Category Archives: Mystery

63 FREE Romance Books!!

Hi, readers! I wanted to pop in here today to let you know about a very cool, mega giveaway going on over at the Writing in the Modern Age blog this week. Among other genres, 63 romance novels are available.All you have to do to enter the contest is comment on the thread with all your genre preferences as well as a contact email, and you’ll have 164 chances to win books! Awesome, right?

Here is a list of some of the books offered. They’re in no particular order, but I’ve included the subgenres so you know how varied the giveaway is.

Sports Romance

Paranormal Thriller with Romantic Elements

 

Mystery Romance with Horror

Multicultural Romance

Historical Romance

Paranormal Romance

Science Fiction Romance

Erotic Romance

Romantic Comedy

Holiday Romance

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Romantic Suspense

Contemporary Romance

Romantic Thriller

 

Western Romance

 

LGBT Romance

Time Travel Romance

YA Romance

Inspirational Romance

Fantasy Romance

This contest is exciting! There are swag prizes too! 🙂 If you’d like to participate, please jump on Writing in the Modern Age to put in your entry (you can also email me directly at marieannlavender@gmail.com with the subject heading ‘Early Autumn Giveaway entry’, in case you’re a little shy about including your personal info).

The giveaway will run until Friday at midnight EST, but winners won’t be chosen until the weekend.

http://marielavender.blogspot.com/2017/09/400th-anniversary-post-early-autumn-mega-book-giveaway.html

So, why not go for it? These are FREE books! You won’t be sorry! 😉

As always, happy reading, everyone! 😀

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book Giveaways, Books, Contemporary, Erotica, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical, Historical Romance, inspirational romance, LGBT, Marie Lavender, Mystery, New Adult, Readers, Romance, romantic comedy, Romantic Suspense, sports romance, Thriller/Suspense, Time Travel, western, Writing, Young Adult

New Release Feature: A Vindicated Heart by author C.L. Bush

I am pleased to announce a great book release by C.L. Bush, an author I met during my journey! Her historical mystery romance, A Vindicated Heart, officially released today! Yay! That’s awesome, C.L. Bush! :) Congrats on your new release!:)

When a new book comes out, it is always an exciting time for an author!

C.L. is giving us a look at her new intriguing, mysterious Regency story, A Vindicated Heart, today.

A Vindicated Heart

Great cover!

This is the blurb for A Vindicated Heart, book six of the Fire in My Heart Series:

Rotting away in a jail cell is dangerous to a man’s health. So is being on trial for murder. Simon Tucker’s health is diminishing as it seems the world is colluding against him. The evidence is stacking up – not in his favor – and his future is looking bleaker and bleaker.

Lucy Livingston and her family are not standing idly by and letting the man she loves be convicted of a murder he didn’t commit.

But when sleuthing turns deadly and an old, unexpected foe turns up, Lucy is put into a situation that could change everything – and possibly cost her life in exchange.

And here is an excerpt to tease you with.

A day later, Laurie knew he couldn’t put off work any longer. The mining operation, now missing Simon and having been left in the hands of the foreman, was sadly lacking in attention. It had been a month since he had been out there and he had only kept up with the goings on via messages.

He leaned down and kissed Franny on the forehead as he breathed in her scent. It had changed with her pregnancy, becoming earthier. Smiling, he made his way downstairs for a quick breakfast.

Thompson met him at the breakfast room with the morning mail.

“Thank you, Thompson. I will be riding out today. Please inform Gerring to saddle Markum.”

“Right away, sir.”

Once the dour butler had exited the room Laurie took the time to go through his post. Issues with the land he was trying to buy that abutted the mining operation and his own property were not going well. The thousand acres would greatly increase the farming yield, but he wanted it more so because he felt there was more to mine on that acreage than what he had now.

Knowing it was something he would have to deal with soon, he put it at the back of his mind to ponder as he rode.

Markum was saddled and ready to go. At eighteen hands he was a huge animal; his black coat shining in the meager sunlight of the day, his muscles only hinting of his ability for speed and maneuvering. He was an amazing beast and Laurie thanked the stars for the day he had found him at market.

He mounted and made his way across the back lawn. Normally, he rode this way with Simon, but today he felt lonely. Opting not to take a groom, he knew it wouldn’t take long to get to the mines, and he longed for some peace and quiet to ponder all that was going on.

Ten minutes in, he came upon the meadow and allowed Markum his head. The river ran to his right with the waterwheel that ran the pump for the mines about a mile downstream. He would be there in a few minutes’ time, but he wanted Markum to get some of his restlessness out before they got to the mine. The feeling of the wind in his face and the animal moving beneath him was freeing.

He slowed him as he came within half a mile of the mill, not wanting to scare anyone by riding up like a bat out of hell. The feeling of peace buoyed him as he made the last bit at a walk on Markum.

That feeling of peace lasted only as long as it took for the arrow to fly by his face and lodge in the tree next to him.

Markum reared but Laurie, ever the trained horsemen, managed to keep his seat. He whipped around looking for the assailant and saw some fluttering of leaves over in the direction of the river.

