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I am excited to have Highlander and Romance author Madelyn Hill visit today, talking about her Wild Thistle Trilogy.

 

 

First, let’s get to know a little about ‘Highland Honor’. Madelyn, what is this book about?

Lady Honor can heal everything but a broken heart . . .

Highland Honor is the final book of the Wild Thistle Trilogy set in the Scottish Highlands. The entire series came to me while in the shower of all places! The dialogue from the heroines’ dying father popped into my head and the story begged to be written. The father’s pledge was; “Through Hope, Faith, and Honor, ye can rule.”

The trilogy follows each of the heroines as they try to live up to their father’s parting words. The pledge cause uncertainty and conflict with each of the sisters.

For Honor, she is the clan healer and strives to never cause another person harm. Which creates quite the conflict with Bryce, a clan warrior who trains the men with fierce dedication. His goal is to protect the clan to his best ability, even if that means injuries or death. Bryce and Honor are thrown together after a stranger is detected in the area and Bryce is assigned to protect Honor as she gathers herbs in the woods.

Fantastic. I can see lots of conflict brewing there. Okay, let’s get to know you better.

   Madelyn Hill, author

Any special reason why you chose the character names and location that you did?

I choose the Highlands because Scotland has always fascinated me. As for the character names, they were derived from the father’s dying pledge. Luckily, the words he chose to speak were perfect for my heroines. For one of my other novels, Heather In The Mist, I named the heroine Rogan. I had a bit of pushback from my critique partner because she said it was a male name. However! I recently ran into a little girl named Rogan!

I love that name! And I’d certainly give it to a female character. What’s the hardest part about writing?

The hardest part of writing is keeping focused and not allowing social networking or writing minutia to get in the way. I find that time flies when I’m on Facebook or Twitter, so much so, that it eats into my writing time. Also, there is a lot of marketing and writerly stuff which needs to be done that also eats into writing time.

How do you beat writer’s block?

If I just can’t keep the story going, I revisit my Pinterest board for the novel or read over research to see if that will spur my muse. If this doesn’t work, I will start working on something new or take a short break.

The most recent movie you’ve seen or book you’ve read?

We just saw the Avengers: Infinity War movie. It was great! I love super hero movies and this one did not disappoint.

Your favorite town/ city in the world? Why?

I love Quebec. The history and beauty along with the food is a fantastic experience. The town is small enough to be quaint and the shopping is great too.

What is your favorite past time?

Besides reading, I love to cook and bake.

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

I think the ability to be invisible would be great. Just think of where you could go and what you could hear without being seen.

Indeed! If you had to give up one of your five senses, what would it be? (common sense does not count here) Most likely the sense of smell or touch. I’d hate to lose sight, hearing or taste.

How do you like to spend a rainy day?

I do not like rainy days and I prefer to cuddle on the couch with a blanket and watch movies.

Do you know any foreign languages?

I can understand Spanish and speak very, very little. My husband is fluent in Spanish.

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

The bins with my children’s pictures. I’d hate to lose them.

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

I packed up and moved to New York to be with my boyfriend. It turned out great! I end married the guy.

Yes, that’s a leap of faith. Glad it worked out so well. Okay, some short Q & A. Favorite food to cook?

Pasta

Favorite animal?

Horse

Favorite color?

Red

Favorite kind of music?

Country

Favorite place to visit?

My hometown in Michigan

Favorite season?

Spring

Strangest thing you ever ate?

Octopus

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

Beach

What kind of car do you drive? Color?

            A White GMC Yukon

What is your favorite type of art?

The Impressionist – Mary Cassatt to be specific

Maddy, I am so glad you stopped to visit today. In our parting thoughts, 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)

Assuming my family would not be considered a thing and would be there with me;

  • Tons of books, including one that details what is okay to eat on the island
  • Coffee
  • First aid kit

Now those are some good, solid choices. What would you do in life if you knew you couldn’t fail?

Be an actress.

I like that. Do you believe in love at first sight?

Yes!

Anything special you would like to share with readers?

I appreciate your interest in my books!

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CSY4PGY/

Social Networking connections:

Website: http://www.madelynhill.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/madelyn.hill.94

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorMaddyHill

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/madelynhill68

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2919194.Madelyn_Hill

Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Madelyn-Hill/e/B00ELRG34U/
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/authormadelynhill

Madelyn Hill, thank you for stopping by. Best wishes.

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Over three years ago a friend sent me an email with assorted random photos. One struck a chord, and I printed it out, thinking one day it would make a good story. Well, I was wrong, it’s made a great story and that’s got me to thinking. Finishing this story is a bittersweet moment for me.

For about three years I labored over that manuscript, just seeing where it was going to lead me. It was the first for me in many ways. The first in which I couldn’t even name the genre, the first to branch out into new multiple genres of writing, the first to have no clue  what the next chapter or how the ending was going to be. I was pretty much writing blind. And loving it.

This was the first time the characters really grew and developed on their own. I just moved the pen, so to speak. They told me what was going on. When I needed to step aside from the story to work on other more pressing projects, I ached to get back to see what was next. I feel this story has truly challenged me, pushed me, stretched me and made me a better writer, but forcing me way out of my comfort zone. Into the unknown reaches of writing.

characters run the show

And now “September’s Song” is done. Yesterday I sent it off to the beta readers. After a brief rest period, I will go through and do edits one more time, based on feedback and anything I think off between then and now. And then the work begins to find a home for this literary baby.

In the meantime, I shall remain busy. First, I made a trip to the grocer’s bakery yesterday and splurged, spending $5 on a chocolate cream pie, piled high with chocolate buttercream icing and chocolate morsels. (Can’t tell I really like chocolate, can you?)  I am enjoying each bite I take from that. Time to celebrate! Job well done!

photo

Also, I have two older manuscripts I want to rewrite and have accumulated endless notes. Now is the time to organize the notes and start re-writing them. There is research to do on yet another script I want to write afterward. And I need to catch up on my household list of chores– cleaning, painting, yard work, and so forth.

