Fan2Author Interview with … Collette Cameron!

collette cameronBookworms, please help me welcome Collette Cameron to the blog. Her books are new to me, and the one’s I’ve read so far have impressed me. I’m so happy to welcome her today and I hope you’ll join in the conversation and ask her some questions.

Collette Cameron: Thanks so much for having me here today!

b2b: Collette, before I start with the questions, how about you tell us a bit about your writing career?

CC: I haven’t been writing all that long. I sat down at my computer in February 2011 and starting tapping out my first historical, Highlander’s Hope. After rewriting it twice and cutting the novel in half, I started the whole query process.

cc hhI was very fortunate to find a publisher in a relatively short amount of time, and Highlander’s Hope released May 2013. The next two books in the series followed with the final book of the Castle Brides Series, The Earl’s Enticement, releasing in May 2014.

I’m well into my next series, The Highland Heather Romancing a Scot Series, with the first book, Triumph and Treasure, expected to release this fall. I’m also a contributing author to a Viking/Highlander anthology and a historical Valentine anthology, both of which are expected to release early 2015.

As if that won’t keep me busy enough, I’m participating in an 8 book boxed novella set with seven other Regency authors.

I’m so glad school is out Friday, and I can concentrate on writing again. I’m only working very part-time from now on!

b2b: How have your characters and their stories come to you and which one/s whispered the loudest for their story to be told?

CC: Highlander’s Hope began with a single scene that popped into my head one day. I wondered if I could write an entire story around it. Not only did I do that, I created a cast of characters I so fell in love with, most of them get their own novels or novellas.

TheViscountsVow2_850Adaira and Roark from The Earl’s Enticement pestered me and pestered me to write their story from the moment I introduced them on the page in Highlander’s Hope. But I told them they had to wait until Vangie and Ian’s story in The Viscount’s Vow was told. They’d nagged me all through writing Highlander’s Hope to get their story written. My characters aren’t known for their patience!

b2b: What was your favorite book as a child?

I loved Mother Goose’s Fairytales. I remember my dad reading them too me over and over until I could recite them with him. I was only about three at the time.

b2b: Is there a book you’re never tired of reading over and over?

CC: I don’t usually read books several times, with the exception of The Flame and The Flower. That book was the first full-length romance novel I ever read, and I think I’ve always had a special spot in my heart for it

I’ve certainly read many, many incredible stories since then, but that book was the catalyst for me falling in love with the romance genre.

b2b: Do you like reading classics and is there one that you’re embarrassed to say you’ve never read?

CC: Umm, do I dare confess this? I write Regency after all. I’m whispering here. I’ve never read any of Jane Austen’s book from start to finish. Yes, I’m hiding behind my computer screen. I’ve watched the movies. Does that count? And I adore Georgette Heyer.  Can I score any points with that?

b2b: Is there a book that you recently read that you wish you had written?

CC: I don’t think I’ve ever wished I had written another author’s book, but I certainly can appreciate their work and their creativity. I might think to myself, “What a great idea,” or “Why didn’t I think of that?” but I’ve never wished the story was mine.

b2b: What’s a movie adaptation of a book that you loved or that you wish it is made?cc tee

As I mentioned above, I’ve really enjoyed all the movies derived from Jane Austen’s writing. I also adore The Count of Monte Cristo, and I just read The Bride Gift by Sarah Hegger which would make a spectacular movie. I think Ella Quinn’s books would make a fabulous movie series too.

b2b: Which book we might be surprised to learn that you loved?

CC: It’s not historical or even romance, but I’ve read Wonder to my class of third graders for the last three years. That book is amazing and teaches such an amazing lesson. I never fail to be touched and more determined to be kind after reading it.

Okay, so for the reading the book over and over bit above, I would read Wonder over and over to students.

b2b: If you were given only one genre to read for the rest of your life, what would it be?

CC: Can I just say historical romance? Then I can read everything up until about 1920. Yep, that ought to do it.

b2b: What was the last book that made you laugh out loud, and what was the last one that made you cry?

CC: The Duke of Morewether’s Secret by Amylynn Bright had me giggling. All of Amy’s books are filled with humor which is why she’s one of my favorite authors.  As far as crying goes, I don’t usually cry while reading a book, but again, Wonder made me cry.

b2b: Do you read your books post-publication?

I haven’t yet, except for editing purposes for the print versions. Maybe someday I’ll sit down with one of the print books and read it. That would be a very unique experiences, I think.

b2b: During a thunderstorm – stay inside or sit on porch watching the show?

CC: Inside, under the bed, with my cowering dogs.  Yes, I’m a chicken.

The last really nasty thunderstorm we had, lightening touched down about eight feet in front of me. I was putting my chickens up. Scared the pants off me. I literally crawled the rest of the way in the house and discovered my computer modem had been fried from the surge.

cc bjb2b: Flannels or Silk?

CC: Silk of course. Pink or blue please with copious amounts of lace.

b2b: Sports car or SUV?

CC: Oh, I’ve got my eye on a lovely white Toyota Highlander.

b2b: Cats or Dogs?

CC: I have both, but I’m really more of a dog person; especially dachshunds.

b2b: Champagne or Beer?

CC: Neither. I don’t like either one or wine for that matter.cc n

b2b: Movies or TV?

CC: Movies. I watch very little television; writing all the time, you know!

b2b: What’s your favorite TV show or movie?

CC: Favorite movie is The Count of Monte Cristo.

b2b: Collette, thanks so much for stopping by b2b and we wish you great success with this series!

CC: Thank you so much!

And now it’s time for you Bookworms to be put in a hot seat!

If you had to give up your beverage of choice, comfort food of choice, or reading romance, which would you choose and why? 

GIVEAWAY! 1 eCopy of TEE/1 Winner! *US ONLY!

To learn much more about Collette, please click on her photo, or get in touch with her through her Social Media:  Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest

Fan2Author Interview with ….Tanya Anne Crosby!

HF TACTanya, thank you so much for visiting us today! I’m so excited to be able to help share in your new release of HIGHLAND FIRE [check out my rev here].

Your stories have brought smiles and laughter into my world along with taking me into a time and place that my soul yearns to be. The love and strength your characters hold within them is something that stays with me long after I’ve put the book down.

Will you share with us a little about who you are and what brought writing to your heart?

Tanya Anne Crosby: Leah, you’re so appreciated. Thank you. I can’t remember the precise moment when I knew I wanted to be a writer, but I can guess it was very early, based on the simple fact that at 12, all I wanted after getting my tonsils out—even more than ice cream—was my father’s typewriter. I spent my childhood with books, making up stories and imaginary friends, and I think it had a lot to do with the fact that I was a bit of a fish out of water. I came to the U.S. as a wee child, not understanding a word of English, and it took me quite a long time to “get my legs.” I can say this, though, I was never bored!

What drew you to medieval Scotland?

TAC: There’s something incredibly romantic about Scotland. In so many ways, we think of ourselves as the great melting pot, but in essence, Scotland did it before us. They are such an amalgamation of cultures and people—Gaels, Picts, Vikings, Norman-French and Bretons. And somehow they all converged upon an unlikely place for survival—the Scottish Highlands. The fact that not only survived, but managed to do it with zest is a testament to their inner strength and tenacity. What’s not to love about these folk?

Can you tell us a little about HIGHLAND FIRE and how Aiden and Lileas came to be?

TAC: I really wanted to write a story that captured the essence of early Scotland—a story that embraced the mystical elements of their culture, but which also accounts for some of our modern day beliefs—things readers can point to and say, aha, that’s where it comes from, I can relate. We think we’ve come so far in our enlightenment, but in so many ways, we’re just returning to our past. In essence, by choosing one of the most mysterious people in Scottish histories, I hoped to give readers a greater connection to a world long vanished. Of course, it’s fiction, and it’s my perspective, but I really get a sense of satisfaction when I finish a book and can almost feel my characters like a presence in the Universe. They are real to me!

When you write “The End” what do you experience? I’ve heard many authors describe it so many different ways. By the way, one of the things I enjoy about your books are we get glimpses of previous characters throughout your series. It’s never truly “The End”. 

TAC: Well, I don’t actually write, “The End.” But as I get close to the end, I can really feel an incredible burst of energy and every writer will probably tell you the same. You begin to lose sleep, eating happens at your keyboard (sometimes sleeping too!), and then there is both a euphoria over typing the final words and an accompanying sense of loss that sometimes keeps me tweaking the story until someone finally pries my fingers off the keyboard. And thank you! As I said, these characters are very real to me, so it’s fun for me to revisit them as well. I’m glad it is for you too.

How many stories do you have planned for this series and will we see Lael getting her own? I felt a connection with that one…. I do believe I walked a similar path in a previous life… full of spunk and ready for battle. I have a love for blades myself. 

TAC: Lael is next! Once Highland Fire is released, I’ll share the cover for the next book, tentatively titled “Highland Fury.” I loved writing Lael! She’s my inner badass! Right now, there are three books planned, but I can already foresee that it might be difficult to walk away, so we’ll see!

I love the way you fill your stories with the Old Ways. I feel they are an important part of Scotland’s history and its people. When you’re doing research, do you ever find the time has gotten away with you?

TAC: Absolutely! Research is one of the most incredible aspects of writing and I LOVE researching ancient Scotland. It’s one of my favorite eras in history, so it’s probably no wonder that it’s also one of my favorite eras to write.

