Category Archives: The Wild Rose Press

Did you know I’m crafty….#MFRWauthors

 

and that I bake? A lot? More about those things in a bit….

Today’s topic is what I do to recharge. By definition, recharge means: to regain one’s strength and energy by resting and relaxing for a time; or return to a normal state of mind or strength after a period of physical or mental exertion.

By virtue of those definitions, something must be done for a person to need to break away from to rest and regain their momentum.

yeah…not me. I’ve said this multiple, ad nauseum times: Writing is my oxygen. Without doing it, like without breathing, I would die. So I really have never come to a place in my life where I felt the need or desire to walk away from it for a while to reenergize my brain.

What I do, in essence, though, is take breaks during the day for the other things that I love to do: cooking is one. Making things is another.  Let me ‘splain.

I love to bake. Thankfully, my husband likes to eat the things I bake. Most days, items like this sit under domed glass on my kitchen counter, waiting for him to snack on: 

Those are my banana walnut muffins. The picture doesn’t do them justice about how big they are. Trust me: for the normal person they would not be a snack but a meal. For hubby though, who likes to graze, they are a snack. When I get stuck on dialogue or a plot point isn’t moving along the way I want it to, I go from my office to the kitchen and bake for an hour or so. Usually, that time away from the laptop, consciously writing, commands my unconscious brain to deal with the problem. Problem gets solved and I’ve got baked goods as the outcome.

Win-Win!

The other things I do are along the crafty spectrum. I love to decoupage and restore old “things.” The things I love to restore the most are old trunks and steamer trunks. Here’s a project I did last year:

If you look super close you will see the cover of my first book SKATER’s WALTZ on there! Yeah, I”m not too conceited! ( sarcasm added). I also have my second and third book covers  There’s No Place like Home,  First Impressions )on the other side of the trunk!  Yeah… I know.

I also paint. I’m not great at it, but it is very relaxing. One of the newest things I’ve been painting are those canvass produce bags you are now required to bring to most supermarkets to cut down on the throwaway plastic bags filling our landfills for the next 10,000 years. Since I’ve been writing a new food series — WILL COOK FOR LOVE — it seemed appropriate to give these away at book signings to people who want the books. Clever marketing tool meets relaxing hobby.

Win-Win, again!

Now, I realize that my way of de-stressing isn’t exactly what other authors do. Let’s be honest, what I do sounds more like work to some people!!! Visit some of these authors to find out what they do to re-charge, energize, and how they cope with the stressors of life when they aren’t writing.

 

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#RWA17, So, we come to the end….

It took me almost 2 weeks to tell you everything I wanted to about RWA 17, but there are still a few things I want to mention.

There was a new format this year for the Golden Hearts and the RITA awards ceremonies. In the past, both events have occurred on the last night before the end of the conference, and usually the only food you see are desserts. This year, the RWA Board decided to split the ceremonies into 2, with the Golden Hearts a luncheon and the RITA’S a…dessert. Yes, again. But I digress. It was actually great splitting the two for several reasons, not the least of which was that we didn’t need to sit in a noisy, crowded ball room for more than 2.5 hours while the awards and the speeches were done. The Golden Heart luncheon took about an hour, the lunch was great and the dessert wasn’t bad, either, although I was allergic to everything in it, so had to rely on the reactions of the others at my table to determine if it was good.

The RITA awards took place the same night, featured many desserts which again I was allergic to,

and a cry-induced speech by the amazeballs Beverly Jenkins, who was the Nora Roberts LIfeTime Achievement award winner this year. It’s no wonder this woman is such an amazing writer- she is a phenomenal speaker!

Now, many of you may know I was a Stiletto Finalist this year for my holiday novel A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS.

Stiletto Finalist 2017

I didn’t win…but there’s always next year, and in all honesty, it was fabulous to be a finalist in such a prestigious RWA chapter contest! Thank you CRW!

Now, I can’t forget my two favorite events: The Kensington Book signing and the Literacy book signing. For Kensington, I gave out my books along with my hand painted produce bags that I schlepped with me as a swag item. Let me tell you, people lovedlovedloved them!!!

Here’s me at the Literacy signing – which was packed to the hilt with readers!

So Sunday morning, after a very busy and HOT week, I got myself to the airport via Shuttle ( nightmare, again!!! But that’s for another blog post) made it through security because of TSA pre-check( Thank you, Jesus and the TSA!) and settled down to wait for my plane to leave while I listened to some of the workshops I missed via the flash drive.

I listened on the plane home, too!

