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Exclusive Interview with author Xina Marie Uhl, plus a look at western romantic comedy, LADY LAW AND THE TEXAS DERANGERS!

Hi, readers! I am pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our twenty-first official author interview on this romance blog! I know in the past, we did character interviews then switched over to the author’s take on it, but this approach is a bit unusual.

We have a real treat for you, readers. Today we get to speak one-on-one with a talented author. Please join me in welcoming Xina Marie Uhl to ILRB! 😀

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

Author Xina Marie Uhl:  Hi!

Marie:  Hey, such a pleasure to have you here!

I’m going to throw in some standard questions first.

Obviously, we know your occupation as an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do?

I know I’m overloading you with questions, but we’re really interested in finding out more about you…

Xina:  I’m a freelance writer with a specialty in history. I’ve written a number of nonfiction books for young people (history, biographies, technology, even some sports) as well as assessment questions and other educational projects.

Yes, I’m quite good, or so I’ve been told. I really enjoy history (I have a master’s degree in it), so whenever I can work on a history project I am all over it. I like seeing books with my name on them as well, though I do admit that some projects are better than others.

That’s fantastic! 😀

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Xina:  Weird, small, and made up of more animals than humans. At one point I had 23 cockatiels, 2 turtles, 3 cats, and 3 dogs. I’m down to just one cat and 3 dogs now. My husband is very patient with my various obsessions, including animals.

Marie:  Wow, so many!

Let’s try something else, okay?

If it doesn’t bother you at all, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?

Xina:  It was a ranch style home in Phoenix, Arizona, with diamond-paned windows, a humongous wooden roof beam in the living room, a good-sized back yard, and about 15 full-grown agave plants around the edges of the front yard. I remember it quite well, even though it was torn down about 25 years ago in order to build a freeway.

Marie:  Aww…that’s unfortunate! 😥 But it sounds like it was such a great place to live. 😉

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

Xina:  I love to hike with my dogs, travel around the US and Europe, and read (but this is a given, right?).

Marie:  (Laughs.) True! 😀

So, what is your greatest dream?

Xina:  To have my fiction in thousands of libraries all around the world. To live and die well. To hold my great grandkids. To travel through the Arctic. It’s hard to narrow it down to just one thing.

Marie:  Sounds like a plan. ♥

Let’s try another question.

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

Xina:  I wish I had more stamina and endurance. I have bipolar too, with mild highs, but with plenty of lows. It saps my energy and I have to be careful with the amount of things I take on because there are times when I’m just out for the count. It sucks, but it’s my lot in life.

Marie:  Oh, I understand. I have a chronic illness too. 😕

So…who was your first love?

Xina:  My husband, Dave. I was fifteen when we met, and he was eighteen. We’ve been married for more than 30 years now. I’m blessed because he’s very supportive, smart, and funny.

Marie:  How wonderful! ♥♥♥

(Sighs.) I love romance.

Okay, with the next question, I hope I’m not prying too much, but we are curious…

What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Xina:  I would have to say my illness, mentioned above. I’ve lost whole years of my life to it.

Marie:  Sorry! 😥

Let’s move on to another topic, shall we?

[Xina 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?

Xina:  When I was quite small, I wanted to be a cheerleader. No, I never even tried. Too much bouncing around. I also recall wanting to be an actress, another idea I never followed up on. The truth is that I don’t like being in the limelight, which is why writing is the perfect career for me.

Marie:  Oh, I can’t blame you there. I was always more of an introvert, but in some ways, being an author has forced me to step out of my comfort zone quite a bit.

Who is your role model, Xina?

Xina:  Jesus of Nazareth. Can’t get any better than him.

Marie:  Well, let’s try something else.

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Xina:  Yes, there’s a certain pushy someone in a group I’m a part of. I just find her obnoxious and self-centered. I don’t pretend to like her; I just try to be pleasant.

Marie:  I guess that’s a way to cope with the issue! It seems like a lot of people are very confrontational now, and it causes more trouble than it’s worth.

Next, we’ll shift a little here…

What is your deepest desire?

Xina:  To reach my potential as a human being.

Marie:  Nice! ♥

Let’s go for a different approach now.

Just curious, but what is your greatest fear?

Xina:  To lose my daughter or grandkids.

Marie:  (Nods.) That’s an understandable fear. It is odd sometimes to realize how very short life is.

Let’s switch gears for a second.

If you were trapped on a deserted island, what five essentials would you need with you? They don’t have to be practical.

Xina:  A computer with WiFi, a dog, a comfortable bed, a good knife, and a refrigerator filled with pizza.

Marie:  (Chuckles.) There you go! 😀

Okay, readers, let’s get the author’s perspective on one of her characters.

We’ve heard rumors about the hero of your story, Alec Malone. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about him?

Xina:  He’s a handsome, charming, rogue of a fellow who likes dapper clothes, women, and gambling. As a teenager, he realized that he was never going to fit the mold his father had cast for him—that of a studious, upright lawyer. When he grew up, he set out on his own and never looked back.

Marie:  Cool!

And what are Alec’s greatest strengths?

Xina:  He’s able to improvise in dangerous or uncomfortable situations. He’s charming to both men and women, and he’s confident.

Marie:  Nice!

Any weaknesses of which we should be aware?

Xina:  He’s a scoundrel who causes trouble wherever he goes, and he doesn’t mind breaking the law when it comes to petty thievery.

Marie:  Okay.

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are Alec’s favorite foods?

Xina:  Whiskey, wine, barbequed chicken, and flapjacks.

Marie:  Just not all together! 😉

How about another question?

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

Xina:  He’s loyal to those he loves, though he doesn’t necessarily love easily, and this can be painful for him.

Marie:  (Nods.) It is tough to open your heart again once it’s been bruised.

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Xina:  They will like him if they have a tolerance for a person who operates outside of the bounds of normal behavior. He’s amusing because he gets himself into some hilarious, unexpected situations. He’s also a smart ass and since the woman he falls for has a sharp tongue, the two of them bicker and banter frequently.

Marie:  Awesome! 😀

Now that we have a real taste of Alec, we have a few questions for you as well as the author, about the writing process of your book.

What first gave you the idea for Lady Law and the Texas DeRangers?

Xina:  Two of the characters in the sci-fi show of yesteryear, Dark Angel. I love their bickering and the fact that they are opposites with a lot of chemistry.

Marie:  Oh, I remember it! Jessica Alba in her early days…

It’s fascinating how the muse works, huh? 😀

Let’s try something else.

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

Xina:  I’m a plotster. I used to be a pantster, but that just wasn’t efficient because it took me forever to finish anything since I would have to go back and fix errant plot lines and fret over them. Now I plot story points out and it is SO much better. I like a little wiggle room for creativity, though.

Marie:  Cool! 😉

And I have to agree. I am a little of both, but it does take me a long time to finish certain projects.

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

Xina:  It went pretty smoothly since I ran it through my writing group as I wrote it, which allowed me to fix any problems right away. It took me about a year to finish it and by the end, I was thoroughly sick of it, but apparently that’s just my process because I write slooooowly. What I’ve done differently on my current project is to fill in my outline more instead of winging it.

Marie:  Sounds like a plan! 

Well, it was a total pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog! And how apropos is that, considering what a great story Lady Law and the Texas DeRangers appears to be… ♥

Let’s learn more about this book.

Title: Lady Law and the Texas DeRangers

Genre: Historical Romance, Western, Romantic Comedy

Publication date: October 1, 2019

Here is the blurb:

A Rollicking Ride through the Old West…

Cowboys, Indians, and outlaws.

It may be 1892 but the Old West is still alive and kicking in the dusty west Texas town of Abalone. When a bad batch of coleslaw kills Texie Cortez’s father she takes over his old job:

Sheriff.

She’s proud of how she keeps the gunslingers away and the cowpokes in order. Then HE comes to town.

Gambler Alec Malone aims to attract attention with his handsome face and slick smile. One look at the sassy sheriff and his womanizing ways get the best of him. Too bad his mysterious mission keeps getting in the way.

The appearance of an outlaw gang proves that Alec is just the kind of distraction Texie doesn’t need. She’s determined that his smart mouth and soft lips won’t keep her from tracking down the weirdest bandits in Texas!

Romancing the Stone meets Blazing Saddles in this hilarious adventure!

Xina is giving us a peek at this story as well…

 

Texie was striding back to the sheriff’s office when a commotion over at the Desert Rose caught her attention. Lord Almighty, it sounded like someone was skinning a passel of cats. Yowls and high-pitched shrieks and crashing about. Which was to say, a louder sort of chaos than usual on a Tuesday afternoon.

She rushed through the batwing doors just in time to see a naked man tumble down the stairway. His pale white ass flashed on each revolution. He landed Indian fashion at the bottom of the stairs, eyes crossed and blood leaking from the corner of his lips.

She took in the looks of him. A whole lot of lean muscles, the occasional mole, a nicely defined waist, the outline of which pointed down in a vee to . . . well, no need to examine that since the fellow might soon be dead if the violence of that fall was any indication.

He shook his head and his eyes righted themselves.

All right, then. He would likely live another day.

Carlene Gibson and that new maid, Mary Ann, appeared at the top of the stairs. They clawed at one another and lurched around, screeching like owls in flight. Only louder. Carlene had lost a shoe, and the sleeve of her fine ruffled dress had been ripped clean off. Mary Ann’s red hair stuck straight out like a flag. Her uniform gaped open at the chest and her udders swung around with each lurch and blow. The women’s flailing tore the beaded curtain, and glass beads scattered everywhere.

Carlene shoved the maid aside with an indelicate grunt and dashed down the stairs to pounce on the naked man like an enraged polecat. Long red wheals appeared on his biceps and chest and marred his all-too-pretty face before he captured both of her wrists with one hand. Then she set to kicking him. Her face looked like that of a devil from the fiery pit—red and puffy, teeth bared, with eyes that shone with downright evil glee.

The stranger managed to haul himself upright, but his considerable height advantage over her did him little good. She aimed the pointed tips of her laced-up boots at his shins. He twisted around to avoid that fierce foot of hers, but she struck his shins with uncanny accuracy.

Texie slapped Ole Hank on the brass railing so hard that it rang like the Liberty Bell. “What in the Sam Hill is going on here?” She used her deepest, most commanding voice.

No one paid a lick of attention to her. In fact, it seemed to spur the women on!

Carlene kneed the man in the love hatchet. He let out a high-pitched shout that ended in a pitiful mewl as he bent over at the waist and attempted to protect himself with his free hand. From the scrunched up look on his face and the sweat popping out on his forehead, he wasn’t having much luck.

Carlene ripped her hands free from the poor unfortunate’s grasp and went for his ears. She seemed intent on ripping them clean off.

“Get your hands offa my man!”

Mary Ann leapt again at Carlene. The lot of them fell to the floor in a mass of writhing bodies.

Texie didn’t much like using Ole Hank to brain women, so she jabbed it in between the bodies and levered it with a hard yank. The women flew one way and the stranger flew another. Before they could scramble up again, she brought Ole Hank up to her shoulders in a horizontal position and rammed into them with all her strength.

Somebody yipped. Someone else took the name of Baby Jesus in vain. A third person whimpered like a half-smashed goat.

“Get over here and help out!” Texie commanded the dumbstruck saloon patrons.

Several lanky cowhands rushed into action, and within a breath or two, all three of the combatants had been restrained.

With undiminished enthusiasm, the women continued to hurl invectives at one another. Two whippersnappers held up the naked gentleman, who sagged between them. He looked a sight. Haggard and streaked with scratches, a goose egg rising on his temple from that tumble down the stairs, and half of the patch of chest hair on his sternum ripped clean off. A quick glance at his nether regions told her that they’d survived mostly intact. Some future female would likely find that most pleasing. That and his smooth jaw, which had a nice manly cut to it.

A moment later, and he’d recovered enough to draw himself upright. He didn’t seem intent on violence himself, so she nodded at the cowboys to let him loose. He adjusted that fine jaw of his and shook himself like a horse who’d just finished rolling around in the dirt. She saw the moment he noticed her. His eyes widened and he slicked back his light brown hair. He straightened up to his full, impressive height. A smooth grin unfolded across his face.

“Who do we have here?”

She snorted. Men!

The chaos started again when Carlene tore free of her imprisoners and grabbed Mary Ann about the throat. Lusty throttling ensued. The noise of the gathered crowd rose in pitch, and Texie flung herself at the she-cats again.

One of the women pulled her hair and stomped on her instep with a pointed high heel. A bony elbow made jarring contact with her ear, but Texie managed to separate them without further injury.

It took four men to pin Carlene down that time.

“Somebody tell me what’s going on!” Texie demanded.

Female voices chorused.

“She’s a whore!”

“He’s a bastard!”

“She tried to stab me with an eyebrow plucker!”

“It was a nail file, you dimwit!”

Texie glanced at the newcomer. He shrugged, a ’what, little old innocent me?’ look on his face. His brilliant blue eye—the one that wasn’t swelling up—twinkled.

“He attacked my girls!” Carlene shrilled. “Hang him high, Sheriff!”

“I did no such thing!” His eyebrows wrinkled up and his lips flattened. “You’re the sheriff?”

“You got something you want to say about that?” Texie snapped.

He gave a little shrug. “No, ma’am. A woman can surely lock up miscreants as good as a man, I suppose.”

“Not about that, you jackass. About assaulting Mrs. Gibson’s girls.”

He drew himself up indignantly. “I have never assaulted a lady of the evening in my life. Look at me. Why would I need to get after a woman? They get after me quick enough themselves.”

Texie restrained herself from rolling her eyes. Instead, she tried to look impressed and stepped up to him, adding a swish to her hips.

“You got a point there, Mr. . . . ?”

He extended his hand. “I’m Alec Ma—”

She flipped out her handcuffs—fastest draw in the West—and snapped them on one of his wrists.

“Hey! What’s this all about?”

Texie jerked his handcuffed arm behind his back and locked the other wrist, too. “You’re under suspicion for assault. Don’t make it resisting arrest, too.”

She took his firm, muscled upper arm and hauled him out the door.

Looks like quite an adventure! 😉

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/m0r0yV

Publisher link:  http://xcpublishing.net/lady-law-and-the-texas-derangers/

Add it to Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47517248-lady-law-and-the-texas-derangers

What are people saying about Lady Law and the Texas DeRangers?

 

 

“Perfect choice when you want light and funny. I was lucky enough to be an advanced reader for this novel. It’s a riot! Laugh out loud funny with characters you root for, even when they’re up to no good. Will be re-reading me when my spirits need a lift.” – Sue Campbell, Amazon

“Avant garde western. A fun read. Definitely not your usual Wild Bill Western. Just the right blend of earthy humor. The righteous among us will be titillated but not scandalized. The blase among us will be amused but not bored.” – Thomas A. Smith, Amazon

“A hilariously funny western! I loved this book! It was well written and immediately drew me in. Not only was it easy to get into, it kept my attention and I didn’t want to put it down! The book was easy to read and was very light and funny! If you’re looking for an easy read, this is it…this is the first book I’ve read by this author, but it definitely isn’t the last! I highly recommend this book!” – Annmarie Reddick, Amazon

I liked Texie, one strong-willed lady if I ever saw one. Alec, now there is one charming rogue. Can these two really get together? The cast of characters were a group of magnificent goofballs and a hoot to read about. This western was so different and unique, I loved it. I did receive a free copy of this book and voluntarily chose to review it.” – Crystal Crossings, Amazon

“A bucking, wild ride! What a fun book this was! This is a quirky book I’m so glad I got to read. Feeling down about the state of the world? This is better than binge-watching Netflix as it is cleverly crafted and rich with both detail and humor.” – Rachelle, Amazon

Charming Old West Comedy Romance. I don’t normally read comedy romance novels, but this was one was charming. I really enjoyed seeing a lady ‘lawman’ and reading about the town of Abalone. The names of the characters were fantastic and the love story was very sweet. This book offers a great escape into a light version of the old west, which I highly recommend.” – Cara C., Amazon

Wow, great commentary, and I love the book cover!

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this western romantic comedy! ♥♥♥

About Xina Marie Uhl

A resident of Thousand Oaks, California, Xina Marie Uhl has a BA and an MA in history. As a freelance writer of non-fiction kids books, she’s written more than thirty titles including history, biographies, technology, and career readiness. She’s published a number of novels and short stories in various genres, including fantasy, historical romance, humor, and western through XCPublishing.net.

Join her mailing list for a free short story in the Lady Law universe, and news about promos, sales, and more: http://bit.ly/30qhIAS

Books:

20+ published non-fiction credits as Xina M. Uhl on Amazon

 

And, if you want to know how to connect with the fascinating Xina Marie Uhl, here are some author links…

 

Once again, I want to thank Xina, the brilliant author of this western romantic comedy, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work! ♥

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Exclusive Interview with author Linda Diane Wattley, plus a look at inspirational military romance, A LOVE STORY TO REMEMBER!

Hi, readers! I am pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our twentieth official author interview on this romance blog! I know in the past, we did character interviews then switched over to the author’s take on it, but this approach is a bit unusual.

We have a real treat for you, readers. Today we get to speak one-on-one with a talented author. Please join me in welcoming Linda Diane Wattley to ILRB! 😀

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

Author Linda Diane Wattley:  Hi, Marie!

Marie:  Hey, such a pleasure to have you here!

I’m going to throw in some standard questions first.

