Inerview with Nancy Brashear

Welcome to the blog, Nancy. Let’s get to know you.

I’m a Southern California gal who grew up in some pretty unusual settings and situations, one of which became the inspiration for Gunnysack Hell. Through life experience, I’ve learned two things (well, more than that!). The first is that God watches out for children. The second is not to judge others; they’re usually doing their best in the moment, and everyone has opportunities to grow into better versions of themselves. A little more about me? I’m living a pretty terrific life at the beach as a faith-filled wife and mother of grown children with seven grandgirls ranging in age from five to twelve. And the sunsets over Catalina Island are magnificent.

What’s the logline that describes your writing themes?

“The truth will set you free.” For example, in GH, one of my main characters struggles against a “big lie” fed to her by the perpetrator. If she can grasp the truth of the situation, she can free herself from silence, take action, and forgive herself. My writing usually includes a character who’s struggling with some kind of a “demon”—an untruth that’s keeping them captive to something.

Do you start with plot or characters first?

The characters usually find me and mull around in my subconscious for a while before they pop onto the page. I begin with the outside perimeter (the general story frame) before I assemble the smaller, interior scenes, which are character driven. It’s a little like putting a jigsaw puzzle together.

What was your biggest surprise in the editing/revision process?

During the final stages of editing, I morphed into an artistic conductor and orchestrated the visual feeling tone, lengths of paragraphs, and white spaces on the page. It was like I was using visual magic to create a book that would draw the reader’s eyes throughout it from beginning to end. I enjoyed this entirely different creative process after all the hard-core editing and line-by-line proofreading! (By the way, I took Linda Carroll-Bradd’s editing course, and it was very helpful in writing tighter and eliminating reader distractions in my text.)

What other genres do you write in?

I’ve published poetry (and won first place in a poetry contest recently!) as well as short stories in anthologies and stand-alones (a creepy, retold fairytale for grownups). I’ve written two unpublished adolescent novels (science fiction and time-slip fantasy), completed rough drafts of two contemporary adult novels, and have the beginning of another psychological thriller hiding in the wings. As a recently retired English and Education professor, I published in academic venues and designed content for educational publishers and websites. For the last several years, I’ve been reviewing new books for children and adolescents (International Literacy Association website).

What visual aids do you use when writing?

I love, love, love Pinterest! For almost every storyline, I have a separate board. Check out the one for GH (https://www.pinterest.com/nancybrashear/writing-ideas-gunnysack-hell/) with 136 pins, which even includes actors I would cast in character roles. For “Dare to Wish Upon a Star,” the prequel short story to GH (download here: www.nancybrashear.com), I compiled a 1940s board on Victorian mansions, furniture, clothing, tub claws, etc. (https://www.pinterest.com/nancybrashear/claires-story-gunnysack-hell/)

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I hope readers connect with my stories as “mirrors” that reflect their own experiences or “windows” that give them insights into the lives of others. Either way, I’d like them to come away from my writing with a renewed sense of compassion and hope for themselves and others.

BLURB

“There’s more to fear in the desert than scorpions and rattlesnakes.” It’s the summer of 1962, middle of the Cold War, and the O’Brien family has moved off-grid to the Mojave Desert in Southern California. After all, the desert has to be a safer place to raise a family than the crime-ridden city, and there they can build a new future. But evil also stalks dusty desert roads, and eight-year-old Nonni finds herself harboring a terrible secret: Only she can identify the predator who has been terrorizing the community. And he knows where she lives.

BUY LINKS

Barnes & Noble buy link: Nook and Paperback

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/gunnysack-hell-nancy-brashear/1138547553

Amazon buy link: Kindle and Print

https://amzn.to/3pFfBpk

EXCERPT

I read this morning that Donald Fricker was granted parole after serving twenty years in prison. Once I saw his name in print, the decades disappeared in the flick of a newspaper page. My childhood flooded back to eight-year-old me, too scared to identify him and save my family.

It was May of 1962. My family had recently moved to our new home, our grandparents’ one-room homestead cabin in the California high desert with tarpaper and chicken-wire lining the walls. It never occurred to me to ask my father why we had moved from our three-bedroom suburban home by the beach to “off the grid.”

All I knew was that we used kerosene lanterns, the chemical outhouse under the tall water tank, a wood- burning stove, and an old-fashioned ice-box that our father replenished daily with a big block of ice from Jolly’s Corner.

Tessa, my six-year-old sister, and I walked home alone, every school day, from the bus stop, a mile and a half down an isolated dirt road.

That’s when it happened, the thing that changed our family. I’ll never forget that day. I protected Tessa even though I broke all of my promises to Mama I’d made just the night before. To walk directly home from the bus stop, not to talk to strangers, and to stay away from open wells.

That afternoon, when the bus’s hissing air brakes signaled our stop, we leapt from the bottom step onto the dirt shoulder of the road.

I picked the perfect stone from the side of the road. It had to be small and round, with no sharp edges, and light enough to kick all the way home.

Tessa followed on my heels, talking my ear off, and stepping on the heel of one of my tennies. “Gave you a flat!”

“Back off!” I glared at her. Mama said those shoes were like gold, and we were to protect them. I gave the rock a punt and forged ahead.

Oblivious to things going on out there in the desert, we were lulled into a sense of safety and routine. Like Eve, we didn’t feel the danger around us until it was too late to escape. Instead, I should have been paying attention to the truck following us slowly.

