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Today Stacy Hoff is stopping by, talking about her new release, Jockeying for You. This is a fast paced, Thoroughbred racing romance.  Honestly, what can be more exciting than sexy hunks, Thoroughbreds, and racing hearts? Welcome, Stacy!

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Jockeying for You – Book Blurb
Jake Carter is on a mission—to prove his family wrong. He may have bought a troubled horse, but he’s hired Ryder Hannon, a “horse whisperer,” to get his horse back on track. She’s more than just a trainer to him, she’s the woman he’s been looking for.
Ryder Hannon, a thoroughbred horse trainer, has a big problem—fighting her fear of racing again. Her emotional scars run deeper than her physical ones. But her romantic feelings towards handsome, uber-rich, stable owner Jake Carter is a bigger problem. Is Jake truly in love with her or is he using her to get back at his smug family? ­
When Jake’s jockey gets injured, he wants Ryder to race. He knows deep down she wants to live up to her family’s legacy. So why does she keep fighting him—and her destiny—so hard?

Ok, Stacy, let’s start with some questions about the book before we move on to the nosy, pushy kind. 

What is this book about in a nutshell? Ryder Hannon is through being a jockey. Racing has left her emotionally & physically scarred. Uber-rich stable owner Jake Carter wants the impossible—getting her back in the saddle, and into his heart.

How long did it take to write? Writing JOCKEYING FOR YOU took a while. The research alone took several months, and that was before I typed my first word. After I felt knowledgeable enough about the basics of the sport, and horse racing industry as a whole, drafting the story took me about three months.

Where do you write? Photos optional— My little cave of a home-office. The room is barely bigger than an over-sized closet. The diminutive size has a positive effect—there’s not much to distract me.

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Any special reason why you chose the character names and location that you did? The character name that gave me the most difficulty was for the horse in the story, Handsome Dancer. This is because racehorse names are often a blending of a horse’s parents’ names, so I had to work out a fictitious equestrian lineage.

As for location, I chose New York’s horse-racing scene because it had tracks I could (and did) travel to—Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course.

belmont-racetrackBelmont Park, Queens NY

Describe the path to publication?

In 2013 I attended my RWA chapter’s annual writing conference. I pitched my first book, DESIRE IN THE EVERGLADES, to the founder and senior editor of Soul Mate Publishing, Inc., Deborah Gilbert. Fortunately, Debby liked my pitch and I received my contract. Soul Mate has been great to work with. I’ve been sending them my manuscripts ever since. JOCKEYING FOR YOU will be my fourth novel published by SMP.

Are you working on anything else right now?

I’m working on a new contemporary romance series, BUILDING LOVE, which is set in the construction industry. Each book is steeped in family power, drama and secrets. My heroes and heroines will face a lot of challenges in order reach their “happily ever after.” Book 1, BUILDING LOVE IN VEGAS, and book 2, BUILDING LOVE IN THE CARIBBEAN, are both already drafted, with book 1 to be released within the next several months. I’m currently sketching out the plot points for book 3, although I may decide to stop planning and just start typing because I’m a “pantser” (someone who writes by the seat of their pants).

Awesome, I love the idea of the locations. Now, how about some ice breaking questions, all the better for getting to know you:

Your favorite town/ city in the world? Why?

New York City. I may not live there now, but it will always be my home.

How did you meet your spouse/ significant other?

We were college sweethearts. We met by living in the same dorm.

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do? Would you keep your day job (if you have one?)

It’d have to be a pretty big lottery win for me to quit my day job; I’ve got two kids who will be going to college in a few years. Paying for their education won’t be pretty.

What is your favorite past time?

Drawing classes at a local art gallery. When I focus on art, my mind is free from everything else. I find it a similar creative outlet as fiction writing.

Would you rather have the ability to be invisible or have x-ray vision?

Invisible. Imagine all the conversations I could eavesdrop! It’d give me great fodder for my stories.

How do you like to spend a rainy day?

Writing. I’m always grateful for the rain. I don’t feel tortured that I’m missing time outdoors with my family.

What one item would you grab if the house was on fire? (assume no living beings are  inside)

My Mac laptop and flash drives. I never trust the cloud.

What’s one favorite thing you do by yourself?

Beside writing and my art classes, I like to cook.

Growing up, what did you want to be?

A writer. I knew myself well. Being practical, however, I became an attorney. Now I balance both jobs.

Some quickies:

Favorite food to cook?

Bolognese sauce, which is fun to make from scratch when I have the time.

Favorite animal?

Horses (perhaps not a surprise, given my new book).

