With the proliferation of WWII novels, I had the urge to write a story of forbidden love. An Englishwoman stranded in France under the occupation, her past dealings with relationships a disaster. And a German Commandant who loathes Hitler’s policies, a recent widower who is caught by surprise at his attraction to the young woman. How do they work out their differences? Can they find love in the middle of war? Norah must face the retribution of the villagers. August must find a way to ruin a dangerous weapon to undermine the Reich.
I’ve always loved writing and putting my characters in difficult situations. This one was a challenge. How to make a German officer a sympathetic character. According to my critique partners, I’ve succeeded. But can they have a happy ending?
To make my story in Brittany, France realistic, I recommend this book.
Hitler’s Gateway to the Atlantic, by Lars Hellwinkell, 2014
Unwed and pregnant, Norah Cooper flees England to hide with her cousin in Brittany just before Germany’s 1940 invasion of France. After her baby is stillborn, she’s trapped under the Occupation as war expands across Europe. Norah grieves and consoles herself by sketching wildlife. When she’s caught too near the coast, she comes under scrutiny of the German commandant, Major August von Gottlieb.
August loathes what Hitler is doing to his country and France but is duty-bound to control the people in his jurisdiction. The lively young Englishwoman piques his interest. Is she a spy? He questions her and asks her to sketch his portrait so he might uncover the truth.
Soon, their relationship evolves into a passion neither of them can deny. She endures taunts from the villagers. His superiors warn him of not being harsh enough—he could be transferred or worse. He plans to sabotage a major war machine of the Reich, while she secretly helps the Resistance. Both acts are fraught with danger while kept secret from one another. Will their love ruin her and end in heartbreak? Or will they overcome the odds and survive the surging threats on all sides?
Norah balled her hands, tears welling in her eyes. “I see the reasoning, the rules of war. But I have all this anger and sorrow I don’t know what to do with.”
August clasped her upper arms as if to keep her from running off. “I understand your misery. However, it was my responsibility.”
“Why did it have to happen?” She pressed a fist against his chest. “I know, that’s rhetorical. But I’m—”
“I wish it hadn’t. I really do, though the outcome was inevitable given the sentry’s death. And if Kerguelen hadn’t bragged about the shooting.” August kissed her forehead. “Ma cherie, please understand.”
“I can’t forgive what this war has done to us all.” She pushed at him with the heel of her hand, but not overly hard.
“This war has torn apart the world. We are in a storm, trying to be normal.” He traced a finger under her chin. “I missed you.”
“I…missed you.” She thumped her knuckles on his collarbone. “Dammit. My instincts are a mess. And I’m caught between two worlds.”
“You’re in an untenable position. Don’t let this tragedy change what we have.” He rubbed his thumb over her cheek and opened the summerhouse’s back door. “Let’s go inside.”
“Everyone… The villagers, my cousins. I’m condemned, marked as your woman.”
Diane Parkinson (Diane Scott Lewis) grew up near San Francisco, joined the Navy at nineteen, married in Greece and raised two sons in Puerto Rico, California, and Guam. She’s a member of the Historical Novel Society and wrote book reviews for their magazine. She’s always loved travel and history and has had several historical novels published.
Diane lives with her husband and one naughty dachshund in western Pennsylvania.
Delia loves her life at the lodge but when an email arrives threatening her happiness, she vows to fight to protect her children. Hoping her ex won’t follow through with his threats, she confides her concerns to a local cop and her brother’s best friend Noah.
Noah has loved Delia from afar for a long time. But he knows she’s off limits because she’s Max’s little sister. So, when she asks for his help, he puts his love on the back burner to find her kidnapped twin girls and put her ex-husband behind bars.
“Do you still have your lawyer from the divorce?”
“No. She retired and moved to Florida a couple years ago. I have to find a new one.”
“We have a good one we deal with. I think he has a woman in his office who handles family law. I’ll get the number for you.” Gigi wrapped her arm around Delia’s shoulders. “And you know that we’re all here for you. Nothing is going to happen to you and those girls.” She frowned at Delia. “How long has this been going on? And why haven’t you told me about it before today?”
“The harassment started two days ago. I didn’t want to bother anyone with his nonsense. But he started getting nastier yesterday.”
“So why now? What changed?”