Down the deserted road.

Yes, this is our story.

My story.

 

REVIEW COMMENT

“I can’t recall the last time I was so impressed with someone’s writing style. It’s pure genius! Gunnysack Hell, told through the various family members’ point of view, takes the readers down a tunnel filled with mystery, thrills, and excitement. This masterpiece is not to be missed.”~L. C. Hayden, Award-winning and best-selling author, http://www.lchayden.com/

(The Harry Bronson Thriller Series, When Memory Fails as seen on NBC and ABC, and others)

Nancy Brashear lives in Orange County, California, with her husband, Patrick, and their rescue dog, Goldie, where her grown children and seven grandgirls have supported her writing adventures. A professor emeritus in English, she has published short stories, poems, academic articles, textbook chapters as well as website content and writing projects with educational publishers. Gunnysack Hell is her debut fiction novel and was inspired by a true-crime event. And, yes, she did live off-grid with her family in a homestead cabin in the Mojave Desert when she was a child. Visit www.nancybrashear.com to learn more.

WEB CONTACTS

Author website: www.nancybrashear.com

Author FB: www.facebook.com/nancybrashearauthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nancybrashearauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/drnancybrashear

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/nancy-brashear

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Nancy-Brashear/e/B083JNZGPR%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard

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

 

Enter Nancy’s Free eCopy Giveaway Drawing of Gunnysack Hell at her blog (ends February 26) by leaving your name and choice of the version you’d like if you’re one of the three winners: Mobi (Kindle), ePub (Nook), or [scrolling] PDF! Winners will also be mailed a postcard of Gunnysack Hell.

(https://www.nancybrashear.com/february-drawing-for-free-e-copy-of-brashears-gunnysack-hell-ends-feb-26/.)

Also by Nancy Brashear – Ready or Not: A Creepy, Retold Fairytale for Grownups

https://amzn.to/3reLgOK

Guest Promotion–Mrs. Spinney’s Secret by M.S. Spencer

BLURB: Amity Landing is being invaded by Hollywood and Cassidy Beauvoir, chairman of the board of overseers, doesn’t like it. That is, until she meets Jasper MacEwan, the director of American Waterloo: the Rout of the Penobscot Expedition. Their budding romance is interrupted by a series of deadly incidents, sending them on a quest for long-lost English gold. Who will be the next victim? Can they find the treasure before the murderer does?

BUY LINKS

Books2Read: https://books2read.com/u/3JXWEA

https://books2read.com/MrsSpinneysSecret

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mrs-Spinneys-Secret-M-Spencer-ebook/dp/B08P886V99

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mrs-spinneys-secret-m-s-spencer/1138392573?ean=9781509234486

ITunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/mrs-spinneys-secret/id1543575824

Walmart: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Mrs-Spinney-s-Secret-Paperback/474281367

KOBO: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/mrs-spinney-s-secret

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/M_S_Spencer_Mrs_Spinney_s_Secret?id=kTsTEAAAQBAJ

EXCERPT

Nemo’s

“Speaking of, I think I deserve a raise for hazardous duty. Guess how I spent yesterday?”

“Has to be with the Red Hat ladies. Bunch of old coots in purple dresses who rampage through town harassing the inhabitants like a modern-day James gang. The one in charge accosted me the other day. Ripped me up and down for crossing against the light.” He shivered. “She’s terrifying.”

“That would be Edna Mae Quimby.” Cassidy suppressed a smile.

Sally turned to her. “Quimby, you say? It must be her husband I had to deal with then. The sheriff.”

Cassidy started. “Sheriff Quimby? What did he want with you?”

“He was asking about Rick Ahearn—the subcontractor who found the Spinney house for me. Evidently he’s dead.”

Cassidy thought of the news article Nellie had brought in. “That’s right. They found him a mile from Amity Landing. He was dressed in a sailor suit.”

“Yeah—pretty queer, huh? I didn’t have to ID him, thank God. Wouldn’t have been able to anyway—we only spoke on the phone. The hotel found my card in his room and gave it to Quimby. He wanted to know what my connection was to him. I told him I’d hired him to find sites for the filming, but that I hadn’t heard from him in days.” She blew her cheeks out. “Bit of a jolt to hear what happened to him.”

Jasper drained his beer. “Sailor suit, huh. So they think he fell off a boat and drowned?”

“That’s what they thought at first, but no.”

“No?”

“No. Sheriff told me he was found on this floating barge out in the water.” Sally jumped off her stool and plopped some bills on the bar. “Gotta go. You coming, Jasper?”

“Might stay for dinner.” He regarded Cassidy tentatively. “Fancy a bite to eat?”

She nodded, afraid to speak, afraid he’d see her pleasure at his invitation. She followed him out, but at the top of the stairs remembered her purse. She ran back. Pauline was standing behind the bar, a singular expression on her face. It might have been panic, but the fear was mixed with a hefty dose of sheer bafflement.

Librarian, anthropologist, Congressional aide, speechwriter—M. S. Spencer has traveled the globe. She has published fourteen romantic suspense or murder mystery novels, with two more on the way. She has two fabulous grown children and an incredible granddaughter. She divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.

