Tag Archives: historical romance

Release Day–My Heart Knew

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I am proud to announce the release of the third story in my western historical “Dorado, Texas” series, My Heart Knew. The story of Maisie and Dylan first appeared in an anthology but this novella has been expanded and revised.

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Tomboy Maisie Treadwell is restless, feeling confined in her small Texas frontier town. From the moment she meets cowboy Dylan MacInnes, the sparks and words fly. Of course, if she didn’t cause his ankle sprain, their relationship might have gone more smoothly. To appease her mother’s worries over the boarding house’s reputation, Maisie is at the mercy of meeting Dylan’s demands. A shared interest in adventure stories draws them closer. Soon, Maisie can’t wait to spend time reading aloud to the recuperating virile man. Until the afternoon she overhears him explaining that his demands were meant to teach her a lesson. Can Dylan find a way to again win her trust?

BUY LINK for $.99 (KU is free)

Amazon

EXCERPT

The sound of a throat clearing made her whirl and swipe the back of her hand at the hot tears tracking down her cheeks. “Oh.”

Mister MacInnes filled the doorway, balancing on his right foot with a rough-cut tree branch under his left arm as a crutch. “Ready for me?”

Those three words struck her like a match to kindling. Many times Maisie had been inside a boarder’s room with that male present. But never had her palms itched like they did now. Could that be guilt? Or some other feeling? Quickly, she set down the volumes and ran a hand over the quilt, wondering if he’d be bothered by daisies and summer ferns. “A straight-back chair usually sits by the window, and I’ll have to locate it. Or I can carry in a cushioned one from the parlor. And bring in a footstool.” Hoping to move the attention away from her babbling, she swept a hand in that direction. “I’ve placed an extra pillow for resting your foot on the bed.” What was she saying? The fully-grown man knew why the pillow had been put there.

Mister MacInnes stared at the bed with a narrowed gaze and then shook his head. “Let’s try the bed.”

“What?” She jerked and stepped back, knocking a boot heel against the wall. Heat flamed in her cheeks, but she restrained herself from covering them with her hands. The heightened color drew enough attention to her embarrassed state.

He flicked his gaze to the pillow and back to her before speaking. “I meant, could you help position the pillow under my foot? Maybe even fold it double.”

“Of course, sir.” Maisie slid the pillow tight against the carved wooden footboard and waited as he limped across the rag rug and eased onto the quilt-covered mattress. This man was so tall he might not fit in her bed.

The ropes supporting the straw mattress creaked under his weight, and he scooted until he’d centered his large body in the bed. Clasping both hands under his knee, he lifted and then jerked his head. “Okay, slide it under.”

Maisie jumped forward to comply to center the pillow. “There, how does that feel?”

“As good as can be expected for having a sprained ankle.”

The mention of his injury shot contrition through her. “I want to tell you how truly sorry I am about running into you and causing this.” She swung a hand toward his bandaged foot and accidentally bumped it.

“Damnation, girl.” He sucked in a lungful of air through clenched teeth.

“Oh, I’m so clumsy. Again, I apologize, Mister MacInnes.” To keep from causing another accident, she clamped both arms around her middle. Not until she spotted his granite-stiff expression relax did she breath out a sigh of relief. She pitched her voice low. “And I’ll be thanking you for not revealing to my mother the composition of what I was wearing when first we met.”

Mister MacInnes cocked an eyebrow and looked toward the doorway. “She doesn’t know her daughter dresses like a man and rides alone on the prairie.”

Sharing My Titles with a Halloween Connection

My stories featuring bits and pieces of Halloween are varied. From most recently published to a bit more seasoned, they are:

 

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Wandering Home, Book 1 of “Dorado, Texas” series (a 19,000 word historical novella)

Widow Vevina Bernhard sees mysterious lights at night and believes her Texas ranch Shady Oaks is haunted. She needs protection for herself and her 4-year old son but the town’s sheriff offers no help. On hiatus from his Texas Ranger duties, Kell Hawksen hires on as a farrier at the ranch while keeping an eye out for clues to a stagecoach robber in hopes of collecting the bounty. On Samhain, fire erupts and Vevina and Kell battle both the danger and the depth of their feelings.

http://amzn.com/B0190RNROY

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Unlocked Treasure, a 15,000 word contemporary novella

Aleen MacRae blames the lure of the sea for breaking apart first her family then her engagement. When her interest is caught by a man she sees both in person and in a dream, she resists—afraid to believe in her aunt’s prediction that her future is tied to the sea.

Braden Williams is on the hunt for treasure buried centuries earlier by Rhode Island pirates. His search brings him to the property where Aleen lives. Collaboration on genealogy research draws them closer, and Braden steers her toward his true passion–sailing.

Attending a party with Braden’s family lets her glimpse what she’s been missing. An unexpected discovery before her date with Braden at the Halloween Midnight Organ Recital forces a decision. Will Aleen play things safe or accept what this free-spirited man offers?

http://amzn.com/B00O0EQ754

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Unlocked Treasure also appears verbatim in Hauntings In The Garden, Vol 2, a 4-author anthology http://amzn.com/B015AOHAD0

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Bewitching Gypsy (a 7,700 word historical story) in Spooktacular Seductions, an 8-author anthology

Fiona Mikolas is an outcast—branded by her fiery red hair and a purple birth mark—forced to live a solitary life, traveling a circuit of southern states in America and selling healing potions. Until the night of All Hallow’s Eve, when her lonely life is changed by the arrival of two strangers in her camp.