Pressing himself low over his horse, Laurie galloped towards the spot he saw movement and broke through the bushes to find the river just twenty feet in front of him. Looking up and down the bank he saw no one.

“Damn.”

Making his way back through the brush and hurrying along to the safety of others, he saw footprints. The river had risen with the rains of a few days ago and when it had receded it had left the earth damp.

The clear imprint of footprints led directly into the river.

With nothing further to go on and his safety now a concern, Laurie kicked Markum into a canter and headed for the mine.

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B01KW962QY

Ooh! What a fascinating mystery! And I love Regency novels. ♥♥♥ This looks like an interesting ride! 😉

Thank you for telling us about your book, C.L.! I know I can’t wait to read this historical mystery romance series! 🙂

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Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this awesome book on Amazon!

A Vindicated Heart

Author Bio

C.L. Bush

C. L. Bush started reading at a young age. Since then, she has voraciously read all she could get her hands on. With a degree in Business and another in Marketing, as well as being the mother of two boys and three grown stepdaughters and the wife of a soldier in the U.S. Army, her life is busy, but she has always kept her love of reading and writing. History is also a passion of hers and she regularly goes on trips with her family to experience it firsthand.

Embarking on a new historical mystery series, Fire In My Heart, she also has a successful coloring book series, I F*cking Love Coloring.

Check out all her books now and follow her here for emails about any new releases, discounts and giveaways coming up!

Author Links

Website/Blog:  http://www.clbush.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/authorclbush/

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/C.-L.-Bush/e/B017OA7HV8

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14648833.C_L_Bush

 

Thanks again, C.L.! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

Happy reading, everyone! 🙂

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Filed under Authors, Book Release, Books, Event, Fiction, Historical, Historical Romance, Mystery, new release, Readers, Romance, Writing

A Character Interview with Vikki McGlory Ward from THE END OF CAMELOT plus a conversation with author Diana Rubino!

For our 220th post, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Devika Fernando’s character on March 10th and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Diana Rubino, the author of The End of Camelot, on my author journey and I asked her if she’d let me borrow one of her main characters, Vikki McGlory Ward, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Diana in a bit, but now we have on stage…Vikki!

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Marie Lavender:  Hello, Vikki.  Please have a seat.

Character Vikki McGlory Ward:  Hello.  Thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Marie:  We’re going to start out with some simple questions, okay?

Vikki: Of course.

Marie:  What is your occupation?  Are you any good at it?  Do you like it?

Vikki:  I’m living my dream as a housewife, but I design costumes for my father’s Broadway musicals. I’m also busy with our two kids—although Al and I decided we want four, so I’m hoping for twins.

Marie:  That’s great!  So, what is your family like?

Vikki:  A bit crazier than others, mainly because my father was in the rackets in the 1930s and he’s a composer of Broadway show tunes. I had an unforgettable childhood. My father took me to every Broadway musical that came out. We had famous people to the house all the time for dinner and cocktails, and to me, they were just folks; I didn’t care how famous they were, or if their albums played in the background. Dad gave me piano lessons, although it wasn’t my calling the way it was his—I preferred painting, sewing and designing fashions as a creative outlet. I never knew my mom. She died tragically and suddenly when I was an infant. But my father’s second wife Greta treated me like her own daughter. We went everywhere together – museums, hair salons, shopping, for long strolls through Central Park. But in school nobody cared whose kid I was. It was a strict Catholic school and I was in a uniform like everybody else. My family is Roman Catholic and we still have all the saints’ statues in the hallways and backyards.

Marie:  What did your childhood home look like?

Vikki:  A stately Tudor in Bronxville, then a red brick colonial in Westchester County. My father also brought us to his beach house on the New Jersey shore, which he bought the year I was born. I don’t like to go there, though. It’s where my mother overdosed on pain pills and I don’t want to be reminded of that. She died in the hospital the next day.

Marie:  Oh, I’m sorry to hear that! (Squeezes Vikki’s hand.) Let’s try a different question, shall we?

Vikki:  Yes.

Marie:  Do you have any hobbies?  What do you enjoy doing?

Vikki:  Designing costumes, going for bicycle rides with my husband and kids. I love to sing opera arias, although I’m not trained, and I make sure I’m alone when I do it. Fortunately, Al and I share a lot of interests – opera, painting, fashion—and one that most couples don’t share—guns. We have contests at the shooting range to see who’s the best shot. He also likes to hunt, which I don’t. But I’m good at cooking the venison he brings home.

Marie:  So, what is your greatest dream, Vikki?

Vikki:  To write my father’s memoirs with the notes he won’t let me see until, as he says, “I’m planted.”

Marie:  (Laughs.) I wonder what he meant by that!

So, what kind of person do you wish you could be?  What is stopping you?

Vikki:  I want to be more introspective, to look within and find my spiritual path. But I’m always out there doing something with the kids—it never ends. I’m too exhausted at night to meditate or do any soul-searching.

