This blog is for those 18 and older.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Words!


         Words, words, words!
      Words are a writer’s stock in trade. We paint pictures with them. We create (hopefully) memorable characters and stories with them and most author’s brains are full of dialogue and scenes and…well…words.
     There are those occasions though, when the words seem to be stuck. Oh, they’re there…..they just don’t want to come out. That’s where I am right now. A head full of words that just want to…stay where they are. Perhaps I should invest in some dynamite to blast those stubborn words out of my head!
     But it’s okay because fortunately for me, there are authors out there who are not having this issue and I can read their words. 
      I just finished Alexandra Hawkins’ After Dark with a Scoundrel. I had not read Ms. Hawkins’ before but since finishing this story, I wondered why not (she has a new fan).
 
I finished Gillian as well, from my friend Linda Andrews (if you haven’t read Linda, you should). I’m currently reading (because you know, I read several books at one time) Lisa Kleypas’ Where Dreams Begin and The Family Plan by Cathy McDavid  (I’m going through my To Be Read pile) and on my Kindle, I’m reading Romancing Lady Stone by Delilah Marvelle.

     Yes, there seems to be a book in every room in my house!
     So what are you reading? Anything you’d care to recommend?

 
 
As always, happy reading!
Marie

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Interview with Patricia Kiyono and a Giveaway


Alexis: Today we have Sweet Romance author Patricia Kiyono visiting and she is giving away a digital copy of one of her books, so be sure to leave a comment for a chance t win.


Welcome, Patricia. What made you chose the title of your recent release, Searching for Lady Luck?


Patricia: My publisher issued a call-out for 20K historical novellas with the theme “Luck be a Lady.” The original idea was to put them in an anthology to have available at the Romantic Times conference in New Orleans. When I saw the theme I immediately thought of the musical Guys and Dolls and the song “Luck be a Lady.” I’ve never been to Atlantic City, but I spent a glorious week in Wildwood, which is about an hour away, and imagined a struggling artist living there during the Great Depression, and how he might be searching for his Lady Luck.

Alexis: Oh yes, I remember that song. I love hearing about where titles come from. So which authors inspire you?

Patricia: I have always admired Debbie Macomber for writing stories about people I can relate to. I also love Donna Andrews’s wit in her Meg Langslow series. I don’t think I could ever come up with mysteries like she does, and her characters’ vocabulary often have me reaching for a dictionary – but I love them! And for romantic comedy, I love Elizabeth Bevarly.

Alexis: I know that everyone has their own writing process…how they come up with ideas, how they name their characters, how they choose the setting. Can you describe your writing process?

Patricia: I used to begin with the characters and a situation that brought them together, but then I found they were too shallow. After I took an online class on conflict taught by Liz Lounsberry, I decided I needed to begin with the conflict, and then create characters who would be affected by that conflict. For example, in Searching for Lady Luck, the central conflict is economic success during the Great Depression. Charlie was once a successful artist in New York, but hard economic times forced him to go home to Wildwood and help support his family by delivering newspapers and selling his paintings on the boardwalk. I needed a heroine who identifies and struggles with him, but who has a separate issue that causes a romantic conflict. I came up with Rose, the daughter of a New York banker who committed suicide after the Stock Market Crash of 1929. She’s been forced to sell the family estate and live with her frail mother in the family home in Wildwood. The romantic conflict is that she craves stability – someone who will always be there, and a steady income – and an artist doesn’t seem to be a good choice for her. His romantic conflict is that he sees her as a muse, instead of someone who inspires him to work harder and be the best he can be.

Alexis: That sounds fascinating. What are you working on now?

Patricia: I’m trying to finish a sequel to my book Christmas Wishes. Apparently, my fictional small town of Zutphen, Michigan was popular enough that people asked for a follow-up. I’ve got one almost done and plans for another.

Alexis: I love sequels and more :-) Why did you choose this sub-genre of romance?

Patricia: There are a couple of reasons I write sweet romance. One is that I have nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild, and it’s nice to be able to share my writing life with them, as well as my mother and her friends, without any embarrassment. In fact my grandson designed my website when he was just sixteen, and all my grandkids on Facebook have liked my author page! Second, although I don’t mind reading spicy scenes, I’m just not good at writing them. I tried once, back before sweet romance became more popular. An agent told me I had to include at least three love scenes in a manuscript I submitted. I tried, then when I read it I thought, “If this happened to me, I’d feel cheated!”