Favorite color?

Blue. I find it peaceful.

Favorite book?

Oooh, too many, but I’ll go with Diane Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series.

Favorite sport or physical activity?

Pilates. Though I exercise out of necessity, not love.

Favorite kind of music?

Anything from the eighties.

Favorite place to visit?

Venice, Italy. My husband and I visited during our honeymoon, twenty years ago. We vowed we will go back one day.

Favorite season?

Fall. The inner artist in me can’t resist the foliage.

Can you dance? Sing?

Not a whit, although I am a half-way decent artist. Still, I doubt anyone cares to watch me paint.

Which do you prefer for a second home? Mountain cabin, beach house or big city condo?

Although I’m originally from New York City, I am drawn to the idea of mountain cabins over condos. The second book in my DESIRE series (DESIRE IN THE ARCTIC) takes place in a mountain range in Alaska’s Yukon.

What dessert do you order most often?

Carrot cake.

What kind of car do you drive? Color?

A red Toyota Rav 4. (New England requires All Wheel Drive.)

What is your favorite type of art?

I love oil paintings, although I only have time to sketch nowadays.

 What three items would you take if you knew you were going to be stranded on a tropical island for a year? (enough suntan lotion is a freebie)

This is a good question for me to muse if I want to write a third book in my survival-based DESIRE series. For now, I’ll choose a fishing pole, a strong knife, and lots of canvass to make a tent and clothing.

One quote you love, that keeps you going in life?

“It is what it is.” I like the Zen spirit of this, since I’m a Type A personality.

Describe a real-life situation in which you stood up for someone/ something.

Standing up on behalf of my younger son. I constantly battle the local school board for learning accommodations due to his severe dyslexia. Getting the help my boy needs has been one of my biggest—and most important—challenges in life.

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Yes. And I’ve been married to my husband ever since.

Stacy, I love your answers, especially your challenge to be your son’s school advocate. Not easy. Horses, blue, fall foliage, all things that speak to me as well. I cannot wait to read “Jockeying for You”.

Want to know more about Stacy Hoff?

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Stacy Hoff is a contemporary romance author, as well as an attorney. She has practiced law for two decades, primarily handling contracts. Romance novels have always been her secret passion. She writes her romantic stories until the wee hours of the night. Stacy lives in New England with her husband and two boys.

JOCKEYING FOR YOU will be her fourth novel. Her other novels are: DESIRE IN THE EVERGLADES (DESIRE series, book 1), DESIRE IN THE ARCTIC (DESIRE series book 2), and LAWFULLY YOURS . Her upcoming series, BUILDING LOVE, will have book 1, BUILDING LOVE IN VEGAS, out soon.

LINKS
Amazon buy link: http://amzn.to/2clOJK3
Amazon author’s page: https://www.amazon.com/Stacy-Hoff/e/B00NN0HCW8
Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorStacyHoff
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorStacyHoff

EXCERPT To Jockeying for You:

“You sure you can control a horse with a soft voice like that?” Jake asked, half-teasing.

He could tell she was sizing up his comment, whether it was a joke or an admonishment. Rather than help her out, he decided to see what she’d make of it.

“They don’t call me the horse whisperer for nothing,” she finally let out with an accompanying shrug.

He smiled. Good. She can hold her own. With Handsome Dancer, she’ll need to. He won’t explain himself, either.

“Glad you brought that up. Tell me a little about your philosophy.”

“All right. I imagine you’ve already heard a bit about how I train or we wouldn’t be talking. My approach is simple, I help the horse train himself.”

Jake felt his eyebrows furrow. “Excuse me? What?”

Ryder frowned.

One of his regular waiters approached, pen and paper already out. “Give us a minute, Robert?” Turning his attention back to her, he asked, “I’m sorry, you were explaining your philosophy. It sounded very . . . unorthodox.”

“I’m guessing you’ve seen my track record, so I’m confident unorthodox works. I don’t treat a horse like it’s some kind of four-footed magical carpet, ready to take off at our command. Horses are live creatures. They let us command them when they want to. And if they don’t, no amount of breaking them is going to win a race.”

She paused, cleared her throat, then picked up the glass of ice water in front of her and took a sip. She was peering at him thoughtfully over the rim of the glass. “It’s not as crazy as it sounds. I simply believe a horse that wants to win will do its best to do so. A horse that doesn’t, won’t.”

Click to get your own copy: http://amzn.to/2clOJK3

Stacy, thank  you for joining us, answering my pushy questions, and I wish you the best of luck with your latest endeavor.

