historical romance

Meet Diane Scott Lewis!


Thanks, Diane, for being with us today. First, would you tell us a bit about yourself? What area of the country do you live in, do you have a family, pets, etc.

Thanks for hosting me. I’m originally from Northern California. I joined the navy at nineteen and was stationed in Greece. I met and married my husband there. We have two sons and now live in Western Pennsylvania near our granddaughters. We also have one naughty dachshund for a pet. Or rather, we’re her pets.

Are you a coffee fiend, or do you have another “addiction” you must have on your desk at all times?

I’m definitely a coffee fiend in the mornings. My burgundy coffee cup is on my desk all morning, with my husband as barista. I’m a red wine fiend in the evenings. When we lived in Virginia, their wine industry was booming, and we traveled around tasting the many varieties. Pennsylvania is up and coming for wine, too, thank goodness. But we still visit Virginia once a year to see friends and drink wine. We prefer the dry reds.

Is your education relevant to your writing, or have you branched off in something entirely different to create? How would you best describe your books?

I was always proficient at creative writing in school, but I have no degree in that field. I love to research and write historical fiction. I’d call my books authentic historical fiction with strong female characters. Most of my early novels are set in the late eighteenth century, England, France, and America. Now I’m working on a WWII novel set in France.

Tell us about your most recent publication?

My most recent publication is a novella, To Entice a Spy. It’s set in England in 1794, during the French Revolution. A widowed countess returns from France to track an evil spy. But her childhood love complicates matters.

What inspired you to write this story? What interesting thing did you learn or research to write it that you didn’t know before?

When traveling in England, I found a book on eighteenth century Truro, in Cornwall. It names streets, who lived in the homes, politics, and so on. I just had to set a novel there. And since I’d researched the French Revolution for my first novel, I wanted to put it to good use and throw in spies and an aristocratic woman (I usually write of more common people) who must seek out a spy, who is also after her.

I learned that a man named William Wickham started the espionage investigators in England at this same time, referred to as the  Secret Services. I use him briefly as a character.

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today? Any special memories you have in the creation of it?

I loved being in the POV of a villain, a first for me. How nasty could I make him, and still make him believable? Even villains need plausible motivations for their actions. I had planned to visit Truro, the town where my story is set, but due to family issues, I had to cancel.

What do you most like about writing? Least like? When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

I like the research, getting my facts correct. I also enjoy creating quirky characters. The least? Promotion. You’re always pushing your books in people’s faces. Please buy! I need a cheap publicity firm.

I’ve always enjoyed writing. My first stories I illustrated at age five, then asked my mom to write the words I dictated. I wrote my first novel, set in ancient Egypt and Rome, at age ten. At this age major movies were my inspiration, such as Cleopatra and Mutiny on the Bounty.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Are there any writing websites you find particularly useful?

I belong to the Historical Novel Society, and once belonged to the Napoleonic Historical Society. I’ve found the HNS conferences helpful and have made friends there. I’ve gotten to visit cities all over the U. S. for the conferences.

For me, Jack Lynch’s Eighteenth Century Studies website is the most useful.

Is there any special music you like to listen to while writing? How does it inspire you?

I usually like it quiet, although I enjoy soft classic rock, and classical music; it puts me in a better mood. Now that my husband is retired, I hear the Today show from the other room.

Do you belong to a critique group? What do you find most valuable about the experience?

I’ve been with an on-line critique group since 2005. People come and go, and we even had a mutiny that split the group in half. But we prevail. My partners are diverse, and bring many vital aspects to the writing experience. Some might be good on grammar, others on character motivation, plot themes.

I met one of my critique partners in England three years ago. We’ve written together since 2006, and finally met face-to-face. Wonderful. I’ve also been in face-to-face groups that were helpful. I miss the one I had in Virginia.

To encourage those still on the path, tell us a little about your path to publication. How many books have you published? How many books did you write before selling one? What do you think was the key to selling that first book?

My path was a long and winding road. I never have gotten an agent interested, and the Big Houses no longer accept un-agented queries. So my first publisher was a small on-line press. I’m now with two well-established medium presses, one on Canada and one in New York. I have thirteen published novels.

I stuck with my first book (I’m stubborn) constantly revising it. That was my first sale after ten years of on and off queries—and tons of re-writes. The key is revision, critique partners, and perseverance. Take workshops and go to conferences.

What are you writing now? What’s next for you—will you be making personal appearances anywhere our readers can find you?

I’m working on a WWII novel set in Brittany France. I have an unusual love story in the midst of war. How can it possibly end happily? We’ll see.

My next appearance will be at the Oil City Book Festival, in Oil City, Pennsylvania; date not yet determined. I did it last year and had a great time.
Anything else you would like to add?

Just thanks again for hosting me, and your questions are thorough and thoughtful.

Social media links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=diane+scott+lewis&i=digital-text&ref=nb_sb_noss

Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/profile/diane-scott-lewis-999d8de3-fdae-46d4-8758-665f9362c2ae

FB Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/Diane-Scott-Lewis-277223019312535/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3999998.Diane_Scott_Lewis

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dhparkin/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DSLewisHF

Author bio:

Diane Parkinson (Diane Scott Lewis) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, joined the Navy at nineteen, married in Greece and raised two sons all over the world, including Puerto Rico and Guam. A member of the Historical Novel Society, she wrote book reviews for the Historical Novels Review. Diane worked from 2007 to 2010 as an on-line historical editor. She has had several historical and historical-romance novels published between 2010 and 2021.