You also write Contemporary Suspense. Can you tell us more about them and any other things you have in the works?

TAC: My contemporary suspense books are probably nothing like my historicals. They’ve been called Gothic, and have been compared to Hitchcock’s stories—which I’m thrilled and humbled by. But the one way they are very much like my historicals is that there is a tremendous focus on the people in my stories. Tell No Lies, which is due out in March by Kensington is part two of a story set in Charleston, SC. It revolves around a serial killer, but the story is more about three sisters and their estrangement and dysfunctional relationship with their now dead mother. In that story, I wanted to take preconceived notions about who people are, and how others perceive them. I wanted to give readers a glimpse of a deteriorating family, let them guess at what got them to where they are, and then literally pull the rug out from under everyone, so that everything they thought they knew was wrong – OK, maybe not everything.

I cannot wait to read this! Thanks so much for coming over to play!

GIVEAWAY: 1 signed print copy / 1 commenter! 

Tanya Anne CrosbyAUTHOR BIO: Put a menu in front of me and I immediately don’t know what I want. Fried green tomatoes with grits? Yep, OK. Fish? Sounds good, too. OK, so what are you having? I’ll do that too. When it comes to shoes–forget it. I end up buying nothing because I can’t make up my mind. Thank God I have a husband who has great tastes, or my closet might be empty. I’m one of those people who suffers from acute ambivalence given too many choices, but when it comes to what I wanted to do with my life, I’ve known that decidedly since the age of 12–and probably long before that.

It all began once upon a time after a tonsillectomy, when the doc advised mom and dad they should reward me with anything I wanted (the key word here being anything). All I wanted was dad’s typewriter. I got it, of course–a black, sporty Olympia I immediately set out to wearing the letters off the keys. So here I am all these years later, with sixteen books under my belt and a new one on the way … still wearing the letters off keyboards … and loving every minute

Fan2Author Interview with…

Sue-Ellen Welfonder!

Okay guys…. I am so excited about this release! Sue-Ellen Welfonder has a new book coming out. Grim is my all time favorite character. He played a role in her Highland Warriors series and he’s finally getting his own book, Once Upon A Highland Christmas. He will also play a crucial role in the Scandalous Scots series following this novella that launches the series. Once Upon A Highland Christmas will release on December 3rd. You can pre-order it now on amazon for just $.99!

Sue-Ellen WelfonderSue-Ellen is not only one of my favorite authors but one of my favorite people too. I found her in 2001 when she released Devil In a Kilt and fell head over heels for her writing. She’s one of only a handful of people in this world who really “get” me and our beliefs run identical. She’s funny, kind, and all around real deal and I feel blessed to call her friend! If you love Scotland and those brave, fierce highlanders and the strong women who love them, her books are for you. Her heart lies in Scotland and her stories do too and in picking up her books you’re guaranteed to be swept away to another place and time and set firmly down among the magical mist and beautiful rugged landscape that make up the highlands. Not only will I be giving away an E-copy of Once Upon a Highland Christmas but she will be giving away a signed copy of Seduction Of a Highland Warrior from the Highland Warriors series where Grim was introduced and a signed copy of her first book, Devil In a Kilt! So without further ado, here she is….

Thank you for joining us today, Sue-Ellen!

OUAHC SEWSEW:  My pleasure, Leah!  I’m delighted to be here, especially as part of your Push-A-Book party to celebrate bookworm2bookworm’s 3rd Birthday.  Thank you so much for inviting me, and for your lovely words.  I feel the same about you.  We’ve journeyed a shared path for a long while, as we have before and will again.  You know exactly what I mean.

Leah: Yes, I do :)

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

SEW:  I’ll share my ‘official’ bio and an ‘unofficial one.’

The official bio:

Sue-Ellen Welfonder is a USA Today Bestselling author who writes Scottish medieval romances for Grand Central Publishing. As time allows, she also writes as Allie Mackay, penning contemporary paranormals, mostly set in the Scottish Highlands.

Her twenty-year airline career allowed her to see the world, but it was always to Scotland that she returned. Now a full-time writer, she much prefers wielding a pen to pushing tea and coffee. She spent fifteen years living in Europe, using that time to explore as many castle ruins, medieval abbeys, and stone circles, as possible. Anything ancient, crumbling, or lichened caught her eye. She still visits Scotland when she can as such trips give her inspiration for new books

Proud of her own Hebridean ancestry, she belongs to two clan societies and never misses a chance to attend Highland Games. In addition to Scotland, her greatest passions are medieval history, the paranormal, nature, and animals. She enjoys long walks and bicycling, loves haggis, and writes at a 450-year-old desk that once stood in a Bavarian castle.

The unofficial bio:

My unofficial description of myself would tell you that I am old-fashioned, listen to classical and New Age music as I write, that I live, breath, and dream medieval Scotland, and enjoy living quietly.  Shabby chic suits me better than glitz and glam. Hate shopping except bookstore sand thrift shops.  I believe in Highland magic and love whimsy.  I also believe some people are born out of time and place, and I am sure I’m one of them.  (as are you, Leah!) 

If I wasn’t writing, I’d be out in the field fighting for animal rights, rescuing stray cats and dogs, saving whales and seals, hugging trees, and going ghost-hunting, always searching for a time portal to sweep me out of this world and back to medieval Scotland.

Leah: We are SO alike! [as she stated above, she also writes as Allie MacKay and these books are just as awesome as her historical stories are! Tons of humor along with the romance and paranormal.]

What started you down the road to writing?

SEW:  One of my own favorite romance writers encouraged me.  She was Becky Lee Weyrich,DIAK SEW the Queen of Time Travel in the 80s.  I loved her books and sent her a fan letter.  We became friends.  At the time, I was flying and I’d send her long snail-mail letters about my adventures in far-flung corners of the globe.  She told me that she ‘felt like she was there’ when she read my letters.  She urged me to write.  I balked.  I loved flying and never wanted to do anything else.  But Becky was a wonderful mentor, and eventually I wrote the story that became Devil In A Kilt.  It sold fast and then there I was, published.  So I just sort of fell into writing.

Leah:  I’m so excited about Grim’s story, Once Upon a Highland Christmas. We met him in your Highland Warriors series where I fell madly in love with him and we’ll be seeing more of him in your upcoming Scandalous Scots series. Can you tell us about Grim and Breena, the woman who claims his heart?

SEW:  Grim is one of those characters who stride onto the page full-bodied and breathing, alive and possessing such a powerful presence you’d swear they were real.  I’m convinced Grim is out there somewhere, just the other side of a swirl of Highland mist, looking on as we talk about him today, his arms crossed and a slight smile tugging at his lips, pleased (and a bit humbled) to be honored this way.

He first appeared in Highland Warriors where he was champion to Kendrew, the hero of Temptation of a Highland Scoundrel.  Tough and battle-hardened, Grim was Kendrew’s most fearsome warrior.  He is formidable with both a sword and a Norse war ax, which he prefers.  He’s also fierce-looking, being a big, powerfully-muscled man with smoke-gray eyes, wild black hair and his beard rings.  (beard rings are made from the steel of the swords of slain enemies)  For all his ferocity in battle, Grim is great-hearted and a good man.  He is loyal, a staunch friend, and he loves animals.  He knows he isn’t a ‘bonnie’ man, so he admires Breena from afar, sure that she would never even glance at a brute like him.

SOTHD b1 SEWBreena is a young woman who has experienced incredibly hard times.  She is Irish and was captured by brigands who raided her village.  Those men planned to sell her at a slave market, after they’d taken their own pleasure with her.  They brought her to Scotland and she was with them when they attacked a Highland stronghold.  Grim was in the party of neighboring allies who rid the castle of the brigands.  So he basically rescued Breena in the months before Once Upon A Highland Christmas opens.  Breena is strong and resilient, refusing to let bad things break her.  She adapts to her new home, coming to love the Highlands, and the clan that welcomes her so warmly.  She also loses her heart to Grim, but as he rarely even speaks to her, she is sure her feelings for him aren’t reciprocated.

In their story, the season’s magic and the enchantment of long, cold and dark Highland nights, full of stars and wonder, lend a hand in making them realize how perfect they are together.  Of course, secrets from the past could rip them apart before they can celebrate the joyful Christmas – and love – that they so deserve.

Leah:   What excited you the most about doing a Christmas Novella?

SEW:  Above all being able to write a story that sparkles with the magic of the season.  AnyoneTOAHS b2 SEW who knows me (or my work) knows that I believe in magic, especially Highland magic.  Christmas, Midwinter Solstice, Yule, whatever you call this special time, it is magical.  There is wonder in the air and everyone feels it.  Miracles can and do happen, hearts quicken with excitement, and love.  Add my love of winter, my own Christmas birthday, and appreciation of the season and all its trappings, and there you go.  I loved writing this story.  I’d always wanted to do a Christmas tale and was thrilled when my publisher asked me to write one.

It was also wonderful to have the opportunity to create a ‘bridge’ between Highland Warriors and Scandalous Scots. Readers familiar with Seduction of a Highland Warrior, in particular, might be happy to see a certain well-loved character find a happy ending of his own in the novella.  I really enjoyed adding that twist.  (it shows that it is never too late for love)

Leah:  Although the novella can be read as a standalone, it was nice seeing some beloved friends through the story. One especially was mentioned…Devorgilla. She always brings a smile to my face. Will you share with our readers who she is? (That is, unless she jumps in and shares Herself with us) ;)

Devorgilla aka Old Dev:  Herself is here, indeed, lassie.  You aught know that I have excellent ears.  I aye hear when my good name is mentioned.  Those who speak it kindly, better yet, in awe, will be greeted as friends.  Woe betide any tongue-waggers who dare whisper against me.  They might find themselves enjoying a fine hot bath in my cauldron or – if the mood strikes me – they might waken to discover they’ve been turned into a newt.  