Beaten and robbed, rancher Hagan Fletcher tracks his stolen stallion and stumbles toward a campfire in south Texas. He awakens, suffering from amnesia and is intrigued by the mysterious beauty to look beneath the surface to who she really is.

http://amzn.com/B00OWJJ09C

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Cowboys, Creatures and Calico is the 6-author anthology where Wandering Home first appeared in a shorter version as Wanderer, Come Home

http://amzn.com/B00NVX5Y2C

Guest Interview of Kara O’Neal

Welcome to Kara who has several releases of historical romance fiction.

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I’m a teacher. I vowed up one way and down he other I wouldn’t enter into the profession. But God had other ideas. While I hadn’t planned on working in education, I certainly never thought about being an author. My sister challenged me to rewrite the end to a book I hadn’t cared for, and I did. In my head. Which opened up a new world, and soon I had four core families in a tiny Texas town in the late 1800s living in my imagination. It took thirteen years, and lots of rewriting, but I published my first book in 2013 and haven’t slowed down.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

Unfortunately, I don’t have time to do anything else. I’m a mother of a cellist, trumpeter, and baseball player. I’d love to continue scrapbooking, but our children are too busy to allow for that kind of hobby. It doesn’t disappoint me because it’s truly a joy to watch them do what they love, to see them grow and change. I can’t believe I am so fortunate as to know them.

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

Well, the music I listen to while writing is whatever chant or cheer are played during an Astros or Texans game. I’m usually watching my favorite teams win, or lose, while I pen stories of romance and intrigue.

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

I sure have. I am a native Texan and have traveled all over the state with my husband and children. All of my books take place in Texas, however, the 5th story, The Soldier’s Love, starts in Nebraska (I have been there, too.) and ends in Texas. The fort in my 5th book is based on Ft. Davis in West Texas.

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

When I get home, I almost immediately start writing. I write while I cook supper. I write in the car while waiting on a child to finish practice, or CCE, or a club meeting. I usually have about 30 minutes in the morning before I have to walk out the door, and I write then, as well. Every free moment I have, I write.

What’s your dream vacation destination?

Ireland. My husband is going to take me for our 20th wedding anniversary. I cannot wait.

In what genre do you read?

I read all books. I’ve read everything from Jane Austen to Tony Dungee (football coach). My absolute favorite author is Jane Austen. She transcends time. My favorite genre is definitely romance, though. I can’t get enough of people falling in love!

Love's Redemption 1019

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When she was little more than a child, Willa Kramer went to extreme lengths to save her family from their abusive father. After that horrible day, her mother and siblings moved to Tennessee, and Willa had hoped to leave Texas, its memories and Lonnie Davis, the only boy she ever trusted, behind. But fate is unpredictable.

Five years have passed, and Lonnie finds himself reunited with Willa, the only girl he’s ever loved. He’s determined not to let her slip away again, but a figure from the past looms, threatening his hopes for the future.

BUY LINKS

Amazon

Resplendence Publishing

EXCERPT

Lonnie excused himself from Willa’s parents, and despite his silent commands to give Willa space, he couldn’t keep from following the lady who had occupied his thoughts for the last several years. It would be odd not to speak to her. They’d been close. Once.

When he stepped into the vacant kitchen, he caught sight of her form through the screen door. She stood on the porch, her hands lightly gripping the rail, gazing at the outbuildings, field and the trees shading Glebe Run. The breeze caressed her, sending wisps of her hair to float around her face.

He paused. His chest tightened. He’d waited a long time to see her, had wondered if he ever would. Years ago, she’d wrapped him around her little finger, and he’d grown so attached to her, he’d thought about moving to Tennessee to be with her. But then she had stopped writing. To say it had hurt would be an understatement. But he hadn’t been angry. He could never be angry with her. Never. And now she was back and near. It was too tempting.

After taking a deep breath, he moved forward then went through the screen door. Even though it gave a loud creak, she didn’t turn. Did she know it was he who stood behind her?

The light breeze ruffled her skirt. Her long, velvety hair grazed the small of her back. An ache centered in the pit of his stomach. He’d missed her. And now she was here. “Hello, Willa,” he said, hearing the gentleness of his tone.

She tensed before facing him. Her gaze was shuttered, as if she needed to protect herself from him. Was she afraid? Had he said something in his letters that had hurt her? An urgency gripped him.

“How are you?” he inquired, tamping down the questions he really wanted to ask. Instead, he searched her face for clues as to why she seemed guarded. In the past, he’d been the person she trusted, the person she leaned on. What had he done wrong?

“H-Hello, Lonnie. It’s good to see you.”

Was it? She didn’t seem happy. “It’s…really good to see you, too,” he couldn’t help admitting.

“Did you meet my step-father?” she asked.

“I did. Seems like a nice fellow.”

“He is. He makes Mother happy.”

When she didn’t continue, he racked his brain for a response. Nothing came to him. Her upturned face held determined lines, and the barriers in her hazel eyes left him silent.

“Greg likes him,” she inserted into the awkward silence stretching between them.

He linked his thumbs through his belt loops. “I haven’t seen your brother yet. Where is he?”

She nodded her head in the direction of the barn. “Checking on his horse. He brought Tracks with us. He loves that animal too much to be apart from him for long.”