Obviously, we know your occupation as an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do?

I know I’m overloading you with questions, but we’re really interested in finding out more about you…

Linda:  I am an Assistant Manager at a union-based company that services membership support to our field staff. I am a talk show host who enjoys interviewing people who have a heartfelt truth they would like to share with the world.

Great! ♥

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Linda:  My family is a small nucleus but filled with a lot of love and loyalty. My mother is 82 years old and so filled with life. My two sons, Marcus and Robert, make me a proud mother as they have a heart for children and their future. Currently they are unified as football coaches who are not coaching them on the football field but the realities of life as well. I am a widow hoping to marry again one day. But in the meantime, I enjoy my beautiful, lovely grandchildren, Jaelynn, Myla, Marcus, Mara and one on the way. Also, two brothers of whom l love dearly.

Marie:  Wow, so many!

Let’s try something else, okay?

If it doesn’t bother you at all, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?

Linda:  I remember a beautiful white house that my mother kept perfectly clean.

Marie:  All right.

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

Linda:  I enjoy listening to music, especially music from the 70’s. I enjoy reading and writing. Family time means a lot to me. Walking in the park is another favorite. Meditation and Yoga is a practice I hope to improve. Love watching music and going to my sons’ football games.

Marie:  Nice! 😀

So, what is your greatest dream?

Linda:  My greatest dream is to be so free I don’t have a worry in the world!

Marie:  Sounds like a plan!

Let’s try another question.

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

Linda:  A healthy and rich person. For now, I can say I am healthy, but I could do better with fitness. Now being rich, I just don’t know how to make it happen. If my book becomes a movie, that would be great.

Marie:  I know, right? 😉

So, who was your first love?

Linda:  My first love was not the guys I met in school, but the one I met in the United States Army. He was the man in my life who taught me what love looks like. He married me and gave me two amazing sons. Robert D. Wattley III is my heartthrob.

Marie:  Aww! ♥♥♥

With the next question, I hope I’m not prying too much, but we are curious…

What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Linda:  Becoming a widow at the age of 27 with two sons to bring up.

Marie:  Oh, goodness, I’m so sorry you went through all of that! 😥

Let’s move on to another topic, shall we?

[Linda 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?

Linda:  At first, I wanted to be a schoolteacher. Then I wanted to be a psychologist, but all that changed once I had children. I guess I lost myself while tending to my children. Eventually, after realizing the power of words, I wanted to be an author who aided in the healing process of heart and soul.

Marie:  Wow! 😀

Who is your role model, Linda?

Linda:  I do not have a role model, but I can say my sons have taught and showed me many things that make me a better person.

Marie:  Great!

Well, let’s try something else.

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Linda:  Interesting question! (Laughs.) None I can recall.

Marie:  Okay.

What is your deepest desire?

Linda:  Great health!

Marie:  (Nods.) Can’t blame you for wanting that! And, of course, you deserve it! ♥

Let’s go for a different approach now.

Just curious here, but what is your greatest fear?

Linda:  Death.

Marie:  That’s an understandable fear. 😕 It is odd sometimes to realize how very short life is.

Let’s switch gears for a second.

If you were trapped on a deserted island, what five essentials would you need with you? They don’t have to be practical.

Linda:  Blanket, iPad, phone, food and water.

Marie:  They all sound good to me! 😀

Okay, readers, let’s get the author’s perspective on one of her characters.

We’ve heard rumors about the heroine of your story, Leona Tillard. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?

Linda:  Leona Tillard is the main character, who shares her journey from being a little girl to becoming a young woman. While growing up, she didn’t see happy adults so she was not in a hurry to grow up, but she does and discovers a world of love and self-awareness that comes with a price that she must grow to understand. Joining the United States Army marked the beginning of how her past experiences affected her understanding of normality and love.

Marie:  All right.

And what are Leona’s greatest strengths?

Linda:  Leona’s greatest strengths are her ability to seek understanding of life, trust God, honesty and compassion.

Marie:  Nice!

Any weaknesses of which we should be aware?

Linda:  She does not trust people and she is naïve.

Marie:  (Nods.)

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are Leona’s favorite foods?

Linda:  Cookies, ice cream, chicken, greens and hamburgers.

Marie:  (Chuckles.) All great on their own, of course, but I would never combine them. 😉

How about another question?

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

Linda:  Leona is gifted with intuition and healing others mentally and physically. She is incredibly determined to understand others as well as herself.

Marie:  How admirable!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Linda:  I believe readers will love Leona because she is not a negative person. Though she was dealt a tough hand, she moves forward and she reveals our human need to understand self, love and life. She refuses to be a victim.

Marie:  Happy to hear it! 😀

Now that we have a real taste of Leona, we have a few questions for you as well as the author, about the writing process of your book.

What first gave you the idea for A Love Story to Remember?

Linda:  I came up with that title based on the loves Leona experiences from birth to becoming a woman. The male roles in this story are real and reveal how men love women who have suffered unjustly in life. It also reveals God’s love for us behind the scenes.

Marie:  Nice! It’s fascinating how the muse works, huh? 😉

Let’s try something else.

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

Linda:  I am more of a plotter; I believe in having a bottom line and supporting it.

Marie:  Okay.

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

Linda:  I read this book at least twenty times, and every time I read it, I found errors. I had help with editing, but all errors did not go away even then. If you can get a great editor, get one because no one likes to read books with errors. As far as publishing, I knew I wanted a publishing company that listens. The publishers were great.

Marie:  That’s great advice! And believe me, I feel your pain. I learned it the hard way years ago, and was even inspired to write an article on my alternate blog about the importance of editing.  

Well, it was a total pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog! And how apropos is that, considering what a great tale A Love Story to Remember appears to be… ♥

Let’s learn more about this book.

Title: A Love Story to Remember

Genre: Military Romance, Inspirational Romance

Publication date: September 15, 2019

Here is the blurb:

A Love Story to Remember reveals the intrinsic realities of our need to love and be loved.  There is something about hearing the words, ‘I love you’ that enriches our lives even though its meaning is endless. Leona Tillard, a soldier of the United States Army, woke up one day drowning in the sea of love. ‘I love you’ ruled her life.

She knows God loves her, but she does not know who He has chosen for her to love. Sometimes God speaks through others to reveal answers we seek. Are you chosen to reveal her true love?

Linda is giving us a peek at the story…

“I can’t take any more chances. I don’t want to feel anymore. Don’t you understand? I’m cursed. Stay away from me,” I cried as I ran down the trail into the darkness.

“Leona. Where are you? This isn’t funny, you’re scaring me.”

Tony finally caught up with me. When he did, I placed my arms around his neck and kissed him.

“Whoa, Leona!”

Seeing Tony calm down from my touch reminded me how powerful touch can be.

“I love you, Tony.”

“You don’t have to say that.”

“Yes, I do.”

When we got back to the house, Tony turned off the car and got in a comfortable position and tilted the steering wheel. He looked like a different person than the young man who came to pick me up. I wondered if I looked different as well.

“You’re beautiful, Leona. I just wish you would see it. Let me make you feel good.”

“I don’t think I’m ready for sex yet.”

“That’s not what I’m talking about. I want to touch your heart and mind first, and then your body. I want you to feel me every time you breathe. I want my presence in your life to be the source of your strength, faith, hope, love and certainty. I want your heart and everything in it.”

“You sound like God, you know?” I smiled.

He laughed.

“How did we get on this subject, Leona?”

“You started it,” I said as I laid my head on his shoulder.

Tony and I found each other again. This time it seemed like we had God with us. Talking about God so freely reminded me of the freedom I shared with my first crush, Andrew.

Tony and I spent a lot of time together. He became my healer. I was ready to rejoin my life in the Army. I had one week left before I was due to arrive at Fort Sill, and I wanted to take Tony with me. Even though I was enjoying him, I couldn’t wait to get back into my life as a soldier.

The day I was set to leave, Tony came over and had dinner with us. My mom made the best roast, but it wasn’t enough to kill the sadness hanging over the room. Tony wasn’t himself, and his silence was beginning to make us uncomfortable, so I took him by the hand and pulled him outside to the porch.

“What’s the matter?”

“Nothing, I do have quiet moments, you know,” Tony answered defensively.

“Talk to me, Tony.”

Tony turned away from me and began walking toward his car.

“Sorry, Leona, I got to go. Have a safe trip.”

“Just like that, you’re walking out on me!  Why?  Be man enough to tell me why!” I yelled as I walked toward his car.

“I will never have you, Leona,” he said mournfully.

I shook my head in confusion. “What are you talking about?”

“Did you know you talk in your sleep?  I thought it was no big deal at first. But then one night, no two nights, you cuddled up with me on the couch and called me Doug!  Leona, I can’t compete with a ghost!”

I let out a sigh. “Don’t do this, Tony. My parents are waiting for us. Can we talk about this later?”

Tony shut the car door and walked back up on the porch.

“I would like us to at least make it through dinner,” I said.

After dinner, my dad and Tony watched a football game while Mom and I cleared the table and washed dishes. When we finished washing dishes, Tony and I decided to go out for a while alone. As soon as we got in the car, we both apologized to each other at the same time.

“No, wait; let me say this before we go any farther. I may have said Doug’s name in my sleep, but it doesn’t mean I don’t have room in my heart for you. I was traumatized, Tony. Sudden death is no joke.”

“I know. I guess I was a little jealous.”

“I have a surprise for you. At least, I hope it is a surprise. I wanted our last night together to be special.”

We rode in silence, listening to one of Tony’s jazz list of music. We pulled up in front of a hotel and Tony parked the car, got out, and came over to my side to help me out. With his hand in mine, we walked into the hotel. We didn’t have to check in because he already had the key to our room. I didn’t know how I felt about this. All I knew was he and I were about to be alone. When he opened the door, the candlelight and roses all over the room overwhelmed me. There were rose petals strewn all over the bed. Before I could say anything, Tony picked me up and threw me in the middle of the fragrant pile.

Intense! Can’t wait to find out what happens next. 😀

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/mqD5av

Publisher link:  https://www.penitpublications.com/product-page/wattley-linda-a-love-story-to-remember

What are people saying about A Love Story to Remember?

 

 

“This book shows us how previous generations can affect later ones. Family issues, trauma, abuse, and mental health can affect us all. Overcoming our past is a part of the human struggle. Very engaging read.” – Earl Hall Studio, Amazon

A Love Story to Remember by Linda Diane Wattley is a fictional love story about life, the need for love, redemption, and personal internal survival. The author draws from her own experiences as a veteran in the United States Army. Even in this fictional account, Linda demonstrates the inner strength to overcome Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and find a path to recovery.

I encourage you to read all of Linda’s books and engage with her through her online television show, ‘The Truth Will Set You Free’ by TLBTV. This platform and the Liberty Beacon Project has proven to be a powerful beacon of light. Linda is available for speaking engagements, book signings and interviews.
I endorse this book and all of Linda’s endeavors to help PTSD survivors.” – Theodocia McLean, Book Marketing Global Network

 

Looks fantastic! 😉

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this military inspirational romance! ♥♥♥

About Linda Diane Wattley

LINDA DIANE WATTLEY is a veteran of the United States Army. She is an advocate for sufferers of PTSD, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and for those who have suffered from all forms of victimization to include domestic violence and sexual abuse. Her message is all about getting to the best truths that allows victims to be set free. Linda does this by sharing her gifts and talents that God gave her. One being an author of several books that lead readers to go deep within themselves to find their own inner strength and voice.

Linda was also a contributing columnist with the Frost Illustrated Newspaper in Fort Wayne, Indiana titled, “THE BEST WILL SHOW THEMSELVES” for over twelve years where she shared truths that stirred hearts and minds of readers in spiritual matters.

Today, she has opened a platform for others to share their truths with the world. Her online television show, THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE by TLBTV and the Liberty Beacon Project has proven to be a powerful beacon of light.

Her current book, A LOVE STORY TO REMEMBER is a uniquely written book sharing the journey to love after a dysfunctional past. It shows how men love and have their own spiritual understanding of life. Understanding someone with PTSD in relationships brings out the best in you in numerous ways. This love story will have you wondering who the man God has chosen for the main character, Leona Tillard. Will you choose him after reading her story?

Linda Diane Wattley lives to do God’s Will. She is available for book signings, speaking engagements and interviews.

Books:

https://books2read.com/u/mqD5av
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07CZPKXQ7/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i1

And, if you want to know how to connect with the fascinating Linda Diane Wattley, here are some author links…

 

Once again, I want to thank Linda Diane Wattley, the brilliant author of this military romance with an inspirational romance theme, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work! ♥

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book News, Books, characters, Event, Faith, feature, Fiction, Hope, inspirational romance, Interview, Love, Military Romance, Readers, Romance, Writers, Writing, Writing Tips

Exclusive Interview with author Angela Ford, plus a look at new adult sweet western romance series, THE HEALING HEARTS RANCH!

Hi, readers! I am pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our nineteenth official author interview on this romance blog! I know in the past, we did character interviews then switched over to the author’s take on it, but this approach is a bit unusual.

We have a real treat for you, readers. Today we get to speak one-on-one with a talented author. Please join me in welcoming Angela Ford to ILRB! 😀

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

Author Angela Ford:  Hi, Marie!

Marie:  Hey, such a pleasure to have you here!

I’m going to throw in some standard questions first.

Obviously, we know your occupation as an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do?

I know I’m overloading you with questions, but we’re really interested in finding out more about you…

Angela:  Numbers by day…Words by night! I work in Accounting during the day and when evening sets in, words come from my heart. I write romance – happily-ever-afters – sometimes sweet…sometimes spicy…sometimes suspenseful.

Great! 😀

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Angela:  Loving…supportive and big…strength in numbers! I have six siblings. I’m the second youngest.

Marie:  Wow, so many!

Let’s try something else, okay?

If it doesn’t bother you at all, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?

Angela:  Warm and welcoming. A modest three-bedroom bungalow until Dad finished the basement, with an extra bedroom! But back then it felt bigger…must have been all the love in it!

Marie:  Nice… 😉

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

Angela:  Reading…walking…and chasing that sunset! I love crafts, but it’s not one of my better talents. (Laughs.) I do collect seashells while walking the beach and chasing that sunset! Lately I’ve been autographing those seashells and sending them to my readers as a keepsake…remind me to send you one!

Marie:  Oh, that would be fantastic! Love the beach! 😀

So, what is your greatest dream?

Angela:  I’m living it! Writing from the heart and sharing with my readers 🙂

Marie:  Sounds like a plan. ♥

Let’s try another question.

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

Angela:  I like who I am…a kind soul. My mom taught me to treat others the way I want to be treated. Live simply…love generously.

Marie:  All right.

Who was your first love?

Angela:  My mom. The first to give me warmth and love…the first voice I heard…and the first to show me what love really means.

Marie:  Aww! ♥

With the next question, I hope I’m not prying too much, but we are curious…

What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Angela:  I focus on the positives in life…they keep me a strong and kind soul.

Marie:  Okay.

Let’s move on to another topic, shall we?

[Maggie 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?

Angela:  I’ve always wanted to write…it’s always been in my heart. I have achieved this with over 50 published works and my readers make my heart smile every time we connect.

Marie:  Awesome! 😀

Who is your role model, Angela?

Angela:  I have two! My parents. They’ve loved, taught, guided and supported me through the years. They’re also my ‘fairytale’ couple and inspire the true love in my romance writing.

Marie:  I know what you mean. My parents are a good match, too. 😉

Well, let’s try something else.

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Angela:  No, not one soul. There may be some whose behaviors I don’t agree with, but that’s what makes us all individuals and unique.

Marie:  True!

What is your deepest desire?

Angela:  I hope to meet my soul mate in this universe someday and have my own happily-ever-after.

Marie:  (Nods.) And, of course, you deserve it! ♥

Let’s go for a different approach now.

Just curious here, but what is your greatest fear?

Angela:  The time that will, unfortunately, come without my parents.

Marie:  I know. Mine are getting on in age. It is odd sometimes to realize how very short life is.😕

Let’s switch gears for a second.

If you were trapped on a deserted island, what five essentials would you need with you? They don’t have to be practical.

Angela:  Well…if there’s basic food, shelter, safety, and those I love are okay…then I’d pick my laptop (so I can write!), wine, chocolate, music…and Kenny Chesney…a girl can dream!

Marie:  (Chuckles.) 😀

Okay, readers, let’s get the author’s perspective on one of her characters.

We’ve heard rumors about the heroine of your story, Raine Willows. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?

Angela:  Raine is in her mid-twenties as the story begins. She’s a social worker, living the city-life until she receives news of her grandfather’s passing and returns to the farm she lived on with her Gramps. Coming home brings her peace and helps her find the love in her heart, through the wise words left by her Gramp’s letter.

Marie:  All right.

And what are Raine’s greatest strengths?

Angela:  She’s a strong, caring, gentle soul with self-driven, hard-working ethics.

Marie:  Nice!

Any weaknesses of which we should be aware?

Angela:  Forgetting who she was and the love she has to offer.

Marie:  (Nods.) It is tough to open your heart again once it’s been bruised.

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are Raine’s favorite foods?

Angela:  She loves and lives for bacon! Also loves pancakes and the dinners Luke makes…he’s the boy-next-door, her childhood best friend and the one who her heart belongs to. At the end of each book, I share a recipe of one of Raine’s favorites..

