Tag Archives: historical fiction

Book Review: Unglorious War by Maxine Flam

Our latest I Love Romance Blog review selection is Unglorious War by Maxine Flam. What a read! 😀

The novel was a gift copy provided well before I became an official reviewer on ILRB. Going into this review, I should state that even though I love reading historical romance, this is not one of my favorite time periods to read about (and I only have two or three that I try to avoid). I don’t claim ignorance about the Vietnam War. My own father served, and has his own stories – at least what he is allowed to reveal. Much of what he did remains classified. However, to be fair as both reader and reviewer, I reserved judgment until the book was finished.

Unglorious War is an appropriate title, for reading the story proved to be a rather enlightening experience. The characters were compelling. Marla, especially, was someone I grew to further respect as the tale progressed. The secondary characters were just as fascinating.

I must congratulate the author for her historical accuracy. She clearly did her research, and this book has the seal of approval from three war Veterans.

One issue I saw – both from the standpoint of a writer and a reader – was the head-hopping interspersed throughout the story. The approach was unusual overall, hinting at more of an omniscient narrator. Still, this fact wasn’t enough to pull me out of the fictional world, in most cases.

The varied emotions on the page were real, and the love story was deeply moving. The connection between Marla and Thomas was believable and heartfelt, even with the threat of war all around them.

As for an HEA or HFN – the one aspect a romance reader yearns for – I’d probably label the novel historical fiction with elements of romance. Possibly with a hint of inspirational romance, and definitely a military romance. We have to be realistic too with any tale about war. With the intent of being remotely authentic, it can’t be all hearts, flowers, and butterflies. I am not a person who likes to give away spoilers. I will do my best to avoid doing so here.

ONE WARNING: When something bad happens, don’t give up on this read. There is so much more to discover, to be resolved. And the ending is…well, open to interpretation.

In any case, my rating for this read is three hearts ❤️❤️❤️ – for a well told story and a realistic romance. Nice job, Maxine! 🙂

Book Info:

Major Thomas Harrison Smith is critically wounded while escaping from a POW camp deep inside Laos during the Vietnam War. Stabilized by medical personnel in Vietnam and Japan, he is flown to Oahu, Hawaii for surgery and rehabilitation. Emaciated, dehydrated, and half-dead from torture and constant beatings, he meets Lt. Marla Bristol, a nurse-therapist assigned to his case. During Major Smith s recovery, he and Lt. Bristol fall in love and marry, but the military wants Major Smith to do another tour of duty and if Major Smith does return to Vietnam, will he see his beloved Marla again?

Who is Lt. Anthony Lambello and what part does he play in whether Major Smith returns from NAM? Thomas and Marla are scared but each pray to God that they should be reunited soon. They find their faith tested and God answers their prayers, but is it the way that they hope for?

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/bP0AAr

Here is an excerpt.

AUTHOR: Maxine Flam

TITLE: Unglorious War

GENRE: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational, Military Romance

RELEASE DATE: February 19, 2009-2012

PUBLISHER: Flamingo Publications

ISBN/ASIN: 098211740X/9780982117415

OUR RATING: ♥♥♥

REVIEWED BY: Marie Lavender

You can find an ebook copy for free on Smashwords! 😉

Up next time: Kurt Seyt & Shura by Nermin Bezmen

Thanks for reading our latest book review on ILRB!

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book News, book reviews, Books, Event, Fiction, Historical, Historical Romance, inspirational romance, Military Romance, rating, Readers, Reviews, Romance, score, Writing

Book Review: The Impaler’s Wife by Autumn Bardot

If you haven’t checked the updates to our review policy, please do. I am taking over in the meantime. Our latest I Love Romance Blog review selection is The Impaler’s Wife by Autumn Bardot. What a great read! 😀

The test of a good book is one that successfully tells a tale from which you can’t turn away. The test of a good writer is one who constructs characters anyone can care about, even if their beliefs may not align with the reader. Suspension of disbelief, and being drawn into the fictional world is key. Bardot’s The Impaler’s Wife is one such title. This gothic romance is thrilling, with unerring historical accuracy, and a hint of the legend of Dracula which most have heard of.