WEB CONTACTS

Blog: https://msspencertalespinner.blogspot.com

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

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/msspencerauthor

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/msspencer
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/msspencerauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/msspencerauthor/

Linked in: www.linkedin.com/in/msspencerauthor

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/m-s-spencer

Author Interview with Wendy Kendall

Welcome, Wendy. I can’t wait to get started.

Do you start a new story with the plot or characters first?

I start with the characters. My stories come from the characters, their personalities, lives, backgrounds, dreams, flaws, strengths, and what they want. Each character is the hero of their own story. I love to develop the characters, and then see how they grow. Then the plot. It’s the characters who always drive the plot and shape the story. Sometimes I expect a character to act a certain way, but then I learn from them how they must proceed, and that’s how I must write the scene.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

I’m a hybrid author, and I love it. All of it is so creative. First come the characters. Then an outline of the plot. Followed by a timeline that visually shows me what is happening and what characters are involved, scene by scene. Then I write the scenes. As I write, things change, and I go with those changes happily because it’s all so creative. I belong to a wonderful critique group who give me helpful feedback as I go through the process. After the first draft comes the editing. Lots of editing. And then the beta readers tell me what they think, followed by more editing. It’s all exciting for me.

If you use music while writing, name your favorite types.

I love listening to music, especially when I’m writing. When I’m working on a story I prefer instrumentals, lyrics sung while I’m writing are a big distraction. My favorite music is Kevin Eubanks cd’s. I also enjoy all kinds of jazz music. It’s such a creative style, it really creates an atmosphere that inspire my imagination. When one of my sons was in high school he played in a jazz band. He taught me so much about the music, that’s when my appreciation for it really grew.

Have you traveled to any locations that appear in your books?

Sort of. Katherine Watson, purse designer and amateur sleuth opens her own purse museum that shows women’s history through the decades with purse exhibits. My research for my cozy mystery included a trip to the Esse Purse Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas. It’s owned by a sensational woman named Anita Davis who started it with her own collection and it’s grown incredibly since then. This is one of four purse museums in the world. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit, learned so much from the exhibits, and also from the very nice and helpful staff. If you want to learn more about my visit, please visit my blog – A Passion For Purses

In what genre do you read?

I love a story! I’ve been an avid reader all my life. My favorites have always been mysteries, all kinds of mysteries. My favorite cozy mystery author, is Laura Childs. No reason to stop at one genre though. When it comes to reading I can’t get too much of that good thing. I haven’t found a genre I don’t like from classics to contemporaries. I’m a big reader of Shakespeare too – now that’s amazing plotting and characters. I love sharing my reading recommendations too. If you’re looking for your next read, you might want to take a look at my column Recommended Reads. I also recommend books for kids in my column Kids Are Bookin’ It.

Are you a pet person? If so, what do you have?

I am a pet person. Over the years my family have enjoyed a bit of an assortment. Parakeets, lizzards including geckos, cats, and dogs. Pets are such a sweet joy in life. In Kat Out of the Bag Katherine Watson has adopted a stray cat. Katherine names her Purrada and what a pampered pet she beomes. Jason Holmes is a cop in my mystery, his K-9 partner is Hobbs. I researched police dogs for my book. What amazing, smart animals. I have such great respect for all service animals. When police dogs are off duty, they’re wonderful pets. My research included a ride along with a K-9 patrol. What an experience! I’ve included so much from this adventure in my novel. If you’d like to know more about the ride along, you can hear about it on my YouTube podcast Kendall and Cooper Talk Mysteries.

BLURB

Celebrated international purse designer Katherine Watson hosts a gala for her Purse-onality Museum, she never expected the next day’s headline to read: Murder at the Gala Premiere. Working to solve the murder, Katherine matches wits with local cop Jason Holmes and his K-9 partner Hobbs. Although Holmes and Watson disagree often, they discover an undeniable attraction building between them. But they’ll have to put their feelings on hold and focus on solving the murder, before Katherine becomes the killer’s next knock off.

BUY LINKS

Amazon

Barnes & Noble,   Google Play,   Kobo

EXCERPT

Someone had their arm around her, and she couldn’t scream because they were tightly holding a big white handkerchief over and in her mouth. It was also over her nose and she could feel that it was wet and sweet all at the same time, like a chemical. She struggled, kicking back with her feet and trying to get her arms free, but those were tightly held down. Katherine was in a panic and all her muscles seemed to seize up as she fought. Her last conscious thought was of a huge, black, furry growling beast jumping up at her shoulder height, knocking the person holding her away, as she fell hard on the ground.

A review

“Inside every handbag are artifacts – pieces of personality, glimpses of the past and often the deepest secrets. Vintage purses have a story to tell and for Kendall’s mystery, these stories unveil more than just purse-sonal history; they’re the clues to catch a killer.” – ESSE PURSE MUSEUM, Little Rock, Arkansas

Wendy Kendall has a passion for purses and stories of the women through history who carried them. Her cozy mystery Kat Out of the Bag is the first book of the In Purse-Suit Mystery Series, introducing Katherine Watson an international purse designer/sleuth. Wendy is a blogger, editor, speaker, project manager, and syndicated columnist. Catch exciting author interviews on her YouTube Podcast—A Novel Talk, and the debut of her podcast – Wendy Kendall In Purse-Suit of Fashion. She loves her two sons, Alex and Brad and her Purrada cat.