Alexis: Sounds like you found the right subgenre. Thank you so much for visiting us on Happily Ever After Thoughts. It’s been a pleasure having you.

For a digital download of one of Patricia’s books, please leave a comment telling about something that makes you feel lucky. Do you have a particular item or ritual that helps you feel that way? Do you consider yourself a lucky person?

Blurb for Searching for Lady Luck:

Only seven years have passed since Rose Sheffield was a carefree college student, though it seems like a lifetime ago. Her father’s position at a major bank provided her with luxuries she took for granted. Now she works at menial jobs to support herself and her mother, and they live in what used to be their vacation home in Wildwood, New Jersey. Rose’s days are pure drudgery, until she meets Charlie. As luck would have it, she just happens to have the perfect place to display his artwork.

Before the Great Stock market crash of 1929, Charlie Brannigan was hailed as an up and coming artist in Manhattan. But now he’s back at his family home in Wildwood, delivering newspapers in the mornings and selling his paintings on the Boardwalk in the afternoons. He needs some luck in his life, and it seems every time a pretty lady named Rose appears, good things happen.

Searching for Lady Luck can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and other ebook outlets.

About Patricia Kiyono:

 During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level.

She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her children and grandchildren. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures.

Patricia Kiyono can be found at her website, and on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Amy Jarwecki with a Giveaway!


Amy Jarecki is celebrating the successful launch of Beauty and the Barbarian (Highland Force Book 3) by giving away three signed print copies! In addition, the first entry of the rafflecopter is her invitation to join the Return of the Highland Liard (Highland Force book 4) cover reveal event on Facebook. Amy loves connecting with readers and hopes you will sign up and join the fun!

Beauty and the Barbarian back cover copy:

Born with the mark of the devil, Merrin has been hidden on the islet of Eilean Fladda for near twenty years. When the body of a Highlander washes ashore, the innocent lass presumes him dead. Brushing the hair from the rugged warrior’s face, her fingers connect with warm flesh. Warm.

Ian MacLeod wakes to a woman so radiant, he believes her an angel. But when the lass recoils from him, he fears she knows of his evil deeds. While he heals, Ian is stunned when he exposes her witch’s mark, yet he’s spellbound by Merrin’s allure. He’d do anything to erase his haunting past and earn her love.

But there’s a henchman after Ian’s head, and when that man learns the Highlander is still alive, the couple is forced to flee Merrin’s sheltered world. Fighting for survival, destiny demands they each face their demons, but doing so may forever ruin them both.

Excerpt from Beauty and the Barbarian:

Chapter One

Sprinting onto a thin strip of beach, Ian raced for the shore. Rain pelted his face as he skidded to a stop. Gasping for air, he sucked in deep breaths and peered through the dark night—north, then south. Thank God. A lone skiff sat askew, poorly camouflaged at the tree-line edge.

His side cramping from his frantic escape, he darted to the tiny boat with a pained hitch to his step. The deerhounds’ barks grew closer. If he hesitated, they’d be upon him in a blink of an eye.

Ian’s heart hammered his chest as he bore down on the skiff and shoved it into the angry swells. He jumped over the bow and snatched an oar. With every muscle, every sinew, he paddled against the surf and ignored his fatigue. A single oar made the boat fishtail, but there was no time to set them in their locks. Ian gritted his teeth and slammed the oar into the white swells in a hurried rhythm, side to side.

Over the roar of the surf and the driving rain, dogs yelped in an excited frenzy. Men shouted. Ian didn’t turn around—he needed more distance. As sure as he breathed, they were ramming lead balls down their muskets. With luck, the rain had soaked their slow matches, rendering the guns useless.

Ian sped his determined paddling and squinted through the pelting rain—across to his home, the Isle of Raasay. He hadn’t set foot there since he was four and ten, but the sight of the island enlivened him. He could barely make out the black outline of Dùn Caan, the flat-topped peak that forever identified the isle as Clan MacLeod land.

