Mar 18

Buy the Books!

Here’s the one-page resource for everything you need to know about me and my books…especially how to buy them!

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Apr 18

Guest Post: Suz deMello on Romance

I’m turning the blog over for a little while to fellow author Suz deMello…

sue venice mask

 

Best-selling, award-winning author Suz deMello, a.k.a Sue Swift, has written seventeen romance novels in several subgenres, including erotica, comedy, historical, paranormal, mystery and suspense, plus a number of short stories and non-fiction articles on writing. A freelance editor, she’s worked for Total-E-Bound, Liquid Silver Books and Ai Press, where she is currently Managing Editor. She also takes private clients.

Her books have been favorably reviewed in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus and Booklist, won a contest or two, attained the finals of the RITA and hit several bestseller lists.

A former trial attorney, her passion is world travel. She’s left the US over a dozen times, including lengthy stints working overseas. She’s now writing a vampire tale and planning her next trip.

–Find her books at http://www.suzdemello.com

–For editing services, email her at suzswift@yahoo.com

–Befriend her on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sueswift, and visit her group page at  https://www.facebook.com/redhotauthorscafe

–She tweets her reading picks @ReadThis4fun and @Suzdemello

–Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/suzdemello/

–Goodreads: http://bit.ly/SuzATGoodreads

–Her current blog is http://www.fearlessfastpacedfiction.com

And now, here’s Suz…

What’s a romance? You may think you know, but…

 

The standard definition of a romance has been undergoing some change lately, but the definition of romance has always been changing.

Right now, most of us see a romance as a love story between a man and a woman that contains a happy ending, with the heroine going off with Mr. Right. But that wasn’t always the case.

Centuries ago, people married for reasons other than love. They married for money, status or property, and love was something found outside marriage. Romeo and Juliet is a pretty famous romance, but it doesn’t have a happy ending, unless your idea of a good HEA is uniting in the afterlife.

Other forms of art reflected the belief that love was found outside marriage. Medieval troubadours traveled from castle to castle and sang about the joys of courtly love and romantic love. Art often depicted the clash between marriage and love, such as Tintoretto’s Venus and Mars Surprised by Vulcan (1545).

 

When did romance change, and why?

Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded (1740) by Samuel Richardson, is often mentioned as the first romance novel. The main point, however, was not that the title character had found love but that her persistent rejections of the so-called hero’s attentions finally got her the prize: marriage.

A less moralistic novel, and one that’s often cited as the best of the genre, is Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (1813). Despite its somewhat archaic style, it’s one of the most popular novels in English Literature, and for very good reasons. It doesn’t preach the way Pamela does, but instead reflects the real concerns young women had during the Regency: marrying well and marrying for love, or at least respect. Although arranged marriages for the purpose of uniting property or increasing wealth were still a custom in our culture, the desirability of gaining a life with a partner founded on love rather than money was taking hold, and is reflected in the literature of the time.

Each era has produced literature that’s reflective of its time, and romance novels reflect their eras, too. As the love ideal took hold, more romances were written that reflect the joy of love rather than its discouraging end, and cautionary tales took back seat to entertainment.

As time went on, and as mores altered, romances became steadily more erotic. The Flame and the Flower (1972) by Kathleen Woodiwiss is viewed as the first modern romance novel, even though it’s a sequel to Petals on the River. Both are quite racy compared to, say, Austen, and reflect changed attitudes regarding sex before marriage. 

 

Our century

Perhaps the greatest changes have occurred in the last few years. First came chick lit, in which the heroine’s goal is not finding Mr. Right but hooking up with Mr. Right Now. Then writers of digital romance broke the hetero barrier and started writing LGBT romance, which doesn’t require the love story to be between a man and a woman. I’m reliably informed that the biggest consumers of M/M romance aren’t gay guys but hetero females. Go figure!

 

Rakes in Tartan 

Set in 1816, my book reflects the mores and customs of the Regency. Heirs to their clans’ lairdships, Andrew MacReiver and Tor Kilburn must find suitable brides. As did many noblemen of the time, they journeyed to London for the social season after attending Oxford. They hoped to find love, but not a Nordic fairy, a dragon and a vampire assassin.

But, being a book written in the 21st century rather than the 19th, Rakes in Tartan ends happily.

 

Here’s what some reviewers have said about the previous books in the Highland Vampires series–These are customer reviews from Amazon.