Le Sigh…. Now I have to wait a whole year to go to RWA18 in Denver. I’d better start painting more bags….

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#RWA17…the reason I go every year

So, of course, the one thing I haven’t mentioned yet, are the Workshops I took at RWA 17. Between coloring, fangirling, attending the book giveaway signings, I did – actually – sit in on a f ew lectures and learn some things.

IF you have never had the opportunity to hear Damon Suede speak, I pity you. First, his voice is like a warm blanket thrown over your body on a cold day. Warm, rich, soothing. Second, he is a wealth of amazeballs information about character development, what makes people-characters tick, and what their motivations/conflicts/individual characteristics should be. Damon comes from a theater ( and life!) background and really helps you get into your character’s mind set, feelings, and persona just as if you were portraying them on a stage. I’ve already listened to his 2 hour workshop twice since I’ve been home because I purchased the flash drive of the conference classes. Each time I’ve heard something new and fresh I will be using in my next books!

Three uber talented and mega published romance authors, RaeAnne Thayne, Jill Shalvis, and Sarah Morgan gave a workshop on Contemporary romance in today’s marketplace.

They each have very different writing styles and ways of telling a story, but they also know their market. Thier stories are character and situational driven, and they bring into each one a perfect little snapshot of the contemporary age, without isolating themselves to this moment in time. Case in point: you can read one of their books from five years ago and even though things have changed in the tech world and the world in general, the stories told are still relevant and topical to today. That was my takeaway from this talk. Write the here and now, since I write contemp/romance, but make it relevant for the future as well. It’s all in the characters and how they are motivated towards their HEA. Love these three authors!

 

Another workshop with a trio of amazeballs and prolific writers, was one titled Fifty Shade of Funny with writes Jennifer Probst, Lauren Layne and Rachel Van Dyken. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture while I was in this workshop because I was fangirling like a two year old over Jennifer and Lauren and forgot!!!! I di remember their takes on what constitutes “funny” in a romance novel was very insightful, though, so that’s something ( heehee).

My absolute favorite workshop was the last one of the conference: The Neuroscience of high-impact Love scenes, presented by the amazingly brilliant, funny, and speedy-talker, Emily Foster. I wasn’t able to hear her speak when I was at the NECRW conference earlier this year because she was presenting at the same time I was, so when I saw her name listed on the RWA17 conference sheet for presenters, I knew I just had to attend her lecture. And, yowza, am I glad I did.

  

As a nurse I figure I have a pretty good idea of how the human body and the mind work. Yeah…not so much in reality. Emily gave me a completely different spin – a neuroscientific one – about how the body responds to desire and arousal, and how the mind is the major player in the difference, not the body’s reactions. Blew. My. Mind!!! Again, I played this lecture back once so far – but plan on listening to it, again and again, to make sure I get the character’s reactions to all things sex, correct!

These weren’t the only lectures I attended, but they were the highlights. There was sososososo much to do, sear, and hear at the conference I had to pick and choose wisely. Another reason I am so glad I purchased the conference recordings. I missed a bunch of really fabulous workshops and presentations because I needed to be elsewhere at the same time. Best $$$$ I’ve spent in a while, too.

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A fiery Artist and a Horse Whisperer find love in Passion’s Palette; #MFRWBookHooks

PASSION’S PALETTE, book 5 in the MacQuire Women series, releases on 8.4.17.

Blurb: Talented and witty portrait artist Serena MacQuire is successful in everything but love. Her gift for capturing people on canvas is rivaled only by her fiery and legendary temper. A tragedy from the past keeps her heart securely locked away, preventing any man from getting close enough to claim it.

But Seamus Cleary isn’t just any man. After he left his professional football career to become a veterinarian, his bitter wife ended their marriage. Now, as he starts his life over in a new town, love is the last thing he’s looking for. The more he tends to Serena’s horses, though, the more he realizes her own heart needs tender care and healing as well.

Will he be the man who finally unlocks and claims her heart?

Excerpt:

Standing before her, his hands in the back pockets of his jeans, he wore a look of bashful sheepishness. “I guess I owe you an apology,” he said, tilting his head to one side. The sun was full force on his face, one eye winked closed from its glare.

“You don’t look apologetic. You could have told me you were David’s partner,” she said, cringing when she heard the whine in her tone, “instead of allowing me to believe you were one of the moving men.”

“Now, hang on a sec,” he said, moving closer to her. “You were the one who assumed that. I never told you I was one of the movers. In fact, you never gave me a chance to tell you who I was. You just assumed. Incorrectly, it turns out.”