Marie:  Cool!

And bacon with pancakes…yes, please! 😉

How about another question?

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

Angela:  Once she’s returned home to the farm and reads her Gramps’s letter…she begins to realize the love in her heart is plenty to share and help other’s hearts heal.

Marie:  How admirable!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Angela:  They’ll love Raine…she’s a good soul, down-to-earth, caring individual. She’s had her struggles and heartaches to which we can relate to; and her giving, kind heart that keeps us loving her.

Marie:  Happy to hear it! 😀

Now that we have a real taste of Raine, we have a few questions for you as well as the author, about the writing process of your book.

What first gave you the idea for The Letter Left?

Angela:  My daughter requested a YA series…one for her age group. One of the sweet romance genre, and most important…a story based around the love of horses and healing hearts.

Marie:  It’s fascinating how the muse works, huh? 😀

Let’s try something else.

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

Angela:  I consider myself a planster! I plot to a certain point…then I just write!

Marie:  Me too! 😉

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

Angela:  The Letter Left was my 25th published single title and even with the experience I’ve gained along the way, I continue to challenge myself to improve my writing and my research to make it realistic. A story, we as readers, can relate to as we enjoy the journey. And I will continue to do so with the next story! And to continue to write from my heart, loving what I do!

Marie:  Sounds like a plan! 

Well, it was a total pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog! And how apropos is that, considering what a great story The Letter Left appears to be… ♥

Let’s learn more about this series.

Title: The Letter Left (book one of The Healing Hearts Ranch)

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Western, New Adult, Sweet Romance, Family Saga

Publication date: July 29, 2019

Here is the blurb:

A story of remembrance, a gift, and a love rediscovered through healing hearts.
Angela Ford takes a different direction this time to bring you a new adult series. A story centered around family, horses, true love, and finding your way from the wise words left to you.
Jack Willows was a great man. He always put others first. He’d taught his granddaughter to do the same. Raine Willows left her grandfather’s farm at eighteen to find her way in life. Seven years later, his death brings her back to the farm and her first love–the boy next door.
An empowering story of healing through horses. A farm that introduced her to the boy next door–Luke Daniels. The one she could never forget, no matter how many years and miles came between them. Grief reunites them, horses help heal their hearts, and gives them an idea to help others. An idea that had been her grandfather’s dream for her. The letter he left, changed the direction of her life and her heart.

Angela is giving us a peek at the story…

Raine found Luke in the kitchen cleaning up the breakfast he’d prepared for her. A slight touch of guilt for his gesture crossed her. “Hey.”

​Luke kept washing the dishes in the sink. “Just wanted to clean up my mess before I left.”

​His tone pulled at her heartstrings. Guilt set in a little deeper. “I’m sorry, too. I didn’t mean to be unappreciative of your nice gesture of breakfast. I was just – shocked to find you here.”

Luke reached for the dishtowel and turned to face her as he dried his hands. “But making light of the situation only came across as me being an ass.” He chuckled. “For that, I’m really sorry.” He walked closer to her. “Jack didn’t want you to know about the farm because he knew you’d keep him here, give up your job in the city and take care of him.”

Raine nodded. “And that, he clearly didn’t want.” She would have done it. She would have done anything for Jack Willows.

Luke leaned against the counter. “He loved you, Raine. More than anything. He knew you loved him and would have taken care of him.”

Raine stood quiet for a moment. She knew Luke was right. She was as stubborn as her grandfather. “But why didn’t he mention you were here? Why are you here, Luke?”

Luke took a deep breath. “Jack is”—he corrected himself—“was a great man. After my father passed, I came back to save the farm, but my dad had let it go along with himself. Jack heard about it and asked if I’d do him a favor.” Luke smiled at Raine.“Who wouldn’t do a favor for Jack Willows?”

Raine nodded in agreement and Luke continued with the reason he’d been there. “Jack wanted to leave the farm to you, Raine; but he didn’t want you to turn down the offer at the hospital to care for him. He told me he always wanted you to find your own way in life.” Luke paused with a smile, “But he also said the farm was a big part of you, and when the day came, you’d know what to do.”

Luke turned and opened a drawer. He pulled out two envelopes. One he opened and showed it to Raine. A letter in her grandfather’s handwriting, dated almost two years ago. It was an agreement signed by him and it reiterated what Luke had just told her. Raine looked at Luke and then pointed to the other envelope in his hand. “What’s that?”

Luke moved closer and handed her the envelope. “Jack wanted me to give this to you after his death.”

Raine felt the moisture build in her eyes. With trembling fingers, she took it from Luke’s hand. She stood for a moment in silence. She didn’t know if she could read the last words from her grandfather.

Luke pulled a chair out from the table and motioned for Raine to take a seat. “I’ll give you some time to read that in private.”

Raine smiled. “Thank you.”  She appreciated the respect he offered while she read her grandfather’s letter. He nodded and placed the letter opener on the table and made his way up the back staircase.

Raine reached for the opener and let it slide across the sealed letter. Slowly, she opened the neatly folder paper to find her grandfather’s writing. As she read the words he’d left her with, a solemn tear fell down her cheek. The lump in her throat gave her the sensation it would not be a single tear, but she fought hard against the urge to cry. She needed to relax her tangled thoughts to read his words to her.

Intense! Can’t wait to find out what happens next. 😀

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/b6kq6p

Publisher link:  http://bookstogonow.com/books/the-letter-left/

Add it to Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46643279-the-letter-left

What are people saying about The Letter Left?

 

 

What a beautiful second chance romance, a story with mixed emotions of memories, loss, and new beginnings. It is a story of dreams, healing, and renewed sweet romance. The story is a sweet, clean, heartfelt romance with a great cast of characters and interaction. It is the first of several in this new series, The Healing Hearts Ranch. ‘One day at a time.’” – Redrabbit, Amazon

Family love. Separation. Death. Patience. Dreams. This story has everything, absolutely loved it. Sweet, thoughtful and also a tear jerker. Can’t wait for the next book in the series!” – Melissa, Amazon

I REALLY LOVE THE LETTER LEFT. IT IS A VERY EMOTIONAL AND POWERFUL READ WHICH WILL MAKE YOU CRY AND LAUGH. THIS IS A WELL WRITTEN STORY WITH CHARACTERS THAT FELT VERY REAL IN EXPRESSING THEIR EMOTIONS AND GRIEF. THE STORYLINE IS VERY BELIEVABLE AND SO ARE ALL THE CHARACTERS. I THINK THIS IS SOME OF ANGELA FORD’S BEST WRITING. I ENJOYed THE STORY OF HORSES HELPING PEOPLE HEAL I THINK ALL ANIMALS CAN BRING COMFORT TO PEOPLE WHEN THEY NEED IT. THE LETTER LEFT IS A MUST READ. AUTHOR ANGELA FORD NEVER DISAPPOINTS WITH HER WRITING AND STORIES. SHE IS A MUST READ AUTHOR AND IS ONE OF MY FAVORITES.” – Victoria Zumbrum, Amazon

Looks fantastic! 😉

Let’s switch to the sequel…

Title: Harvest Homecoming (book two of The Healing Hearts Ranch)

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Western, New Adult, Sweet Romance, Family Saga

Publication date: September 29, 2019

Here is the blurb:

An empowering story centered around family, horses, love and loss, friendship and betrayal, and finding your way from the wise words left to you. The wholesome family saga continues on a ranch in the Montana mountains in the small town of Crystal Creek.

The lazy-hazy days of summer give way to shorter days and endless views of vibrant colors during the town’s harvest festivities. Crystal Creek High kicks off the season’s opening game while seniors, Cassidy and Kaitlyn prepare for the horse show, a cheating boyfriend, and saddle up for a promposal to the homecoming dance.

Love is in the air as the festivities begin. Equine therapist, Dr. Pam Whitfield, arrives at the ranch on the day of Raine and Luke’s engagement party and meets a local farmer in attendance. Jackson Knox makes an impact and she remembers his name like its been engraved on her heart. With the first guests arriving shortly after the festivities, Trainer Kelly Brannan must deal with a past romantic issue which may affect the opening of the Healing Hearts Ranch and her job.

Angela is giving us a peek at this story as well…

Purchase Links:

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

Publisher link:  http://bookstogonow.com/books/harvest-homecoming/

Add it to Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48152900-harvest-a-homecoming

What are people saying about Harvest Homecoming?

 

 

“Crystal Creek felt like home. The Healing Hearts Ranch book series are sweet, wholesome stories that could be read by teenagers as well as adults. The story is a sweet, clean, heartfelt romance with a great cast of characters and interaction. They are full of real-life emotions, young love, new beginnings, old friends, town traditions, and friendships. While this is a saga, the story is well-written and could be read as a stand-alone, but I highly recommend that you read the first book, The Letter Left, that sets up this series.” – Redrabbit, Amazon

“Sweet, clean and delightful! I really enjoyed Angela Ford’s Harvest Homecoming, her second story in ‘The Healing Hearts Ranch’ series. We get to meet new characters that are charming and lovable. It’s a captivating story focused around family, horses, hope and second chance. It’s also sweet, clean and refreshing! If you love horses, you will easily connect with this new series!” – Nicole Laverdure, Amazon

This was a cute fall read that continues from one of this author’s other books. It has a homey, family feel to it and brings all the loves of fall together!” – Cara C., Amazon

Wow, love these book covers!

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this sweet, new adult modern western romance series, with an occasional YA twist! ♥♥♥

Healing Hearts Ranch – An empowering series centered around family, horses, love and loss, friendship and betrayal, and finding your way from the wise words left.

About Angela Ford

Angela resides in Nova Scotia – Canada’s Ocean Playground. Inspired by sunsets, the ocean, her family, and books! She is never without a book, whether she’s reading or writing. Angela is a bestselling and award-winning author who has been in the Amazon top fifty, Readers’ Choice Awards and ScreenCraft. She has over 50 published works in paperback, eBook, audiobook, and foreign translation. An Award of Distinction sparked the idea for her first book Closure, which hit Bestselling Action & Adventure, Women’s fiction. In between mysteries, Angela writes short contemporary romance. She loves to connect with her readers!

Books:

And, if you want to know how to connect with the fascinating Angela Ford, here are some author links…

 

Once again, I want to thank Angela Ford, the brilliant author of this new adult, sweet contemporary western romance series, with the backdrop of a family saga, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work! ♥

 

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book News, Books, characters, Contemporary, Drama, Event, Faith, family, feature, Hope, Interview, Love, New Adult, Readers, Romance, sweet romance, western, Writers, Writing, Young Adult

Blog Tour Feature with Q&A: Passion Punch by Tricia Leedom

.•*´¨❥¸.•*´¨ NEW RELEASE¸.•*´¨❥¸.•*´¨

A man who could disappear at any moment and leave her heart in tatters…

I am pleased to announce a cool book blog tour going on right now, presented by Tricia Leedom, an author I met during my journey! Congratulations on your new romantic adventure! :)

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

Plus, here at the I Love Romance Blog, we love discovering romance novels!

Let’s hear a little about this great book…

Nice!

This is the blurb for Passion Punch, Key West Escape Series, Book 3:

When April Linus’ best friends find themselves in trouble with the Miami Mafia, the former heiress turns to an even more dangerous criminal for help…her father.

Not an easy decision for the young, single mother who found herself pregnant at nineteen and forced to choose between her trust fund and having a baby. April’s father agrees to loan her the money, if she moves home for a few months so he can get to know his grandchild. Before she can decide what to do, she comes face to face with the last man she ever expected to see again…her father’s former bodyguard who disappeared five years ago after she slept with him.

Black Ops operative Jonas Ostergaard made a nearly fatal mistake the last time he was in Key West. After working his way into Philip Linus’ circle of trust, Jonas let the Arms Dealer’s beautiful, kindhearted daughter distract him from his mission. He was yanked off the job by his superiors, but now he’s back to stop Linus from selling a dangerous new technology on the black market.

Needing to prove himself to save his job, Jonas is determined to keep his distance from April this time. But when he suspects she knows more about her father’s illegal business dealings than she admits, he’s torn between protecting her and uncovering the truth.

Passion ignites when April and Jonas end up on the run dodging arms dealers in the steamy Amazon rainforest, but April wonders what kind of relationship she could have with a man who has more secrets than she does. A man who could disappear at any moment and leave her heart in tatters.

Trapped between loyalty to her father and a new allegiance with the man she’s falling in love with, April realizes none of it will matter if they don’t escape the jungle alive.

Tricia is giving us a peek at her adult romantic adventure, Passion Punch, today.

Great cover!

Book Info:

Author: Tricia Leedom

Series: Key West Escape #3

Genre: Adult, Adventure, Romance

Publisher: Firefly Hill Press

Release Date: October 22, 2019

Here is an excerpt.

Gah! So like a cat. (Laughs.)

Just kidding. Actually, I didn’t receive an excerpt from the tour sponsor, but here’s a teaser from one of the books in the series to give you an idea of how intense Tricia makes the situation for readers… 😉

 ~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~

Purchase Link:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/4j1pyk

PRAISE FOR PASSION PUNCH

“There is a lot be said in favor of a talented author bringing a combination of romance, heat, and adventure to what otherwise could be a very tired genre. Leedom brings it all!”

Passion Punch is part 3 in an exciting series of action, suspense and romance! Although each book is a stand-alone, you won’t fully understand the story line or the characters unless you start at the beginning. I loved the action and romance in this book…this is a great series and I highly recommend it! – Strider28 (Goodreads)

OMG! Love all the tension coming from book one. ♥♥♥

I can just imagine book three is quite a tale!😉

(Rapid knock on the studio door.)

(Marie frowns.) Who could that be? I’m not expecting a package or anything.

(Footsteps approaching.)

Oh, my! Wow, I didn’t know you were coming…

No excerpt? No problem! This is even better, readers. We have the author, Tricia Leedom, who just dropped in for a quick visit. Let’s give her a warm welcome! 😀

It’s great to have you here, Tricia. Please come and sit down for a sec.

Author Tricia Leedom:  Hi, Marie! Thanks for letting me stop by.

Marie:  Of course, it’s my pleasure! So nice to meet you, by the way! (Shakes hands with her guest.)

Tricia:  Great to meet you too.

Marie:  Well, I hope you don’t mind if I ask you a few questions while you’re here?

Tricia:  Sure, I’d love that! 🙂

Marie:  Awesome!

So, can you tell us a little about your background? When did your first book come out and where can we get it?

Tricia:  I have a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree in Creative Writing. My first book was actually my grad school thesis novel, and it was published in 2017. Rum Runner, Book 1 in The Key West Escape Series, is available on ebook at all major online retailers (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, etc.) and in print on Amazon and B&N.com.

Marie:  That’s great!

A lot of readers love origin stories. What inspired you to start writing?

Tricia:  I’ve always had a huge imagination. When I was little, I used to make my mother and grandmother sit and listen to stories I made up. However, I wasn’t a reader because I struggled with comprehension and read very slow, because the words danced around on the page. At nineteen, I discovered that I suffered from dyslexia, and I worked to overcome it. I practiced reading with my grandmother’s collection of romance novels, and as reading came easier, I read voraciously. I never lost my love of storytelling, so after reading so many books, I wanted to try writing my own romance novel. I didn’t own a computer, so I wrote in notebooks and filled up four of them by the time I was finished.

From there, I decided I wanted to try writing a movie script. It was an action movie set in London with a female heroine. I was working at a professional theater at the time as a receptionist. I showed the script to some of my co-workers and they loved it so much they suggested I ask the actors who were in residence to do a script reading. Most agreed and so one night, about twenty people – half of them professional actors – gathered around a boardroom table and read my script, acting it out with their voices. It was magical, and I think, if I had to pinpoint a moment when it happened, that’s when I truly fell in love with writing. My co-workers encouraged me to go back to college to study Creative Writing, and I went for it. I’d like to say the rest was history, but there was a ten-year period between graduating from college and my decision to go to grad school where I got away from writing. But, as the saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and when I came back to it, I was more devoted to my craft than ever and more determined to get published.

Marie:  Can’t blame you there! 😉

How did you get into writing Romantic Adventure?

Tricia:  I love action/adventure movies and I love romance novels, but as a reader, it was difficult to find books that blended the two. Everything I’ve ever written has had elements of both adventure and romance. Before I was published, I used to write Historical Romance with elements of adventure. When I went to grad school, I decided to challenge myself to write something contemporary, and I’ve always wanted to write a book inspired by one of my favorite movies, “Romancing the Stone.” That’s how The Key West Escape Series came about.

Marie:  Cool! 😀

What, do you feel, sets Passion Punch apart from other books in the genre?

Tricia:  Passion Punch, and The Key West Escape Series, is considered to be Romantic Adventure, which falls under the umbrella of Romantic Suspense. It’s a little different though, because Romantic Adventure is lighter and funnier than traditional romantic suspense, but it’s still filled with lots of action and suspenseful elements. I’d like to think of my books as action/adventure movies in book form written for women.

Marie:  Nice!

(Phone rings.) 

😥

Oh, no, it looks like our guest had to take a personal call outside. I guess I’ll have to chat with her via email when I get a chance. But in the meantime, she’s given me permission to inform you of a great prize. Let’s find out the details, shall we?

Additionally, Tricia is giving away a Kindle Fire during the tour. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. You may find the tour schedule and locations here.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Giveaway Link:  http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/eed0146c10/

Tricia:  Oh no, I missed it. 😦 Sorry to run off like that.