Her first Time-travel, Beyond the Fall, was published by The Wild Rose Press in 2018. To Entice a Spy was published in 2021.

Diane lives with her husband in western Pennsylvania.

For more on her books visit her website: www.dianescottlewis.org

Follow in Lisabet Sarai’s footsteps as she takes you through a lustful landscape

Most authors borrow from their own experience in crafting their fiction, to a greater or lesser extent. People, places, and situations from our lives get selected, altered and recombined. This helps to make our tales lively, realistic and believable.

In my most recent release, Incognito, I mined my personal history to a greater extent than usual. The novel is set in the historic Beacon Hill district of Boston, with parallel plot lines in the present and in the late Victorian era. As it happens, I had the good fortune to live in Beacon Hill myself for eighteen months, back in the nineties, and I loved every minute. As I wandered along the cobblestone streets, marveling at the ivy-covered row houses, I felt as though I were going back in time. I’ve mentioned in other blog posts that I have a peculiar affinity for Victorian architecture, fashion and culture. Living in Beacon Hill was a dream come true.

My heroine Miranda literally walks in my footsteps. In fact, her apartment on Charles Street, with its wrought iron fire escape looking out on the brick alley, is more or less based on the place I rented. The antique and bric-a-brac shop where she discovers Beatrice’s diary was a place I often browsed. Louisburg Square, where Beatrice’s home is located, is as elegant today as it was in her time.

I even threw in some of my favorite restaurants. Both Iruña and the Guernavaca Cafe are closed now, but when I lived in Boston, they were much as described in the book. The trendy sandwich bar across from Miranda’s building where she and Lucy have lunch is also based on a real place – and according to the Internet, it’s still in business!

Of course some of the book’s locations come purely from my imagination, like the Fantasy Factory sex club and the seedy bar down by the waterfront where Miranda plays billiards with the bikers. All in all, though, I shamelessly indulged myself while writing Incognito, recreating many happy memories.

I wonder if my readers can tell?

Incognito New Release Giveaway

Win a $10 bookstore GC or free books in my INCOGNITO giveaway. Contest runs from June 1 to June 15.

To enter, do any or all of the following. (Each action is one entry.)

o Join my VIP email list: https://btn.ymlp.com/xgjjhmhugmgh

o Follow me on BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lisabet-sarai

o Email me, telling me what book of mine you’d like to read:  contest@lisabetsarai.com

On June 16th, I will randomly select one grand-prize winner who’ll get a $10 gift certificate, plus two runner-ups who can choose any ebook from my indie back list.

THE STORY:

During the day, Miranda Cahill works diligently on her doctoral thesis. At night, she has sex with strangers.

Public coupling, multiple partners, age play, spankings, bondage, lesbian lust—each salacious adventure exposes new dimensions of her depravity. Her secret life explodes when she realizes her masked partner at a kink club and the charismatic colleague courting her are in fact the same man.

Dickens scholar Mark Anderson seems like an affable, uncomplicated Midwesterner, but he has hidden depths, myriad talents, and an unlimited appetite for erotic variety. With Mark as her guide,  Miranda comes to accept the intricacy of her own desires, as well as to trust her heart.

Reader Advisory: This novel is an erotic romance featuring a committed relationship and culminating in a wedding. Nevertheless, the main characters participate in a wide range of taboo sexual activities, both together and separately.

Buy Links

Kinky Literature: https://www.kinkyliterature.com/book/362-incognito-secret-lives-forbidden-loves

Amazon US:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B1N7CTMQ

Amazon UK:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0B1N7CTMQ

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/2940165857058

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1147874

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/incognito-secret-lives-forbidden-loves

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61138791-incognito

About Lisabet

Lisabet Sarai became addicted to words at an early age. She began reading when she was four. She wrote her first story at five years old and her first poem at seven. Since then, she has written plays, tutorials, scholarly articles, marketing brochures, software specifications, self-help books, press releases, a five-hundred page dissertation, and lots of erotica and erotic romance – over one hundred titles, and counting, in nearly every sub-genre—paranormal, scifi, ménage, BDSM, GLBT, and more. Regardless of the genre, every one of her stories illustrates her motto: Imagination is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

You’ll find information and excerpts from all Lisabet’s books on her website (http://www.lisabetsarai.com/books.html), along with more than fifty free stories and lots more. At her blog Beyond Romance (http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com), she shares her philosophy and her news and hosts lots of other great authors. She’s also on Goodreads, Pinterest, and  Twitter. Join her VIP email list here: https://btn.ymlp.com/xgjjhmhugmgh

EXCERPT___VICTORIAN

June 12, 1886

I scarcely know how to commence this account of my adventures and my sins. Indeed, I do not fully understand why I feel compelled to commit these things to writing. Clearly, my purpose is not to review and relive these experiences in the future, for in twenty minutes’ time these sentences will be invisible even to me. Perhaps in the years ahead, I will trail my fingers across the empty parchment, colored like flesh, and the memories will come alive without the words, coaxed from the pages by my touch like flames bursting from cold embers.

I have a secret life, another self, and that secret has become a burden that I clutch to myself, and yet would be relieved of. So, like the Japanese who write their deepest desires on slips of rice paper and then burn them, I write of secret joys and yearnings, and send that writing into oblivion.