Delia shrugged and stared out at the scenery. “I don’t know. Something obviously did, but I have no idea what.” She let her head rest on Gigi’s shoulder, fighting the tears. “Thank you.” She broke away and stood straight. “Enough about my effing ex. Now, about the Spring Fling.”
What inspired the story: That’s probably the hardest question to answer.
Did you ever have a character surprise you? Yes. All the time. I think they’re going to do one thing and…there they go, off on some tangent I never had in mind. And it usually works out better.
Who is your favorite character and why? It depends on the story I’m writing. In one of my books, “Revenge Among the Stars”, SAMI, the AI, was actually my favorite character because he’s so…human. He’s a computer with attitude. In another (a fantasy with dragons), Crumb is my favorite. In another book, it will be someone else. Each book has someone I love. Someone who will stick in my mind.
What was your funniest moment as an author? Weird as it may sound, a vacation I took with my family to the ocean. I was in the middle of creating the world for another book and just couldn’t figure out the landscape, so, my kids and I sat on the beach and built a world out of sand, kind of like the guy in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”. We built mountains and rivers, towns, everything. People looked at us kind of funny, but it all worked out. The kids and I had a ball and I got my world built. I took pictures of it all to take home before the tide washed it away.
What do you find more challenging about writing than you expected? Two things: the actual writing and the promotions. I have a ton of stories in my head, but actually sitting down and putting them on paper is often a challenge. There are some days when the words just won’t come. When you stare at the blank screen and wonder what the heck you’re going to write that’s new and different and exciting. If you’re not careful, you can become jaded after a while. And then there’s promoting your books and yourself. For a strong introvert like me who doesn’t travel, this can be the hardest thing in the world to do. But it’s necessary.
Are you a pantser or a plotter: A little of both. I don’t plot the entire story out, but I know where I’m starting and where it’s going and a little of what happens in the middle. It’s a very loose sort of plotting.
How do you start work on a book? I get an idea and come up with a main character. Then I interview that character using a journalistic approach: Who are you? What happened? Where did it happen? Why did it happen? How did it happen? When did it happen? And so on. Once I have those questions answered, I can write the story.
How do you decide on a character’s name? That’s a hard one for me. It has to have meaning of some sort. I have lists of names (and their meanings) that I often fit to the character. One thing is certain, I cannot write the story until I know their names. And once I settle on a name, it doesn’t change.
What authors have inspired you? A lot. Robert Heinlein, Anne McCaffrey, Linnea Sinclair, David Eddings, Kathleen Woodiwiss—I could go on forever. I read a wide variety of books that are not limited to just romances. I pretty much read everything except horror—and maybe “literary” books like Faulkner (read him, didn’t care for him). Not my thing. But science fiction, romance, fantasy, mystery, etc. You name it, I read it. You can even go farther back and add in Nancy Drew books, Shakespeare, the Greek tragedies… and more.
Which genre is your favorite? In line with the answer above, I can’t pin down an exact favorite. But if I had to say something, I’d say probably cozy mysteries and romantic comedies (any era) in the style of Sandra Hill or a good futuristic like Susan Grant and Linnea Sinclair. I like a little tongue-in-cheek humor when I read. Something that makes me smile. But they all have to have a HEA.
What time of day do you feel most creative? Very early in the morning. I’m definitely a morning person—I’m usually up around five or five-thirty (with no alarm clock) and use that time before my husband is up to write and work. The dark hours before dawn are the best time of day for me. But don’t ask me to do anything after 9:30 p.m. Not going to happen. 😊
When you’re having a problem with a book, what do you do to solve it? I have an amazing group of writing friends. We call ourselves the Boot Squad because we kick each other’s butts if we’re not getting the work done. Of the five of us, two are my best friends and I can turn to either one of them for brainstorming. They are my worst critics and my best supporters. I’d never be able do what I do without them.
When is your book scheduled for release? April 17, 2023
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
As her alter-ego, Vicky has multiple homes all over the universe. She looks human – for the most part – but when she starts writing about characters being able to move things or flicking fire from their fingertips, or changing the course of rivers, people tend to get a little freaked out. She found the one guy out there in the universe who loves her for who she is and they’ve been together forever and raised four wonderful (now) adults. Her career includes work as a technical writer/editor, a stringer for the local newspaper, and an editor and copy editor for various publishers. At various times in her life, she has been a teacher, a secretary, a short-order cook, a computer specialist, a DJ, and a librarian. When not editing or writing, she can be found in the kitchen creating gluten free goodies for her family.
