I’m thrilled to have my story, Clari’s Hero, included in this anthology of sweet-to-sensual western historical romances with a Christmas setting. Joining me are Lorrie Farrelly, Gail L. Jenner, Sarah McNeal, and Livia J. Washburn. Christmas is on the way and our western heroines are in search of the perfect PRESENT FOR A COWBOY! Livia J. Washburn’s TINSELTOWN kicks off this exciting holiday collection. Set in the “Roaring ’20’s” in Hollywood, western movie actor Pecos must rescue a young woman in danger—and finds love in the bargain. The rescue of a young, abused boy in Gail L. Jenner’s JUST IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS opens the door to love for a young woman and a loner who has sworn off relationships. Linda Carroll-Bradd’s CLARI’S HERO features a man who views himself as anything but a hero—and a woman who shows him otherwise, and Lorrie Farrelly’s CHRISTMAS TREASURE is an unexpected gift that can’t be measured in gold. In Sarah J. McNeal’s story, a lonely widow’s perceived indiscretion may cost her and her cowboy their happiness WHEN LOVE COMES KNOCKING. Blurb for Clari’s Hero Relocating to Texas has alleviated Clari Rochester’s health problems, and she yearns for adventure. And she spots it outside her relative’s mercantile when a quiet, but compelling, cowboy rescues a small child. Trevor Driscoll is the type of hero she’s come to admire through her love of books, and the type of man she secretly pens in her dime novels. But they’ve never had a real conversation. Trevor knows the logging accident that left him with only eight fingers limits his options, but he’s learned to manage. Until he rescues a fine lady from a runaway horse, spends the afternoon transporting her to safety, and gets a glimpse of what he’s always wanted. How will he respond to the unique present this special woman bestows? BUY LINKS Amazon Smashwords ENTER the rafflecopter giveaway below for a chance to win one of two ecopies of this anthology. Contest open through midnight, November 30th. Prizes to be announced and awarded on Monday, December 1st.
Today I’m chatting with The Wild Rose press author, Debra Doggett, and she’s sharing a bit about her writing and her latest release, A Ghost of a Clue, which is part of TWRP’s latest series, Lobster Cove.
Tell us a bit about you and your background.
I’ve been a bit of a wanderer over my adult life, so I have lots of settings in my head. I have three children and each was born in a different state. I’ve always had stories in my head and wrote them as often as I could when I was younger. I got married at 18 (and yes, it was not the smartest move I’ve ever made) and the stories were still there but so were my first two daughters, who are nineteen months apart.
I finally allowed myself to be the writer I always knew I was when my children got older. I moved out west to New Mexico, which was a big change from the Deep South. The desert landscape moves me. I went back to college and got involved in the theatre department. Writing plays helped me hone my skills. I found some wonderful writer friends who read what I wrote and encouraged me. When my first novel sold, they also celebrated with me. Since then, I have written plays and seen them produced, sold essays, articles and short stories along with three more novels. The writer in me is loose and I could never put that part of me away again, so hopefully there will be many more stories from me for folks to enjoy.
What are your hobbies away from the computer?
One of the hobbies I spend a lot of time with is theatre. I’ve not only written for the stage, I’ve also acted, directed, done props, costumes and a bit of tech. I even worked as general manager of a local community theater company. There’s nothing like a darkened theatre to get my creativity moving.
I also love to cook and am working to improve my baking skills. Homemade is best to me. This past year, I’ve learned to make my own bagels, tortillas and eggroll wrappers (an odd trio, I know, but each was fun).
Do you start a new story with the plot or characters first?
Hmm, that’s a tough one to answer, because what I get first are scenes (probably all the theatre, lol). I write down the scenes I get and when I feel I have enough of them to start fleshing out characters and a story, I sit down and attempt my version of an outline (it’s not going to pass an English teacher’s critique). The outline is very flexible because often things change quite a bit as I write. I am okay with ditching what doesn’t work, although I usually keep it just in case it works for something else.
Can you share a tip about what you do when you get stuck in creating a story?
This is one that I struggle with. All the good writing advice will tell you to just get the first draft down, don’t stop until it’s done, etc. But when I get stuck, I end up setting the story aside. Most of the time this works for me. My mind is a bit scattered and I have several stories going at once, so I will set the problem one aside and work on something else. This works for me and lets my mind be open to getting the scenes I need to work out the problem. I doubt this is good advice for everyone. You probably have to have as scattered a mind as I do for it to work!
What was your biggest surprise in the editing/revision process?
The biggest surprise was in finding out how much easier it is than actually writing the story! Ideas flow when I have some words to start with so rewriting is much easier than staring at that blank page and trying to get some words onto it. I had thought it would be hard to cut or edit but that hasn’t turned out to be true. There’s a wonderful quote by Stephen King that tells writers to “kill their darlings”. In other words don’t get so attached to your own writing that you aren’t willing to take out what doesn’t work. And that hasn’t been as hard as I expected.