Lonnie understood. He was the wrangler on the family ranch and dealt with horses most of the time. He had a special relationship with the animals. “And Shelby?” he asked, inquiring about her sister. If mundane conversation was what Willa wanted, he would respect that. Besides, did he really want to ask why she’d stopped writing? Did he really want to return to the road that led to Willa Kramer? It had taken a while to stop feeling something whenever he thought of her. And he still thought of her. Every day.

“Married. She lives in Oregon. She hasn’t met our step-father, but I’ve written to her about him.”

Which meant Willa had indicated whether or not she trusted the man. Lonnie figured she did. If the man hadn’t earned the respect of Willa, Lonnie doubted her mother would have married him.

“How was the trip down?”

She shrugged. “As comfortable as possible. I hadn’t ever ridden on a train. It was much better than the stagecoach ride from Texas to Memphis.”

The day she’d boarded that coach to leave Pikes Run had ripped out his heart. He’d watched her go, unsure of what she meant to him, what he meant to her. A week after the Kramer family had left, Lonnie had understood he loved Willa. He’d written. And she’d replied. But then, after the fifth exchange, she had stopped. Without warning. Without explanation. What had he done?

As he looked into her eyes, it was all he could do not to move closer, to cup her cheek with a hand. He was falling again. Or had he ever regained his heart? That invisible tug he’d felt around her had returned. In mere minutes.

He refrained from uttering a curse. It wasn’t her fault he was still drawn to her. He’d probably never been free of her, though he’d worked like hell to forget her. But seconds had destroyed whatever barriers he’d managed to build, and he drowned in her eyes once more. And again, just as it had been all those years ago, he only needed her in order to keep his head above water.

But walls lived in the depths of her gaze. Walls against him. His gut clenched. Hurting Willa was the last thing he’d ever wanted to do, but it appeared he had. The need to apologize burned his tongue.

“Lonnie,” a male voice called.

Lonnie spotted a lankier, taller version of Greg Kramer walking from the barn toward the porch. Gladness gripped Lonnie, overtaking the frustrated helplessness rushing through his veins. He met the younger man in the middle of the yard. They shook hands, grinning at each other. Greg was a welcome distraction.

“It’s good to see you,” Greg said.

“And you. You’re taller.”

Greg laughed. “I can almost look you in the eye, huh? Might be able to beat you at arm wrestling now, too.”

Lonnie lifted an eyebrow, a grin still tugging his lips. “We’ll see about that.” He gestured toward the barn. “Willa tells me you brought your horse with you.”

A sheepish expression came over Greg’s face. “I shouldn’t have asked my step-father to pay to stable Tracks on a train, but I didn’t want to leave him. I just got him.”

Lonnie could feel Willa’s eyes on him. His body tingled with awareness, and if he wasn’t careful, he was going to whip around and jump right over the imaginary fence she’d erected and ask her why she’d stopped answering his letters. He had to put some distance between them. “Can I see him?” he asked Greg.

The young man’s face lit. “Of course.”

As they fell in stride with each other, Lonnie heard the screen door creak. Willa was gone. His heart sank to the pit of his stomach.

Kara ONealKara O’Neal was born and raised in Texas.  After surviving those awkward years of 7 to 16, she spent two years at Sam Houston State University where she met her husband.  He followed her to Texas Tech University and was proud when she graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Human Development.  Soon after graduation Kara followed her heart and became certified to teach Special Education.

She married the love of her life in 1998 and had three children.  The happiest times of her life are spent with her family and friends.  Kara is fortunate to be surrounded by the best and most amazing people God put on this earth.

When she was pregnant with her oldest child, Kara wrote her first novel.  And then rewrote it.  And rewrote it again.  She did this while teaching, raising kids, and traveling across Texas with her husband. Thank goodness for spiral notebooks!

WEB CONTACTS

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Amazon Author Page

Barnes & Noble Author Page

 

Guest Release Promotion–Gold Nuggets by Lynn Lovegreen

 

 

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In the shadow of Denali, she has a home, and he finds adventure. Charlotte Cooper wants to stay near her parents’ home in Alaska. But her dreams of being a writer call her away to college or work, and she has to choose her own path in life.

Henry Reeves is a wealthy New Yorker seeking a summer adventure when he travels to Kantishna near the proposed Mt. McKinley National Park. He discovers two passions, one for Charlotte, and the other for keeping Alaska wildlife from being wiped out like the buffalo.

Charlotte and Henry find an attraction they can’t deny, but can they build a new life together between the wilderness and high society?

BUY LINKS

Amazon

Amazon print

Barnes & Noble

Prism Book Group

Smashwords

EXCERPT

Good health practically oozed out of his pores. It was easy to imagine him winning a footrace or wrestling a champion. The short hair under his broad-brimmed campaign hat seemed to accentuate his high cheekbones and strong jaw. And his hazel eyes dashed this way and that, taking in the scene. He was as pretty as a magpie, and just as annoying when he opened his mouth.

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Lynn Lovegreen grew up in Alaska, and still lives there. She taught English for 20 years before retiring to make more time for writing. Her young adult historical romances are set in the Alaska Gold Rush, a great time for drama, romance, and independent characters. Her novels Golden Days and Gold Nuggets are available through Prism Book Group or your favorite book vendor.