I love tales about Dracula, and this one is just as fascinating. Housed in historical fiction, complete with gory descriptions of war and a tale of unrivaled passion, The Impaler’s Wife gives us a unique take on not only the legend of Dracula, but also a story of the man himself. Who is Vlad the Impaler? And, who is Ilona, the strong, amazing woman that falls for him?

As a reader, I was yanked into the tale from page one, equal parts mystified throughout, and by turns horrified yet unusually resigned to the circumstances. This book may test your faith in…well, everything you think you know. Bardot has an uncanny ability to make one of the most vilified historical figures utterly human. Or is he far more than that?

Ilona really comes into her own from the first time we encounter her – and that pivotal moment when Vlad approaches her – to the well-rounded, confident, strong female she becomes by the end of the book. I enjoyed learning about both characters.

So…is Dracula just a story? It is tempting to think otherwise. Bardot may make you a believer too. Take a chance on this read. You won’t be disappointed!

I give this a rating of four hearts for an outstanding, unforgettable reading experience. Fantastic job, Autumn! ♥

Book Info:

A young woman is swept into a life of intrigue, revenge, passion, and betrayal when she falls for the world’s most notorious prince.

The year is 1464 and young King Matthias controls Hungary, his family, and the fate of the world’s most notorious political prisoner, Prince Vlad Dracula.

Ilona Szilágy, the king’s cousin, is young and ambitious. Dracula is determined to marry into the Hunyadi family. It is love at first sight, but the king has other plans. The Impaler Prince, however, never takes no for an answer.

This begins Ilona’s journey into the treacherous world of court intrigues, family betrayals, and her husband’s dark desires. Eager to become Vlad’s trusted confidante, Ilona soon discovers that marriage to a man tortured by his past comes with a price.

Woven throughout is a peek into the life and times of one of the world’s most enigmatic and maligned rulers…the man before the legend.

With Bardot’s decadent period detail and a cast of gritty, evocative characters, The Impaler’s Wife offers a fierce yet sensuous glimpse into the violent 15th century.

Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/3ygVlv

Here are some teasers!

And the book trailer…

Plus, an intriguing excerpt!

Prince Vlad rests his hand on the small of my back. “Come, Lady Ilona, look at the faces of anarchy and villainy, and see how much they resemble your friends and family.”

“I will not.” I back away from the entrance where moans rise from the bowels of the labyrinth like a demon’s song.

“The choice is yours, of course.” His tone is low and gentle, but in the lamplight his stare is wolf-like.

I shift from foot to foot, look away, only to glance back. Does he hear my heart knocking against my breast? Can he smell my fear as it beads wet on my neck? Do I want to rise to this challenge? Or am I a fool for allowing him to bait me?

My fingers tighten around the lamp’s clay handle. “I will humor you, my lord, but only because Father taught me courage and graciousness.”

“Mihály taught you well.” He holds out his hand. “My lady.”

The lamp divides the darkness like a saber, each foot forward lighting our descent into hell. Ghostly groans from below seep through the rock. I sink into Vlad’s fur-lined coat as though their suffering will soak into my soul.

Vlad pauses before descending the narrow rock steps leading into the labyrinth’s deepest level. “Are you certain?” His eyes glint with challenge. “A weak constitution is nothing to be ashamed of.”

I lift my chin and glare with pretended insult. “I am the daughter of Michael Szilágyi and Margit Báthory. Iron courage flows in my blood.” I push back my cuff and show him the blue-forked veins in my wrist. “I am as brave as Hadak Ura, our ancient pagan warlord.”

“I believe you, my lady. I will not doubt again.”

The clanking chains and eerie moans get louder with each step down, the noises merging into a demonic choir like that of Ördög’s requiem to the Underworld. My legs shake, my neck wet with icy prickles, and my skin tightens around my chest.

I lift the lamp into hell.

The circle of light shines upon a pockmarked man stretching his arm between the bars, his fingers curled like claws. “Bless me, good sister.”