I am the greatest cailleach in all broad Scotland, after all.  And although my home is the fair Isle of Doon, as my lady noted in her second book, Knight In My Bed, when she first saw fit to loose me on the world all those long years ago, I do get around as you moderns say.  My lady grants me entry to most of her books and I do take advantage, slipping across the pages, creating a bit of mayhem here, employing a dash of Highland magic there.  

SOAHW SEWI also visit my lady’s two blogs.  Don’t tell her, but her ‘Tarts’ as she calls her blog ‘regulars’ much prefer me to her.  Truth be told, I could rule the world if I wished.  But I am most content in my beloved Highlands and the pages of my lady’s books. 

Ach!  I see her coming back into her turret office, so I’d best slip away.  Not because I must, I do what I want, always.  But I like you and know you will be a-wanting her to finish her interview and send it to you.

Before I go, it should be said that I am small of stature, but mighty of spirit.  Some say I have bright, mischievous eyes.  And I garb myself in black, including fine black boots with red plaid laces. Now I am away.  (but I will be watching you – I’m right good at suchlike)

Leah: Love you, Dev! ;)

Your stories never fail to transport me straight into the past as if I were in the midst of the story itself watching it all go on around me. I’ve said before it’s like all my senses come alive reading your words. Do you draw most of your inspiration for your stories from time actually spent in Scotland, from research, or simply ideas as they come to you?

SEW:  Thank you!  That’s always a huge goal: to transport readers into the world of the story.  Yes, most of my inspiration comes from my time spent in Scotland.  I’ve been visiting all my life and until recently, went over every year, sometimes more than once in a year.  (I am not traveling these days because my dog is quite old and I do not want to leave him)  Every trip fuels my imagination.  Loving atmosphere as I do, I am most inspired by remote, empty places.  The wild places, magnificently bleak and so beautiful it almost breaks your heart to gaze upon them.  It’s always such areas that speak loudest to me, story-wise. 

Research gives me detail, little gems I can weave into a story.  I’ve loved Scottish and medieval history all my life, so was studying both long before I ever considered writing.  It’s a passion wholly apart from my writing and yet one that also serves my work well because I can use such knowledge to build a story world that, hopefully, will seem real and believable to readers.

Ideas that ‘simply come to a writer,’ are treasures.  This happens when a character whispers in our ears, revealing their secrets.  It’s pure magic and will usually be just what was needed’ to make a story shine.

Leah:  Your stories not only have well-loved peopled characters in them but animal characters whose personalities always shine through the pages. Can you tell us about your own little hero, Em?

SEW:  Em is my little hero, indeed.  He is a Jack Russell, almost 15 now.  He’s robust and healthy for his age, so I hope he’ll be around a good while yet.  We go for long walks every day and he shares my chair when I write.  He’s been on my lap, or sleeping behind me (on the chair) through every book I’ve written.  He’s a fierce and devoted protector.  When we’re out, he stops if someone approaches from behind.  He won’t walk if anyone is behind us, only continuing on once that person has passed us.  He gets upset if I am on the phone longer than he thinks I should be.  When that happens, he often goes along the bottom bookshelves in here, nipping gently at book spines until I hang up to stop him.  He sleeps curled against the backs of my knees and holds my heart in his beloved paws.  I’ve mentioned him in every book acknowledgment and he is always the small dogs in my books.  The larger ones are other dogs I’ve had.  (I was raised in a menagerie, loving all animals all my life)  But Em is special, dear above all others.

Leah: He holds a place in my heart as well even though I’ve never seen him. I came to love him through your sharing him with us on the blog. 

Sue-Ellen, thank you so much for agreeing to the interview helping me spread the word for your new release and for sharing in our Push-A-Book party celebrating bookworm2bookworm’s 3rd Birthday!

SEW:  The pleasure was all mine.  Thank you so much for inviting me.  It was fun and CONGRATS on the blog’s 3rdbirthday!  Woot!

Now I’d better step aside.  A certain black-garbed old woman is peering over my shoulder.  I think she wants to read the interview and so I’d best let her.  She’s not one to cross, as you know.

Devorgilla adds: you can reach her lady using these modern-day contraptions:

Website

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Devil In a Kilt

Seduction of a Highland Warrior

Once Upon a Highland Christmas

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Fan2Author Interview with…Victoria Vane!

Victoria Vaneb2b Melanie: Please help me welcome an Author that I just discovered a few months ago, Victoria Vane [although when I discovered her it was under the pseudonym of Emery Lee as I read ‘Fortune's Son’]

Since then I’ve had a pleasure to read her other novels and can safely say that she’s quickly become one of my must read authors.

I’m so happy she’s here with us today! Welcome Victoria!

Victoria Vane: Thank so much for having me, Mel. I’m delighted to be here-and so happy you enjoyed Fortune’s Son enough to seek out my other books.  :)

b2b: Before I start with the questions, how about you tell us a bit about your writing career?

VV: Writing was nothing I ever planned on. It’s one of those things that happened to me. I woke up one day with a story that wouldn’t go away and knew I had to write it. Fourteen months later I had a finished novel (The Highest Stakes) and my life has never been the same!

b2b: Since I never read the original, can you tell me if it’s easier or harder to re-tell the story, or writing it from scratch?

VV: In the case of THE SHEIK RETOLD it was easier because the characters and basic plot were already there. Moreover, the author’s voice was very compatible with mine. After that it was mainly a matter of deciding what to keep and what to discard from the original story and then putting my own particular spin on it. THE SHEIK RETOLD most definitely has my distinctive stamp in regard to character development and sensuality!

b2b: Victoria, you took my breath away with the descriptions of the setting, but you also captured Diana’s thoughts and actions so well that I felt every emotion she did. This story was told only from her POV. Why was that?

TSR VV2

VV: Although E.M. Hull’s THE SHEIK was written in third person with only a few scenes/passages from Ahmed’s POV, I never quite connected with Diana. Part of that was certainly the way in which her character was originally portrayed, but given that the story was told primarily from her POV it only made sense to me to re-tell it in first person. First person allowed me to more fully explore her thoughts, motives, and desires. I also felt readers would empathize more with her character. I think first person also works in this story because it allows the sheik to remain a bit of an enigma.  ;-)

b2b: The hero of this tale is as Alpha as you could possibly make him, yet he still came off as fair and sensitive at times. Was it much altered from the original book?

VV: Yes. I think my version of Ahmed is much more complex and evolved. The original version of him seemed to have a streak of genuine cruelty that I have tempered, although it was a challenge to do this without watering down his powerful uber-alpha persona.

b2b: The intimate, explicit and erotic scenes in your books, which are very tastefully and sensually done, how hard are they to write?

VV: It’s VERY hard! My love scenes are exhausting to write because I try to pour so much emotion into them. I always try to use these scenes to reveal something new about the characters and to advance their relationship. Although I always have a clear vision of what I wish to portray in a love scene, I sometimes spend days on only a few paragraphs. It’s the emotion that makes a love scene compelling and memorable.

b2b: Cover Art in my humble opinion is really very important, and your covers are beautiful! I noticed you decided to redo Sheiks cover. How come?

VV: I loved the original cover as I felt it captured the mystery and enigma of the sheik. I thought it would appeal to a broader reading audience (general fiction and women’s fiction in addition to romance readers) but after a couple of weeks, when initial sales weren’t what I had anticipated, I began to wonder if my cover choice had perhaps put off some romance readers. Given that it is a very steamy romance, I decided to change the cover to better reflect the romance.

b2b: Titles are also very important. I wondered if you have help in coming up with them.

VV: Most of my book titles are my own. The exception is Treacherous Temptations which began as Dangerous Designs.  

b2b: Do you let someone read your work during your writing process? Who and why? Or do you wait ‘till it’s finished, then you let someone read it…and who?

VV: Although I do not work with a critique partner, I do have a beta reader who I met through Goodreads three years ago. After she reviewed my first novel we found we had a number of favorite books in common and struck up a friendship. She eventually offered to be my beta reader. She generally reads my books chapter by chapter as I am writing them, and then does a full read through when I am finished. She is a tough critic and does not cut me any slack for our friendship. Although she has enjoyed all of my books, I’m still waiting for a five star review from her. LOL!

b2b: What advice would you give a first-time author thinking of going into indy-publishing?

VV: Writing the book is the easy part. Promo is the killer. Sadly, according to the stats, most Indie authors (80%) sell less than 500 books. Very few people hit with their first effort. To succeed, you need to be both tenacious and prolific.

b2b: As a writer, I’m sure you read a lot. What do you read the most and what’s on your TBR right now?

VV: I don’t read nearly as much as I used to due to my aggressive writing schedule. In 2011, I read eighty-six books but only published two of my own that year. In 2012 I read thirty-five books and published six. This year I have read less than twenty books but have been working on seven!

Because I am so busy, I have become highly selective about what I read. I generally don’t dive into anything that has not been recommended by reviewers I respect. I just don’t have the time. Although I am now concentrating more on writing contemporary romance, my reading preference will always be historicals with a strong plot and historical detail. Incidentally, several of my favorite books in the past year have been by debut authors.