 

WEB CONTACTS

Website

Facebook

Goodreads

Pinterest

Backlist Promotion–Fourth of July stories

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Today marks the approximate one-year anniversary of the release of A COWBOY CELEBRATION, a seven-story historical romance anthology published by Prairie Rose Publications.  Contributing authors are: Agnes Alexander, Linda Carroll-Bradd, Julia Daniels, Lorrie Farrelly, Meg Mims, Angela Raines, and Beverly Wells. An added bonus is each story mentions a tasty picnic dish and the recipes are included.

My novella is titled Forged By Fire, and I loosely based the story on the Beauty and the Beast fairytale.

LOGLINE

Can a wounded soul find solace in the attentions from a cook who nurtures through her culinary creations?

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Ivey Treadwell, cook at her family’s boarding house, wants to accomplish something big. For now, she satisfies herself with improving on the traditional recipes for the boarders by adding herbs and spices she gathers. An incident with a broken pan causes her to see Berg Spengler, the town’s blacksmith, in a new light.

Stigmatized for his huge size and blamed for his brother’s injury, Berg has discovered being alone is safer for his heart. But when he sees interest spark in Ivey’s eyes, he decides to take a chance and approach her. The pair discovers an attraction that heats up each time they are alone together. Will Ivey convince Berg his wandering days are over and home is here with her in Comfort?

BUY LINKS

Amazon

Barnes&Noble

KOBO Books

Smashwords
Additional stories include:

The Longest Way Home by Lorrie Farrelly—Maddie, an orphan, is torn when her father shows up to reclaim her from her adoptive mother.

Winner Takes All by Meg Mims—Cora Peterson’s plan to beat her rival at a picnic auction brings about a surprising end and an unexpected love…

For the Love of Grace by Julia Daniels—Poppy travels west to find her sister—but her own happily-ever-after awaits, as well.

Brighter Tomorrows by Beverly Wells—Callie trusts no man. Chase Matlock is fearful to love again. He gets his man, she gets her adventure, and together they find it all.

Second Chance at Love by Agnes Alexander—A temporary living arrangement might lead to something else when love enters the mix.

Never Had a Chance by Angela Raines—How can a deadly trick bring two people the love they didn’t know they needed?

Leave a comment about your favorite Fourth of July food for a chance at winning an ebook.

Featured on New In Books

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I’m so proud to announce Montana Sky: Laced By Love is listed on the site, New In Books, as a recommended title for readers of historical western romance. My book is included among a grouping of titles by stellar authors in the heartwarming historical romance genre.

See the page here.

Other great news related to the Montana Sky Kindle World: for a limited time, two of the titles are on sale for only $.99 (a savings of between $1 and $3)

Mail-Order Machinations by Kirsten Osbourne

Hope On The Horizon by Cassie Hayes

Find these at the special Amazon page for Montana Sky Kindle World titles

Guest Release–Her Independent Spirit by Zina Abbott

 

Today Zina Abbott will share with you excerpt #7 and
A chance to win a copy of Her Independent Spirit by playing the Amazon Giveaway sweepstakes.
Catch all seven excerpts on participating blogs on Zina Abbott’s website by CLICKING HERE.
Please join Zina Abbott on the Sweet/Clean Romance Facebook event

Monday, April 11th at noon/1:00/2:00/3:00p.m. or

Wednesday, April 13th at 3:00/4:00/5:00/6:00p.m.
About
the Book
:

 

Beth Dodd has made a promise to help “Lulu”, a
young prostitute at the Blue Feather, keep her baby if she decides to leave the
whorehouse and become a respectable woman. But Beth hadn’t counted on the
obstacles she and the new mother will face from society in the mining town of
Lundy. From the obstinate landlady, Mrs. Ford, to her intractable German boss,
Gus Herschel, Beth must fight for the woman she’s promised to help. But Beth
Dodd never gives in, and she keeps her word with a stubbornness that Lundy folks
are not accustomed to seeing from a woman.
Once Lulu, now known as the more respectable Louisa Parmley, starts working for
Gus in his kitchen, she proves that Beth was right to take a chance on her. She
has every intention of making a good life for her new daughter. But can she
also hope to find happiness with Gus? And will Gus be able to accept her and
baby Sophie Ann as his? Love was never in the cards for Gus, but Louisa dreams
of happiness with the stoic man, and Beth is determined to bring them together
through HER INDEPENDENT SPIRIT.


 

Excerpt
#7
:
     Albert
straightened and turned to Louisa. “You take care of yourself now, Miss Lulu.
Even though you’re no longer at the Blue Feather, you can still count me as
your friend. If anyone gives you any trouble, you get word to me and I’ll run
them off for you.”
     Louisa
glanced over at Mrs. Ford who stood only a few feet away. She did her best to
ignore the woman’s crossed arms and her face screwed into a grimace. “Thank
you, Albert. Your friendship has meant a lot to me. I-I hope I have no need to
call on you to help me, but I appreciate your offer. Good-bye.”
     Albert
nodded and turned to leave.
     “Mr.
Albert,” Beth stopped him.
     Albert
turned back to face her. “It’s just Albert, ma’am.”
     “Albert,
she ain’t Lulu no more. She done left that kind of life behind. If you have
call to speak to her again, it’s more fittin’ if you ask for Miss Parmley.”
     Albert
stared at Beth for several seconds while he absorbed her words. Then he turned
back to Louisa and nodded. “Good-bye, Miss Parmley.”