In the cell next to him, a naked wretch spits onto the ground. “Menj a fenébe!”

“I am innocent!” A third prisoner grabs the bars and presses his wild-bearded face against the iron. “Tell His Highness there is a Turkish spy in his court. He is in danger! You must warn him!”

My head swivels toward Prince Vlad.

“There are always spies,” Vlad whispers.

I walk with measured pace and let the lantern reveal each doomed prisoner. Most stare, empty-eyed; the whips, chains, skin shredders, bone crushers, and strappado take away all hope and spirit. Others shout obscenities. One man kneels, hands in prayer, and mutters the Hail Mary.

The weight of their misery crashes down, squeezes my heart, and crushes my breath. This place must be worse than hell’s torments because these wretches yet live, have all their faculties! No one deserves this! It is inhumane! Sadistic and depraved!

My breath comes in shreds and clumps. I cover my nose with Prince Vlad’s cape, the stench of rotting flesh enfolding me in its putrid embrace. My pace quickens. It is time to end this test of my courage.

“You!” A milky-eyed wretch points to Prince Vlad and begins chanting in a foreign tongue.

Prince Vlad guides me away from the cells. “You have thrice over proven your courage tonight.”

“What language was that man speaking?”

“He recites from the Corpus Hermeticum.” Dracula takes the lantern and illuminates the stairwell. “It’s a pagan book of alchemy, astronomy, and metaphysics.”

“It sounded like he cursed us.”

“Pay no attention to a madman’s rants. That particular book is nothing but Egyptian and Greek nonsense.”

I tread upwards, evil’s chill clinging to my limbs. At the top, I try to purge the dungeon’s misery, malice, and madness with a long exhalation. Yet the horror sticks like nettles in my soul.

“This way.” I move past the dark tunnel and enter the lighted one, relieved to put space and distance between the prisoners and me.

The tunnel ends at a large grotto where Prince Vlad pauses to light the ring of torches affixed to the walls. I wait on a stone bench near the baptismal fount, sighing with relief as the golden glow of the church-like arches infuse peace into my troubled soul.

Prince Vlad sits beside me. “We go from hell to heaven.”

I tuck a stray lock behind my ear. “This was Father’s favorite grotto. God’s Buried Cathedral, he called it. His second favorite has a Titan-sized head emerging from the ground—like a god got stuck in molten rock. I was only in that grotto once. It reminded me of an insect trapped in tree sap that ages to amber—the insect forever entombed—never aging, almost alive in its resin grave.”

“Do you find that horrific or beautiful?” His eyes search mine.

“Both, I suppose.” My shoulders move into my sigh. “Caves are dreary places.”

“I rather enjoy them. Tunnels have saved my life several times.” Dracula stands. “I think we are both ready for fresh air.” He offers his hand, its warmth a familiar comfort.

Together we walk through the tunnel lit by small lanterns that flicker like fireflies all the way to the exit.

Prince Vlad gives the stubborn iron-crossed door a hard yank and it groans open. Outside, a sapphire dawn drapes over Buda.

“On no.” My hands fly to my face. “It’s so late it’s early.” Were we in the tunnels that long? If my aunts discover I never returned to my room…I spin about, my voice edged with panic. “I have to go back. Now.”

Vlad’s brows crease with concern. He tugs a handkerchief from his robe and touches it to my lips as though dabbing at a smudge. “There’s something I must do first.” He lays the linen over my lips and sets his mouth on mine.

Even through the thin fabric, his lips sear my own. I part my lips, feel the linen moisten with the breath of our lust. I collapse into him, my body sizzling with desire. I am about to rip away the fabric and taste his lips when he breaks the kiss.

Vlad Dracula steps back, the handkerchief between thumb and forefinger. “If you marry Luigi della Scala, you will still be chaste.” He drags the handkerchief across his mouth. “I will always have this.”

Chaste? Prince Vlad just violated my heart and corrupted my flesh!