Marie: It’s okay. I was just wrapping up things here. We’re getting short on time…

Tricia:  In that case, I’ll leave you with a short message.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog. I hope you enjoy Passion Punch, book three in The Key West Escape Series!

Marie: It’s my pleasure, and I’m sure we will. 😀

Thank you for telling us about your new romantic adventure, Tricia! I know I can’t wait to read this intriguing novel! 🙂

Readers, don’t forget to grab a copy of this awesome book, or add it to your Goodreads list!

Passion Punch looks great! ♥ We’ll be sure to check it out! Don’t miss the giveaway!

Author Bio

TRICIA LEEDOM enjoys traveling to exotic destinations and having torrid love affairs with hot, dangerous men…even if it’s only in her own mind. When she’s not writing romantic adventure novels, she reads voraciously, tweets compulsively, and fangirls over a TV show based on her favorite book series. Tricia earned her BA in Creative Writing from The University of Tampa and her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. Her favorite authors include Diana Gabaldon, J.R. Ward, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Karen Robards, and Johanna Lindsey. She lives in Southwest Florida with two very spoiled dogs.

Author Links

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/tricialeedom.author/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/tricialeedom

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Tricia-Leedom/e/B06XFN32NS/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16493080.Tricia_Leedom

BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/tricia-leedom

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

 

Thank you for telling us about your great book tour! I know readers can’t wait to get ahold of this romantic adventure!

Thanks again to Tricia and her blog tour sponsor!

We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

Happy reading, everyone!  ♥♥♥ Have a lovely week! 😀

2 Comments

Filed under Action & Adventure, Authors, Blogging, Book Giveaways, Book News, Book Release, Books, Contemporary, contest, Event, feature, Fiction, Gifts, giveaway, Guest Writer, Interview, new release, Readers, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Tour, Writers, Writing

Exclusive Interview with author Maggie Blackbird, plus a look at multicultural romance, SANCTIFIED!

Hi, readers! I am pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our eighteenth official author interview on this romance blog! I know in the past, we did character interviews then switched over to the author’s take on it, but this approach is a bit unusual.

We have a real treat for you, readers. Today we get to speak one-on-one with a talented author. Please join me in welcoming Maggie Blackbird to ILRB! 😀

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

Author Maggie Blackbird:  Hi, Marie!

Marie:  Hey, such a pleasure to have you here again!

I’m going to throw in some standard questions first.

Obviously, we know your occupation as an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do?

I know I’m overloading you with questions, but we’re really interested in finding out more about you…

Maggie:  I am a full-time author. I write contemporary and historical romance about Canada’s Indigenous People. I sure hope I’m good at it! (Laughs.) And yes, I very much enjoy what I’m doing.

Great! 😀

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Maggie:  My family is hubby and two Alaskan Malamutes aka our fur babies. We live a quiet life out in the country. Hubby and I are both from the rez, but we love where we live, although most of our families still live on the reservation.

Marie:  Wonderful! I have fur babies too. 😉

Let’s try something else, okay?

If it doesn’t bother you at all, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?

Maggie:  My childhood home was a typical rez house. Box-shaped. Three bedrooms. An oil stove. All the houses from this era look the same because that’s how Indian Reserves built homes. I won’t get into the “why” of it because I’d have to give a lengthy explanation on how housing works on-reserve and its challenges. But I can tell you the hero Jude talks about it in Sanctified, book three in the Matawapit Family Series.

Marie:  Okay.

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

Maggie:  I enjoy walking, exercising, golfing, fishing, and boating. As of late, I haven’t done much golfing, fishing, or boating because of my new job.

Marie:  True. Being an author often keeps us busy…

And what is your greatest dream?

Maggie:  To leave this earth, knowing that I tried my best to make this world a better place. Corny?  Yes. But it’s what I strive for.

Marie:  Nice! Sounds like a plan. 🙂

Let’s try another question.

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

Maggie:  The kind of person who makes people walk away feeling better about themselves after they’ve talked to me. There is nothing stopping me. Many times I pull it off, and other times I fail.

Marie:  All right.

So…who was your first love?

Maggie:  You’re asking me to reach waaaay back. He was a local boy from the rez. A very nice boy. I think he’s living in one of the prairie provinces now.

Marie:  Aww! ♥

With the next question, I hope I’m not prying too much, but we are curious…

What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Maggie:  Losing my niece.

Marie:  Oh, no! I’m so sorry. 😥

Let’s move on to another topic, shall we?

[Maggie 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?

Maggie:  My dream was to play music for a living. I have two right hands (am a leftie) when it comes to music. (Chuckles.) So instead of playing music, I appreciate it in every aspect of my life. I cannot function without music. I love love love it.

Marie:  Can’t blame you there! I think I’d be lost without music too. 😉

Well, let’s try something else.

Who is your role model, Maggie?

Maggie:  Mother Theresa.

Marie:  All right.

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Maggie:  It’s looking at it from another perspective. There are people out there who probably dislike me and put on a show to pretend they like me. So yes, there are a few people I do dislike, but tolerance and patience are a must. The earth doesn’t revolve around me, I revolve around the earth, so it’s all about how I handle those who aren’t on my favorite list. (Laughs.) It’s a matter of trying to do my best to show them kindness, tolerance, and patience.

Marie:  What an incredibly inspiring outlook to have. How admirable! ♥

Let’s do something different now.

What is your deepest desire?

Maggie:  Burnt popcorn? (Giggles.) What can I say? I love popcorn.

Marie:  (Laughs.) Why not? 😉

And what is your greatest fear?

Maggie:  My fears aren’t what they used to be. As I get older, they’ve lessened. I do sleep with the light off now, but the dark was a biggie for me to conquer. I can’t say that I’m totally over that fear, either.

Marie:  It is odd sometimes to be in the dark, especially when things around you don’t sound quite right…it can freak you out! 😕

Let’s switch gears for a second.

If you were trapped on a deserted island, what five essentials would you need with you? They don’t have to be practical.

Maggie:  Essentials. Hmm. My dogs. My husband. Water. Food. And dog food.

Marie:  😀

Okay, readers, let’s get the author’s perspective on one of her characters.

We’ve heard rumors about the hero of your story, Jude Matawapit. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about him?

Maggie:  Jude is thirty-eight. Freshly divorced. A father of two children. And the new principal at the school in Ottertail Lake, his home reserve where his parents and younger brother reside. He’s starting over by taking on a new job and new community since he resided in Thunder Bay his whole life.

Marie:  And what are Jude’s greatest strengths?

Maggie:  Jude is a natural leader. He doesn’t panic, and steps in to take charge if everything goes pear-shaped. He’s not a quitter, but a fighter.

Marie:  Cool! 😉

Any weaknesses of which we should be aware?

Maggie:  Jude is on the bull-headed side, he can be a little too controlling, and he isn’t the greatest of listeners. He could try be a bit more sympathetic to the plight of others.

Marie:  (Nods.) Okay.

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are Jude’s favorite foods?

Maggie:  Jude enjoys prime rib (rare), a stuffed baked potato, and a side of greens. He’s a meat, potatoes, and veggie sort of guy.

Marie:  Gotcha!

How about another question?

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

Maggie:  That he can show sympathy, even empathy. It’s a matter of the right person showing him what lies hidden, such as Raven, his leading lady in the novel.

Marie:  Great!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Maggie:  I think they’ll like Jude. My crit partner really liked him. He called Jude “a really great guy.”  I think they’ll like what a great father he is, how he tried to be a good husband in his doomed marriage, and the understanding he shows Raven when they begin dating. How he doesn’t judge Raven even though her past is very shady, and respects her recovery from drug addiction.

Marie:  Sounds like quite a guy! 😀

Now that we have a real taste of Jude, we have a few questions for you as well as the author, about the writing process of your book.

What first gave you the idea for Sanctified?

Maggie:  It’s part of a series. Jude’s the eldest, followed by Bridget, and then Emery. Sanctified is the third book. Blessed, Emery’s book, started as a short story and expanded into a full novel. Jude makes an appearance in Blessed, and I wanted to expand on his character. He was living a great life:  six-figure job with a great pension and room for promotion, a stunning wife who also has a great job, two beautiful children, active in his community, lots of volunteer work, his dream home. I wanted everything to fall apart for him and see how he’d handle it.

Marie:  Looks like you have a good sense of the series!

It’s fascinating how the muse works, huh? 😀

Let’s try something else.

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

Maggie:  I’m a planster — (laughs) — part panster and part plotter. When I start a story, I always have a logline and blurb. I also know my beginning, middle, and ending, but I don’t outline it. I let the characters lead the story while I’m fast-drafting.

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

Maggie:  I had no problems getting Sanctified published because I already published two books in the series with eXtasy Books. I just finished the fourth book in the series and subbed it to them on Friday, September 13, 2019. And at the time I’m typing this post (Sept. 17th,, by the way), I’m drafting two short stories for eXtasy Books’ Christmas and American Thanksgiving call-outs.

As for doing something different with the series, I’m famous for saying, “It is what it is.”  But I do think I’d try to get at least the first draft for each story done before tackling self-edits. There was a big lag between Blessed’s release (July 2018) and the second book in the series Redeemed (April 2019). I wouldn’t want the releases to be that far apart again.

Marie:  Sounds like a plan! 😀

(Laughs.) We are twins, I swear. My fiance gets annoyed every time I say, “It is what it is.” He thinks I’m such a stoic.

It was a total pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog! And how apropos is that, considering what a great story Sanctified appears to be… ♥

Let’s learn more about the book.

Title: Sanctified (book three of Matawapit Family Series)

Genre: Multicultural Romance

Publication date: September 27, 2019

Here is the blurb:

In the midst of a battle for leadership at their Ojibway community, two enemies of opposing families fall in love…​

After suffering a humiliating divorce, infuriated Catholic Jude Matawapit bolts to his family’s Ojibway community to begin a new job — but finds himself thrown into a battle for chief as his brother-in-law’s campaign manager. The radical Kabatay clan, with their extreme ideas about traditional Ojibway life, will stop at nothing to claim the leadership position and rid the reserve of Western culture and its religion once and for all, which threatens not only the non-traditional people of the community, but Jude’s chance at a brand-new life he’s creating for his children.

Recovering addict Raven Kabatay will do anything to win the respect and trust of her older siblings and mother after falling deep into drug addiction that brought shame and anger to her family. Not only does she have the opportunity to redeem herself by becoming her brother’s campaign manager for chief — if he wins, she’ll have the reserve’s backing to purchase the gold-mine diner where she works, finally making something of herself. But falling in love with the family’s sworn enemy — the deacon’s eldest son, Jude — will not just betray the Kabatay clan. It could destroy everything Raven believes in and has worked so hard for.

Maggie is giving us a peek at the story…

Frost nipped at Raven’s exposed skin, the kind of frost that burned. At least there wasn’t a wind chill, or minus thirty-seven would become minus forty-seven. She scurried from her sister’s truck she’d parked, dashed up the shoveled walkway, and into the school.

All was quiet, classes for the kids having finished for the day. The scent of pine cleaner permeated the squeaky-clean hallway. She hurried to the adult education classroom. Since her vehicle was the lone truck in the lot, she might be the only one here. Even the new principal wasn’t present, unless he’d foolishly walked over.

She entered the classroom to Jude Matawapit sitting at the teacher’s desk, hunched over, writing on some paper.

“I was beginning to wonder if any of my students would arrive.” His strong fingers gripped a pen. His jet-black hair with blue undertones was slicked off his face and tapered to a short-trimmed back. Dark irises richer than a moonless night, so dark his lashes gave the illusion of a generous coating of mascara and liner-rimmed eyes, stared at her.

Not gawked, not ogled, not leered like every other guy did. He simply stared. His plump lips didn’t form into a flirty smile, either.

Jude stood. A white dress shirt hugged his pumped biceps and shoulders that formed into the size of baseballs. A black belt wrapped his ultra-slim waist. And a gold clip kept his line-striped burgundy tie secure. “Have a seat. It looks to be you and me tonight.”

Raven inched up the aisle. Her boldness remained at the door, where she’d probably dropped her tongue. She clutched her books and sat at the desk directly in front of him.

“I’ve been reviewing your file.” He closed the folder, and just like Deacon Matawapit, crossed his strong arms. They even shared the same rich baritone — direct and full of authority. “You were an A-plus student, but as of late you haven’t been handing in assignments. Once you get behind, it’s difficult to catch up. I’ve seen this happen too many times during my years educating others. When a student falls behind, most give up.”

A flame of annoyance flickered in Raven’s stomach. Never mind Jude Matawapit’s handsome white teeth, flawless red-toned brown skin, or run-her-nails-along-his-muscles build. Who was he to talk down to her like a kid? He was worse than her siblings and Mom.

Raven stared up at the white stucco ceiling. “I’ve been extremely busy. Not all of us make big money and do what we please. I’ve been pulling extra shifts at the diner.”

“Did you review your last three assignments, then?” Jude stuck the end of the pen into his mouth.

There was something about the way his red lips and white teeth nibbled on the cap. And she hadn’t witnessed a man in his late thirties gnawing on one like a hungry beaver.

Jude popped the pen cap between his rich lips, as if sucking on a lollipop, and released it. When he rounded the desk, his thick fingers glided across the top. He stopped in the middle, the fingers of his left hand still lingering on the desk’s surface. He rested his buttocks against the edge while crossing his sturdy thighs.

His stance, a get-down-to-business sort of manner, should have intimidated Raven but failed. His brows-bunched-together stare and drawn-in cheeks seemed to coax her to lean in closer and rest her elbow on top of her own desk. She set her chin on her knuckles. “I’m completing them here tonight.”

“Do you have any questions?”

She shook her head, still holding his stare. “I guess I should get comfy, huh?”

“Comfy?”

“Remove my toque and coat.” She sat back, hands brushing the edge of her desk and arms spread wide.

****

Jude shouldn’t care if Raven was about to undress. He’d seen many students remove their outerwear in class. But the down parka on Raven didn’t swallow her ballerina-lithe body like a garbage bag. The coat was the fashionable snug style, silhouetting her supple form. Long strands of black hair lay against her sharper-than-razors cheekbones.

Her perfectly applied winged eyeliner gave her slanted black eyes a mysterious cat-shape appeal. Rich burgundy lipstick, matching the shade of his tie, plumped her lips to a sensual pout, or maybe her mouth naturally retained a pucker. As she stood to drape the parka over the chair, she gave him a nice view of the skinny jeans painted on her slender thighs and gently rounded butt.

She whipped her head around, peeking at him through the fringe of her super-long lashes.

Heat climbed onto Jude’s face. He shoved the pen back into his mouth and chewed on the cap. Adult or not, she was a student — his student. Maintaining a professional distance was a must.

Raven’s moist-looking mouth tugged at the corners. A hint of triumph flashed in her eyes. Well, well, she’d stolen a look purposely, expecting him to check her out. A hot coal flared in Jude’s chest. He rounded his desk, making sure to move slowly, heels clicking one after the other on the floor. She’d get the hint he meant business.

“Why don’t you catch up on your lessons? There’s no point in reviewing the next one until you’ve finished those.” He used his pen to point in her direction. Traditionalist or not, she could suck up his supposed rudeness. In his world, pointing told another a man wasn’t screwing around or willing to play games.

Raven sat. She flipped open her textbook and binder.

“Which lesson are you working on?”

“History. A pity. We are the First People, but it’s all about…those who sailed over here.” Her husky voice, deeper than most women’s, with a light scratch to the tone, was sensual nails grazing Jude’s skin.

He gripped and re-gripped the pen. “At my former school, we were building the curriculum into the current courses.”

“Did you teach high school or elementary? You taught for the Catholic Board of Education, didn’t you?”

“Elementary.”

“I see.” Raven lowered her head. Her black hair veiled her face. Not narrow, like Clayton’s hawkish looks. The hollowed cheeks, delicate long nose, and tapering chin complemented Raven’s smoky eyes and wide mouth. A traditional diamond-shaped face, like the Indigenous people of the old days.

No wonder she’d stolen a glimpse at Jude when she’d removed her parka. Raven was probably used to men gawking at her wherever she went. If the fashion designers ever took a chance on hiring Indigenous women to model, they’d be scrambling to photograph Raven.

Why was he still thinking about her anyway? This was ridiculous.

Jude plopped in the chair. If she didn’t require assistance on her lessons, she should’ve finished her assignments at home. All Raven had done was make him stay late.

Ooh…love the tension! Can’t wait to find out what happens next. 😀

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/4AxXYo

Publisher link:  https://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-2663-7-sanctified/

Add it to Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48160324-sanctified

What are people saying about Sanctified?

 

 

Familial & Communal Drama At Its Finest… Chocked with intense, multilayered plot lines, entrenching enough to hook any reader. From spirituality to taboo relationships, substance abuse to criminal activity, these books detail the raw realities of those living in the Ojibway community. In SANCTIFIED, the third installment of the series, Maggie does not disappoint as she masterfully creates yet another character’s struggle to earn familial redemption, career success, and most importantly, love. Raven Kabaray, the book’s female protagonist, once succumbed to a debilitating drug addiction. Now that she’s recovered, she wants nothing more than to earn back the trust and respect of her family.

