The Male Romance Novelist by Serge de Molier – Guest Blog

The Male Romance Novelist
by Serge de Moliere (“The Romance Whisperer”)

7_24 Sergeatwork[The author lives and writes in NYC and draws on the diversity of this great Metropolis. Genres include romance, erotic romance, sci-fi and contemporary.]

When I confided to a female friend that I was a published author of romance, she gave me an odd look. Then she asked if I was writing under a woman’s name. I told her that I wasn’t.

I didn’t think I could pretend to be a woman, nor did I want to. While the majority of popular romance writers may be women, real men not only eat kitsch but they also write romance (and there are also males who read romance titles). For example, bestselling author Leigh Greenwood is actually a man (Harold Lowry) and a former president of the Romance Writers of America. He noted that after writing forty or more books, the publishers began putting his photo on the back cover so readers would know he was actually a man.

Thomas Elmer Huff, who predated Lowry, was also a popular author who wrote twenty five romance novels under various female pen names (e.g. Beatrice Parker) as did Bill Spence (a/k/a Jessica Blair). But some men have not been reluctant to identify their gender. Notably, New York Times best-selling author Nicholas Sparks (who, according to his website, has sold more than 97 million books), has written a number of romance novels. Perhaps the best known of these is the tear jerker, The Notebook, which was also made into a film. Other less well-known contemporary male authors include Cheetan Bhagat, Michael Gonzale and Robert James Waller.

What is “romance” anyway? According to the Romance Writers of America, novels are classified as of the “romance genre” if the central theme is about “individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work” and if they include “an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending”. There is nothing in this definition that requires the author of such a love story to be a woman. Falling in love is part of the human condition. It does not discriminate between males or females, although certain men may be reluctant to talk about passion openly.

In fact, the very first novel that might properly be called a “romance” was by a man, Samuel Richardson. According to Wikipedia, Samuel Richardson, who was an author and book printer, published a novel entitled, “Pamela: Or Virtue Rewarded” in 1740. In contrast, the legendary Jane Austen did not complete the first draft of “Pride and Prejudice” until 1797.

“Pamela” tells the story of a beautiful young woman working as a maid in the home of a rich, socially upscale landowner referred to as “Mr. B.” In the novel, Mr. B is smitten by Pamela’s beauty. Shortly, he becomes so enamored with her charms that he at first tries to seduce and then rape her. Perhaps fortuitously, he is unsuccessful in these pursuits. Later, a humbled Mr. B turns romantic and woos Pamela; and eventually she accepts his fervent marriage proposal. Thus, Pamela’s virtue is rewarded and wedding bells ring out at the end of the story. Richardson’s novel was a best seller in its time, although Wikipedia notes that it was also criticized for licentiousness.

Is it more difficult for the typical male writer to pen a romance? As an author, I am always trying to improve my craft. I find that, as with any genre, practice makes perfect. My first efforts at writing romance ended up (thank goodness) in the trash heap and hopefully will never be dredged up. But then again, my first efforts at writing science fiction were equally disastrous.

The human condition flourishes only where love abounds. This quote from Humphrey Bogart says it all: “I was born when you kissed me, I died when you left me. I lived a few weeks while you loved me.”

I have published two titles by Etopia Press now available on Amazon books: “Love Yoga” and “White Heat” (http://www.amazon.com/Serge-de-Moliere/e/B00Y6YHTR8). For curious readers, below is the blurb for “Love Yoga”.

7_24 serge LoveYoga-BySergeDeMoliere-453x680Morgan is a popular African American yoga instructor. After her studies in India, students flock to her classes. But without her own studio, money is tight. Her personal life is a wreck since her lover cheated on her.

When an attractive man enters her studio, Morgan is instantly drawn to him. When she discovers the attraction is mutual, things quickly escalate, taking a passionate turn. Is this the man of her dreams? Or will Morgan end up once again as a man’s sex toy?

Buy the book at Amazon.

Pondering the Muse by Jeanne Mackin – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jeanne will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Pondering the Muse
by Jeanne Mackin, author of A Lady of Good Family

“You couldn’t ridicule me into going into the box,” Joni Mitchell said in a recent interview. She is Saint Laurent creative director Hedi Slimane’s new muse and I say amen! Mitchell has been my musical hero for a while, both for the unwavering femaleness of her fabulous voice, and the powerful poetry and honesty of her lyrics. I don’t think the muse could wear a better face than Joni Mitchell’s, at any age.

In fact, I thought of Joni Mitchell quite often when I was developing the character of my protagonist in my latest novel, A Lady of Good Family. Beatrix Jones Farrand, a privileged woman of the Gilded Age, could have married well, supported her husband’s ambitions, and raised a family. That was what her society expected her to do. But she outwitted them and made her own plans, fulfilled her own ambitions. She wouldn’t be boxed in, either.

For a woman artist, invoking the muse has special meaning because the muse, traditionally, is a woman, the semi-divine being who inspires men to do their most creative work, or to simply keep working. Muses, like boats and until quite recently storm systems, were female. When you think about it, those three have a lot in common – they float, they disturb, they keep you off balance. But for a woman to invoke another woman? That can be difficult because whether anthropologists admit it or not, women can be pretty competitive and uncooperative sometimes. When I call upon my muse, I am always aware that I am calling upon a part of myself, to work better, to work harder…sometimes to work at all. The muse isn’t something to tame or train or rely upon but to become. As did Joni Mitchell. As did Beatrix Farrand, the muse of American garden design. As should we all, whatever our chosen endeavor.

Raised among wealth and privilege during America’s fabled Gilded Age, a niece of famous novelist Edith Wharton and a friend to literary great Henry James, Beatrix Farrand is expected to marry, and to marry well. But as a young woman traveling through Europe, she already knows that gardens are her true passion. How she becomes a woman for whom work and love, the earthly and the mysterious, are held in delicate balance is the story of her unique determination to create beauty while remaining true to herself.




Enjoy an excerpt:

1920

Lenox, Massachusetts

My grandparents had a farm outside of Schenectady, and every Sunday my father, who worked in town, would hitch the swayback mare to the buggy and take us out there. I would be left in play in the field as my father and grandfather sat on the porch and drank tea and Grandma cooked. My mother, always dressed a little too extravagantly, shelled the peas.