Back in my chambers, I touch my lips that still burn with the memory of our kiss—my first kiss—and groan. Vlad Dracula used my virtue, conceit, and fears to study the labyrinth’s secrets. He took advantage of my desire for romantic adventure to learn the escape route.

AUTHOR: Autumn Bardot

TITLE: The Impaler’s Wife

GENRE: Historical Fiction, Gothic Romance

RELEASE DATE: March 27, 2019

PUBLISHER: Flores Publishing

ISBN/ASIN: B07NKJX7R8

OUR RATING: ♥♥♥♥

REVIEWED BY: Marie Lavender

Get your copy of this new release today!

Up next time: Unglorious War by Maxine Flam

Thanks for reading our latest book review on ILRB!

4 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Book News, book reviews, Books, Event, Fiction, Gothic, Historical, Historical Romance, rating, Readers, Reviews, Romance, score, steamy, Writing

New Release Feature: The Impaler’s Wife by author Autumn Bardot

•..•The Impaler’s Wife by Autumn Bardot•..•

Marriage to a man tortured by his past comes with a price…

I am pleased to announce a great book release by Autumn, a talented author I met during my journey! Her new historical fiction novel with a romance angle, The Impaler’s Wife, officially released last week!

Yay! That’s awesome! :) Congrats on your new release!

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

Autumn is giving us a look at her gothic romance, The Impaler’s Wife, today.

What an intriguing cover!

This is the blurb for The Impaler’s Wife:

A young woman is swept into a life of intrigue, revenge, passion, and betrayal when she falls for the world’s most notorious prince.

The year is 1464 and young King Matthias controls Hungary, his family, and the fate of the world’s most notorious political prisoner, Prince Vlad Dracula.

Ilona Szilágy, the king’s cousin, is young and ambitious. Dracula is determined to marry into the Hunyadi family. It is love at first sight, but the king has other plans. The Impaler Prince, however, never takes no for an answer.

This begins Ilona’s journey into the treacherous world of court intrigues, family betrayals, and her husband’s dark desires. Eager to become Vlad’s trusted confidante, Ilona soon discovers that marriage to a man tortured by his past comes with a price.

Woven throughout is a peek into the life and times of one of the world’s most enigmatic and maligned rulers…the man before the legend.

With Bardot’s decadent period detail and a cast of gritty, evocative characters, The Impaler’s Wife offers a fierce yet sensuous glimpse into the violent 15th century.

Here is an excerpt to entice you with!

Prince Vlad rests his hand on the small of my back. “Come, Lady Ilona, look at the faces of anarchy and villainy, and see how much they resemble your friends and family.”

“I will not.” I back away from the entrance where moans rise from the bowels of the labyrinth like a demon’s song.

“The choice is yours, of course.” His tone is low and gentle, but in the lamplight his stare is wolf-like.

I shift from foot to foot, look away, only to glance back. Does he hear my heart knocking against my breast? Can he smell my fear as it beads wet on my neck? Do I want to rise to this challenge? Or am I a fool for allowing him to bait me?

My fingers tighten around the lamp’s clay handle. “I will humor you, my lord, but only because Father taught me courage and graciousness.”

“Mihály taught you well.” He holds out his hand. “My lady.”

The lamp divides the darkness like a saber, each foot forward lighting our descent into hell. Ghostly groans from below seep through the rock. I sink into Vlad’s fur-lined coat as though their suffering will soak into my soul.

Vlad pauses before descending the narrow rock steps leading into the labyrinth’s deepest level. “Are you certain?” His eyes glint with challenge. “A weak constitution is nothing to be ashamed of.”

I lift my chin and glare with pretended insult. “I am the daughter of Michael Szilágyi and Margit Báthory. Iron courage flows in my blood.” I push back my cuff and show him the blue-forked veins in my wrist. “I am as brave as Hadak Ura, our ancient pagan warlord.”

“I believe you, my lady. I will not doubt again.”

The clanking chains and eerie moans get louder with each step down, the noises merging into a demonic choir like that of Ördög’s requiem to the Underworld. My legs shake, my neck wet with icy prickles, and my skin tightens around my chest.