A sharp jab struck him from behind. Ian’s body propelled forward. His nose slammed into the wooden hull. An ear-shattering musket clap followed, piercing through the wind. Something stung, burned his back. Ian slid his hand over the screaming pain. Hot blood oozed through his fingers.

More claps blasted from the beach, thudding into the tiny skiff. Ian rolled to his side. Icy water spurted over him. Frantically, he worked to hug both wooden oars against his chest. A thousand knives attacked his skin as salt water swallowed his lifeline to Raasay. The last thing he saw was the looming outline of Dùn Caan.

Blackness engulfed him.

Bio:

Amy loves Scotland! She holds an MBA from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and now resides in Southwest Utah with her husband where she predominantly writes historical romance. She is the co-president of the Heritage Writers Guild, a member of the Romance Writers of America, and lectures on writing topics.
Amy’s novels, Captured by the Pirate Laird, and The Highland Henchman and Beauty and the Barbarian are bestsellers on Amazon's Scottish Historical Romance genre list. Her debut novel, now titled Boy Man Chief, won the League of Utah Writers award for Best Manuscript, and the St. George Spark Book Award. Since then, she has won many other writing awards.

She loves to interact with readers and writers on Facebook and Twitter or visit her website and sign up for her newsletter: www.amyjarecki.com
Twitter: @amyjarecki   https://twitter.com/amyjarecki

Purchase Beauty and the Barbarian:




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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Highland Scandal by Julia London

 
I can’t help but pick up a novel by Julia London when I’m in the mood for a lot of Scottish kilt and gown mixing.

Jack Haines, Earl of Lambourne, is on the run from a false accusation amongst the London nobility.

Lizzie Beale remains unwed and waiting for her knight in the highlands.

When Lizzie’s uncle captures Jack, Jack thinks he’s done for, and so does Lizzie.  Her uncle forces Jack and Lizzie into a hand-fasting for a year.  In other words, a pretend marriage for her uncles benefit. 

From this decree, a pot-pouri of trouble begins…Lizzie challenges Jack’s “rights” as a husband, Mr. Gordon arrives to take Lizzie away, and the most challenging situation is a secret.

The uncle has a reason for uniting his niece and a strange man.

Lizzie and jack quarrel, butt heads, and argue as they try to uncover her uncle’s devious endeavors.

Lizzie and Jack really get to know each other during this long and arduous time.  It’s tantalizing to follow their relationship and to watch the blunders and accidental camaraderie.  

 

Happy reading,

Dawn

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Crimson Romance Time After Time Bundled Set, Part 2


Still overjoyed being part of this awesome collection of historical romances. As promised, here is Part 2 of the bundled package called Time after Time from Crimson Romance.

Lady Broke by Rachel Donnelly

 East meets west when a high-principled Boston socialite teams up with a revenge driven bounty hunter to catch a gang of outlaws in the wilds of Nevada.

It’s tough being a witness when the last one turned up dead. But Christie Wallace is determined to bring the Everett gang to justice. Unfortunately, the law can’t protect her from pistol-toting outlaws or the intoxicating lure of a dangerous man. But, after escaping the suffocating prospects of an arranged marriage, she has no intention of allowing her heart to rule her head, even when temptation comes in the form of an incorrigible lawman named Nat Randall.

Dead or alive—it made no difference to Nat Randall. He’d tried to bring the Everett gang to trial once before, but the law let him down. It seems frontier justice is all he has left. But he didn’t count on protecting a bewitching Easterner whose courageous spirit challenges him as much as her beauty distracts. It’s not long before he’s torn between pursuing her or the outlaws.

A timeless, rollicking adventure of unlikely lovers, set in the Wild West.

Author Bio: Rachel Donnelly is an RWA Golden Heart and Golden Pen finalist. She lives in Canada with her husband, two children and one crazy cat. Learn more about her at http://author-racheldonnelly.blogspot.ca/, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

How To Wed An Earl by Ivory Lei

Having regained his fortune, Lucas, Earl of Ravenstone, has to marry in order to keep it. Luckily, he won’t have to search for a wife—he’s known her name since their marriage was arranged in their youth. To fulfill his duty, he travels far from London Society to claim a fiancée who would no doubt be thrilled at the prospect of finally being able to use his name and become his countess.