What’s your dream vacation destination?
I love to travel so it’s hard to settle on just one. My bucket list is pretty long. One of those at the top, though, is Tahiti. I have wanted to go there for years. I love the ocean and Tahiti has always sounded not only beautiful but exotic and sort of hidden away from the rest of the world. I got a taste of the Caribbean years ago when I went to St. Maarten and really loved being on an island surrounded by the ocean. One day I’ll make it to Tahiti. I might even set a story there.
A Ghost of a Clue blurb:
Rory DuMont has had enough of hiding the fact that she sees ghosts. Lobster Cove is a new start and she’s determined to shed the mistakes of the past. If that means she ends up alone then so be it. What she can’t seem to shed is Travis Reed, Lobster Cove’s resident skeptic and biology teacher. Sparks fly when the skeptic and the psychic find themselves alone together but the sparks turn into flames when a ghost takes a personal interest in them.
Rory blew out a breath. “If I tell you yes, I’m messing with you when I say there were ghosts here tonight then you’re okay with that. You’re comfortable with it. If I tell you no, that there really was a ghost, two in fact, here tonight, then the train derails and you run for the hills.”
He stared at her for a moment with a thoughtful look on his face. “Tell me what you believe you saw.”
Travis nodded. “The truth of what you believe you saw.”
“That’s a very guarded way of putting it.”
“No. It’s a very scientific way of putting it. I can’t know what to think if I don’t have all the evidence.”
“Fair enough. I saw two ghosts.”
“One fairly solid, a little boy and one kind of wavering, an older woman.”
He watched her face as she said it, and Rory held her breath, waiting for the sneer that had always accompanied any talk of her gift in the past. She would be sorry to see him walk away. Even though it had only been a few weeks, she realized she’d come to enjoy his company. Part of her knew she’d been hoping for something more, no matter how much she told herself she wasn’t going to do another relationship. Still, it would hurt, and she steeled herself for the good-bye. At last he nodded.
“Okay, you saw two ghosts.”
“You’re not headed for the door.”
“The kids aren’t packed up yet.” He grinned. “And the train is still on the tracks, Ms. DuMont. Nothing’s derailed yet.”
I’ve been many things in my life: actor, filmmaker, historian, writer, but putting words to paper is the most satisfying. After years of moving around the US, I’ve settled in the desert of New Mexico, a far cry from my birthplace in Louisiana. You never know where life will go.
social media links:
Author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/debradoggett
Pintrest : http://www.pinterest.com/dgdoggett/
Rogue’s Son by Darcy Flynn on sale for $.99 through 11/28/14
Tough, driven Kit Kendall replaced her frills and dresses with no-nonsense haircuts and wranglers, years ago. As owner of Sage Brush, the once-thriving west Texas bed and breakfast ranch, she now struggles daily to keep her business afloat. Since McCabe Resort Lodge reopened next door as a multi-million dollar hotel, her financial difficulties compound, as she suffers one cancellation after another.
Just when she thought things couldn’t get any worse, Kit’s childhood sweetheart-turned-nemesis returns as the new owner of the resort that’s now putting her out of business, resurrecting memories she thought she’d buried long ago.
Cowboy- entrepreneur Sam Dawson has returned to Sugar Creek, Texas after six years of exile with a secret that could destroy Kit’s happiness. He left town because of it and for the past two years has secretly tried to make it right. Having failed, he now returns to make one last attempt to undo the tangled web created by his father.
Set in motion by his father’s Last Will and Testament and with the clock ticking, Sam has only weeks to convince Kit to sell him her ranch, or reveal the truth that will break her heart.
Sam could tell she was spitting mad. He watched her jerk the seatbelt over her chest several times before he reached over to click it into place.
He straightened up and glanced at her as he turned into the street. “Is that steam I see coming from your ears?”
Kit responded by snapping her arms across her chest.
He heaved a sigh and shook his head. “She told you, didn’t she?”
Kit didn’t say a word she just stared out the window.
“I’m sorry you had to find out that way. I was going to stop by tonight and tell you myself.”
“How thoughtful of you. So. What do you want?”
“For access to the land. Otherwise my guests have no place to hunt or fish.”
“Sell me the road frontage I need.” He’d deliberately forced her hand and hated himself for it. But far better for her to part with a few measly acres than lose everything. And if she ended up hating him in the process then so be it. He cursed both their fathers under his breath.
Kit’s mouth fell open and she slowly turned to face him, hoarse laughter tumbling from her lips.
“You’ve got to be kidding. After this stunt, do you really think I’d sell an inch of my property to you? One Kendall made the mistake of caving to a Dawson’s blackmail, but let me assure you, this one won’t.”