Let me begin again. My name is Beatrice. The world sees me as poised, prosperous, respectable, wife of one of Boston’s leading merchants and industrialists, mother of two sweet children, lady of a fine brick house on fashionable Mount Vernon Street, with Viennese crystal chandeliers, Chinese porcelain, French velvet draperies, and Italian marble fireplaces. I devote myself to the education of my dear Daniel and Louisa, the management of my household, works of charity, cultural afternoons. In sum, the many and sundry details of maintaining oneself in proper society.

Though I have borne two children, I am still considered beautiful. Indeed, with my golden locks, fair skin, sapphire eyes and rosy lips, I am often compared to an angel. How little they know, those who so describe me. For in truth, I am depraved, wanton, and lecherous, so lost that I do not even regret my fall.

My husband is a kind, intelligent, and honorable man, for whom I have the deepest regard and affection. He treats me with the utmost consideration and respect; he rarely comes to my bed and when he does, he is profuse with apologies for his unfortunate lust. Alas, he hardly knows or understands me. I understand him to a much greater extent, enough to know that I must lie still and silent under him, not move or cry out as his manhood dances inside me. Everyone knows that for proper women, the rites of the flesh are a trial that must be endured; men are subject to carnal weakness, and women’s lot is to be the passive receptacle of their spending. This is what my husband believes. Knowing he believes this takes the fire from the moment, and makes it easier for me to play my frigid, compliant role.

I know better, though.

Today, I walked in Louisburg Square with Daniel, Louisa, and their nurse. The weather was glorious, sky of limpid blue sown with fluffy clouds, new leaves dancing in the breeze. My parasol raised against the sun, I did not see him until he was almost upon us.

He was of medium height, sumptuously attired, as fair-haired and blue-eyed as I. His mouth had a fullness that I liked, the look of someone who savors the sweet things in life, and a readiness to smile. As he swept off his hat and bowed, I noticed his hands, with long delicate fingers clad in beige kid gloves.

“Good afternoon, Madame,” he said courteously. “I trust that you and your children are enjoying this fine weather.”

Meanwhile, his eyes were sending me a different, more intimate message, which would have been lost on someone who was not sensitized to such things. There were no words in this message, only images, emotions, sensation, a quickening of breath, a heat, a tightening.

I am perpetually amazed at how we recognize each other, those of us who live beyond the pale of propriety. Is it some primal scent that we exude? Some subtle clue in posture or expression? Could it in fact be some spiritual connection, a mingling of thoughts in the ether? The mechanism is obscure to me, but I know the phenomenon only too well. I have sat in a concert hall with two hundred elegantly dressed, respectable members of proper society and found my eyes drawn to a single face in the balcony, a set of eyes that knew me, saw through my finery to the hungry flesh beneath.

“Good afternoon, Sir,” I said, my voice low and modest. “It is indeed fine, especially for so early in the season.”

“Of course, that may indicate that it will become hot sooner than usual.” The gentleman’s eyes sparkled with humor at his little private joke. Hot indeed, I thought to myself, adjusting my expression to signal some slight disapproval.

“I do not believe that I have the pleasure of your acquaintance, Sir,” I said.

“Forgive me for my lack of courtesy.” He reached into his waistcoat, withdrew a card and wrote something upon it. “Here is my card.”

“Thank you.” I examined the card. It was not, in fact, a visiting card, but a blank upon which he had inscribed the following few words:

Ten O’clock this evening    

No. __ Beacon Street         

With respect and hope,    

Charles Burnside

His name was unknown to me. Clearly he must be one of the many visitors to our prosperous city. I gave him my most luminous smile. “Perhaps we will meet again, Sir.” “I do hope so, Madame. Adieu for now.”

Author Naima Haviland is a master at mixing up genres

Please welcome Naima Haviland! Thanks for being with us today. First, would you tell us a bit about yourself? What area of the country do you live in, do you have a family, pets, etc.

Oh, thank you so much for inviting me! I just moved from the Florida panhandle back to the state of my birth, Pennsylvania. My father is a published poet who lives nearby in Pittsburgh, and we enjoy talking about the craft of writing. I live to serve two dogs named Mini and Beanie, and they answer to a cat named Yardcat.

Are you a coffee fiend, or do you have another “addiction” you must have on your desk at all times?

Music and a deck of cards. When inspiration strikes, I move my fingers from my solitaire game to the keyboard.

Is your education relevant to your writing, or have you branched off in something entirely different to create? How would you best describe your books?

Readers can expect immersive worlds and complex characters; however, my plots go in unexpected directions. I bend genres, cross genres, and mix them. Some of my novels could be called paranormal romances but they’re also definitely horror novels. I’ll mix vampires with folk magic and history; or modern gothic with erotica. Or I’ll start a short story as a romance and finish it as a time-traveling mystery. My fashion career influences my writing in that you always know what everyone’s wearing, and until recently, everyone looked like a model. But in my latest novel, which has been called a steampunk romance, the lovers have physical challenges you don’t usually see in a romance novel.

Tell us about your most recent publication.

The Name I Chose, is a novel of passion and peril set in an alternative Victorian England. Bold inventions usher in a new age, while genetic and cosmetic sciences reinforce an age-old class system. For the rich, immunity to disability and disease justifies their hold on power. Upper-class beauty, Philomena Paulson appears perfect but she has secrets only her disfigured music teacher, Mordecai Michaeleson, understands. Acceptance, trust, and a passion for music compose bonds of forbidden love between them. When chance discovery of Philomena’s darkest secret provokes an act of shocking violence, Mordecai is framed for the crime. In my latest novel, I manage to combine romance, a steampunk London, a criminal underworld, body positivity, and social justice. This creative journey was a wild ride for me, and I hope people enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

What inspired you to write this story? What interesting thing did you learn or research to write it that you didn’t know before?