This will eventually become  a Christian Inspirational romance storyBeginning notes for RITM

Beginning notes for BTSAnd this will become a time travel romance

So what do you do when you are finished writing “the book” that encapsulates all you are as a writer now? Or when you finish reading a truly awesome book that leaves you breathless and both glad you read it and disappointed you finished it?

 

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And JericoBurned MJ Compton   MJ Compton bio pic

Welcome MJ to the blog. Now, you have a book that is about a whole lot of stuff with an awesome cover.  We have werewolves, sisters, dangerous cults, secret agents and of course love! Can you tell us more about And Jericho Burned’. I love that title, by the way.

MJ: Sure. Lucy Callahan will do anything to save her sister, even if that means marrying a stranger. Even if that stranger is an undercover government agent out to destroy the cult holding her sister hostage. Even if that stranger is a… werewolf.

Oh, fascinating. Just so much good stuff in a book. It promises to be exciting. Tell us  more about Lucy.

MJ: Lucy is the older sister. She is the  responsible one. She and Michelle had a really bad childhood–their father was an alcoholic who used to beat on their mother. Lucy tries to protect Michelle, but Michelle is headstrong and always getting into trouble. As I state in Chapter 1, Scene 1: Michelle had a talent for trouble. New Sinai was merely her worse mess to date. 

Now that is a killer opening scene. I have to know all about New Sinai based on that alone. But back to Lucy; what was she doing before all this started? What did she step away from?  Lucy is a caterer specializing in vegetarian cuisine in Boulder, Colorado. She was engaged to someone–Charles the Fink–but she caught him cheating on her and broke it off.

 Good for her! Now, how did Operation Jericho get started?

MJ: Stoker is the keyboardist for the country band Toke Lobo & the Pack. The band members are all werewolves, although that is not common knowledge. They sometimes are called upon by the US Government for special  tasks–their pack as a treaty exchanging service for sanctuary. The task force and Lucy were sitting around one night trying to figure out how to infiltrate New Sinai, which is a paramilitary/ religious compound. Lucy tells the guys about the story of Jericho in the Old Testament. Instead of blowing rams’ horns, Lucy suggests the werewolves surround the stockade fence and howl at dawn as a form of psychological warfare against the people living inside the fence– which includes Lucy’s sister.

Very clever. And tricky. I love it.  Now, what about Stoker? What’s his stake in this?

MJ: Stoker is Lucy’s mate. He just wants to take her home, write and perform his music and make babies. He has no aspirations to greatness. He’s a middle-of-the-pack kind of guy. He is annoyed when Lucy comes up with ideas, because he knows his place in the pack and is comfortable there, but she tends to think like a leader. He is also very literal. When Lucy tells him she’s a butterfly, he believes she can shift into a butterfly.

Yes, I can be quite a literal thinker too sometimes, though probably  not to the butterfly extreme.  They sound like the perfect opposites. How did they meet?

MJ: She was trying to escape from her crazy brother-in-law (“General” of the paramilitary/ religious group, New Sinai). She was in the bar listening to the band, accompanied by two of the General’s henchmen, and was trying to run away when Stoker essentially abducted her. As a werewolf, he knew right away she was his mate. He smelled her fear and that was it for him.

Oh boy, I’m not sure if that isn’t a case of falling from the frying pan into the fire. What were her initial thoughts when she learned he was a werewolf?

MJ: She thought it was the coolest thing– and she was a little jealous.

Okay, probably a good reaction to have. Now isn’t Stoker an old friend (of sorts) of yours?

MJ: Stoker is a character from my first novel, Moonlight Serenade,. He’s always scowling, wears a big black hat, but inside he’s a marshmallow. A really gentle guy. My ‘line’ while writing the book was:  “she says he’s lemonade, be he wants to be the best thing that ever happened to her”. (Lemonade, as in ‘when life hands you lemons, make lemonade’ He found that insulting)

That is too funny. I like hearing about characters who refuse to be second fiddle and demand their own stories. In this case, Stoker got both his story and the girl. Now, what can you tell us about you?

MJ: I grew up near Cardiff, New York, a place best known for its giant, which turned out to be a fiction so incredible, PT Barnum himself borrowed it. That’s a tough act to follow, but I tried—by composing my own stories.

Although my 30-year career in local television included such highlights as being bitten by a lion, preempting a US President for a college basketball game, giving a three-time world champion boxer a few black eyes, a mention in the Drudge Report, and meeting my husband, my urge to create my own stories never went away.

I still live in upstate New York with my husband and two children. I’m a member of Romance Writers of America and Central New York Romance Writers. Music and cooking are two of my passions, and I enjoy baseball and college basketball, but I’m primarily focused on wine . . . and writing.

That is just awesome. Where can readers find you?

By emailing me at mj@comptonlations.com

And at my official website: http://www.comptonplations.com where they can see excerpts of my books, read all about my take on werewolves, meet the band members of Take Lobo & the Bank and much more.

Great. As we wind this down, can you share the cover blurb for ‘And Jericho Burned’?

MJ: Lucy Callahan will do anything to rescue her sister from a cult, even marry a werewolf she’s just met. But the werewolves are working undercover for the government, and Lucy fears a confrontation between the agents and the cult could be deadly.
Stoker Smith longs to be the best thing that ever happened to his human mate. He wants to take her home, start their family, and compose his music. And although his pack’s treaty with the government says he doesn’t have to work undercover now that he’s mated, he promised Lucy he’d get her sister out of the cult’s heavily armed compound. Lucy’s sister is now family and to a werewolf, family is everything.
But Operation Jericho quickly turns ugly, thrusting Lucy into the middle of her worst nightmare, where she must choose: her sister or her husband.