Marie:  I see.  Yeah, obligations can often tear you away from the things want. But, I’m sure you love your children considerably.

Okay, so I’m going to throw another random question at you now.  Who was your first love?

Vikki:  My first husband Jack Ward. I stayed in D.C. after I graduated Georgetown, still thinking I wanted a career in politics. I got a job as a political consultant with a couple of ex-CIA agents. Jack was a reporter for the Washington Post. I always enjoyed his articles—they had a clever undertone of cutting-edge humor. Sometimes he mentioned personal details: his close calls as a stunt pilot, his solo in a sailboat around Cape Horn, the political and show business parties he attended…I was hooked. I couldn’t wait for him to reveal another personal item, like the next installment in a serial. Then he became a television reporter for NBS. I was in my glory, able to see him every night at six and eleven. When So Far So Good came out—that was his memoir—I took the day off from work to read it. I devoured it, tore out the pictures and taped them to my walls. On television, he was as commanding and powerful as any president, and that was it—I had to meet him. So I spent every spare moment in front of NBS Studios waiting for an ‘accidental’ encounter. Finally it happened. First it was eye contact and a little small talk, ‘I’m your biggest fan,’ that kind of stuff. I had to talk fast. I read up on the items he reported so I’d be able to hold a conversation with him, and one day just blurted out an invitation to my place for dinner. He was so surprised, he accepted. I had him over the next night, and he fell in love with my aglio olio. I was already in love with him. When that evening ended, I’d already planned out the rest of my life… I wasn’t going to let him get away. I wanted him and I got him.

Marie:  Aww…that’s a sweet story.

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So, Vikki, what’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Vikki:  Losing Jack. He was found dead in the bathtub of his Dallas hotel room the same day President Kennedy was shot. He wasn’t supposed to be in Dallas. He never took baths. I immediately knew he’d been murdered. I found his notes and his tapes, and learned that he was embroiled in the plot to kill JFK—but his mission was to prevent it. From that horrific day on, I vowed to find out who was behind the murders of JFK and my husband. Bringing that bastard to justice became my quest, and once I found him, I knew that Jack could rest.

Marie:  How terrible! I’m so sorry. 😦

Well, let’s move on to something a bit lighter, shall we?

[Vikki nods.]

What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?

Vikki:  To be a wife and mother, and indulge my passion for painting, designing costumes and seeing them on the stage. I must say I am living that dream, despite having lost Jack so tragically. But I know everything happens for a reason. Al told me many times if he hadn’t met me, he doesn’t know if he’d be alive today.

Marie:  (Sighs.) I love romance.

So, who is your role model, Vikki?

Vikki:  It’s got to be my stepmother Greta. She rescued my father when he was still deeply grieving for my mother. She brought him back from the brink and gave him two beautiful kids.

Marie:  I agree. How inspirational!

Well…you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Vikki: Al’s former fiancée, Mona. He was forced into the engagement by both their families, and the times I met her, she seemed silly, self-centered and took advantage of Al. But I was very cordial to her, and would never tell anyone how she rubbed me the wrong way.

Marie:  All right. So, what is your deepest desire?

Vikki:  To give my kids a normal life, and I hope they never have to face crime or murder or even greed.

Marie: Yes, I think we all want the best for those we love.

Let’s switch to another question.  What is your greatest fear?

Vikki:  That some underworld figure will come after me. It’s an irrational fear, but when you learn your father was a gangster, and my having met killers such as Jack Ruby and underworld figures on my quest to find Jack’s killer, that fear never leaves you.

Marie:  Wow, that’s terrible!  😦 I can certainly understand your fears.

Well, I hate to say it, but we’ve run out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Vikki.  (Waves goodbye to her guest.)

Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective.  We have Diana Rubino on the stage today. Hi, Diana!

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Author Diana Rubino:  Hi. Thank you so much for having the two of us here, Marie! 🙂

Marie:  My pleasure! 

As you know, we just got to talk to the heroine of your story, Vikki. Quite an interesting character.  Can you tell us a little about her?

Diana: Vikki’s father Billy McGlory brought her up alone, until he married Greta, his second wife. Vikki has a degree from Georgetown and a Master’s in Political Science. She met Jack Ward in D.C. when he was a newspaper reporter. She and her father are very close; they get drunk together and have a good time.

She’s wanted to be everything from a cop to a ballerina to a singer to a lawyer to a jewelry designer. Her grandmother Vita urged her to do whatever she wants. She’s 90 and very feisty.

Marie:  Wow, what a unique background!

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Diana:  She’s brave and doesn’t care about putting her life in danger; she lived for Jack and finding his killer.

Marie:  Okay. Now let’s take the opposition on that. 

What, do you feel, is her greatest weakness?

Diana:  She inherited her father’s impetuousness and flighty nature, but hopes she’ll grow out of it.

Marie:  So, what are some of her favorite foods?

Diana:  Anything Italian, especially lasagna and strufoli (honey balls).

Marie:  Italian food is pretty awesome!

Let’s try something else.