My favorite CR was Tangled by Emma Chase. For historical adventure I loved The Pirate Captain by Lynne Kerry. A great story with an exotic setting was The Wild Heart by Gina Rossi. My favorite Regency romance was The Duke’s Tattoo by Miranda Davis.

My current TBR is full of books by some great HR authors- Grace Burrowes, Cecelia Grant, Shana Galen, and Julie Ann Long to name only a few.

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b2b: Now, that ends up our ‘professional’ portion of this interview. Are you ready to get personal? Or are you going to chicken out on me?

VV: I am an open book! LOL!

b2b:  So, tell us a bit about yourself, something personal that you’d like us to know…anything that makes you comfortable…or not…like how many times did you fall in love?

VV: Wow! That is personal! Like most young girls, I experienced numerous infatuations early on, but have had only one real love— and we have been married for over thirty years. I am also happy to share that even after all this time together it’s still pretty hot!

What’s your favorite meal of the day (food)?

VV: I can’t count coffee? It’s the one thing I can’t live without!

Flannels or Silk?

VV: Absolutely silk! I’m very girlie!

Do you like to cook?

VV: We do eat a good bit of take out pizza at my house but I enjoy cooking when I have the time. I’m a pretty fair cook.

What’s your favorite spot in the house?

VV: My office. It’s my personal space. My sanctuary from the world.

Cats or Dogs?

VV: Little black and white dogs named Alfie.

Champagne or Beer?

VV: Champagne.

Your favorite time of the year?

VV: Autumn. Love the cool temperatures.

Movies or TV?

VV: Movies. I rarely watch TV unless it’s a period drama.

What’s your favorite TV show or movie?

VV: Love Downton Abbey and Last of the Mohicans.

GIVEAWAY: Since I recently rewrote E.M. Hull’s ‘The Sheik’, I’d love to know if there are any other classic novels (romance or other) that you would like to see updated or retold. My giveaway is winner’s choice of ‘A Wild Night’s Bride’ or ‘A Breach of Promise’.

EXCERPT: here.

BUY LINKS: Amazon/ B&N

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rakes and Sheiks and Cowboys…Oh My!

Victoria Vane is an multiple award-winning romance novelist and history junkie whose collective works of fiction range from wildly comedic romps to emotionally compelling and intensely erotic romance. Victoria also writes historical fiction as Emery Lee and is the founder of Goodreads Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers and the Romantic Historical Lovers book review blog.
Look for Victoria’s sexy new contemporary cowboy series coming in summer 2014.

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Fan2Author Interview with…Charlotte Hawkins!

TBL CHWelcome back to b2b Charlotte!

It has been awhile since we had you on, so how about you let us know what you’ve been up to.

Charlotte Hawkins:  It’s been a heck of a year for me. I moved to Florida in March 2012. I started a new job, and it has kept me very, very busy. Sadly, I don’t get to devote as much time to writing as I would like, but I try to steal time when I can.

b2b: I was pleasantly surprised by Owen and Isabella. As I noted in my review of the book, their imperfections made them more down to earth, more real to me. Was that a conscious decision on your part? Tell us more about them and what inspired their story.

CH:  It started when I was writing My Lady Gisborne. Isabella was not supposed to be a major player in the Gisborne story. She was simply Rene’s lover, and not much more. But as I was writing, my imagination took over, as it usually does. I didn’t like the idea of a female character being little more than a plot device. The character kept coming back into my mind, and I started to think of her as a flesh and blood person – one with thoughts and feelings, a woman who had reasons for her actions, and ultimately, those actions had consequences. I started writing her, and the story just grew from there.

Owen was set in my mind from the start. He would be just like Guy – and yet, different. His upbringing was different, since he was raised in a loving home and never suffered the torments and disappointments his father did. Guy and Cassia brought him up to be a proper you man, which of course meant pursuing the knighthood, as most young men did in those days. Owen was raised to follow a certain code of morals. But of course, his Gisborne passions take over, and just like his father, once he sets his mind to what he wants, he will stop at nothing to have his way.

b2b: This story is parallel to My Lady Gisborne, which is no small feat, and told MLG CHmostly from Owen’s POV so I wondered what prompted the decision to tell it this way, and not continue from where the other book left off?

CH:  I had SO much to say when I was writing My Lady Gisborne, and Owen and Izzy’s story just kept growing in my mind. But I couldn’t cram it all into one story without it being extremely long and complicated. So I decided to give Owen and Isabella their own book.

b2b: I admire the risk you took by creating such a complex character as Lady Isabella. Not many writers would risk it by having her become a fallen woman before she falls in love with Owen. What made you pair young Owen with her and not someone else?

CH:  I wanted Owen to fall in love with someone who would be a challenge to him. Much like Guy, he’s stubborn and arrogant, and he needed a spirited lady to match his personality. Isabella’s passions are suppressed by her circumstances, but they’re brimming under the surface, and I like to think she and Owen would have a marriage equally as passionate as Guy and Cassia’s. As for the idea of Isabella being a “Fallen Woman,” it was my way of challenging myself as a writer. Could I create a character that readers would like and sympathize with, even though she commits adultery? Yes, her husband is a brutal beast, but the fact remains that she broke her marriage vows, possibly risking her life and perhaps losing her son in the process. As the writer, I was on her side all the way, but we shall see what readers have to say about her.

b2b: Which book of the three in this series was the hardest or the easiest to write and which couple did you like the best?

CH:  This book was certainly the most difficult to write. Going back and forth between this and My Lady Gisborne, trying to make sure the two stories gelled. That was hard enough. But in all honesty, it was hardest just finding the time to finish it. But I knew there were people who were waiting for it for a long time, so I kept pushing until it was complete.

I have to say that Evie and Simon are my favorite couple. Evelyn is my favorite female because she’s a lot like me (Sorry if that sounds conceited). I loved writing Simon because he’s my idea of the ultimate knight in shining armor (Who literally rides in on a white horse.) He’s proud, but not foolish. He’s tough as nails, but he has a tender side. And most importantly, he is completely devoted to the woman he loves.

b2b: Do you let someone read your work during your writing process? Who and why? Or do you wait ‘till it’s finished, then you let someone read it…and who?

CH:  I have several friends who read it and help me through the process. They’re a God-send.

b2b: As a writer, I’m sure you read a lot. What do you read the most and what’s on your TBR now?

TTGOGS CHCH:  These days, I hardly get to read at all. My job often keeps me running six days a week, so my free time is usually spent catching up on sleep. But when I do read, I enjoy mostly non-fiction work. I am a big history buff, and I love biographies of historical figures, so that’s what I usually pick to read.

b2b:  And that concludes our ‘professional’ part of the interview. Are you willing to share a bit of your ‘personal’ side with our bookworms?

CH:  Sure!

b2b: So, tell us a bit about yourself, something personal that you’d like us to know…anything that makes you comfortable…or not…like how many times did you fall in love?

CH:  In my life, I’ve been in love many times. I’m just a romantic at heart. I can’t say if anyone’s ever been in love with me, though. If my true love is out there, he’s hiding himself pretty well. But I’m sure there’s someone for everyone.

b2b: What’s your favorite meal of the day (food)?

CH:  Breakfast. I love eggs, especially omelettes.

b2b: Flannels or Silk?

CH:  Silk. I’m warm-natured, so I have to be cool to sleep.

b2b: Do you like to cook?

CH:  I love to cook. And my roots are country roots, so we learn early. I think I’m pretty good at it, too.

b2b: What’s your favorite spot in the house?

CH:  The recliner in the living room

b2b: Cats or Dogs?

CH:  Dogs. I love all animals, but I never had cats around me when I was growing up. Our family was all about the canines.

b2b: Champagne or Beer? 

CH:  I don’t like beer at all, and champagne is OK. But I prefer wine, either white or rose.

b2b: Your favorite time of the year?

CH:  I live in Florida, so we don’t really have a change of seasons. But I like autumn the best. Halloween is my favorite holiday.

b2b: Movies or TV?

CH:  Both.

b2b: What’s your favorite TV show or movie?

CH:  The Godfather is my favorite movie. At the moment, I don’t care for much that’s on TV. (I despise reality shows. Ugh!) But my favorite sitcom of all time is “The Cosby Show.”

b2b: Charlotte, you’ve been such a good sport! Thanks so much for stopping by and good luck with the new book. I really liked it a lot!

CH:  Thank you so much for featuring me, and I’m so happy you enjoyed the story.

And here’s the man who inspired the story….

I will give away a copy of “The Baron’s Lady” on Kindle. (US or INTERNATIONAL). I’ll use a random number generator to choose from the names entered. To enter, I want readers to tell me who their favorite member of the Gisborne family is and why.

RA GOGAUTHOR BIO: I was born in the Chicago suburb of Romeoville, Illinois. I grew up in the Midwest, but my family roots are in Kentucky. My parents were very old school, but everyone else around me was more contemporary in their thinking, so I was a bit of an oddball as a child. I was also an extreme introvert, which made it difficult for me to make friends.

That, however, led me to have a very great imagination. I became a writer out of necessity – no one wanted to hear my mind’s ramblings, so I started writing my stories down for my own entertainment. Lucky for me, I eventually found a small but loyal audience (Thanks, in no small part, to a certain lovely Brit actor) I love and appreciate all of my fans, and I hope I can continue writing stories that people will enjoy.

