Thursday, November 20, 2014

New 5-Star Review

Thank you, Kiari!

I couldn't put it down once I started reading it. Was not what I expected when I started it. The author has a way of making you feel you are sitting right there with her watching her mind unfold in this story. Highly recommend it.



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Still here

I've been quiet for a while.  There's a reason, several, in fact.  Life has a way of demanding a person's undivided attention.  I'm working my way through some things, but I hope to be writing again soon.  Please feel free to drop me a line.  I'd love to hear from you.  ~ Carol  

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Author: Dayna Leigh Cheser

I'd like you to meet my good friend and fellow author, Dayna Leigh Cheser.  
In school, were you good at English?
Yes and no.  I was good at the writing and reading parts, but the mechanics/technical part – diagramming sentences, recognizing components of the language, etc. – escaped me completely.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
Adelle, in ‘Adelle’s Time,’ was a horrible child (in Moria’s Time), living in the shadow of her twin sister, but she grows up and finds her way, even founding a charity – she brings London orphans out into the country for part of the summer.  She also discovers the love that’s been there all of her life, but she never saw it.
What are you working on at the minute?
I’m getting back to the next book in the series, ‘Logan’s Time,’ which is partly written, and which, I hope, will be released in early 2015.  Utilizing NaNoWriMo’s enforced writing time, I ended up with 4 of the 5 books in the series as WIPs at the same time.
What genre are your books?
Historical Romance – with elements of different things, depending on the book.  ‘Janelle’s Time’ is HOT, ‘Moria’s Time’ is less so, and ‘Adelle’s Time’ is positively tame.  But, all include a bit of paranormal – time travel, but not for it’s own sake.
What draws you to this genre?
In school, my best subjects were English and History (especially around the Revolution up to about the Civil War).  Add that to the fact that I’m about half English by ancestry, and, therefore, have an interest in England/Scotland, and it’s a perfect match.
How much research do you do?
I do what I need to for the book – although often I find the research materials interesting and spend more time just reading about the topic at hand.  The internet has made research (of historical topics) very easy, but I always search for other sources of the same information – I strive for historical accuracy whenever possible.
Why do you write?
Like so many writers, I’m driven to write … if I’m not home on the computer writing something, I’m thinking about being home on the computer writing something.  Visiting with family/friends, at least a small part of my brain is working out plot problems, conjuring up a new character or two, working out whatever other problems exist. 
Do you write full-time or part-time?
Full-time, although I’m not actually writing all the time.  There are edits, rewrites, interviews, blog posts, and so much more that take up my time, but my favorite activity is sitting here and letting the story unfold.
Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
I wish!  I am a wife first, and a writer second.  If I were single, I could set numbers of hours/words/pages per day, but with a husband (who has recently retired), I can’t be sure I’ll be able to do even a fraction of these goals daily … or, I could end up with a full day with mega-word counts. 
Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
Computer. 
Where do the your ideas come from?
My head.  A lot of it is taking a situation from modern life, eliminating the technology and converting it to the appropriate time period with other knowledge and resources as needed.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I am a ‘pantser’ writer – starting with a blank screen, I let the story unfold on it’s own.  When working on a series, being a ‘pantser’ can be difficult, especially if you don’t have at least a timeline, but it’s not impossible.  I started an outline for one of my books, but found it restricting … I couldn’t follow where a character or situation led me. 
A non-writing question:
Have you ever gotten into a bar fight?
LOL.  Getting into a bar fight kinda means you have to be in a bar.  I can’t remember the last time I was in a bar.  I do remember getting drunk one time … I think it was 1975 or thereabouts.  Nope, no bar fight.  Sorry.


Darn.  I thought you were going to share something shocking.  Oh well,  I suppose we'll have to look for those in your books.  Speaking of which, what's new in your world?




Dayna Leigh Cheser
is proud to present the
Cover Reveal
for her newest

Historical Romance novel,
'Adelle's Time'
book three (of five) of her TIME Series.
The Grayson Family Saga continues.