 

 

5 stars… A new author to add to my list of favorite authors June 20, 2012

By jmaze

Temptation in Tartan is the first book I’ve read by Suz deMello. It won’t be the last. The book is well written, easy to follow and easy to read… I would highly recommend the book and I hope that she plans another book to follow in this one’s stead.

 

RE: Desire in Tartan:

Five stars…”Engrossing… I was grabbed from the start of the book…”
–S.J. Foulkes (Amazon.com)

Five stars… “Super Read!!!… I enjoyed it from the beginning to the end. I couldn’t put it down and read it in one day.” 
–Becca (Amazon.com)

Five stars…”Such a wonderful read!!!… Such a wonderful book… Love this series!”
–Kimberly Jaksina (Amazon.com)

 

 

rakesintartan (1)

Apr 17

Book Launch – Savannah Young and “The Wilde One”

I’ve got another fantastic indie author, whose new book is just out.  She’s Savannah Young…

Savannah Young Blue

 

Romance novelist Savannah Young grew up in rural northwest New Jersey in a place very similar to the fictional Old Town, which is featured in her books. When she’s not at her computer creating spicy stories, Savannah is traveling to exotic locales or spending time with her husband and their bloodhounds.

You can follow Savannah all over the Interwebs:

Blog: http://oldtowncountryromance.tumblr.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SavannahYoungAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/karenmbryson
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7814077.Savannah_Young

And her new book is “The Wilde One”

Wilde One front small

THE WILDE ONE is the second novel in the spicy contemporary romance series about four sexy brothers, their small-town bar and their local country band. Each novel in the OLD TOWN COUNTRY ROMANCE series can be read as a STAND ALONE NOVEL or as part of the SERIES.

FOUR WILDE BROTHERS…ONE WILDE COUNTRY BAND

Tucker Wilde joined the United States Army right out of high school and was injured in Iraq. But more than just his leg was shattered in the Middle East. The war also crushed his spirit and damaged his soul. When a strange couple arrives at his family’s bar, Haymakers, Tucker can see signs of mental and emotional abuse and is immediately drawn to the lovely but fragile girl seated at his bar.

Gracie Parker has been a victim of abuse her entire life. When her boyfriend, Dex, beats her in the parking lot of Haymakers and abandons her, it’s almost too much for the nineteen-year-old to bear. That is until Tucker appears like a warrior knight from the darkness to save her.

Tucker and Gracie are two broken people who are immediately drawn together. But their relationship and even their very lives are threatened by Dex who will stop at nothing to get Gracie back.

If you like your trucks loud, your beer cold and your men hot…you’ll love THE WILDE ONE.

You can buy it right now, at Amazon!:

And Savannah has given us an excerpt, too…

Tucker

“You look different,” Savage says, then downs the last of his pint of ale.

“Different how?” I prod even though I have an idea what he’s going to say. I look more normal. Like I fit into society rather than looking like an outcast.

Savage shrugs. He’s never been a person of many words. We’re like two peas in a pod that way. Even though he rarely says very much, with just one sideways glance Savage can have the biggest and meanest guys on the planet shaking in their cowboy boots.

People say that about me too.

“Do you want another?” I ask, even though I can guess his response. Savage always orders two pints and drinks them at the far corner of the bar. There are worse ways of coping with the past than drinking a few beers every night before he goes home to an empty apartment. I should know. I’m a master of poor coping skills.

“Hit me,” Savage says.

I pour him another pint and take away the empty.

“You look good.”

I’m surprised by the compliment. I’d never use the word good to describe anything about me. But I do look better than I have since I got back from Iraq.

“Drink your beer,” I tell him because I’m not in the mood to explain what’s been going on in my life.

Savage was in Iraq about the same time I was and he’s the closest thing I’ve got to a friend. I’m not one for relationships. Life is too short and relationships are too painful. When you get close to someone, you usually just end up getting hurt.

But like me, Savage isn’t the type of guy who gets too close to people. The most obvious reason is the way he looks: he’s big and scary. Also just like me.

Savage and I lift weights together, and in a fight it would be a close match. Not that either of us would ever start a fight but we would definitely end one if we had to.

It’s a weeknight and the bar is almost deserted except for a few of the regulars. That’s why I’m surprised when I see a couple I don’t recognize walk in and look around. The guy’s wearing all leather and carrying two helmets, so he’s obviously a biker. He looks about my height, six feet two inches and he’s big. The girl looks tiny standing next to him. She’s the definition of the word waif. She looks like a strong wind could pick her up and blow her away. Not a good thing in Old Town where it’s windy most of the time.

