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.

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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

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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.

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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.

Guest Release–The Editor’s Kisses by Kara O’Neal

LOGLINE: A budding suffragette agrees to a fake courtship with the editor for a job…not love.

BLURB:

One kiss changes the whole game…

 Constance Forrester is a suffragette determined to change society. When Stephen Dawson, her school chum, starts a newspaper, she asks Stephen to take a risk and employ her as a journalist.

Stephen immediately turns her down. But his interactions with Constance have made the town princess, Madeline Talbut, curious. Stephen has loved Madeline for years, and he concocts a plan: enter into a fake courtship with Constance, and in return, Constance can be a journalist for his newspaper.

It’s a chance Constance can’t pass up. So what if she has to attend parties and withstand Stephen’s heart-melting kisses? A suffragette must forge through barriers, but when Stephen changes the game, Constance finds herself the object of the editor’s desire…

Book Purchase Link: https://books2read.com/u/31Y1ya

EXCERPT:

Setting: The Talbut Parlor

The Problem: An annoying parlor game

Madeline’s spinning of Constance was a little rough, but Stephen held his tongue. When their hostess let go, Constance fumbled for a moment before Stephen raised himself up and yanked her into his lap.

The shouts of excitement and delight that went around the room nearly deafened him. People playfully called out “cheater”, but Stephen didn’t care, especially when Constance whisked off her mask and looked immensely relieved to see he’d successfully caught her.

They headed to the closet without fuss. Constance almost looked as if she was dying to climb inside. She probably wanted to get the farce over with.

Once they were squeezed into the confining space, with their chests pressed together in a way Stephen had only fantasized about, she said, “Thank you. I don’t know what I would have done—”

He covered her mouth with his hand, having dislodged it from his side. Then he leaned near her ear. “They might be able to hear us,” he whispered.

She flinched.

He lowered his arm, and she let out a slow breath. He wished he could see her face. For more reasons than to satisfy his worry she was all right.

He did everything he could to ignore the touch of her body along his front. He tried not to remember how she looked, how her eyes lit up, how her expression sharpened when she was interested in something. Why had he watched her all night?

But he knew. He knew very well. She was captivating. Intriguing. And so damned lovely.

Why was he having feelings for her? Wasn’t his love for Madeline strong enough to withstand attraction for another woman? But if it was, he would be in the closet with his hostess and not the lady he pretended to the world held his fancy.

He had to kiss her. He had to discover if this attachment was real. Besides, if he didn’t kiss her, everyone would wonder why. And for some strange reason, he needed every fellow out there to understand Constance Forrester was his. He closed his eyes and realized his attitude was no better than a caveman’s. But the need to possess and brand raced through him without pause, and he couldn’t fathom how to check it. Except to kiss her and get her out of his system once and for all.

“Constance,” he uttered. “I’m gonna kiss you.”

She flinched again.

“I won’t hurt you, I swear it. But if I don’t kiss you…they’ll all question us and our…attachment.” He was an ass. He was using their agreement to coax her into acquiescence, and while he knew it, and was ashamed of it, he continued. “It will only be for a second. I’ll just brush my lips with yours.”

In the darkness, he felt her slight nod against his chin. His heart pounded at her quiet surrender.

When she pulled back as far as the space would allow and lifted her head to his, heat slashed through him. He’d never needed a kiss as much as he needed hers.

Madeline had kissed him. Once. Behind the schoolhouse when they were sixteen. And that moment hadn’t caused nearly the anticipation this one did.

He lowered his head and swallowed her gasp. It wasn’t a brush, even though he only set his lips on hers. It was a fire. A shot of whiskey that whipped through him and pooled in his gut. He deepened the connection, and she let him, sighing and sinking into him despite already being as close to him as he could get her.

He melted. He needed to move to the ground and cover her, press her down and make her his. He used his tongue, tasting her. She capitulated instantly and opened her mouth under his. He took what she allowed without hesitation as his free hand came up to grip her waist.