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Prologue
The first time she appeared was during the Hargrove’s ball.
Like a dream, the specter floated from the shadows.
Conversation ceased. All eyes looked her way.
Her slim body emphasized the simple, yet elegant, cloth-of-gold gown. The white silk cloak emanated a soft, subtle glow in the flickering candlelight. Concealed under the cloak’s hood, and the veil that shrouded her face, she teased the imagination with her sensuous movements.
Ladies’ fans labored furiously; the gentlemen smiled their approval.
She floated slowly around the room, as if on air, with the cloak drifting behind her.
Then, as suddenly as she’d appeared, she slipped into the shadows and was gone.
Motionless, the Lords and Ladies stared at each other in silent amazement.
Questions bubbled to the surface. Who was she? Where had she come from? Where did she go?
Several men jumped into action, racing out into the night, but soon returned. They’d found no trace of the mystical entity, ‘Lady Mysterious’.
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About the Cover
Before I gave any thought to the cover design, I had written into the book Adelle's favorite get-away location, a large willow tree near the confluence of two gentle streams, not far from her home.  There, she could find some peace and quiet ... away from the hustle and bustle of her world which included a home, children, and a charity - bringing London orphans out of the city during the dangerous, disease ridden summers.  While not exactly 'summer camp,' she hit on the idea when, as a new resident of London herself, she was advised to get out of town during the summers.  It didn't seem right to her, leaving those children behind.  Then, she named her first child Willow.  So the willow tree theme was there.  All I needed was a model with black hair, dark eyes and at least quasi-Victorian garb.  That was not an easy task. It took month's of searching.

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In Chapter Nine, Adelle meets Lord Hastings
… I looked up at him, and again, he winked, his light blue eyes, dancing in the candlelight.
“So, have you heard the gossip about ‘Lady Mysterious’?” My breath caught in my throat. He knew. Somehow, he knew.
Deanna saw my distress and took over the conversation. “Only what we’ve heard through the grapevine, or read in the papers. A woman shows up at the balls, dressed scandalously, unannounced and uninvited, walks about the room, then leaves, without a trace.”
“It’s not quite that simple,” Lord Hastings said. “‘Lady Mysterious’ arrives, and waits until all eyes are on her.” He glanced at me, then continued. “Then, she wanders about, taking care to not get too close, and, as you said, she leaves. And, you’re right, even in light snow one evening, no trace of her was found outside the ballroom. But, I must tell you, she’s quite lovely. Her gown is quite scandalous, as you said, Lady Deanna, but many of the ladies have copied it, to one degree or another. I’ve gotten close to her a couple of times. I almost had her in my arms when she disappeared.”
I had to know. “Disappeared?”
“Hmm. She didn’t run or walk away, she … vanished. I haven’t figured it out yet, but I know she’s not a figment of my imagination. Too many other people have seen her, including Lord Grenfell who saw her disappear, too. There have been many fine inventions in recent years, but we know of no machine capable of doing such a thing.”
I relaxed a bit. He’d seen us disappear, but he didn’t understand how it could happen. And, from his conversation, he didn’t know who ‘Lady Mysterious’ was, but was interested in finding out because he thought she was lovely. And he had yet to see an inch of her skin.
I must have had a puzzled look on my face because Lord Hastings said, “What do you find so puzzling, my dear?”
Think fast. My mind raced to answer his question.
“Why would someone do this? She spent a considerable amount of time on this, between the gown you mentioned, and her overall plan, if there is one, but to what end?”
“Lord Grenfell and I have discussed this at length but can come up with no reason to put on such an elaborate show. Perhaps you ladies can assist us, give us a woman’s point of view. Why would a woman go to such lengths for no apparent reason?”
I took a deep breath and glanced at Deanna. She was leaving this question for me.
“I’m sure I don’t know, Lord Hastings. I’m afraid I don’t understand how the mind of a common trollop works.”
He raised an eyebrow, intrigued. “A common trollop? What makes you say that?”
“Well, she’s parading around in a scandalous gown, showing up unescorted, and uninvited. No real lady would do such things, am I right?”
“Well, yes, that’s true, but what if she were, in fact, a lady?”
“Then, we’ve come full circle to the ‘why’ again. Why would any lady risk her reputation like this? There’s also her family’s reputation, not to mention her husband’s, if she’s married.” Lessons learned.
Lord Hastings summed up the assumptions so far. “So, we’ve pretty much agreed, then, that the lady in question isn’t a lady. We can also rule out someone using this as a ploy to get inside the big houses of London to see what they might steal since she’s only inside the ballroom, which is a public room in most houses. Besides, if someone were looking to find things to steal, getting themselves hired as house staff would give them better access and opportunity.”
“You have given this a lot of thought.” I was impressed.
“I have, ma’am, and will continue to do so. We don’t know when or where she’ll turn up next, but I plan to be prepared.”
“For what?”
“I must know who she is. She reminds me of my late wife. It’s quite maddening.”
“Lord Hastings, correct me if I’m wrong, but is not the costume this ‘Lady Mysterious’ wears covering every inch of her body?”
“That’s true, but there’s something about the way she walks … the way she holds her head.”
Mixed emotions flowed through me. Of course, his wife walked the way ‘Lady Mysterious’ walks. It’s why I practiced the walk for days, so it looked like ‘Lady Mysterious’ was an aristocratic woman. But he wasn’t interested in me. He was enthralled by my alter-ego, and only because she walks like his dead wife. I wiped the beginnings of a smile off my face when I saw him looking at me.
“You, my lady, are an enigma. I look at you, and see the look on your face. I’m sure, at that moment, you know something about ‘Lady Mysterious’. But, the next time I look at you, it’s clear you know nothing.” He shook his head.
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Monday, April 7, 2014