I lift the lamp into hell.

The circle of light shines upon a pockmarked man stretching his arm between the bars, his fingers curled like claws. “Bless me, good sister.”

In the cell next to him, a naked wretch spits onto the ground. “Menj a fenébe!”

“I am innocent!” A third prisoner grabs the bars and presses his wild-bearded face against the iron. “Tell His Highness there is a Turkish spy in his court. He is in danger! You must warn him!”

My head swivels toward Prince Vlad.

“There are always spies,” Vlad whispers.

I walk with measured pace and let the lantern reveal each doomed prisoner. Most stare, empty-eyed; the whips, chains, skin shredders, bone crushers, and strappado take away all hope and spirit. Others shout obscenities. One man kneels, hands in prayer, and mutters the Hail Mary.

The weight of their misery crashes down, squeezes my heart, and crushes my breath. This place must be worse than hell’s torments because these wretches yet live, have all their faculties! No one deserves this! It is inhumane! Sadistic and depraved!

My breath comes in shreds and clumps. I cover my nose with Prince Vlad’s cape, the stench of rotting flesh enfolding me in its putrid embrace. My pace quickens. It is time to end this test of my courage.

“You!” A milky-eyed wretch points to Prince Vlad and begins chanting in a foreign tongue.

Prince Vlad guides me away from the cells. “You have thrice over proven your courage tonight.”

“What language was that man speaking?”

“He recites from the Corpus Hermeticum.” Dracula takes the lantern and illuminates the stairwell. “It’s a pagan book of alchemy, astronomy, and metaphysics.”

“It sounded like he cursed us.”

“Pay no attention to a madman’s rants. That particular book is nothing but Egyptian and Greek nonsense.”

I tread upwards, evil’s chill clinging to my limbs. At the top, I try to purge the dungeon’s misery, malice, and madness with a long exhalation. Yet the horror sticks like nettles in my soul.

“This way.” I move past the dark tunnel and enter the lighted one, relieved to put space and distance between the prisoners and me.

The tunnel ends at a large grotto where Prince Vlad pauses to light the ring of torches affixed to the walls. I wait on a stone bench near the baptismal fount, sighing with relief as the golden glow of the church-like arches infuse peace into my troubled soul.

Prince Vlad sits beside me. “We go from hell to heaven.”

I tuck a stray lock behind my ear. “This was Father’s favorite grotto. God’s Buried Cathedral, he called it. His second favorite has a Titan-sized head emerging from the ground—like a god got stuck in molten rock. I was only in that grotto once. It reminded me of an insect trapped in tree sap that ages to amber—the insect forever entombed—never aging, almost alive in its resin grave.”

“Do you find that horrific or beautiful?” His eyes search mine.

“Both, I suppose.” My shoulders move into my sigh. “Caves are dreary places.”

“I rather enjoy them. Tunnels have saved my life several times.” Dracula stands. “I think we are both ready for fresh air.” He offers his hand, its warmth a familiar comfort.

Together we walk through the tunnel lit by small lanterns that flicker like fireflies all the way to the exit.

Prince Vlad gives the stubborn iron-crossed door a hard yank and it groans open. Outside, a sapphire dawn drapes over Buda.

“On no.” My hands fly to my face. “It’s so late it’s early.” Were we in the tunnels that long? If my aunts discover I never returned to my room…I spin about, my voice edged with panic. “I have to go back. Now.”

Vlad’s brows crease with concern. He tugs a handkerchief from his robe and touches it to my lips as though dabbing at a smudge. “There’s something I must do first.” He lays the linen over my lips and sets his mouth on mine.

Even through the thin fabric, his lips sear my own. I part my lips, feel the linen moisten with the breath of our lust. I collapse into him, my body sizzling with desire. I am about to rip away the fabric and taste his lips when he breaks the kiss.

Vlad Dracula steps back, the handkerchief between thumb and forefinger. “If you marry Luigi della Scala, you will still be chaste.” He drags the handkerchief across his mouth. “I will always have this.”