I moved to Florida in early 2012, and on top of being a writer, I’m a proud cast member at Walt Disney World. A dreamer like me couldn’t ask for a better job.

You can find me on Blog / Tweeter / Facebook

Fan2Author Interview with…Robyn DeHart

SOMD RDHb2bMelanie: Hello Robyn! I am ‘over the moon’ by having you stop by! I’ve been your fan ever since the Legend Hunter Series. I confess I’m a new fan, and while I am ‘on the hunt’ for your back list, I am impressed with this new one, Dangerous Liaisons. But before I get on with my questions, tell us a bit about yourself and are you enjoying your summer so far?

Robyn DeHart: Thanks, Melanie for having me.

About me…well, I’m a Texas girl which means that I glow a lot if I’m not in air conditioning. I’m married to my best friend and we became parents 2 years ago through the fost-adopt. Our girls are the best, but it’s been a steep learning curve considering we had exactly 7 days to prepare for the arrival of an infant and toddler. But they’re thriving and we do our best to keep up with their energy.

My summer is going by much faster than I’d like. My husband is a college professor and he usually teaches for part of the summer, but he’s been home with me and the girls more during the day lately and I just love when we can all hang out as a family.

b2b: Oh how I miss those days when my kids were that small!

How exited are you with this book and what possessed you to resurrect a villain like Jack the Ripper? By the way, BBC America is running a new series ‘The Ripper Street’ and it’s fantastic!

Robyn: And we don’t have the BBC America channel! I’m so bummed. I keep waiting for it to show up on Netflix because I’d love to see it. I bet it’s totally awesome. I’m so super excited about this book, it’s long been in my mind to write a book about Jack the Ripper and I thought of several different ways to do it, and finally landed on the Dangerous Liaisons series. I’ve written in the Victorian era since my very first book and well, there he is sitting toward the end of that era and it was too must temptation. So there’s that, and there’s the fact I got my degree in college in Sociology with a focus on deviant behavior – I wasn’t the deviant, I merely studied them :) So I studied serial killers and I’ve always had a fascination with Jack the Ripper – who hasn’t? So why not tackle him in a book? It’s the best of both worlds.

b2b: Well no wonder you wrote him so well!

It’s no news to my readers how much I enjoy reading the ‘behind the story’ notes of any book, so tell me more about your research and ‘behind the story’ of ‘The Secrets of Mia Danvers’. I thought it genius to have a heroine be a witness to murder, while she’s blind. What made you do that? What inspired it?

Robyn:  Man, I’m so going to disappoint you here if you love great inside details. I started Mia Danvers so long ago – actually before the Legend Hunters series sold – so I don’t really recall WHY I decided to make her blind. She just was always blind. What I can tell you is how challenging the book was to write. For a variety of reasons, obviously, but writing a book from a blind character’s point of view is incredibly difficult. I’m a very visual writer and Mia forced me to “see” the scenes with my other senses, with her other senses. I had to rely on scent and sound.

b2b: LOL! I’m not disappointed at all. I think the story was dramatically enriched by Mia’s blindness and it made me appreciate her more.

Just in case someone out there hasn’t read any of your books, [like I said, I am one of the brand, spanking new fans], would you tell us a bit about them and what’s coming up for you in the future?

Robyn: Well, as I mentioned before all of my books have been set in the Victorian era (though I dabble in the Regency with novellas). I’ll give you a quick run-down:

Courting Claudia was my debut, it’s a stand-alone book (my only one!) and is about a female illustrator for a London newspaper. I still hear from readers that this is one of their all-time favorite historicals, which just means a lot!

Then I had the Ladies’ Amateur Sleuth Society series: A Study in Scandal, Deliciously Wicked and Tempted at Every Turn. This is about a group of friends who fancy themselves amateur sleuths and do their best to solve would-be mysteries. The series ended with the third book and I still get emails from readers looking for the missing 4th book. A Marriage Most Convenient with be that 4th book and I will self-publish that as soon as I have some free time in my schedule. It’s coming…I promise!

Then came the Legend Hunters: Seduce Me, Desire Me and Treasure Me all about an elite group of London men who hunt antiquities and treasures. They’re part Indiana Jones, part historical romance and pure adventurous fun.

My Forbidden Love series is currently being published and consists of A Little Bit Wicked, A Little Bit Sinful (both already out and only $2.99!) and A Little Bit Scandalous, which comes out in August. This series centers around loves that are just a little bit taboo, the first book is about an older woman and younger man, the second about a genteel lady and a bastard son and the third about a guardian and his ward.

And finally we have the Dangerous Liaisons series where you’ll find The Secrets of Mia Danvers and The Temptations of Anna Jacobs (coming in Nov!) all about our friend Jack the Ripper….

Oh and I have a whole new series coming in 2014…

b2b: Robyn, that’s impressive! You’re one busy author and I’m so glad to have discovered your work and I’m looking forward to November!

Which one of your books was the hardest and which the easiest to write?

Robyn:  The hardest book was actually The Secrets of Mia Danvers, I think this was two-fold. First it’s a very complex book with just a lot going on and layering in everything was difficult. Mostly though it was difficult because it is the book I wrote while learning to be a mother. I was emotionally exhausted and didn’t have a lot to give in terms of my writing – not simply the time needed, but the part of me that goes into my writing. It was just a difficult time, but I’m exceptionally proud of the book and glad I stuck with it. The easiest? This makes me chuckle, I know that some writers claim that some books write themselves and for whatever reason this has never been the case for me. I will say that the first three chapters of Seduce Me was definitely the most fun I’ve ever had writing so I’ll say that was the easiest – not the rest of the book, but those 3 chapters.

b2b: Do you let someone read your work during your writing process and who is that lucky person and why he/she? Or do you wait ‘till it’s finished, then you let someone read it…and who?

Robyn:  I have a few people that I work with who read my stuff before it comes out. My partner-in-crime, Emily McKay, who writes for Desire and YAs for Berkley is my brainstorming and critique partner (and my BFF) reads all my stuff. I also work very closely with another critique partner who also happens to be my mom, Hattie Mae, she writes charming Cajun books. And then I have a non-writer buddy (she & I have been best buds since we were 12) read all my stuff, I consider her my beta reader – with her I get a pure reader’s perspective but also she totally tells me like it is, which I appreciate.

b2b: This cover is very different from your previous covers. Tell us about it and who came up with it?

Robyn:  Isn’t it gorgeous? I just love it. My editor and I talked about a lot of options and we settled on having it be of Mia’s back, but everything else was really all the great people over at NAL. The cover for The Temptations of Anna Jacobs is just as pretty.

b2b: I do like it and am looking forward to checking out the next cover.

Let’s talk titles…How hard is it to ‘name’ your ‘baby’?

Robyn:  Well normally I turn in books and the publisher suggests that we come up with different titles, but I’ve had a run of good luck lately. All my releases this year have been my own titles, which is really nice. For Mia’s book I really wanted something that felt gothic-y because of the darker tone.

b2b: I think it suits the story well.

We all have favorite books, authors… How about you? Are you willing to fess-up?

Robyn:  Absolutely. I’m still a reader and I love to talk about books, especially other people’s books. I love Suzanne Enoch and Teresa Medeiros, they’re probably my absolute favorite historical authors. I also love gritty romantic suspense so I read a lot of JD Robb and Allison Brennan and Laura Griffin. Then there’s Pamela Morsi, love her historicals and her contemporaries alike, Jim Butcher and a million others.

b2b: I see we have some in common!

Some authors write at certain times of day or week and even a place. What’s your typical writing schedule and what gets your creative juices flowing? If you have any tips to help other aspiring new authors out there, feel free to share!

Robyn:  Well, I had a lot more structure before I had kids. Now much of my writing happens during their nap and bedtime. They also go to a Mother’s Day out program twice a week (though not in the summer) and that helps. And the older they get the better they play with each other without me. I try to have a daily word/page quota and stick with that. The writing part is the “easy” part, it’s really balancing all the other stuff, blog tours, revisions, copy edits, etc. This is the first time in my writing career that I’ve been working on two series with two different publishers at once and it’s definitely a challenge.

b2b: LOL! That sounds more than a challenge. I don’t know how you keep it all straight!

What do you like to read and what’s on your TBR right now?

Robyn:  My TBR pile AKA my Kindle cloud is HUGE. Right now I’m trying not to buy any more books since my reading has slowed down. I tend to be a binge reader. So I’ll finish a book and I’ll read intensely for a couple of days and then I won’t read anything for a while, especially if I’m writing rough draft pages.

b2b: Now, that ends up our ‘professional’ portion of this interview. Are you ready to get personal? Or are you going to chicken out on me?

Robyn:  I’m an open book…

b2b: LOL! I like that!

So tell us something personal about yourself that you haven’t shared with anyone before…you know…anything that makes you comfortable…or not…like how many times did you fall in love? Flannel or Silk? Cats or Dogs? Champagne or Beer? Rock or Classical? Movies or TV?

Robyn: I can’t really think of anything personal that’s interesting…but I love the either/or questions. Neither flannel nor silk, I’m a cotton girl – it’s hot in TX!

Champagne, definitely, beer is nasty. Rock or Classical….depends, if I’m driving, then rock (especially classic rock), if I’m writing or relaxing then I love classical, Bach and Mozart. Movies and TV, I love story so I appreciate it in short and long form.

b2b: LOL! No wonder I love you and your books! You’re such a fun woman to be around!