The idea came in a story dream, which is just my brain entertaining me. This dream was about a naïve and disadvantaged young couple eloping in Victorian times. As the omniscient viewer, I knew the strangers chatting them up in a pub were bad news. I woke up before I could warn them. So I decided to write their story.

I brushed up on menswear in the gilded age. Ascot ties were in. Stock ties were relics of a bygone era. In The Name I Chose, an eccentric thug named Callum adopts vintage fashion as his signature style.

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today? Any special memories you have in the creation of it?

My earlier novels and my anthology are dark, and while I am proud of them, I’m excited by the lighthearted nature of The Name I Chose. There’s a refreshing optimism woven through this new novel, despite the dark intentions of its villains. My recent short stories hinted at a new direction in tone, but The Name I Chose is my first full length adventure embodying this playful spirit.

What do you most like about writing? Least like? When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

My elementary school teachers always told me to quit daydreaming and pay attention. Now that I’m a writer, I like most that I’m allowed to daydream! I wouldn’t say I like marketing the least, but it is the writing-related activity I’m least skilled at handling.

My friends knew I wanted to be an author before I did. Way back when we were still in braces and training bras, I used to write stories in the margins of their bibles during church.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Are there any writing websites you find particularly useful?

I belong to Pennwriters, a marvelous fellowship of writers in Pennsylvania. I subscribe to David Gaughran’s newsletter to stay abreast of indie publishing platforms and marketing. And I subscribe to The Book Designer’s newsletter to stay current on trends in production.

PENNWriters website: https://pennwriters.org/

David Gaughran’s blog:  https://davidgaughran.com/blog/

The Book Designer’s website: https://www.thebookdesigner.com/about/

Is there any special music you like to listen to while writing? How does it inspire you?

I just disappear into the world the music evokes and let my imagination fly around. For instance, when writing The Name I Chose, I listened to the soundtrack of Peaky Blinders to get into scenes that involve the criminal elements in the story.

Do you belong to a critique group? What do you find most valuable about the experience?

A chapter of Pennwriters meets monthly and there’s a related Pennwriters group that meets weekly. Attending critique groups allows fresh perspective into my process.

To encourage those still on the path, tell us a little about your path to publication. How many books have you published? How many books did you write before selling one? What do you think was the key to selling that first book?

The key was persistence. Like tennis, I’d serve the ball and publishers would lob it back. This game went on for a few years until a small press accepted my first manuscript. To date, I’ve self-published three novels, an anthology, and several short stories. Quality is the key to indie success, because it takes a well-written, well-edited, beautifully-designed book to satisfy readers – they are the rightful gatekeepers to acceptance in the book world.

What are you writing now? What’s next for you—will you be making personal appearances anywhere our readers can find you?


My next novel will be a paranormal story set during World War I, told through the eyes of an American soldier. I’m scheduling in-person and online appearances now. Readers can invite me to present to their group via my Facebook page. That’s also the best place to find out where I’ll appear next.

Anything else you would like to add?

PL Travers, the author of Mary Poppins, believed that ideas floated independently, searching for the person who would actualize them. I like to think an idea could choose any one of us, any time, if we just keep our minds and hearts open. We are all creative.

Bio: Naima Haviland writes novels and short stories in various genres, from dark fantasy to light romance. She takes as inspiration the Southeast United States, including the Florida panhandle, an ocean paradise with a not-too-distant past full of eccentrics, explorers, pirates, ghosts, and UFOs.

Website: https://www.naimahaviland.com/

Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/Books.by.Naima.Haviland

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/naimahaviland

Twitter: @naimahaviland

Instagram and Pinterest: naimahaviland

EDITOR’S NOTE: I’ve read THE NAME I CHOSE and give it five stars–don’t miss this one, readers!

A small shoebox holds big secrets

  • WELCOME, LYNN GRIFFIN!!

Please tell us, what do you write?

The Twenty-One-Year Contract is a standalone, just like its prequel Secrets, Shame, and a Shoebox. Both are 20th Century Fiction>romance>drama>crime>mystery>suspense. I didn’t realize when I started out, but generally I write romance, filled with characters that have something to say and plot lines that are real life. What happened in history still happens today. I aim to expose that fact.

Do you believe that characters are the most important part of your stories?

Characters wake me up in the middle of the night shouting “hey listen to me, I’ve got something to say, come on write it down!” How can I possibly ignore them? Their stories about strong women, courage, and survival. They are real, honest, hardworking. Though of course some are not so much. There’s always the villain that everyone loves to hate.

Then there’s those who read my books and tell me something that makes my day. One said, after reading Secrets, Shame, and a Shoebox, “I’m so glad Harriet was fired from her job. At least she didn’t have to put up with that dreadful employer!” Another person said, “I hated that CJ. What a monster!” My heart sang. It’s such a compliment and so heartwarming to know that they’ve enjoyed my book. It means that I have done my job. What more can I ask? I’m truly humbled to think my stories provoke thought and emotion.

What’s the fun part of writing and why?

I love the way the characters grab me by the hand and lead me along paths I could never have dreamed of. They tell me what they want to say, and what’s going to happen next. Who would have thought it? I love that, and I love them. They are survivors, though they don’t see themselves that way, they sure are!