A yellow barn stood tall and broad against a cornflower blue sky. A row of red hollyhocks in front of the barn stretched to the sky, each flower on the stem as silky and round as the skirt on Thumbelina’s ball gown. In the field next to the barn, daisies danced in the breeze. My namesake flower.

I saw it still, the yellows and red and blues glowing against my closed eyelids. The field was my first garden and I was absolutely happy in it. We usually are, in the gardens of our childhood.

When I opened my eyes I was on a porch in Lenox, a little tired from weeks of travel, a little restless. My companions were restless, too, weary of trying to make polite conversation as strangers do.

It was a late-summer evening, too warm, with a disquieting breeze stirring the treetops as if a giant ghostly hand ruffled them. Through the open window a piano player was tinkling his way through Irving Berlin as young people danced and flirted. In the road that silvered past the inn, young men, those who had made it home from the war, drove up and down in their shiny black Model T’s.

It was a night for thinking of love and loss, first gardens, first kisses.

Mrs. Avery suggested we try the Ouija board. Since the war it had become a national obsession.

“Let’s,” I agreed eagerly.


About the Author:

Jeanne Mackin ‘s latest novel, A Lady of Good Family, explores the secret life of gilded age Beatrix Jones Farrand, niece of Edith Wharton and the first woman professional landscape design in America. Her previous novel, The Beautiful American, based on the life of model turned war correspondent and photographer, Lee Miller won the CNY 2015 prize for fiction. She has published in American Letters and Commentary and SNReview and other publications and is the author of the Cornell Book of Herbs and Edible Flowers. She was the recipient of a creative writing fellowship from the American Antiquarian Society and her journalism has won awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. She lives with her husband, Steve Poleskie, in Ithaca.

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BMW’s Excellent Adventure by Brett Matthew Williams – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Brett Matthew Williams will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

BMW’s Excellent Adventure

Time travel is a double edged sword of awesomeness and disaster. The idea of stepping outside of it, while tempting on the outside, would be nothing but a miserably (if not gooey) inside of bad decisions and wrong turns. Much like life, the notion presents its good and its bad, the yin and the yang, of how to prioritize the responsibility and wants of such a vast undertaking. I have often dreamed of taming a pair of velociraptors to keep as pets, but the actual idea of doing that is so ridiculous it isn’t even workable. Call me a skeptic but until recently I have always thought of time travel as best left to fiction authors. But then I started doing this tour, and when (inevitably) every interview question ended up being ‘What time would YOU travel to?’ I actually gave the matter some thought to surprising results.

It has always bothered me that we as a civilization lost what came before written recorded history. Scientists estimate that human beings in our current form have been walking the Earth for near 100,000 years, yet we have but 6,000 years of recorded history to our wall of fame. Notice any discrepancy here? Most historians will give you the dull, dry answer that before written history, we as human beings were nomadic, or simply told stories and lessons via oral traditions. This leaves a wide berth for speculation.

How many empires were built, to what extend did they reach, and how did they each fall? Were there legendary heroes, long forgotten to time due to the passing of all whom whispered their names? What of villains, or warlords, or conspiring kings, queens, or whatever the leadership called themselves; how did they solve issues that we as a species still struggle with in the 21st century, like monogamy, crime, or religion. And speaking of religion, how many have been lost to the ages? Gilgamesh gave scholars so much to dote upon that few have bothered to ask what possibly could have been its competition. It’s been suggested to me that I’m not writing correctly unless at least ten percent of those who read it absolutely hate what I create. So, by that theory ten percent of ancient Sumerians were looking elsewhere for entertainment than the Epic of Gilgamesh. But where?!

I have received my share of correspondence with those who disagree with my quest on religious grounds. While I respect your right to practice your religion in its own space, I will fight tooth and nail to deter the ignorant, fear based culture that certain individuals champion behind the banner of ‘religion’. Too often the price of progress is paid with the suffrage of those who go against the grain of widely held, yet little verified public thought.

That being said, it would be amazing to walk, all alone, within the confines of a time before mankind inhabited the Earth, or visit the Library of Alexandria before it burnt down. Regardless of the when, the ultimate dream for any historian is to catalogue the unknown in an attempt to make amends with the fragmented pieces of mankind’s past so that it may better understand its shared history moving forward. It’s not always pleasant, but it is necessary, and I fear in our 21st century world of science and technology taking precedent above all else, an often overlooked subject.

MediaKit_BookCover_TimeIsRelativeForAKnightOfTime Meet Rolland Wright – a seventeen year old orphan living out of his car in rural Woodland Hills, California. Aside from grappling with the fact of being abandoned by his drunken father two years previous following his mothers mysterious murder, his life mostly revolves around finding a warm place to sleep at night. When one day he is attacked by men claiming to have killed his father, Rolland discovers a strange ability to slow the flow of time around him, beginning a journey that takes him to places outside of time, space, and eventually to the early 19th century to fight the sinister General Andrew Jackson. With the help of a rag-tag group of historical and mythical figures with various supernatural abilities of their own (Joan of Arc, Jesse James, etc) known as the Knights of Time, Rolland solves the mystery behind his mother’s murder, falls in love, battles the evil Edward Vilthe – reaper of souls, and finds a home of his own in the paradise known as Eden.

The Time is Relative series chronicles the origin story of the mythical figure Father Time, beginning with the award winning first novel, Time is Relative for a Knight of Time. All dates and events are historically accurate. The participants… maybe not.

Enjoy an excerpt:

It was a muggy, humid morning when U.S. General Andrew Jackson woke to the sound of tribal horns. Immediately identifying their purpose, he quickly gathered both his wits and his pants, grabbing his sword and sidearm as he left his tent.

Known to be tough as hickory, Andrew Jackson was a moderately tall man for his time, standing at six feet, one inch. In this and in his military rank he was often compared to George Washington among elite society in Boston, Washington, and New York, despite his humble beginnings.

Jackson’s rigid demeanor was only matched by his sharp attention to detail. His crisply, pressed uniform was such that it demanded the attention of all the company’s men. Each stood at full attention, showing perfect respect for their commanding officer as Jackson made his way through the columns slowly, careful to catch each and every pair of eyes.