“You could have said something,” Serena blurted, her lower lip pouting outward.

Links: Amazon // Wild Rose Press

Check out the other authors in this Book Hook Blog Hop:

 

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Please #Vote for my book!

Hey all! My holiday novella A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS is up for the July non-erotic book of the month over at Long and Short Reviews. I’d really appreciate some voting help! Here’s the link:

http://www.longandshortreviews.com/book-reviews/july-non-erotic-book-of-the-month-poll-3/

YOu can vote until August 2nd. Thanks so much!!!

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A visit with #author Jennifer Wilck

 

Happy August first. Since it’s a brand new month I thought I’d introduce you to a brand new author. Jennifer Wilck may not be a debut author – just check out her impressive Amazon page – but she is a new writing sistah to me, courtesy of Wild Rose Press, so I wanted to find out a little bit more about her. And boy, did I like what I did!!! Read along and discover some of the fun things about this fab author, and stick around – she’s giving you a taste of her newest WRP release, ADDICTED TO LOVE.

Here’s Jennifer…..

the Author

  • What drives you to write?An inability not to? I have stories and voices in my head, dying to be written down.
  • What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why?I write contemporary romance. I love writing about people falling in love and I have no faith in my ability to create other worlds or time periods. So for me, contemporary makes sense.
  • What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why? My favorite genres of romance to read are historical and military. I love the alpha heroes in military romance and as for historical, I love everything about the 1800s—the dresses, the customs, the houses. That’s the time I’d go back to if I could time travel, so reading about it makes me happy.
  • What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day?I try to write every day during the week, and my daily word count goal is 1,000 (that started when I participated in my local RWA chapter’s version of NaNoWriMo). Usually, I get blogging and marketing out of the way in the early-ish morning and then I write starting around lunchtime and going until late afternoon.
  • Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? I have a laptop, so I can write anywhere, and often wander—walking around helps me focus and getting up and moving keeps me from getting distracted. I wander from my dining room table to my family room sofa to my desk and back. If it’s nice out, I’ll sit outside on my deck as well.
  • Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnelvision? That depends. When I’m home by myself, I write in total quiet. When my kids are home, I tolerate a little noise, although I often look around and think to myself, “Am I really writing this sex scene while they’re doing their homework here?” But in general, the quieter the better.
  • Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not? No, I can’t because I’ll start singing along, and then writing the lyrics down. J
  • How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? My current WIP is book 3 in a four-book series. I came up with the series idea while writing book 1. It’s a group of four men (one per book) who are wealthy beyond wealthy, but who pool their money and invest in charity projects. The hero of the first book was a loner, but I had to give him people to talk to, so I started thinking about what friends he would have, whether he would distance himself from them too and why or why not, and the series idea was born.
  • Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why? Character always comes first. I’m always curious about why people behave the way they do. So I come up with who and why and then fill in the rest. And I have a thing for tortured heroes, so my method lends itself well to that.
  • What 3 words describes you, the writer? Must have chocolate. Oh wait, are you talking about professionally? Tortured heroes rule. (Peggy here: Both are fabulous!!!)

the Person:

  • Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! I’m an only child, and I totally wing it when it comes to sibling issues between my two children.
  • Who was your first love and what age were you? A boy in my first grade class. He used to give me presents that he stole from his sister.
  • If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and…. Probably the last time I was with my grandma.
  • Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando? Can I choose all three?( Peggy here: yes, you can!!)
  • If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be?It would have to be makeup, because I can’t give up my hair products—my hair is awful as is, and that’s after I use them!
  • What three words describe you, the person? Kind, loyal, funny

I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:

  1. Favorite sound: Rain on the window
  2. Least favorite sound: Wind
  3. Favorite actor and actress: Emilia Clarke & David Tenant
  4. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead) Ruth Bader Ginsberg—her intelligence and wit amaze me.
  5. What turns you on?: Humor and compassion
  6. What turns you off? :Hate
  7. Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”) I don’t remember the words because they were slurred—he was drunk. It was not cool.
  8. What’s your version of a perfect day? Surrounded by my family/close friends, spending time together, laughing

 

Blurb: ADDICTED TO LOVE

Dan Rothberg struggled after an accident killed his wife and he nearly lost custody of his daughter. He can no longer allow himself to get attached to anything or anyone. Until he meets Hannah.

Hannah Cohen is a young executive with a meddlesome grandmother and a troubled brother. She’d like nothing better than to find her own Mr. Right, after too many Mr. Wrongs. A sexy older man with a teenage daughter was never in her plans.