Matters grow complicated, however, when Raven unwittingly falls in love with Jude Matawapit, whose family’s Westernized beliefs completely clash with the strict, traditional ideals of the Kabaray family. As these two entities fight for communal leadership in the midst of their opposing political views, a relationship between Raven and Jude (who’s dealing with his own fair share of personal issues and struggles) would be deemed highly forbidden. And therein lies Raven’s dilemma; give up genuine love for the sake of her family and career, give up those things for the sake of love, or figure out a way to find common ground amongst both families in order to have it all…

SANCTIFIED is an emotional, fulfilling, well-rounded saga built on unforgettable characters whose complicated circumstances will leave readers riveted as they discover the life-altering outcomes/consequences each character faces.” – Denise W., Amazon and Goodreads

Wow! We’ll be sure to get a copy of this multicultural romance! ♥♥♥

About Maggie Blackbird

An Ojibway from Northwestern Ontario, Maggie resides in the country with her husband and their fur babies, two beautiful Alaskan Malamutes.  When she’s not writing, she can be found pulling weeds in the flower beds, mowing the huge lawn, walking the Mals deep in the bush, teeing up a ball at the golf course, fishing in the boat for walleye, or sitting on the deck at her sister’s house, making more wonderful memories with the people she loves most.

Books:

And, if you want to know how to connect with the fascinating Maggie Blackbird, here are some author links…

 

Once again, I want to thank Maggie Blackbird, the brilliant author of this multicultural romance, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work! ♥

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book News, Books, characters, Contemporary, Event, Faith, family, feature, Multicultural/Interracial, new release, Readers, Romance, Writers, Writing

Win A Copy of BLUE VISION, and other books!

Hi, readers! Hope everything is going well on your end. I just wanted to jump in here and let you know about a cool giveaway happening this week.

A copy of Blue Vision, my sci-fi romance, is up for grabs today, during the I Heart Romance Week at The TBR Pile site. Yay!

Note: Check the buy link above for more info about this book.

There are lots of other prizes with this event as well! 🙂

Here is the event schedule with some of the giveaways offered, including a bookmark set of mine (Oct. 7th)…

October 1st

 

9am – Introduction to I HEART Romance post.

Prizes:

$20 Amazon gift card

4 Item swag pack by HARLEY WYLDE

 

2pm: JAMES COX Post (m/m)

Prizes:

$5 Evernight gift card,

Book bundle:Bubbly Uncorked by SHEA BALIK

Loved by a werewolf by BRONWYN HEELEY

Prize list book

 

5pm: DANIA VOSS post (m/f)

Prizes:

$10 Amazon card,

Book Bundle: Redemption by APRIL ZYON

Calling All Villains by JAMES COX

Crossing Quinn by GAIL KOGER

 

October 2nd

 

9am; SHEA BALIK post (m/m)

Prizes:

$10 Amazon gift card

Book bundle 1: Bring That For You by BRONWYN HEELEY

Future Broken by JACEY HOLBRAND

The Devil’s Cum in his Eye by JAMES COX

 

2pm: GAIL KOGER post (m/f)

Prizes:

$10 Amazon gift card

Book Bundle 1: Safe in the Hitman’s Arms by KAIT GAMBLE

The Cyborgs Secret Baby by CYNTHIA SAX

A Wolf’s Tale by SUZY SHEARER

Book Bundle 2: Lie to Me by CHRISTINE KIRCHOFF

Rescued by the Mountain man by MARIN BLACK

Finding Euphoria by C. BECKER

 

5pm: CHRISTINE KIRCHOFF post (m/f)

Prizes:

Book Bundle 1: Untraceable by BETH D CARTER

The Devil Take You by HK CARLTON

Hothar’s Folly by GAIL KOGER

Book bundle 2: Back to Good Paperback by LAURA BENSON

 

October 3rd

 

9am: ELYZABETH VALEY post (m/f)

Prizes:

$10 Amazon

Book Bundle 1: Calling all Villains by JAMES COX

Breakwater Beach by CAROLE MOLETI

Finding Euphoria by C BECKER

Book Bundle 2: Lie to Me by CHRISTINE KIRCHOFF

Watched by SUZANNE JEFFERIES

Valentina’s Miracle by PAIGE WARREN

 

2pm: MAGGIE BLACKBIRD post (m/f)

Prizes:

Book Bundle: Raking The Ashes by KAIT GAMBLE

Blue Vision by MARIE LAVENDER

The Widow’s Walk by CAROLE MOLETI

Book Bundle 2: On The Ropes by DANIA VOSS

Lie to me by CHRSTINE KIRCHOFF

Prize list book

 

5pm: DANIA VOSS post (m/f)

Prizes:

Book Bundle 1: Sassing Saul by GAIL KOGER

Melting her Dom’s Heart by SUZY SHEARER

The Cyborg’s secret baby by CYNTHIA SAX

Book Bundle 2: Lie to Me by CHRISTINE KIRCHOFF

Storm Watch by CAROLE MOLETI

Forever in a Moment by CHARLOTTE O’SHAY

 

October 4th

 

9am: JAMES COX post (m/m)

Prizes:

$10 Amazon gift card

Book Bundle: Matching Mates Collection by BRONWYN HEELEY

 

2pm: JACEY HOLBRAND post (m/m)

Prizes:

$5 Evernight gift card

Book Bundle: The Triple Towers series by JAMES COX

 

5pm: KERI KRUSPE post (m/f)

Prizes:

Book Bundle: Daemon’s Are Forever by SUZY SHEARER

The Cyborg’s Secret Baby by CYNTHIA SAX

The Warrior’s Whisper by DANIA VOSS

Book bundle 2: Lie to me by CHRISTINE KIRCHOFF

Calling All Villains by JAMES COX

The Cyborgs Secret Baby by CYNTHIA SAX

 

October 5th

 

9am: ANA RAINE post (m/m)

Prizes:

Book Bundle 1: The Triple Towers series by JAMES COX,

Prize 2: Whiskey and Moonshine audio book by ELIZABETH NOBLE 

 

5pm: CYNTHIA SAX post (m/f)

Prizes:

$10 Amazon card

Book Bundle 1: Touched by SUZANNE JEFFERIES

Redeemed by MAGGIE BLACKBIRD

Arresting Mason by AMBER DAULTON

Book Bundle 2: Calling all Villains by JAMES COX

Lie to Me by CHRISTINE KIRCHOFF

Prize list book

 

October 6th

 

9am: HK CARLTON post (m/f)

Prizes:

$10 Amazon gift card,

Book Bundle 1: Indian Paintbrush by JOHN HELDT

Rescued by the Cyborg by JESSICA COLTER SMITH

Lie to Me by CHRISTINE KIRCHOFF

Book Bundle 2: Otherworld series by JAMES COX

 

5pm: DANIA VOSS post (m/f)

Prizes:

Book Bundle 1: Grease Monkey by HARLEY WYLDE

Texas Twang by PAIGE WARREN

Her Cyborg Lover by ANNE KANE

Book Bundle 2: An Alien Exchange by KERI KRUSPE

Calling all Villains by JAMES COX

Lie to me by CHRISTINE KIRCHOFF

 

October 7th

 

9am: Closing post

Prizes:

$20 Amazon gift card

Bookmark bundle by MARIE LAVENDER

October 8th – Winners will be announced.

Don’t miss your chance to win a prize! Keep checking back at The TBR Pile during I Heart Romance Week, and go ahead and dive in for today’s events! ♥

Happy reading, and happy autumn! 😀

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Exclusive Interview with author Chris Ann Yim, plus a look at military romance, LIAISON IN LYUDINOVO!

Hi, readers! I am pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our seventeenth official author interview on this romance blog! I know in the past, we did character interviews then switched over to the author’s take on it, but this approach is a bit unusual.

We have a real treat for you, readers. Today we get to speak one-on-one with a talented author. Please join me in welcoming Chris Ann Yim to ILRB! 😀

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

Author Chris Ann Yim:  Hi, Marie!

Marie:  Hey, such a pleasure to have you here!

I’m going to throw in some standard questions first.

Obviously, we know your occupation as an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do?

I know I’m overloading you with questions, but we’re really interested in finding out more about you…

Chris:  I am a former history teacher turned military romance author. I LOVE writing in this genre. I have to say, the more I write the better I become. Reading and learning from other authors has been tremendously beneficial to me as well.

Marie:  Wow, that’s awesome! 😀

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Chris:  I am married to an Army veteran who treats me like a queen. He provides for our family, allowing me to write full-time from home. We were both only children and have an only child cat.

Marie:  Wonderful! I have fur babies too. 😉

Let’s try something else, okay?

If it doesn’t bother you at all, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?

Chris:  I grew up in a suburban ranch home with two bedrooms and one bathroom. Dad added a second bathroom when I was in middle school, and we got central air when I was twelve. Harvest gold kitchen from 1969 with knotty pine cabinets. It was full of love, and there was an RV in the backyard. I wouldn’t trade my years there for anything.

Marie:  Nice! 😉

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

Chris:  Writing used to be my hobby. Now that I write full time, photography has become my biggest hobby. I enjoy capturing the essence of Southern American culture, whether it be muggy sunsets, cornbread, or old cemetery headstones.

Marie:  Cool!

And what is your greatest dream?

Chris:  At this point in my life, my greatest dream is to raise a healthy, well-adjusted family with the love of my life.

Marie:  Sounds like a plan. 😀

Let’s try another question.

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

Chris:  The one thing that I haven’t perfected is being patient. However, if I were still in my twenties, I’d tell you that I want to become the person that I am today. My thirties have been extremely enlightening. After finishing school, finding my husband, changing careers, and all of the other tedious steps that I took to get to age 31, I’m right where I’m supposed to be. I just have to hone my craft of writing. I think that comes with time.

Marie:  True. I wish I could be a little more patient as well.

So…who was your first love?

Chris:  My father was my first love. He is a strong man who’s been seasoned by life’s many trials and experiences. He also has a love of muscle cars and America like I do. He has really affected my outlook on life, and I am very thankful.

Marie:  Aww! ♥

With the next question, I hope I’m not prying too much, but we are curious…

What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Chris:  When I broke up with my college boyfriend, after three and a half years of dating, I would have told you that it was the most terrible thing that ever happened to me. That was tragedy to my twenty-two year old brain. Two years later, when I got broken up with from my first G.I. Joe, I knew my life was over because he was my dream man. I know now that my life was just beginning.

I’ve lost a best friend. I’ve battled not being able to use a limb after major surgery. I’ve struggled with depression. My husband and I struggled with infertility. But, I feel like every ‘tough’ experience I’ve ever gone through has made me stronger. It’s forged my steel. I’ve gone through some rough times, but nothing screams ‘terrible.’ Thanks to the good Lord, I’m incredibly blessed.

Marie:  Yikes, so many things! 😕

But what an incredibly inspiring outlook to have. How admirable! 😉

Let’s move on to another topic, shall we?

[Chris 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?

Chris:  My dream growing up was to be a psychiatrist, but the Lord changed my path in the middle of organic chemistry lab, junior year of college. I know that it was divine intervention. Thinking about it now, I would still be in an incredible amount of debt from medical school, and I have a habit of shouldering people’s problems. My brain would be racked with worry because I honestly care too much.

So, when that didn’t pan out, my next dream was to be a history teacher. Did that. Then, I quit that profession to start a family and write novels. Working on that now. Bette Davis said it best, “Success only breeds a new goal.”

Marie:  So true!

Well, let’s try something else…

Who is your role model, Chris?

Chris:  All praise to my mother. She did it all; school, work, family, cooking, cleaning, helping others. She never cracked, either. At least, not in front of me. She is the strongest woman I know. If I even manage to somehow be half of the woman she is, I will have succeeded. She’s just that amazing.

Marie:  Nice!

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Chris:  I don’t think it’s possible to like everything about everyone. I have people that I completely dislike, but I pray for them…sometimes. I try to be nice. I know some people don’t like me. I don’t even like everything about myself. So, overall, no.

Marie:  (Chuckles.) Okay.

Let’s do something different.

What is your deepest desire?

Chris:  Unconditional love. Also, warm summer nights riding around in my Mustang. Drinking a chocolate malt. Listening to Junior Kimbrough with my man by my side. I’m not complicated in my desires. I value my Southland, my family, and my faith more than anything.

Marie:  They sound like great goals to me! 😉

And what is your greatest fear?

Chris:  Losing everything due to something unforeseen or uncontrollable. Losing my family or my home. I just have to keep on believing that won’t happen and be thankful because…I have it all. I truly have it all. And, I don’t mean that in a prideful way. I just know that the Lord has gotten me this far. He’s not going to forsake me now.

Marie:  True…

Let’s switch gears for a second.

If you were trapped on a deserted island, what five essentials would you need with you? They don’t have to be practical.

Chris:  If we can forgo practical things like shelter, showers, and basic food, I would NEED an air conditioner, a bible, a radio, and a full service BBQ restaurant. Sweet tea included…of course.

Marie:  😀

All right, readers, let’s get the author’s perspective on one of her characters.

We’ve heard rumors about the hero of your story, Jackson Lee of Palmer Lake, Colorado. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about him?

Chris:  Jackson is an engineering sergeant with the U.S. Army’s 10th Special Forces Group. He is a highly trained builder and demolitions expert. He grew up on a horse ranch outside of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and values the simple things in life like his team and his family.

Marie:  Nice…

And what are Jackson’s greatest strengths?

Chris:  Jackson is great at solving problems and tackling just about anything that comes his way. He is also a good judge of character.

Marie:  Any weaknesses?

Chris:  Jackson gets in his own way sometimes. He lets his mind overthink what his heart needs.

Marie:  (Nods.) I think a lot of people do that.

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are Jackson’s favorite foods?

Chris:  He loves a rare steak and a good beer.

Marie:  All right.

How about another question?

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

Chris:  Jackson has a way of making those around him feel safe. He is very intelligent, but sees himself as an ordinary guy.

Marie:  Great!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Chris:  Readers will like Jackson more and more as the book progresses. He is a good-looking guy who doesn’t know it, and he gets slightly nervous when a woman takes an interest in him. He is innocently adorable, despite the fact that he works on a team of trained killers.

Marie:  Aww…

Now that we have a real taste of Jackson, we have a few questions for you as well as the author, about the writing process of your book.

What first gave you the idea for Liaison in Lyudinovo?

Chris:  For the basics like espionage and Russia, I looked to television and movies. I took a trip to Russia with my husband, and my Dad also worked there for a brief time when I was a kid.

For the heart of the story, I looked to my personal experiences. I adore Fort Carson, Colorado. I spent a considerable portion of my life there and know it like the back of my hand. That became my secondary setting. After meeting so many soldiers during my life, finding a team of guys to carry out the mission in the story was easy. They are a conglomerate of friends and acquaintances.

My heroine, Sam, was a completely new creation. She shares some qualities with me, but really has a lot of qualities that I’d like to have. It took a bit of research to create her.

Marie:  Cool!

It’s fascinating how the muse works, huh? 😀

Let’s try something else.

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

Chris:  I’m both. I start out as a panster. I get an idea, run with it, and then plot along the way.

Marie:  (Laughs.) That sounds like me! 😉

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

Chris:  I wouldn’t do a thing differently. Writing is a process, and there is not one, single formula that can accurately tell all authors how to go about making their careers successful. Authors are all unique, and success is relative.

Writing the book was the first hurdle. Liaison is the third novel I’ve written. It took the writing of the first two to show me who my characters would be in this novel, now the first in the series. I got attached to the characters in my other novels and had to force myself to create new ones. Once I got rolling, I fell in love with these characters just as much. Point being, you have to write and write…and write some more to be able to find your niche.

Editing was the second hurdle. I can edit my manuscripts all day long, but quickly learned the value of a professional editor. The editing process was incredibly beneficial. It forced me to go back and rethink plotlines, deepen characters, and improve my writing skills.

Publishing was the third hurdle. I’d already pitched my first novel to an agent from L.A. That was only because he was at a writer’s conference that I attended. It’s not like he answered one of my 86 query letters that I sent all over the United States. He told me after one minute of me describing my southern book to him to get out of the south and travel the world. He said I should come back when I had lived more life. WHOO BOY. What he didn’t realize was that I already was a world traveler with three college degrees. I had lived all over the country, not just in the south. I was a woman of thirty years with a bevy of unique experiences under my belt that he couldn’t possibly comprehend. And, the book I was pitching was written about THE SOUTH. So, at first, I was mad. He didn’t know me. How could he say that to me? In my mother-in-law’s words, “Hasn’t he ever read Gone with the Wind or heard of Harper Lee?” Well, I was still bummed. HUGELY BUMMED. Was I missing something? Were my life experiences not adequate enough content for me to consider myself an author? I felt defeated. So, I almost gave up.

I thought traditional publishing was the only way to go because that’s what the agent told me. He quickly shot down mine and other author’s questions about self-publishing. Well, now that I think about it, that makes sense. He was in the traditional publishing world. But, I sat on that glorious, southern novel that I was so proud of, traveled the globe some more, then met some fantastic, supportive writers in my local community. TURNING POINT OF MY CAREER. You have to network and make friends. This is something that can be difficult for introverted writers. Some in the group were self-published authors and some were traditionally published, but they all told me to do what worked for me. So, I quickly realized, SELF-PUBLISHING IS A THING! And, not only that, it’s okay. I had been told my whole writing life that you had to have an agent, you had to have a New York publishing house behind you, and you had to do this ‘writing thing’ a certain way. NOT SO.