Levi Bradshaw grew up among these trees, and some feel like old friends. That’s why he risks incarceration and worse with his small band of eco-warriors, putting nails and spikes in the trees so loggers won’t cut them down. His group is made up of many young men, and he takes responsibility for every one, mentoring them into a force to be reckoned with.
It seemed harmless enough, until some other folk joined his little group, others with ties to the larger white supremacist, Patriot movement in western Montana and Idaho. Ron Ranning was their ringleader, and he seemed determined to turn Levi’s small protest into another Ruby Ridge.
Unfortunately, Levi doesn’t have a lot of backup. His parents bought this huge old house, intending to make it into a bed and breakfast for the winter ski crowd in Whitefish and surrounding vacation spots, but they both passed before they could make the dream come true. Levi’s brother Zane bailed after their parents’ death, going to law school and establishing himself in California. Levi’s best friend in the group, Alex Sullivan, had disappeared, and Levi was on his own.
His consulting work manages to keep him afloat, and he’s finishing the house bit by bit as he gets jobs. His companions there are Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern, a pair of Rhodesian Ridgeback brothers who have grown up with him, and a pointer named Ophelia, who he rescued after someone injured her on the road outside his house.
Things are only beginning to swerve out of control when his group is targeted by the Bureau of Land Management, which oversees the national forests and gives permission for logging interests to cut trees. The monkeywrenching Levi’s been doing is against the law, and he knows it’s only a matter of time before they catch up with him.
What he doesn’t expect is the arrival of Caryn Orlane, the BLM officer who finds them at work one afternoon. A mutual staredown at gunpoint is a rough introduction, but he comes to see she actually understands what he’s doing. They both agree the more violent agenda of the Patriot group is something that should be dealt with first.
Levi is attacked by his own people, and realizes he needs Caryn, first as an ally, then as a lover. When she joins him, things only get worse on every side. As the death and destruction spiral, the two wonder if there is a way to survive the madness, and how they can uphold the law and still remain together. If not, they’ll lose each other forever.
Here’s the story:
Caryn Orlane has law enforcement in her blood; her father was a cop, and his father, too. She’s a federal agent in northwest Montana, protecting the old forests and keeping the peace.
Levi Bradshaw also believes in protecting the forests, but has a very different MO. He’s the leader of a group of eco-warriors, determined to save the trees of the Bitterroot by legal—and illegal—means.
When they meet in the woods at gunpoint, their encounter ignites a spark of interest, despite operating on opposite sides of the law. When their worlds turn on them, they only grow closer. If they don’t work together, can either survive?
She needed a husband to get rid of her boyfriend. The grump obliged.
Sometimes the only way to end a relationship is to jump right into a new one. But when Shanae married Bo for just that reason, she found herself trapped with the town grump. Will she ever get on his good side? This novella is a warning to all those who like small towns for a romantic weekend trip only. Don’t marry the local guy. The one who makes you want to stay.
Anyone At Hand is the second book in Ella Braeme’s Married in Windfall series. It has all the charms of a small town romance, with a marriage of convenience and a delicious grump. If you like the small town vibe with a little heat, then you’ll love Anyone At Hand.
Are you ready for this? Alana Lorens will have a new book out later this year, REMNANTS OF FIRE. Check out this new cover!
Here’s the quick story:
A bad divorce, a broken heart, a need to begin again.
These three things propel reporter Sara Woods to leave her comfortable position working for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and take the first news job that comes along, working as the new reporter for small-town Ohio’s Ralston Courier. Ralston is a sleepy little town that doesn’t seem to have much to offer this big-city girl, but her very first assignment is to investigate a dead body, a young woman found half-frozen on the side of a country road.
But soon the story on this body ties in with others, and she finds herself scrambling to come up with a common link among the dead other than the fact that they’re all young women Sara’s age.
Still recovering from a previous auto accident and struggling with chronic pain, she becomes a patient at the Goldstone Clinic, a local mecca of healing.