He hated what he was about to do. Hated to force her hand, but she gave him no choice. When did she become so stubborn? Gritting his teeth, he continued.
“Then I won’t allow you to use the Lowman property for access. You’ll be forced to shut down. Sage Brush will close. You’ll be through. You’ll lose your property to the bank when they foreclose. Then it’ll only be a matter of time before I have it all anyway. Is that really what you want?”
“Why you no good, conniving, lowlife.”
“Look at it this way, if I get the road frontage I need, then you get to stay in business. It’s a win-win.”
They slowed to a stop outside of her house.
Kit opened the truck door then turned to face him.
“You would actually do that? You’d put Trip and Jake out of work? And what about Maggie? Have you even thought of her?”
“I told you, you wouldn’t like it.”
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/DarcyFlynnAuthor
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0077AG3ZM
Today I’m highlighting indie author Tracy Reed and her debut novel, Generational Curse, that will be releasing soon.
What happens when a celibate Christian Man befriends a woman involved with a married man? Will he run in the other direction or continue the relationship? Or will he abandon his Christian beliefs for a taste of the forbidden? Or will she learn being with a married man isn’t the fantasy life the generations of women in her family made it appear?
Sean Prescott and Kyla James are business associates playing a dangerous game of cat and mouse, hoping the other will give in. But in this high stakes game is there really a winner or will both be losers.
EXCERPT [PART OF CHAPTER ONE]
Kyla promised herself she would never be like the other women in her family, dating a married man and settling for the pennies he doled out.
She’d always felt she was worth more. She met Eric at a fundraiser. He smiled, she smiled and after the cocktail hour, they found themselves seated next to each other. During dinner they talked and flirted and once the evening was over, he asked for her number. She declined and while getting ready for bed, she reached into her bag for her phone and noticed that she also had someone else’s phone.
She called the last number dialed and a vaguely familiar voice said, “I’ve been waiting for your call. So what time do you want to meet for breakfast so I can get my phone?”They both laughed.
They agreed to meet the following morning for breakfast. Two days later, they met again and included an extra slot for “therapy.”
Making love in the morning seemed so decadent. She didn’t think anything of it until she received her first black envelope a month later.
Eric said, “I’m tired of hotels. Rent a place and fix it up for us and keep whatever is left.”
“I’m not a hooker.”
“I didn’t mean any disrespect. I want to keep seeing you, but my neighbors are nosey.”
“Oh, you’re married.”
“No, I’m not. I just like my privacy. I like being with you, but—”
“I understand.”She dropped her head and quickly began getting dressed. “I don’t think this is—”
He noticed the change in her behavior and rushed to reassure her. “I don’t want you to think I’m ashamed of you, but I also don’t want you to think I’m monopolizing your time. You need your space and so do I. When we get together, it should be on neutral, comfortable ground and not some cold hotel room or a place filled with memories of past lovers.”
He wrapped his arms around her pulling her to him, gently stroking her hair, inhaling her neck and gently placing a kiss on her soft shoulder. She turned around trying to read the expression on his face. Looking into his eyes, she wondered how many more love nests he had scattered around the city. She pulled his face close to hers and covering his mouth with hers, kissed him passionately. She slipped her hands inside the front of his pants while sliding her tongue inside his mouth, exciting him to the point of arousal.
She pulled back and whispered, “Once more before we have to go?”
He couldn’t resist her. The soft seductive tone of her voice and the gentle touch of her hand, made him weak and willing to do anything she asked. Kyla knew if there were anyone else, they would have a hard time competing with her.
She got her education in how to manipulate a man by eavesdropping on her aunts’conversations. They were all experts when it came to being with and manipulating married men. She learned how to kiss from her high school boyfriend. And her college boyfriend, her biology professor, schooled her in anatomy and how to physically please a man.
Before getting involved with Eric, she had dated, but she only had two other semi serious relationships. Neither was fulfilling. The first was Thomas Smith. He was cute, but he lacked the drive to satisfy her physically. When they were together she found herself fantasizing about other men. Intellectually he was a genius, but no one really makes love to a person’s brain. It was the other part of his body that needed more educating and she knew she wasn’t a school teacher.
Then there was Alister Humphrey. The name alone intrigued her. She had never met a black man with such a stuffy name. In the beginning he seemed like the complete package. Model good looks, intelligence and his skills in bed were unbelievable. The first time they made love, the intensity of his being inside her brought tears to her eyes. Not because it was painful, but because she had never felt such pleasure. Alister knew exactly how to read her body. A skill that was the result of his blindness. What he lacked in vision, he more than compensated for in his other senses. But, he was a man and as they all do, he began making demands and that’s when she called it quits. Mind blowing sex aside, Kyla was gone.