Why did you write The Twenty-One-Year Contract that you’re talking about today? 

I’m an observer of life. Like most writers I imagine, and I’ve been fortunate travel and to have worked alongside and taught some amazing people. Those I taught in return taught me. I’ve admired their strength of character, their courage, and will to live. I learned so much from them it has been astounding. Both my published books are standalone.

Then there are those coincidences. How many times have you been on holiday and bumped into someone you know in a far-flung country? Or met someone that you knew as a child and found lived for years just a stone’s throw away? What are the chances? But they’ve happened to me. I bet they have happened to you, or maybe you know someone who has talked their experiences anecdotally at a party or over coffee.

What’s the most difficult part of writing and why?

Okay, well let’s get down to brass tacks. Finding time and that difficult word: Marketing! For me it’s a real issue unless you are a natural born salesperson, which I am not. Some people can sell snow to the Inuit’s!  I’ve never been good at bragging about myself, and that’s what it feels like. Selling my brand, telling everyone I’m great, my books are great. Go out and buy my book. Really, that’s not me. I’m shy enough as it is! But that would be wonderful if you did buy my book. Thank you.

Marketing can also be expensive, not only in time but money, and of course it stops me doing what I love to do most. Writing stories.

My sincere thanks go to every reader who has or is considering buying my book.  Without you lovely readers, writers wouldn’t be needed. So, thank you from the very bottom of my heart.

How do you get to know your readers? What do you learn from your readers?

Reviews are brilliant. They tell a story. I learn from that and thank them for their valuable time and effort and those who share their kind thoughts in other ways.

I also blog. I offer simple writing suggestions for budding authors and share what I’ve learned along the way.

I offer to host authors, new and experienced to give my readers a chance to see who else is out there and share their thoughts.

If there’s anything else I think might be of interest, I post again on social media. And I get a real buzz to hear back from them. However, here comes an apology with regard to my blog. www.wifeinthewest.com because I have temporarily stopped responding to my readership. Why? Because unfortunately I have had over a 1000 scams/trolls ruining perfectly good dialogue my readers, with genuine questions. I take hours to read through messages to weed out the good from the bad. I’ve begun with a clean-up program, hopefully that will resolve the issue.

Oh, and I’ve also recently listed my recent up to date program on my blog so readers knew what is available, rather than them having to trawl through every post.

Kathleen Gray is our central character of The Twenty-One-Year Contract. Kate, as she is now known, agreed I could ask her a question for this blog. I think I floored her when I did. It was difficult for her I have to admit.

“In a nutshell Kate, why did you run away?” Kate gave me such a look.

“In a nutshell?” Her eyes watered, I felt guilty for asking, but she plowed on ever the determined character she is. “I think you know the answer to that, but honestly, I wanted to find my birth mother. But then of course there was Uncle Jack. I absolutely adore him.  Since my parents died… he had to take care of me… I knew he needed to get on with his own life. He needed to settle down, get married, have a family of his own. He couldn’t do that with me hanging around.”

                                                ***

Dorian Craddock is a secondary character in The Twenty-One-Year Contract. She’s pure evil, but in my opinion, she shines out as one of those people you love to hate. I thought I’d push one of her buttons to get a response. 

“Dorian, I think you owe an answer to our readers as to why you feel the need to be so mean to so many people.” I handed her the mic. And started typing furiously.

“I owe the readers an answer, do I? Seriously? Who do you think you are, pushing me about, asking me to tell the readers about my business? Really, I’m mean? Besides, you know full well Harriet and Kate got everything they deserved! It could have been so much worse.” She gave me one of those sly smiles.  “Read the dialogue, read between the lines. You wrote it. I’m owed plenty, as you well know, and I’m going to get what I deserve.”

(Little does she know!)

Tagline: Only a simple shoebox, but full of secrets…

Blurb: Kathleen Gray—talented, a little wild, at times rebellious, but always popular—has a fun, easy life in rural Somerset, with a doting family.

Suddenly, they are gone, everything is changed, and she has only Uncle Jack. Try as he might, he cannot be father and mother to her—he has a business to run and his own life to manage.

Kathleen takes a chance and becomes Kate Westfield, fending for herself in London, with a new life built on her hopes and dreams and new friends. She could hardly have imagined that one of those friends has a shoebox full of answers.

SNIPPET FROM The Twenty-One-Year Contract

‘After a glass of water, Jack made himself a cup of tea and returned to the job in hand. This was going to be much harder than he could ever have imagined. Working deep through the night, Jack methodically sifted through volumes of paperwork until light inched its way through the curtain. Though he felt thoroughly ready for bed, he continued searching, his aim to find at least a smidgen of information about his niece. Randomly tidying up as he went, Jack noticed an encyclopedia oddly extended over one of the top shelves. He tried pushing it back into place. It was jammed. It looked awkward. Pulling it out to check the depth of the book, he found a box file hidden behind. Upon the side panel was one word, capitalized in thick bold lettering: KATHLEEN As the hazy sunlight grew, puzzled, Jack pulled the curtains to lend natural light, took the file off the shelf, sat back in Henry’s chair, and looked inside…’

BIO:

I’ve been happily married for 46 years and lucky enough to be surrounded by my lovely family. I’m lucky to be a grandmother of 5 and had plans to trek the world when we retired. But that was put on hold for good reason. We were in Spain when the invisible big bad wolf arrived (Covid). It changed so many lives,  forever.