The most interesting thing about her, though, is her coloring. I’ve never seen someone so fair in my life. I’m the only blond in my family but I’m not even close to this girl. Her long hair is so light it’s practically white. And her skin is the color of milk. She looks like a princess who just stepped out of a fairytale, as corny as that sounds.

I can’t help but notice that she doesn’t look like she wants to be here. Or maybe she doesn’t want to be with the guy. It’s hard to tell. But she doesn’t look happy. If anything, she looks scared.

As the couple steps closer to the bar, I can see the girl is shaking. I’m not sure whether she’s shaking because she’s scared, or because it’s January and it’s freezing outside and she’s wearing a tiny spring jacket that barely fits. It almost looks like a jacket for a kid it’s so small on her. Not that she’s much bigger than a kid herself.

What kind of an asshole wears a thick leather jacket while he lets his girl freeze? I’m really not liking this guy at all. And when I see him grab her by the elbow, so roughly she almost comes off the floor, I can feel every hair on my body stand at attention.

Is it possible to hate a guy I don’t even know?

Apr 16

Book Tour – “Retribution” by T.G. Ayer


RETRIBUTION (Chronicles of the IRIN, Book #1)
Genre: NA Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: 14th March 2014
Publisher: Infinite Ink
Pages: 220

Add Retribution on Goodreads

Her name is Evangeline and she is Nephilim.

Evie belongs to the Brotherhood Irin and together with all the other Nephilim of the world she is protector to humanity, protector against evil. But evil has found its way into the Brotherhood. Someone has murdered her guardian and Marcellus, the New Master makes demands of the warriors that go against all they stand for. Demands Evie just can’t carry out.

Evie uncovers Marcellus’ plan to collect a set of special seals, but when a high-level demon reveals the truth behind the Seals of Hades, Evie know there is no way she can allow the Master of the Irin to get his hands on them. But will keeping the Seals from Marcellus cause her to sacrifice more that she should? Will vengeance for her guardian’s death be enough or will she need more to satisfy her Immortal soul?

PURCHASE LINK

 

The hand at her throat didn’t allow her to defend herself. Or speak in her defense. So drastic action was required or she would be dead before she got any information from her captor.
Evie shut her eyes and concentrated.

A fullness spread along her back. Her shoulder-blades rose and pressed against the skin of her back as her wings poked through the glamored slits in her upper back. In an instant, both Evie and Baa’ruk were enveloped by a pair of shimmering white and silver wings. Foot-long feathers sent wisps of silvery white dust floating around them.

She had hoped for a strong reaction. Perhaps the fear of God? Or maybe shocked, awed reverence. Certainly not an ear-shattering fit of sneezing.

The Head Demon now stood, hands over his nose, mouth slightly open, eyes scrunched up in silent expectation of the next bout of ground-shaking sneezes. Little blades of grass peeked out from between the flagstones, shivering in the wake of the thunderous sneezes.

Evie flapped her wings, which was unavoidable when folding them up behind her, and in a blink, both magnificent silver-tipped wings were gone.

Of course, she felt bad that she’d now started another fit of sneezes with a second breeze of wing dust. And of course, the whole thing wasn’t really that funny especially when she’d so recently almost met her maker. But Evie couldn’t help it. The first giggle that escaped her was tentative, mild. The next second she was having a full-blown giggle-fest.

 

I have been a writer from the time I was old enough to recognise that reading was a doorway into my imagination. Poetry was my first foray into the art of the written word. Books were my best friends, my escape, my haven. I am essentially a recluse but this part of my personality is impossible to practise given I have two teenage daughters, who are actually my friends, my tea-makers, my confidantes… I am blessed with a husband who has left me for golf. It’s a fair trade as I have left him for writing. We are both passionate supporters of each other’s loves – it works wonderfully…

My heart is currently broken in two. One half resides in South Africa where my old roots still remain, and my heart still longs for the endless beaches and the smell of moist soil after a summer downpour. My love for Ma Afrika will never fade. The other half of me has been transplanted to the Land of the Long White Cloud. The land of the Taniwha, beautiful Maraes, and volcanoes. The land of green, pure beauty that truly inspires. And because I am so torn between these two lands – I shall forever remain cross-eyed.
 

 

We’ve also got a great interview with T.G…

Who is your favorite author?

I don’t have a favourite. I think I have read and loved too many books in my lifetime to be able to pick just one. Those that I simply adored usually appealed to me for different reasons. So no, no absolute favourite.

How do you describe your writing style?