But all is not as it seems at the Goldstone, its doctors and nurses are all the picture of perfect beauty and health. Patients at the clinic first seem to get better, then they deteriorate. Sara enlists the help of Dr. Rick Paulsen, a doctor at the city hospital who shares her concern about the deaths of the young women, one of whom was his own patient. He teaches her through Eastern techniques how to access her internal power, skills she never knew she had, revealing secrets from her past.
Police officer Brendon Zale also takes an interest in Sara, but he acts like a stalker, watching her every move, and he won’t leave her alone. He always turns up at the most suspicious times, especially where the dead bodies are found. What’s his interest in Sara?
As she digs deeper into the story, and more young women die without explanation, she tries to choose allies wisely, but not till the last confrontation does she discover the identity of her true enemy.
By then, it’s too late.
REMNANTS OF FIRE is a supernatural mystery novel, and also a 2009 NaNoWriMo novel, and will be published by Dragonfly Publishing, Inc. (Formerly titled LOVE ME, KISS ME, KILL ME)
Willow Ashley pays her bills through sin. She’s made her peace with that. Her best friend, on the other hand, cannot. She relentlessly begs Willow to go to church to confess all of her wrong-doings. When Willow finally gives in, she stumbles across the new pastor, Rowan Elsher. He’s the kind of gorgeous she wants to thank the heavens for, and makes her think all sorts of filthy things that would make even God blush.
Rowan Elsher came to New Orleans hoping to make a real difference in helping those in his congregation. When a woman approaches him about her best friend needing guidance, yet refusing to tell him why, he becomes curious. Then he sees Willow, with her ample curves and seductive pout. In a glance, his infatuation with her begins.
He was told to stay away from dating within the congregation. He shouldn’t want her. He can’t want her. But he just can’t help himself but to break all the rules he vowed to keep.
USA Today Best Seller, DV Fischer, delivers a sizzling dark romance sure to leave readers gasping for more.
USA Today bestselling and two-time Iowa award-winning author D. Fischer (DV Fischer) is a mother of two very busy boys, a wife to wonderful husband, and an owner of two sock-loving German Shorthair Pointers. They also have a cat named Geralt, but since Geralt adopted them and not the other way around, the cat is more of a tenant who occasionally purr-purrs for his rent, if he’s not too busy murdering nerf darts.
Together, they live in Orange City, Iowa.
When D. Fischer isn’t chasing after her children, she spends her time typing like a mad woman while consuming vast amounts of caffeine. Sometimes, if her husband can manage to remind her of the real world outside her office window, they hike!
Known for the darker side of imagination, she enjoys freeing her creativity through worlds that don’t exist, no matter how much we wish they did.
Recently widowed, Emma Banefield looks forward to a getaway birthday weekend with her free-wheeling sister, Nicole Earp, sipping chocolate martinis at the peaceful, historic Dulce Inn. When a rude stranger, a nasty food critic, and a madhouse of temperamental artists greet them, all hope for a tranquil weekend evaporates faster than dew on a hot desert morning.
Overlooking the riotous atmosphere is doubly hard after Em discovers the body of a hotel guest, and a second murder affects Nic personally. Now, entrenched in a caper that pits them against a surly detective, they cozy up to a hotel staff hiding dangerous secrets to uncover clues to the killer.
Using their smarts and love of all-things mystery, will the Chocolate Martini Sisters solve the crime ahead of the obstinate Chief Detective or find themselves trapped in the middle of a third murder?
Joyce Proell is the award-winning author of Amaryllis, Eliza and the Cady Delafield mysteries: A Deadly Truth, A Burning Truth and A Wicked Truth. Along with her husband and little dog, Nellie, she lives in Minnesota in her very own little house on the prairie. She loves to hear from readers.
Brenda Whiteside is the award-winning author of romantic suspense, romance, and cozy mystery. After living in six states and two countries—so far—she and her husband have settled in Central Arizona. They admit to being gypsies at heart and won’t discount the possibility of another move. They share their home with a rescue dog named Amigo. While FDW fishes, Brenda writes.
Phoebe Henderson is many things–a recent widow, a beautiful woman who’s looking for her next step in life, stubborn and determined–but most of all she’s her Cherokee grandmother’s granddaughter. Her grandmother taught her the ancient rituals, and has even come to Phoebe’s home in ghostly form to protect her against those who would take what belongs to her.