Awesome. Which one will she choose? And can we get some buy links for both ‘Moonlight Serenade’ and  for ‘And Jericho Burned’?

‘Moonlight Serenade’  —    http://tinyurl.com/lpsradw

‘And Jericho Burned’ — http://tinyurl.com/ml9wzc4

And now, let’s take one more look at that absolutely beautiful cover…. and the stunning ‘Moonlight Serenade’…  the one that started it all…

Moonlight-Serenade-Coverhttp://tinyurl.com/lpsradw

And JericoBurned MJ Compton

 

 

 ..and the incredible follow-up novel…….

 

 

 

 

 

 

            http://tinyurl.com/ml9wzc4

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Kim Hotzon Handsful of Ashes

RJS: Today Kim Hotzon has stopped by to talk about her new release, Hands Full of Ashes. Welcome, Kim. You have an awesome cover for your book, and a catchy title. Can you please tell  us a little bit about it?

KH: Certainly. Olivia promises to fulfill her dying husband’s wish – to scatter his ashes around the world. Wading through grief and depression, she journeys to a remote orphanage in Uganda. Living amongst the children in their threadbare surroundings, she vows to fight for the children’s lives as she begins to fight for her own. While Olivia develops a passion for humanitarian work, the lonely director of the orphanage develops a simmering passion for her. Just as time begins to heal the wounds of her heart, Olivia learns the truth of her husband’s unimaginable betrayal. She flees to the tiny country of Rwanda where her soul is reawakened with a startling new love. Olivia realizes that love always comes with a price when she is faced with a decision she thought she would never have to make. Surrounded by the rugged beauty of Africa, Olivia is determined to find true love while learning how to survive in a region left torn apart by civil war.

RJS:  Umm…that sounds  pretty mysterious. A deep plot with lots of unexpected turns, just what I love. And you picked such remote locations. Is there some reason for that?

KH: Yes, I have traveled a bit to some wonderful countries, gaining insights and inspiration.

RJS:  Tell us more! What can you share with us on a personal level?

KH: I was born in beautiful British Columbia and developed a passion for writing at an early age. My interest in people led me all over the globe, including a two-year stay in Japan and a humanitarian trip to Rwanda.

I love to write romance stories with a twist, usually involving a dangerous and dramatic backdrop. My first novel, ‘Hands Full of Ashes’, was inspired by a trip to Africa. I spent many years teaching young adults with learning disabilities at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and I currently reside in the sunny Okanagan with my husband and two children.

author photo--Kim Hotzon

RJS: That sounds like a life that would just naturally lend itself to writing. What else do you do there?

KH: When not writing, I can be found plying the local ski hills, or getting lost in my kayak in the surrounding lakes.

RJS: It’s easy to see how your social life keeps you around people. So, where can readers connect with you and follow your sites?

KH: Readers can get in touch with me by visiting my website:

http://www.kimhotzon.com/

or follow me on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/kimhotzon

or Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6491250.Kim_Hotzon

or LinkedIn:  https://ca.linkedin.com/pub/kim-hotzon/61/9a8/675

or Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/kimhotzon/

To get your own copy of Hands Full of Ashes“, click here:

http://www.amazon.com/

Or copy & paste this link:

http://www.amazon.com/Hands-Full-Ashes-Kim-Hotzon-ebook/dp/B00S78OGUC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1421260802&sr=1-1&keywords=Hands+Full+of+Ashes&pebp=1421260817673&peasin=B00S78OGUC

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

Kim, thank you so much for stopping by today. I love your cover, the premise sounds great, your locales are awesome and your life is good. Keep it all up and we’ll be looking forward to your next book release.

Kim Hotzon Handsful of Ashes       http://www.kimhotzon.comauthor photo--Kim Hotzon

 

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Sam Wyatt cover The True One

 

I really like that cover. Welcome, Samanthya, and in a few sentences, what can you tell us about THE TRUE ONE?

His ship in splinters and his men captured, Stephen is a broken man. Yet the torture he received by his enemies is nothing compared to the torment he bears from an angel with lavender eyes.

Jennifer left England full of a young girl’s fantasies of romance and adventure. When she cares for a near death captain, memories emerge of the family she left behind. Will the passion they share be enough? He must choose – her or revenge.

 RJS: Awesome! Now, let’s get chatty shall we? Can you tell us about you and your book?

SW: Ever since I can remember, I have loved curling up with a book. Finally I retired from my day job!

S Wyatt retired

RJS: Bet that felt sweet? So what is your typical day like now?

SW: My morning usually starts with a cup of Java. If I’m lucky, hubby gets up first and brings me a cup of coffee in bed. Mmmm. What a way to greet the day!

RJS: Oh yeah, absolutely sweet. So you have tons of time to write now, right?

SW: I don’t have to tell any writer how difficult it is to find time to put words to paper, let alone create them in your mind. But I am finding I do not have the abundance of time I thought I would to contribute to my writing.

My neighbor came to my house one day and said, “We see you leave in the morning and you don’t come home. Didn’t you retire?”

RJS: Yes, to a curious neighbor, that could be suspicious. So what gives? 

SW: Between soccer games, football games and cheerleading, I’m keeping the road hot. And I am blessed to have more time with my mother.

The early hours could be anything from a lazy, relaxing, take time to dress morning—to a set the alarm, get my granddaughter to school or take mom to the doctor morning. Then there are the mornings of anticipation where I head to my laptop for a few precious moments of picking my brain. I fully expect to see smoke one of these days.

RJS:  Actually, I do see some smoke. So I’m guessing no rocking chairs in your retirement?