As they navigate their relationship through adolescent attitudes and grandmotherly interference, they realize age is just a number and love can be right in front of them. But when the terrible truth of Dan’s former struggles is exposed, Hannah must decide if she can get past his deception and allow love to conquer all.

Excerpt:

“What are we looking at?” she whispered out of the side of her mouth, pursing her lips together and giving him an insane urge to kiss them.

“What?”

“I assumed since we’re standing here you must be looking at something, and I wanted to join in the fun. Or did you not realize we weren’t moving?”

Her nostrils flared and she bit her lip. Dan realized she was trying not to laugh. Now he really wanted to kiss her, to capture her mouth with his, to make her his own. Before he could act on it, his stomach growled.

“Was that yours or mine?” She looked at him, an eyebrow raised.

His lips twitched. His breath hitched. He couldn’t keep his amusement to himself any longer. It bubbled in his chest, and he let it out as he shook his head.

“Okay, while I am older than you, I’m not old enough to be senile. Yet. So yes, I did know we weren’t moving. But thanks for that. And yes, my stomach growled, because I’m hungry. Except I think I need to put eating on hold for a moment, because what I need more than anything else right now, what I’ve needed all night long in fact, is to kiss you.”

Buy Links: Wild Rose Press // Amazon // B&N //Kobo

A little more about Jennifer:

When I was a little girl and couldn’t fall asleep, my mother would tell me to make up a story. Pretty soon, my head was filled with these stories and the characters that populated them. Each character had a specific personality, a list of likes and dislikes, and sometimes, even a specific accent or dialect. Even as an adult, I think about the characters and stories at night before I fall asleep, or in the car on my way to or from one of my daughters’ numerous activities (hey, anything that will drown out their music is a good thing).

One day, I started writing them down (it was either that or checking into the local mental hospital—the computer was way less scary) and now I’m a published author. My first book, A Heart of Little Faith, was just declared a Finalist in the Fiction: Romance category of the 2016 Best Book Awards.

In the real world, I’m the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men I know. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, reading, traveling and watching TV. In between chauffeuring my daughters to after-school activities that require an Excel spreadsheet to be kept straight, I run youth group activities, train the dog we recently adopted from a local shelter, and cook dinners that fit the needs of four very different appetites. I also write freelance articles for magazines, newspapers, and edit newsletters.

When all of that gets overwhelming, I retreat to my computer, where I write stories that let me escape from reality. In my made-up world, the heroines are always smart, sassy and independent. The heroes are handsome and strong with just a touch of vulnerability. If I don’t like a character, I can delete him or her; if something doesn’t work, I can rewrite it. It’s very satisfying to be in control of at least one part of my life. My inspiration comes from watching the people around me and fantasizing about how I’d do things differently.

You can connect with Jennifer here:  Facebook // Twitter //Website // Blog // Pinterest 

 

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An interview with #author Karilyn Bentley

 

Today I get to introduce you to another of my wonderful, talented, and prolific Wild Rose Press sistahs, Karilyn Bentley. Karilyn writes in a genre I am ashamed to say I don’t know much about: Urban Fantasy. But I’m going to rectify that today because the little snippet of her current work she’s talking about today sounds amazeballs! Come and meet Karilyn….

Karilyn,The Writer Questions

  1. What drives you to write? The stories and characters in my head keep talking to me and I have to put them on paper or go nuts!
  2. What genre(s) of Romance do you write, and why? Currently, I write urban fantasy. I started off writing paranormal and fantasy romance, but something about the urban fantasy genre drew me in. I love to write in first person with a snarky female heroine.
  1. What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why? Historical, paranormal, mystery, and urban fantasy are my favorites. I like to be taken to a different place when I read, and of course, I need the HEA.
  1. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day? I try to write every day but oftentimes am not successful. I work mornings at the day job, so I try to write either in the afternoons or the evenings.
  1. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? We moved last year and prior to that, I had my own office. When we moved, my desk went into the room where my hubby works from home, but instead of using that desk, I now write at the kitchen table. The view is prettier. And I don’t have to listen to hubby’s conference calls. J
  1. Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnelvision? I need almost total quiet. I can’t even put on headphones or listen to music. Spoken words distract me when I try to write. (Peggy here: me, too!!! I should live in a sound booth that keeps all noise out!)
  1. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not? Nope, no music. Too distracting!
  1. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? It’s part of my urban fantasy series so I am trying to wrap up plot threads. J But, the original idea for the series was a cross between an old TV show and a nurse who has problems. I wanted it to be a little funny, a lot snarky, and have a bit of a mystery.
  1. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why? Usually plot, but for this series, the main character came to me first. I wanted to tell Gin’s story. But now that I have her character in my head, it’s the plot that comes for the other books in the series.