Robyn, this was such fun! Thanks for stopping by to play and hope to see you here soon!

Robyn: Thanks so much for having me.

Giveaway Info: To enter this Giveaway, you need to click here!

 Robyn DeHart will be giving away winner’s choice of the following:

  • Amazon Paperwhite
  • Nook Glow
  • $120 Gift Card for Amazon or Barnes & Noble. 

Robyn DeHartAuthor Bio: A life-long love of stories and adventure, it was either become a stuntwoman for the movies or live out those adventures from the safety of her PJ’s and computer. Award-winning author, Robyn DeHart chose the latter and couldn’t be happier for doing so. Known for her unique plotlines and authentic characters, Robyn is a favorite among readers and reviewers. Publishers’ Weekly claims her writing to be “comical and sexy” while the Chicago Tribune dubs her “wonderfully entertaining.” Robyn is an award-winning author as well as being a four-time RT Bookclub Reviewers’ Choice award nominee, and a three-time RomCon Reader’s Crown nominee. Robyn lives in Texas with her brainy husband, two precocious little girls and two spoiled cats. You can find Robyn on-line at her website or at one of her group blogs, the Jaunty Quills or Peanut Butter on the Keyboard.

Purchase links: KindleNook iTunes

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The Secrets of Mia Danvers

Blog Tour Schedule

6/17 – Romancing Rakes For the Love of Romance (Spotlight)

6/18 – Read Your Writes (Spotlight)

6/19 – Ex Libris (Guest Post)

6/19 – Books to Brighten Your Mood (Interview)

6/20 – bookworm2bookworm (Interview)

6/21 – Stitch-Read-Cook (Spotlight)

6/24 – TBQ’s Book Palace (Interview)

6/25 – The Romance Dish (Interview)

6/26 – United By Books (Spotlight)

6/27 – Romantic Crush Junkies (Guest Post)

6/28 – Herding Cats and Burning Soup (Interview)

7/01 – What I’m Reading (Interview)

7/02 – Reading Between The Wines (Guest Post)

7/03 – Cocktails and Books (Spotlight)

7/04 – Ramblings From This Chick (Guest Post)

7/05 – Readaholics Anonymous (Guest Post)

Fan2Author Interview with…Máire Claremont!

Maire Claremontb2bMelanie: Hello Máire and welcome to b2b! I’m so happy you’re here! The buzz about ‘The Dark Lady’ is great! How exited are you with ‘The Dark Lady’ coming out?  I can’t even imagine the feelings you’re going through! The only closest I can compare it to is sending my kids off to the Kindergarten and hoping they’ll do good without me there to guide them….

Máire Claremont: Oh my!!!! I am totally over the moon. The release has been so exciting. I can barely believe it is all real. And yes, it is a bit like sending your baby into the world and hoping that no one bullies it.

b2bMelanie: Before I start with my interview, won’t you introduce yourself to our readers and tell us a bit about yourself and your début novel?

Máire: Well, I am a bit of a gypsy soul! I love to move. I’ve lived all over the US and the British Isles and Ireland. I have an M.A. in Drama and adore film and live theaters. My début is a bit on the different side. Very dark, focusing on a heroine escaping the insane asylum.

b2bMelanie: Máire, I am such a sucker for a tortured hero, and in ‘Dark Lady’ I had two-for-one. Both Eva and Ian traveled some rough road to their HEA and you made them work for it!

I found the story truly unique and exciting to read. You had me on pins and needles all through out! What made you choose this premise?

Máire: You know the premise was completely unmeditated. It came to me as I tried to go to sleep one night. The story literally came to me in the dark and I had to get up and start writing.

b2bMelanie: I must say that the many scenes you wrote just tugged at my heart-strings… How hard of a time did you have going so deep into the psyche of your Ian and Eva? I wondered if the intimate and sensual scenes came easier than those of Ian and Eva’s personal suffering. By the way, who did you model Eva and Ian after?

Máire: Oh thank you!!!!!!! Sometimes it was very tough, mining their grief and walking their paths with them. I loved writing the intimate scenes because it was a chance for them to be happy amidst their sorrows but it was also really natural to write the darker scenes as they were so true to character. Eva and Ian aren’t mirrored off anyone or anything. They are completely unique to me.

b2bMelanie: I think Cover Art is almost as much important as the content of the novels, but I find that not many publishers are acknowledging the artists or the models, and as an avid reader I love all aspects of the novel I’m about to read.

Tell me about the cover art for this book. It is stunning. This woman looks just like what I pictured Eva to be.

Máire: I got SO SO lucky!!! Jon Paul was the designer. Signet just really went to town on giving me the most beautiful cover. I sent them some images and we had a cover conference about the feel. Wait until you see Lady in Red’s cover!!!

b2bMelanie: You sure did! Jon Paul is such a sweetheart, not goona even attempt to hide my adoration for the man!

Maire Claremont The DarkLady Book Tour

Let’s talk titles…How hard is it to ‘name’ your ‘baby’? Have you gone through more than one and can you tell us what they were? 

Máire: The Dark Lady was ALWAYS the title. I was so lucky. It came to me. It’s a reference to Shakespeare’s Dark Lady sonnets. And my editor loved it and it never had to change.

b2bMelanie: Do you let someone read your work during your writing process? Who’s the lucky person and why? Or do you wait ‘till it’s finished, then you let someone read it…and who?

Máire: Oh yes! Delilah Marvelle author extraordinaire reads everything I write! Lacey Kaye also often looks and my amazing agent Helen Breitweiser!

b2bMelanie: OMG! The Delightful Ms. M. sure is lucky! I can’t tell you how lucky I was to meet her last year. Adore her!

We all have favorite books, authors… How about you? Are you willing to fess-up?

Máire: Elizabeth Hoyt is my very favorite historical writer right now with Delilah Marvelle making a very close second. They both write amazingly detailed deep books.

b2bMelanie: Totally with you on that one!

What’s on your TBR right now?

Máire: Lord of Darkness by Elizabeth Hoyt and Forever A Lord by Delilah Marvelle.

b2bMelanie: I don’t have Hoyt’s, but now must get it. As for Delilah’s book, I read it as soon as I got my special ARC copy and loved it!

Now, that ends up our ‘professional’ portion of this interview. Are you ready to get personal? Or are you going to chicken out on me?

Máire: Do I look like a Chicken?!? LOL.

b2bMelanie: HAHAHA!…Let’s get Personal:

So, tell us something personal about yourself that you’d like us to know…anything that makes you comfortable…or not…like how many times did you fall in love?

What’s your favorite meal of the day (food)? Flannels or Silk? Do you like to cook? What’s your favorite spot in the house? Cats or Dogs? Champagne or Beer?  Your favorite time of the year? What are your fears? Your joys?

Máire: Oh Wow! I am almost never in love! I think that’s why I love romance. I can fall in love whenever I want!

M favorite meal is dinner. I adore Indian food! Chicken tikka Masala?? nom nom om.

I’m flannels all the way because they are the best to write in!

My favorite spot in the house is. . . the bed. I even write in it. :D

I adore cats!! Always have. I love their snobbiness.

I’m a total Champagne girl. I adore bubbles!

My favorite time of year is Fall. I love the transition and the turning of the leaves! Such a gorgeous time of year!

Fears?? Failure of course or rejection. The nice thing is with all the writing, I’ve had to face my fears. And the more you face those fears, the stronger you become.

I do cook and actually like it unless I’m cooking just for me.

My joys??? Traveling!!! I could travel all year long and never get tired of living out of my suitcase! In fact, that’s my goal, to be able to travel ALL the time.

b2bMelanie: Máire, thanks for ‘coming over to play’! I wish you a long and ‘muse’ filled writing life. It has been a pleasure and much fun to host you and get to know you.

*For Author’s Bio, please click on her photo. 

*Máire can be found here: Website / Blog / Facebook / Tweeter / Pinterest

TDL MC

“The Dark Lady” now available at: Amazon Kindle B&N / Nook /

*For an EXCERPT please click on the book cover.

GIVEAWAY

One commenter will win a choice of copy or eBook

of THE DARK LADY and all you need to do is answer a question…

If you could travel to any time, what it be and why??

* US only!

Fan2Author Interview with…Danelle Harmon!

I am a brand new fan of this author and I am on the hunt! For the past week I’ve been tracking Danelle Harmon’s back llist because I fell in love with her story telling.

Recently I read five of her brand new back list releases as my review assignment for RCJR eZine and my blog. To Christine Morehouse I say, THANK YOU for introducing me to such a great author and her awesome series. Please help me welcome an author that I hope will become, if she already isn’t, your favorite as well.

b2bMelanie: Hello Danelle! Are you enjoying your summer so far?

Danelle Harmon:  I’m having a great summer, Melanie!  I hope you and your loved ones are, as well!

b2b: Actually, it has been a mixed bag, but the weather is getting to a point of tolerance now that we’re out of the 100 degree’s!

How exited are you with ‘Wicked at Heart’ coming out?

DH: I’m thrilled, especially as it has a beautiful new cover and one that I actually love!  I really fell in love with the hero of this story, and I hope readers will enjoy his journey as much as I did.

b2b: I definitely did! Loved the story!

It’s no news to my readers how much I enjoy reading the ‘behind the story’ notes of any book, so tell me more about your research and ‘behind the story’ of ‘WaH’.