 

Photo:
This is not a photo of Mrs. Mary Ford, the Irish immigrant widow who owned the
Pioneer Boarding House in Lundy and also invested in the local mines. However, the
clothing style is correct for 1884, and this is how Zina Abbott pictures her.

 

Zina Abbott is offering a copy of the book through Amazon Giveaway sweepstakes with a  one in fifty chance of winning. You may
access Amazon Giveaway by CLICKING HERE
and following the instructions.

 

 

 

About
the Author
:
Zina
Abbott is the pen name used by Robyn Echols for her historical novels. You may
find the first two novellas in the Eastern Sierra
Brides 1884

series
, Big Meadows Valentine and A Resurrected Heart,
by clicking on the hyperlinks for the novel titles or by going to Zina Abbott’s
Amazon Author Page by clicking HERE.


 

To
learn about new releases and special offers, Zina Abbott invites you to sign up to
receive her monthly NEWSLETTER.
You may sign up by CLICKING HERE.


 


 

Zina Abbott Author Links:


 


Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  Goodreads  |  Google+  |  Twitter 

 

Purchase
links for Her Independent Heart:
Amazon
 
Smashwords  |  Kobo
iBooks

Please tweet this blog post:

 

Excerpt 7 &
#AmazonGiveaway on Blog Blitz:
HER INDEPENDENT
SPIRIT @ZinaAbbott


Guest Interview—Caroline Clemmons

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I’ve been writing romantic fiction full time since 1994 but only sold my first novel in 1998, a contemporary western titled Be My Guest to Kensington. Since then, I’ve written numerous contemporary and historical western romances. Since 2011, I’ve been a self-published author and love the control (plus I make far more money on my own than I did with a publisher).

What’s the logline that describes your writing?

Heartwarming romance and adventure.

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

First I see characters, which are engaged in some scene in the story—usually the inciting incident. The plot comes from there.

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

I write with classical music. I do email with light rock, swing, or jazz—depending on my mood at the time.

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

I prefer to do my research first and save it to the book’s folder. That helps me plan the plot. If something else crops up, I research at the time.

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

Most. My latest two are set in Montana and Washington state, and I’ve never been either place. I relied on extensive research and advice from people who have been there. Most of my books are set in Texas, which is where I live. I’ve been to all of the settings in those books.

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

I have written several contemporary western romances and will have more releasing in 2016. I’ve written a couple of mysteries but probably won’t do more.

What’s your dream vacation destination?

A month in Ireland. After two trips there, my husband and I decided that IF we return, we’ll rent a cottage and spend a month touring at our leisure. We also enjoy England, Scotland, Switzerland, and southern Germany, but our favorite is Ireland.

Do you use visual aids (storyboards, Pinterest, collages) when plotting or writing?

I use a storyboard. Years ago my plotting group heard Laura Baker and Robin Perini present their “Story Magic” plotting method. I imagine there was a light bulb flashing on over my head during the workshop. The method made so much sense to me and helped me overcome many of my plotting problems. Yet, a few who heard that presentation didn’t find it helpful. We’re all different, aren’t we?

In what genre do you read?

Telling you what I don’t read is easier. I never read true crime, horror,  zombies, or much sci-fi. I especially enjoy western historical and western contemporary, women’s fiction, and WWII mysteries such as those by Leeann Harris and Susan Elia Macneal, and British mysteries and Regency.

What resources do you use for picking character names?

If writing a historical, I use names from my family genealogy. If writing contemporary, I Google names popular twenty-five to thirty years ago. Names are important and require the right sound. For instance, hard consonants make a hero sound stronger. For a historical heroine, I prefer an unusual name or after someone in my family or both—as in Parmelia in Long Way Home. Sometimes a heroine’s name can be a contrast to her personality.

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

My husband and I have one dog and three cats, all rescues. Our little Shih Tzu is almost blind and is hard of hearing now, so he is not adventurous and doesn’t play as he used to do. Our cats are each very different. Sebastian is a huge tuxedo who lets only me pet him and usually sleeps beside me. Max is a Manx and always into mischief. Jasmine is a rag doll that is a shy, sweet, cuddly cat.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I hope they reach the end of the book with a happy sigh for the pleasant experience, a temporary escape from their problems, and entertainment.

AMANDA'S RANCHER FOR LINDA

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One desperate young woman.

A chance meeting.

A life-changing outcome.

Growing up in a brothel, Mara O’Sullivan battled public disdain and contempt, but always remained kind-hearted and gracious. After testifying against vicious bank robbers, her life is threatened and Mara must find sanctuary far from everything she knows.

One train ride changes her life as she fatefully meets a half-sister and a niece she never knew existed. But when circumstances end her sister’s life, Mara makes a promise that she’ll raise her niece as her own and take her sister’s place as Preston Kincaid’s mail-order-bride. As Mara and Preston grow closer, their marriage no longer seems like a ruse, but a relationship of love, passion, and desire.

Mara’s past comes back to haunt her and she finds herself in danger—will her new husband forgive Mara’s deceit and protect her as his own?

BUY LINK

Amazon

EXCERPT

They reached the church and Preston jumped down from the wagon and came around to help her alight. With a smile, he lifted Iris high over his head before he set her on the ground. Her giggle brought tears to Amanda’s eyes.

That was the first time she’d ever heard her daughter make the girlish sound. Iris had smiled, spoken, but never laughed until she met Preston Kincaid. For that alone, Amanda would be the best wife she knew how to be.