What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?

Diana:  Her courage is admirable. But she didn’t consider it courage; she had to find her husband’s killer because she believed that was her mission, and if she got killed trying, that was her fate.

Marie: Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Diana:  I believe readers will like Vikki because she’s a strong, brave, loyal woman who put her life on the line for justice for her murdered husband. Besides that, she’s pretty cool. She sings opera but has every Beatles album and dances up a storm when Shindig is on.

Marie:  She is pretty interesting!  Now that we have a real taste of Vikki, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for The End of Camelot?

Diana:  This is going to date me, but I was six years old when President Kennedy was assassinated. Everyone who was alive that day knew exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. I was in my first grade classroom. The teacher got a call on the classroom phone and told us ‘the president was shot.’ A collective gasp went around the room. It was ten years before I saw the footage of Ruby shooting Oswald, on a documentary.

My grandmother was a huge JFK assassination buff. She listened to all the radio talk shows and recorded them. She got me embroiled right along with her. I never lost my fascination with all the conspiracy theories. I always wanted to write a novel centering on this event, and it fit in perfectly as the third book in this series.

Marie:  Great!

So, Diana, what is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

Diana: Absolutely a plotter. Just like I couldn’t drive cross-country without a GPS, I’d never attempt a coherent novel without a detailed outline. Of course it changes along the way, but the basic structure keeps me from going astray.

Marie:  That’s understandable. Eventually, I have to break down and plot mine as well.

So…I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing The End of Camelot or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?

Diana:  I took some flack from a member of my crit group because he didn’t think it was realistic for Vikki to be sleuthing, seeking out underworld figures, and going after them with her gun, as she tried to find her husband’s killer. So I made it as believable as possible, although this is a thriller and Vikki is larger than life. It was also a challenge to write the sewer scene–I won’t spoil it and say how, but Vikki winds up in the New York City sewer system and finds her way out. That scene was hard to write. I needed it to be realistic and incredibly gross–and I managed to do both. 🙂

What would I do differently next time?

My editor needed me to change the scene where Vikki visits Jack Ruby in prison. He’s the guy who shot Oswald after Oswald shot JFK. She didn’t want me to write the scene as it happened, with dialogue, in case there was a problem. So I had Vikki tell the hero Al about the visit later on.
Next time I’m writing a historical with people who lived more recently, I’ll have to be careful about who I can put directly into a story and who I can’t!

That’s good advice. I’m glad it worked out for you! 😉

Well, it was such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog.  And how apropos is that, considering what a great story The End of Camelot appears to be.  Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this awesome book by Diana Rubino, a very talented author!

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Here is the blurb for The End of Camelot.

November 22, 1963: The assassination of a president devastates America. But a phone call brings even more tragic news to Vikki Ward—her TV reporter husband was found dead in his Dallas hotel room that morning.

Finding his notes, Vikki realizes her husband was embroiled in the plot to kill JFK—but his mission was to prevent it. When the Dallas police rule his death accidental, Vikki vows to find out who was behind the murders of JFK and her husband. With the help of her father and godfather, she sets out to uncover the truth.

Aldobrandi Po , the bodyguard hired to protect Vikki, falls in love with her almost as soon as he sets eyes on her. But he’s engaged to be married, and she’s still mourning her husband. Can they ever hope to find happiness in the wake of all this tragedy?

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00UF3XYI2

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-end-of-camelot-diana-rubino/1121492967

Kobo:  https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-end-of-camelot

Google Play:  https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Diana_Rubino_The_End_of_Camelot?id=jnPxBwAAQBAJ

iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/the-end-of-camelot/id979056619?mt=11

About Diana Rubino

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Diana Rubino’s passion for history and travel has taken her to every locale of her stories, set in Medieval and Renaissance England, Egypt, the Mediterranean, colonial Virginia, New England, and New York. Her urban fantasy romance, FAKIN’ IT, won a Top Pick award from Romantic Times. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Richard III Society and the Aaron Burr Association. She lives on Cape Cod with her husband Chris. In her spare time, Diana bicycles, golfs, plays her piano and devours books of any genre.

Diana’s Books:

Coming June 1st: 

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Coming June 17th: 

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Available Now: 

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And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Diana Rubino, here are some of her author links:

Website:  http://www.dianarubino.com/

Blog:  http://www.dianarubinoauthor.blogspot.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/DianaRubinoAuthor

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DianaLRubino

Amazon Author Central:  http://www.amazon.com/Diana-Rubino/e/B005C4ZSHO/

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=47749428

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/100382402048172055582/posts

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/845147.Diana_Rubino

Publisher:  http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=656

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Vikki, the female main character of The End of Camelot, and Diana Rubino, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so fun to have you here! Readers, don’t forget to check out Diana’s latest release!  🙂

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Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, Event, Fiction, Historical, Interview, Mystery, Readers, Romance, Thriller/Suspense, Writing, Writing Tips

A Character Interview with Keri Sunderland from LOST & SCARED plus a conversation with author K.C. Sprayberry!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. It’s also our 200th post so it’s even more exciting! Yay!