So, the moral of this story is, DO NOT get discouraged! The important thing to know as a writer is that you have to keep on writing, keep on reading, and keep on keeping on. True writers don’t write for the fame. They write with their hearts and souls about the things they love. If you hear back from a publisher, FANTASTIC. You’ve beat me at that game. If you don’t hear back, you CAN do it on your own. If you need help, message me, I’ll help you. We have to support each other because our chosen path as writers is quite solitary. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that there are a lot of us. We are just individually out there in our cozy little spaces, pouring our hearts out into stories.

Marie:  Such sound advice! 😀

Indeed, it is tough to navigate the publishing world. But I’m glad you figured it out.

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 Liaison in Lyudinovo appears to be… ♥

Let’s learn more about the book.

Title: Liaison in Lyudinovo

Genre: Military Romance

Publication date: August 6, 2019

Here is the blurb:

Sam Browning is a feisty and romantically jaded young CIA case officer who has uncovered a problem involving one of the Agency’s own. But she doesn’t have the evidence to expose the man she assumes to be a traitor working for the Russian government.

That was six years ago. Now she has what she needs to take the operative down and a skilled team of unique men working alongside her. Can they bring an end to a deadly operation and two high-value targets in defense of the United States? Then this life of government espionage will be behind her. But not before she discovers an unexpected bond with an untrusting, reserved member of the team.

Will this group of men teach Sam the final lesson of her career? Will the end of this case mean the end of Sam’s life? Just how strong can a bond be between those who defend the land of the free?

Chris is giving us a peek at the story…

 

Excerpt #1:

He smiled. “You okay, killer?”

She darted her eyes back and forth. “Well, I sort of need a little help in here.”

Jackson un-propped himself and went through the partially cracked bedroom door. He put his back to it and shut it behind him, looking at Sam in her dress.

Sam’s eyes trailed up his built, sophisticated form, taking in the wide-eyed expression on his face. He looked different without his beard. Younger.

“Too much?” she asked, looking back over herself.

“Uh.” Jackson shook his head. “Uh…no.” He blinked several times. “No, ma’am.”

“It’s red,” she said, hesitantly.

Jackson nodded, slowly, taking in every inch of her body under that red fabric. “I can see that.”

Excerpt #2:

About a mile from the cabin, Jackson pulled off onto a side road.

“What are you doing?” Sam asked, pushing the cuticles back on her fingernails.

He smiled. “Samantha Browning, have you ever driven a stick shift?”

Sam hesitated and looked away from him at the sky like a spaceship could land at any second. “Why?”

“Because the only reason you didn’t drive today is the car is a manual.”

She continued her fake search of the skies for anything to keep her eyes off him. “How do you know—”

“Come on now, Officer Browning,” he said to her as if he were trying to get a kid to fess up to a lie. “Your V8 Mustang is an automatic. You obviously like power, but you don’t know how to handle it.”

Well, that got her fired up. “Listen, Jackson Lee, I can ​handle power just fine. My Daddy tried to teach me once, but I just…I just…” She clenched her fists.

“You want to know a secret?”

“O…kay?” She shrugged.

“You know that you can try again, right? Some humans do that when they fail at something. Don’t let the secret out, though.”

She rolled her eyes. “Now? You want me to try now?”

“Now,” he repeated as he glared at her. “Do you and the guys have some sort of quilting contest going on back at the cabin, or do you want to learn?”

“Jackson Lee, we are not in a country where we can be distracted from the mission, shooting off on back roads for the enemy to find us. This is not the place to—”

“Do you trust me?” Jackson interrupted her.

She eyed him and shrugged. “This has nothing to do with—”

“Do you trust me?” he asked again, more firmly this time.

She hesitated but nodded. She didn’t like not knowing how to drive a stick shift, but she got frustrated easily with this particular skill.

“Did the Agency not require that you know how?” Jackson asked her.

Sam hem-hawed around at the question. “Well, yes-ish. I took the test.”

Jackson stared into her eyes, waiting on the rest of the story.

“I didn’t really pass the test, but to be fair, I tried. And, I’ve never had trouble since. I’m very thankful for that. And, I know it ​could have gone pretty bad in some situations, but…”

Jackson’s eyes were narrowing in question. “Do I even want to know how any of that went down, the not passing and yet surviving in foreign lands with foreign vehicles?”

Sam rubbed her forehead. “Eh?”

“Fine. Another day,” Jackson said, “but today, you’re learning.”

Ooh…love the tension! Can’t wait to find out what happens next. 😀

Purchase Links:

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

Add it to Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47551036-liaison-in-lyudinovo

What are people saying about Liaison in Lyudinovo?

 

 

“Spy and romance – what more could you want? This book is amazingly written. You feel you are there. Gets intense and you are right there feeling it. Love this brilliant writer!!!” – Connie King, Amazon

“Romance with military special ops. Author has researched the proper tactics, language and weapons for authenticity. Loved the romance part also.” – Deborah Palmer, Amazon

What a fun, suspenseful read!” – Robert G. Karcher, Amazon

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this military romance! ♥♥♥

About Chris Ann Yim

Chris Ann Yim is a historian and author of the new novel Liaison in Lyudinovo. As the wife of an Army veteran, she holds an appreciation for the relationships between military service members and their families. With a background in the social sciences, she has spent the majority of her life researching military leadership, the psychology of war, and the development of culture in societal groups. Chris is a cat mom who enjoys Blues Rock and Big Band music, drag racing, and photography. She lives and works out of her home on the outskirts of Nashville, Tennessee, and spends her vacations eating good food and traveling the globe with her husband. Her claim to fame was once being chosen as a contestant on ‘The Price is Right’, and in the future she aspires to go an entire week without tripping over her own feet or spilling a glass of sweet tea down her shirt.

Books:

And, if you want to know how to connect with the fascinating Chris Ann yim, here are some author links…

 

Once again, I want to thank Chris Ann Yim, the brilliant author of this military romance, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work! ♥

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Exclusive Interview with author Barbara Wallace, plus a look at contemporary romance, ONE NIGHT IN PROVENCE!

Hi, readers! I am pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our sixteenth official author interview on this romance blog! I know in the past, we did character interviews then switched over to the author’s take on it, but this approach is a bit unusual.

We have a real treat for you, readers. Today we get to speak one-on-one with a talented author. Please join me in welcoming Barbara Wallace to ILRB! 😀

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

Author Barbara Wallace:  Hi, Marie!

Marie:  Hey, such a pleasure to have you here!

I’m going to throw in some standard questions first.

Obviously, we know your occupation as an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do?

I know I’m overloading you with questions, but we’re really interested in finding out more about you…

Barbara:  I am primarily a writer, but I also work part-time at Barnes & Noble Bookstores. I took a seasonal job there a few years ago and never left.  Not only does it keep me from being isolated in my little office, but it lets me spend time with readers and books. I’ve discovered a lot of new authors through chatting with customers.

Marie:  Nice!

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Barbara:  I like to think of my extended family as a wonderfully diverse and quirky bunch of people representing a variety of religions, nationalities, and sexual orientations. Holidays are always entertaining.

As far as my immediate family, my husband and I live with two spoiled cats and a sailboat. (Seriously, my husband thinks of the thing as a child.)  The two of us spend a great deal of spare time reveling in our empty nest status. Our son is grown. He and his wife live a few hours away.

Marie:  That’s wonderful!

Let’s try something else, okay?

If it doesn’t bother you at all, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?

Barbara:  I grew up in the CLEANEST home you’d ever see. My mom was a total neat freak. (I’m sure she’s rolling in grave over the state of my house – especially when I’m on deadline.) Our house was a pretty little Cape Cod with a neatly mowed lawn and an above ground swimming pool in a neighborhood full of pretty little Cape Cod houses with neatly mowed lawns and above ground swimming pools.

Marie:  Lovely! And believe me, I’m just as messy while I am focused on a writing project. 😉

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

Barbara:  When I’m not writing – which seems like always these days – I love to read. I’ve got a stack of books on my end table waiting for me. I wish I could tell you I garden or do some kind of craft, but I kill plants and I’m horribly craft-deficient. Although, I am thinking of taking up crochet this winter.

Marie:  And what is your greatest dream?

Barbara:  Well, my greatest dream used to be to become a published author. Clearly, I checked off that box. Now, I would like to have the freedom to control my own schedule. There are so many things I want to explore in this world, both creatively and literally. My dream is to one day have the freedom to do so without having to answer to a deadline or outside job. To be able to answer only to myself (and my husband, of course).

Marie:  Sounds like a plan! 😀

Let’s try another question.

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

Barbara:  I want to be someone who is comfortable being myself. I spend a lot of time being the person other people want me to be. I want to learn to be authentic, even if that means risking disapproval. Why haven’t I become that person? I’m working on it. It takes a lot of work to shake free of your childhood baggage.

Marie:  I agree. And I’ve noticed we are our own worst critics. I put a lot of pressure on myself to meet certain standards and whenever I don’t reach those goals, it’s a huge disappointment.

But I guess I should go a bit easier on me, huh? 😉

So…who was your first love?

Barbara:  His name was John and he played trumpet in the high school band. I was so in love with him. It broke my heart that he didn’t feel the same.

Marie:  Aww. 😥

In any case, life seems to have worked out well for you! 😀

With the next question, I hope I’m not prying too much, but we are curious…

What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Barbara:  One very early morning, when my son was four months old, I was in the kitchen trying to wrap a blanket around his squirming body when he suddenly squirmed straight out of my arms. We rushed him to the hospital where they said he suffered a minor skull fracture. Thankfully he recovered. Even though it was a complete accident, the guilt from that day still rips my insides to shreds.

Marie:  Yikes! 😕

At least he’s okay. I guess I can’t blame you for feeling that way.

Let’s move on to another topic, shall we?

[Barbara 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?

Barbara:  I wanted to be a writer as a child. So, yeah – I achieved it. Of course, in my mind back then, a writer meant being rich and famous with a mansion like Jackie Collins. Turns out, being a writer is a lot of hard work. No one told me the words didn’t just “pour out” of you and onto the page!

Marie:  Right? I had big expectations too! (Laughs.)

Well, let’s trying something else…

Who is your role model, Barbara?

Barbara:  I don’t know if I have one specific role model. There are a lot of people in my life with qualities that I seek to emulate. For example, my husband is a wonderfully charitable man who is always helping others. My best friend is amazingly diplomatic and a natural leader. Both of these people are people I strive to be more like.

Marie:  Cool!

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Barbara:  I’ll never tell.  🙂

Marie:  (Chuckles.) No worries, I respect your privacy.

Let’s do something different.

What is your deepest desire?

Barbara:  To be really and truly happy.

Marie:  Sounds like a great goal to me! 😉

And what is your greatest fear?

Barbara:  That I passed on my neuroses and tendency for depression to my son.

Marie:  Oh, no! 😥

Let’s switch gears for a second…

If you were trapped on a deserted island, what five essentials would you need with you? They don’t have to be practical.

Barbara:

  1. A Gallon of Bug Spray
  2. A super large journal with a forever sharp pencil
  3. Cookware
  4. A sleeping bag
  5. Coffee

Marie:  Can’t blame you on the bug spray! Yikes! We have so many bugs in Indiana. 🙄

And yes, a never-ending journal! 🙂

All right, readers, let’s get the author’s perspective on one of her characters.

We’ve heard rumors about the heroine of your story, Jenna Brown. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?

Barbara:  Jenna Brown is a nurse in a nursing home on Nantucket Island. She moved there from Cambridge, which is just outside of Boston. Jenna’s practical and guarded. That comes from having watched her mother’s heart get broken over and over by her callous father. But there’s a part of her that’s longing for romance. She wants to be loved; she’s simply afraid to open her heart to the opportunity.

Marie:  That’s understandable…

And what are Jenna’s greatest strengths?

Barbara:  Her compassion. She’s dedicated her life to helping people who are dying and unable to care for themselves.

Marie:  How admirable! 😀

Any weaknesses?

Barbara:  Her stubbornness. She is so determined to protect her heart that she doesn’t see the opportunity that’s right in front of her.

Marie:  I see.

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are Jenna’s favorite foods?

Barbara:  Coffee. And fish. She lives in New England, after all.

Marie:  All right.

How about another question?

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

Barbara:  She has an adventurous streak that I don’t think she’s ever tapped into before. She’s always so practical. This book gives her a chance to have a real adventure.

Marie:  Nice!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Barbara:  Hopefully they will really like her and want her to have a happy ending!

Marie: Of course!

Now that we have a real taste of Jenna, we have a few questions for you as well as the author, about the writing process of your book.

What first gave you the idea for One Night in Provence?

Barbara:  It actually came to me during an editorial meeting. The end of our editorial department said they were looking for ‘author-generated’ series. My bestie, Donna, immediately texted me and said, “We need to work together! We dragged in Nina Singh and the Mills & Boon queen Liz Fielding as well. Someone – I’m betting it was Donna Alward – suggested bucket list vacations. I practically screamed over everyone, “I’m doing a castle in Provence!” Largely because I want to take a vacation in a castle in Provence. LOL.

Marie: (Chuckles.) Awesome!

Oh, yes, I’d love to go to France too.

It’s fascinating how the muse works, huh? 😀

Let’s try something else.

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

Barbara:  I am what you would call a plodder. I plot the book in chunks of three or four chapters. I tend to write mind-numbingly slow as well. I want to make sure the characters drive the plot and that their reactions are in keeping with their personalities. There’s nothing that bothers me more than books that have characters doing things simply to facilitate a plot.

Marie:  Okay.

I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing One Night in Provence or publishing it? What would you do differently the next time?

Barbara:  Bear in mind that I was already under a multi-book contract with Harlequin when I wrote this book, so getting it published was a forgone conclusion. The challenge was to write – and then rewrite – a book that was both emotional and uplifting, especially as I was writing this during a very sad period in my life. (There’s a reason Jenna’s a nursing home nurse.)  I ended up taking a lot of what happened and incorporating it into the story.

For aspiring writers – I took 15 years to initially publish. That was, of course, before self-publishing. Nowadays, writers don’t have to battle gatekeepers if they don’t choose to. My advice is simple: if you do want to be published traditionally, don’t ever give up. Keep writing and submitting. The key to success is perseverance.

To my independently published friends…always make sure that you are publishing your best work. Put yourself through the same editing and revision paces that you would experience were you traditionally published.

Marie:  Such sound advice! 😀 Indeed, it is tough to navigate the publishing world.

I look forward to learning about the other books in this series as 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 One Night in Provence appears to be… ♥

Title: One Night in Provence

Series: Destination Brides Book Three

Number in series: Third book in a four-book series, can be read as a standalone.

Genre: Romance

‘Spice’ level: Closed door sex

Publication date: August 1st

Publisher: Harlequin (US) / Mills & Boon (UK)

Here is the blurb:

Can an unexpected affair…

…lead to a lifetime of happiness?

In this Destination Brides story, while on vacation in Provence, homebody Jenna Brown embarks on a no-strings affair with a handsome stranger. But there’s more to wealthy playboy Philippe D’Usay than meets the eye. Scarred by loss, Philippe’s committed to being alone. But after their Provençal adventure ends, and Jenna discovers she’s pregnant, they must decide if their short-term connection could become a life together forever.

Here’s a peek at the story…

“Beatrice used to say stuff like that.”

“The woman who left you the money.”

Her smile softened. “She would have liked you. I remember one night we were watching a documentary about some ancient Greek city known for excessive living…”

“Sybaris,” he interrupted.

She looked at him in surprise. “Yes, that’s the one.”

“A lucky guess. I remember the lecture from university.”

“You have a very good memory.”

“It was a very interesting subject,” he said with a shrug.

“Anyway, when the show ended, Beatrice looked at me and said, ‘Those Greeks had the right idea.’”

“My kind of woman.”

“She must have dozed off during the part where the city was destroyed.”

“Yes, but at least they enjoyed themselves on the way out.” Reaching for the champagne, he filled both their glasses. “Vie amoureuse, as they say.”

“She definitely would have liked you.”

“Of course. I am a very likable person. You do not agree?” he asked at her enigmatic smile.

“Oh, I agree.” He watched while she traced the rim of her glass. “You’re extremely likable.”

“And you find that a problem.” A statement, not a question. He’d begun to notice a pattern with his American. Whenever she began to relax and enjoy herself, the wariness would rear its head to cool the enjoyment off. Such as now. Instead of laughing at his silly joke, she responded seriously.

“You do not trust me.” Again, he presented the words as fact.

“You’re a millionaire,” she countered. “Where I come from, millionaires don’t usually take women like me out to dinner.”

“They don’t believe in dating beautiful women?”

“They don’t pull out all the stops unless they have an agenda.”

Before he could reply, they were interrupted by a service. “Pissaladière,” the man announced before lifting the cover to reveal an onion tart, crust browned to perfection.

“I hope you don’t mind,” he said, “but I took the liberty of selecting the menu. Various Provençal dishes I think you would enjoy.”

“Case in point,” she replied.

“If your point is that I am trying to impress you, then I plead guilty as charged.”

“Impress me with the goal of coming back to my room.”

“Again guilty.” Did she expect him to deny human nature? Most women he knew would be swept off their feet by a moonlight dinner. Half of them would be in his arms before the tart arrived. With her, his efforts brought suspicion, despite his openness. It was almost as if she were afraid to enjoy herself.