The damn closet was too small. His left hand was wedged between her side and the slender door. But though he couldn’t get his arms around her, he didn’t stop the kiss. It went on and on, stealing his breath, tightening his chest and making him doubt everything he’d ever known about his heart.

Rapid footsteps had him surging backward, and he knocked his head on the wall.

The door flew open, and cool air blasted his cheeks. He and Constance fell out of the space, their limbs tangling as they tried to right themselves.

Peals of laughter rung around them as Stephen reached out a hand to balance her. She latched on as if she didn’t want to let go, and his muscles vibrated with hope she had enjoyed the moment as he had.

It had taken less than a few seconds for him to realize kissing her had been the wrong thing to do. But also the most right, most perfect, most sound judgement he’d ever made in his life.

As those who’d crowded around the entrance to the kitchen went roaring with laughter back into the parlor, he gazed at Constance. And his world tilted.

Her flushed cheeks and bright eyes made his heart constrict with an emotion he was too afraid to name at the moment. But he knew what it was. He knew.

How in the devil had it happened? Was he a fool? A fickle man?

He swallowed. “Do you want to leave?”

And before his eyes, he witnessed a transformation that set his blood on fire. Determination changed her expression, and she lifted her chin.

“Certainly not. I’m quite all right, I assure you.” She gave a shake to her skirts. “We’ve a job to do, Stephen Dawson, and I’ll not let you down.”

She exited the kitchen with a swirl of satin, and he followed with less sure steps. She wouldn’t let him down, he knew it. But he feared he might disappoint her, for if she knew the direction of his thoughts, she would never forgive him. Constance Forrester had no time for any man. She had plans. Plans that didn’t include caring for the heart of the newspaper editor.

Born and raised in Texas, I chose to make the state the setting for my first series. From the food to the fun, like floating the rivers, it is the fire in my blood that inspires me. My family and friends take center stage in my books. My sisters and best friends are my heroines, and my husband created my favorite hero. Love and family are the point of my stories, and I seek to entertain, relieve stress, and inspire people. Books can take one on a journey that one can relive over and over. I am extremely grateful to those authors who did that very thing for me. I learned and I fell in love with their words and characters. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

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Blog — http://www.karaoneal.com/blog

Blog – The Story Continues — http://www.karaoneal.com/the-story-continues

Guest Interview with Liz Flaherty

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I’m retired from the post office and live with my husband and three cats in the cornfields of Central Indiana. I’ve written 20-some books and every time I think about retiring, I write another one

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

I get people first—always. Sometimes I end up with people hanging around just waiting for a story of their own

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

Other than a scene or two in England, where I’m still waiting not-so-patiently to go, I’ve been everywhere I’ve set a story. The towns themselves are always created, but with an actual place in mind. Fionnegan, the setting of Back to McGuffey’s, for example, has its roots in St. Johnsbury, Vermont.

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

It sounds almost like cheating, but if I’m stuck, I look up story prompts on the Internet. I may not end up using the prompt for much, but I can always find a starting point.

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

This release is the one that’s actually different. With one historical aberration, I’ve always written contemporary romance. Window Over the Sink is a compilation of essays chosen from the 30-year history of my column, “Window Over the Sink.”

In what genre do you read?

I read mostly women’s fiction these days, but also love to find a romance with “seasoned” protagonists or an Americana historical written with a voice like Cheryl Reavis’s or Cheryl St. John’s.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I hope they feel as if they’ve been there—and that they enjoyed the trip.

BLURB:

It’s been nearly ten years since we retired. I’m still in the office Duane and the boys created for me. The seven quilts I promised to make have been completed. A few books. He has new knees and new guitars. We’ve had grief and loss in these years, occasional discontent, times of being alone even when we were together. We’ve also had a blessed amount of fun. Of music and laughter and family. Of the other side of being alone that comes of knowing we never really are.

Much has changed in those nine years and change, and much has stayed the same. At first, it seemed as if this book was a vanity thing. Or a thing for the grandkids to look at and think Okay, Nana, what do you want me to do with this? But in the end, like most other things in life that are worthwhile, it is a labor of love. A gathering of thoughts and dreams and memories.