WEB CONTACTS

wendywritesbooks.com

Facebook – Wendy Kendall, Mystery Author

Twitter – @wendywrites1

Instagram – wendyekendall

Goodreads

Be Mine Bookish Giveaway

Having a hard time choosing what to read in 2021? While there’re so many wonderful authors and books available, it’s imperative to have a dependable and responsible place that can help you choose what to read. It’s even better when you get a chance to win free books, audiobook codes, bookish prizes and gift cards! Every month, you can win free books and other prizes from multiple authors hosted by N. N. Light’s Book Heaven. Numerous authors are offering their books in this collaborative group entitled Literary Giveaway Portal. The best part is they’re all screened and approved by N. N. Light, a top reviewer.

Be Mine Bookish Giveaway: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/92db775096

Literary Giveaway Portal:  https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/literary-giveaway-portal

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My prize for the month is a copy of Cowboy Kisses, an anthology of 8 historical romances Print (US only) or ebook (International) containing my story titled When My Heart Knew.

Release of Amata

Grayson’s adopted daughter is all grown up and not following Papa’s directives.

After completion of her studies at a teacher’s college, Amata Wainwright returns to her Cheyenne, Wyoming, hometown. Her worry is she must inform her state senator father that she didn’t earn the expected diploma. Determined to help a younger brother who suffers with dyslexia, she starts tutoring him and his friend using unorthodox methods.

Rancher Harlan Thorpe has his hands full and needs no more distractions. He’s establishing a breeding program on his ranch, keeping an eye on his stubborn son who keeps ditching school, and riding herd on his younger brother who would rather drink and gamble than put in an honest day’s work.

The mischievous young boys contrive situations to get Dario’s sister and Liam’s dad together. Each time, the adults don’t know what has hit them, but the growing feelings are definitely not in either one’s plans.

Amazon buy link 

FREE in Kindle Unlimited

EXCERPT

A familiar surrey with a matched team of roans stood near the holding corral where transported animals were off-loaded. A group of saddled horses stood tied to the railing.

A shaft of sunlight reflecting off a depot window blinded her. She averted her face then lifted a hand to shade her eyes. Several men gathered near the corral with a couple of them sitting atop the corral railing. The broad-shouldered one with the wide-brimmed hat looked like Chester. Why was the family’s man-of-all-work waiting there instead of on the platform to greet her?

The ground beneath her shoes shook. She glanced down but saw nothing amiss.

Pounding hooves beat the dirt, followed by masculine hollers and whoops.

An echoing set of hard footfalls thrummed from the opposite direction.

“Get out of the way!”

What’s going on? Amata looked between a tall man bearing down on her from the left and a beast of a cow thundering her way from the right. Her pulse kicked up.

The stranger waved an arm. “Move back, lady!”

Two hands grabbed her upper arms and jerked her off her feet. A muscular body slammed her back against the railroad car, pressing close. He tucked her head under his chin and clamped her to his chest. Grasping handfuls of soft cloth, she gasped and inhaled warm cotton and male sweat overlaying the scent of fresh soap.

Seconds later, the cow barreled past followed by a galloping horse, both kicking up clods of dirt.

Amata squirmed, which only dragged her fists across hard-as-granite muscles. Such awareness was scandalous. Heat invaded her cheeks, and she stiffened. “Sir, unhand me.”

Another horse charged past.

“Not yet.”

“I beg your pardon.” She lifted her head but only moved an inch under his strong hold.

“My men need to get that steer controlled.”

The metal car at her back kept her upright and as far away as possible from the rampaging cow. Unfortunately, her feet dangled several inches above the ground, hardly a position from where she could issue directives. “At least allow me to stand on my own two feet.”

His stance eased away. “Sure enough, miss.”

Even with her feet under her, Amata was adrift. Their bodies no longer touched, but the skin on her arms tingled where his grip held her safe. Her breathing was too fast. Blood pounded in her ears, and yet again, her hat hung askew. Except at a few dances as a youth, she’d never been held in a male’s embrace.

Freed from his iron grip, she shook herself and glanced up into eyes of the bluest blue. A lock of sandy brown hair hung over one eyebrow. The stranger was quite a handsome man…as long as she didn’t factor in his brutish manners.

“Cupids and Cowboys” is a multi-author series. Previous titles are:

Harriet by Pam Crooks

Lainie by Cynthia Woolf

Vella by Charlene Raddon

Alice by Margaret

To find these and upcoming titles, go to the series page on Amazon.

Interview with Susan Furlong

Welcome, Susan. Let’s get started.

Do you start a new story with the plot or characters first?

I don’t write the typical Scottish historical romance. All my stories wrap around a true event in history. Then I drop my characters inside that event and see how they survive. There are so many fascinating episodes in history that fall under the category of “You can’t make this stuff up!” Some are laughable, and some are tragic.

Clicking around the web led me to information about the troubled life of Mary, Queen of Scots. Then I stumbled onto King Henry VIII’s war, called years later as “Rough Wooing,” to force Scotland into agreeing to Mary’s betrothal in infancy to his son, Edward and that led me to the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh. “Cleugh” is Gaelic for “valley,” and the name “Pinkie” caught my eye. This battle ended in Scotland’s defeat, and, subsequently, Mary, age 4, was sent to France to wed the Dauphin of France who was five. Her betrothal was the price for France’s support of Scotland against the English.