The trouble with twins. I just love twin stories and was expecting a lot from Darcy Flynn’s “Double Trouble”. As the tagline reads: “All’s fair in love and getting even”.

double-trouble-darcy-flynn

What intrigued me the most was the witty dialogue, especially between the main characters, Clare Sullivan and Will Carrington. The story’s premise is built around a case of mistaken identity (with twins? Really?) and plots of getting even, all told in a fresh manner with two sets of identical twins.  Double the trouble and double the possibilities.

“Double Trouble” is a clean, contemporary, romantic comedy that will keep you laughing one page and shaking your head on another page. The interaction between the well-developed characters is genuine and believable.

I would recommend “Double Trouble” to readers looking for a humorous, fast read.  It took me around three hours one evening to read and enjoy this story. My only complaint was I wish the author had described setting in a little more detail. I’m not familiar with areas Flynn used, and sometimes I was left with a gap due to not fully picturing the setting where it was integral to a given scene. I will still look for more works from Darcy Flynn.

A love that can never be….

Angela Christina Archer’s “The Woman on The Painted Horse” has been on my TBR pile for a while and this week I treated myself to a long-overdue read.

angela-archer-book

Alexandra Monroe is the feisty and gusty heroine, telling the story from her POV, and on the cusp of womanhood, and still pressed on the opposing thumb of her parents. Born into a wealthy Montgomery Alabama family, living during the Civil War, she has prestige, honor and everything a young lady could want or need. Sort of. There are certain fundamental things lacking at home.

And Alexandra is a also a slave smuggler, covertly doing what she can for the area slaves, and risking her life with each run she makes. If her domineering parents only knew of her dangerous exploits. They want her to marry Thomas Ludlow. His family rolls in wealth, rank high in society and marriage between Alexandra and Thomas will both secure their rank in society and provide Alexandra with resources and funds for even more slave smuggling.

Except Thomas is a narcissistic, cruel, bullying, miserable SOB that you would gladly kick into next month. And keep kicking. That kind of guy you just naturally and easily hate to pieces.

Except Alexander has met William Greysden, from the local Indian tribe. Their love will never be accepted by Alexandra’s family, by society or William’s tribe.

What can a young lady of society, and covert slave smuggler, possibly do?

Warning, this is not a fluffy romance, packed with mindless kisses and passionate sex. This is a gritty novel, set during one of our nation’s more turbulent times, written in sometimes a disturbingly comparable turbulence. Alexandra, and those dear to her, endure treatment no human should ever witness or endure. This book can be achingly ugly and cruel in its honesty. Sometimes it just hurts to read it.

And it also is a beautiful love story, of a love that could be and should not, and a love that should be but cannot. Which one will finally win? It is an honest story, one I will not spoil, as the reader will turn pages till the end, wondering.

Regular readers will know I frequently read and post reviews here. Today I joined up with Fish Goddess Virtual Book Tours for Christine Hart’s recent releases. I have read Christine’s work before, with her Yong Adult novel, “Watching July”, several months ago. It was a treat to get to read something different. There is also a Rafflecopter Giveaway at the end. Christine is offering a $15 Amazon/ BN gift card to a randomly selected winner. Entries are below, and be sure to visit other blogs on this Goddess Fish virtual tour for more chances to win. Link to the entire Goddess Fish tour schedule is provided below too.

Road heading into city

The Variant Conspiracy

by Christine Hart

GENRE: Sci Fi Romance

BLURBS:

In Irina’s Cards

Irina Proffer leaves mundane small-town life behind when she experiences visions inspired by a strange deck of tarot cards. To get answers, she travels from her northern British Columbia home to the province’s coastal capital. She quickly discovers a world of fringe genetic science and supernatural mystery.

Working for Innoviro Industries, Irina is drawn in by a powerful first love and compelling, yet dangerous questions about the nature of the company’s business. Meeting other ‘variants’ brings Irina closer and closer to the dark truth about her origins. She finds herself at the heart of two overlapping love triangles as she scrambles to escape her employer’s grip. Before she leaves the city, Irina realizes she has merely scratched the surface of a frightening conspiracy on a global scale.

The Compendium

Irina and her renegade variant friends are scrambling to pick up the trail of their former employer, Ivan, and his globally catastrophic scheme. After strategically sharing their story with the media, the group heads south from Vancouver to Seattle hoping to recruit more experienced—and lethal—variants to their cause.

Their attention develops a laser focus on an engineered disaster mere days ahead of them. Ivan is using what staff and resources remain of Innoviro Industries to set off a violent earthquake in San Francisco. While they fight to stop the earthquake, Irina pushes the love of her life Jonah as far away as she can, trying to keep his unstable genetic degradation in check.