“Today we fight like dogs, and live like kings!” Jackson roared to his men, who cheered loudly in response. Their gusto and appreciation for their General’s bravery in the face of danger was not unnoticed by his adversaries on and off the battlefield.

A slave, brought directly from Africa on Jackson’s orders, walked Jackson’s horse to him around the hustle and bustle of preparing for the day’s campaign. A light rain began to fall on the heads and shoulders of every soul under the barely visible sun, uniting them in nature. They all felt the soft droplets as they landed on both white and brown skin alike. Lightning struck diagonally across the gray sky, followed shortly by an attention-stealing clap of thunder that rocked the previously dry Florida landscape.

About the Author: Brett Matthew grew up with a passion for both film and history. He began his career fresh out of high school as a Production Assistant/ football player on NBC Universal’s television series Friday Night Lights (of which he can often be seen in the first two seasons as a member of the championship team – Go Panthers!). He quickly moved on to serve as an Original Series intern with the USA Network in Studio City, California. Following work on shows like Monk, Psych, and Burn Notice, Brett returned home to Texas to continue his education, graduating with his degree in History from Texas State University. A proud Master Freemason, Brett thoroughly enjoys fantasy fiction, watching Netflix, running, baseball, Shakespeare, and spending time with his family and critters.

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Buy the book at Amazon.

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Romance – Main Course or Side Dish? by Kate Hill – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Kate Hill, whose latest book The Red King, was recently released. Check out the giveaway at the end of the post.

Romance – Main Course or Side Dish?

From the time I was a kid and saw the movie Love at First Bite, romantic stories have been my favorite. If romance is food, then I generally prefer it as a main course. I enjoy other types of stories too, but I still like a little romance mixed in.

Though a die-hard romance fan who loves to watch a relationship grow between the main characters, I believe a good romance generally needs other elements as well. What are my favorite side dishes that complement romance? For me a story usually requires some kind of action. I enjoy battle scenes and one-on-one fights. If characters go on an adventure, whether it’s a hike through a forest or a trip into outer space, it’s fun to go along on their journeys. I also enjoy historical or fantasy settings and paranormal elements. Vampires, aliens, shapeshifters, ghosts and magic add a fantastic layer to the story and take me away from the real world for a short time. Even subtle paranormal elements in a story are enough to add spice to an already deliciously romantic dish.

What is your preference? Do you like romance as the main course or a side dish? Either way, what other ingredients make a story even tastier for you?

If I could create a recipe for favorite fiction, mine would be:

Kate’s Fictional Smoothie

1 cup of romance
1/4 cup action
1 tablespoon paranormal
Historical (to taste)

Blend and enjoy!

What fictional recipe would you create?

7_23 theredkingkatehill200x300Part of the Knights of the Ruby Order series.

Torn from her beloved convent home, Delia is forced to marry Areus of Lortia. The contract states she must deliver an heir within a year or the marriage can be annulled. Delia vows to control her fate by ensuring there will be no child–until she is mesmerized by Areus, the proud, virile warrior king.

Areus agrees to marry Delia to gain her father’s army to continue his fight against Hypatios, the mad prince of Zaltana. He doesn’t expect to fall in love with a convent-reared mouse, but from the first, Delia rouses his lust and touches his heart.

Their life together hangs in the balance as the war with Zaltana advances and Areus discovers Hypatios is far more than just his sworn enemy.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Seated at the high table between her husband and her father, Delia had never felt more angry or frightened. She had thought to escape this fate.

She told herself that she still could. All she needed to do was see that there was no heir. Katerina had again been helpful by providing an herb that prevented pregnancy. Delia must be careful with that secret, however. If Areus and her father found out–she didn’t want to think about it.

Yet she would be mistress of her fate. If they wanted to treat her like a broodmare, then they deserved to be lied to and tricked. Areus had already proved himself inconsiderate and disrespectful. He hadn’t even spoken to her since the meal started. He and her father engaged in conversation while Delia, like her mother, sat in silence.

Delia lifted her gaze to that of her maid, Echo, the only person at the ceremony to whom she felt close. When Delia had been sent to the convent, Echo had gone with her. To Delia, she was much more than a servant, but her closest friend, despite a seven year difference in their ages. The maid offered an encouraging smile and Delia tried to return it, but didn’t quite succeed.

Finally Areus said, “You haven’t asked why I was late, but you deserve an explanation.”

He had spoken to her father. Not to Delia.

Urion waved his gnarled hand. “Not necessary. I’m sure you had good reason.”

“I’d like to know,” Delia said in a loud, clear voice.

“Silence, girl,” Urion snapped. “If you don’t–”

Areus held up his hand and Urion stopped mid-sentence.

No one had ever silenced her father before and certainly not with a mere gesture.

“My wife has the right to ask,” he said. His green gaze held hers. “Before I left, a group of Zaltanian soldiers crossed our border. There was a skirmish and I couldn’t leave until it was settled. I sent a messenger to tell you, but his horse went lame halfway here. We found them on our way. My apologies, Delia.”

“No. It seems I’m the one who should apologize,” she said, hoping she didn’t look as taken aback as she felt. She had assumed the worst, that their wedding meant so little to him that he hadn’t cared about showing up on time. “I hope the casualties were minimal.”

He nodded. “No one on our side was killed. This time. We were lucky. Zaltana pushes harder all the time, trying to wear us down.” He turned back to her father. “Now that our kingdoms have allied, we can discuss strategy against them.”

Urion looked rather surprised. “Strategy? You mean defensive, of course.”

A slight but almost wicked smile tugged at Areus’s lips. “Now isn’t the best time to discuss it.”

“Agreed,” Urion said. Despite his gruff demeanor, concern shone in his eyes.

Strategy.

Did Areus plan to attack Zaltana? Doing so would be suicidal, yet he couldn’t hold them off forever and two kingdoms united against them were stronger than one. Not to mention Areus had connections to the Knights of the Ruby Order. Still, during the battle for Tanek even the knights had suffered severe casualties and they were among the strongest warriors in the world.