Author Amber Leigh Williams

You're in for a treat today.  Romance author Amber Leigh Williams is here to share a few behind the scenes secrets.

Fiction vs. Reality:  

How Much of Real Life Winds Up In A Novel?
by
Amber Leigh Williams

Hi Carol! Thank you for letting me share with your readers today. 

I’m interested in how many of you ever wonder how much real life informs fiction? Particularly in a contemporary romance novel like my latest from Harlequin Superromance, A Place With Briar, that takes place in a real small town on the Gulf Coast of Alabama. Not only is it a real place – it’s my hometown and very close to my heart. So, aside from the setting, how much reality wound up in my book? 

First we’ll take a look at the characters. I will note that not a single character in any of my books is based on a real person. They may have been inspired by something someone did or said in real life or a situation someone found themselves in. But I admit when it comes to dialogue and conversation, things might start to sound really familiar if you’re from or have ever had an occasion to visit lower Alabama. Like any other region, people here don’t just sound different. Speech goes beyond the classic southern accent – the bottom drops out of vowel sounds, particularly the “uh” in words like “love” and “because.” You can hear it in the way words are put together as well. I’ll show you an example from A Place With Briar. The hero, Cole, has just arrived at Hanna’s Inn, the heroine Briar’s bed-and-breakfast on the Eastern Shore of the Mobile Bay. They are sitting down to breakfast with Briar’s cousin, one of the story’s more colorful secondary characters, Olivia – 

“Briar hasn’t been on a date in years,” Olivia blurted. “Needless to say, we all think she seriously needs to get laid.”

“Olivia! Honestly, that’s enough,” Briar squealed as Cole choked on a cinnamon roll.

“What?” Olivia asked. “We’re all family. No need to hide the truth. Especially when he might be able to help you out with that. Would you mind loosening her up for us, Cole?”

Briar groaned, pressing a hand over her eyes to ward off Olivia’s scheming expression.

“I’d love to.”

Briar’s hand and jaw dropped simultaneously. Her eyes widened, her heart leaping with surprise and…something else. Delight? She saw Cole’s playful grin then Olivia’s. “Oh!” she shrieked, embarrassment trawling through her.

“I’m sorry, Briar,” Cole said sincerely. “Couldn’t resist.”

“You’ll fit right in around here,” Olivia decided, slapping him companionably on the back.

“I hope so.” He smiled as he scooped a forkful of quiche into his mouth. His eyes flared, softened. “Whoa. Holy smokes.”

Olivia’s conspiratorial twinkle was back. “Look, Briar, he even likes your cooking.”

“That’s an understatement,” he amended, swallowing another bite. He gazed at Briar. “This is incredible.”

Briar’s lips curved warmly now. “Thank you.”

“She’s the best cook in L.A.” At his dubious look, Olivia laughed. “That’s Lower Alabama, newcomer.” Olivia’s digital watch beeped and she cursed. Dropping her fork to her plate with a sharp clang, she pushed her chair back to rise. “Duty calls.”

“You’re going to work already?” Briar asked. “You didn’t finish your breakfast.”

“I’ll survive, Mama.” She took her plate to the sink to rinse.

“I’ll head over later to see if you need anything,” Briar said. She’d fit it in between fixing a leaky sink and weeding flower beds. “Call me if y’all need me before then.”

“You just do what you do best first.” Olivia sent Cole a sidelong grin as she headed out the screen door. “Don’t give her any trouble now, ya hear?”

“I wouldn’t dare,” he assured her. “I’ll come by later for that margarita.”

“You do that. First one’s on me. See you two lovebirds later.”