All of this got me thinking about how many people lost their lives to protect their young queen who obviously was too young to understand the sacrifice, and that led me to wondering who would be protecting her? It had to be my heroine! Since she would be devoted and trustworthy, her hero had to be a rogue who would eventually change his ways. Thus (Katherine) Kit and Hugh were created.

Have you traveled to any locations that appear in your books?

Four years ago, I took a cruise with my sisters around the British Isles. Our family heritage is Scottish, and north of Edinburgh Scotland, we toured a castle that once belonged to our long past ancestors. The land there is beautiful and gave me a real understanding of how the people lived, something I could not have gotten from photos alone. I also picked up an ear for the accent, which I used in the book. After reading it, my sister asked me if “I got off the boat at night and talked with Scottish wenches!”

Can you share a tip about what you do when you get stuck in creating a story?

When I get stuck on what should happen next, I have learned that I have to take a step back and “live in” the story in my mind with my characters. I leave my desk and go for a walk or take a turn on the treadmill or sit in my chair and close my eyes. I try out various scenarios, usually most don’t work, but eventually one makes sense. Some great ideas come to me while I sleep, so a notepad beside the bed is a necessity. Sometimes this process takes an hour, sometimes several days.

What is your biggest surprise in the editing/revision process?

My biggest surprise in going back over my work is asking myself “Who wrote this?” Whether it’s really good or really bad, I’m stunned that those words came out of my head. How could I have thought of this and put it together like that?

What resources do you use for picking character names?

Medieval tax records offer authentic names from that era. Google also has a large variety of lists of medieval names as do baby name books and Pinterest. Sometimes I see a name and right away it fits my character perfectly. Other times I use several names while I write before I find the right one. I also search photos online until I find one that is my hero or heroine, which helps me match a name to a face.

Are you a pet person? If so, what do you have?

I am a Cat person. Six years ago I adopted my two latest cats from the Humane Society’s “Cat Boutique, Meowza” at a local shopping mall. Here rescued cats are available in a pet store-like environment. My granddaughter and I looked over all the kittens and decided on two, one male, one female, who were alone in their cages after all their siblings had been sold. I couldn’t resist making them mine. They are not litter mates, but have been best friends from the start. My granddaughter named them Calvin and Hobbes after our favorite comic strip.

 

Left to right: Hobbes, Calvin

 

 

 

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I love history, not the dates, battles, etc. but how the people must have lived. I hope that readers will see that history is not a boring, dull, repetition of facts, but actually “see” the real people with real lives living through it. I often refer to a phrase I’ve used in my non-fiction historical books about my hometown. In an interview one man said, “We were so busy living our lives, we didn’t know we were living history.” History is made up of incredible stories of people who lived through incredible times!

TAGLINE: She wants to take off his head. He wants to win her heart.

BLURB for By Promise Made

Hugh Cullane, accused of murder and sentenced to hang, is forced to deliver a message of betrothal to four-year-old Queen Mary of Scotland. He faces death yet again when, in rejecting the proposal, the queen’s guardian orders his severed head sent back to England in a jar.

Trained to protect her queen at all costs, Katherine Payne can show no mercy to the handsome messenger, despite the way his stolen kiss unsettles her single-minded sense of duty. Trapped between the English and Scottish armies, she must escape with Mary. Hugh joins her as they are chased by men determined to murder the young queen in their own quest for power.

BUY LINKS

Amazon

Barnes&Noble

iBooks

KOBO

To add to your Goodreads bookshelf

EXCERPT

(After escaping the disastrous Battle of Pinkie Cleugh, Kit, Hugh and young Mary flee north)

In the distance, bobbing heads of the horses of an English patrol headed in their direction.

“Down the cliff is the only way. Ye take Mary,” she said, tugging the straps of Mary’s carrying sack off her shoulders. “The wall of the cliff has a small cave in it about halfway down. We can hide inside. I’ll go down first and lead the way. Ye follow with the babe. I’ll guide ye. Here.” She hefted Mary and the carrying sack onto Hugh’s back. “The straps will rub on yer shoulder and start the bleeding again, but there is no other way.”

“Doesna matter. Are ye set, little one?” he asked Mary.

She kissed him on the cheek. “Aye, the man will take good care of me, Kit”

… “I think I see the cave.” She pointed. “I’ll start that way and call for ye to follow.” Swinging her legs over the side, she quickly started the climb down.

Hugh watched her from the top, trying to memorize where she put her feet and hands. “Mary, ye watch Kit verra carefully so ye can help me put my feet in the right places. Ye can even grab hold of the stones with yer hands to help me. Can ye do it?”

“Aye. Kit and I climbed this cliff more than once. Captain Rand put a rope around her waist, but we didna need it. Kit and I climbed up and down all by ourselves.”

“Are ye ready?”

“I am!”

Hugh adjusted quickly to Mary’s extra weight, and he found it relatively easy to follow Kit’s route down over the jagged rocks.

About halfway down the face, Kit called to him. “I see it. The cave. About thirty feet to yer left. I’ll get there and lead ye to it.”

“Aye,” he said.

That’s when loose rocks started sliding down the cliff, not the pebble or two that fell off when his hand hold wasn’t secure, but bushels of debris falling fast and hard. Looking over his shoulder, he saw Kit fighting to find a foothold. She had a grip on a rock with both hands, but her legs swung uselessly. She grunted and strained, but she didn’t cry out.