Going back in history, I was told I was thick at school. No-one should ever do that, not to anyone. I’ve always had this notion I wanted teach and write, and I did, even though I came out of school with nothing. Just goes to show if I can do it anyone can!

Potted history: Married, two children and did a wide range of jobs: from cleaner, to barmaid, to secretary, to social worker and eventually got my certificates and became a lecturer. Nothing stopped me writing though. It’s a passion. I always wrote around the full-time paid job. Well, the bills don’t pay themselves do they?

When I eventually retired, my husband and I decided to travel.  I still didn’t have the confidence to submit my work. If it hadn’t been for a a couple of good friends and my husband with a: ‘do it before you pop your clogs mate,’ I don’t think I ever would have been in this wonderful position now. I couldn’t believe it when I was offered the contract! Pinch me!

Available now Secrets, shame and a Shoebox / Sequel: The Twenty-One-Year Contract.

Reviews can be found on Amazon, Waterstones, Barnes & Noble, Bookbub, Goodreads, and the books can be ordered at all good book stores near you.

5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping drama

VINE VOICE

5.0 out of 5 stars VINE VOICE: A poignant, disturbing and heart-warming page-turner

  1. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0971T3RGC
  2. https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0971T3RGC
  3. Website: Blog: www.wifeinthewest.com
  4. www.facebook.com/lynngriffinauthor
  5. www.instagram.com/lynngriffinauthoruk/
  6. www://twitter.com/LBGriffinAuthor/
  7.  Title: The Twenty-One-Year Contract
    Series Name: Prequel to Secrets, Shame, and a Shoebox
    20th Century Historical fiction> romance>mystery>suspense
    Page Count: 382
    Word Count: 86297
    Digital Price: $5.99
    Print Price: $18.99

Good men or bad boys…? How can the heart choose? #MFRWHooks

Tamsyn McKiernan thinks her dreams have come true. She’s engaged to a dashing Key West bachelor and finally in her widowed father’s good graces. But in her heart, she knows something’s wrong. She loves the ocean and the quiet pleasures of nature—so what does the aristocratic life she’ll lead truly hold for her? 

Mercenary captain Drake Ashton is neck deep in preparations for the Spanish-American War, running guns and other supplies to Cuban natives who want out from under their Spanish masters. He and his brother Freddie risk their lives daily, focused on saving his friends on the island. Nothing else matters but his mission.

A chance encounter with a spiny sea urchin brings the two together, and neither of their lives will ever be the same again.

Buy Links

Ebooks  https://www.amazon.com/Prophecies-Promises-Alana-Lorens-ebook/dp/B09THTHV6H/ref=sr_1_5?qid=1647885952&refinements=p_27%3AAlana+Lorens&s=digital-text&sr=1-5&text=Alana+Lorens

Paperback – https://www.amazon.com/Prophecies-Promises-Alana-Lorens/dp/1509241442/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1647885952&sr=1-5

B&N https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/prophecies-and-promises-alana-lorens/1141068092?ean=9781509241446

Tags: #sweetromance, #pirates, #KeyWest, #SpanishAmericanWar, #badboy

Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFWs54EUJeU

Excerpt:

It would be better if Drake was happy for Tamsyn’s good fortune. She’d not want for anything material as the wife of Winslow—no doubt, a beautiful house and gardens, a fine carriage, a husband whose future was financially secure.

His own fortunes lay along a much different path.

If Drake were to be caught by the Spaniards, it wasn’t likely he’d live to be tried for the crime back on the mainland. The Spanish were known for their quick tempers and sharp swords. The mercenary trade paid him well, for now, and if the buzzing rumors he’d heard on the Pickham veranda were true, war would come within the year. Guns were a prime commodity in time of war. He always carried rum when he returned from the islands, of course, and sugar and tropical fruits, to cover his real motives. He had not been interdicted yet. As young men often did, he played the odds and planned to beat them.

For the first time, however, that focus was shaken by thoughts of this woman.

What distinguished Tamsyn MacKiernan from the other women he’d met in a hundred different ports? Drake couldn’t put his finger on it. He just knew she appealed to his heart in a way that possessed him. She held an intriguing blend of strength and vulnerability, stomach ironclad in the face of blood yet timid as a lost waif left alone in the midst of the ball. He wanted to know her better.

But she was to be married. Even if he had been able to marry her, even though he had a proper home with a hired woman to maintain it, it was nothing compared with the empire Winslow would command in a few years. Drake knew he had no business thinking Tamsyn might prefer a lonely pirate to the golden boy.

Damnation!

https://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=306568

Start the countdown–May 30!

It’s official–PROPHECIES AND PROMISES releases May 30!

 Tamsyn McKiernan thinks her dreams have come true. She’s engaged to a dashing Key West bachelor and finally in her widowed father’s good graces. But in her heart, she knows something’s wrong. She loves the ocean and the quiet pleasures of nature—so what does the aristocratic life she’ll lead truly hold for her?

Mercenary captain Drake Ashton is neck deep in preparations for the Spanish-American War, running guns and other supplies to Cuban natives who want out from under their Spanish masters. He and his brother Freddie risk their lives daily, focused on saving his friends on the island. Nothing else matters but his mission.

A chance encounter with a spiny sea urchin brings the two together, and neither of their lives will ever be the same again.

The book will be available from The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and the usual indie stores by special order.