Thanks for joining me on the journey.

Buy links: Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08Q5T2Y5S/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i2

For everywhere else D2D:

https://books2read.com/u/bw7NM0

EXCERPT:

My father-in-law was here this morning for a while. Seeing him, naturally enough, made me think about my mother-in-law, and miss her. And my mom—and miss her, too. I gave him a cup of coffee and thought about how many cups of coffee there had been at how many tables and then I thought of places that have been important to me.

In case you didn’t know it, this is how a writer’s mind works. Forget any idea of sense or linearity or neatly dovetailing thoughts—there aren’t any of those. A writer’s mind is a whole lot like the junk drawer at the end of the cabinet, full and messy.

But, yes, places. Starting with kitchen tables. My mother’s, where the homemade bread and sugar cookies cooled and she taught me to iron pillowcases. My sister’s, where no one was ever a stranger. My mother-in-law’s, where we sat while she cooked and gave the grandkids whatever they asked for. The tables from our 30s where girlfriends and I sat and shared coffee and confidences. Our kitchen island now, where we play Farkle and I write Christmas cards and make plans. Kitchen tables are so many things—pulpits, confessionals, meditation sites, places of both privacy and society. They are where we laugh and cry and make life-changing decisions. They are important.

Desks have been instrumental since the first day of first grade, when I learned the word “Look” and from there on couldn’t be stopped from reading every written page that crossed my path. It was at a desk where I learned to love American history although I never got good at it and where I had to stay through several recesses because of talking in class. It was where I was sitting when an editor first called and said, “I want to buy your book.”

Bleachers are way up there on my list. They are where I watched my kids grow up and learn things that might have been missed outside the arenas of sports, drama, and music. They’re where I had my first experience with civil disobedience back in high school. When I was 19, I sat in the bleachers at the softball diamond in Maconaquah Park and tried to figure out what I was going to do next.

Church. Obviously, it’s the accepted place to worship, but I believe you can worship anywhere. It’s also where people are married, baptized, dedicated, and eulogized. It’s where we have chili suppers, noodle suppers, sauerkraut suppers, and tenderloin suppers—and that’s just in September and October; there are plenty more to be had throughout the year. It’s where, if we’re lucky, party affiliations and grudges are left outside the open-to-all doors. It is, when all else fails, a safe place.

Norris Lake, Tennessee is important because our family in its entirety spent Thanksgiving weekend there a few years ago. It was one of the best times I’ve ever had—it’s also the last time we’ve all been in the same place at the same time. That could be bittersweet, but it’s not—it’s all sweet. Although it’s important not to live in the past, keeping good memories in a pocket inside your heart is just as important.

The Nickel Plate Trail. I don’t walk much these days, but it’s still my favorite place when I do. I’ve done a lot of plotting there, spent quality time with family and friends, and remembered what a gift nature is.

The school up the road is important if for no other reason than there have been family members in it ever since it was built. It’s where I have so many memory bank deposits I can’t begin to keep track of them all.

There are so many others. Favorite vacation places, the side yard where the deer graze and the birds dive-bomb each other and the sun slips quietly and beautifully into the horizon, places I’ve voted, music that has been so stirring it created places of its own.

The pleasure in important places is that you don’t have to go back to them to experience them. As faulty as memory becomes—and it does—happy times still live there. You may not be able to remember how to get back to the physical places that are important to you, but you’ll remember how you felt there. You’ll remember the perfect meal with 16 of you at the table and the day you were laughing so hard you were falling off the barstools in the kitchen and the taste of those sugar cookies that you’ve never once been able to emulate. And you’ll know those places—and times—were important. Capture the joy.

Review snippets:

… you’ll laugh and cry and feel good all over!” – Nan Reinhardt

“The book is a delight to read with vignettes that are like warm hugs.” – Patricia Bradley

BIO: Retired from the post office, Liz Flaherty spends non-writing time sewing, quilting, and wanting to travel. The author of 20-some books and her husband Duane share an old farmhouse in North Central Indiana that they talk about leaving. However, that would require clearing baseball trophies from the attic and dusting the pictures of the Magnificent Seven, their grandchildren, so they’ll probably stay where they are.