The feast continued long after dark. Despite the dry meat, everyone ate and drank freely–everyone except Delia. She didn’t have much of an appetite. Areus didn’t overindulge, either, though he seemed to have a healthy appetite. Of course he and his men had ridden hard to arrive and they had fought a battle just before leaving.

Most people were still celebrating when Areus glanced at her and said, “We should retire.”

“Of course,” Urion said with a leering grin. “You traveled hard today and I’m sure you want the comfort of a soft bed and a softer wife.”

Delia’s felt a bit ill. Such an innuendo from her own father was disturbing.

Areus ignored the remark, his attention fixed solely on Delia.

Enter the Giveaway:

You must be 18 or over to enter this giveaway. Void where prohibited by law.
To enter for the chance to win a pdf download of one backlist book in the Knights of the Ruby Order series (winner’s choice of title), leave a comment below stating that you would like to be included in the giveaway. Three days from the time this post goes live, a winner will be chosen at random from the entries. The winner will be contacted by email and also posted in a comment here. Thank you!

About the Author:

Always a fan of romance and the paranormal, Kate Hill started writing over twenty years ago for pleasure. Her first story, a short erotic vampire tale, was accepted for publication in 1996. Since then she has sold over one hundred short stories, novellas and novels.

When she’s not working on her books, Kate enjoys reading, working out and spending time with her family and pets.

She enjoys hearing from readers and she can be contacted at katehill@sprintmail.com. Kate also writes under the name Saloni Quinby.

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Buy the book at the author’s website.

Welcome to Paradise by Heidi Lynn Anderson – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $10 Starbucks gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_AvasAwakening_HiResWhen Ava stumbles into Paradise and comes face-to-face with her dream man, she has a feeling she’s standing on the precipice of something life-changing. Not to mention, she couldn’t be more surprised to learn her supposedly prim and proper aunt Julie was actually part owner of the premier sex club in Miami and a top-notch Dominatrix.

Navy SEAL Logan Turner always knew he needed more out of life than the next mission. That’s why he opened Paradise with his best friend Julie. It didn’t hurt that he could reap the benefits of owning a BDSM sex club. But when a sexy, doe-eyed woman walks in, his control slips for the first time ever.

MediaKit_BookCover_MaggiesLongingWho would have thought a plan to get the attention of one man, would have Maggie Blake taking two men to her bed?

Maggie Blake has one desire, to experience what the way too sexy Brian O’Malley has to offer in bed. Too bad he thinks of her as an annoyance and not as the hot, willing woman she is.

Brian O’Malley has one rule in life. Never let a woman too close, but club Paradise’s sassy little bartender threatens to change that rule and wiggle her hot little ass into his damaged heart.

MediaKit_BookCover_Julie'sSurrender_HiResMistress Julie has worked to gain control of her life and overcome a tragedy from her past, and as a co-owner of Paradise, Miami’s premier BDSM club, she thought she had everything. But the truth is she longs for something more—something like the happiness her closest friends have found with their new partners.

Nick’s sexual specialty is playing “guest star” as the third in his friends’ ménage encounters. He’s especially good at reading a situation and adjusting accordingly, and giving and receiving pleasure—and then moving on. But once he meets Julie, Nick begins to rethink his ideas on relationships.

Nick and Julie get along great outside the bedroom, but Nick will need all his skills at discerning a woman’s deepest desires to show Julie that what she thinks she wants isn’t exactly what she needs.

Reader Advisory: This story has graphic sexual language and scenes—no closed bedroom doors (or other rooms) here!

Enjoy an excerpt:

“You must have done something wrong. A dozen girls under your tutelage got themselves pregnant, shamed the school and ruined its impeccable reputation.”

When the tight-knit group of students wound up expecting within three months of one another, someone’s head had to roll. It made sense it was hers. Ava wasn’t a nun, wasn’t married and was low man on the totem pole.

Being the sole guidance counselor at an all-girls high school, she was well versed in the workings of overactive hormones and the complications of the teenage mind. Ava doubted the pregnancies happened by accident. She thought there might be some kind of pact going on but had no proof. It was pretty bad when seventeen and eighteen-year-olds were having more sex then she was.

The students went home and had lives, apparently more exciting ones than she had. There was nothing she could say to change the priest’s mind.

“Well, Father Donavan.” Ava stood and walked to stand in front of the old man. “If you’ll excuse me, I need to clean out my office.”

He rose. “I’ll send Sister Mary Elizabeth in to oversee you.” He pushed past her and out of the room.

What am I going to do, steal the picture of the Pope hanging on the wall? She slammed the door behind her, stomped back to her desk, picked up her cell phone and dialed.

“Nick’s House of Pleasure.” Her roommate and best friend answered.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_AvasAwakeningBy day, Heidi Lynn Anderson is a wife, mother, and owner of a small Green-Cleaning company. By night, she spins erotic tales featuring hunky heroes and the women they love. When not working or writing, Heidi likes spending time with her husband and son, doing what Florida has to offer.

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Hungry as a Wolf by Elizabeth Einspanier – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Elizabeth will award a $25 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn commenter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_HungryAsAWolfWolf Cowrie is back in his second adventure! In the Black Hills of the Dakota Territory in 1865, tensions run high between white settlers looking for gold and the Sioux people who consider this region their holy ground. When Wolf is hired to find out what happened to the workers of a mining outpost in the area, the general theory in Goldwater is that they were slaughtered by the Sioux. Wolf discovers something far more sinister lurking in the Black Hills, an ancient evil whose unending hunger drives sane men to ghoulish extremes.

Enjoy an excerpt:

It was a young woman of perhaps nineteen years of age, with auburn hair and brown eyes. She was well-dressed in a white blouse with leg-of-mutton sleeves and a narrow column of ruffles down the front. A dark blue skirt respectably covered her ankles and black boots, and her hair was pulled back in a style he could not readily see from this angle, with wisps curling delicately around her face. She was a pretty little thing as well, and Wolf wished he could have made her acquaintance under better circumstances—like, say, fully-clothed, rather than stark naked with only his hat to conceal his shame.