Inside the church, Mrs. Norton handed Amanda a bouquet of daisies secured with a white ribbon. The interior was plain with wooden benches and an altar raised one step above the rest of the floor. Although there were several windows, none had stained-glass as did the churches she’d seen in Georgia.

The minister was waiting at the front of the church and wore a black frock coat and matching string tie. His brown hair and beard were thickly streaked with gray. He stood at a simple lectern with what looked like a Bible in one hand while he conversed with another man.

Amanda was surprised only one other person besides Reverend and Mrs. Norton were in the sanctuary. She’d supposed Preston had many friends in the area and thought at least his ranch hands would attend. The second man turned and proved to be an older version of her groom who came forward to greet her.

Preston cupped her elbow. “Amanda and Iris, this is my father. Most folks call him Tom, but I call him Papa.”

Amanda smiled at the handsome man who must be around fifty. He was tall, but maybe an inch shorter than his son. Silver sprinkled the same dark hair. “May I call you Papa, too?”

He beamed his pleasure and his blue eyes crinkled at the corners. “I’d be honored. And in the absence of your father, may I walk you down the aisle?”

“Would you? I’d be ever so grateful.” She laid her hand on his arm. Nerves had set in and she needed his support or her knees might give way.

Preston said, “Iris, why don’t you stand with me while my papa walks Mama to meet us?”

Iris shook her head. “Mommy, not my old mama?”

Preston frowned. “Old mama?”

Panic sent bile into her throat that threatened to choke her. Don’t throw up on your wedding dress. “Perhaps you remember my mother recently died.”

Sympathy shone from his blue eyes. “Of course.” He took Iris’ hand in his and strode to the front.

Mrs. Norton began playing the piano. She nodded toward Amanda. Papa Kincaid gently led her up the aisle.

Walking toward her husband, Amanda was conscious of Preston’s stare, as if he could see into her mind and knew her for an impostor. Although he held Iris’ hand, the intensity of his blue gaze unnerved her. She wondered if he was disappointed or if he were as numb as she.

Thankful for the presence of her future father-in-law beside her, she tightened her hold on Mr. Kincaid’s arm.

In response, he patted her hand her where it laid on his sleeve. Without looking at her, he whispered. “Steady as you go. We’re almost there.”

Iris gave a tiny wave and Amanda couldn’t resist smiling at the child. The little girl truly was a blessing. Focusing on Iris gave Amanda a target she could face.

When they reached the front, Mrs. Norton ceased playing. Preston took the bouquet from Amanda’s hands. “Iris, would you hold this for Mommy so she and I can be married?”

Iris looked at him adoringly and reached to receive the flowers. Reverend Norton opened his Bible and began the ceremony. Preston took Amanda’s hands in his. She was conscious of his calluses, but also of the size and strength of his palms dwarfing hers.

When the minister indicated, Preston slipped a ring onto her finger. This new one belongs to me, even if my groom doesn’t know my true name.

After the ceremony, Preston brushed his lips gently against hers.

Iris clapped a hand across her mouth in surprise then said, “Mommy? That man kissed you.”

Preston knelt eye-to-eye with her. “I’m your new Daddy, remember? Mommy and I were just married and now I can kiss her whenever she says it’s okay. Do you think you can call me Daddy?”

Iris nodded. “Are you gonna kiss me too?”

He smiled broadly. “I certainly am.” He leaned forward and gave her a loud smack on the cheek.

The child giggled. Twice in one day this kind man had made Iris happy. Amanda owed Preston all her wifely devotion.

Giveaway

Caroline is gifting an ebook of the winner’s choice.Name to be selected from those who leave a comment.

Snippet from a 5-star review

“When I first started reading this book, I thought that it was going to go a different route than it did. The way that it turned out was fantastic. Loved the characters, and I would like to have more stories about Vern and Ben, they need their own books. Thank you for writing such a great story about Ranching and Farming.”

BIO

Caroline Clemmons is an Amazon bestselling and award winning author of historical and contemporary western romances. A frequent speaker at conferences and seminars, she has taught workshops on characterization, point of view, and layering a novel.

Caroline and her husband live in the heart of Texas cowboy country with their menagerie of rescued pets. When she’s not indulging her passion for writing, Caroline enjoys family, reading, travel, antiquing, genealogy, and getting together with friends. Find her on her blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google+, WattPad, Shelfari, and Pinterest. Subscribe to her newsletter here to receive a FREE novella of Happy Is The Bride.

Guest Interview with Marie Laval

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

Hello Linda, and thank you so much for welcoming me on your blog today. I live in the very green and pretty Rossendale Valley in Lancashire, England, and although it is very different from Lyon in France where I grew up, I love being here! I always wanted to live in England (I blame Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters and Thomas Hardy for firing my imagination!), and I came to work at the university of Manchester as soon as I finished my studies in France, and I never left!

I now teach full-time time in a secondary school. I have three children, two boys and a girl, who are growing up very fast.

What’s the logline that describes your writing?

Atmospheric settings, haunted heroes and unconventional heroines.

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

My characters always come first and somehow the plot evolves around them.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

I don’t plan enough and that always leads me into trouble. Every time I start a new story I resolve to plot more and not rush into things, but every time it’s the same and I end up backtracking, deleting, rewriting…

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

I love listening to music, but not when I write. I prefer silence – although in my house, that never happens! However there are always specific songs and composers that accompany me whilst writing a story. For example, when I was writing my DANCING FOR THE DEVIL Trilogy, I listened to Rumours by Fleetwood Mac as well as to traditional Scottish folk songs. When I was writing THE LION’S EMBRACE, which is set in North Africa, I listened to a lot of music from local Tuareg artists, including modern ones such as Bombino.