He would need to rethink his approach.

“You always have the power to say no,” he reminded her.

“So long as we both realize that.” She smiled as she replied, but her eyes were serious.

Ma chère, I never go anywhere I’m not invited. Although I hope you will save your rejection until after the tart.”

He placed a slice on her plate and waited while she took a bite. When her eyes closed, he knew he’d scored his first point. No one could resist well-done French cuisine.

“Amazing,” she replied.

“And that is only the beginning. By the time tonight is over, you’ll have discovered that most things in Provence are amazing. And irresistible.”

Ooh…love the tension! Can’t wait to find out what happens next. 😀

Purchase Links:

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

BAM:  https://www.booksamillion.com/p/One-Night-Provence/Barbara-Wallace/Q393756081?id=7684037147673

Publisher (US):  https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781488043819_one-night-in-provence.html

Publisher (UK):  https://www.millsandboon.co.uk/products/hqnsingle-07183501

Publisher (Australia):  https://store.millsandboon.com.au/products/one-night-in-provence

Add it to Goodreads or BookBub:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43891484-one-night-in-provence

https://www.bookbub.com/books/one-night-in-provence-by-barbara-wallace

What are people saying about One Night in Provence?

 

 

One Night in Provence by Barbara Wallace is a Hallmark movie wrapped up in book form. Ms. Wallace did such a great job that I could picture everything happening. I felt so bad for these two every time they seemed to make progress then they’d fall back a couple of steps. This book was excellent, and I loved every minute of reading it.” – Karen (Baroness Book Trove), Goodreads and Amazon

I absolutely loved this book the characters were great! The setting was brilliant! I loved how it turn out. I’m looking forward to more in this series.” – Penney Wilfort, Amazon and Goodreads

“Another home run from Barbara Wallace! Two unlikely people from very different worlds who have given up on love and the hope of having a happily ever after come together for one week in Provence, France, a week that will change their lives forever. Perfect, uplifting beach read! You could almost smell the beautiful flowers that go into making perfume from this magnificent region of the world. ” – Valerie DeAngelis, Goodreads

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this contemporary, vacation romance! ♥♥♥

About Barbara Wallace

My love affair with writing began the day my best friend, Kim, showed me her “novel”, an illustrated tome about her cat. Impressionable eight-year-old that I was, I decided to write a novel of my own.

Needless to say, that novel, The Adventures of Ginger the Cat, failed to hit the bestseller’s lists. Neither did my second effort, The Tame, Tame East, an all-female version of the Robert Conrad TV series. That didn’t matter. I was hooked. In high school, while other kids played Pac-Man, and checked out the Eagles’ latest, I was in my room pounding out stories on my manual typewriter.

Looking back, I see now that romance played a central role in my stories from the beginning. No matter what genre I wrote (and I wrote all of them), I always inserted a happy ending. Heck, even The Adventures of Ginger featured a wedding. To me, there’s nothing more captivating than the anticipation of seduction, and the rush that comes from finding true love.  However, it wasn’t until a co-worker handed me a romance novel that my writing finally found its true home.

For years I limited my dreams to nights, weekends and commuter train trips while working as a communications specialist, PR freelancer and full-time mom.  But then, after years of knocking on doors, I sold to Harlequin Romance. Today, I’ve sold nearly 1 million books world-wide.  And, I couldn’t have done it without you.

A life-long Yankee, I live in New England with my own true love and two spoiled, rescue cats.  They are currently pouting because they’ve been informed neither of them will have a book written about them. Or because they want more food.  It’s a fifty-fifty shot.

 

Books:

And, if you want to know how to connect with the fascinating Barbara Wallace, here are some author links…

 

Once again, I want to thank Barbara Wallace, the brilliant author of this modern romance, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work! ♥

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book News, Books, characters, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Interview, Readers, Romance, vacation romance, Women's Fiction, Writers, Writing, Writing Tips

Book Feature: The Reluctant Husband by author Eliot Grayson

I am pleased to announce a great book by Eliot Grayson, an author I met during my journey! This talented writer is stopping by to tell us about MM historical romance, The Reluctant Husband, which released back in June!

Woo hoo! It’s always fun to discover romance authors and books. 😀

Eliot is allowing us a look at a MM alternate history romance set in the Regency era, The Reluctant Husband, today.

Great cover!

This is the blurb for The Reluctant Husband, book two of Goddess-Blessed Series:

Disowned, disgraced, and with nowhere to turn, Tom Drake is willing to barter anything — even himself — for a reprieve from starvation and despair. Years spent lying to protect his secrets have left him longing for someone to value him, even if it’s only for his body and the blessing of his patron goddess.

Mal Leighton’s cousin and heir is dying. Only a miracle can save him — and if a miracle doesn’t appear, Mal’s damn well going to create one. Marrying Tom for his blessing is his last desperate hope to preserve his family. And if Tom happens to be as irresistibly seductive as he is untrustworthy? Well, Mal can focus on more than one goal at a time.

Tom doesn’t fall in love, and Mal knows better than to believe he’s the exception. But when Tom’s blessing doesn’t provide the quick cure they’d hoped, it’s clear that the goddess expects them to have a marriage in more than name. To save Mal’s family and find their own happiness, they will both need to sacrifice their pride and risk their hearts.

Release Date: June 7, 2019

Genre: M/M historical romance, LGBT, Regency, alternate history

And here is an excerpt to tease you with...

Footsteps on the cobblestones of the square roused him from his fugue, and he pressed himself back into the alcove in panic. A lamp across the square did little to illuminate his corner; he was safe enough from anyone passing by.

Except that it wasn’t just anyone, and he wasn’t just passing by.

Malcolm Leighton stopped in the opening to the square, seeming to sense Tom’s presence; his silhouette, sinister in the mist, sent a shiver down Tom’s spine. But it was unmistakably Leighton, at least to one who’d spent years studying him surreptitiously from across school assemblies. He had a certain way of holding himself, both arrogant and graceful, that had always caught and held Tom’s attention — had made it so bloody difficult for Tom to hide the feelings he had to keep out of sight at all costs. What his father might have done had he discovered Tom’s leanings toward other men hadn’t borne thinking of.

When Leighton turned, his face was in shadow, but Tom could easily imagine his expression: one corner of his mouth raised in cynical amusement, the slight lift of his thick, straight black brows, and the shrewd gleam of his dark eyes.

As he stepped closer Tom’s body tightened, every muscle and tendon quivering with the urge to run, to fight, to take some action. He was cornered and brought to bay, quite literally and in every other way. If Leighton had followed him with violence in mind, he would find that Tom was not quite the easy pickings he had been as a schoolboy. Leighton still had an inch or two of height and the same in the breadth of his shoulders on Tom, but Tom could hold his own.

But when Leighton reached out, he held something in his hands, and his movements were slow and easy. “Your coat, Drake. They said you didn’t have a hat.”

The tension bled out of him as quickly as it had built, leaving him almost shaking from relief, from an odd disappointment, from despair and drink.

“You followed me to return my coat?” Tom’s voice came out all wrong, hoarse and dry. He reached out, took the coat, felt its weight in his hands as something unfamiliar and strange, now that it had been in Leighton’s possession even for a few minutes. “And — how did you know I’d left without it?”

“Half of the city saw you fly out the door as if all of Ingard’s hounds were on your heels,” Leighton drawled. “The gossips will be whispering of Tom Drake’s sudden fit of madness, this time tomorrow.”

“As though it matters,” Tom muttered. He wished it didn’t — wished he could be truly indifferent. He unfolded his coat, hands numb and clumsy, and nearly dropped it.

“Allow me.” Leighton swept the coat away so smoothly that Tom hardly realized it was gone. “Well?” Leighton prompted him impatiently.

Tom left off gaping at him and turned obediently to allow Leighton to help him on with it, a task he accomplished as well as any valet Tom had ever had.

None of Tom’s valets had ever lingered so long on the task of smoothing the fabric down his arms, though, nor stroked their hands over his hips afterward. Tom jerked away and spun to face Leighton.

“What the hell are you playing at?” he snarled. “If you think I’m the kind of man to fumble in an alley —”

“I know you’re that kind of man.” Leighton pushed forward, his chest brushing Tom’s and his face close enough that Tom could feel his breath. It was warm, and sweet with fine brandy, and nearly as intoxicating as the spirits Leighton had clearly imbibed. “But I’m not one to fumble, myself. There’s a place nearby. Rooms to let, short notice and short term. I had thought to take you there.”

“You’re not taking me anywhere.” Leighton’s other meaning belatedly sank in. “And I don’t fumble, in alleys or elsewhere, you arrogant, condescending, conceited arse!”

Leighton’s broad shoulders moved slightly, an arrogant, condescending shrug if ever there was one. “Your rather checkered history says otherwise, Drake.” Amused, Leighton was amused by Tom’s misery, and it was suddenly the outside of enough.

Tom seized Leighton by the shoulders and shoved, knocking the bastard against the rough bricks of the alcove wall, and he followed the shove with his full weight, knocking Leighton back and pinning him. Leighton hit hard and let out an oof of surprise, his hat flying off and landing somewhere on the damp cobblestones of the walkway.

“Don’t.” Tom shook him once, slamming him into the wall. “Don’t you dare speak of my wife as . . . checkered history. I should thrash you for that!”

“I’d like to see you try,” Leighton retorted, as calmly as if they stood in a drawing room discussing the weather.

Tom had been thrashed more often than the reverse, most recently by his own brother, but he’d learned a thing or two on those occasions, most notably that one took what advantage one could and be damned to the rules. He drew back and drove his fist into Leighton’s solar plexus — or would have, if Leighton hadn’t caught his arm, ducked to the side like a damned snake, and used Tom’s own momentum to fling him face-first into the wall.

He landed just hard enough to bruise, his cheek stinging where it scraped against the bricks. Leighton’s full weight landed against his back and knocked the wind out of him. He only registered that Leighton had one arm twisted behind his back when he tried, and failed, to throw him off.

“That’s enough of that,” Leighton said, suddenly not sounding so amused. “A friendly quarrel is one thing. I draw the line at fisticuffs.”

“We’re not friends,” Tom spat. He bucked, cursed, and landed against the wall again, winded and defeated.

Leighton leaned in, slowly pressing the whole length of his tall body against Tom’s. “Certainly not,” he breathed in Tom’s ear, the warmth of it sending a contradictory shiver down his spine. “But the way you’re wriggling your arse feels very friendly indeed.”

Tom stilled abruptly; he had been moving, but surely that was just a continued attempt to loosen Leighton’s hold.

“I didn’t intend for you to stop,” Leighton said, his low, smooth voice curling around the edges of Tom’s confusion, soothing and lulling him, making everything hazy. “You have a delightful arse. It may be the only thing you have to recommend you.”

Tom’s eyes snapped open. The dull ochre of the wall filled his vision; his own rasping breaths filled his ears; all his other senses could feel nothing but Leighton, on and around him, his rich, brandied scent and the heat of his hard form.

A harsh, horrible laugh rose up in his throat, and he forced it down before it could become a sob. His arse, of all things. His one remaining possession, besides a few items of clothing he couldn’t appear before the world without and that he hadn’t thought to sell — and that was all the value Leighton could see in him.

Goddess knew, perhaps that was all the value he had.

He squeezed his eyes shut, trying to fight the spinning of his head and the tingling in his extremities. He had to survive, didn’t he? Everything he’d done had been what he’d had to do — he’d had no choice but to make the decisions he had. They’d all come out badly. His decisions always did, and this one would surely be no different.

But tomorrow he’d be hungry; within a week, he’d be evicted from his rooms. He needed to live. And the hat he’d pawned that morning had been one of Monsieur Favreau’s masterpieces; gentlemen of higher station than Tom waited months for one made by the fellow’s own hands. Really, he probably should have sold his arse first.

A strange calm descended as he made up his mind. “Let me go.” And then, because Leighton seemed the sort to want to be quite sure he’d won, he added, “Please.”

Leighton’s hand around his wrist tightened, just a trifle, and then he released it and stepped away.

Tom took his time; he pushed back from the wall slowly enough to hide the stiffness in his limbs, and he carefully flicked the dust of the bricks from the front of his clothing. His fingers brushed over a snag in the silk of his last remaining waistcoat, and he shoved down the flash of panic at that. Leighton could afford to buy him another. He took a final moment before he turned around, giving himself one deep breath before he put his mask in place.

Bankrupt, disowned, and disheveled he might be, but Tom Drake could seduce anyone.

 

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/bQa97e

Woo! ♥♥♥ Love the tension. This sounds like a sizzling read!

So, what are readers saying about this novel?

The Reluctant Husband was a lovely novel, I quickly finished it and it was too soon, I found the MCs interesting and well mixed together, the double POV helped me understand better their stubborn minds and hearts. I devoured every word.” – M Marshall, Amazon

This was so so good!!!! I absolutely love this series, and hope it continues. Everything about it is lovely. Even though it’s a fictional world, you can totally see this taking place in the English countryside. The characters are fully actualized, as is the world around them. You see, smell, and feel it all as it unfolds. 💞Truly romantic in every way! 💞

This is a series I will revisit, and I hope more books come from this world. Thanks Eliot, for another enjoyable escape!💋
5 old-english-romance-infused-stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟” – Sharonica, Amazon

I’ve never seen two people fight the inevitable as much as Tom and Mal. They walked that razor thin line between love and hate and absolutely cut each other to pieces with it. This was such an intriguing storyline, the characters were engaging, and I thoroughly enjoyed following them on the rocky road to their happy ending.” – Joscelyn Smith, Amazon

Thank you for telling us about your book, Eliot! I know I can’t wait to read this MM Regency romance!

Also, check out book one in the series, The Replacement Husband

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this awesome book! 🙂 Or you can add it to Goodreads!

Author Bio

Eliot is an editor by day and a romance writer by night, at least on a good day — more of a procrastinator by day and despairing eater of chocolate by night when inspiration doesn’t flow and the day-job clients are being particularly insane. Go ahead and guess which of these is more common.

A steady childhood diet of pulp science fiction, classic tales of adventure, and romance novels surreptitiously borrowed from Eliot’s grandmother eventually led to a writing career; Eliot picked up an M/M romance a few years ago and has been enjoying the genre as a reader and an author ever since.

Author Links:
Website:  http://eliotgrayson.com/  
Contact:  http://eliotgrayson.com/contact.html
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/eliot.grayson.9
Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Eliot-Grayson/e/B07NL54KNF

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17300496.Eliot_Grayson
BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/eliot-grayson

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/eliotgrayson/

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Book News, Books, Event, Fiction, Historical, Historical Romance, LGBT, Readers, Romance

Exclusive Interview with author Jamie Schulz, plus a look at dystopian western romance, JAKE’S REDEMPTION!

Hi, readers! I am pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our fifteenth official author interview on this romance blog! I know in the past, we did character interviews then switched over to the author’s take on it, but this approach is a bit unusual.

We have a real treat for you, readers. Today we get to speak one-on-one with a talented author. Please join me in welcoming Jamie Schulz to ILRB! 😀

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

Author Jamie Schulz:  Hi, Marie!

Marie:  Hey, such a pleasure to have you here!

I’m going to throw in some standard questions first.

Obviously, we know your occupation as an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do?

I know I’m overloading you with questions, but we’re really interested in finding out more about you…

Jamie:  I am a romance author who writes mashup genres that are just a little different from the norm. I have a broad range of stories floating around in my head, so there’ll be some of the normal genres too, like contemporary romance, romantic suspense, maybe even some paranormal romance in the future (I really like Dragons!).

Am I any good at it?

In a word? Yes. (Well, at least, I’d like to think so, but it’s up to the reader to decide for themselves.)

Do I like it? I love it!

Marie:  Happy to hear it!

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Jamie:  Right now, it’s just my wonderful husband and myself with our little fur baby, but we’re hoping to add one more to our number soon.

Marie:  That’s wonderful! ♥

Let’s try something else, okay?

If it doesn’t bother you at all, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?

Jamie:  Your typical one-story rambler. It was cozy and comfortable. I have many fond memories of the place.

Marie:  Lovely!

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

Jamie:  I have a few. Reading has always been a favorite, of course, but I also like to draw, and play the piano (when I can get my hands on one) and guitar. I love music and gardening too.

I really enjoy writing and making up stories. I love to see where they go, because it’s not always to where I’d thought they would when I started. I like to camp, garden, can our vegetables and fruit, and go for walks outside.

Marie:  Nice!

And what is your greatest dream?

Jamie:  To be an author and reach the bestseller lists.

Marie:  Sounds like a plan! 😉

Let’s try another question.

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

Jamie:  I wish I could be as athletic as I used to be and not worry about anything.

What is stopping me? Getting older and old injuries from being athletic and not always so smart when I was young

Marie:  Okay.

Who was your first love?

Jamie:  Hmm… He was a friend, we were kids, and we never dated. Sad, I know.

Marie:  In any case, life seems to have worked out well for you! 😀

So, with the next question, I hope I’m not prying too much, but we are curious…

What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Jamie:  If you’re talking about accidents or bad choices, I have one. Getting a big, heavy car stuck in a snow bank on Easter Sunday, miles and miles from a main road with no way to pull the car out, and all through no fault of my own. This was before the proliferation of cell phones, so we couldn’t just call someone, even if there was service out there. Ended up staying the night. We were planning on walking out the next morning, but luckily a forest Ranger was checking the roads and he happened upon us. Fortunately, he had a rope to pull us out. Not a fun trip.