“I am coming to ye!” called Hugh.

“Nay!” she called back. “Get to the cave where Mary will be safe. I’ll find a way.”

Her right hand slipped off the stones, followed by her left, and she fell fast and hard. Time slowed down  as she flew through the air, bouncing repeatedly against the face of the cliff. Two, three times she slammed into the wall. Her tunic caught on a stone and ripped nearly off. On the fifth time, another jagged edge caught her boot and tore it from her foot and twisted her body until she fell headfirst toward the ground. She landed on her back at the edge of the road below with a sickening thud.

Mary screamed.

Quote from Five Star review by N.N.Light Book Heaven.

By Promise Made is a historical romance I couldn’t put down. I have read a lot of books dealing with Queen Mary of Scots, but this story puts a new spin on the young queen. From the first page, I was transported to medieval Scotland. The descriptive narration is so well done, I sniffed the air and heard the sounds of everything going on in By Promise Made.

By Promise Made was a finalist (top 3) in the N.N. Light Book Heaven Book of the Year in the Historical Romance category.

Susan Leigh Furlong was born at the University of Michigan before moving across the country six times before the age of fourteen. At college she met her love and moved to his hometown, where she taught first and fourth grades. While performing in community theater, she realized she wanted to play ALL the parts, and she now writes and/or directs church plays and performs with a music and drama ministry, LightReaders.

She wrote two historical non-fiction books published by Arcadia Publishing. Susan first discovered romance novels when she won a copy of Velvet Song by Jude Deveraux at the local bookstore.

WEB CONTACTS

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Email: SusanLeighFurlongwriter@gmail.com

Guest Promotion–The Duke’s Decision by Carolina Prescott

BLURB (book 1 of the “Dukes in Danger” series, A Haversham House Romance)
When widowed Viscountess Rowden literally stumbles across the arrogant Duke of Whitley while she’s gathering research for the puzzles she creates for the London Mail Observer, she can’t possibly know he’s the Crown’s spymaster. Whit believes enemy agents are using the newspaper’s puzzle pages to send coded messages to Napoleon. His mission is clear—less clear are his feelings for the woman he may have to destroy. While Vivian struggles to forget her past and find a future where her heart can be safe, the duke must decide whether the fiery viscountess is friend, foe, or fate.

BUY LINKS

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

KOBO

EXCERPT

“I feel obliged to let you know that you have once again caught me skulking about.”

The familiar voice sent shivers up her spine. Shivers that had nothing to do with the inclement weather. “Your grace?”

Vivian turned to see the duke standing in front of a settee that boasted plump cushions and an unobstructed view of the summer rain on the lake. The sky crackled as a streak of lightning blazed through the clouds. The answering thunder came only seconds later.

“Like you, I am a refugee seeking shelter from the storm,” he said. “Please join me. I promise not to pry into your business unless asked.”

“Your grace, I apologize for my behavior earlier. I have such a temper, and it sometimes gets the best of me, no matter how I try. Please accept my apologies.”

“I will accept yours if you will accept mine. You were right. I have no business interfering in your affairs. I was simply reacting to your distress without thinking.”

She smiled up at him, her attention held once again by cornflower-blue eyes that made her feel so…wanted. “A truce, then?” She extended her hand.

He raised his eyebrows.

“At least until the storm is over?”

The blue eyes twinkled. “Agreed.” He took her hand, marveling at how perfectly it fit in his own. And then he noticed her gown.

“Uh…may I offer you my coat? Your dress seems to be rather…ah…damp.”

In fact, what her dress seemed to be was the most erotic piece of clothing he had ever seen, and on a woman who already dangerously intrigued him.

BIO

Carolina Prescott loves a good romance. That and her penchant for history—along with her love for happy endings—makes writing historicals a wonderfully logical career choice. Carolina divides her time between an apartment in the trees in California and a house on a hill in her native North Carolina.

WEB CONTACTS

Website: carolinaprescott.com
Facebook: Carolina Prescott writes
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/123261864-carolina-prescott
Twitter: @cprescottwrites
Instagram: Carolina.Prescott

Interview with Larry Farmer

Happy Wednesday and welcome to author Larry Farmer~

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I grew up a baby boomer in rural Texas on a cotton farm. After high school, I went to Texas A&M where I earned two degrees. In between degrees I joined the Marines, hoping to go to Vietnam. After my stint I travelled around the world, looking for my head as we used to say. I work as a computer programmer as a career for Texas A&M University. I have three children and have been married twice.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

I am an avid reader. Mostly non-fiction. I love history and politics. I am very into writing my novels. All this and my daily life keeps me busy.

Do you start a new story with the plot or characters first?

They are based on my true-life experiences. Between my Texas background, Marine Corps and my travels around the world, plus romantic endeavors involved, I have much material to deal with.

What is the starting point for research—story concept or when you get stuck while writing?

Looking up the time and place and setting. Only to fill in the gaps in the story to not miss any details.

Have you traveled to any locations that appear in your books?

All of them.

Can you share a tip about what you do when you get stuck in creating a story?

Keep going and let it work its way through, even if I have to return to the story part where I got stuck.

Describe a normal writing day (or period, if you have other employment obligations).