The two of them stared at each other for maybe half a minute—him in a state of poker-faced, heart-pounding embarrassment, her in open-mouthed shock. Wolf’s heart and his stomach had lurched in opposite directions when he saw her—his heart upwards to lodge in his throat, his stomach downwards to gurgle in low panic somewhere around his knees. He swallowed hard to try to clear the lump of nerves behind his larynx. Somehow, Wolf was the first to find his voice.

“Ordinarily, miss, I’d be the first to tip my hat to a lovely young lady like yourself,” he said as politely as he could manage, with a glance down at the hat in question. “But I don’t think either of us wants that right now.”

She blushed bright scarlet and whirled out of the bathroom without a word, revealing the bun that secured her hair and slamming the door behind her. Wolf put his free hand over his face.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_HungryAsAWolfElizabeth Einspanier is the self-published author of the Weird Western novella Sheep’s Clothing and the upcoming sci-fi romance novel Heart of Steel. Her short stories have been published in Down in the Dirt and Dark Fire Fiction. She is a member of the St. Louis Writer’s Guild and an associate member of the Horror Writers of America. She lives in St. Louis, but frequently spends extended periods in worlds of her own creation.

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Balancing Life and Writing by Lori Handeland – Guest Blog

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Lori Handeland, author of the Sisters of the Craft series. The second book of the series, Heat of the Moment, released June 30.

Balancing Life and Writing

Balancing life and writing is always a challenge, and one I’ve never been very good at. The only way I’ve been able to manage it the slightest bit is to treat writing like a job. I write for certain hours every day, and I don’t change that unless there’s an emergency.

When my kids were small, I wrote from when the bus picked them up until it dropped them off. If volunteers were needed, I volunteered in the evening or after school.

My family learned not to call during my work hours. I wasn’t going to answer. Leave a message and I’ll get back to you.

The problem I’ve always had is taking a break. Since a book is in my head, it’s always there. Since my office is in my home, same thing. I can’t remember the last vacation I took where I didn’t bring along a computer or a print out of a manuscript. I’m not sure there’s been one in the twenty plus years I’ve been writing.

I try to take weekends off from the actual creative writing. I still take care of social media and email, as well as packaging contest prizes, updating mailing lists, re-issuing backlist and the like.

In the same vein of working during certain hours, I also play when those hours are done. Evenings I read, crochet, watch TV shows, movies or sporting events. I go out with writing friends–drinks, meals, writing retreats. Which may sound like more work, but it’s so much fun I can’t really classify it in that column. I spend time with my family and their dogs. Dogs are great for balance. You have to walk them, and then, hey, it’s sunny out! Woo, hoo.

heat of the momentA spell that tore three sisters apart is broken four hundred years later, when the magic in their blood reunites them. Now, one of them will discover her gift-and reignite a love long thought lost…

Flame-haired Becca Carstairs was born to be a veterinarian. Since childhood, her affinity for animals has been special, and her healing touch nothing short of magic. But only Becca knows the truth-that she alone can hear the creatures’ voices. She’s always trusted her sixth sense…until a string of missing pets, an attempted murder, and a face from her past converge into one explosive mystery, with her at its center. Is haunted Owen McAllister, the boy who broke her heart ten years ago, related to the sinister crimes that have peaceful Three Harbors, Wisconsin, on its guard? Or is his reappearance part of the answer to questions that have troubled her all her life? As Becca delves into her strange heritage, she’ll have to fight for her life…and the man she will always love.

b>About the Author: loir handlandLori Handeland is a New York Times, USA Today, Waldenbooks and Bookscan Bestselling Author and the recipient of many industry awards, including two RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America for Best Paranormal (BLUE MOON) and Best Long Contemporary Romance (THE MOMMY QUEST), a Romantic Times Award for Best Harlequin Superromance (A SOLDIER’S QUEST), the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence, the Write Touch Readers Award, the National Readers Choice Award and the Prism Award.

Lori is published world wide in several genres–historical, contemporary, series and paranormal romance, as well as urban fantasy and historical fantasy–by such publishers as: Dorchester, Kensington, Harlequin, St. Martin’s Press, Harper-Collins, Simon and Schuster and Penguin/Putnam.

She also publishes gritty, sexy western historical romance under the name Lori Austin.

Lori lives in Wisconsin with her husband, enjoying occasional visits from her grown sons. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached at LHANDEL120@aol.com.

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Ten Things About Maggie Adams – Guest Post and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Maggie will be awarding $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

 10 things most people don’t know about me……

1)           I could knock out three individually right now, but I’ll lump them together here…my age, my weight, my true hair color.

2)           I am the eldest of three children. My younger brother was killed in an auto accident in 1984, when he was 16. My youngest brother survived with minor scratches. I miss him every day.

3)           I wish Santa and Mrs. Claus were real. Just the thought of spreading goodwill, giving children a gift to make them smile, working really, really hard only one day a year, yep, that would be awesome. My husband and I would definitely sign up.

4)            My favorite dessert is cheesecake. My favorite drink is American Honey. My favorite chocolate is Dove’s milk chocolate and caramel. My favorite snack is buttered popcorn. My favorite meal is steak, medium well, wild rice and broccoli. My favorite flower is the pink peony. My favorite color is red. My favorite sexual position is none of your business.

5)           My bucket list consists of learning to belly dance, visiting the Vatican, meeting a friendly ghost, buying a pair of Jimmy Choo’s, being a featured author at a major book event, visiting every state in the US, and tracing my ancestry from Scotland.

6)            This is who I’ve pictured so far as the characters of my books:

Mac Coalson – Joe Maganiello

Dixie Coalson – Hayden Panitierre

Hank Coalson – Tom Selleck

Ginny Coalson – Goldie Hawn

Sam – Charlie Hunnan

Angel – Blake Lively

Chance – Henry Cavill

Georgia – Kate Upton

7)           If I was stranded on a desert island, (no people), I would bring these books:

The Joy of Cooking – because I’m going to need to know how to cook all sorts of fish.

The complete works of Alexander Dumas – because, well, it’s Alexander Dumas.

A comprehensive first aid reference – because I’m a klutz.

A book by Lexi Blake, Shayla Black & Cali Mackay – because I’m a horny klutz who likes to laugh.

The Boy/Girl Scout Guide – I’ve seen what these kids can do. It’s impressive.

