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

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!

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.

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.

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