DH:  I wrote Wicked At Heart while I was still living in England, so I took a lot of inspiration from my setting.  Oxford was only six miles away, and of course, the English countryside, which figured in a good part of Wicked At Heart (I set part of the book in the Cotswolds, one of my favorite areas of England).  It was wonderful to be surrounded by so many resources, and such beauty and history!

b2b: Cotswolds is now officially added to my Bucket List.

Just if someone out there hasn’t read any of your books, would you tell us a bit about them and what’s coming up for you in the future? Will you be releasing more of your backlist or will you concentrate on the future books?

DH: My career as an “Avon Lady” included ten books published by them; to date, five of them have been released as e-books, and I’m currently working on the sixth, Captain Of My Heart, which will, I hope, be available sometime in late August or early September.  I plan to revise and update all of my backlist, and when they are all available, with their beautiful new covers, I’ll finish the story that so many people have asked me for: that of Perry, Lord Brookhampton and the youngest de Montforte sibling, Lady Nerissa.

b2b: Let me tell you! I am really looking forward to all of them, especially Nerissa’s story. I truly thought that she needed her own book.

Which one of your books was the hardest and which the easiest to write and which couple did you like the best?

DH:  Without question, the hardest was The Beloved One.  Actors have to “inhabit” a role when they play it, and I believe that is true for authors, too. I get very wrapped up in my characters when I’m writing about them, and Lord Charles’s (the hero of The Beloved One) heartbreaking plight took a lot out of me, emotionally. Because of that, it got to the point that I was having trouble making myself sit down and spend time with him, so one winter weekend, I packed up my laptop and checked in to a local beach hotel and there, wrote a good part of the book.  I’ve never had to do that with any of my other books, and maybe that’s one reason that Lord Charles is my favorite of all the dashing, aristocratic de Montforte men… we really wrestled that story, the two of us, and I felt his pain right along with him.  As for couples, I don’t think I could pick any one set of characters … there are things I like and admire about all of them, I think.

b2b: You know, after five books that I’ve read, I think that ‘The Beloved One’ is my favorite!

Do you have a hard time writing the intimate scenes?

DH:  Yes; but to be honest, I can’t think of a romance writer who doesn’t!

b2b: LOL! Do you let someone read your work during your writing process? Who and why? Or do you wait ‘till it’s finished, then you let someone read it…and who?

DH: Nobody reads my work during the writing process, and I don’t belong to a critique group… in fact, I’ve never belonged to one.  Occasionally I’ll bounce ideas off my husband or a friend, but for the most part, I fly solo.

b2b: Now that’s interesting! Tell me about the cover art of your books. I can see that you have new Kindle covers for your backlist and I just love them. Who came up with it? What about the older ones?

DH:  Awww, thank you!  I just love my new covers!  Unlike with the older (paperback) versions, where I had zero control over the covers (and cried many a tear when I’d get my first look at them … the old covers for Wicked At Heart and The Beloved One were ghastly and looked NOTHING like my characters!) I had very specific ideas about what I wanted on the cover of each e-book.  Much to my delight and excitement, designer Kim Killion of Hot Damn Designs was able to bring those ideas to fruition… I love her work, and can’t thank her enough for these beautiful new covers!

b2b: She did an outstanding job in creating these covers. They are amazing!

Let’s talk titles…How hard is it to ‘name’ your ‘baby’?

DH:  My very first book was originally called “Forever A Free Prince” (my working title), but Avon, with an eye toward marketing, changed it to Pirate In My Arms.  The titles of the nine books that followed were all mine; I don’t seem to have any trouble naming books.

b2b: You are lucky, then. Some authors agonize over it.

We all have favorite books, authors… How about you? Are you willing to fess-up?

DH:  I read very, very little when it comes to romance, so I really don’t have any favorites within the genre.  I do like historical fiction, though, and occasionally will pick up something by Dean Koontz or Tess Gerritsen.  I loved the Joshua books by Joseph Girzone.

b2b: You know, I hear that a lot and it makes a lot of sense.

Some authors write at certain times of day or week. What’s your typical writing schedule and what gets your creative juices flowing? If you have any tips to help other aspiring new authors out there, feel free to share!

DH:  I wish I had a “schedule,” but, I’m also a mom, and as anyone with children knows, when it comes to kids, the old adage “the best laid plans…” certainly holds true.  Our daughter is home from summer camp now, so my writing time is very late at night.  I cannot work with interruptions, and in a house with my family and four dogs up and about, my best … perhaps my only … work gets done after they all go to bed.

b2b: LOL! So I see that it doesn’t differ from most mom’s out there. They all do the bulk of their chores after the household ‘settles down’.

I honestly enjoyed every aspect of this book. What inspired it and who did you envision as Damon?

DH:  Damon is a very wounded hero, and in adulthood, he’s paying the price for having an abusive mother who never showed him any love.  As a result, he’s prone to panic attacks, anxiety, and has an impossible time seeing the beauty in the world about him.  He’s angry, without knowing why, but he yearns for so much more.  I know people like Damon, loved ones who suffer panic attacks and anxiety disorders, and I must confess that my empathy toward them inspired me to write Damon’s character.  I wrote the paperback version of Wicked At Heart in the mid-1990s, and the young, intense, gorgeous and still relatively unknown Ralph Fiennes was the person I envisioned as Damon.

b2b: I am not surprised. He would definitely do justice to the role of Damon with his intensity and voice.

What do you like to read and what’s on your TBR right now?

DH:  I’m currently reading With Fire And Sword:  The Battle of Bunker Hill and the Beginning of the American Revolution by James Nelson, who’s actually quite well-known for his great fiction.  It’s a great read, and I’m enjoying his portrayal of Dr. Joseph Warren, the young, handsome, and sadly forgotten patriot without whom, I think, we probably wouldn’t have had a revolution.  Dr. Warren is one of my very favorite historical personages, right up there with British Admiral Lord Nelson.

b2b: Cool. I’ll make sure to look it up.

Now, that ends up our ‘professional’ portion of this interview.

…Let’s get Personal:

So, tell us a bit about yourself, something personal that you’d like us to know…anything that makes you comfortable…or not…like how many times did you fall in love? Flannel or Silk? Cats or Dogs? Champagne or Beer?  Rock or Classical? Movies or TV?

DH:  I can’t remember how many times I’ve fallen in love, but I’ve been happily married to my husband Chris since we tied the knot back in Abingdon, England, in 1995!  As for your other questions:  Flannel (it gets cold here during a Massachusetts winter!) … Dogs (I have four German Shorthaired Pointers ranging in age from one to fifteen years), though I do love kitties, too (my allergies don’t!), and Sam Adams Cherry Wheat beer, please!  My iTunes library is pretty eclectic, but I’m a big fan of the British band Oasis (which was HUGE when we were living in England); I also love Madonna, Lady Gaga, the Bee Gees’ older stuff (before the disco era), and anything with great energy to it.  I don’t watch TV (every time I get hooked on a show it gets canceled, so I don’t bother anymore!).  I’m a huge and devoted fan of Jesus Christ Superstar — the movie, the soundtrack, the live production — and have seen it on stage more times than I can count.  I even have a photo of myself with Ted Neeley, who’s holding a copy of The Wild One!

b2b: Danelle, you’re one fun lady! You’ve been very gracious to stop by and play, and I thank you so much. I am sure that our readers will be thrilled to learn that you’ve offered FIVE lucky winners   (one book per winner/title of their choice) ALL FIVE of your books as a giveaway, and all they have to tell us is this: how much of sensuality do you like to read about? No sexual contact whatsoever, sexual contact all over, or are you somewhere in between?

You can reach Danelle on Facebook, Tweeter and her website. To buy her novels right now, just click on the cover.

Fan2Author Interview with…Sheri Cobb South!

K- Hi Sheri!  Thank you so much for coming to visit with us and chat about your books!

K- Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your career as a writer?!  When did you know you wanted to be a writer?  How old were you?  Was there a particular moment that stands out as significant or was it just always natural to you?

SCS – To tell you the truth, I don’t remember when I first decided I wanted to write! I’d always loved to read—got my first library card at age 3, because I could already write my name—and I wrote my share of angst-ridden pre-teen poetry at 11 or 12. I always knew that “someday” I would write a book. It wasn’t until I was 28 years old and saw the big 3-0 looming on the horizon that I realized I could spend the rest of my life saying “someday,” or I could sit down and write! So I pounded away at a manual typewriter, literally cutting and pasting the manuscript pages until I had a finished draft that had to be completely retyped. My goal was to be published by the time I was 30, which shows how naïve I was about the publishing business! My first novel, a YA novel called Wrong-Way Romance, was published by Bantam as part of its Sweet Dreams series in February 1991, five months before my 32nd birthday. I still occasionally get emails from women in their 30s who read that book when they were teenagers and still remember it.

K-  What is your favorite genre of book to read?

SCS – I’m a “book slut.” I’ll read almost any genre as long as it’s well-written, humorous, and has a hint (or more than a hint!) of romance. The Regency romances of Georgette Heyer are among my favorites; I love their clever dialogue and elegant prose. I also enjoy classic mysteries and the time-travel books of Connie Willis.

K-  What is your favorite genre of book to write?