Irina’s friends think they’ve seen the worst that Innoviro could bring forth by the time they reach a secret facility in the Mojave Desert. As they near the property, the group uncovers a horror none of them had ever imagined.

Terra Nova

The end of the humanity and an unrecognizable future Earth are now days away. After their first glimpse of the Terra Nova virus, Irina and her variant friends know their former employer’s plans are almost at hand. Their failed attempt to publicize Ivan and Innoviro Industries’ horrific activities has left them utterly reliant on their own wits and weapons.

After surviving a catastrophic earthquake in San Francisco and destroying a secret viral testing facility, Irina’s crew has traveled by a variant portal to London. On the other side of the world, they begin tracking when and where Terra Nova will be unleashed on the world. They know stopping Terra Nova is only the beginning of unraveling Ivan’s plans to reinvent the planet, but if they can’t stop this virus, there will be no one left to save.

************************************************************************

My review is on “In Irina’s Cards”, book 1.  The story is written entirely in 1st person, so we follow closely in Irina’s eyes and POV.  The author did a great job building the setting, bringing the town of Victoria alive for the reader and her interactions with the characters around Irina. The story is full of likeable characters, though most are deeply flawed or heavily mysterious. Naturally there are some characters the reader can instinctively distrust or not like.

Irena is young and naive. She left her hometown and first job–a crappy one–and ends up in a new town and a new job. Because she is young, we can forgive her lack of caution and inexperience with placing trust. She learns who to trust, and whom not to. She learns that not everything is as it initially seems. The love triangle adds a great level to Irina’s life, compounding her already overwhelming situations.

I enjoyed the sci-fi and the romance and the author did a fine job of melting them together. This story would appeal to both young adults as well as older, more mature readers who like to remember when we were young and innocent and ready to take on the world, only to find it not as we anticipated. The action was fast paced, making me turn the pages, wanting and needing to know what was next. And next. And next.

Since “In Irina’s Cards” is only the first in this exciting series, I can’t wait to see what books two and three offer. I hope they keep the intrigue and momentum going strong. There are still many issues left hanging, that need resolution in the coming stories.

***********************************************************************

Excerpt from In Irina’s Cards:

Author’s Note: This section is taken from Chapter 4. Title character Irina is still coming to terms with the fact that ‘variant’ really means mutant with a noticeable gift or ability. We get a chance to see Irina having a vision. And we get a first glimpse at the variations in three other core characters.

I followed Jonah through the wrought iron gate and looked up at the oak tree on the lawn next to the patio. Tiny fresh leaves and new buds covered the gnarled old tree. It was also home to dozens and dozens of sneakers, canvas shoes, skate shoes, oxfords – basically any kind of shoe with laces to tie together.

The air felt warm enough to linger, so I walked over to the tree and looked upward. I smiled. I reached up to one of the lower branches and touched one of the shoes. The yard and the tree melted away. I saw the face of a girl with faintly bluish skin and platinum hair. She turned and I saw two leather-like wings flex and relax. Her shirt had been cut to make room for her wings which stretched out past the frayed edges of the fabric. She was standing in a sewer or catacomb.

Faces milled around the winged girl. It wasn’t quite like a party, maybe more like a camp. An older lady standing next to the winged girl reached down to the ground. She pinched the concrete and plucked something, maybe a stone, off the surface. The stone wriggled. It was a camouflaged beetle, exactly like the one I’d seen on my first day in the city. She lifted the beetle to her mouth and I reeled back.

The yard outside Cymbals surrounded me again in a blink. Jonah stared at me. I noticed my arm had stayed raised beneath the shoes and withdrew it.

“Are you all right?”

I heard fear in his voice.

“Rubin mentioned that you were psychic, but I never knew what it actually looked like. I mean, I’ve never witnessed anyone ‘see’ something if that makes sense.”

“Oh, I … what does it look like? It’s still pretty new for me. I’ve always been alone when that happens, but I hadn’t even wondered what somebody watching me gets to see.”

“You looked sort of, gone. And then your eyes rolled back for a moment. I thought you were having a seizure.”

I looked around the yard and fortunately we were alone. Still, I didn’t want to keep talking about this stuff where we could be overheard. More importantly, what was Rubin doing sharing my personal information while giving me his best poker face?

“Let’s go inside. I’m hungry.” I didn’t much feel like sitting down to a social night anymore.

Cole waved from a table on the other side of the building. Sitting next to him, a girl with purple dreadlocks looked up from her purse and smiled.