The Bible – because there is something new to discover in it every day.

8)           I don’t read my reviews (good or bad), look at my rankings, or check my sales figures. Authors make themselves crazy doing that stuff. I make my husband do it. He’s already crazy.

9)           I thought I had a horrible childhood, and to many, I guess I did, but what I hear on the news today, see in the schools and on playgrounds…it makes me so sad. Children should be cherished for the beautiful, brilliant gifts they are.

10)          I am grateful, everyday, to be able to do what I love to do. So, I ask God to bless each and every one of my fans for allowing me to make you smile, or laugh, or give you hope for a happily ever after.

Sam Coalson, ex-Navy SEAL, has returned to Grafton for the wedding of his brother. After being run out of town fifteen years ago for a crime he didn’t commit, he’s determined to claim what is rightfully his and take on anyone crazy enough to try and stop him.

Angel Devereaux is smart, sexy and definitely on Sam’s blacklist. After siding with Sam’s enemy fifteen years ago, Angel can’t help but wonder what if….what if Sam had never left? What if he could forgive her now? She had her reasons, but he won’t listen. So enough with words, sometimes action is exactly what’s called for.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Sam continued to advance on her. “And you don’t even want to know what he was gonna do to you if he could’ve gotten a chance.” Sam’s good eye began to twitch at the thought of the danger she had been in. She had no sense, but by God before the night was over, she would know to never put herself in danger again. He’d see to that. Apparently, she’d been flying wild these past fifteen years. Well, that was ending now.

Angel threw her arms up in exasperation. “Oh that’s just great. Just swell, dandy, fine. I try to save your miserable ass and you’re accusing me of being unfaithful. Well, of course you would. You can’t trust me, remember? I turned against you once, right? So therefore, I’ll do it again, right?” she screamed at him as tears ran down her face. It was just too much! She couldn’t stand his mistrust anymore.

“I had everything under control. There was no need for your ‘help’ as you call it,” he growled at her. He kept seeing the lecherous looks of those men and the hands reaching out to touch those perfect breasts. She was his, dammit! No one touched his Angel.

“Oh yeah, right. I can tell you had everything well in hand. You were locked up, beaten up, and completely outnumbered. Oh, and the FBI was considering you an accomplice in the whole mess. They didn’t care if you were dead or alive. Yeah, you had them shakin’ in their shoes, all right.” She’s wiped her tears. “I was sick and scared for you, yet you’re so stupid you have the audacity to question my loyalty to you.”

Hi! I’m Maggie Adams. I live near St. Louis, MO with my high school sweetheart, Ned, and my wonderful kids, Katie (Kyle) and Ross (Valerie). My life is like a walking, talking sitcom from I Love Lucy, but I love it, although people do tend to keep their distance from me! Writing has always been my dream, with reading my favorite hobby. I try to include a little bit of my life in everything I write, so when you read my books, keep your eyes wide open – I’m in there somewhere! Happy reading!

You can reach me at http://www.maggieadamsbooks.com

Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/maggieadamsbooks

Twitter -@authrmaggieadms

Good Reads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9867300.Maggie_Adams

tsu – https://www.tsu.co/maggieadamsbooks

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/author/maggieadams

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A Time for Everything by Mysti Parker – Spotlight and Giveaway

SBB_TourBanner_ATimeForEverything copy

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_ATimeForEverythingAfter losing her husband and only child to the ravages of the Civil War, twenty-five-year-old Portia McAllister is drowning in grief. When she sees an ad for a live-in tutor in another town, she leaves everything behind in hopes of making a fresh start. But as a Confederate widow in a Union household, she is met with resentment from her new charge and her employer, war veteran Beau Stanford.

Despite their differences, she and Beau find common ground and the stirrings of a second chance at love—until his late wife’s cousin, Lydia, arrives with her sights set on him. Burdened with a farm on the brink of bankruptcy, Beau is tempted by Lydia’s hefty dowry, though Portia has captured his heart.

In another time and another place, his choice would be easy. But love seems impossible amid the simmering chaos of Reconstruction that could boil over at any moment into an all-out battle for survival. Will Beau and Portia find their way into each other’s arms, or will they be swept away by raging forces beyond their control?

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Now don’t give me that look, son. It’s been two years. You need to find somebody. Give Jonathan a mama.”

“He had a mama. And we’re fine.” Beau hated the way his voice broke every time someone forced him to talk about Claire, so he made his retreat into Scout’s stall. The sixteen-year-old stallion was the most level-headed Morgan he’d ever owned. He nuzzled his master as soon as he saw the brush in Beau’s hand.

Ezra followed, thumbs tucked behind his overall straps. “You’re not fine, Beauregard. You need a lady to run things around here. Harry and Isaac are back with the new teacher, right?”

“I reckon so.” He brushed Scout’s neck with soft, gentle strokes.

“Portia, wasn’t it? Portia McAllister?”

“You’d know better than me. I didn’t want to hire her in the first place. It’s bad enough she’s a Rebel’s widow, but Harry says she’s not what we expected. Is she blind or deaf or missing a leg or what?”

“Heck if I know, son. I ain’t met her yet, either. All I’ve seen is her letter.”

“And according to that letter, her husband worked as an overseer.”

“Part-time assistant to an overseer.”

“Same difference.”

“Don’t matter what he was. She’s a former schoolteacher. And you know Claire wanted this for Jonny until he’s old enough for the university. I ain’t gonna be responsible for her coming back to haunt us for not abiding by her wishes.”

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_ATimeForEverythingMysti Parker is a wife, mom, author, and shameless chocoholic. She is the author of the Tallenmere standalone fantasy romance series and The Roche Hotel romantic comedy series. Her short writings have appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines. Her award-winning historical romance, A Time for Everything, will be published this summer by EsKape Press.

Other writing pursuits include serving as a class mentor in Writers Village University’s seven week online course, F2K. She has published two children’s books (Quentin’s Problem & Fuzzy Buzzy’s Treasure) as Misty Baker.

When she’s not writing fiction,Mysti reviews books for SQ Magazine, an online specfic publication. She resides in Buckner, KY with her husband and three children.