Penelope Maitland has already been using Lucas’s name—to fend off her stepfamily’s creditors. After wasting decades waiting for him, she reckons it’s only fair she gets something out of her long-standing betrothal before she hears Lucas has married someone else.

When they accidentally meet in a coaching inn, she finds herself fighting dangerous girlhood fantasies about marrying the man of her dreams who broke her heart with his apparent lack of interest. And Lucas finds that in order to keep his fortune, he will have to lose his heart to a woman who is tired of waiting for him.

Author Bio: Ivory was born in the Philippines and lives in Carlisle, United Kingdom, with her husband and their perpetually hungry canine. She’d love to hear from you. Contact her through www.ivorythewriter.wordpress.com or through her Twitter handle @ivory_lei.

 The Reluctant Debutante by Becky Lower
In 1855 New York, Ginger Fitzpatrick has absolutely no interest in taking part in the newest rage in America – the Cotillion Ball. Instead, Ginger would rather be rallying for women’s rights – at least until she meets her brother’s best friend from St. Louis, a dark mysterious man named Joseph Lafontaine, who ignites her passion and makes her question if love and marriage is such a ridiculous notion after all.

What she and the rest of New York’s high society don’t realize is that Joseph is half Ojibwa Indian, and therefore, totally unsuitable for marriage to a fine, cultured young lady.

In this Edith Wharton meets Julia Quinn tale, a young woman rebels against high society and opts for a life in which she creates her own set of rules.

Author Bio: Ever since submitting her first screenplay to Bonanza at age twelve, Becky Lower has had a love affair with the American west. Since personal time travel is out of the question, she pursues her passion by writing about it. Becky is a graduate of Bowling Green State University and lives in Oberlin, Ohio with her dog, Mary.

Love’s Destiny by Elizabeth Meyette

 When Emily Wentworth’s father dies at sea, her father’s friend—and Emily’s appointed guardian—Jonathon Brentwood arrives at her home in London to take her with him to the colonies. Emily, just 17, has decided that she is fully capable of taking care of herself and sets out to prove that to her new guardian.

Emily’s one chance to remain in London is to marry, but when the opportunity arises, she knows she would rather follow Jonathon across an ocean to a land in upheaval than to stay safely in London.

But Jonathon’s involvement in patriot activity against England disturbs—and threatens—Emily, a loyal subject of the king. The colonial rebellion is the backdrop for misunderstanding, fear, mistrust, and danger. Will love’s destiny ensure that Emily and Jonathon stay together, even in the face of death?

 Author Bio: Elizabeth Meyette’s love of books was ignited when her older sister read Goldilocks and the Three Bears to her. That passion grew into a career as an English teacher, media specialist, poet and author. She is fortunate to live in Michigan with her beloved husband, Richard, where they are inspired by their walks along the beautiful Great Lakes.

A Treasure Worth Keeping by Marie Patrick

Caralyn McCreigh has always believed in three things: that her father, Daniel, would never force her into marriage; she could have a story book romance with a man who sweeps her off her feet and a loving marriage like her parents share; and in the existence of the legendary lost treasure, Izzy’s Fortune. When Daniel tells her that her marriage has been arranged, all her beliefs are shattered and she does exactly as he hopes she will do – she embarks on a quest to find Izzy’s Fortune, believing Queen Isabella’s treasure will buy her out of a marriage she doesn’t want to a man she doesn’t know or love. And who better to help her than Captain Trey, the infamous treasure hunter?

Tristan Youngblood, Captain of the Adventurer and future Earl of Winterbourne, would much rather sail the oceans and search for lost treasure than settle down and take over the reins of the Winterbourne estates, but when he receives news that his future has been decided for him, he knows he has no choice. He has no qualms against marriage itself but having witnessed the misery of his parent’s union, he does not desire the same for himself but instead of rushing home to England to court the woman who is to become his wife, Tristan accepts Caralyn’s proposal and embarks on one last grand adventure to search for Izzy’s Fortune

Author Bio: Marie Patrick lives in beautiful, sunny Arizona with her husband and amazing fur-babies. She loves to hear from her readers. Find Marie Patrick at www.mariepatrick.com or email her at Akamariep@aol.com.

As always, happy reading!
Marie