What 3 words describe you, the writer?

Slow. As in, I’m one of the slowest writers ever!

Pantser hybrid. As in, I have to know where the story ends but nothing else.

Creative.

Karilyn, The Person 

    • Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing!
      • I can’t leave the house until the bed is made. (Peggy here: oooo! Me, too!!)
    • Who was your first love and what age were you?
      • I was in love with a little friend from the time I was 3 until I was 12. Yeah, crazy. As far as men goes, I’d have to say it was my hubby. J
    • If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and….
      • Oh wow. I have no idea. But that’s a great question! There are a lot of things I’d like to do again (as in places to travel to) but I’m not sure about one day.
    • Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando?
      • Briefs
    • If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be?
      • Lipstick
    • What three words describe you, the person?
      • Funny, a good friend, likes to listen (Okay, so that’s more than three. I’ve never been good at math. Ha!)
    • If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be?
      • I can’t sing!!
    • If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it be, why, and what would you do together? Claire and Jamie from Outlander. They always seem to be having an adventure, so I’d go along with them.
  • I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:
  • Favorite sound — My windchimes
  • Least favorite sound – I know it’s cliché, but anything that sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard (am shivering just thinking of that noise!)
  • Best song every written – Too many to pick just one!
  • Worst song ever written – I don’t like country/western, but not sure it’s the worst ever written.
  • Favorite actor and actress – I love Harrison Ford and Robert Redford. Not sure about the actress, I like several of them.
  • Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead)
    • A guy, just to see how the other half lives. (Peggy here – this is one of the best answers EVAH to this question!!!)
  • What turns you on?
    • Umm…
  • What turns you off?
    • Rude people
  • Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date (here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”)
    • I can’t believe someone asked you that on your first date! Here’s mine: “Let’s go to Hooters. They have good wings.” (they do have good wings, but let’s face it, that’s not why the guy wanted to go)
  • What’s your version of a perfect day?
    • Sleeping in late, drinking several cups of coffee while sitting on my deck and reading a book.
    • DEMON CURSED  
    • Blurb:
    • Gin Crawford, the world’s newest demon huntress, just wants to enjoy a football game, but finds herself hunting a serial killer minion instead. When his victims turn out to be the local football star’s female fans, she must determine if the player has joined forces with the minion, but her efforts lead her deeper into danger. When her mentor, Aidan Smythe, is attacked, Gin resolves to go to any lengths to save him, even if it exposes her most tightly held secret. Minions and demons, however, aren’t the only terrors she faces. Will she realize the greatest danger lies within—before it’s too late?
    • Excerpt:I shake my head at him before straightening my shoulders. And slapping a hand over my mouth and nose. Yuck. Hours-old death in humid Texas weather makes for a smelly situation. At least I’m not the only one with their hand, or handkerchief, over their mouths.“What happened?” Smythe meets the gaze of each guard and the hyperventilating janitorial women who clearly found the body.One of the women points to where the body lies in front of the Dumpster, flat on her back, hands resting in classic death pose on her bloody stabbed chest, a red rose clasped in her fingers. Her open eyes stare into the night, her mouth curled into a grimace of pain and death. Her clothes look like she came from a club: tight, short, and low-cut, with spiky heels. At one time, I would’ve been jealous of her hot-to-trot figure. Now all I notice is the pain and terror stamped on her face and the unfurling anger deep in my core.Fucking murderers. I might be a fancy-assed demon huntress, but I destroy minions, not human killers. Lucky for me, I can tell which type of kill this scene belongs to with little effort.

      Closing my eyes, I start to take a deep calming breath, think better of it, and focus on activating my minion sensors. Tapping into the power of the entity lying along my nerves, I open my eyes to a tactical grid display of reds and oranges, a clear indication of a minion’s presence at the scene.

      Looks like I’ll get my wish to annihilate the bastard who killed this poor woman.