Ah, the sounds of the South, like music to my ears. If you happen to find yourself in a restaurant down this way, you’ll probably overhear a conversation that sounds something like this at the next table. Only maybe nothing so blunt as Olivia :-)

Now I’ll talk about how much real-life romance wound up in A Place With Briar. When an author tells someone the love story he/she wrote was inspired in some way or another by their own real-life experience, reactions can range from “Awww” to “Ick.” Cole and Briar’s love story unfolds very differently from my own. But as anyone who reads the “Dear Reader” letter on the first page of A Place With Briar will know, there are parts of the story that are very dear to me. The summer after I graduated from high school, a nineteen-year-old man-hunk took me on my first motorcycle ride on a gorgeous stretch of road along the Eastern Shore called Scenic Highway 98 or South Mobile Street. This man-hunk happened to be my future husband. So several years later when I sat down to brainstorm A Place With Briar and I saw a vision of a man riding up to Hanna’s Inn on a Harley Davidson motorcycle, it was only natural to imagine a scene where he would take the heroine on a ride much like the one my husband took me on all those years ago. Especially when I realized the inn was situated, conveniently enough, on that same scenic highway. When my husband first read the “Dear Reader” letter and my mention of him there, he grinned and groaned and asked, “Is this my life?” I kindly told him “no” but that one scene might seem a little familiar….

I’m happy to say I recently signed a two-book deal with Harlequin to write two of the secondary characters’ stories from A Place With Briar – one of them being Briar’s colorful cousin, Olivia. This will be the second book in my hometown series, an October Superromance release. Olivia’s hero, Gerald, is a sexy, British novelist who has been as fun to write as Olivia herself. The conflict of their love story has a lot to do with the fact that they are very different – much more different than any hero and heroine that I have written in the past. A lot of the book has to do with the deep heritage each of them have in the different part of the world where they each grew up in. This leads to some interesting conversations. Because I love the characters so much, I felt compelled to delve a bit into my own ancestry and lend both Olivia and Gerald a few of my own family footnotes. For example, an immigrant on Olivia’s family tree (and mine) was also a predecessor of President Zachary Taylor. Gerald’s family ties show some deeply aristocratic lineage, though not royal – unless you count a distant Scottish ancestor who claimed to be the son of the Duke of Berwick who was the illegitimate son of King James II. Or so the rumor goes. If you read far back into my paternal ancestry, you’ll find a matching footnote. Also, Gerald reveals at one point that he is a ¼th Scottish. His mother’s maiden name happens to be MacLeod and he spent part of his childhood on the Isle of Skye. This is significant because I recently found out that my mother’s family is descended from the mighty MacLeod clan and their stronghold on the Isle of Skye, a castle called DunVegan that is still in use by the MacLeod laird and his family today. In one of my favorite scenes in the book, Gerald shows up to a formal event in a kilt, the MacLeod tartan.

There you have it, readers! That’s how much reality has wound up in my writing so far! I hope you’ll read more about A Place With Briar and its sequels at my website, www.amberleighwilliams.com. Thanks again, Carol! This was fun!

A PLACE WITH BRIAR
He's in some serious trouble…. 
Cole Savitt does not want to deceive Briar Browning. But if he hopes to see his son again, he has to find the weaknesses in her charming bed-and-breakfast, then get out of town fast! But the quaint inn isn't the only thing charming him…. 
Cole's straightforward plan becomes anything but when he begins to fall for the beautiful innkeeper. Suddenly everything's on the line—his future with his son, a chance at happiness and the love of a good woman. Cole must rethink his priorities…and the stakes have never been higher.

RT BOOK REVIEWS gives A Place With Briar 4 STARS: “Great description and engaging characters make this story an entertaining read. Cole is nicely developed and his despair over losing his son and Briar’s worry over the potential loss of her inn are both well drawn. The secondary characters, such as Briar’s tenants, are also quite fun and nicely crafted.”

You can purchase A Place With Briar now in stores or online….




Amber Leigh Williams lives on the Gulf Coast. A southern girl at heart, she loves beach days, the smell of real books, relaxing at her family’s lakehouse, and spending time with her husband, Jacob, and their sweet, blue-eyed boy. When she’s not running after her young son and three, large dogs, she can usually be found reading a good romance or cooking up a new dish in her kitchen. She is represented by Joyce Holland of the D4EO Literary Agency. Visit her on the web at www.amberleighwilliams.com. You can also find her on Twitter (@AleighWilliams) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/amberleighwilliams).


Monday, March 3, 2014

Author Susan Horsnell

Western Romance author Susan Horsnell is a talented author and the best friend you could ever want.  Her latest endeavor was in unifying 15 authors to create an anthology.  After several months, and many tantrums, ours, not hers, she is still speaking with all of us.  What a woman!