I’m not sure if its a proper description but I like to think of my writing style as rhythmic. When I read I like a certain rhythm to the prose. Long flowing sentence or short sharp ratchety ones. I think that even words can be musical to read.

Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?

I you want to escape to another world for a while, to experience myths and legends and things that go bump in the night then my stories will appeal to you.

Have any of your characters been modelled after yourself?

I don’t know. Maybe? I haven’t really thought about it only because the charcter ‘speaks’ to me already there. I’m more of a conduit rather than a creator. Yup, the voices in my hear are real.

If you could exchange lives with any of your characters for a day which character would you choose and why?

Evie from RETRIBUTION cos she has the coolest most badass white wings!

What books have most influenced your life?
Anne Rice, Stephen King, Dean Koontz & Tolkien 

If you could select one book that you could rewrite and add your own unique twist on, which book would that be and why?

I’m not sure I would do that. Each author creates their own tome from their own creativity.

Beatles or Monkees? Why?

The Beatles more so because I’m more familiar with their songs. Although I do love Daydream Believer!

Who should play you in a film of your life?
I pick Dilshad Vadsaria from the Revenge series.  

 

 

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Apr 13

Sneak Peek – the new book!

It’s Sneak Peek Sunday, and if you click RIGHT HERE, you can see sneak peeks from dozens of fantastic authors of their new or upcoming work…

But since you ARE here, you can also see a sneak peak of the upcoming seventh book of the Dream Series, tentatively titled “Dream Home” – and here it is…

The driver’s door opens, and a high-heeled shoe emerges – three or maybe even four inches, Sara guesses.  A leg that’s bare to the knee follows it out, and then the other leg.  When the rest of the driver is visible, Sara gasps: it’s her.

Not precisely her: even from this distance, Sara can tell that the woman down there is wearing more makeup than she’s ever had on in her life, and the woman’s suit is sharper than anything Sara’s ever worn.  But other than that, Sara is looking at herself.  She laughs at the image: it’s a perfect stereotype of what someone who gets all their ideas from TV shows would think a big-city doctor might look like.  Showing up in an insanely expensive sports car, with a suit that probably cost $5,000 and shoes that belong on a model?  There’s nothing else to do but laugh – except that the dreamer, whoever he is, actually sees Sara that way.  

Dream-Sara disappears from view – presumably into the hospital – and the man begins muttering.  Sara listens closely, and it’s more cursing than muttering, and directed at her.  Fear – and anger – spread across the man’s face.  “She wasn’t going to come!  Why is she here?”

Sara hears the clackety-clack of heels approaching, and a moment later the door is thrown open with excessive force.  Her dream-self stands there in the doorway, takes in the scene and turns her gaze onto the office’s occupant.  “You!  What’s your name?  Banks?”  Sara can’t help herself: she’s both horrified and fascinated by this vision of herself. 

“Dr. Bates,” the man says, fighting to keep his voice level.

“Whatever,” the dream-Sara spits.  “You’re in my office.  Out!  And take all your crap with you!”  She heaves a deep sigh and then stalks past the dreamer – poor Dr. Bates – and up to his wall of carefully-hung diplomas.  Then she reaches up and begins pulling them off the wall, tossing them carelessly behind her.  “Things are going to change around her, Banks,” she says, not turning to look at him.  “Things are going to change…”

Sara continues to watch, unable to look away, as the dream-Sara trashes Dr. Bates’ office, berating him all the while.  And as she watches, the meaning of this dream becomes crystal clear.  Oh, my God, she thinks, shuddering, I’m not even starting the job for four months!  How can I have an enemy already?

 

You can find all the previous Dream Series books at Amazon  - just CLICK RIGHT HERE!

 

Apr 12

Another Freebie!

As I did last week, I’m posting another of the short “bonus scenes” from the Box of Dreams collection.

This scene takes place between “Dream Doctor” and “Dream Child“.   It’s our first-ever glimpse of Sara’s daughter Lizzie, at age two and a half, shortly before Sara’s graduation from medical school…just clock below to download and read the PDF edition…

Doctor Moo

Apr 11

“Dream Family” audiobook sample

The audiobook for the fourth book in the Dream Series, “Dream Family” is almost finished – it should be up for sale sometime in May.

AudiobookDreamFamily

I’ve been working with a new narrator (Heather Jane Hogan, who did the first three books, was unable to continue on).  So please meet Victoria Robinson – you can hear her in this ten-minute sample from chapter two of the book…

 

Apr 11

Spring Fever!