      Buy Links: Amazon // B&N // Wild Rose Press // iBooks //

       

      A little more about Karilyn

    • Karilyn Bentley’s love of reading stories and preference of sitting in front of a computer at home instead of in a cube, drove her to pen her own works, blending fantasy and romance mixed with a touch of funny.Her paranormal romance novella, Werewolves in London, placed in the Got Wolf contest and started her writing career as an author of sexy heroes and lush fantasy worlds.Karilyn lives in Colorado with her own hunky hero, a crazy dog nicknamed The Kraken, a silly puppy, and a handful of colorful saltwater fish.Connect with Karilyn here: Website // Newsletter // Facebook // Twitter //Blog // Goodreads // Pinterest //AmazonPeggy here: Karilyn, it has been such a privilege and joy getting to know you, today! Much luck in all your future endeavors! Keep writing.

 

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One week from today!

Join me and many other Romance Authors next Saturday, July 29  at the Dolphin Resort in Walt Dinsey World for a mega book signing.I’ll be there from 3-5pm EST with copies of COOKING WITH KANDY and A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS to sign.  The money that’s paid for the books goes to the Nora Roberts Foundation for Literacy – so you not only get to meet your favorite authors, you get to support Literacy too! How cool is that?!!

 

Can’t wait to meet you all!

 

 

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A visit with WRP author Judith Sterling

Today, I get to introduce you to another of my wonderful and talented Wild Rose Press sistahs, Judith Sterling. Judith writes medieval romances, and I’ll admit, I haven’t read a lot of that genre. But after reading a little about her new release, The Cauldron Stirred ( Guardians of Erin, nook 1) I am certainly going to rectify that!! Meet Judith and then stick around for a little sumthin’ sumthin’ from The Cauldron Stirred.

Judith, the Author 

  1. What drives you to write? An instinctive urge that’s always been with me. I wrote my first story when I was three years old. By age nine, I was writing chapter stories and elaborate scripts for my dolls to act out. Of course, I played all the parts!
  1. What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why? I write medieval romances, The Novels of Ravenwood. During college and grad school, I studied in England, Scotland, and Sweden. I jumped on every opportunity to explore castles, monasteries, and other medieval buildings throughout Europe. The older the structure, the better! In ruin after ruin, the whispers of the past seduced me; in particular, 12th-century England. There’s also a touch of romance in my young adult paranormal fantasies, the first of which is The Cauldron Stirred.
  1. What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why? Mostly historical romance set in the British Isles. I love England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, and my first degree was in history.
  1. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write everyday? I write most weekdays but try to devote my weekends to family and relaxation. It’s good for the soul and for my lower back!
  1. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? I write in front of a window in my bedroom. When I need a break, I look outside at the 17th-century Witch House across the street. Salem, Massachusetts isn’t a bad place to write. This is Hawthorne country!
  2. Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnelvision? I prefer quiet, but with 13-year-old twin boys, that’s a rare luxury!
  3. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not?Sometimes I listen to music—film scores mostly—but I also like quiet. It might sound strange, but oftentimes, music plays in my head without the need for an outer source.
  1. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? The Cauldron Stirred (the YA paranormal fantasy) was partly inspired by travel in Ireland and paranormal events in my own life.
  1. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why? Plot, and I always use old-fashioned pen and paper for brainstorming and outlines. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how and why inspiration strikes. If I sit in front of blank paper with my pen poised above it, images and ideas just start to flow. Sometimes they’re connected to my own experience; other times, not. But sitting there ready and waiting seems to signal my muse.
  1. What 3 words describes you, the writer? Passionate, empathetic, wistful.

 Judith, The Person

  1. Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! During grad school, my Hindi professor loved the sound of my voice. He recorded me singing, then took the tape home to India, where he played the songs for his family and his pet cow. Does that qualify as unusual? If not, I can tell you I’ve always been a magnet for the paranormal.  And I’m cool with that!
  2. Who was your first love and what age were you? I was infatuated with a classmate when I was 10 years old, but in terms of real love, I’d have to say my husband!       We met when I was 31—and he was 25—and from day one, we knew we belonged together. He was well worth the wait!
  3. If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and….That’s hard to answer, but off the top of my head, I’m torn between two: (1) my first day in Killarney; (2) the day (night, actually) when my family and I investigated the paranormal in Gettysburg.
  4. Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando? Boxers.
  5. If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be? I rarely wear makeup anymore, so I guess I’d say moisturizer.
  6. What three words describes you, the person? Loving, compassionate, adventurous.\
  7. If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be?       Either “Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence or “Come Sail Away” by Styx.
  8. If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it by, why, and what would you do together?       Nancy Drew, and we’d solve a spellbinding mystery together. I loved those books when I was younger!