If you remember, we interviewed Celia Kennedy’s character on February 24th and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it.  I had the pleasure of meeting K.C. Sprayberry, the author of Lost & Scared, on my author journey and I asked her if she’d let me borrow one of her main characters, Keri Sunderland, from the book.  We’ll get a chance to talk to K.C. in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Keri Sunderland!

Keri

Marie Lavender:  Hello, Keri.  Please have a seat.

Keri Sunderland:  Hello.  Thank you.  It’s a pleasure to be here.

Marie:  We’re going to start out with some simple questions, okay?

Character Keri:  Sure.

Marie:  What is your occupation?  Are you any good at it?  Do you like it?

Keri: I’m a junior at Landry High School in Landry, Georgia, and like my twin, Shane (I call him big bro, cause he’s like ten minutes older than me), I get stellar grades. School is the best place in the world, and if I don’t get good grades El Creepo (AKA my dad) will give me grief.

Marie:  Okay. So, what is your family like?

Keri: Wow. Tough one. My family is complicated, and I mean really complicated. There’s Shane and me, Kenny, Stacy, Jimmy, and baby Krissy, but there are two other kids. Something bad happened a long time ago, but I don’t like talking about it, or even thinking about it. Not even Mom talks about it. She’s cool now but for years she put up with El Creepo smacking her around. Shane and I finally did a “come to Jesus” meeting with Mom, and now the jerk is out of the house. We’re learning to get along without him, which means a lot more laughter and fun.

Marie:  What did your childhood home look like?

Keri: Our house is this sweet Craftsman style with two floors. The bottom one is normal—a couple of bedrooms (one’s a computer place for Big Bro and I), bathroom, living room, a great eat in kitchen where I love, love, love to experiment with recipes, and a playroom for the little ones. The upstairs is two huge bedrooms, one for the girls and one for the boys, and a bathroom the six of us have to share. The boys always leave that bathroom so nasty, and I have to clean it. But that’s part of being in a big family. What I love most about our house is the rest of the lot. It’s absolutely huge! Like we can invite the all the cheerleaders over for a barbecue, and the whole football team, and there’s still room for the marching band and a bunch of our friends. Oh, and the little ones can still play without getting bumped around. And there are huge, old trees back there, some tables and chairs. It’s the most totally cool place to hang out in the summer!

Marie:  That’s great!  🙂

Do you have any hobbies?  What do you enjoy doing?

Keri:  I love cooking. Did I already mention that? Well, I do, and I love experimenting, to find great new dishes. There’s cheerleading, and I’m hoping with all my heart to be the head cheerleader next fall, when my senior year starts. Big Bro and I also do this thing at Christmas every year, to pay back all the people who have helped us in the past. We get local merchants to donate gifts, a local tree farm gives Christmas trees, and then most of the high school and some adults give this stuff to needy families on Christmas Eve.

Marie:  How nice!

So, what is your greatest dream, Keri?

Keri:  So much bad has happened in our house, but I wouldn’t leave that willingly for the world, because good has also happened there. My greatest dream is to have our dad out of our lives. He used to be a good person, but he’s not now and he hasn’t been in a long time. He hurts Mom all the time, physically and emotionally by bringing his girlfriends around while she’s at work. He’s always screaming at us or making the little ones cry. Then he disappears, usually taking all of our money, but then it’s good. We’re happy for a while, until he comes back.

So, yeah, getting El Creepo out of our lives is my greatest dream right now. Oh, please don’t tell Mom that I’m calling him El Creepo. She doesn’t think that’s right, but the name fits.

Marie:  So sorry to hear about your dad. That must be hard.

Let’s try a different question.

What kind of person do you wish you could be?  What is stopping you?

Keri: I want to be a normal teenager, with a normal home, and no worries other than what I’ll wear to school, or if the guy I’m crushing on thinks I’m cute, or if my bestie wants to go shopping with me. But I can’t be that now. I have to help my mom after I get out of school and before she comes home from work. Shane tries to help too, but he has a job, to save for college.

Marie:  I see.

Okay, so I’m going to throw another random question at you now.  Who was your first love?

Keri: Axe Markson. His first name is really Gerald, but only his grandma calls him that. He’s Axe to everyone else. Sigh! He’s so cute, and sweet, and I think he more than likes me but… this is so awkward… his dad is a cop, one of the cops who always show up when El Creepo acts like a total jerk. I mean, how can a girl get a guy to like her when he knows all her horrible secrets, and his dad is always at her house? But I hope one day that Axe will get past all that and actually ask me on a date!

Marie:  Oh, I hope so too!  I love romance…;)

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So, Keri, what’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Keri: The night Cindy and Sam died. Shane and I know the truth, but we can’t ever tell. We just can’t. El Creepo promised to do the same thing to us if we did, and that would totally destroy Mom. But that secret is getting so hard to hold onto anymore. I think Big Bro and I might tell soon, before we absolutely bust from this horrific secret.