It’s a little bit odd for me to be participating in a “Spring Fever’ event, considering that I’m not a big fan of the season (severe allergies to basically everything that grows are a big factor in my feelings).

That feeling is reflected in my books; of the six so far (and counting the seventh one which is nearly finished), none of them take place in the spring.  Four of them take place in the winter (Dream Student, Dream Child, Waking Dream and the upcoming book #7 – maybe “Dream Home”), and the other three take place at the very end of summer (Dream Doctor and Dream Family) or in early fall (Dream Reunion).

Part of this was dictated by what’s happening in the books.  Dream Doctor covers the first month or two of Sara’s life as a medical student, and so it’s got to be fixed in time.  Dream Reunion takes place during her ten-year college reunion, and the fall is just when that happens to occur, so that’s when the book is set.

But there’s no particular reason that Dream Student has to happen in the middle of winter, except that it always just “felt” appropriate.  Nothing would change if it was set in the spring, and Sara first met Brian’s parents over Spring Break instead of during the Christmas vacation.  Similarly, there’s nothing in Dream Child that ties it to Christmas; but when I started writing, that’s where it went.  I suspect that in the absence of a specific reason to set a story elsewhere, it’s pretty much always going to happen in the winter.

But I think that’s going to change in the next book (book #8, which I already know will be called “Dream Vacation”)..  Although, even then, warm weather and growing things will probably not be a big feature of the story, especially since part of it’s going to take place in a Scottish castle (where Sara’s med school friend Janet is having her wedding).  I imagine that damp and unseasonable cold will be the order of the day for the scenes taking place there!

There’s no particular reason that a wedding has to happen in the spring (mine was in December!), but that just “feels” right for this upcoming story.  At least for now.  Who knows?  Before all is said and done, Janet may end up having a December wedding after all…

 

Apr 10

Indie Author Spotlight – Kyra Halland and “Sarya’s Song”

 

 

 

 

I’m thrilled to bring back a fantastic indie author I’ve had here twice before - Kyra Halland.

Her new book, coming out today, is “Sarya’s Song”

Sarya-cover-front-thumbnail2

 

In a world where music is magic, composers and singers weave powerful spells with melodies, harmonies, and voices. Sarya dyr-Rusac has risen from her destitute childhood to become a talented, respected Arranger of musical magic rituals. Then a wedding ritual she wrote goes horribly wrong.

While in self-imposed exile for her failure, amidst a growing number of disasters which the musical Service has been unable to control, Sarya hears music on the wind – music that no one else can hear, music that suggests that there are forces at work in the world unaffected by the practice of musical magic. In search of answers, she returns to the Service, where she has to face the mistakes she made in the past and her complicated relationship with the gloriously talented (and obnoxiously perfect – or is it perfectly obnoxious?) Adan Muari.

Then a nameless man begins to appear in her dreams – a beautiful man in chains, who begs her to sing him free. Is he too dangerous and powerful to deal with, a threat to the man who loves her and to their world, or is he the key to solving the mysteries that threaten to tear the world apart?

Look for it today at Kyra’s website!

I’ve got an interview with Kyra…

How does Sarya’s Song differ from other fantasy novels?

It’s an even blend of fantasy and romance, a balance I have a hard time finding. It’s also based on music; the magic in this world is worked through music. We follow the main character, Sarya, as she pieces together the puzzle of the mysterious music she can hear and how it’s related to the disasters that are causing widespread misery and destruction in her world.

What inspired you to write this book?

I got my Master’s degree in music history, with an emphasis on choral music of the late middle ages and early Renaissance. The musical conventions of that period are very different from what they are now, and inspired the idea of melodies that have magical properties. I combined this idea with a couple of my “character flashes” – random visions of characters that come into my mind. One was of a woman sitting out in the middle of nowhere, holding a lute, and then the wind plays a beautiful but chilling song on the lute. The second was of a man with a voice “like burnt sugar and cream” (those are the exact words that came to me). Then there was the idea of a beautiful, nameless man in chains the woman sees in her dreams. Put them all together, and we have a tale of magic, music, and romance. And demons – can’t forget the demons.

What was the most difficult thing about writing Sarya’s Song?

Getting a good grip on the characters, for one thing. Sarya and Adan originally started out as very different people. Sarya was very unlikeable, and Adan was way too perfect. After some tough love from my writer’s group at the time (this was about 19 years ago!) I explored the characters more thoroughly, and they began evolving into who they are now.