Her aunts always said, “Don’t allow a man to make demands on you. You make the demands on him. Use what you have and any man can be controlled with the sway of your hips and the wink of your eye. And, showing a little cleavage wouldn’t hurt either.”
If she were going to marry, it would be to Eric. He was everything she wanted. Handsome, well educated, focused, rich and eager to please in and out of bed. But she also learned from her aunts, the wife always got the leftovers and Kyla didn’t like leftovers or sloppy seconds. When Eric suggested the apartment, at first she thought, he was ashamed of her. But Eric’s response to her kiss and touch convinced her, she was his priority.
She knew she was in charge. She eased her hand further down his pants pleading, “Baby, please make me sing again before sending me off to start the day.”
She kissed his neck before dropping the sheet that was caressing her body and walked into the bathroom. He stood still contemplating the repercussions of being late to the office, when he heard the shower running. He looked at his watch and texted his assistant he would be late. He put his phone on the desk, striped, walked into the steam filled bathroom and opened the shower door to a wet and soapy Kyla, smiling.
I’m a single Christian Woman who loves God, Fashion and Cute Guys. I live in California, but consider myself a partial New Yorker because of the two and half years I lived there. I own www.thepinkduchess.com, a lingerie site for curvy women. GENERATIONAL CURSE is my debut novel.
Today I’m chatting with Karen Cogan, an author friend from Prism Book Group.
Tell us a bit about you and your background.
I have written fiction since elementary school. I remember writing and illustrating stories for my second grade teacher. Since I’m a terrible artist, I’m sure she wondered how the picture went with the story!
What are your hobbies away from the computer?
My hobbies away from the computer are thumbing through recipes, mostly on the computer. I garden occasionally. I have a passion for learning new horse techniques and ride my quarter horse most days.
Is your writing style planned or freestyle?
My writing style is mostly free-style. A story line occurs to me and the characters that are to fill the rolls. I have an idea of what problems they will encounter and how the story will end. Then, I begin writing and let the characters lead me where they will go.
Have you traveled to any locations that appear in your books?
One of my novels is set in Ouray, Colorado. It is a beautiful town set in a valley between the mountains. I became fascinated with the mining history and early settlement. I spent time poking around the town with my husband and getting photos. After that, I did extensive research and enjoyed writing a historical novel set in that location.
Do you write in a genre other than the one of this release?
I have written in several different genres. I have children’s picture books in print and middle grade novels. I also write sweet, adult contemporary and historical novels. I have written a time-travel novel set in the time of Lafitte, the pirate, in Galveston, TX. It is scheduled for release in January.
Are you a pet person? If so, what do you have?
Besides a horse, I have cats and dogs. I always thought of myself as a dog person. However, we took in a cat we found abandoned at a store and she has become one of my “babies”.
In what genres do you read?
I enjoy reading in the genre of mystery and suspense, as well as inspirational romance.
What do you hope readers gain from your stories?
I hope my readers take away the message that, while life is unpredictable, there is a plan for our lives. Though we are not always in control of events, they may be assured that God knows the plan and will bring it to fruition.
Lynn parked her truck in front of the adobe school building, took a deep breath, and let her body adjust to the stillness. It was an odd sensation after jostling over miles of rutted roads in her attempt to find this place. She stared at the doorway for a moment, mustering the nerve to go inside. Since, she’d come this far, She might as well get out of the truck and find out how far over her head she had gotten herself in this time.
Copyright © 2012 Karen Cogan
Lynn’s thoughts scattered in a million directions as they grabbed their bags and wove their way through the holiday crowds to wait in the car rental line. When they finished the paperwork, they found the dark blue Probe that Greg had reserved for the ten days in which he was to stay at the rental property.
He handed the keys to Lynn. “I may know Albuquerque, but you know Houston.”
“At least well enough to get us home.”
They drove into the late afternoon rush hour traffic. The sun looked pale and anemic peeking through the gray clouds. Lynn turned on the wipers as a light drizzle began to fall.
“This is my least favorite type of weather. Cold and rainy,” she said.
“I thought you disliked snow the most.”
“Snow can be pretty when you don’t have to drive in it.”
“OK. If it starts to snow, I’ll drive.”
Lynn laughed. “Fat chance.”
It was dusk when Lynn pulled next to her mom’s Lincoln in the parking slot of the red brick townhouse. The decorative outside lantern glowed with a soft welcoming light. She turned off the engine and stretched her arms. “We’re here.”
“It’s an attractive place. Georgian?”
“You got it. I didn’t know you knew architecture.”
“I don’t. It was just a lucky guess.”
Lynn started to the trunk. Greg stopped her and said, “I’ll get your luggage after we meet your Mom.”