Marie:  How terrible! 😦

Well, let’s move on to something a bit lighter, shall we?

[Keri nods.]

What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?

Keri: My dream is to have a house where I don’t have to worry about my dad screaming at everyone, or hitting them for messing up. All I want is a place where I don’t have to worry, where I can think about the rest of my life without being afraid of doing something wrong and having to pay his price. ‘Cause his price is always too high.

Marie:  That makes sense. Everyone wants to feel safe in their own home.

So, who is your role model?

Keri:  My bestie, Carly Jameson. She’s totally cute, adores Shane, and I can’t think of anyone better for him. She is always there when things are bad or good. Carly is the best thing in my life, unless Axe decides to ask me out, and then she’s second best, but only ‘cause she’s probably going to be hanging out with Shane.

Marie:  (Laughs.)

Well…you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Keri: Not really. People know that what they see is what they get with me. Except for the big secret, I’m probably the most open person in the world. If something bugs me, I blurt it out. Well, except for my other girlfriends, who dumped me fast once they figured out my dad was a total jerk. That hurt, but I couldn’t tell anyone how I felt. That would mean opening up about other things, and I don’t think I’m ready to do that yet.

Marie:  So, what is your deepest desire?

Keri: To go on a date with Axe, to have a happy family, and to go to college. The college thing might a bit hard, since I can’t get a job, but Shane told me that he’d give me part of his money from the savings.

For the future, I’m not sure. I plan on getting a business degree and finding a job after college, but I’m kind of scared of getting married. Seeing what my dad did to my mom for so many years makes me afraid of commitment, but then there’s Axe. He’s always made me feel safe, but what if he turns out to be like El Creepo? I couldn’t handle that.

Marie: Yeah, I can understand that. I had a bad experience with my ex, and it was hard to trust again after that. Luckily, I found a very patient man and we are so happy now.

Let’s switch to another question.  What is your greatest fear?

Keri: Losing someone else from my family. I still have nightmares about the night Cindy and Sam died, and my cowardice afterward. Yeah, I was seven when it happened, but still… it’s not like I’ve ever really held back from telling people what’s on my mind about anything else. I don’t get why I’m so scared of telling now, well, I kind of know why. Thinking about what he could do to me if I ever did tell shuts my mouth on the subject forever.

Marie:  So sorry to hear about the situation you’re in, Keri. That’s tough. (Pats her hand.)

Well, I hate to say it, but we’ve run out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Keri.  (Waves goodbye to her guest.)

Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective.  We have K.C. Sprayberry on the stage today. Hi, K.C.!

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Author K.C. Sprayberry:  Hi.  Thank you for having me here.

Marie:  My pleasure! 

We just got to talk to the heroine of your story, Keri. Quite an interesting character.  Can you tell us a little about her?

K.C.: Keri is a teenager, just completing her junior year of high school. In a lot of ways, she’s an overachiever, always ready to volunteer to help out, giving more than her fair share to her community, and studying hard to get the best grades. All of this hinges on an event when she was seven that has marked her, driven Keri to fight back, but she also is still very much the frightened child, terrified that her boogeyman will hurt her too.

Marie:  I see.

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

K.C.:  She’s loyal to those she knows won’t abandon her, a talented cook, and is willing to help out anyone in need. She also won’t quit, refuses to give up on someone she loves. These last two traits will serve her well when she’s faced with a situation she knew could happen, but never believed it would until it did.

Marie:  Okay.  Now let’s take the opposition on that. 

What, do you feel, are her greatest weaknesses?

K.C.:  She can’t bring herself to tell the truth about the night Cindy and Sam, twins two years younger than Keri and Shane, died. A great believer in going to church and her religion, she loses her faith during a very tough time, and almost loses the heart to keep fighting back.

Marie:  So, what are some of her favorite foods?

K.C.:  Keri loves Sonic’s Chicago Dogs and Pineapple Upside Down Master Blast, McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese, extra pickles, no onions, and hot chocolate with tons of whipped cream.

Marie:  (Laughs.) All healthy choices, of course.

So, what’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?

K.C.: Keri has never been called on to stand up to her abusive Dad directly or to go against him when she knows that he will lash out with his fists. She’s avoided that since he started using drugs and drinking. But she’s faced with a situation where she knows that she has to do the impossible, take on things she’s never done before, or possibly lose another sibling. No spoilers, but I can say that when faced with a life or death situation, she discovers an inner core of steel that allows her to do what is right instead of cowering in a corner.

Marie: Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

K.C.:  Readers will like her plucky attitude, her resilience despite the tragic situation she finds herself in, and how she doesn’t ever really give up. They might dislike how she loses faith in her abilities or leans on Shane’s perceived strength, discounting her own inner strength. She points out that he’s better with the physical stuff without even thinking about what she’s capable of doing.

Marie:  Great!  Well, now that we have a real taste of Keri Sunderland, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for Lost & Scared?