To contemplate where I am in the story and how I want to deal with it and keep moving with it.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

Entertainment, but also I hope my storyline interests them and they get in the setting and circumstances. I want people to relate.

There was a new age. One called the Age of Aquarius with a restless, ideological generation in the spirit of Woodstock and a reverence for new worlds opening up to new ideas. When the Beatles presented a mystique of India into pop culture, the Hippie Trail derived where hip adventurers traveled overland from Europe to Kathmandu and India. Hunter was not among these hipsters. Still bitter over treatment as a Marine combat veteran from the Vietnam War, he nevertheless shared allure for the open road. While getting visas in Vienna he came across a Polish girl, Ewa. A Warsaw Pact girl whose politburo father got her unequal privileges she gladly abused to join Hunter on the trek to India to check out the new age together. Shared experiences and hardships bonded them. But Cold War politics made falling in love the worst hardship of all.

Amazon buy link

EXCERPT

By 1978, I wanted to go overland. Overland by way of what was called the Hippie Trail. India was the chic place to go anymore, if you were a true adventurer. I still hated hippies, but I did love this part about them. The free and open road way of life. The wanting to get out of the mold, away from the rat race, and see things and places you only read or heard about. The Marines got me started on that, structured as it was in a war zone called Vietnam, but I loved my generation’s open road spirit and wanted to do it too. To see these places first hand, and not as a part of a group tour package of five countries in three days.

I wanted to mingle with the crowds, the locals. To eat their food and put up with the hardships, to sleep in a ditch if I must, or in some sleazy hotel. To experience the joy and pure fun of staying in exotic place after exotic place.

The Hippie Trail began in Vienna. That’s why I was there. Vienna was the capital of Austria, which meant it had embassies where you could get the travel visas you needed for the Asian countries you passed through on the way to India. And Vienna was on the edge of Asia Minor where these Asian countries began.

It seemed fitting that it was my search on the internet for a Beatles song that reminded me indirectly of those days and my meeting Ewa. For it was the Beatles that introduced my generation to India. Not the historical India so much as the India of the new mystique.

WEB CONTACTS

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Last Day for 99 cent sale on Laced by Love

 

Blurb:

A vaudeville troupe arrives in Morgan’s Crossing late in the traveling season. When an event occurs that shakes up the troupe, seamstress Cinnia decides to say no to older sister Nola who has made the sisters’ decisions since being orphaned a decade earlier. Leather worker Nicolai Andrusha is lying low and using an alias until the patent is approved on his family’s leather tanning formula. But he finds the auburn-haired poetess irresistible. Will Nicolai oppose his family obligation to help the stranded beauty who has caught his eye?

Monday, january 18th, is the last day Laced by Love, book 1 in the Entertainers of the West series, will be on sale for 99 cents during the Book Series Starter event.

Amazon buy link

FREE in Kindle Unlimited

The link for the event to see all the included titles is here. The event cntinues through Janaury 21st with the winner announced on January 22nd.

Sponsored by Book Heaven, the event includes 42 titles in multiple genres and one participant will win all of the ebooks.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Guest Interview with Sorchia DuBois

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I taught English in small schools and community colleges for about twenty-five years. Now I am an editor/customer service representative for a virtual education provider which allows me to work from home. I have a couple of grown kids and one delightful granddaughter who, unfortunately, lives for most of the year in Germany.

Writing is something I put off for far too long because I bought the ideas that you can’t make a living at it and anything you can’t make a living at isn’t worth doing. These things are both wrong. I’m never happier than when I have a story in progress—unless it’s when I’m promoting a finished book. This is what I wanted to do since I was a kid and I could kick myself for letting myself be influenced by naysayers.

What’s the logline that describes your writing?

Magic, Mystery, Romance, History, A little Whisky, and a Cat

Do you start a new story with the plot or characters first?

While the idea of a plot may trigger my interest, it’s the characters that build the story for me.  The Zoraida Grey series, for instance, started with an idea for a character—and not even the main character. Zoraida’s granny was the instigator—and once you get to know Granny, you’ll see how this had to be the case. I wanted to write about a witchy lady who lives in the wilderness in Arkansas. Which led me to wonder why someone with those skills would be in Arkansas. Which led me to wonder about her family. Which led me to her granddaughter, Zoraida.

When I start thinking about characters, I need to know all about them. I have a list of questions and I use Tarot cards to get the answers. This takes me in strange directions, and this was how Zoraida went from Arkansas to a haunted castle in Scotland to the Yucatan jungle and back. The plot sprang from her and Granny’s family history.

Do you write in a genre other than the one of this release?

The Zoraida Grey trilogy is an urban fantasy/adventure series. I’m currently working on a small-town mystery series—probably also a trilogy since that seems to be the way my so-called mind works. Working titles are All the Pretty Knives, Birds of a Feather, and Corked. I’ll always include bits of fantasy and magic realism to see how those elements work in other genres—anything speculative sounds like fun to me.

In what genre do you read?

I will read nearly anything including the backs of cereal boxes. I steer clear of gratuitous violence and while I have read erotica, I get a little bored unless the writer can think of new, um, angles. My favorites are psychological thrillers, mysteries, any kind of fantasy, and humor.

Are you a pet person? If so, what do you have?