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Meet Patti Boeckman – Guest Blog

Meet Patti Beckham

In my head, I have been writing since I was a child. I’d read a story and mentally concoct a different version. To this day, I construct stories, scenes, characters, conflicts, resolutions, all the time. In school, I loved to write. An essay was a joy for me. Give me a sheet of paper, instructions for the assignment, and I couldn’t wait to get started. In high school, I participated in UIL Ready Writing. UIL (University Interscholastic League) was an interschool competition in various subject areas. I won the writing contest at my local school, and the area and regional levels and went to state. There, in competition with the winning student writers from all over Texas, I placed third. The judge said I would have placed first if the second half of my essay had been as good as the first half. One of my teachers kept telling me that she thought I should write a book. Little did she know that, years later, I would write many books.

I worked on the school year book all four years in high school. The last two years I was the editor. I looked at the bland name and title used to identify the staff and decided that those people deserved something better. After all, we interacted with them every day. At my small school, we were like family. So I livened up the attributions with little blurbs about each staff member to capture the essence of their personality so that years later, they would come alive for us when we reminisced by looking through those year books. Today, I know which secretary’s pet peeve was people who didn’t talk loud enough on the phone, which one made her own clothes, which one liked to fish, and which one was irritated by rude people. No one before me at our school had ever personalized the staff photos with such commentary.

In college, my English 101 teacher asked me if I had read a lot. She loved my essays and said that only someone who read a lot could write as well as I did. Actually, although I read an average number of books, I was not a voracious reader. I think my inclination for writing came naturally from my gene pool. Three of my four cousins on one side of the family have all written extensively in various fields. And their mother, my aunt, kept a daily journal from the eighth grade until just before her death at 94. Writing may be a compulsion as much as it is a talent.

Patti and Charles BoeckmanAs for commercial writing, meaning I put something on paper and received either publicity or money for it, my first foray into that level of writing began with a short children’s magazine story. It didn’t pay much, just $5, but I could boast that I had sold something. You see, it wasn’t until I met my husband, Charles, who became a professional writer at the age of 25, that I grasped the concept of selling my writing. Somehow, in spite of all the stories and books I had read, it never really jelled that contemporary authors were out there pounding out stories for money in almost unlimited genres. Wow! You mean I might do that, too?

I had gone to college to be a teacher, a teacher who happened to love to write. But I never conceptualized myself writing fiction. Weren’t all fiction writers old dead guys, with a few women thrown just to keep things a little equal? Hmmm. So after the children’s story smash success, I decided to try my hand at writing a woman’s confession story. With help from Charles, I whipped it into shape and sent it in. When I got back a check for $125, I was astounded. That was around 1966. That seemed like good money for one submission. However, I was a teacher, and the professional writing bug just didn’t bite me very hard, so I didn’t write anything else for years.

Then, after my daughter was born in the mid-1970’s, we broke into the article market and both of us sold regularly. In the mid-1980’s, before one of the many writer’s conferences we attended where Charles spoke at workshops about his writing career, he was looking for a new market. Markets come and markets go, and his bread-and-butter market was on the skids. When his sister handed him a couple of Harlequin romances and told him how popular they were, and suggested he write one, he just tossed them aside and said he wasn’t interested. He thought they paid a one-time, low, flat fee for each book. However, a female writer he had mentored to write confession stories had earlier switched to romances and called to tell us about her royalty check from Harlequin. When she said she got several thousand dollars, he dropped the phone, grabbed up the romance books given to him by his sister, hurriedly scanned them, and said, “I can write this.” Two books read, and he had the formula.

At the writer’s conference, we went to romance workshops and found out that Simon and Schuster, who had been distributing Harlequins in the U.S., were no longer going to distribute someone else’s books. They had smelled the money of the burgeoning romance market from up close and were going to develop their own line of romance books under the Silhouette imprint. Charles sniffed the scent of money, too. So we made it a point to meet the Silhouette editor attending the conference, who asked us to send in a proposal.

All the way home from the conference, we discussed a romance plot. At home, we threw ourselves into hammering out that plot on our portable typewriters. This was before computers. We tinkered with it for a couple of days until Charles declared it ready to go. We sent it in, and a week later we got “the call.” Kate Duffy, the main editor of the line, said they had been seeking manuscripts for a while and were beginning to think that they weren’t going to get anything suitable, when our plot dropped in their lap. They were delighted. It was exactly what they were looking for. She said that if we had another proposal and could get it to them within the next week, they would send us a two-book contract and shoot us an advance as soon as we signed and got the contract back to them. I literally danced around the house and whooped for joy! It was a dream come true. Although that first romance didn’t bear the number 1 on its cover, it was the first proposal accepted and the book that launched the Silhouette romance line.

Later, when I spoke at writers’ conferences, and the Patti Beckman name (that was my pseudonym) meant something, the audience of aspiring writers, made up of all women, would crowd around me after I spoke and ask me lots of questions. When I tried to tell them that my books were a collaboration between my husband and me, that he taught me to write them and that he wrote some and I wrote some but they were all under my byline, the ladies gave Charles a dismissive glance and huddled closer around me. One of their prime questions was how I learned to write romances. I always said, “Oh, I did it the easy way. I married a writer. He taught me. Maybe you can marry a writer, too. But this one is taken. You’ll have to find your own.” Of course, I then gave them my best advice and said to read widely, focus a large percent of reading on the field for which they wanted to write, analyze plot, structure, characterization, read books and articles on writing fiction, and, if possible, find a qualified mentor to help guide them. And be sure to know the requirements of the market if you are writing category novels. For example, one requirement for category romances is no head hopping with point of view. Recently I read an agent’s website that confirmed that this guideline is still in effect for category romances. And I said to aspiring writers, “Never give up.” To anyone reading this interview, I would recommend this website: http://daringtolivefully.com/tips-for-writers-from-writers.