Chaste? Prince Vlad just violated my heart and corrupted my flesh!

Back in my chambers, I touch my lips that still burn with the memory of our kiss—my first kiss—and groan. Vlad Dracula used my virtue, conceit, and fears to study the labyrinth’s secrets. He took advantage of my desire for romantic adventure to learn the escape route.

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/3ygVlv

Publisher: Flores Publishing

Nice! Great tension. Gotta love this sneak peek. ♥♥♥

Let’s check out an intriguing book trailer!

Awesome!

Thank you for telling us about your new book! It sounds fabulous! 🙂

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this riveting read! Or add it to your Goodreads bookshelf!

Author Bio

Autumn Bardot writes erotica and historical fiction about sassy women and daring passions.

Her erotica includes Legends of Lust (Cleis Press), and Confessions of a Sheba Queen (Cleis, Jan 2020).  Autumn has a BA in English literature and a MaEd in curriculum and instruction. She’s been teaching writing and literary analysis for fourteen years. Autumn lives in Southern California with her hubby, rescue pooch, and ever-increasing family.  Her favorite things include salty French fries, coffee, swimming, and a great book.

Author Links

Website:  http://www.autumnbardot.com/

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

Club Autumn

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/AutumnBardot

Amazon author page:  https://www.amazon.com/Autumn-Bardot/e/B07DMC7ZB6/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17725628.Autumn_Bardot

Newsletter Sign-up here (right side of page)

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/autumnbardot/

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under Authors, Book News, Book Release, Books, Fiction, Gothic, Historical, Historical Romance, Readers, Romance, Writing

A Character Interview with Eryn O’Malley from THE GANGSTER’S WOMAN plus a conversation with author Ginger Ring!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Isobelle Cate’s character on November 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 Ginger Ring, the author of The Gangster’s Woman, on my author journey and I asked her if she’d let me borrow one of her main characters, Eryn O’Malley, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Ginger in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Eryn!

 

Eryn

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

Character Eryn O’Malley:  Hello.  Thank you for having me.

Marie:  Of course. We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?

Eryn: All right.

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

Eryn: I’m a waitress. Am I any good at it? I guess so. Do I like it? It’s a job. With the depression on, we are lucky to have any work. It’s not easy but it’s a job.

Marie:  Forgive me. I didn’t mean to sound uncaring. I completely understand. 

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Eryn:  I have a beautiful daughter named Vivian and a brother named John.

Marie:  All right.

What did your childhood home look like?

Eryn:  I’m from Ireland and grew up in a loving family. When our parents died, my brother and I came to America.

Marie:  I’m so sorry to hear about your parents…:(

(Pauses.)

Let’s try a different question.

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

Eryn:  I garden and go to movies when I can. What do I enjoy doing? I love to dance and I work hard to pay for dance lessons for Vivian.

Marie:  You’re a good mom. 🙂

So…what is your greatest dream, Eryn?

Eryn:  To have a stable home and for Vivian to become the star she is.

Marie:  Okay.

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

Eryn: Law-abiding. What is stopping me? We need the money and I am always one step in front of the law and the outlaw, Ed Killian.

Marie:  Intriguing…I just know there’s a story there, but I sense you won’t tell me right now.

No problem. I respect your privacy.

All right, so I’m going to throw another random question at you now. 

Who was your first love?

Eryn:  Scott Killian.

Marie:  All right.

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

Eryn:  When Scott was killed and I knew my daughter would grow up without her father.

Marie:  Oh, no! I’m so sorry to hear that! 😦

Let’s move on to something a bit lighter now, shall we?

[Eryn 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?

Eryn: To be an actress. I wanted the excitement. Did I achieve that dream? No. Things changed. I had a daughter to raise.

Marie:  That’s understandable.

So, tell us…who is your role model, Eryn?

Eryn: My brother John.

Marie:  All right.

Let’s try something else. Well, you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Eryn:  All the men that I have to pretend to like and let them kiss me before I drug them and take their money.

