I’m in The Zone….

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about a very determined young lady who would not get out of my head. Lady Virginia Penrose has, I am pleased to say, furnished me with 25,000 words to date! As I said at the time ‘I don’t do historical fiction’ – turns out I was wrong! I am loving it.

My WIP is set around 1910 – 1914 before the outbreak of WWI. It was such a fascinating period of time. Hard to believe sitting here today that I would not have been allowed to vote! I’m convinced I would have been a sufragette, I have such a big mouth it would have been impossible for me to have kept quiet about something so unjust!

I wanted to share with you some of the amazing images that I have come across in the course of my research. I hope you enjoy them.

 

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Friday Feature ~ A Demon’s Witch by Tena Stetler

Wow Friday! How did that happen?

If you are looking for a weekend read then look no further. Please help me welcome fellow author Tena Stetler to my blog today. Best selling author, Tena Stetler, uses her over-active imagination to spin tales of paranormal romance/suspense and cozy mysteries. Her spicy romances spin the adventures of magical kick-ass women and mystical alpha males that dare to love them. From demons to faeries and witches to vampires her intriguing characters take roads less traveled to draw you into exciting tales that  engage the imagination and warm the heart. Welcome again Tena. What was your the inspiration behind A Demon’s Witch?

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TS: A Demon’s Witch was my debut novel and has remained close to my heart. A Demon’s Witch hit the market and garnered best seller status. It earned The Romantic Reviews Readers Choice 2016 Nominee in the paranormal romance category.   I love talking about this story.

The ideas begin to percolate as I sat in a beauty salon listening to the chatter from other customers. One woman swore she’d been approached by a vampire want-to-be.
This got me to thinking, which is scary in and of itself. What if the hairdresser was an alpha male, Demon Overlord of the Western Hemisphere that owned a multi-species salon in Washington DC? Enter a powerful witch, whose beauty caught the eye of the demon on a rainy day when she rushed into his salon. Now, unbeknownst to him, she is not any ordinary witch, but the little sister of the demon’s enforcer. Now you have a romance with unbelievable complications.
The story became a series, but the other planned books in the series took a strange turn when the majority of readers and reviewers clamored for the enforcer, Tristian’s story to be next in line. I’d never considered writing a book on the witch’s brother, the demon’s enforcer. But after mulling it over for several months and publishing three unrelated books,
I am excited to announce A Warlock’s Secrets (Tristian’s story) is awaiting cover art and will be published spring 2017. So please watch for it!
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Have a Spare 10 Minutes? Do Something Amazing For an Author….

How do you choose which books to read ? For me, it is a combination of word of mouth and checking out the books reviews.

As a indie author, it is hard to get your voice heard in a world of ‘buy me’ noise. Trying to raise your lone voice above the big publishing houses and their vast budgets is an uphill struggle. Some days it can feel as if all I’ve done is beg people for reviews – How many times can you ask readers to leave a review before you feel as it you’re stalking them? It can be very disheartening!

Some sites won’t even let you advertise your book unless you have a certain number of 4/5 star reviews. Did you know that over 85% of Kindle readers use reviews to ascertain if a book is suitable for them? The importance of reviews can not be overstated. It’s great publicity and helps like minded readers to connect. Ever seen those ads along the bottom of your Amazon screen ‘recommended for you’ or ‘based on your history you may like this’? These are not random choices put there by chance. They are cleverly calculated algorithms, based on reviews. It is all too easy to leave a review for something you didn’t like, I know I’ve done it! But… what about the things you enjoy, the things that exceed your expectations? How many of us leave reviews for the books we’ve enjoyed?

The more reviews a book gets, the higher its visibility and ranking. The higher its visibility and ranking, the more people will read it. The more people who read it, the higher the sales. More sales = more reviews. So you see, it really is not rocket science!

In an effort to redress the balance ever so slightly, I challenge you to do two good things this week. If you have recently read a good book – tell someone else about it. Secondly, leave a review on Amazon. It doesn’t have to be war and peace, just a few lines about why you enjoyed it. You don’t even have to use your name it can be anonymous. Your good deed will be gratefully received by all authors so go on be brave… you can do it! Do something amazing for an author this week.