There was also the Plot Hole of Doom, which kept me from being able to finish the novel for so many years. Because of the plot hole, I couldn’t think of an ending that didn’t require all the characters to act like idiots. I finally worked out a plot that hangs together (I hope!) a few years ago, and re-wrote the entire novel from scratch during National Novel Writing Month in 2012.

Are any of the characters modeled after yourself?

Sarya’s research into old music kind of mirrors the sort of thing I did in grad school, so there’s that. It was fun to re-live those days through her. But she isn’t me, and I’m not her. As for the other characters, if you’ve ever been to music school or spent time around musicians, especially singers, you might recognize some character types in the book!

And last, but definitely not least, here’s an excerpt from the book…

(Sarya is returning to the musical school where she used to work after a self-imposed exile. The main thing on her mind, besides the mystery of the strange music she can hear, is avoiding Adan Muari, with whom she has a rather difficult relationship. “Tropes” are melodies that have magical properties.)

The Shrine and the Skola occupied a great square in the center of Sucevita. As Sarya approached the Shrine on the broad avenue that bordered the complex on the west, she saw a myriad of elegant coaches waiting along the street. The carriage closest to the Shrine’s west entrance was decorated for a wedding, with flowers and lengths of white silk ribbon. The doors of the Shrine had been left open, despite the cold, to keep the inside of the Shrine from becoming stuffy and smoky. The sound of the choir singing drifted out through the doorway.

Sarya hesitated, trying to decide what to do. Unless Adan Muari had finally done his family duty and left the Service to marry, he was no doubt singing in this wedding. The Shrine offered the most direct route to the north wing of the Skola, where the Masters’ offices were located, but her chances of avoiding notice – and Adan – would be better if she entered the Skola complex through the stables and the back door of the kitchen at the southwest corner. But, almost against her will, the music drew her into the Shrine like a thirsty woman to water. She found a place in the shadows in the back where she could be unobserved, then leaned against a pillar bedecked with ribbons and flowers and closed her eyes as she listened to the choir.

The vows had already been pronounced before she arrived, and now, at the climax of the ritual, a baritone voice like burnt sugar and cream soared through the Shrine and wrapped around her. The pain of that last argument, of Adan’s words, Maybe you don’t belong here, stabbed fresh into Sarya’s heart. She told herself she should just go on about her business, but, no matter how much it hurt to hear him, she couldn’t tear herself away from the glorious sound of his singing. So she stood and listened, keeping her eyes tightly shut so she wouldn’t have to see him, and hoped to the Creator that she could find what she was looking for and leave again without him ever knowing she had been there.

Vidette Fabara’s brilliant soprano joined Adan’s voice. Her line arched above his and overpowered it, then the two lines came together in a jarring meeting that made Sarya’s teeth clench. She would not have put the two tropes together that way; a slight offset in the rhythm between them would have made their blending much more graceful. She wondered who had written this Arrangement. Grudgingly, she had to admit that it wasn’t even as good as Vidette’s work. Vidette would have wanted to show off her high range during that section, but her own vanity wouldn’t have permitted her to arrange her part so that it clashed so badly with Adan’s. Sarya’s fingers itched for neuming paper and a pen so that she could rewrite the section the way it should be.

But, by running away, she had turned her back on the profession she had come to love, the art of arranging tropes into stirringly beautiful rituals. She would only be at the Skola long enough to try to solve the problem of the unknown tropes, and then she would leave again, this time for good.

The solos ended in an upswelling of the entire choir, and the ceremony neared its conclusion. If she left now, she could beat the choir to the hallway in the north wing that led from the robing room to the Masters’ offices. Keeping to the shadows along the walls of the Shrine, Sarya headed for the east door, which opened into the complex’s central courtyard, then walked along the covered walkway to the north wing.

When she entered the building, it occurred to her that all the Masters were probably at the wedding and not in their offices. She ducked into the nearest hiding place, the recessed doorway of a storage closet between the robing room and the door she had come in through. With any luck, one of the Masters would come down the hall while the members of the choir were still changing from their ceremonial robes into the everyday gray robes of the Service. Or maybe she should go wait somewhere else – like in the kitchen, where they would probably welcome her as long as she was willing to chop some vegetables or wash a few dishes – until after the choir had cleared out.

Before she could make up her mind, the door of the robing room burst open, releasing a flood of choir members into the hallway. She watched from her niche as they passed, then someone needed to get into the storage room. She was forced to step aside, and found herself caught up in the crowd of singers headed for the exit.

And then the last voice she wanted to hear called out, “Sarya! Sarya dyr-Rusac!”