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

Research starts the moment I get an idea for my plot. I absolutely love it! I love the excitement of finding anecdotes, facts or pictures which will make my story and characters come to life. And very often I will find a little gem that will steer in a completely new direction.

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

I go for a walk either on my own or with my daughter. Although she is only ten, talking to her can sometimes help me see the way forward in a story. Another thing that works for me is scribbling on my notebooks and letting my imagination run wild.

What’s your dream vacation destination?

I have several! I love going to Devon and Cornwall. Last summer we went to Northumberland and it was absolutely breathtaking! I still dream about the long walks we took on the beach near Bamburgh Castle.

Do you use visual aids (storyboards, Pinterest, collages) when plotting or writing?

All the time! I love travel guides, paintings, history books and maps for inspiration about locations. I also need to find a photo of my hero – or a few and then I do a mix in my mind – but funnily enough, not of my heroine as I always know exactly what she looks like. I have recently ventured on Pinterest and had a lot of fun creating boards for my novels.

What resources do you use for picking character names?

Maps and road signs, especially in the West Country, Devon and Dorset, are great sources of inspiration for characters and location alike. I do like to look on the internet for first names and I try to make them as realistic to the period and setting as possible. There are great sites around – for example, Gaelic names for boys and girls.

The Dreamcatcher Feb 3

BLURB for The Dream Catcher, book 1 in Dancing With The Devil trilogy

Can her love heal his haunted heart? – Cape Wrath, Scotland, November 1847.

Bruce McGunn is a man as brutal and unforgiving as his land. Discharged from the army, he is haunted by the spectres of his fallen comrades and convinced he is going mad. And he is running out of time to save his estate from the machinations of Cameron McRae, heir to the McGunn’s ancestral enemies. When the clipper carrying McRae’s new bride is caught in a violent storm and docks at Wrath harbour, Bruce decides to revert to the old ways and hold the clipper and the woman to ransom. However, far from the spoilt heiress he expected, Rose is genuine, funny and vulnerable – a ray of sunshine in the long, harsh winter that has become his life.

Rose is determined to escape Wrath and its proud master – the man she calls McGlum. Will she be reunited with Cameron McRae, the dazzlingly handsome aristocrat she married after a whirlwind romance in Algiers, or will she risk her heart and her honour to help Bruce discover the truth about his past and solve the brutal murders committed on his land?
BUY LINKS

AMAZON

AMAZON UK

EXCERPT

A giant stepped in front of her. Dressed in black riding boots, black breeches and riding coat, he was so tall and his shoulders so broad the already dark horizon darkened further.

‘Silence.’

His voice was deep and calm, the voice of a man used to be obeyed. The crowd hushed at once.

He bent down in front of her.

‘Well, well, who do we have here?’

Even though she could hardly see his face, she felt his eyes bore into hers, and it was enough to make her mind go blank.

‘Rose…Rose Saintclair.’

‘Where are the others, your servants, your maids?’

‘I… I don’t have any.’

‘Really? That’s a surprise. All right then, come up.’  He held both his hands out.

She hesitated a moment before placing her hands in his. He pulled her up and she flew straight into his arms, landing with a bump against his broad, hard chest. He was so tall she had to tilt her face all the way back to look at him. Her heart skipped a beat, then started bumping fast and loud.

His eyes were grey and framed by dark eyelashes, his nose straight and strong, his cheekbones high and sharp. Thick black stubble covered his cheeks and chin, and his hair flew around his face, the colour of a raven’s wing. There was something dangerous about him, something reminiscent of a brutal warrior from days long gone by.

She wriggled to free herself but he didn’t let go and his mouth curved into a mocking smile.

‘Well, Fàilte, my sweetheart. ‘I’ll say this for McRae. If there’s one thing the rascal can do, it’s pick his fancy women.’

His hand slid from her waist and he patted her bottom.

Her reaction was instinctive. She swung her arm and lifted her hand to slap him. She didn’t have the chance. Without batting an eyelid he caught her wrist.

‘Steady on, sweetheart. You have a nasty little temper.’

‘And you have no right to insult me in this way, you vile brute,’ she hissed. ‘I am not Lord McRae’s fancy woman, as you so elegantly put it, I’m his wife!’

She had expected at least a shocked response or a groveling apology but he merely smiled.

‘It’s all right, gràidheag, you don’t have to pretend.’

‘Pretend what?’

‘Pretend you’re married to the man. I don’t care if you’re McRae’s mistress or his laundry maid, if you scrub his back or his dirty shirts.’

‘I am telling the truth, you stubborn macaque,’ she shouted in frustration. ‘I married Lord McRae in Algiers four weeks ago.’

‘Please don’t scream quite so loud. I heard you the first time. I just don’t believe you.’

‘What?’

‘First you introduce yourself as Rose Saintclair, now you’re spinning me a tale about being married McRae. Make up your mind, sweetie.’

He glanced at her hand. ‘I don’t see any wedding band on your finger.’

‘That’s because Cameron wanted to keep the wedding a secret. Never mind, I don’t have to explain anything to you. Now let go of me.’