I was a Nurse, a career that spanned more than 35 years. During my career I specialised in caring for people with Alzheimer’s type Dementia, an area that fascinates me despite how heartbreaking it can be. My dear father-in-law is unfortunately afflicted with this disease and now resides in a Nursing Home. In the not too distant future I am hoping to pen a novel incorporating some of the stories I have heard from these amazing people. Part of my career was with the blind and I also cared for severely disabled children for a while too.
When I retired 4 years ago I decided it was time to get the stories out of my head and onto paper. From there I just hoped my stories were interesting and well written enough to attract readers.

I am married to the love of my life, we have 2 wonderful adult boys, and 5 amazing grandchildren. We also play substitute Mum and Dad to a beautiful, adopted young lady. We reside in sunny Qld, Australia in the midst of a Blackbutt Forest. We are surrounded by the peace and quiet of Mother Nature and wildlife abounds. It is a dream come true location for us.  


15 Western Romance Authors are currently working on a fabulous anthology which is due for release on March 15, 2014, the book is titled:

Rawhide ’n Roses
(A Western Romance Anthology)

Each story in the anthology will be a showcase of the author’s individual writing style and will hopefully encourage the reader to purchase full length novels of the author’s they like. Every story will have a Western Romance theme but there will be everything from old west romance to time travel and contemporary. Something to suit every western reader’s taste. It will also give the reader an opportunity to discover some new authors.

I am privileged to be associated with the very best of western writers and I know readers are going to be very impressed by the high quality of this work. The anthology came about from a comment I inadvertently made on a Western Romance Writer’s forum. 

From this comment the idea snowballed and I found myself nominated in charge of pushing the project forward. I cannot believe I am in such esteemed company and I am very grateful for the opportunity to work with such talented authors.

The authors will be blog hopping to promote this anthology and their own work. I hope readers will keep an eye out on blogs and social media for the cover release and official book release.

The best part? The culmination of this hard work by so many talented people – The Anthology – will be a steal at just $2.99!

Sit back, grab a coffee and enjoy the excerpt from my short story:


Petticoat Patrol
by Susan Horsnell
“Sissy, for heaven’s sake. Stop that damn wagon!” Lily screeched at the top of her voice. She crouched low over her galloping mare’s neck, reins in one hand and mane grasped in the other. As she drew alongside the wagon, which carried her sisters, she stood up in the stirrups and yelled again. “Stop that wagon now or so help me…”

Melissa, also known as Sissy, pushed her feet down hard to balance as she pulled back hard on the bay gelding’s reins. They all drew to a stop.

Lily lifted the hat from her head and swiped impatiently at the sweat on her brow. It was so hot she thought, if the damn dog was chasing the cat, they’d both be walking. “Why didn’t you stop when I called out?”

“How am I supposed to hear you with the sound of Buck’s hooves and these two tittering in my ear?” Sissy retorted.

The ‘two’ she referred to, as she flung her arm in the air, were their sixteen year old twin sisters – Amy and Emily. They had just discovered the appeal of two local boys and had been excitedly chattering.

“Why are you here, anyways? You’re supposed to be helpin’ Ma put a basket of food together. We gotta spend the night out with Pa watchin’ for rustlers and you know we get hungry.” Sissy pouted. She hated it when she thought her big sister was sent to watch over her. At eighteen years old she felt she was more than capable of doing things without being ‘chaperoned’.

“Ma sent me because she forgot a couple of things when she wrote out the list. It’s taken me all this time to catch up with you.”

“What else does she need?” Sissy enquired.

Lily pulled the list from her pocket and thrust it into her sister’s hand. “I might as well come with you now. It’s only another mile to town and I can help with the supplies.”

Sissy nodded before slapping the reins to get the big gelding moving. Lily urged her mount forward and they began walking at a leisurely pace.

They were in sight of town when a loud crack heralded something had gone terribly wrong on the wagon. Sissy brought Buck to a stop and glanced at her older sister in despair.

As Lily dismounted, the other girls jumped from the wagon. While the older two checked on the suspect wheel, Amy and Emily hovered nervously.

Lily crouched down and shook the wheel. It was looser than a whore in a cathouse. 

“Almost snapped clean off the axle,” she grumbled as she pushed herself to stand. 

“Sissy, unhitch Buck and we’ll walk the rest of the way. I’ll drop the horses at the livery and see what I can do about getting it fixed while you pick up the supplies.

Sissy did as requested and the girls began the short trek to town.