Marie:  Yikes! 😕

At least you got out safely.

Let’s move on to another topic, shall we?

[Jamie 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?

Jamie:  To have a family and to be a successful author.

Did I achieve that dream? I’m still working on both, but I’m far closer to them now than I was even a year ago.

In what ways was it not what I expected? The author part involves a lot of things I didn’t expect to have to do. I’m an Indie author, so I don’t have a crew of people to help me with formatting, editing, story development, cover art, book description, publishing, social media, and marketing. I had to learn how to do all those things, and I’m still learning every day.

The family part I always thought would take care of itself, but it didn’t turn out that way. We’re still working on it and hope it will be resolved very soon!

I didn’t meet the right person and the situation didn’t present itself for a long time. Now that I have a great guy in my life, it’s time to add that extra piece.

The author dream got put on hold for a really long time due to life and all the crap it can throw at you. Now that I’ve got to a relatively comfortable place, I have some time to devote to what I love to do. I hope to be able to do it full-time at some point.

Marie:  Oh, I know exactly what you mean! I hope to have both of those as well…

So, who is your role model, Jamie?

Jamie:  My mom.

Marie:  Cool!

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Jamie:  There are a few of these, but I’ll never tell you who they are.

Marie:  No worries, I respect your privacy.

Let’s try something different.

What is your deepest desire?

Jamie:  To be a full-time author with a family.

Marie:  And what is your greatest fear?

Jamie:  That my dream of a family will never come true.

And hornets! I hate those mean little things.

Marie:  Oh, no! I really don’t think that will be the case. It will work out one way or another. 😉

And, oh, man, bugs drive me crazy. We have so many in Indiana. 🙄

Let’s switch gears for a second…

If you were trapped on a deserted island, what five essentials would you need with you? They don’t have to be practical.

Jamie:  A trunk full of my favorite books. My husband and fur baby (does that count as two?). Some lounge chairs. A comfy bed. And sun screen.

Marie:  (Chuckles.) Yes, why not? I think I’d bring all the Black Dagger Brotherhood books I’ve collected. What else could pass the time? Well, other than spending time with my fiancé, of course.

Readers, let’s get the author’s perspective on one of her characters.  🙂

We’ve heard rumors about the hero of your story, Jake Nichols. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about him?

Jamie:  Jake is a tenderhearted guy who’s gone through a lengthy, very traumatic experience. At the beginning of the story, Jake is an imprisoned slave and is worried that he will die in the dark cell where he’s been confined. Through the story, he thinks about his best friend and misses him more than he wants to admit. He’s afraid of women due to his experiences, but is still attracted to them (some of them, anyway).

Marie:  Intriguing…

And what are Jake’s greatest strengths?

Jamie:  His integrity, kindness, intelligence, and loyalty.

Marie:  How admirable! 😀

And his weaknesses?

Jamie:  His fear of his tormentor and his worry that he’ll never be the man he used to be again.

Marie:  I’m sure some of us can relate to that one…trauma definitely changes you.

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are Jake’s favorite foods?

Jamie:  He’s not picky. After living in the wild for a number of years, he’s learned to eat what he can get.

Marie:  All right.

How about another question?

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

Jamie:  His loyalty makes him a very good friend, and his kindness makes people trust him.

Marie:  Nice!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Jamie:  I think readers will like Jake very much for all the reasons I’ve already mentioned, plus there’s the fact that he’s far better looking than he believes. 😉

Marie: 😛

(Laughs and fans herself.) Hot gentlemen book boyfriends are my weakness!

Now that we have a real taste of Jake, we have a few questions for you as well as the author, about the writing process of your book.

What first gave you the idea for Jake’s Redemption?

Jamie:  Well, I actually wrote the first five books of the series before I even thought of writing Jake’s story. But, the more I got into the story, the more I felt that Jake needed one that was all his own. Parts of his tale are told in more detail later in the series when he feels his best friend Bret needs to know, but I thought it was important that readers knew what brought him and Monica together before they got to know Bret and Angel.

Marie: That’s sort of what happened with book three of my historical romance trilogy. Suddenly, I realized that readers needed a glimpse into certain characters that had always been in the series, but I’d never gone into too much detail in the past. So it became a family saga as well as a Victorian romance.

It’s fascinating how the muse works, huh? 😀

Let’s try something else.

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

Jamie:  Actually, I’d say I’m a ‘plantser’. I do plan out the story and make outlines, but a lot of the time the story evolves as I’m writing and I have to edit the original idea. Most of the time this is good. Sometimes it gets messy, but it’s how I work and it works for me.

Marie:  Awesome!

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

Jamie:  Learning how to navigate all the marketing was a nightmare. I’m still wading through how to reach the right readers, but I’m slowly getting better. Then there was how to build a mailing list and how to use it. That’s not as easy as it sounds and I’ve made some mistakes. Luckily, I found some great online mentors to ask questions of who helped me understand much of the process, and who are still doing so, for me and many others.

As far as writing, development editing can be hard as you often end up rewriting or deleting whole chapters. It was difficult to do at first, but once you realize how much better the story is, the process gets easier.

What I’d do differently? Well, if I have the money, I’d hire someone to do a beautiful cover (which I may do with Jake’s Redemption anyway), as well as hire a virtual assistant to take care of all the small tasks that take up so much of my time. That way I’d have more time to write. I work full time and am working on that family thing I mentioned earlier, so it can be very difficult to find time to write or edit, especially when there’s so many other things to do.

Marie:  Oh, I hear ya! 😀 It is tough to navigate the publishing world.

As for the cover, I think it’s perfect! I look forward to learning about the other books in the series as 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 Jake’s Redemption appears to be… ♥

Jake’s Redemption is the first book in the Angel Eyes cowboy dystopian romance series.

If you like scorching-hot chemistry, clever post-apocalyptic worlds, and star-crossed love stories, then you’ll adore Jamie Schulz’s captivating tale.

Genres: Romance, Cowboy/Western, Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic/Sci-fi, Suspense

Here is the blurb:

An imprisoned cowboy. An empowered woman. When true love is forbidden, opening their hearts could destroy them both…

Chained and enslaved, Jake Nichols is convinced he’ll die alone. In this new order where men are stripped of all power, he endures brutal torture at the hands of his female captor. But when he’s hired out to build a ranch home for an outspoken beauty, his dreams of escape transform into visions of passion.

Monica Avery struggles to fill her heart in a loveless society. With marriage outlawed and romantic partners reduced to pawns, she’s given up hope of finding her soul mate. But watching the rugged rancher hard at work on her shelter awakens her deeply buried desires.

As the project comes together, Monica discovers a kindred spirit in the tenderhearted Jake. But despite their growing attraction, he still belongs to a cruel woman who’d rather see him dead than free.

Can Monica save Jake, or will their love lead to a tragic tomorrow?

Here’s a peek at the story…

JAKE NICHOLS knelt in defeat on the cold ground of the mountain meadow, directly beside his best friend, Bret Masters. Defenseless, with their fingers laced together behind their heads, their eyes scanned the surroundings for any escape from the Raiders who had attacked their camp in the early morning hours.

Both men scowled up at their captor, a woman Bret had foolishly—and against Jake’s repeated warnings—loved to distraction. Jake risked a quick glance at his friend, knowing the pain Bret must be suffering in the wake of her betrayal. He felt the bite of it too, only for a different reason. Bret was family, and what hurt him, hurt Jake. His protective nature made him long to shield Bret from the misery this woman inflicted.

“I don’t care for you,” Amy had said only moments ago, indifferent to the devastation Jake saw in every line of Bret’s granite-hard face. What made her confession even worse was the bit she added about only wanting to use his body.

“You do have such a pretty face, but no brains in your head,” she went on, and then laughed at Bret’s seething look. His expression made Jake ache for his friend, and he silently hoped she had nothing more to torment him with. But Amy wasn’t done with Bret yet.

“How could you think any self-respecting woman would want you for anything more than your gorgeous face and hard body?” she asked, not waiting for a reply. “A decent woman would never accept you as an equal. Any woman who would is worse than the slave you will shortly become.”

A deep growl rumbled up from Bret’s chest, and to Jake’s surprise, Bret lunged to his feet and attacked her. Seeing an opportunity, Jake and all the other prisoners immediately joined him in a last, desperate attempt to gain their freedom. Their female adversaries, however, had a new genetic advantage. It may have taken a few seconds for the hysterical-strength to kick in, but once it did, the fight, strength-wise, was no longer in the men’s favor.

The skirmish didn’t last long, but in a brief moment before it ended, Jake turned to see Amy about to drive a long-bladed knife into his best friend’s back. Jake didn’t think, he moved, tackling Amy as her weapon plunged downward from its high arch. Amy tried to wiggle away from him, but he held on, desperate to keep her from harming Bret.

“Run!” He heard Bret’s frantic shout. “Run!” The sound of pounding feet and continued battle assaulted Jake’s ears. He tried to roll away from Amy, but now she held on to him. On his hands and knees, he jerked his arm to shake her loose and follow his friend into the forest, but she wouldn’t let go.

Pain bloomed sharp and bright in his ribs as a booted foot slammed into him—once, twice—and he fell. The boot kept coming. He curled up, protecting his vulnerable areas, but his assailant still landed several blows to his head and back.

“Enough!” Amy’s voice rang out, and the assault ended. Jake spit blood from his mouth and struggled to catch his breath. The dizziness in his head and the stabbing ache in his side told him getting to his feet might be harder than it was a few minutes ago.

Definitely broke a rib or two, he thought, tonguing his split lip and rapidly cataloging the pain in the rest of his body.

“How many do we still have?” Amy shouted to someone nearby.

“Ten got away,” a woman said. “With this one,” Jake assumed she was pointing at him, “we still have twenty-seven men, along with some traitorous women and children too.”

“Is there a tall man, black hair, green eyes, very good-looking, among those we recaptured?” Amy asked, describing Bret to a tee.

“No.”

“That sappy, pretty-boy son of a bitch,” Amy swore, undoubtedly meaning Bret. “I should’ve known he’d try something like that.” She cursed again.

“You know their hiding places now,” the other woman said. “We’ll catch them and their friends too.”

Jake and Bret had come across Amy by accident—or so they had thought at the time—almost seven months before as they traveled the mountains, hunting for food. She’d been hungry and in need of aid. Unsurprisingly, she took an immediate interest in Bret. Although he had a mistrusting nature, she spared little time wrapping his love-starved heart around her finger. Jake had never liked her and the two friends argued about her more than once, but despite his misgivings about Amy, Jake refused to alienate his boyhood friend. Yet as a result of her relationship with Bret, she now knew the location of most of their woodland hiding places.

“That’s true,” Amy replied to the other woman’s comment. She tapped her chin with her index finger as if considering, and then she glanced down at Jake.

He had lain very still during their interaction, hoping against hope they might forget about him.

No such luck.

“And you,” she said coming toward him. “You—”

He didn’t give her a chance to finish; he had a fairly good idea of what came next. Instead, he ignored his dizziness and the pain in his chest as he surged to his feet, pushed her aside, and ran for the trees. He’d made it six feet when he heard a crack behind him. Then something hard and thin snapped around his neck and yanked him backward. He saw stars as his head and back slammed to the ground, sending a new wave of misery through his abused body. He groaned, trying to place what just happened, and then Amy was leaning over him.

She jammed her knee into his chest, and pain shot through his damaged ribs. He lifted his arms to shove her away, but the leathery rope wrapped around his neck yanked at him again, choking off his air. Desperate, needing to get her off him, needing to breathe, he tugged at the cord strangling him. His eyes widened as Amy grabbed him by the hair and tilted his head back to expose his throat. He reached for her again, but the minute the edge of her knife grazed his flesh, his arms collapsed to the ground and he froze.

The binding around his neck loosened and fell away as Amy glared into his face. Blessed air came freely, but the simple act of breathing caused his ribs to twinge more.

With the suffocating rope gone, his hands automatically lifted off the ground to defend himself. Amy’s knife cut a tiny fraction deeper. Blood tickled his neck as the warm liquid trickled over his cool skin, and he froze once more, afraid to even breathe.

“Uh-uh,” Amy warned as she increased the pressure slightly, widening the gash a bit more and digging the point of her blade into his Adam’s apple.

His mouth went dry. Is she going to slit my throat?

“Looks like Bret didn’t value your friendship as much as you thought, huh, Jake?” Amy said with a nasty smile, her dark brown eyes glittering down at him. Jake cringed inwardly. He knew that wasn’t the case. In the chaos, Bret probably hadn’t even realized Jake had been captured, and wouldn’t until he failed to show at their rendezvous point. But her implication twisted at his guts nonetheless.

A second woman stepped up behind Amy, coiling the long black length of a bullwhip in her hand.

So, that’s what was strangling me…I should’ve known.

“You fucked up my plans, Jake, just as much as your damned friend,” Amy hissed at him when he didn’t respond to her earlier comment. “If it weren’t for you, he’d be mine and you’d both make me rich. Now, I have to settle for you and those other losers we caught today.”

“What’re—you going—to do with me?” He stifled a groan for his halting speech and glared daggers at the woman hovering over him.

“Oh, I think you know what we do with captured men,” Amy chuckled. She tilted her head, and a strand of her amber-blonde hair fell into her face as her eyes raked over him.

“You know, Jake,” she said reflectively, “you’re a good-looking guy. If Bret hadn’t been around, you would’ve been my target. It’s only next to a man like him that you’d seem second best. But then, you were always suspicious of me, weren’t you? Maybe once you’ve been trained, I’ll pay you another visit.”

He clamped his jaws tight and didn’t respond, but his mind was in overdrive. He wanted to fight, but moving meant death. He didn’t want to know what it was like to bleed to death from a severed artery. Instead, he scowled all the more. If he wanted to live, it was all he could do.

The woman beside Amy crouched down, but he couldn’t see what she was doing. The next thing he knew, he jumped as a needle jammed into his hip and something injected into his body.

Ah, shit… He knew what that was; he’d heard dozens of stories about it but luckily had never had to deal with the drug, until now.

It started working almost instantaneously, driving up his anxiety level, making him shake and cringe. A few seconds passed, while Amy’s gaze bore into his, and the effect of the chemical doubled.

Oh, God, this is worse than I thought it would be. He had never felt so weak and vulnerable in his life.

“Now,” Amy said as she removed the blade from his throat and stood. She tucked the knife in her boot and then plopped her rear down on his chest, knowing he would be too terrified, thanks to the drug, to do anything to save himself. “What shall I do with you?” She ran a finger down the side of his face.

He flinched away.

You could let me go, he thought and tried to force out the sarcastic remark, but the substance surging through him wouldn’t allow it.

“I think you deserve a particularly horrible punishment for always interfering in my plans with Bret,” she said, answering her own question while tapping his bearded chin with one finger. The slight contact amped up his anxiety, and he shivered. “He may have listened to you complain about me, but he loved me.” Her derisive tone told him what she thought about that. “He would’ve never turned me out the way you kept telling him to do. And now, you’ve ruined my chance to have him how I always wanted him: in chains. So, how shall I make you pay for all of it?”

Jake’s body shook with fear, both real and chemically induced. Amy was far more lethal than he had once thought.

“I know just the place you should go,” she continued with a bright smile, as if she’d come up with a brilliant idea. “I have an acquaintance near here, a woman who’s exceptionally adept at training men to be perfect little slaves. I’ll bet she’d jump at the chance to make you a willing breeder. You’ll make her a lot of money. Once she pays me a high price for you that is.”

“P-Please…” Jake pleaded involuntarily, the drug wreaking havoc with his willpower. No matter how much he wanted to resist begging, he couldn’t stop now that he had started. “P-Please…” he muttered again, his voice shaking while fighting the drug—and losing. “Let me go…”

Amy laughed.

“Darla’s going to tear you to pieces, Jake,” she told him, her sinister smile sending waves of dread prickling up and down his spine. “A little bit at a time, she’ll peel away your pride—”

Sounds intriguing, suspenseful and sexy! Can’t wait to find out what happens next. 😀

Purchase Links:

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

Add it to Goodreads or BookBub:   https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42607132-jake-s-redemption

https://www.bookbub.com/books/jake-s-redemption-the-angel-eyes-series-prequel-by-jamie-schulz

What are people saying about Jake’s Redemption?

 

Also, check out what our former ILRB reviewer, Kevin, had to say about this book back in March! https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2019/03/20/book-review-jakes-redemption-by-jamie-schulz/

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this dystopian western romance with a touch of suspense! ♥♥♥

About Jamie Schulz

Jamie Schulz lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family, her husband, and their fur babies. Writing has always been a big a part of her life.

Cowboys, ice cream, and reading almost any kind of romance are among her (not so) secret loves. To her, every one of her stories, no matter how dark, must have a happy ending, and she strives to make them impossible to put down until you get there.

She balances her free time between reading her favorite romance authors—in genres ranging from erotica and dark romance to sweet historicals and contemporary romance—and spending time with her family.

Her debut novel, Jake’s Redemption, was released in February 2019 and is available for sale on Amazon.

Readers can connect with Jamie on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads, or follow her website.

Book:

And, if you want to know how to connect with the fascinating Jamie Schulz, here are some author links…

 

Once again, I want to thank Jamie Schulz, the brilliant author of this dystopian western romance, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work! ♥

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