Panicked, she tried to push her way through the crowd towards the Masters’ offices, but Adan caught her by the arm and spun her around to face him. “Where have you been? You left without a word to me or anyone –”

“I didn’t realize I needed your permission to leave.” She tried pull away from him, but his grip on her arm tightened.

“I didn’t know where you were or what had become of you,” he said. “I didn’t even know if you were alive or dead!”

Around them, people were stopping to stare. Sarya tried to turn away from Adan, but he moved with her, giving her no choice but to keep looking at him. “I just need to speak to the Council of Masters about something,” she said, “and then I’ll be off again.”

“Don’t leave.”

“Why not? You said yourself I don’t belong –”

“Damn it, Sarya!” He pulled her against him and pressed his mouth to hers.

Sarya’s legs nearly went out from under her in shock, but he caught her behind her back with his other hand and held her securely. His mouth was warm and hungry against hers; his upper lip and chin were scratchy with late-afternoon whiskers. She told herself she should push him away instead of melting against him while he kissed her as though he were starving and she was his banquet, but she was too busy melting and couldn’t do it. Laughter and whistles came from the crowd around them. “You show her who’s in charge, Muari!” someone called out.

Adan finally let her come up for air. She stood gasping, her knees wobbly and her heart racing, torn between slapping him and dying from embarrassment and – Great Creator God, what a fool she was – wishing the kiss hadn’t ended.

 

 

 

Apr 09

A New Look for “Dream Family”

Take a look – the new cover for the fourth (and, to my mind, best) novel of the Dream Series:

DreamFamilyV1

Apr 07

Book Launch – Shanna Hatfield and “Ilsa”

I’m thrilled to be hosting the book launch for a friend (and someone who gave me great advice before the launch of my books last year), Shanna Hatfield.  I’ve got an interview with Shanna, and she’s also got a giveaway for you – an ebook copy of her new novel, “Ilsa” to one lucky commentor!  But, first, here’s the lady herself…

Shanna Hatfield 2

Shanna Hatfield is a hopeless romantic with a bit of sarcasm thrown in for good measure. In addition to blogging, eating too much chocolate, and being smitten with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller, she is a best-selling author of clean romantic fiction written with a healthy dose of humor. She is a member of Western Writers of America, Women Writing the West, and Romance Writers of America. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.”

Follow Shanna online:

ShannaHatfield | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads | You Tube | Twitter

Or, you can email her at shanna@shannahatfield.com

And here’s the book…

Pendleton Petticoats

 

“Ilsa” is her newest book, and the third in this series.  What’s it about?

Before we get to the interview, a brief description of the series: Set in the western town of Pendleton, Oregon, the Pendleton Petticoats series highlights courageous women and men of strong character. The series begins in 1899, as Pendleton heads into a new century and an era as a booming, bustling city. During the early 1900s, Pendleton was a modern, progressive town, despite its Wild West reputation. In addition to 18 bordellos and 32 saloons, Pendleton offered residents such cultured experiences as an opera house, a French restaurant, and a tearoom. It was the second city in Oregon to have paved streets and boasted a telephone office as well as wonders like indoor plumbing to those who could afford the services. While the town didn’t lack for colorful characters, those portrayed in the Pendleton Petticoats series are purely fictional.

And you can buy “Ilsa” as well as “Aundy” and “Caterina” at:

Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Shanna’s provided us with an excerpt from “Aundy” to introduce her series to us…

“You are one of the most stubborn, hard-headed women I’ve ever met, Aundy Erickson,” Garrett said, running a hand through his hair, sending the dark locks into a state of complete disarray. His movements made Aundy want to run her fingers through it as well. “Your ability to be self-sufficient would never come into question. If you need help, ask for it. We’re more than happy to give it. You’ve been through so much since you’ve arrived here and handled it all in stride. Growing up in the city, without any rural background, you’re going to need some help. Never hesitate to ask.”

“I know, but I’ve imposed on all of you too much as it is.” Aundy felt tears prick the backs of her eyes. She would not cry. Giving in to her emotions, as jumbled as they were, wouldn’t help prove she could care for herself and Erik’s farm. Her farm.

“You’ve never imposed on us. Ever.” Aundy was so obstinate. He couldn’t recall ever meeting such a stubborn, headstrong woman. She made him want to… Thinking about what he really wanted to do, he refocused his attention on why she went to the Underground. “Regardless of all that, what information were you hoping to find?”

“I wanted to buy something and no one would talk to me about it. Dressed as a man, I didn’t have a bit of trouble making the deal.”