She smiled, grateful for the offer. She couldn’t wait to get out of the cold drizzle and let Mom know they were here. Mom would have worried all afternoon whether they would be delayed at the airport, have an accident or lose their luggage. The sooner they got in, the sooner they could ease her mind.
Lynn preceded Greg up the porch steps to the polished oak door. A glow of light shone through the oval etched glass window. Rectangular windows beside the door gave off their own assurance of the warmth and light within. Lynn felt a surge of homesickness for her mother and for the childhood she had left behind.
She rang the bell.
Footsteps reverberated on the marble entry. A shadow crossed in front of the light and poised to open the door. Lynn reached out, ready to embrace her mother.
The door swung open and Lynn gasped. Her arms fell to her sides. Her throat went dry.
“Mark,” she croaked.
“Hi, Lynn.” He smiled a welcoming smile. “It’s good to see you. You look wonderful.”
He noticed Greg, behind Lynn in the shadows. The surprise on his face spoke volumes as he stepped aside to let them enter.
“Your mother told me you were bringing a friend.”
And let you believe it was a female friend, Lynn thought, feeling her face heat with embarrassment.
“This is Greg Martin. He teaches at my school. Greg, this is Mark Andrews.”
The men shook hands and exchanged a greeting as they sized each other up. Lynn wondered what Greg must be thinking. She hoped he knew she had no part in this and was, in fact, chagrined at the comparison Mom had arranged.
Still, it was typical of Mom. And since, it wasn’t Mark’s fault that he had been invited or that she resented his presence, she would have to smile and make the best of things.
Mom glided into the entryway. She was dressed in a peach angora pantsuit, giving off the first impression most people had of her as soft, sweet, and easily led.
Lynn grimaced. They did not know her iron will as Lynn did. Maybe someday, these awkward moments would be funny. Perhaps she and Greg would look back on them with amusement. At the moment, she was not amused.
“I thought I heard voices,” Joyce said.
She held Lynn in front of her as she did when Lynn was a little girl. “I don’t think you’ve been eating well. We’ll have to work on feeding you well enough to finish one more semester.”
She turned to Greg. “This must be your friend.”
Greg extended his hand. “Greg Martin. It’s good to meet you, Mrs. Martin.”
She looked from Lynn to Greg. “Martin? You have the same last name. How quaint. But do call me Joyce. Mrs. Martin sounds so old.”
As “Joyce” wrapped her arm through Lynn’s and led her away, Lynn thought it was funny how her mother wanted to appear old and frail when it suited her purposes and young when it did not.
“I have a nice roasted chicken dinner I bought at the deli this afternoon. It’s all warmed and waiting. You can tell me about your trip while we eat. Did your luggage arrive? I’ve been so worried about having you travel this time of year. I hear there’s a lot of crime at the airports.”
Lynn glanced behind her and wondered what Mark was thinking about being invited to a dinner where his romantic interest showed up with another man. And Greg? His face was an inscrutable mask. She feared that behind that mask were some very interesting thoughts. Just what those thoughts were, she would have to wait until they were alone to find out.
from 5 star review:”
“There is plenty of humour and well drawn characters with sub plots that draw us in. Ms Cogan uses the New Mexico setting to set the mood and even play a role in the plot. I really enjoyed this story.”
A native of Houston, TX, Karen spent her early years enjoying life along the Gulf Coast. After high school, she attended Texas A&M as well as the University of Houston where she obtained a B.S. in early childhood education. She has written numerous articles and stories, books for children and novels for adults. She particularly enjoys writing contemporary and historical romance, and now lives in the Southwest with her family and assorted pets.
Roane Publishing is giving away three eARCs of
by Echo Shea
If you’ve ever been caught in a riptide, pulled down into the water, then you know me. Or, more accurately, what I’m like when I’m angry.
Delia was beautiful, smart, and kind. He wasn’t. He said he loved her, but he didn’t know what love was. He was manipulative and cruel—more than a thief. A beast.
All she wanted was a rose…
These are the words on my sister’s grave. Her sadness, her obsession, forever a reminder I didn’t–couldn’t save her.
I’m not vindictive or cruel. I’m simply as the river–my memory is winding and my reach is long. I watched him steal her beauty, her essence. Watched him become a beast. He thought he’d get away with it, thought he’d go free.
I lay a rose upon my sister’s grave.
Light a candle for the beast.
You have until Midnight of November 15th when three winners will be chosen by random drawing.
Award-winning author and editor, Alicia Dean, shares her process of creating a story, along with bonus tips in Find The Magic – How to Plot a Story in 10 Easy Steps.
*** ON SALE – 99¢ through November 15, 2014 ***
How to write a novel? That is the question. There are probably as many answers to that question as there are people who ask it.