K.C.:  I had two names, Keri and Shane; they actually came to me at the same time, and they had to be twins. Then I saw a story about a child who had been taken by their non-custodial parent and I began to research the subject. Some of the information I discovered chilled me to the bone. Finally, I discovered this website for survivors of non-custodial parental kidnapping and couldn’t stop reading the stories on it.

That’s when a pivotal scene exploded into my head, of seven-year-old Shane and Keri hearing what’s happening to their younger twins, Cindy and Sam. The story evolved from there during the 2014 NaNoWriMo competition. I “finished” the book, about 51,000 words, during November and spent the next six weeks immersed in this book, as more and more information about them came out.

Marie:  That’s great! It’s interesting how research can spark more ideas.

So, K.C., what is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

K.C.:  More of a panster. Stories come to me. Sometimes as a whole, other times in bits and pieces. I have stacks of paper lying around my office with ideas on them and files in my computer with half-finished stories just waiting on me to get to them.

Marie:  (Laughs.) That sounds a lot like me!

So, I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Lost & Scared or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?

K.C.:  The biggest challenge in writing Lost & Scared was in keeping it real. That can be difficult to do while also paying attention to the plot lines and crafting believable characters. Also, some of the scenes were so intense that I couldn’t stop working on them until I had finished, so that they didn’t kick me out of a sound night’s sleep.

What would I do next time? Honestly, I don’t think I’d do anything differently. All of my books are like this. They reach a point where I have to continue working, ignoring the dust bunnies, my husband and son screaming for food, even the dog whimpering at me to play with her. I’ll become immersed in the story, to the point where nothing else matters, and that’s when the layers start to come together, to make the characters three dimensional, the action intense and real, and the outcome believable.

Marie:  I hear you. I am just as determined when I am focused on a project.

Well, it was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog.  And how apropos is that, considering what a great story Lost & Scared appears to be.  Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this awesome new book by K.C. Sprayberry, a very talented author!

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Here is the blurb for Lost & Scared.

When their younger twin siblings were murdered by their cold-blooded father, Shane and Keri’s own twin connection deepened. Their father shamed Shane and Keri into silence, and then went on to bring four more children into a house shuddering under the weight of his unpredictable temper.

Ten years later, what should have been a regular visitation turns into a horrific nightmare. Trapped in the Superstition Mountains with an addicted and dangerous father, Keri’s faith and determination wavers, but she knows she must save her brothers and sisters and return all of them to the home they love.

She now faces one insurmountable obstacle. He can’t afford to let her go.

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00TXJ48FC

Publisher:  http://solsticepublishing.com/lost-scared/

About K.C. Sprayberry

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Born and raised in Southern California’s Los Angeles basin, K.C. Sprayberry spent years traveling the United States and Europe while in the Air Force before settling in Northwest Georgia. A new empty nester with her husband of more than twenty years, she spends her days figuring out new ways to torment her characters and coming up with innovative tales from the South and beyond.

She’s a multi-genre author who comes up with ideas from the strangest sources. Some of her short stories have appeared in anthologies, others in magazines. Three of her books (Softly Say Goodbye, Who Am I?, and Mama’s Advice) are Amazon best sellers. Her other books are: Take Chances, Where U @, The Wrong One, Pony Dreams, Evil Eyes, Inits, Canoples Investigations Tackles Space Pirates, The Call Chronicles 1: The Griswold Gang, The Curse of Grungy Gulley, Paradox Lost: Their Path, Starlight, and the soon to be released Lost & Scared. Additionally, she has shorts available on Amazon: Grace, Secret From the Flames, Family Curse … Times Two, Right Wrong Nothing In Between, and The Ghost Catcher.

K.C.’s Books:

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And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing K.C. Sprayberry, here are some of her author links:

Website:  www.kcsprayberry.com

Blog:  http://outofcontrolcharacters.blogspot.com/

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/KC-Sprayberry/331150236901202

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/kcsowriter

Amazon Author Central:  http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005DI1YOU

Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/kcsprayberry/boards/

Google+:   https://plus.google.com/u/0/+KcSprayberry/posts

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5011219.K_C_Sprayberry

Authorgraph:  http://www.authorgraph.com/authors/kcsowriter

Manic Readers:  http://www.manicreaders.com/KCSprayberry/

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Keri Sunderland, the female main character of Lost & Scared, and K.C. Sprayberry, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so fun to have you here! Readers, don’t forget to check out this awesome new release!  🙂

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4th Anniversary Party at TRR!

The Romance Reviews is having their 4th Anniversary Party this month. All month long, you can stop by their site and win cool prizes!

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The event started on March 1st and will run ALL month long so hurry, get in there and compete for prizes! With more than 350 participating authors and publishers, and more than 350 prizes up for grabs during the whole month of March, plus a $100 Gift Certificate as a grand prize, you just can’t go wrong!

Here is the event page:  http://www.theromancereviews.com/event.php

To compete for prizes, you will need to register and be logged into the TRR site. Registering is painless, I swear, and this site gives you access to lots of great books!