 SW: I love to have fun. My hubby is so silly. And his playfulness has rubbed off on me. Anything can come out of my mouth sometimes, just for fun. I’ll say things that don’t make sense, have people raising their eyebrows, or just busting out with laughter. And, at my age I still love rollercoasters. Where the heck is the top of this thing?

S Wyattt rollercoster

One of the things I looked forward to was spending more time with hubby. Cruising in our 1969 Mustang convertible is just one of the perks. And my day is not complete without a kiss from my hubby goodnight.

S Wyatt car

RJS: Now that is just plain sweet. The stuff a good romance is made of. Surely spending time with hubby inspires some good stuff for writing. What is the most important thing you have taken away from retiring and now writing full time, getting THE TRUE ONE published and having extra time for your family? To encapsulate it in one sentence, what would all that boil down to? 

SW: I’m just enjoying life.

 RJS: Beautiful. Now, on to your book. Tell us more, please…

SW: I’m thrilled to celebrate my new historical, The True One. This is the thrilling sequel of the One and Only series. Now we find out what happened to Kat’s brother.

RJS: Okay, take it away…

“The True One”      

 

Captain Stephen Radbourn accepts an intriguing proposition which results in horror. His ship in splinters and his men captured, he is a broken man. A band of rebels rescue their leader from a dungeon, taking the near dead captain with them. Fearing capture and thinking the tortured man will die, they leave Stephen in the care of a woman, who he believes is an angel of mercy. A man of passion, with a trail of satisfied maidens to prove it, he finds his heart captured by the lovely widow. But she forces him to choose—her or revenge.

 

Jennifer Faircloth departed England full of a young girl’s fantasies of romance and adventure. Her young husband dies leaving her a widow to survive alone in a foreign land. When a near death English captain is dropped at her door, memories emerge of the family she foolishly left behind. While caring for him, her curious imagination turns to an overwhelming awareness she cannot deny. He must flee for his life and he takes her with him—back to England—back to the family she’d deserted. She wants her family to forgive her, but she wants Stephen’s love even more.

 

RJS: Now that just begs to be read. I can’t wait to get my copy. To find Samanthya, please visit her website here: http://www.samanthyawyatt.com

 In the meantime, please enjoy an excerpt from The True One: 

He was dead.

He had to be. For serenity enclosed him. Fresh air cloaked him. A cloud of softness wrapped him. Comfort would mean he’d gone to heaven, when he had been destined for hell. Slowly, Stephen became aware of soreness, then stinging, then blinding pain. Sure signs of hell.

The lilting voice of an angel drew him to an unbelievable place of calm. The honeyed sound soothed his mind to a state of ease. Alleviating his anxiety. Diminishing his pain. The most enchanting dream he’d ever held.

He opened his eyes with excruciating sluggishness. The first glimpse of light splintered his skull with a sharp stabbing. He slammed his eyes closed with a long groan. He’d been denied sunlight for so long, he thought never to see the light of day again.

His insides still stuck to his backbone. He breathed as deeply as his broken ribs allowed, then grounded his teeth over the agonizing ache. Slashing pain shot through his jaw stirring more memories. Oh yes. That had been broken too.

A bed? He took a moment to grasp his surroundings. Unfamiliar hands. Gentle hands. He thought he’d felt movement at one time, dreamed he was in a wagon.

Flashes of torture penetrated his skull—men with curved knives and jeweled handles, shackles, a pit for a prison cell. He struggled with the bonds squeezing him when the sweetest sound of an angel pulled him from the dark fog. Reassuring hands swabbed a wet cloth over his feverish skin and coaxed him to swallow. Blessed relief to his parched lips. Now he lolled in a bed.

With a sense of unease he pondered his situation, wondering what state of play brought him to this consequence. He inhaled, taking in pleasant air. No stench. No slimy creatures. Where was he? At this point he didn’t care. As long as he no longer suffered the Raj’s torture.

Slowly, and more cautious this time, he lifted one lid to a narrow slit. The swelling around his eye had gone down considerably. He glanced down to find a hand-sewn quilt, like the ones his mother made. Definitely a bed. Which also resembled his English heritage. Had he somehow been transported back to England?

He rolled his head against the pillow’s softness. His mind wandered restlessly through a mirage of shadows. His ribs were on fire. He searched the room. A window stood open and the thin covering wavered as if the wind blew gently to make it dance. A crude piece of furniture beyond the bed with items scattered about. To the right a door. He wondered who was on the other side. Friend or adversary? He closed his eyes for a moment, seeking relief. Ignoring the pain in his skull, he turned his head to the right and saw the delicate creature in his dream. An angel of mercy, with dark hair falling about her shoulders. Long sweeping lashes brushed velvety cheeks. Instant awareness surged through his body. At least the devils hadn’t killed that part of him.

On the heels of that thought, he wondered if she were a maid or the wife of some possessive husband. If she were his wife—perish the thought—he would never leave her alone in any room with a strange man, incapacitated or no. Especially not in close proximity of a bed.

And he was naked. Bare as a new baby’s bottom.

 Thank you, Samanthya for joining me today! I wish you best luck with your new book.

The True One’s link: http://amzn.to/1uSAlFl

To buy it now:  http://www.amazon.com/True-One-Only-Book-ebook/dp/B00R3POS7G/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1418823211&sr=1-1&keywords=the+true+one

Samanthya Wyatt is also on facebook, goodreads and amazon.

Samanthya Wyatt

 Buy links:

http:amzn.to/1lEk2Qy                        http:amzn.                                          http:amzn.to/1mhTqw4

 

 

 

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Today I am excited to have Patricia Charles  stop in for a visit. She brought her new book, “Unconditional Surrender”.  And oh yeah, she has a really cool surprise for us at the end of her visit. First, don’t you just love this cover?

perf5.000x8.000.indd

 

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Riding horses, sleeping under the stars, and drinking beer by the campfire with friends were just a few of the reasons Creed Graham loved Civil War re-enactment events. He couldn’t get enough of them, and things got even better when Kirsten McConnell walked into his life.