Wanting to write and actually doing it are two very different things. I am well acquainted with the sometimes grueling process of churning out a story. Over the years, I have tried many methods for creating and completing manuscripts, and have tweaked and honed it down to a workable (for me) process.
Using specific examples from one of my own novels, Without Mercy, I share my method in this mini how to book. The first eight steps actually deal with plotting while the last two are designed to help expand your outline into a well-developed draft. There is no one, perfect way to create a story, but there will be a method, or methods that work for you. I’m not sure if this is the one, but it works for me. Only you can decide if it also works for you. Fingers crossed that it does!
Find Alicia Here:
Alicia Dean lives in Edmond, Oklahoma. She has three grown children and a huge network of supportive friends and family. She writes mostly contemporary suspense and paranormal, but has also written in other genres, including a few vintage historicals.
In addition to being an author of more than twenty published works, Alicia is both a freelance editor and an editor for The Wild Rose Press, under the name, Ally Robertson, in their suspense line.
Other than reading and writing, her passions are Elvis Presley, MLB, NFL (she usually works in a mention of one or all three into her stories) and watching her favorite televisions shows like Vampire Diaries, Justified, Sons of Anarchy, Haven, The Mindy Project, and Dexter (even though it has sadly ended, she will forever be a fan). Some of her favorite authors are Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Lee Child, Lisa Gardner, Sharon Sala, Jordan Dane, Ridley Pearson, Joseph Finder, and Jonathan Kellerman…to name a few.
Find Alicia here:
Welcome today to Sharon McGregor, an author with Prism Book Group.
Tell us a bit about you and your background.
I ‘m a prairie transplant to the West Coast, trying to run away from winter. I am moving this month to the warmest spot I can find and still live in Canada- on Vancouver Island, where I will be a block away from the beach. I grew up on a quarter-section farm on the prairies and attended a one-room country school of the sort where Maggie has come to teach in Autumn Dreams. Unlike Maggie, I have always loved horses.
What are your hobbies away from the computer?
I’m a history buff. My favourite period is the time of the Plantagenets. I want to do some travelling if I can ever get away and I plan a trip to the UK with friends next year. I like watching my grandchildren with their sports. Any time I spend with animals is time well spent. I love horses, dogs, and my cat Zoey as well as any others that cross my path.
Do you start a new story with the plot or characters first?
I would say the two main characters first. Some of the other characters just show up as the plot develops. In Autumn Dreams, I wanted to start with a teacher of the sort my aunts were when I was young. Then Maggie just walked in and said, “This is my story.”
Is your writing style planned or freestyle?
I do about sixty percent planned and the rest freestyle. I don’t feel comfortable without a structure to work within. Then I often change things as I go and the outline goes out the window. An outline is sort-of like your reserve parachute-it’s comforting to know it’s there even if you don’t use it.
Have you traveled to any locations that appear in your books?
I lived the location. Maggie was just a little before my time but close enough that the farm, the people the school and the families all seem to be familiar on a personal level.
Can you share a tip about what you do when you get stuck in creating a story?
The first thing I try is take the dogs for a long walk. That usually clears my head and I find on my feet is the best way to think. Second best is my Lazy boy, but sometimes I goof that one up and doze off. If I am stuck for too long, I set the story aside for a couple of days and tackle something else-maybe a short story or plotting another book. Then some little thing hits you and you’re back on track with your work.
Autumn Dreams takes place on the prairies in the late 1940s.
Maggie arrives at her new teaching job, to board with a family she’s prepared to like. What she isn’t prepared for is her landlady’s brother Marshall who seems to hate her on sight. She is captivated by Ellen’s six year old daughter Emma who is having identity problems when faced with the arrival of a new baby. Then Ellen goes into labour in the middle of a storm and Maggie must face her fears to help. Along the way she helps a family grow closer together but what about her hopes for the future? Can she get past the wall Marshall has set up and does she really have a future here amongst the people she has grown to care for?
From a 5-star review:
This charming story weaves little touches of 1940s history with romance and endearment. The story is so well written, with delicate description, a great storyline and believable characters. The heroine, Maggie, not only has to adjust to a new life and job, but overcome her fear of horses and find romance along the way, a true inspiration to us all.
Maggie stood in the barn doorway watching for a moment as Marshall threw forkfuls of soiled straw onto the stoneboat. It was a warm day and his shirt hung on a wooden peg on the wall. Maggie wasn’t used to seeing a man’s naked torso. When her father came home from the hardware store, he might take off his jacket and loosen his tie but that was as casual as he got. She watched in admiration as each muscle moved and realigned when Marshall lifted. She could feel an unfamiliar warmth in her own body as she watched. She knew from the way his shoulders tightened that he was aware of her presence.
“Ellen says supper will be ready in a half hour,” she said.
“I figured.” He stopped briefly and stood, fork in hand, one foot resting on its shoulder, a slight smile pulling the right side of his mouth upward. “Is there more?”