She wriggled to break free, but he was still holding her wrist, leaving her no choice but to kick him hard in the shin with the tip of her boot – the very pointy tip of the fashionable new boots she had made in Algiers.

‘Ouch. Steady on, sweetheart.’

‘Let go of me, you deranged baboon! And stop calling me sweetheart.’

She kicked him again, harder. He muttered something in a strange, guttural language she didn’t understand and let go of her so suddenly she staggered backward and fell on her bottom on the hard, wet cobbles.

Her breath caught in her throat, her heart beat hard, erratic. Tears blurred her vision as people sneered and clapped around her. She knew McRaes and McGunns were enemies, but she had nothing to do with their feud, so why did everybody here seem to hate her so much? And why was the big hairy brute intent on humiliating her and not believing a word she said?

He stepped closer and offered his hand.

‘Come on, now, sweetheart. Let’s start again. I think we got off on the wrong foot.’

He sounded contrite but she wasn’t ready to forgive to forgive him. Ignoring his hand, she scrambled to her feet, and straightened her back. Attack was the best defence, her brother often said, and Lucas knew what he was talking about. He was the best scout in the whole of the Barbary States – or Algeria as the French now called her country.

‘Take me to your master immediately,’ she started in a voice as cold and steady she could manage, ‘so I can ask him to have you whipped for your insolence.’

There was a collective gasp from the people around them. Not looking in the least impressed, the man crossed his arms on his broad chest and arched his eyebrows.

‘Really?’

She took another deep breath.

‘That’s what I do to disrespectful servants on my estate, and I can assure you they stop smirking after five lashes.’ That was an outrageous lie, of course, but no one here was to know.

‘If what you said earlier is true, then I see McRae chose his bride well.’ The man’s eyes were now hard as steel. ‘You and he are indeed a match made in heaven, or in hell. I’m sure you’ll be very happy together.’ He paused. ‘I’m sorry to disappoint you, sweetheart, but I don’t approve of whipping people, or beasts, for that matter.’

‘And I don’t care a fig if you approve or not. It is for your master to decide your punishment, and from what I’ve heard of Lord McGunn, he is neither a patient nor compassionate man.’

He arched his eyebrows. ‘I didn’t know I had such a bad reputation.’

Rose’s heart stopped. He wasn’t… he couldn’t be…

‘I realise I failed to introduce myself. I am Bruce McGunn.’ He bowed his head in a military salute.

‘You are?’ The words came out as a squeak.

His lips stretched into a tight smile that didn’t warm his eyes.

‘At your service, my lady. Now the introductions are over, shall we make our way to the Lodge?’

GIVEAWAY

Marie offers an ecopy (pdf, mobi or epub) of The Dream Catcher to one person who leaves a comment on this blog.

The second book in the Dancing With The Devil trilogy, Blue Bonnets, is also available now.

SNIPPETS FROM 5-Star Review

“This is an arresting and original story, full of suspense, well-researched, with great descriptions of the Scottish setting and a wonderfully likeable heroine.”

“From the very first sentence I was hooked.”

AMAZON UK

 

Sword  Dance will be available in March, 2016

MarieLaval Feb 3

Originally from Lyon in France, Marie has lived in the beautiful Rossendale Valley, Lancashire, England, for the past few years and likes nothing more than dreaming up romance stories and handsome, brooding heroes. She writes historical and contemporary romance. Her contemporary romance A SPELL IN PROVENCE, as well as her historical romances, ANGEL HEART, together with the award-winning THE LION’S EMBRACE, and the DANCING FOR THE DEVIL Trilogy (which includes THE DREAM CATCHER, BLUE BONNETS and SWORD DANCE) are all published by Áccent Press.

WEB CONTACTS

You can find out more about Marie Laval and her novels on  her Amazon UK Author Page.

She also blogs at http://marielaval.blogspot.co.uk/ and has recently venture on Pinterest where she loves finding photos for every one of her novels (https://uk.pinterest.com/laval0232/)

https://twitter.com/MarieLaval1

and lastly on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/marielavalauthor/?fref=ts

Release Day–Libbie: Bride of Arizona

Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to become involved in an unprecedented author event where 45 authors got together to write a mail-order bride story connected to each US state. The collaboration and support from all the authors have been phenomenal.

Libbie.200

Today is release day for Libbie: Bride of Arizona, book #48 in American Mail-Order Brides series.

I had so much fun writing this story of a woman who has been raised in Australia and South Africa with brief visits to Boston—all related to her father’s business pursuits. Libbie is tomboyish and pampered and has three older brothers. So when she’s sent to a woman’s academy in Boston because her mother decides the time has come to learn feminine etiquette, Libbie struggles to discover how she fits in. Then tragedy strikes and she’s forced to answer an ad in the Groom’s Gazette and become a mail-order bride.

BLURB

Alone for the first time, tomboyish Libbie Van Eycken accepts a mail-order proposal and travels across country to find a place to call her own. Arizona rancher Dell Stirling needs a wife but didn’t count on the eccentric creature that brings chaos in her wake.

BUY LINK

AMAZON

*The title is also included in Kindle Unlimited program.

The website where information on all the stories can be found is here:

http://www.newwesternromance.com

Plus a Facebook page is devoted to the series:

https://www.facebook.com/AmericanMailOrderBrides

GIVEAWAY

I’m offering the chance for a $15 Amazon gift card to one person who leaves a comment here or on the Libbie’s release day thread on the American Mail-Order Brides Facebook page.