Why on earth would any woman want to wear a tight corset all day, sleep on straw at night, and cook over an open fire? No TV, air-conditioning or cell phones? She couldn’t believe she let her friend drag her here. Kirsten knew she would loath every moment of this Civil War re-enactment. But then she met Creed.

Sparks ignite in a blazing star filled night of passion. Sleeping on straw isn’t so bad with Creed beside her. When tragedy strikes, Kristen’s happily ever-after seems as far away as the Civil War. Her perfect world collapses, and she’s left with problems too monumental for even Creed’s love to scale. Amongst the explosions of mock cannon fire, they stand on opposite sides in the war on love. Can there be an Unconditional Surrender or will the North and South forever be at odds?

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

Just in case that didn’t make you interested, here is a breath-taking sample of what is behind that awesome cover—-

     In the time since Kirsten last saw him, he changed very little. He still exemplified everything a cavalry officer would have been in the 1860’s. The black horse he rode was larger than the others and the officer, tall himself, towered over the men of his unit.               

    A shock of black hair tumbled from his slouch hat and curled over his navy blue frock coat. His beard, like he just woke from the night and hadn’t shaved yet, was as black as the horse he rode. His eyes were the color of the sky against his sun-tanned face. Broad shoulders under his wool coat tapered to his waist and then to long, sinewy legs clad in knee high black boots.

    Still as handsome as the first time she saw him. Even then he rode his horse behind the men in his company. Even then she shopped at the sutlers, and he noticed her.

    As he rode nearer, she recalled his tousled hair when he woke at her side and how his first declaration of love caused her to sob so hard she couldn’t answer. Most of all, she remembered the look in his eyes when they glowed with desire.

    Yet today was different, not just because they already had loved each other or because he proposed, and she accepted. Her heart still trembled as it had every time she looked at him, but today was different mainly because a young boy, perhaps two years old, sat before him on the saddle. The child was a close duplicate of Creed from his black hair covered with a Yankee kepi to the boots on his tiny feet. He looked up at Creed with a smile and adoration.

    Her heart tore apart. She strained to breathe. Was that his son? It had to be. They looked so much alike. Is this what our son would have looked like? Is he happy like she’d never be? When had he married? So many questions, each a wound in her heart. Not long after their scheduled wedding if she could judge by the child’s age. No, he didn’t mourn very long for the death of their love. But she knew from experience Creed wasn’t one to mourn.

    Every irrational dream she dreamt about Creed exploded within her. The pain was swift like a kick in the stomach. Nausea overcame her. She forced the tears away and plastered a smile on her face. He would never know her pain. She’d never let him see her with tears again. He didn’t deserve that confidence.

    Creed’s eyes met hers. He leaned toward the man riding beside him, spoke a couple of words to him, broke away from the column and halted his horse before her.

    Several moments passed before either of them said anything. It seemed an eternity to her. An eternity burning in hell for her sins.

    He nodded his head in acknowledgment. “Hello, Kirsten,” he said. His look of exasperation and disapproval filtered into his voice.

    “Hello, Creed.” His name flowed easily off her tongue. In her dreams and memories, she said his name often, but she thought she’d never again have to say it to him.

    The child in his arms tilted his head back to watch Creed speak. When Creed said nothing more, the child fidgeted in the saddle. He patted Rienzi’s neck with his tiny hand. He tugged on his kepi, tilting it to the side in affectation of the arrogant manner the cavalry sometimes wore their hats.

    She couldn’t tear her gaze from the duplication of Creed. He bounced in the saddle, unconcerned with the stranger viewing him. He didn’t stay still one moment, but continued to twist, turn and fidget.

    In contrast, Creed didn’t move. If he even blinked, she didn’t see it. He stared at her as she stared at the child–the child that might have been theirs.

    She was so taken with the presence of the small boy she didn’t notice the horse Creed rode step closer to her until his nose almost pressed against her shoulder.

    She jumped back when the horse pawed the ground. He snorted and tossed his head, warning her away. Rienzi hated her, she recalled, and backed further from him. The horse took an intimidating step toward her, stopped and shook his head. He too disapproved of her appearance at a reenactment.

    “Common. Go,” the boy demanded, kicking at the saddle with his tiny boots to spur Rienzi.

    Creed straightened the kepi on the boy. The child slipped it once again to that arrogant angle of the mounted.

    Creed turned Rienzi from her. For a moment Kirsten thought he wanted to say something more to her, and she held her breath in fearful anticipation.

    He glanced over the back of the horse, and then he tipped his hat.

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

RJS: Okay, personally, I can’t wait to get my own copy of Unconditional Surrender. Patricia, tell us a little about why you wrote a romance set at a Civil War Reenactment?

PC: Years ago I decided to write a romance. I joined RWA and the chapter in New Orleans SOLA. They emphasized write what you know. What did I know? I love historicals. I’m from the South. And I read Gone with the Wind twice. Perfect. I would write a historical set in Mississippi during the Civil War.

RJS: Yes, that makes perfect sense.

PC: While doing my research, my mother who lives on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi informed me that Beauvoir, the last home of Jefferson Davis, was having a “Fall Mustard.” I didn’t even know what a “mustard” was, so I had to attend.

Actually, Mom misunderstood. It was a “Muster.” I had a fabulous time. Everyone was so helpful, showing me rifles, saddles, tents, everything I knew to ask at this point in my writing. Then… I saw a captain of the Confederacy, dressed in his grays and his sword. An old flame that I had had a crush for years in high school. He invited me back to the ball that night, which was closed to the public. All I had to do was wear a hoopskirt.