Liz can be reached at lizkflaherty@gmail.com or please come and see her at  her website, Facebook, and Twitter

Guest Promotion–Matt’s Runaway Pregnant Wife by Monique DeVere

BLURB:

This might be the biggest risk of her life.

When her whirlwind romance with gorgeous Sicilian-born restaurateur Matteo Giordano culminates in marriage, award-winning pastry chef Sabrina Newton-Giordano thinks she has it all…until Matt refuses to introduce her to his family. Sabrina desires their baby to have the same love she knew from her grandparents, but Matt’s outright rejection of his family could result in their baby never knowing his or her paternal grandparents, something Sabrina will not accept. Until that is, she hits on the perfect solution—run away to Sicily to meet the in-laws!

Matt wants only one thing—to keep his wife and unborn child safe. For a man intent on never allowing anything to stand in his way, it should be an easy task. But Matt hasn’t bargained on how stubborn his irresistible, runaway wife can be. Despite his stern objections, she’s determined to form a relationship with his family. He knows, from past experience, they’d never accept her or the baby. Now Matt is torn between the urgent need to protect his wife and fear of causing her undue stress in her pregnancy.

Available on Amazon KindleUnlimited and to purchase from Amazon.

Book Purchase Link: https://smarturl.it/6mypb6

EXCERPT:

She kept him on his toes, he’d give her that. From the moment he met her he’d known she was unique to any other woman. The first hint was when he’d arrived unexpectedly to check on his London restaurant. Everyone, except Sabrina, had nervously tripped over themselves in his presence. She’d simply continued to work as though his arrival was as insignificant as a dust mote drifting past her head. The second hint had knocked him the moment she glanced up and locked eyes with his. Something he’d never experienced before had happened. His body had responded to the instant connection in a way that had been shocking and potent. He’d decided right then to make her his. Even then, she hadn’t made it easy for him. She’d resisted their attraction, had flat-out refused to have drinks, dinner, or—her words—anything else with him. To say that she’d become a challenge he’d fixated on was to understate the level of his attraction for Sabrina.

Then one day, after weeks of him putting his best moves on her and about to admit defeat, a delivery arrived at his office. It was a beautifully presented slice of his favourite dessert along with a note that read: if you want more, come and get it! He was pretty sure the soles of his handmade Italian shoes left scorch marks on his office rug in his haste to get to Sabrina. The rest had been white-hot sizzling sexy, whirlwind, and incredible. And now here he was, fighting to keep his marriage from falling apart only after eleven-and-a-half months of wedded bliss.

Matt washed his hands at the kitchen sink, then rummaged in the under counter fridge.

He chuckled. “Surprise, surprise, nothing but dessert and fruit.”

Yep, one thing he could be sure of was that he’d always find some sort of dessert in their fridge at home, thanks to Sabrina’s never-ending effort to create new and exciting after-dinner treats. And, oh look, she had his favourite dessert sitting in a small yellow and white cake caddy, as though she’d somehow been expecting him. When he grabbed the container his gaze landed on the four red apples in a bowl on the shelf below, so he snagged one of those, too.

BIO

Monique DeVere grew up on a plantation on the beautiful island of Barbados, where her childhood was all about exploring and letting her imagination run free. She moved to the UK as a teen and soon fell in love at first sight with her amazing, strong-silent-type husband. They have four beautiful children and four incredible grandchildren.

Monique writes sweet ‘n’ spicy romance, and when she isn’t working on the next novel or movie script, she can be found spending time with hubby and family, armchair travelling, creating recipes, reading about health and nutrition, or working on her spiritual growth. She enjoys going for walks, gardening, or simply crazy-dancing around the house. Monique loves to hear from her readers. You can email her at monique@moniquedevere.com, or contact her by visiting her website: www.moniquedevere.com or blog: http://moniquedevere.blogspot.co.uk to learn more about her books. You can also visit her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/moniquedevere or follow her on Twitter: @MoniqueDeVere or Instagram: authormdv

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