Story process–from author Julie Howard

Authors talk a lot about being a “pantser” or a “plotter,” two schools of story process that involves how they write a novel. Do they write “by the seat of their pants,” diving into a blank page without a particular plan and allowing the story to develop organically one scene at a time? Or do they write an outline, either broad or detailed, with the ending well thought out before they even write the first word?

I definitely fall into that second category. I am a planner by nature. When I travel, I have already Googled the place extensively and have a list of historical sites and even restaurants I’d like to visit. I hate the idea I might miss something!

Writing an outline first helps, too, with the overall story arc. When I wrote my first book, I found myself a bit stuck in the middle. The plot started to drag. While I knew where I wanted the story to end up, I wasn’t sure how to keep the story interesting until I got there. I learned that if I wrote at least a brief outline with highlights of each chapter, I would get the tough work done early and this would also help me avoid writer’s block. Every morning, when I sat down to write, I knew what the next scene would be about.

Does this take the spontaneity out of writing? Not at all! I use the outline just as a guide. Most of the time, the story changes as I write. The characters I create demand that the plot move in a different direction. I frequently adjust the outline and keep moving forward. In my first novel, I even changed the murderer in my second draft as the original version didn’t make sense.

In my new release, The Three Widows of Wylder, the plot shifted somewhat from the first outline, but stuck fairly close all the way through. I didn’t feel bound to the original idea but I liked how it worked. I hope readers enjoy it too!

The Three Widows of Wylder

Tagline: Three women. Three terrible secrets.

Blurb:

Three women on the run.

After the death of her husband, Clara flees a hanging judge and seeks refuge with her brother in Wylder, Wyoming.

With secrets of her own and good reasons to flee, spoiled and vain Mary Rose joins Clara on the trek to Wyoming. Surely a suitable man exists somewhere.

Emma is a mystery. A crack shot and expert horsewoman, her harrowing past seeps out in a steady drip. She’s on the run from something, but what?

After the three women descend on Wylder, a budding romance leads to exposure of their pasts. As disaster looms, will any of them escape?

Excerpt:

Emma stood, legs apart, one hand on the pistol at her hip. The covered wagon was the type used years ago by pioneers, before trains tamed the prairie, and they still lumbered across areas where tracks hadn’t been laid. Two women sat side-by-side, too focused on their argument to yet notice the camp they entered. Their one horse, overmatched by the heavy wagon, was damp with sweat, its mouth flecked with froth.

“We should have stayed on the main road.” The peevish one appeared much younger, curly gold hair topped by a large straw hat. She wore a light-yellow dress with lace at her wrists and throat, a perfectly inadequate outfit for travel. “Someone could have provided directions.”

The older woman had finely-drawn features, a few strands of gray threaded through her dark, uncovered hair. Dressed in sensible blue calico, she gripped the reins too tight and the poor horse gave a pathetic shake of its head. “The whole point was to avoid people,” she sniped.

Emma strode forward and seized the reins. “For God’s sake, you’re killing him.”

The two women gaped as though at an apparition. The horse, released from harsh hands, lowered its head and halted. Its sides heaved as flies drank at its sweaty flanks.

“Whomever let you two fools handle a horse should be whipped.” Tempted to dispatch the women to hell for their cruelty, Emma rested her hand on the pistol’s handle.

They two travelers spoke in tandem. “Who are you?” and “How dare you call me a fool.”

As Emma crooned into in the horse’s ear, her expert fingers undid the buckles at its shoulders and haunches. By the time the older of the two women climbed to the ground, the horse was unhitched and Emma led it to the creek.

“That’s our horse,” cried the one in yellow. “Clara, what is that insane girl doing? She’s stealing him.”

Emma halted, shoulders stiff. She turned and pointed the pistol at the one with lace at her throat. “I’m no horse thief.” She cocked the hammer. “Apologize.”

About the author:

Julie Howard is the author of the Wild Crime mystery series and Spirited Quest paranormal mystery series. She is a former journalist and editor who has covered topics ranging from crime to cowboy poetry. She is a member of the Idaho Writers Guild and editor of the Potato Soup Journal. Learn more at juliemhoward.com.

Website: http://juliemhoward.com

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/juliemhowardauthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18116047.Julie_Howard

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Julie-Howard/e/B07D6CS4NQ/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/julie-howard?list=author_books

Twitter: https://twitter.com/_JulieMHoward

Follow her on Instagram: @authorjuliehoward

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Three-Widows-Wylder-West-ebook/

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-three-widows-of-wylder/id1585169665

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-three-widows-of-wylder-julie-howard/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/the-three-widows-of-wylder-the-wylder-west-by-julie-howard

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58903448-the-three-widows-of-wylder

Wild Rose Pass: an adventure in learning for the author

Readers, please welcome author Karen Hulene Bartell!

Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog. It’s a pleasure to be here!
Writing Wild Rose Pass was a stretch for me because I’d never written in the Frontier, Western, or Historical genres before—no ghosts and nothing paranormal. Adding to my dilemma, the timeline was 1880 Texas, so every phrase they spoke, every idiom they used, every food they ate, every dress and uniform they wore, as well as the roles they played, all had to be double-checked for historical accuracy. Writing it was slow going.

And although romance is always a part of my novels, I’d never written a true “Romance” before, so I had to learn how to write from two points of view and speak in both the heroine’s and hero’s voices. With few exceptions, I’d always written from the female POV. Suddenly, I had to give equal time to a male POV, often in the same scene—but from the other’s perspective.