The restaurant was full and the combined conversations created a loud chatter. Dim candlelight, a few glass chandeliers, and an antique-looking piano in the corner set a romantic atmosphere that sparked another twinge of embarrassment. On the other hand, the abstract and industrial mixed media wall décor had me looking around for art and film students. Aside from a few biker bars, the edgiest hangout I knew of in Prince George was an indie coffee shop – and it had only been open for a few years when I left.

We made our way around and between tables. Everyone in the restaurant looked like an artist or an intellectual. I felt like an ugly duckling in my plain, boring clothes, but I was glad for the first time since starting my new job that not all of the blue dye had gone from my hair. Jonah reached the table and pulled out a chair for me. We sat down and Cole scowled.

“Dude, what’s up with the timeline fail? We’ve been here for like, half an hour,” said Cole.

“Ignore his attitude. I’m Faith,” the girl said as she extended her hand to me and grinned happily. The flickering light glinted off a stud in her nose and a ring in her eyebrow. She wore dark makeup on her eyes and mouth. She had the same coffee brown eyes as Cole. I couldn’t tell if it was her features or the eyeliner and lipstick, but she looked striking in a bold, exotic way. As we shook hands, her gaze shifted over to Jonah.

We looked at our menus in awkward silence, waiting for a server, sipping our water. I sighed and put down my menu. I could feel Cole’s eyes on me as I watched Faith stare at Jonah, the only person still looking at his menu. I gave in and glanced back at Cole briefly with a small smile. This was all heading in the wrong direction. The time for tact expired along with my patience.

“So I take it we’re all mutants here,” I said casually.

Jonah sprayed water onto his menu and coughed. Cole looked at me urgently. Faith’s mouth made a small ‘O’ under her confused frown.

“Seriously, I came here, to Victoria, because I started having visions of this place and I wanted answers. All I’ve gotten is cryptic nonsense. Other than meeting you people, I’ve learned next to nothing. Rubin is all vague double-talk. It’s getting old. I want to know what you all know.”

Jonah looked at me and took a breath as if to say something. He decided against it and looked around our corner of the restaurant. Nobody paid any attention to us. He placed his hand over the droplets of water on his laminated menu. The water coalesced into puddles under his palm. As he concentrated on the small pool, it lifted off the menu and spread into a donut shape. The circle broke and the stream became a spiral, getting thinner and thinner until it evaporated into steam, absorbed into Jonah’s hand.

Faith’s frown turned into a smile as she looked at Jonah. She picked up one of the unlit candles on our table and pinched the wick between her thumb and forefinger. As she released it a flame sprang to life.

“Well, I’m not breaking this table, that’s for damn sure,” said Cole.

“That’s okay. I saw your street-fight with that bouncer when I first got to town,” I said.

Cole rolled his eyes, but I couldn’t worry about his temper. I wanted to keep talking about Innoviro and Ivan. “So, now that we’re making progress, albeit moving into some surreal comic book world, tell me what’s the deal with Innoviro. What the hell does this company really do?” I felt my adrenaline rise.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Christine Hart’s professional bio:

Located on BC’s beautiful West Coast, I make my home at the intersection of a lush rainforest and an urban underbelly. I love writing about places and spaces with rich history and visually fascinating elements as a backdrop for the surreal and spectacular.

In addition to my undergraduate degree in writing and literature, my background also includes corporate communications and design. I am a current member of the Federation of BC Writers and SF Canada.

When not writing, I have a habit of breaking stuff and making stuff – in that order – under the guise of my Etsy alter-ego Sleepless Storyteller (https://www.etsy.com/shop/sleeplessstoryteller).  I share my eclectic home and lifestyle with my husband and two children.

  • Portfolio and author profile at www.christine-hart.ca.
  • Work experience and professional background at ca.linkedin.com.

Links to connect with Christine:

FACEBOOK:  https://www.facebook.com/christineahart

TWITTER:  https://www.twitter.com/chris_a_hart

PINTEREST: http://pinterest.com/sleeplesss/

GOODREADS:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1335266.Christine_Hart

MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_TheVariantConspiracy

Easy Amazon Links for Christine’s author page and links to her books:

http://www.amazon.com/Christine-Hart/e/B01BSDU214/

https://www.amazon.com/Irinas-Cards-Variant-Conspiracy-Book-ebook/dp/B01EKCKNWI

https://www.amazon.com/Compendium-Variant-Conspiracy-Book-ebook/dp/B01HQ87Z06

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

RAFFLECOPTER ENTRY FORM:

<a href=”http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f1812″>Enter to win a $15 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>

 

Be sure to follow this tour and leave a comment on each blog stop. The more you comment, the better your chances are of winning. The tour dates can be found here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2016/07/review-tour-variantconspiracy-by.html 

Today Madeline Hill is here for a visit to share her story, “Highland Hope“, a part of the Wild Thistle Trilogy. Welcome, Madelyn.

highlandshope1 (400)

Madelyn, in a few words, can you tell us what your story is about?