Of course, every girl from Mississippi has a hoopskirt in her closet, right? Wrong. But my aunt did.

The date with the captain wasn’t what I had dreamed about for years, but I discovered a new love, reenacting. Dancing to the sound of fiddles and banjos under a chandelier of candles, hung from ancient oak trees was actually better than writing about it. It was living it.

I was “mustered” into the 3rd Mississippi Infantry. Sometime we were Confederates and sometime Federals. We honored both sides for their sacrifices.

RJS: Very nice. I like that.

PC: Of course, I didn’t protest against which side we represented. I protested about camping. I would have to sleep at a hotel with cable TV, air-conditioning, hot showers and a blow dryer. I wouldn’t be caught dead sleeping on the ground or using the port-a-let.

Yea, right. It only took one reenactment with me in a hotel to realize I was missing most of the fun, sitting around the campfire, singing Civil War songs and curling up on a wool blanket to the sounds of men snoring. Sound awful? It was the best time of my life.

My historical set in Natchez became a contemporary set at a reenactment. Yes, the Natchez book is still incubating in my mind. But my first book had to be a romance where I fell in love with reenacting.

I hope you will pick up Unconditional Surrender and love it as much as I loved living it. PS Some of the more humorous scenes actually happened.

RJS:  Wow, since I have an interest in the Civil War and hold fond memories of camping, I am sure this book will strike a few chords with me. Patricia, what else can you tell us about yourself?

PC: I remember going to the public library when I was a small child. The Pascagoula library was only a block away. I wasn’t allowed to cross the street, so my older brother was delegated to take me. Of course, I wouldn’t let him carry my books. I was a big girl! I remember I had so many books I had to balance them with my chin. I also recall crying when I had to return them. Books have been in my life as long as I can remember.

     My love of books eventually led me to the theatre. I have a Master’s of Arts in Drama and Communications and a Master’s of Library and Information Sciences. Naturally I am a librarian, a medical librarian.

      Additionally, I am a member of the Romance Writers of America, Southern Louisiana Chapter of RWA and Celtic Hearts. In 2013 I won Best Historical and Highest Overall Score in the Dixie Kane Contest.

     I live on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, having moved here from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Frodo, my large 14 pound Pomeranian, likes to lick my feet while I write.

RJS:  Too cool. Where can we read more or follow you and get a copy of Unconditional Surrender?

 PC: My website is http://patriciacharlesauthor.com/   There  readers can find out what I am up to and links to my other social media sites. And here’s the exciting surprise… I am giving away a lovely gold locket in a random drawing. It holds the faces from the cover of the book. Anyone interested in entering, please go to my website http://patriciacharlesauthor.com and make a comment. Include an email address and request to be added to the drawing. Giveaway is scheduled after the release date for Unconditional Surrender after December 31, 2014.

Patricia Warren LOCKET Unconditional Surrender

 

 

RJS: Oh, that is lovely and anyone would be lucky to have won that. Patricia, it has been a great pleasure to have you here today. Your book sounds very interesting and I wish the best success with it. Thank you for stopping by today.

 me2_corrected_pp

 

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Today I am delighted to have Sophia Kimble visiting, to talk about her book Protect Her from Soul Mate Publishing.  Welcome, Sophia.

Sophia Kimble bio pic

Thank you, it’s good to be here and share a bit about Protect Her. Below is a transcription of my notes from a meeting that took place on June 9th. That morning, and what transpired in the days to follow, prompted me to write it all down, to tell Golden’s story. Protect Her, available from Soul Mate Publishing, is an accounting of these events:

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I stood on the front stoop of a modest two-story bungalow in Huntington Beach, California with moist palms. I’d met Golden Alexander and her sister, Maggie before, but being at their house made me nervous, especially this early in the morning before the sun had come up. Golden’s story had scared the crap out of me since I’d first heard it, and though I needed to find out if what she said was real, I wasn’t really looking forward to being so close to her, and well, the thing she’d told me about.

Maggie answered my knock wearing a blue robe, black curly hair a mess, and looking frazzled, to say the least. When I looked past her shoulder to Golden, a drop dead gorgeous blonde whose body trembled beneath a pink tank top and boxer shorts, a sheen of sweat coating her brow, I understood Maggie’s demeanor. Something wasn’t right.

Maggie motioned me inside and asked Golden, “What happened?”

“The demon . . . it came back.”

Those five words sped my pulse and I wanted to get back in my car and drive fast and far, but I didn’t. I’d never been able to pass up a good story, and Golden’s had the makings of an incredible one.

Maggie closed her eyes and took what appeared to be a calming breath before she walked past us toward the back of the house. Golden pegged me with a glance and whispered, “She’s never believed me.”

Golden glanced up the stairs, and I, of course, followed suit. It was obvious that’s where she’d seen the creature, and visions of an insect-like body, crimson eyes below horns, and a grotesque forked tongue circled my mind. I tightened the grip on my notebook and pen, the clasp digging into my palm as I prayed I wouldn’t see the thing.

Golden sighed and took a few yoga breaths. “Don’t worry, it’s gone.”

I nodded and she wrapped her arms around her chest and walked toward the sound of coffee gurgling in the next room. With a last look up the stairs, worrying my butt off, I hurried after her.

She pulled out a chair from the kitchen table, motioned to an empty seat next to her, and sat across from Maggie who stared into one of the three mugs of coffee sitting on the scarred teak surface. Man, you could cut the tension with a knife.

“I think you should go see Dr. Rosenthal again,” Maggie said.

Golden jerked her gaze to her sister, and out of the corner of my eye, I spied her legs bobbing a mile a minute, fists clenched under the table.

“I don’t need to see a psychiatrist. I need to get the hell out of this house!”

Annnd, that was my cue to leave. “Maybe we should reschedule?”

Golden shook her head at me, and I wasn’t sure how I felt about staying, but opened my notebook and started taking notes.