Here is the prize list:  http://www.theromancereviews.com/event.php?prize=1 And this is not even the entire list! How great is that? Each book will have a simple Q&A with instructions to compete for the prize and you will be contacted if you win. Woo hoo!

And, on March 11th, you also get a chance to win my latest release, Second Nature, book one of the Blood at First Sight Series! Yay!  🙂

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So, stop by today, and every day whenever you have a moment. But, especially stop by on March 11th for a copy of Second Nature! I’m excited about this! Aren’t you?  🙂

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Major Solstice giveaway!

Exciting news! Solstice Publishing is giving away 26 books for their Valentine’s Day giveaway!

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So, get a head start on getting your name in the raffle!

Second Nature is one of the books in the drawing! Yay!  🙂

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<a class=”rcptr” href=”http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/7d6819cf3/” rel=”nofollow” data-raflid=”7d6819cf3″ data-theme=”classic” data-template=”” id=”rcwidget_2ymimnco”>a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>
<script src=”//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js”></script>

Here are the other titles in the giveaway: Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire, A Life Without LivingAnother Summer, Campanelli: Sentinel, Sapphire Blue, Josey’s Mountain, Alaska Awakening, No Third Choice, Dead in the Water, The Push, Aftermath, The Encounter, Tread Carefully on the Sea, So You Want to be a Marine, Linked Through Time, Always and Forever, Fin’s Magic, The Price of Honor, The Jewels of Warwick, The Curse of Grungy Gulley, The Ice Woman, Her Cracked Heart, Perfect & Other Stories, No Distance Between Us, and Many-Colored Glass.

The drawing began February 2nd at midnight Eastern time! Here is the Rafflecopter link if the embed link above does not work. So, sign up and you’ll have the chance to win these wonderful books from Solstice Publishing! And who doesn’t want to add to their book collection? 😉

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Filed under Authors, Book Giveaways, Books, Contemporary, Drama, Event, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Romance, Holiday, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Non-fiction, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Science Fiction, Thriller/Suspense, Time Travel, Women's Fiction, Writing, Young Adult

A great period romance!

I don’t often write reviews for the I Love Romance Blog, only when I feel that I have something to say. I never promise reviews, not just because I don’t have a lot of free time, but I also don’t wish to have an author saying, “Hey! Why didn’t you give me five stars?” I’m not saying every author approaches a review with a lack of professionalism. Most don’t, but I still don’t want to take that chance (I’ve heard the horror stories). If I do a review, I am honest and I will only put it up on this blog if it’s a book I truly enjoyed.

Having said that, I had to bring this series to your attention as it relates to our theme – romance. After purchasing and reading the final book recently, I thought it was about time to make an overall statement regarding this fantastic historical romance series.

I accidentally stumbled across Kris Tualla’s The Discreet Gentleman Series when my publisher assigned me an editor for Upon Your Return. After seeing the unique relationship between Captain Grant Hill and his valet Eric, she recommended a series with a somewhat similar theme. It was, in many ways, entirely different, but so worth the read.

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The Discreet Gentleman Series by Kris Tualla is a Viking series set in 1700s Norway. Brander Hansen is a discreet gentleman of discovery, a kind of pre-Sherlock Holmes. This series is full of suspense, intrigue and romance. Brander is a unique investigator in more than one way, however. Not only is he a master of disguise, he is deaf, and he and his cousin Niels have created an original way to communicate with one another, not altogether different from modern sign language. What he doesn’t expect is to be confronted with Lady Regin and all of the wonder and complications she will cause him during his question to gain back his honor and status as a gentleman.

This is a lovely, fantastic series that will keep you on your toes! You never know what kind of trouble these two will get into. I loved all of the characters in this series, and I can’t wait to read Kris Tualla’s other books! I give the entire series a fabulous five stars,and I fully recommend it to anyone who loves history, romance or mysteries!

Here are the books, blurbs and purchase links:

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Amazon Universal link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B007K1KPUC

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-discreet-gentleman-of-discovery-kris-tualla/1107712758

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Amazon Universal link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B008W192VC

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-discreet-gentleman-of-matrimony-kris-tualla/1111849364

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Amazon Universal link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00AMI6I7Y

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-discreet-gentleman-of-consequence-kris-tualla/1120819189

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Amazon Universal link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00G1YDOGQ

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-discreet-gentleman-of-intrigue-kris-tualla/1117375529

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Amazon Universal link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00H9FUZSQ

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-discreet-gentleman-of-mystery-kris-tualla/1118060977

Thanks again, Kris Tualla, for making my romantic’s heart race. Now I have a reason to love Vikings! You’ve certainly made a loyal fan out of me.  😀

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Huge giveaway! Many books! Many authors!

Hi, readers!  I wanted to direct you to a big giveaway going on right now at my alternate blog, Writing in the Modern Age.  Please stop by.  The instructions are included.  There are lots of different authors!

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Tons of books!  Multiple genres!  Join our party because time is running out.   pinkwink

http://marielavender.blogspot.com/2014/03/a-year-of-guest-authors-plus-multi_5836.html

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