Madelyn: Sure can. Highland Hope is a Scottish Historical and book 1 of the Wild Thistle Trilogy. The Trilogy features 3 sisters, Hope, Faith and Honor. When their father dies, he says, “Through Hope, Faith and Honor, ye can rule.” This single statement affects each character in a different way.

Tag Line: Her clan was her everything, until he walked into her castle.

Personally, I think my blurb sums it up really well—

Remember, lasses. Through Hope, Faith and Honor, ye can rule,” were the last words Lady Hope MacAlister’s father spoke before dying. Those very words direct her every action and thought. Sword fighting and leading the men of her clan was second nature to Hope and she has little time for herself or any thoughts of love. Until Aidan MacKerry is captured spying on the clan.

She is beautiful, strong, and quick to pull a sword. But when he kisses her, all thoughts of the lairdship Aidan MacKerry seeks flee his mind. When the enemy continues to undermine Hope, Aidan is determined to aid her—only he didn’t think he’d lose his heart to the Laird of Wild Thistle Keep. When the enemy reveals Aidan’s secret, he must fight for his right to be laird and prove, despite their differences, he loves Hope.

The enemy refuses to back down and continues to threaten not only Hope, but the security of the entire clan. Only together will they be able to save the clan and save their love.

Why did you write it?

The line the father spoke came to me (in the shower, no less) and I just started writing the trilogy. I think the father’s statement really led to the growth of each character in a different way.

How long did it take?

I started the story several years ago and was working on many other projects. I finally focused and finished book 1 and 2 and I’m steadily making my way through book 3.

Any special inspiration?

I love Scotland and strong heroines, however the father’s dying words really inspired the book(s).

Where do you write?

During the winter, I write in my small office and when weather allows, I’m on my deck, blaring my iTunes playlist and writing away.

Any special reason why you chose the character names and location that you did? The father’s dying words inspired the names of the characters.

Describe the path to publication?

This is my fourth book with Soul Mate Publishing. I have been actively writing for years and submitting to big houses with no luck. After some prodding from my critique partner, I sent Wolf’s Castle (the first book published by Soul Mate, the fourth full manuscript I’ve written) and the rest is history!

Are you working on anything else right now?

I’m working on Highland Honor – Book 3 of the Wild Thistle Trilogy and gathering research for my next series – Highland Rogues. Highland Rogues will be about 5 books long and feature a group of Highlanders who are like modern day gym rats. The series will be influenced by Shakespearian themes. The first book is Much Ado About A Highlander.

Hardest part about writing?

Keeping focused and not letting the internet snag my attention. I’ve been known to set a timer and when it dings, I’m allowed to look at Facebook and Twitter.

Biggest surprise about being a published author?

That people actually buy, read and review my books!

Do you write in other genres?

I’m dabbling with Young Adult. I have one book done and I’m working on others.

How do you beat procrastination?

I know my personality and I have to keep to a schedule, so I write every day.

How do you beat writer’s block?

If I’m stuck, I’ll pick a future scene to write and that can help with inspiration. Or, I’ll do some research. If that doesn’t work, I’ll start at the beginning of the book and start editing. When I get to the point I was stuck, I’m usually okay to continue.  I also add notes at the end of the spot I just stopped writing so I know what direction I was moving toward. For example, Hero will make one last pledge while heroine is doing . .

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01I06XNX6

Awesome, Madelyn. I get surprise inspiration in the shower or car too. And I keep a notebook and pen in a basket just outside the shower for those times. I love how one character’s final line can bring so much flesh and blood to cover three volumes. That’s great. Now, about about some ice-breaking questions, to really get to know you (beyond the writer)…

The most recent movie you’ve seen?

We are huge movie fans! The last movie I saw at the theater was Marvels: Civil War. We watch a lot of movies at home and I love old movies.

Your favorite town/ city in the world? Why?

I love Venice. Such an amazing city with energy, history, can baroque architecture. My husband and I went on a gondola ride and ate pizza. The pigeons flocked around us in the Piazza San Marco. It was magical!

How did you meet your spouse/ significant other?