Maggie’s spoon made a slow circuitous path in her coffee. “Golden, it’s sleep paralysis. You need to start taking your medication again.”

I knew what sleep paralysis was, had actually met Golden in the library while researching it after having experiencing it myself. You wake up while still being in the REM cycle of sleep and can’t move. It’s very scary, and it’s common to have hallucinations during the episode . . . demons being seen frequently. Antidepressants are sometimes used to keep it from happening, though since I’d only had one episode, I’d never personally tried that route.

Golden waited a few seconds before saying anything, looking like she was trying to get a hold of her anger. “Dr. Rosenthal is wrong, and so are you. The meds did nothing but space me out. The demon still came. The only difference being I was so drugged up I didn’t tell you about it.”

“The doctor’s not wrong, you’re not thinking clearly right now.” Maggie almost sounded robotic in her response, like this conversation had happened many times before, and I wondered just how many times Golden had seen the demon.

Golden’s words were measured and slow. “There’s nothing wrong with how I’m thinking. The problem is you don’t believe me. You never have.”

Tink, tink, tink, Maggie’s spoon hit the side of her mug as she stared at the wall. A clock ticked above a dripping faucet, the soft plink, plop making my frayed nerves jump.

“I’m leaving, and I’m not going to see Dr. Rosenthal or anyone else so they can tell me I’m just imagining something I know is real.”

Maggie sucked in a breath and closed her eyes. She didn’t say anything, but kept stirring of her coffee. Tink, tink, tink. Golden had told me she was moving to Vermont, to go to college, get away. I guessed it was more than the demon she was running from.

Tink, tink, tink. “You’re not ready for this, Golden. You and I both know it,” Maggie said.

Golden sighed. “I have to do this. Please try to be happy for me.”

Maggie pinched the bridge of her nose as if trying to stave off a headache, then gave Golden a weak smile and a small nod before returning her gaze to her coffee.

“Just promise me you’ll come home if things don’t . . . work out,” Maggie said.

Golden stood, kissed the top of Maggie’s head and grabbed her mug, taking it to the sink. I noticed she didn’t promise Maggie anything, and I got the feeling she’d never move back here regardless of whether the demon were real or not.

A heaviness settled around the kitchen, its thickness coated my mouth and almost tasted sour. The situation between them had become a stale-mate. Maggie didn’t think she should go and Golden didn’t want to stay.

Golden waved at me to follow her as she walked out of the kitchen toward the front of the house. I thanked Maggie, rinsed my cup in the sink, jiggling the handle until the drip stopped, and followed Golden.

In the living room, Golden settled herself on the couch, I took a chair. Golden’s gaze strayed to the staircase illuminated by a glow from the porch light streaming in through the sidelight window, and she shivered.

“Do you ever wonder if you’re going crazy, or are already there?”

I assured her I had and she closed her eyes. “Heavenly blue morning glories.”

“Pardon?” I had no idea what she was talking about.

“It’s my favorite flower. It also happens to be the color of the man’s eyes I’ve been seeing in my dreams since I first saw the demon seven years ago. I know his eyes almost better than I know my own. Almond shaped with scattered flecks of violet, long lashes surrounding the piercing blue color, light-brown eyebrows, and sandy-brown hair hanging to his shoulders. He comforts me.”

I kept quiet, waiting for her to continue.

“God, I wish he was real. Dr. Rosenthal said I invented him to help with the traumatic loss in my life, and I guess he’s right about that, even though he’s full of crap about the other diagnoses.”

“What other diagnoses?”

Her lids popped open, deep green eyes boring into mine.

“The demon, Sophia . . . it’s real.”

Sophia Kimble cover Protect Her

 

OK…. I officially have chills now. Powerful.

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Blurb for Protect Her:

Golden Alexander is trapped in a nightmare.

Trying to flee her hallucination of a demon, she runs heart first into the brooding alpha male she’s been dreaming about for years, and then her nightmare really begins. 

Kris Pietka is done with women…he’s broken. But when he meets Golden, an overwhelming need to protect her tests everything he thought he knew about himself, and the paranormal. 

A bond forged centuries ago thrusts them together as they search for a way to break an ancient Druid curse prophesying their demise. Racing against the clock, they travel from Vermont, to the Carpathian Mountains in Poland, and the Scottish Highlands in search of answers and a way to break the curse.

 But something evil watches—it covets, and time is running out. 

Will fate allow love to prevail against unbeatable odds, or will Golden wake to find it was all a delusion? 

 

So the question we have to ask now is: Does love burn eternal?

Protect Her is the first novel in The Druid’s Curse series.

Here is the Amazon shortcut:  http://goo.gl/fDXkz7

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Wow, okay, just in case your socks aren’t blown off yet with all that, here is a little personal stuff about Sophia. Take it away….

Well, I have always wanted to be an author, but for years, life got in the way. I wouldn’t change a thing about how my life turned out, though. My family keeps me laughing and loving. My wonderful husband and two extraordinary children stand beside me every step of the way and make this journey called life worth living.

In addition, I have worked as a nurse for twenty years, but have put that career path aside to devote my time and imagination to writing down the stories that keep me up nights.

I  take my love of the paranormal, history, and genealogy and weave them into tales of family, fated love, and supernatural occurrences.

That’s just great, Sophia. Where can readers connect with you?

They can connect with me at the following sites:

Website:

Blog:

Facebook:

Twitter:

I love to hear from my readers.

Yes, so do I. Building a relationship with our readers and fans is as much fun as writing for them. Well, as we wrap up this visit, I am glad  you stopped in, Sophia, and I wish you great success with “PROTECT HER”. Let’s see that cover just one more time, shall we?