SCS – I love to write (and read!) romances where the attraction between the hero and heroine is shown through witty repartee rather than physical urges. I enjoy writing Regency romances for this reason, and when the market for traditional Regencies collapsed several years ago, I tried my hand at a Regency mystery series as a way of writing the things I love in a more marketable form—thus the John Pickett mystery series was born. My new release, Babes in Tinseltown, also features humor and a chaste romance in a historical setting, this time Hollywood in the 1930s.

K-  Do you have a particular place that you visit or work that gives you inspiration for your books?

SCS – I recently had a chance to meet science fiction superstar Connie Willis, who told me she does all her writing at Starbucks; when she tried to write at home, she was constantly distracted by other things she “ought” to be doing. I decided to give it a try, and found that it really works! Starbucks offers wi-fi, so I can spot-check details of research that arise, but the internet connection is too slow to effectively read and/or write email, post to Facebook, shop Amazon, play Candy Crush…you get the picture. Since I started working at Starbucks, I’ve written about 120 pages in just over a month, which is fast for me, as I tend to be a slow writer.

K-  Do you have a favorite character or couple that really speaks to you?

SCS – My favorite romance hero is Hugo Darracott of Georgette Heyer’s The Unknown Ajax. He’s got such a wicked sense of humor! Everyone underestimates him, but in an emergency he’s quick-thinking and strong. I also love Dorothy Sayers’s Lord Peter Wimsey. As far as couples go, one of my favorites has to be Captain Harry Phillips and Princess Sonya Irena of Moldavia, whom he has to smuggle out of Austria in the final days of WWI in the underappreciated novel Flight From Bucharest, by R. T Stevens. Of my own characters, my favorite has to be Ethan Brundy (The Weaver Takes a Wife), followed by John Pickett (In Milady’s Chamber, A Dead Bore).

K-  So, lets talk hobbies… what do you like to do in your time off, when you’re not writing?

SCS – I love old movies, which is why I decided to write a book set in 1930s Hollywood. I also enjoy needlework (knitting, crocheting, and counted cross-stitch). Music is a big part of my life, too. I sing in church choir and play the clarinet in community band.

K-  With summer in full swing, can you tell us a little bit about what your summer plans are?

SCS – I’m looking forward to attending the Romance Writers of America conference in Anaheim later this month, as well as the Beau Monde conference for Regency writers held the day before RWA kicks off. On a personal/family level, our recent move from Alabama to Colorado has opened up a new part of the country for us to explore. Last month we spent a week at Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Since we live only about 45 minutes from Rocky Mountain National Park, we’ll make several trips there this summer to do a little hiking.

K-  Can you tell us a little bit about your next release?

SCS – My newest release is Babes in Tinseltown, a humorous historical mystery set in 1936 Hollywood. It tells the story of Frankie Foster, a sheltered Southern girl hoping to make it big in the movies. She’s working as an extra when the producer drops dead on the soundstage. With filming suspended, Frankie knows it’s up to her to find out the truth about the producer’s death if she is to save the picture and her own career. Library Journal called it “a light 1930s Hollywood confection…[with] fresh characters [who]bring the cozy to life.” Babes in Tinseltown is available in both trade paperback and electronic editions.

Also, the second John Pickett mystery, A Dead Bore, is now available in electronic format through Belgrave House/Regency Reads. Idealistic young Bow Street Runner John Pickett and the newly widowed Lady Fieldhurst, whose husband’s murder was the subject of In Milady’s Chamber, are back together again, and the romance quotient is kicked up quite a bit. A Dead Bore was originally published by Five Star, whose heavy-duty library bindings unfortunately make the hardcover edition very expensive, so I hope the electronic format will be a more affordable option for readers.

K-  What can we expect from your books?

SCS – Not everyone is comfortable with the increasingly erotic levels of sexuality in romance. Those are the readers I write for. I hope they feel they can count on me to give them a funny yet romantic read in a vivid historical setting, whether that setting is Regency England or 1930s Hollywood.

K- Thank you so much Sheri for answering some questions for us!  We look forward to learning more about you and your books!! We also had so much fun browsing Sherri’s website, and are bringing you a couple of fun items from it today. If you’d click on the pictures of the Regency Lady and Lord, you’ll be able to dress them up! You can also help the hero and heroine from the Pride and Prejudice get all ‘dolled up’! How fun is that!

To know more about Sherri, please click on her photo, and to purchase some of her books she’s talking about, please click on their cover.  To one lucky commenter a copy of Babes in Tinsletown will come your way!  Thanks Sherri!

Fan2Author Interview with…Genevieve Graham!

Hello Genevieve!  Welcome back!  We are so happy to have you back here to talk about the release of your second book Sound of the Heart!

KG- So, let’s get right to the goodies and the “other” star of our interview.   Can you tell us a little bit about your newest release Sound of the Heart?

GG- Hi Kristal! Glad to be back. :)

Sound of the Heart is the companion novel to Under the Same Sky. That means they’re a series, but not sequels, so you can read them standalone, too … though I’m happy to say that reviewers of this book have said they’re now going back to check Under the Same Sky because they liked this one so much!

The funny thing about Sound of the Heart is that I never intended to write it! When Penguin offered me the contract for Under the Same Sky, it was on the basis that I would write a second book. Of course I said, ‘Sure!’ when they asked, but it was a bit of a challenge to come up with a whole new book—Under the Same Sky was literally the only thing I’d written to that point! But I was lucky because Dougal, my main character, is quite happy to tell his story. He’s somewhat of a ham. Loves to talk, be the centre of attention, defend the weak, etc

KG-  He certainly is and of course that is why I loved him and why all of our readers are going to love him!

KG-I reviewed your debut novel Under the Same Sky and simply LOVED it.  I raved about it to everyone that would listen!  Can you tell us how Sound of the Heart differs from Under the Same Sky?  How are the books similar, if at all?

GG- First off, THANKS for raving! For a new author like me, every sale is an important one, so I’m really hoping everyone else is passing along the word, too!

Sound of the Heart takes place at the same time as Under the Same Sky, but Dougal’s adventures are completely different from those of his brother. Two parallel lives. Andrew believed Dougal had been killed, along with thousands of others, on Culloden Moor. Andrew escaped the killing field after the battle was done, but Dougal wasn’t quite so fortunate. He ended up a P.O.W., and learning about how those men and women survived really broke my heart. It is impossible to me that human beings can treat each other like that—then and now. But one of the big differences between these books is the personalities of the main characters. Dougal is a strong, hardy man, but he also has a great outlook. Like Andrew, he’d defend the weak and be loyal to the end, but he has a lighter point of view. His dialogue is funnier, and his friends seem to reflect that.

KG- How can our readers get a copy of Sound of the Heart?  Is it available as an ebook?

GG- Oh yes. Both Under the Same Sky and Sound of the Heart are available everywhere, including on e-book.

KG- So, its been a few months since we have talked to you last.  What have you been up to since we last spoke?  Book-wise, summer-wise, life-wise?

GG- Wellllll, I’ve just finished a 50 stop blog tour, which was a lot of fun but WOW. I also run an editing business, editing novels for authors around the world, and because I knew I’d need time for promoting my two books I put the editing on hold for a bit. Now I’m right back into it, working with all different kinds of books. It’s really an interesting business.

KG-  50 stops!  That’s wild!!  And pretty amazing!!!

GG-  I’ve also been working on my own books, which is the best of all.

KG- We just had this discussion on the blog, so please humor me.  I’m having a love affair with summer at the moment. What are you favorite things about summer?  Any big plans?  Im taking a trip to the Outer Banks in August and I am living every single day for that trip!  LOL

GG-  My favourite place to work in the summer is in my “outside office”, the screened-in gazebo my husband built for me last year! We have a lot of black flies up here, so the screen keeps the little buggers out. Sometimes the Atlantic wind comes up and I need a blanket, but really, what can be better than writing in the outdoors? My family usually joins me after a while—my husband loves to nap out there while I type—so sometimes “my” little office is full of our two teenage daughters, our little white dog, occasionally a chicken or two, and the two of us. When that happens, well, let’s just say writing gets put on hold for a bit.

KG-  This office sounds like just my cup of tea!!!  Where can I get one?!  :)

GG-  We’re travelling to Alberta for three weeks to visit family, and we’re looking forward to showing the girls the city. We moved from Calgary to Nova Scotia in 2008 because we wanted to get away from the noise and speed of the city. Sometimes they complain that they don’t get to go to the malls anymore (yay! That’s a good thing!) so we’re surprising them with a two day visit to the West Edmonton Mall.

KG-  That sounds absolutely lovely!

KG- What is next for you?  What can us eager readers be on the look out for?

GG- The third book in the MacDonnell clan series is Out of the Shadows, and it has been sitting—unread—on my editor’s desk for a year now. She’s waiting to hear about sales on the first two books before Penguin takes a chance on this new author again. It’s kind of a stressful position to be in, waiting to see, but I’m not too concerned. I have submitted another historical adventure book to my agent and am working on a time travel adventure right now. I have a chicklit as well, but I’ve put it to the side until I settle a few of these other books. Oh, and I’ve started a fourth in the MacDonnell series, but I want to wait and see how that all goes with Penguin before I go any farther.

GG-  I’ll definitely be back when (not if!) my next book is out!

KG- You are welcome to join us anytime!!!

GG-  Thanks again for having me here, and for reading Sound of the Heart.

KG-  Thank you so much for stopping by to talk with us again!  It is always a pleasure to have you here with us and we love to hear what you have going on and when your newest releases are going to hit shelves!

*To find out more about the author click on her picture

*To purchase her books, click on the covers