I met my husband in my hometown, Rochester Michigan. He was from Rochester New York! It was destiny!

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do? Would you keep your day job (if you have one?)

I would pay off my kid’s student loans. Then travel to every city I’ve ever dreamed of visiting. And yes – I’d quit my day job. I love it, but as a teacher, I wouldn’t be able to travel as much as I’d like.

What is your favorite past time?

Cooking and baking, watching cooking shows, holding events so I can cook and bake!

Would you rather have the ability to be invisible or have x-ray vision?

I think invisibility would be a great ability so I can do research and not be detected.

If you had to give up one of your five senses, what would it be? (common sense does not count here)

Wow, this is a tough one! Maybe touch? I’d hate to lose my sense of taste, sight and hearing.

What ‘s a typical day like?

Driving my son to school, servicing the school districts I work with and then home to cook dinner, attend sporting events and spend the evening with my family. Then as we watch TV at night, I write.

How do you like to spend a rainy day?

Reading or watching movies.

Do you play any musical instruments?

No.

Do you know any foreign languages?

I understand Spanish, speak it horribly. I also understand a bit of French and Italian and sometimes I mix them all together!

Which person do you admire most in life? Why?

Wow, I’d say persons. My husband is such a hard worker and dedicated person. He always puts others before himself and he makes me laugh.

Also, my mother who valiantly fought stage 4 breast cancer and she lived fighting, living, and giving to others during her 7 year fight.

What one item would you grab if the house was on fire? (assume no living beings are inside)

Photo albums. All of my books are backed up online, so I’d be fine without my computer.
If you could invite four people (living or dead) to dinner, who would they be?

Not including family, John Wayne, Lucille Ball, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.

Describe one moment in time when you took a huge leap of faith. How did it turn out?

I moved from Michigan to New York on my own.

What’s one favorite thing you do by yourself?

Hmmm. I love to be around people. I guess reading or watching the shows no one else likes.

Growing up, what did you want to be?

A writer then an engineer.

Favorite food to cook?

Anything Italian

Favorite animal?

Horses

Favorite color?

Red

Favorite sport or physical activity?

Swimming

Favorite place to visit?

Rome

Favorite season?

Spring, Fall is a close second.

Which do you prefer for a second home? Mountain cabin, beach house or big city condo?

Beach house

What dessert do you order most often?

Tiramisu

What kind of car do you drive? Color?

White Yukon

What is your favorite type of art?

Impressionism – Mary Cassatt is my favorite artist.

Favorite vacation spot?

Any beach!

What three items would you take if you knew you were going to be stranded on a tropical island for a year? (enough suntan lotion is a freebie)

I’m assuming family is a given, so books, coffee, and pot to cook with.

One quote you love, that keeps you going in life?

“Love is the irresistible desire to be desired irresistibly.”

Robert Frost

One thing few people know about you?

I show my horses and rabbits in 4-H

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Yes!

Two things you wish people would ask you about your book?

About the writing process and how characters speak to me.

Anything special you would like to share with readers?

Each book holds a part of the writer. It may be a character, a conflict, or the setting, but as we write the book, there is the indelible mark of ourselves on every page.

Madelyn, thank you for your candid responses. Tell us a bit about yourself professionally, please.

Madelyn’s Bio:
Madelyn Hill has always loved the written word. From the time she could read and all through her school years, she’d sneak books into her textbooks during school. And she devoured books daily. At the age of 10 she proclaimed she wanted to be a writer. After being a “closet” writer for several years, she sent her manuscripts out there and is now published with Soul Mate Publishing. And she couldn’t be happier! A resident of Western New York, she moved from one Rochester to another Rochester to be with the love of her life. They now have 3 children and keep busy cooking, watching their children’s sporting events, and of course reading!

Madelyn Promo-Photo

Social Networking Links:
Click to order your copy of “Highland Hope.”
Thank you for a great visit, Madelyn. Best wishes for every success.

Call me different, but I tend to think about words. Not only their obvious meaning but also how they feel. I have words I really like–favorites if you will, and some words I don’t particularly care for. My parrot and I play a game called ‘Word of the Day’. It goes like this: I discover some random word and repeat several times to Taz, along with that tagline. Sometimes he picks it up, but not always. And they are usually words like ‘monstrosity’, ‘fortuitous’, ‘incorrigible’, and ‘advantageous’. Taz has quite vocabulary when he so wants to. ‘Poopmiester’ is another word we use a lot. If you know birds, you understand.