I’m a cat lady and proud of it. The current count is nine—mostly rescues. Everyone in the house is fixed, including the humans, and most of us have had our shots, too. I live in the country where the cats can roam as they want—no indoor litter box except in really bad weather when the divas in the pride refuse to wander far from the fireside. While I did not plan to have this many cats and am not seeking any more, I do enjoy their company.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

An author I admire named M.C. Beaton once responded to this question by saying, “I never wanted to be a literary writer. I wanted to be an entertainer. All I wanted was to give what a lot of writers had given me: a good time on a bad day.” While I would like to give literary writing a try one day, I have to agree with M.C. I write what I enjoy, and I hope that enjoyment translates to my readers. Bad jokes, quirky characters, and absurd situations make me laugh so I try to add those things to my books.

Blurb for Zoraida Grey Trilogy

How many Scottish witches does it take to destroy one small-town fortune teller?

The Zoraida Grey trilogy follows Zoraida from Arkansas to Scotland on a quest to retrieve a healing stone to save her granny’s life. But it seems Granny hasn’t told her everything. Soon Zoraida is smack dab in the middle of a witchy clan war and in danger of being ensorcelled by not one but two smoking hot witches. The truth of her own heritage is buried deep beneath Castle Logan. Trouble is the only one who strikes fear in the black hearts of the Logan witches has stepped in a steaming pile of Voodoo thousands of miles away in the Caribbean.

To save her granny and her best friend, Zoraida must choose between her old, safe life or a new one filled with magic and danger.

The task may be the end of her—or the beginning.

Start the adventure with Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones in which Zoraida discovers just what a mess Granny has let her in for. Continue the story in Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen in which Zoraida journeys to the Yucatan Jungle to retrieve a Scottish wizard who turns out to be naked and painted blue. The trilogy ends in Zoraida Grey and the Pictish Runes as Zoraida returns to Castle Logan with vengeance on her mind.

Buy Links: (each book just 99 cents through Jan 22)

Stop by Sorchia’s Universe for more info or go straight to buy links at your favorite sites:

Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones: books2read.com/u/mKJkvZ

Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen: books2read.com/ZoraidaGrey2

Zoraida Grey and the Pictish Runes: books2read.com/ZoraidaGrey3

Excerpt from Zoraida Grey and the Pictish Runes

Dinner guests at Castle Logan look like a traveling Halloween party in search of a human sacrifice. Why am I surprised? A few of them stare at the looming figure of Jock in the doorway, but the majority seem to be people not put off by a giant wizard and his feathery familiar in the foyer.

Castle Logan looks much as I remember it, but I’m changed in more than appearance. The place is as creepy as it ever was. Dark shadows lurk in the upper hallways, a cold mist flows along the floor, and the prickle of magic crawls across my skin like a dozen tiny spiders. The first time I walked into Castle Logan, I had a severe case of the heebie jeebies. Now, the weirdness feels homey. I’m glad to be back.

Normal rules don’t apply here. We’re going to sit down to dinner as if nothing monumental has happened. Our unexpected appearance is but one of many odd happenings in the last quarter hour alone.

Zhu materializes beside me and hands me a glass of wine. I marked her presence and apparent good health the first minute I walked into the castle. I’m glad to see her, and not just because of the wine, though that’s a nice plus.

“You took your sweet time,” she says, grinning like a drunken Cheshire cat. “This place is nothing like Arkansas.”

“You’re the one who wanted to see witches and real magic. I didn’t want to come back too soon and ruin your fun.” I breathe a silent sigh of relief. She’s safe and she’s not bewitched. The world is still right side up. “You look pretty chummy with all these folks. I had the idea you were being held hostage.”

As I lift the glass of wine to my lips, I notice a tall, blue-eyed man standing close to Zhu. If I didn’t know better, I would say he was her bodyguard. And if not for the large, dark Scotsman holding my hand, I would be giving this blond fellow a longer look. Instead, I raise my eyebrows at Zhu.

Zhu smiles sweetly and sips her wine. By this, I understand I am not the only one with a story to tell.

Snippet from Reviews

“This is a really fun magical adventure. It is light-hearted but has a serious, suspenseful edge to it as well. Zoraida is a great narrator for the tale and hearing everything from her point of view allows the author to surround her with characters who we are not really sure of their intentions.” LIAL at The Romance Reviews for Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones

~*~

“Zoraida’s inner narrative is a dazzling combination of humorous self-deprecation, sarcasm, and wit. It’s like Practical Magic, Charmed, and The Craft had a baby and named it ‘Zoraida Grey’.”  On My Kindle Review of Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen

~*~

“So many secrets and surprises it keeps you guessing and wondering. You should definitely read this book-series!!” HG review of Zoraida Grey and the Pictish Runes

Sorchia Dubois is the pen name of a mysterious, retired English teacher who lives deep in the forest in a tall house with nine cats. Sorchia writes paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and small-town murder mysteries. She published her first book in 2018 at the ripe age of mumblety-seven and plans to publish at least ninety-nine more. Her latest accomplishment is to survive cancer, which was no fun, but served to broaden her perspective—that’s for sure. Currently, she’s working on All the Pretty Knives, the first in a new trilogy to be released 2021-22.

WEB CONTACTS

You can find Sorchia on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. You can also follow her at Amazon, Bookbub, and Goodreads. Check out the current sale on Sorchia’s website, Sorchia’s Universe, and sign up for my newsletter to get updates on new releases.

by author Linda Carroll-Bradd