I learned how women and men communicate differently. Men are more concise in their speech. An article in The Guardian noted that the male brain is more visual-spatial and better adapted to mathematics, while the female brain is more adept at communication. A BBC post by Claudia Hammond stated that women speak 20,000 words per day compared to men’s 7,000 words per day—men prefer action to talk.

Because the men in Wild Rose Pass were officers in the cavalry, accustomed to giving orders, I wrote their dialogue in short, terse bursts, using simple subject-verb sentences. Additionally, the hero Ben had been raised by Comanches, who taught him that “Men keep their own counsel” and “Men don’t whine.” Trained to keep his thoughts to himself, he spoke guardedly, even when he wanted to express himself.
Besides those restraints, Ben had no formal schooling. Self-taught, he felt embarrassed about his lack of education—especially when compared to the heroine, who had attended school out East. With his feelings of inadequacy, he chose his words carefully, even when he “opened up.”

Despite my learning curve, I enjoyed writing Wild Rose Pass and had fun getting into the Old West mindset. Maybe it reminded me of the old Westerns I used to watch as a kid ��

Blurb:

Cadence McShane, free-spirited nonconformist, yearns to escape the rigid code, clothes, and sidesaddles of 1880s military society in Fort Davis, Texas. She finds the daring new lieutenant exhilarating, but as the daughter of the commanding officer, she is expected to keep with family tradition and marry West Point graduate James West.

Orphaned, Comanche-raised, and always the outsider looking in, Ben Williams yearns to belong. Cadence embodies everything he craves, but as a battlefield-commissioned officer with the Buffalo Soldiers instead of a West Point graduate, he is neither accepted into military society nor considered marriageable.

Can two people of different worlds, drawn together by conflicting needs, flout society and forge a life together on the frontier?

Excerpt:

Reining his horse between catclaw and prickly-pear cactus, Ben Williams squinted at the late summer sun’s low angle. Though still midafternoon, shadows lengthened in the mountains. He clicked his tongue, urging his mare up the incline. “Show a little enthusiasm, Althea. If we’re not in Fort Davis by sunset, we’ll be bedding down with scorpions and rattlesnakes.”

As his detachment’s horses clambered up Wild Rose Pass, the only gap through west Texas’ rugged Davis Mountains, Ben kept alert for loose rocks or hidden roots, anything that might trip his mount. A thick layer of fallen leaves created a pastiche of color shrouding the trail from view. He glanced up at the lithe cottonwood trees lining the route, their limbs dancing in the breeze. More amber and persimmon leaves loosened, fell, and settled near the Indian pictographs on their tree trunks.

When he saw the red- and yellow-ochre drawings, he smiled, recalling the canyon’s name—Painted Comanche Camp.

“How far to Fort Davis, lieutenant?” called McCurry, one of his recruits.

“Three hours.” If we keep a steady pace.

Without warning, the soldier’s horse whinnied. Spooking, it reared on its hind legs, threw its rider, and galloped off.

As he sat up, the man groaned, caught his breath, and stared into the eyes of a coiled rattler, poised to strike. “What the…?” Flicking its tongue, hissing, tail rattling, the pit viper was inches from the man’s face.

A sheen of sweat appeared above the man’s lip. “Lieutenant—”

 

Buy Links:

 Amazon eBook

Amazon Paperback

Barnes & Noble NOOK Book

Barnes & Noble Paperback

 About the Author:

Author of the Trans-Pecos, Sacred Emblem, Sacred Journey, and Sacred Messenger series, Karen is a best-selling author, motivational keynote speaker, wife, and all-around pilgrim of life. She writes multicultural, offbeat love stories that lift the spirit. Born to rolling-stone parents who moved annually, Bartell found her earliest playmates as fictional friends in books. Paperbacks became her portable pals. Ghost stories kept her up at night—reading feverishly. The paranormal was her passion. Westerns spurred her to write (pun intended). Wanderlust inherent, Karen enjoyed traveling, although loathed changing schools. Novels offered an imaginative escape. An only child, she began writing her first novel at the age of nine, learning the joy of creating her own happy endings. Professor emeritus of the University of Texas at Austin, Karen resides in the Hill Country with her husband Peter and her “mews”—three rescued cats and a rescued *Cat*ahoula Leopard dog.

Connect with Karen:

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Website

Email

Passarinho and the Highlander

Passarinho and the Highlander:
Adventures in Love and War
by Fran Connor
Genre: Historical Romantic Adventure
A privileged young woman in 1730s Boston sets out on an adventure to rescue her father from a debtor’s prison in Jamaica. A dashing Scottish soldier offers to help her in return for her help in exposing a traitor.
Shipwreck, spies, murder, war and a rival for the Highlander’s affections combine to thwart her mission.
She finds the darker side of life in the Caribbean is a far cry from her sheltered upbringing. To survive and succeed in her rescue she must adapt and, on the way, she discovers a secret about herself that could have disastrous consequences for her future.
Buy or download now through Kindle Unlimited and enjoy this gripping Romantic Adventure with a flawed heroine.
I live in SW France for the lifestyle after a career in a UK Police Force. I have six published novels, three more in the pipeline and six plays that have been produced on stage. My screenplays portfolio contains seven feature length scripts with one about to go into production.
I write mainly Historical Fiction but I do other genres too. I don’t do cop stories, I had enough of the real thing.
$50 Amazon gift card
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!