Now, some of my favorite words are ‘endeavor’, ‘happenstance’, ‘rhapsody’, and ‘serendipity’.  Those are great words. I also like ‘challenge’ a lot. ‘Silly’ is a fun little word, as is ‘awesome’. They sound like ice cream on the tongue. Taz’s favorite words appear to be “no’, why’, ‘what’, ‘where’s nuts’ and the names of departed dogs and cats.

Some people might be drawn to more sweet or harmonious words like ‘joyful’, and its cousin ‘enjoy’ or twins ‘honey’ and ‘sweet’. ‘Bliss’, ‘melody’, and ‘pleasant’ are idyllic words too.

How about some not so nice words? ‘Bad’, ‘evil’, ‘demonic’, ‘ruthless’, ‘dark’, ‘sinister’, and ‘ill-boding’ are all enough to send chills down some spines. Or pique the interest of those who like thrillers and horror stories. There is also the other negative spectrum of ‘hopeless’, ‘gloomy’, ‘bleak’ and ‘despondent’ to color your world grim.

I love the word ‘rain’, and the action of rain falling, which I am reveling in now as I pen this from the comfort of my wicker chair on the porch. Our sizzling summer temperatures have finally, blessedly, dipped a few degrees to give a measure of relief. A few yellowed leaves tumble to the grassy ground. Birds chirp and twitter as they hop about among the shrubs. What a tranquil scene. If only I could linger in this snapshot of time longer.

One last thought. In 1984, as a child of fourteen, and already an amateur wordsmith, I purchased a thesaurus. It was the perfect investment of my baby sitting funds for my budding writer career/ dream/ passion. I still have that book proudly gracing my reference shelves. It’s held together with layers of yellowed tape, thumb worn and ink marked, but it has been an undeniable help to me over the years. Nowadays, my computer has this  built-in thesaurus feature and it’s okay. Mediocre. Yet I still prefer the old paperback held together with tape.

While cruising down the road recently, I passed an older gentleman selling baskets of peaches from the back of his pick up truck. A car was driving away, doubtlessly with a basket of peaches or two on the floorboards. The old farmer was pocketing the proceeds from his sale in his shirt. And that split moment snapshot made me mentally pause and think. Such is the fodder for our stories: these observations frozen in time.

While I could not immediately think of a place for this scene in any of my current works in progress or upcoming ones. Instead I tucked it away mentally for down the line and considered the POV. If I were ever to write something based on this short scene, what POV would I use? Whose story would this belong to?

We have the farmer who just sold the basket of peaches. He would surely have a story to tell. What went into growing his crops and harvesting them? What about the customers now driving away? Imagine the plans they have for the peaches. Peach Pie? Peach cobbler? Fuzzy navels at the block party this weekend? Peach Ice Cream? Or did they fight over stopping to buy them because one wanted them and the other one didn’t? And now they were going to be late to their destination.

Or what if there is another character? A kid walking along sees the same thing and rushes forward, robbing the old farmer, taking his cash and kicking the remaining baskets around. Peaches roll into the road and grassy shoulder. Punk brat needs to learn a lesson but what is his story?

And we can always have another car come along, the driver witnesses the car driving away and the attack against the farmer. Perhaps this individual has been wanting to do something positive, something to make a difference. Wow…this is the perfect chance. he can jump out and help the old farmer. Yeah!

Except he–or she– is either A) terribly afraid of any confrontation/ danger; B) running late right now and can’t risk being tardy to his/ her destination’ or C) whatever sounds really creative here. No phone booth to change clothing? Gas pedal sticks and he/she can’t stop the car? Big truck behind him/ her and he/she can’t risk stopping now or risk getting run over by an eighteen wheeler blowing its airhorn?

That individual could provide enough interesting stuff to make their own story. Either way, whoever gets to tell this story, it would make a good writing prompt to shake off any writer’s block or stimulate sluggish brain cells. It would be a chance to be funny and write crazy stuff or sentimental or serious. Or maybe one of the characters would have enough to say after all to take over and the snapshot scene would lend support to an entire book.

Prompts and snapshots are all around us when we just open our eyes and imagination to them. Personally, I think it goes something like this…

The farm knows judo and kicks the daylights out of that punk. The passing car is actually the kid’s probation officer who pulls over to the side of the road, lets the trucker go on by and then crosses over the road, grabs the kid and hauls him back to detention where he is reformed eventually. The farmer gets his money back and is reimbursed for the spoiled peaches. The couple who bought the last baskets made it to their destination on time, and used the peaches to make peach and buttercream cake for their son’s birthday, once he got out of detention. Yeah, same kid. He got his just dessert, or fruits of his labor.

How would you write this story?