“You used to live here, right?”
“It was our family farm.”
“Your parents aren’t still living?”
“No.” He pointed through the open north door to a hillside. “My father was cultivating that hillside when the tractor wheel hit a large rock and threw it off balance. The tractor rolled over on him. He was dead before help came. Mom died a year later. Farm life isn’t all baby calves and collecting eggs, you know. It’s a hard life.”
“Why didn’t you stay on the farm?’
He picked up the fork again. “Do you always ask so many questions? If you want to make yourself useful, grab a fork.” His eyes travelled over her from head to toe sending a shiver down her back. “On second thought, you’d better not. Those shoes weren’t made for shovelling manure. Wouldn’t want to soil them.” He turned dismissively back to his work.
She flushed as she felt her anger rise at his off-handedness.
She marched past him skirting the flailing fork handle. She knew she’d seen a pair of rubber boots earlier by the corner stall. She pushed her feet out of her shoes and into the boots. A little big but they’d do. She reached for a fork hanging on the barn wall aware of his stillness as he watched her.
“Not that one; that’s a hay fork. Take the one next to it.”
She lifted the shorter heavier manure fork and tentatively shoved it into a pile of damp, smelly straw. As she lifted, most of it fell off but she managed to fling some of it onto the stoneboat. The second forkful went better. Marshall had turned his back but she knew by the way his shoulders moved that he was laughing at her.
I’ll show you she thought. She closed her nose to the stench and wondered if you ever got used to the smell of manure. ‘Oh Dora, if you could only see me now.”
Maggie bit the side of her lip and plunged in, partly because she wanted answers and partly just to say something to cover her confusion. “So why didn’t you stay on the farm? Don’t sons usually take over?”
He gave her an amused look. “You never give up with your questions, do you? Well, let’s see if I can satisfy that curiosity bug of yours.” He leaned back in his chair balancing it on the rear two legs and closed his eyes for a moment. “When our parents died, Ellen was already married to Ray and I was turning eighteen. That was when the war came. Ray couldn’t join up; he’s always had weak lungs. That’s why he keeps getting those bouts of pneumonia. But I was young and idealistic so I enlisted. Ray and Ellen moved in and ran the farm. When the war finally ended I was restless like so many others and I wandered around the country for a bit before coming back to Timber. Ray and Ellen had put so much into the place and I wasn’t really anxious to become a farmer, so they bought out my share. I started the lumberyard with a friend and here we are.” He bounced the chair back to an upright position with a bang. “Does that answer all your questions?”
“All but one.”
He stood and set his cup down as if to show he’s given her all the time he would allot her and said “What might that one be?”
“Why do you dislike me?”
He gave her a long slow look. “Yes, I can see where you’re one of those people who needs to have everyone like them.”
She flushed and was about to protest when he moved closer and said, “The short answer is I don’t dislike you.” He put one arm around her shoulder turning her to face him and leaned down to kiss her, gently at first and then with a ferocity that shook loose all her feelings for this intriguing man and replaced them with sensations she had never felt before. Warmth swept through her very essence. Just as she felt she was going to fall over the edge of a cliff he released her, swung around so quickly she couldn’t see his expression and walked out the door.
Sharon McGregor is a west coast transplant from the Canadian prairies. Her imagination and story weaving got its start when she was an only child living on a farm. She’s moved on from cowgirl dreams to romance and mystery, but hasn’t lost her love for horses.
In spite of her eternal quest to escape the cold, she does spend time at ice rinks watching her grandchildren figure skate and play hockey.
When she can summon up the nerve to get on a plane she likes to visit with her son and grandchildren who are still knee deep in the prairies.
Sharon loves endings with happy resolutions which is why she enjoys writing romance.
Twitter name: @sharonmcgr
Here’s a spotlight on Rachel Brimble’s latest release, Christmas At the Cove from Harlequin Superromance.
More family for Christmas?
Scott Walker doesn’t have time for a relationship. The sexy mechanic has career ambitions, not to mention a mother and three sisters to take care of. The last thing he needs is Carrie Jameson, the beauty he never forgot, arriving in Templeton Cove over the holidays with some unexpected news.
Scott still finds Carrie irresistible, and he’s not one to shirk responsibility. Scott’s issues with his own dad make the prospect of parenthood a minefield. But if he and Carrie can overcome their fears, this Christmas could bring them the best gift of all.
She glanced around the garage. “I’m sorry to turn up unannounced like this, but I’m here and we need to talk.”
He stared at her in disbelief as questions, demands and weaknesses hurtled around inside him, battling with the intense sexual frustration storming through his body. “Just like that, you turn up and say, ‘We need to talk’?” He shook his head and turned away from her, lest he get caught in the snare of her wide, impossibly gorgeous eyes. “Go away.”