 

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Friday Feature ~ Beneath The Lake by Casi McLean

Today I would like to welcome author Casi McLean and her novel ‘Beneath The Lake’, a time slip romantic suspense! Another first for me! Thanks for joining me today Casi, can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind ‘Beneath The Lake’?
CM: I love to talk about my, Beneath The Lake, and the eerie lake lore that inspired my muse. A town that time forgot––the history and creepy stories attached to a rural area that sleeps beneath Atlanta’s famous man-made lake, Sidney Lanier, fascinated me. Homes, churches and businesses still linger beneath the surface. The moonshiners of the 1940’s added built-in suspense, and the birth of NASCAR. Looper Speedway, a half-mile dirt track where bootleggers competed with their souped-up cars, exposed its cement stands in a recent draught.
There’s a Lady of the Lake who haunts the ghost town too––the spine-chilling lore is the basis for book three in my Beneath The Lake series, Between The Shadows. Some say she lures victims to her watery grave. The truth is, swimmers get trapped among the deadfall of sheered-off trees and town remains. Even expert divers get tangled beneath the murky surface, hence the lake’s unnerving label: Lanier never gives up its dead. The inspiration swirled in my mind, begging for a story to be told. What a perfect setting for my romantic time-slip suspense series.
Why time-slip? Ever since my childhood imagination discovered Madeleine L’Engles, A Wrinkle In Time, the idea of time travel intrigued me. And Lake Lanier, a man-made lake with mesmerizing history, presented a plausible theory. What if the excavation explosions triggered a seismic shift? Given enough energy, could the blasts rip a portal into a different dimension or a crack in time? The possibilities were endless.
The birth of Lacey Montgomery evolved through my young adult love for Jude Deveraux’s A Knight In Shining Armor. The time-slip novel introduced her endearing Montgomery family. I hope my books honor her inspiration. My high school friend, Hilary Johnson, inspired the persona of my heroine, Lacey Montgomery. A lawyer, discouraged with defending criminals, yearned to help honest people in trouble. Some of Hillary’s finer qualities became part of Lacey––the dysfunctional relationships came from my own personal experiences. LOL. Once these elements entwined, Beneath The Lake blossomed with an energy and life of its own.
The sequel, Beyond The Mist, picks up where the first story ends incorporating two minor characters as the new hero and heroine. Beyond The Mist is complete, in editing, and will be published in a few months.
For a Free Gift, and a chance to win my entire short story collection, Destiny: Five Novelettes With a Twist, click here: https://spark.adobe.com/page/pxekfzj8Rx4el/
I hope you enjoy my trailer, blurb, and the opening excerpt below.
 CasiMcLean
Blurb:
A ghost town submerged beneath Atlanta’s famous man-made Lake Lanier reportedly lures victims to a watery grave. But when Lacey Montgomery’s car spins out of control and hurtles into the depths of the icy water, she awakens in the arms of a stranger, in a town she’s never heard of–34 years before she was born.
When the 2012 lawyer tangles with a 1949 hunk, fire and ice swirl into a stream of sweltering desire. Bobby Reynolds is smitten the moment the storm-ravaged woman opens her eyes and, despite adamant protest, Lacey falls in love with a town destined for extinction, and the man who vows to save his legacy.
Threatened by a nefarious stalker, the wrath of bootleggers, and twists of fate, Lacey must find the key to a mysterious portal before time rips the lovers apart, leaving their star-crossed spirits to wander forever through a ghost town buried beneath the lake.

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Saturday Spotlight ~The House on Candlewick Lane by Amy M. Reade

I am very pleased to welcome fellow mystery author Amy M. Reade. Her shiny new novel ‘The House on Candlewick Lane’ has just been released this week. Welcome Amy, how did you come up with the premise for The house on Camdlewick Lane?

AR: I came up with the idea for this book while on vacation in Scotland. The country is so different from my little corner of the world. The lochs, the mountains, the villages and the sea are never far from one’s imagination in such a rugged and beautiful place, and the capital, Edinburgh, is a wondrous city where the cosmopolitan culture of today is closely connected to the regal, artistic, and intellectual heritage of yesterday.

