I have manuscripts waiting to be revisited. 

If you were going to write a non-fiction book, what would the title be? (this is my novelist’s version of the Barbara Walters’ special question of “If you were a tree what kind would you be?”) 

Hmm. Maybe something like “Texas Eden”. 

What books are you reading these days? 

I have several books going right now, a wonderful and rather mind-boggling combination of audio books and ebooks, mostly romance and cozy mysteries. 

Tell me your favorite, most zany “when I was doing research for this novel you wouldn’t believe what I did/what happened” story: 

I do A LOT of research, but so far, nothing zany has happened. I wonder if that’s good or bad? 

How long, on average, does it take you to write a 100,000 word novel?  What is your typical writing schedule like when you’re on deadline for a novel? 

All I can say is that it takes me a long time.  Eeek! Writing time is hard for me to come by.

 I know you’ve had a few, so please share your other fascinating jobs/careers.  Do you, or will you ever, write full-time? 

My only full-time job was when we were first married, over forty years ago, and my husband was still at university. I worked in a health food store. I had a few other part-time jobs in those very early years. But, for the most part, I’ve been home. By nature, I’m a nester, thoroughly domestic. I just love it. I’ve enjoyed being home (home being several different places), raising my family, gardening, taking classes on and off, blogging, and working on a novel now and again. 

I’m not sure that I will ever write “full-time”, but I hope I will always write. 

If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?

I think Deidre from Tremors Through Time. She shares my passion for history, gardening, and the simple life. Also, she’s tall and curvaceous, which I hope to be one day (when I grow up).

If you could jump into any book, and live in that world, which would it be? 

I’m good with the present! There’s good and bad in every age and conflict in every good book. But I suppose, if I really had to choose, the British Isles during the early medieval period or France or Italy during the High Renaissance would be interesting.

Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you write?

I don’t, but I like to have a beverage beside me – coffee, tea, wine, gin tonic, sometimes a tall glass of lemonade or water.

 Do you have an all-time favorite book?

I have lots of favorites, but two are iconic for me: Walden by Henry David Thoreau and Quo Vadis by Henry Sienkiewicz.

If you could meet two authors, who would you pick and why?

Gibran Khalil Gibran – He is one of my all-time favorite writers and he led a dramatic and interesting life. He was outspoken enough to have to leave his homeland, Lebanon, for the U.S. – a move which saved his life. He was an artist, poet, and writer and was ahead of his time in his support of women’s rights. 

And probably George Sand.  She wrote when women were discouraged to do so, wore men’s clothes when women were stuffing themselves into corsets and crinolines, and pretty much did what she wanted, including having an affair with Chopin. How cool was she?

Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.

I’m a lifelong swimmer – survival classes, master swimming, all sorts! I no longer swim miles at a time as I once could. Sadly, I just don’t give it the requisite time. But I still love it. 

Anything else you’d like to share with readers that I haven’t asked? 

Yes, there is something because I love my readers. It has surprised me that some don’t approve the ending of Tremors Through Time. I have to say that I, an HEA fanatic, count the ending as happy! Just know that things happen for a reason.:) The characters wrote the ending – they really did! And I’m blowing virtual kisses to my readers. Thank you! I love you!  

 And thank you, Diana, for hosting me today!

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