Perhaps the most important part of her grandmother’s legacy is the ability to keep an open mind. For when a mysterious, magical man enters Phoebe’s dreams, she find herself a new path back to life.
A sexy martial artist. A conniving oil man. A ghost on a mission. And a young woman caught in the middle of it all.
Seven years ago Phoebe promised her dying Cherokee grandmother she would solve this riddle: “Take care of the land and the land will take care of you.” Now she fights her former brother-in-law Jack for possession of her home and farm near Oklahoma City. Just as she is ready to give up, a sexy and mysterious Native American martial artist named Alex offers to help. Who is Alex and what is his connection to Jack? Why does Jack want the farm? Why has her grandmother’s ghost appeared after all these years? Instead of one riddle to solve, Phoebe now has a fistful of them.
The lawyers who make up The Agency are committed to bringing justice to situations in which justice is not normally found. At the behest of the President, they intervene in matters that impact Americans around the globe. Human trafficking, terrorism, cults, and the disappeared are just a few of the cases with which they are tasked, and they execute uniquely designed solutions with determination and no small amount of courage. Their journey begins with an American law student kidnapped by a sex slave traffickers. It ends with justice served. Three heart-stopping adventures from a five-book series are combined into one scintillating bundle of romantic suspense, including Snatching Dianna, Infamy, and Cult.
The hours are counting down as investigators try to prove that Dianna Murphy has been snatched. Unfortunately, without witnesses and solid evidence, all the police really know is that she is missing.
When suburban Milwaukee law student Dianna Murphy fails to connect with her roommate, there is no real evidence that she has been snatched. Until Law Professor Janet MacLachlan, a former covert agent, discovers a single clue, one that points to a taking by a slave trafficking cartel. In a race against time, Janet recruits her husband, secret agent Cade Matthews, small-town Police Chief David Manders and his wife, criminal defense attorney Julianna Constant, and other law students to uncover the truth. Can they prove she has been taken, before Dianna disappears without a trace?
Infamy. An evil or wicked act. Terrorists bent on revenge have found a way to make planes disappear from the sky, without a trace. And when one winds up buried in a Wisconsin cornfield, it’s a race against time to rescue the passengers from certain death.
When international law attorney Sheikh Harun Ali is lured to the Amazon and warned of a frightening plot against the United States, he and his wife, Marianne Benson, enlist the assistance of their neighbors, covert agent Cade Matthews and his wife, Constitutional Law Professor Janet MacLachlan. Ultimately, these feisty lawyers are pushed to the wall, desperate to find a plane that has been buried in an unknown cornfield, the passengers still on board. The terrorists’ hatred for the Alis is absolute—the Alis once left their organization bankrupt and broken—but they hate America more. And their fiendish games are just beginning. They are seeking a much bigger prize, one that could destroy a nation and possibly the world. An act that will live in infamy.
Cult (winner of the Editor’s Choice Award)
It’s supposed to be a simple assignment. A quick trip to a South American country for an “in and out” fact-finding mission. Unfortunately, the cult has other ideas.
When college students begin disappearing from American campuses, a notorious cult, God’s Delight, is the primary suspect. God’s Delight has been hosting shows featuring sex, drugs, and rock and roll around the country, and young people are flocking to them.
Among the missing is the President’s goddaughter, and he wants answers. When he asks Agent Cade Matthews, a member of a secret covert organization, to find her, the mission appears fairly straightforward. Find the God’s Delight compound, determine whether a welfare check on American cult members is warranted, and get out. Simple. Clean. Easy.
Cade sends newly-married Agents Dianna Murphy and Anders Mark to the University of Wisconsin to follow the trail to God’s Delight, but when they wind up in Bolivia, things go sideways. Suddenly, what appeared to be nothing more than a simple in-and-out could cost Dianna her life. When an Agency extraction is ordered, chaos erupts, and the question becomes, will anyone survive?
EXCERPT from Infamy
Cade grasped his water bottle with both hands. “Before his brother died, he said eight words.”
Harun nodded. “They are going to make American planes disappear.”
Dianna’s eyes grew wide.
Anders rubbed a hand over his face, then through his long dark hair. His deep green eyes stared up at the ceiling of the plane. “Fucking hell. Nine-eleven all over again.”