As for my byline, I dropped the “o” from the last name to make it easy to pronounce. Back then, romances filled bookstore shelves, and if a reader asked for one of my books, I wanted her to get my name right. As a matter of fact, unlike today where you have to seek out category romances, back then they were like tissue paper popping up out of gift bags. You didn’t look for them; they looked for you. You walked into any variety store, grocery store, drug store, convenience store, department store, and there were shelves filled with Silhouette romances. From the original one imprint to an imprint for every reader’s preference, they proliferated like wild fire. I think that, in addition to their natural popularity, they were scarfed up by readers who aspired to be writers. And Silhouette fed off of that aspiration. They held seminars around the country, inviting would-be romance writers to attend and learn to churn out the books of their dreams. Read, read, read the romances, soak up the concept, get at that typewriter, and become a Silhouette author! No telling how many book sales were based on that sales pitch. And it worked. Soon there were writers for every new imprint that Silhouette even whispered about. In fact, to the detriment of the writers, Silhouette came up with so many different lines, that any one book finally had a limited audience.

However, before that happened, Charles and I took to the road with our young daughter and traveled the country, soaking up backgrounds for our books. We spent five years writing for Silhouette. By the time we stopped, we had produced 25 romances that sold over 2,000,000 copies world wide. And I had made the B Dalton Book Store Best Seller list with a teenage romance. I had knocked the teenage book out in three week of marathon writing It was at that point that I felt I had “arrived” as a novelist. It was totally my idea, and except for a few editorial changes common to all submitted books, it was all my writing.

After our books were no longer in print, I got our rights back, and about three years ago, a Japanese company that, years ago, had bought rights from Silhouette for nine of our books, decided that they wanted to reprint those as graphic novels. So there was still life in those books from the 1980’s. Who knew? Since we owned the rights, we made the deal ourselves and are still getting small royalty checks. Now if they can just find life on Mars, maybe we can sell our novels intergalactically.

I have been both a plotter and a panster. At first, I was too intimidated by the blank page to start a story without knowing where I was going. But after many books, I learned to like the challenge of starting with a premise and just letting the story and characters grow as I write. However, I do begin with an understanding of the characters’ attitude and basic background and their main goal, etc. But I have never written dossiers on my characters. My mind can’t wrap itself around that. I don’t know all the details of their background until they begin interacting with other characters in the story and they reveal those details to me. I like to describe the physical features of my characters early on so that the readers can also visualize them as if watching a movie

As I write, I flit around in the story and imagine myself being each character. I picture the story in my mind as if it’s a movie, and I play all the parts. If I have a little child in the story, I become the little child. If it’s a villain, imaginary horns pop out on my head as I assume the personality of someone filled with rage or evil. In other words, I get to be a writer and actor at the same time. I like performing before an audience and love pretending to be someone else. That is a real plus when I’m playing with my young grandchildren and when I’m writing.

While I swam in and out of writing interspersed with teaching school, Charles kept knocking out a variety of books and articles. I did a freebie stint from 1992 through 1996. I wrote a guest column for the local newspaper every two months or so and got to see my name in a 10 point slab serif font and read occasional Letters to the Editor about my column. I loved the opportunity to write any crazy or serious column I wanted. I won a journalism award for my columns, which boosted my ego, of course. I learned a lot from that experience about the importance of nuanced writing as I spent time tinkering with sentences to convey particular shades of meaning. For instance, word order can alter the impact of a given sentence. Punctuation and brevity can speed up the pace of the story. Here’s an example of using punctuation for impact.

This is an example for a suspense story:

He walked around the corner and stared into the business end of a pistol aimed right between his eyes and wondered if he would die right there.

He walked around a corner. He stared into the business end of a pistol. It was aimed right between his eyes. Would he die? Right there?

Breaking one long sentence into several short, choppy statements conveys a heightened sense of urgency.

When anyone asks who my favorite author is, I honestly tell them it is Charles Boeckman. He has been an extremely versatile author. Markets change, and when the markets changed, he changed markets. Not all authors can do that. He planned his life as a kid and taught himself his craft. He has won two life time achievement awards, one for music and the other for writing. He knows his craft well, is still producing at age 94, and has a rich legacy to leave to our daughter and our grandchildren. And he taught me the intricacies of writing fiction. How could he not be my favorite? His biography is under production and will be available soon.

Check out my latest release:

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

Who Is Elizabeth?

Pit a feisty, she-cat against a reluctant interloper and watch the sparks fly.

When Elizabeth McDaniel’s reclusive, sheltered existence on her grandfather’s farm is invaded by Derek Huston, she cannot possibly imagine the stunning result of his intrusion into her life. And he has no idea how enchanted he will become with the lovely, spit-fire redhead who demonstrates her dead-eye, rifle aim on their first encounter.

Their first clash of wills precedes a budding romance, the flowering of Elizabeth’s musical talents with a guitar provided by Derek, and Derek’s acceptance into the family. No one suspects that Derek has a hidden agenda so explosive that, when revealed, it turns Elizabeth’s world upside down and her image of herself inside out.

No longer able to trust Derek on any level, she erases him from her life and from her heart.

Is there any hope that Derek can regain her confidence and her love? Find out in this delightful, warm account of two people whose lives are dramatically changed by each other and who have to sort through the rubble of their existence before they can know if they have a future together.

I actually wrote this novel after I retired from teaching a number of years ago. The markets were different then, and my manuscript ran into some bad luck. My agent sent it to Silhouette, where it languished on an editor’s desk for months. Then, the editor quit and left a pile of unread manuscripts on her desk, and, for some reason, they were not assigned to someone else, and all were returned to the writers. Mine was in that pile. That was pretty discouraging. However, I wouldn’t have given up, but life took a sudden back road and I found myself with unexpected responsibilities that left no time for writing. I put Elizabeth in a drawer and told her I would make sure she saw the light of day eventually. Although she was patient, she would call to me from time to time to let me know she really wanted to get out into the world and smell the fresh air and move around in her story. Finally, life found a feeder road parallel to the freeway, so I have some time now to get back to writing. Marketing has changed while Elizabeth awaited her debut, so I took her out, cleaned her up, and found a small publisher to present her to the world. I hope, if you read this book, that you will find her as delightful and interesting as she is to me. I created her, but just as I had a daughter who became her own person, Elizabeth has become her own person. She lives in my imagination. Now she lives in her own novel, as real in your mind as the person next door, your cousin, your best girl friend, your brother’s fiancé, or you. That is, she will be if you choose to meet her.

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