Bonus round

I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:

  1. Favorite sound – howling wind
  2. Least favorite sound – motorcycles
  3. Best song every written – a tie between Mozart’s Symphony #25 in G minor and “Carry on Wayward Son” by Kansas
  4. Worst song ever written – Hard to say, but I’m not fond of country music.
  5. Favorite actor and actress – Christopher Lee and Katharine Hepburn
  6. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead) – Eleanor of Aquitaine. She’s a fascinating figure from the High Middle Ages, and I’d love to see her world through her eyes.
  7. What turns you on? Halloween, the sound of rustling leaves, stormy skies, ruins, ancient stones, classic movies, intelligence, humor, contemplation of the unknown, travel, foreign languages, and delicious food!
  8. What turns you off? Violence, bigotry, false accusation, hot weather, and reptiles.
  9. Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”) I’ve had fewer first dates than most of my friends, and probably most women! I honestly don’t remember.
  10. What’s your version of a perfect day? Exploring a historic site on a cool, cloudy day with my loved ones, followed by good food and a great movie.

The Cauldron Stirred

Ashling Donoghue never dreamed moving to Ireland would rock her perception of reality and plunge her into a mystery that brings legend to life.

At seventeen, she’s never had a boyfriend, but she feels an immediate connection to Aengus Breasal, the son of the wealthy Irishman who’s invited her family to stay at his Killarney estate.  For the first time in her life, a guy she likes seems attracted to her.

But Aengus is secretive, with good reason.  He and his family are the Tuatha Dé Danann, ageless, mythical guardians adept at shifting between this reality and the magical dimension known as the Otherworld.  Evil forces from that world threaten the Breasals, the Donoghues, and all of Ireland.  Ashling must open her heart, face her fears, and embrace a destiny greater than she could ever have imagined.

Excerpt: 

The night air was deliciously cool. Moonlight and darkness held equal sway over the backyard thanks to the shifting clouds. I dashed across the lawn and halted in the exact spot where Aengus had stood. Panting, I looked around, willing some kind of clue to materialize.

The ruins in front of me darkened as large, heavy clouds swallowed the moon whole. The wind tugged at my long, loose hair and pajamas. Tiny raindrops spattered on my nose and cheeks. I turned my palms to the sky, and cold rain pelted them.

“Great.” Intending to return to the house, I swiveled around.

I gasped. My right hand flew to my chest. “Aengus?!”

The man himself stood an arm’s length in front of me. “Why are you here?”

“You scared the crap out of me!”

“Whisht!”

“What?”

“Shush!”

Pop!

The strident sound came from the ruins. I whirled around and stared at the dark keep.

Aengus grabbed me from behind. He pulled me to him and wrapped his arms around me. I reveled in the feel of his taut body, of his warm flesh against mine.

Suddenly, everything changed. The rain stopped. The wind died. The entire landscape was bathed in the soft hue of twilight. Breasal Castle looked brand spanking new, just as it had during the bizarre dream in which I brought Aengus to the cottage. But this time, I knew I was awake.

Dumbfounded, I gawked at the medieval magnificence before me. I had no idea what had happened and no desire to pull away from his embrace.

His lips brushed my right ear, sending a shiver down my spine. “This way.”

His right arm released me, and his left slid down to my waist. Maintaining body contact the entire time, he steered me toward the stand of oaks on our right.

Once sheltered by the trees, he turned us around so we faced the castle.

“Are we hiding?” I whispered.

“We are.”

“Why? And what just happened?”

“I can’t say.”

“Can’t or won’t?”

“Both.”

Until that moment, I’d forgotten I wore pajamas. Now I was acutely aware of it. Satin was pleasing to the touch, but something told me my attire had nothing to do with his grip on me.

I looked up at him. “Not that I mind, but why are you holding me so close?”

His hand tightened on my waist. “It’s necessary.”

“I don’t suppose you can explain that, either.”

With his gaze locked on the castle, he shook his head. He pressed his right forefinger against his mouth in a silencing gesture. Then he pointed up at the keep.

High on the battlements, the black-haired woman from my dream—and from Branna’s painting—paced back and forth. Her hair whipped about her pale face and slender frame.

She paused beside a gap in the crenelated wall and glared down at the fairy mound. Her colorless lips curled into a sneer. Then her human form morphed into a dark shadow, which fragmented into what seemed a million black particles. They swarmed into the air and shot across the twilit sky, disappearing into the distance.

I took a deep breath. “So she’s real.

He nodded. “She’s real, to be sure. Come.” With his arm still hooked around me, he led me out of the woods and toward the fairy mound.