Marie:  Yikes! What a situation you’ve got yourself in. I hope you find a way out…

Let me ask you a different question.

What is your deepest desire?

Eryn:  To find a loving husband to take me away from everything. To be safe.

Marie:  I would say that’s not too much to ask.

So…

What is your greatest fear, Eryn?

Eryn: That Killian will find me and take my daughter.

 

The Gangster's Woman

Marie: I  can certainly understand that worry.

Well, we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Eryn. It was so interesting getting to know you! 🙂

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

Marie:  Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective.  We have author Ginger Ring on the stage today. It’s so lovely to see you again, hon. I remember when you visited us on the I Love Romance Blog last year, and we covered the first book in your series. Hi again, Ginger!

51LWJe5fG4L._UX250_

Ginger:  Hello!! Thank you for having me!

Marie:  My pleasure!

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

Ginger:  She was mentioned in the first book, The Gangster’s Kiss. Her brother was searching for her but never found her. When I started the second book, I really had no idea where she had gone. When I found out about a painting at an old gangster hideout in Madison, I went to see the photo. It was of a half-naked woman and it hung above the fireplace. I wondered who she was, why had she posed for the painting, and what had become of her. I had found Eryn.

Fascinating! Isn’t it interesting where the muse takes us?

So…what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Ginger:  She will do anything to survive. She never gives up.

Marie:  That’s certainly admirable!

Now, let’s take the opposition on that. What, do you feel, are Eryn’s greatest weaknesses?

Ginger:  Her innocence for falling for the wrong man.

Marie:  Well, it does happen sometimes…

Let’s try something else.

What are some of her favorite foods?

Ginger:  Sweets.

Marie:  (Laughs.) I guess I can’t blame her there! 😉

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

Ginger:  Her strength to love and work hard.

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

Ginger:  I think they will like her. She does what she can and most will understand the struggles she has of raising a child alone.

Marie:  For sure!

So, now that we have a real taste of Eryn, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for The Gangster’s Woman?

Ginger:  It is the second story in a trilogy. They are all connected by the Gangster, Ed Killian.

Marie:  All right.

What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

Ginger:  A little of both.

Marie:  Okay.

Now, I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing The Gangster’s Woman or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?

Ginger: No, it was just tricky to mix real historical events with the story. What would I do differently the next time? Write faster. (Laughs.)

Marie:  (Chuckles.)  I know what you mean!  😉

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 The Gangster’s Woman appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this awesome book by Ginger Ring, a very talented author! 🙂

The Gangster's Woman

Here is the blurb for The Gangster’s Woman:

Now that prohibition was over, FBI agent Michael Flynn hoped to enjoy the quiet life and a chance to finally concentrate on finding his best friend’s sister. He’d been in love with her since he first laid eyes on her picture. Unfortunately, the more he searched the more he realized she wasn’t just missing. Eryn was hiding from one of the most notorious gangsters around. One who wouldn’t rest until he knew she was dead.
Eryn O’Malley had been moving around for years, doing whatever legal, or illegal job she could find to survive. No time for romance or a normal life. A one night stand with a handsome man at the county fair seemed like just the ticket to escape for a moment from her troubled life. However, finding out he was a G-man wasn’t part of the plan. Now he was on her trail. Whether to arrest or rescue her, she wasn’t sure, and she couldn’t wait around to find out. If he caught her, would he forgive her checkered past or would he always think of her as the gangster’s woman?

Ginger is also offering us a great excerpt from the book!