“What did you buy?” Garrett tried to think of anything Aundy would have purchased in the Underground that could possibly be beneficial to the farm.

“I don’t think you’re going to like my answer.” Aundy didn’t want to tell Garrett about her sheep. He’d been quite vocal when she and J.B. were discussing the pros and cons of raising sheep the other day, about how much he disliked the “stinky little boogers,” as he referred to them.

“What did you do?” Garrett asked, pinning her with his silver gaze.

“I made arrangements with a man to buy something he wanted, quite desperately, to sell.”

Garrett’s patience was nearly exhausted. “Which was?”

She hesitated, taking a deep breath before answering. “Sheep.”

He let out a whoosh of air and sat back in his chair. Blinking his eyes twice, he was sure Aundy couldn’t have said what he thought she did.

“Did you say sheep?”

“Yes,” Aundy whispered, staring down at the cloth covering the table.

“Smelly, nasty, bleating little sheep?”

“Well, I don’t know about the smelly, nasty, or bleating part, but yes, I did agree to purchase sheep.”

“Woman! What are you thinking? Did you sign papers, make payment? Is the deal final?”

“Not yet. Mr. O’Connell was under the impression I was helping a new widow. I asked him to call Mrs. Erickson Monday morning to make arrangements for the sale.”

“O’Connell? The whiskey drinking Irishman? Why he’ll…” Garrett yelled, his eyes flashing fire.

Aundy reached across the table and clapped a hand across his mouth. “Shh. You’ll have Dent and the boys in here if you don’t quiet down. Not only should you not be here, especially with me dressed like this, but I’m not quite ready to impart the knowledge to them that we’ll soon be raising sheep.”

“Fred will quit.” Garrett stated a fact Aundy already knew. He’d made it perfectly clear that he had no interest in tending sheep, so it was a gamble she had to make.

“I’ve taken that possibility into consideration.”

“Did you also take into consideration that a lot of the neighbors around here hate sheep? Not just dislike them, but hate them. I know many people in the area raise sheep, but our neighbors are all wheat growers and cattlemen. If you think about it, there isn’t one little lamb to be found from here all the way to Pendleton.

And, finally, as promised, we’ve got a great interview with shanna…

1. Who is your favorite author and why?

I can’t pick just one. There are many, many authors I enjoy. Usually when I read, I just want to be entertained. Some of my favorites for doing that are Deeanne Gist, Karen Witemeyer, Rachel Rossano, and Marcia Lynn McClure.

2. How do you describe your writing style?

Definitely easy reading. My goal is to provide readers with a fun, engaging place to escape for a few hours where they can be entertained and meet some flawed, witty, heartfelt characters.

3. Why should we read your book?

If you enjoy historical fiction, clean romances, or a good western, you’ll most likely enjoy reading Aundy and its sequels, Caterina and Ilsa. The Pendleton Petticoats series is full of history, adventure, light-hearted dialogue and a few heart-wrenching moments. 

4. Have any of your characters been modeled after yourself?

None of the characters in the Pendleton Petticoats series. They are all much braver than I would be in similar circumstances! (If you want to discover the character modeled after me, read Heart of Clay.)

5. If you could exchange lives with any of your characters for a day which character would you choose and why?

In the Pendleton Petticoats series, I think I’d pick Ilsa. She’s petite, blonde, perky, and wildly talented at designing and creating high-end fashions – basically everything I’m not!

6. What books have most influenced your life?

Aside from the Bible, I’ve been influenced by both fiction and non-fiction. I read Ralph Moody’s Little Britches in grade school and still remember the scene about Ralph’s father telling him how we can either build up or tear down our character through life like a house. It made me realize how important it is to not only have a good foundation and solid walls, but to do regular maintenance on keeping it that way. Although I’ve never sold cosmetics, I appreciate the wisdom of Mary Kay Ash and what she shared in her book The Mary Kay Way. She truly knew how to lift people up. In more recent years, I loved Randy Pausch’s book The Last Lecture. It’s a great reminder that life is too short to waste even a day of it.

7. Beatles or Monkees? Why?

Monkees. I was the youngest of four kids and I can remember being quite young, sitting with my sister as she watched the Monkees show. She was a big fan of Davy Jones.

8. Who should play you in a film of your life?

Julianne Moore – I always wanted to be a gorgeous redhead!

9. Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

I love to hear from readers, so feel free to drop me a note via any of my social media links.

Remember to leave a comment to be entered for a change to win Shanna’s new book…

 

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