“That is our fear,” Harun said. “However, so many precautionary measures are in place in this country, simply hijacking planes and flying them into buildings is no longer easy. They must have a different plan.”
Cade emitted a heavy sigh. “And that is what we need to figure out. What exactly do those eight words mean? For example, he did not specify that the planes would disappear in America, which could mean that they will disappear abroad or over oceans.”
Anders sat up straight. “And disappear could mean many things. Crash. Hijack. Pull a Malaysia. How many ways can you make a plane disappear?”
“To me this is one of those series that I will be reading over and over again. From the very beginning I was drawn in, it’s got action, danger, suspense, and even, romance. I can’t recommend this series and Author enough…I highly recommend reading this whole series. I was on the edge of my seat trying to figure out what was going to happen next.” (Goodreads review)
“Seelie Kay has an unforgettable imagination, and will keep you wanting more. You can tell she brings her all, while reading this story. I love her characters, especially the strong-willed, independent women. This is a must read! Along with the rest of her Feisty Lawyers Series. Well Done Seelie Kay, Well Done.” (Goodreads review)
“This author really knows how to deliver an edgy, and dramatic story. It was heart in throat entertainment. A complicated and colourful cast filled with many events that left me gasping and wondering if I read it correctly. I was captivated and intrigued. These kinds of stories are what keep me in my happy place. They keep me entertained and out of my head. I have travelled the world and experienced every feeling and moment with theses characters. Seelie Kay has a knack for enrapturing an audience and it is a dangerously decadent state to be in, and totally addictive.” (Goodreads review)
Award-winning author Seelie Kay writes scintillating tales of lawyers in love, sometimes with a dash of kink.
Writing under a nom de plume, the former lawyer and journalist draws her stories from more than 30 years in the legal world. Seelie’s wicked pen has resulted in twenty-two works of fiction, including the new paranormal romance series Donovan Trait,as well the erotic romance Kinky Briefsseries and The Feisty Lawyers romantic suspense series. She also authored The Last Christmas, The Garage Dweller, A Touchdown to Remember, The President’s Wife, The President’s Daughter, Seizing Hope, The White House Wedding, and participated in the romance anthology Pieces of Us.
When not spinning romantic tales, Seelie ghostwrites nonfiction for lawyers and other professionals. Currently, she resides in a bucolic exurb outside Milwaukee, WI, where she enjoys opera, the Green Bay Packers, gourmet cooking, organic gardening, and an occasional bottle of red wine.
Seelie is an MS warrior and ruthlessly battles the disease on a daily basis. Her message to those diagnosed with MS: Never give up. You define MS, it does not define you!
Brianna Ward travels to New Orleans to let go of so many vexations in her personal and professional life, hoping that the ultimate street party of Mardi Gras would take her “away.” In an exotic city, among strangers, she could let her hair down a little, hide behind a mask, and recharge.
A shiver of frustration ran through her, picking up her pace. She practically ran the three blocks to St. Charles Avenue, where streetcars ran from the west side of the city to downtown for a dollar and a quarter each way. Just as other travelers had done since the 1830s, riding these historical and picturesque cars through the streets under a canopy of broad live oak branches, added a special dimension to the aspect of this vacation as getaway from her normal world. She needed a chance to let go.
Not only because of the Dellenbach antics, though finding one of his cronies practically across the hall certainly dampened her outlook. Her daily modus operandi dictated that she lived with a fist clenched around all the loose ends of her day, hopefully choking the life out of them. Control of everything—her life, her job, her cases—this was how she functioned best.
When her big trial goes bad, corporate attorney Brianna Ward can’t wait to get out of Pittsburgh. The Big Easy seems like the perfect place to rest, relax, and forget about the legal business. Too bad an obnoxious—but handsome—lawyer from a rival firm is checking into the same bed and breakfast.
Attorney Evan Farrell has Mardi Gras vacation plans too. When he encounters fiery and attractive Brianna, however, he puts the Bourbon Street party on hold. He’d much rather devote himself to her—especially when a mysterious riddle appears in her bag, seeming to threaten danger.
Strangely compelled to follow the riddle’s clues, Brianna is pulled deeper into the twisted schemes of a voodoo priest bent on revenge. To escape his poisonous web, she must work with Evan to solve the curse. But is the growing love they feel for each other real? Or just a voodoo dream?