He took a seat on the bed, crossed an ankle over the other, and rested his back against the cheap headboard. Interlocking his fingers behind his head, he observed the woman in his room. Her back was toward him as she poured the liquor in the glasses.
The woman could be a movie star or one of those girls in the magazines who held a soda pop in an ad. Tall and elegant, nice round ass, and slender calves and ankles. If she was indeed John’s sister and he slept with her, there would be hell to pay, but it would be worth every glorious second. A wolf call whistle left his lips.
Eryn turned, a glass in each hand, and a slight tilt to her head. “Now, what was that for?”
“Just enjoying the view.” He winked.
“Well, then I better get closer so you don’t strain your eyes.” She took a few steps closer and handed him his drink. Damn, she was a pistol. If he didn’t calm down soon, he’d be firing off a shot of a different kind.
Eryn strolled to the other side of the bed and joined him on it. Her slender legs crossed out in front of her. He swallowed and his fingers itched to slide down that silky skin.
“Cheers.” The click of her glass touched his and he forced his eyes from her legs to the graceful fingers holding her drink.
“Bottoms up.” He downed his in one sip. Eryn took two sips and licked the rim of her glass. This time a groan escaped his mouth and he took her glass and placed both of them on the bedside table.
“Don’t want another drink?” Eryn’s gaze dipped to her hands and then back to his face.
“No, I’d rather do this.” To hell with John, he was kissing his sister.
His fingers framed her face. Her skin soft as velvet and her full lips waiting to be kissed. They didn’t have long to wait. His mouth settled on hers. She tasted sweeter than candy. The hint of alcohol lingered and made for a stimulating mix. Nipping at her lower lip, Eryn moaned and threaded her fingers through his hair. Michael deepened the kiss and echoed her appreciation.
It killed him to break the contact, but he did. Her green eyes smoldered like emeralds in the dim room light. “Stay the night with me.”
“Aye, I will,” she whispered. Her response was in an accent and words so familiar to her brother’s. He could already feel the beating John would be giving him for making love to his sister, but it would be worth it.
Michael slid down the bed and drew her across his chest. Her auburn curls framed her heart-shaped face. Auburn curls? It finally dawned on him that she didn’t even know she had a niece that looked identical to her. Taking in a deep breath, he slid his fingers through her hair. “I always had a thing for redheads, but I’ve never slept with one.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll be gentle with you,” she ribbed.
He burst out laughing. “You are something else, doll.”
“You have no idea,” Eryn promised and lowered her lips to his.

Ooh…sexy! 😉

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00VBZQE6C

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-gangsters-woman-ginger-ring/1121745401

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/5423263

About Ginger Ring

c59d79b07633e695ba0a517e3bf62381_400x400

Ginger Ring is an eclectic, hat-loving Midwestern girl with a weakness for cheese, dark chocolate, and the Green Bay Packers. She loves reading, playing with her cats, watching great movies, and has a quirky sense of humor. Publishing a book has been a life-long dream of hers and she is excited to share her romantic stories with you. Her heroines are classy, sassy and in search of love and adventure. When Ginger isn’t tracking down old gangster haunts or stopping at historical landmarks, you can find her on the backwaters of the Mississippi River fishing with her husband.
Ginger’s Books:

51bIdoC9adL._SX317_BO1,204,203,200_

51KRSLfVmvL._SX310_BO1,204,203,200_

The Gangster's Woman

GangstersKiss-final

19499186

perf5.000x8.000.indd

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

Website/Blog:  http://gingerring.com/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/GingerRings

Amazon Author Page:   http://www.amazon.com/Ginger-Ring/e/B00FOXTYYG/

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/118019623261583234943/posts

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7325608.Ginger_Ring

Publisher:  http://www.beaucoupllcpublishing.com/ginger-ring/

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/Gingernovel/

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Eryn O’Malley, the female main character of The Gangster’s Woman, and Ginger Ring, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here! 🙂

4 Comments

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

8eacf1ed8670ef072e713f5dab35d6bd

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.

EndOfCamelotCoverLarge

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!

LibraryHeadShot

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!

EndOfCamelotCoverLarge

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

LibraryHeadShot

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: 

 Still CrazyCover

Coming June 17th: 

BootlegBroadwayCover

Available Now: 

EndOfCamelotCoverLarge

AroundTheWorldIn80MealsCover (Small)

ForLoveandLoyaltyCoverMedium

23455168

ANecessaryEndCover_200x300

22430741

19286340

8586653

41i9vT+VSQL.

9278711

CoverTravelingLight

nysaga

11313395

ilyvbecause

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!  🙂

3 Comments

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