Sophia Kimble cover Protect Her

 

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Okay, confession time– I really don’t like to self promote my books. I’m not very good at it, either, or so I think. I am a bad salesperson and would starve to death if my sole living was just selling things on a commission.  But I learned something interesting the other day while I was at my doctor’s office.

I was sitting in the lab, chatting with the lab tech who was drawing my blood. There was another patient resting in the suite over so I was trying to be respectful of her need for quiet. The tech and I talked about my day job, folks she knew who had worked nearby where my day job is located and so on. Finally I casually, almost embarrassed, mentioned I just signed for my third book and had the free-lance work this year.

“That’s right,” she remembered. “Children’s books, right?”  Not even close. I haven’t written a child’s book since I was a child. “No,” I said, almost sorry I mentioned it. “No, murder, right?” she asked, “The murder and who done its?”  Again, not so close. I just shook my head and said ‘No.”  She considered the next option. “That’s right, it’s more a romance, right?”  Much warmer. “Yes,” I said, “basically love stories with a few twists and turns.” And I left it at that. She covered my boo boo site and I left.

Minutes later, while checking out and discussing stuff with the receptionist, the lab tech came up to me, whispering, “What’s the name of your books again? My patient was interested.”  Startled, I wrote them all down, along with what is available now and expected release dates for the others. I thanked her and left, still pondering what had sounded interesting in that small conversation.

Whatever it was, it worked to do what I always try so hard to do, garner interest in my books, hopefully enough so to go look them up and buy them. And my day was not done.

Hours later I was at my day job when an associate walked by. He gave me a huge smile and asked if I was a writer for  the ‘XYZ’ Magazine. I said I was, positive I was blushing by then. Other co workers were listening by now as he said he had been reading that magazine over the weekend, liked my recent article and did not know it was me until he got all the way to the end and read my name and bio. My name is unique as there are no others around (that we know off). So we chatted about that free-lance opportunity and the other one I write for, and ended the conversation with a sentence about the upcoming books.

One sentence. That was all.  But people are listening and sometimes, they are interested in what little they hear.

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Alright, full disclosure here: I received a ‘bad’ review recently for my debut novel. It’s been stewing in my gut for about a month now and I feel I am finally able to deal with it properly. There has been a lot going on emotionally in my life and household for the past month as well, so I did not feel adequately equipped to handle this issue. Until now.

Now, I have heard the warnings before: don’t always expect everyone to love your work, don’t be surprised if someone just doesn’t like it. You need to have a thick skin to publish a book. And never ask for a review unless you can handle what you might get back. Well, I did not ask for this one, it was unsolicited. And so far, all my reviews, requested or not, have been glowing and full of praise. I have been sunbathing in the loving rays of warm reviews. Until now.

Admittedly, when I read the review about a month ago, I was shocked, and hurt. But I took it a few steps further. First, I took a deep breath and reminded myself of the truths mentioned above. Okay, this might not be the first unfavorable review I will ever receive, though I certainly hope it is. Then I read it a little more carefully, seeing what is was that the reader did not like. Was it a particular thing, like dialogue or setting or something like that? Character names? Or was it a case of a book that did not live up to its initial promise? I have to agree I have read books before, enthralled initially and found they just did not live up to my expectations. It happens, not every book is for every reader. Those are the ones I donate to Good Will when I finish with them, instead of instilling them on my library shelves.

What surprised me with this was the misconceptions made by the reader. Now, I have a family member who is famous for misunderstanding information and then later giving out incorrect or misleading information. It happens probably within all families I guess. And so it has happened here with my book. I wanted so badly to respond, to correct the misconceptions made by the reader. But I refrained. Why? Probably due to the other issues going on within my life and home at the time and I feared what I said would come out wrong and, in turn, be taken wrong again, which I felt would only make matters worse. So I opted to remain quiet.

But I did some further research too, not able to just let an unfavorable review sit idle. This reader has only posted one other review prior to mine, and much to my surprise it was awarded an even more unfavorable, or worse, review than mine had. That made me feel a little better. Since I had not read the other book, I could not see any obvious misleading conclusions. However, now I wanted to read it, just to see for myself. Bully for the other author!

So in parting, I have reached my own conclusion, perhaps erroneously as well. Perhaps since this reader apparently cannot find a decent book to read, she (or he) ought to give it up and take up something more rewarding, like knitting or stamp collecting. Or, since writing and publishing a novel is such a simple task, perhaps the reader ought to just write her (or his) own books. Merely a thought.

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Wow, today I turned the page of my calendar, began my first of the month rituals (mostly pet related health stuff) and realized in two weeks is the anniversary of the release of ‘Whispers in her Heart”. What a year!

Many months ago I had planned to host a giveaway to celebrate that one-year milestone and somehow it completely slipped my mind with so much other non-book related stuff going on. Won’t elaborate here but suffice to say, what a year….and while I am grateful beyond measure for ‘Whispers’, a lot of my year’s events had nothing to do with it. And also suffice to say, the journey is by no means close to complete yet, again despite what the calendar might say,

So to that end, back to the plan at hand. To honor ‘Whispers in her Heart”, I would like to give away two autographed copies to a couple lucky readers. Here are the real easy ground rules: giveaway is open from today, November 1, 2013 and ends either November 15, 2013 or when two people have responded with the correct answers listed below, which ever comes first. I will contact winners as soon as possible and they can provide me by email their physical mailing address. I will then immediately mail them their autographed copy of ‘Whispers in her Heart’.

Sound like fun? Okay, the three questions to answer correctly–or reasonably close- are: 1) what three horse races make up the Triple Crown? 2) what is a Druid? and 3) which of the following is NOT a natural element….earth, air, smoke or water?

And yes, all three questions are related to the book. Please leave your answers as a comment. Good luck and thank you. You can also check out the giveaway on Goodreads.com where I am giving away another three autographed copies as well.

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