Keeping his back to her, he uncrossed his arms and planted his hands on his hips. He tipped his head back and smiled as insanity rushed his bloodstream. He wanted to grab her, shake her, kiss her and make love to her. God, he wanted to drop to his damn knees in front of her and beg her to tell him where she’d been and now she was back, was she back for good?
He closed his eyes, barely resisting the urge to cover his ears with his hands and block out her tempting voice, achingly laced with the unmistakable sound of a plea. “Whether you want to see me or not, I have to talk to you, and I won’t leave the Cove until you hear me out.”
Her heels clicked closer and his body tensed, waiting for what came next. The dangerous, musky scent of her perfume wafted under his nostrils and he inhaled. She approached the bench beside him and put down a business card. “My number’s on there. I’m staying at the Christie. Call me when you’re ready to talk. It’s important or I wouldn’t have come.”
He glanced at the card. Carrie Jameson. Producer.
She turned and walked away. He let her go, feeling like a smashed up car after a hurricane, tossed and turned through the air before being spewed crudely across the highway, left to rust and burn.
He picked up the card. His hand shook and the rare sting of tears shamed him. What the hell was he supposed to do now? Carrie was back and his libido told him only too clearly there was no way in hell he wouldn’t go to her. How was he supposed to let her go a second time when he’d lived the last three years regretting he didn’t stop her the first time?
Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. In 2012, she sold two books to Harlequin Superromance and a further three in 2013. She also writes Victorian romance for Kensington–her debut was released in April 2013, followed by a second in January 2014 and the third is released Jan 2015.
Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family and beloved black Lab, Max. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.
She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!
I’m starting November 2014 with something special. I’m adding 20 fabulous books to my digital library.
It’s a privilege to join these writers with the inclusion of my holiday novella THE RING THAT BINDS, a western historical that was released in December 2012. But that’s the great thing about historical—they don’t become outdated. In case you missed it, November 1st would be a good time to pick it up. If you already have it, consider giving it to someone as an affordable but oh-so-thoughtful gift: an early Thanksgiving gift, a birthday gift, a thank you gift or “just thinking of you” gift.
Below are the books I’ll be buying November 1st. This list has books of all sizes including popular genres like romance, mystery, fantasy, suspense, paranormal, and historical. Wow. Not only will I be buying these books for my own reading pleasure, but at this price, I can gift several to my reading friends.
Yes, you got it. This diverse list includes books I know will score me points with friends who have birthdays in November or family members who will love reading the book over the long Thanksgiving weekend, for friends who are traveling in November and need a good book to read on the plane, and friends who will be cheered knowing I was thinking of them. At 99 cents, each of these books will cost far less than a greeting card and a stamp, will arrive faster, and the joy of reading the book will last far longer.
The Amazon links are included below. Hope this gives you and your loved ones a happy Saturday and a fun start to November. Enjoy!
|Kristy Tate||Stuck With You||http://amzn.com/B00KQ9JT5C|
|Jackie Hyman||Calling All Glass Slippers||http://amzn.com/B00N97L532|
|Michelle Knowlden||Jack Fell Down||http://amzn.com/B00LYNHVTU|
|Susan R. Hughes||Heart’s Desire||http://amzn.com/B00KTT0SUO|
|Lou Nelson||Emerald Fortune||http://amzn.com/B008S4PH1W|
|Shauna Roberts||Claimed by the Enemy||http://amzn.com/B00LNE709G|
|Kathy Bennett||A Deadly Denial||http://amzn.com/B00MAGGHKY|
|Kitty Bucholtz||Unexpected Superhero||http://amzn.com/B00D4FOLHQ|
|Angie Ray||Ghost of My Dreams||http://amzn.com/B00JJGB8CA|
|Laura Taylor||Love at the Beach (3 books *)||http://amzn.com/B00OJ47DOY|
|Debra Salonen||Judy Uncensored||http://amzn.com/B00NJCK5EC|
|Linda Carroll-Bradd||The Ring That Binds||http://amzn.com/B00AM0OQSK|
|Geralyn Corcillo||She Likes It Tough||http://amzn.com/B00NNXWFAE|
|Chris Marie Green||Shadows Till Sunrise||http://amzn.com/B00NHYS8WS|
|Barbara McMahon||The Bachelor’s Baby Promise||http://amzn.com/B006Q64YYK|
|Donna Fasano||The Single Daddy Club: Derrick||http://amzn.com/B00AN7524Y|
|Adrianne Lee||You Don’t Know Jack||http://tinyurl.com/l7awb7g|
|Jan Hudson||Big and Bright||http://amzn.com/B00AB4FW30|
|Kathleen Creighton||Demon Lover||http://tinyurl.com/puk7opn|