Buy Links

Amazon // Wild Rose Press //

A wee bit more about Judith:

Judith Sterling’s love of history and passion for the paranormal infuse everything she writes. Flight of the Raven and Soul of the Wolf are part of her medieval romance series, The Novels of Ravenwood. The Cauldron Stirred is the first book in her young adult paranormal series, Guardians of Erin. Written under Judith Marshall, her nonfiction books—My Conversations with Angels and Past Lives, Present Stories—have been translated into multiple languages. She has an MA in linguistics and a BA in history, with a minor in British Studies. Born in that sauna called Florida, she craved cooler climes, and once the travel bug bit, she lived in England, Scotland, Sweden, Wisconsin, Virginia, and on the island of Nantucket. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and their identical twin sons

You can connect with Judith here:

Amazon // Goodreads // FaceBook // Website

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Sometimes, I get it right…..

You never know if what you are writing is going to be received well. It’s like a comic performing in front of an audience for the first time. He knows he’s funny. He likes his jokes, his routine, but he’s just not sure the audience is going to “get it.”

That’s typically the way I feel when I write. Is anyone going to “get it?” Are they going to understand what I mean? The intention behind the innuendo? My weird sense of humor?

Well, today I know someone got it – and a big someone at that. I received my first professional review for a story that is as near and dear to me as my own family – A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS.  I’ve included a link to the review here because I sososososo want to brag about, er… share it! The review is from LONG AND SHORT REVIEWS and I’ve been hoping they would review something of mine since my first book was released. It took two years and 7 books, but they finally did and I just have to pull a Sally Field and say “she liked it! She really liked it!!!”

Here’s the link to the review LASR

Here’s a little about the book:

A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

With Christmas just a few weeks away, Gia San Valentino, the baby in her large, loud, and loving Italian family, yearns for a life and home of her own with a husband and bambini she can love and spoil. The single scene doesn’t interest her, and the men her well-meaning family introduce her to aren’t exactly the happily-ever-after kind.

Tim Santini believes he’s finally found the woman for him, but Gia will take some convincing she’s that girl. A misunderstanding has her thinking he’s something he’s not.

Can a kiss stolen under the Christmas lights persuade her to spend the rest of her life with him?

Excerpt:

After an hour of helping people move supplies from cars, I passed by mama who was carrying a humongous plastic swaddled baby Jesus statue for the crèche when she called out, “The new guy is here.”

“Where?” I put down the ladder I’d been carting and looked in the general direction of where she’d pointed her chin since her arms were full of the Lord.

I found him in an instant. It wasn’t difficult to do because he was the only guy in the parking lot I didn’t recognize who was under sixty. Plus, he was dressed head to toe in basic clergy black. Black long sleeved shirt under a black vest over black trousers and standard issue shiny black boring priest shoes.

His back was to me and he was carrying a table, but after he put it down and turned around I got a good look at the front of him.

And Holy Mary, Mother of God, what a front he had.

Close cropped military style hair the color of wind blown wheat topped a head which stood – truly – head and shoulders above everyone else around. The guy had to be six-three at least. Sharp, etched cheekbones God cut with a knife, sat under oval eyes which looked deep and dark from where I stood. His face was a composite of planes and angles, the carved cheeks meeting up with a chiseled-from-stone chin. Hardened concrete looked softer than this guy’s jawline. His nose was perfectly fixed in the center of his face, the slight aquiline bend at the tip bringing to mind Michelangelo’s David, the cupid’s bow under it deep and pronounced. Clean shaven, his mouth was full and thick and – God help me – looked utterly kissable.

I could tell even with the chunky vest covering his torso, he was closer to thin than stocky, but if I could guess from the way his biceps pulled against his sleeves, he had some muscle to him.

And some pair of legs. They went on forever, from heaven to earth in a full, hard line.

I don’t know how long I stood there, just gawking with my mouth open looking like a cannoli waiting to be filled, but I’m being truthful when I say I couldn’t move. My feet were frozen to the ground, my knees had locked, and my hips weren’t taking me anywhere soon.

This was one beautiful man.

The old masters would have used him as a springboard for their work, and I could actually picture him in a Botticelli fresco, garbed in Roman robes, lounging with naked, buxom-breasted plump women surrounding him, feeding him grapes and sweetmeats.

In the time it took for a hummingbird to flap its wings once, I pictured myself as one of those women.

Buy Links: Amazon //Wild Rose Press //  kobo   // Nook // 

When I’m not basking in the fabulousness of this review, you can find me here:

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