One thing that always fascinates me is that we can never really know what goes on behind someone else’s closed doors. Every family has something, whether it be a secret, an embarrassing circumstance, or an entire façade, that they don’t share with the rest of the world. It could be a financial problem, a marital issue, a drug habit—anything. In The House on Candlewick Lane I wanted to explore one family’s secret (or secrets), hidden behind the walls of an old house that fits in with its stony, cold landscape at the outskirts of a small Scottish village.

Having done an internship at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children many years ago, I have always been under the strong sway of the topic of familial abduction. In addition to the excitement of uncovering family secrets, The House on Candlewick Lane touches on the issue of non-custodial parental abduction in a way that sees justice served while addressing the custodial parent’s frustration and anguish.

What a great premise and a great atmospheric cover. I have my copy loaded on my Kindle….

 

Candlewick

 

It is every parent’s worst nightmare. Greer Dobbins’ daughter has been kidnapped-and spirited across the Atlantic to a hiding place in Scotland. Greer will do anything to find her, but the streets of Edinburgh hide a thousand secrets-including some she’d rather not face. Art historian Dr. Greer Dobbins thought her ex-husband, Neill, had his gambling addiction under control. But in fact he was spiraling deeper and deeper into debt. When a group of shady lenders threatens to harm the divorced couple’s five-year-old daughter if he doesn’t pay up, a desperate Neill abducts the girl and flees to his native Scotland. Though the trail seems cold, Greer refuses to give up and embarks on a frantic search through the medieval alleys of Edinburgh-a city as beguiling as it is dangerous. But as the nightmare thickens with cryptic messages and a mysterious attack, Greer herself will become a target, along with everyone she holds dear.

 

 

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Friday Feature ~ Double Trouble by Darcy Flynn

I really do not know where the weeks are going. I keep having to remind myself that not only is it Friday but it’s February too! Today I am very please to welcome author Darcy Flynn and her sweet contemporary romance ‘Double Trouble’. Welcome Darcy. What can you tell us about Double Trouble? 

I’ve always loved romantic comedies, especially mistaken identity stories. And what better way to confuse my heroine, then identical twin brothers. Some of my dearest friends have been identical twins, from my early childhood, until now. Six sets, to be exact. I’ve always loved being the one who could tell them apart, the best friend who shared their secrets and their pranks. I thought it was time to write a story for them.

Wow, six sets of twins! That must have been very entertaining, no wonder you wanted to write about it. Here’s wishing you every success with ‘Double Trouble’.

Darcy

From the first moment coffee mogul, Will Carrington, gazes into the fiery, green eyes of Clare Sullivan, he’s hit with the feeling she does not like him. Not. One. Little. Bit. Used to being the proverbial prize by some gorgeous gold-digging fortune hunter, he’s learned to be careful. But with his hunter instincts now on high alert, he’s determined to find out the why behind her stormy-eyed glances.

Top home designer, Clare Sullivan, wants absolutely nothing to do with arrogant, self-assured Will Carrington, especially after he called her half-sister a gold digger. When she gets the opportunity to design his multi-million dollar Miami penthouse, she arrives at his office ready to decline his offer, and to tell him exactly what she thinks of his cruel and un-warranted comments. 

While there, she overhears his one-sided phone conversation, which seems to further insult her sister. Assuming the worse, Clare makes the rash decision to accept the job and charge him a fortune in the process. Someone needs to teach him a lesson and what better way than with a swift kick in his wallet.

Since she and her sister have different surnames, Clare conveniently hides the connection to her sister. But while she works with Will, she discovers another side to this self-assured, woman-hater. A Jekyll to his Hyde. Charming and professional, he’s nothing like the man she’s heard about. What she doesn’t know is Will Carrington has a few secrets of his own.


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A Snapshot from my Mind….. February

I had no idea I would be so happy to see the start of February. January was full of the ‘T’ word and the news from everywhere was depressing. February already feels more… dare I say it – optimistic! With a rather large spring in my step I am heading for my first ever writers retreat. I have some idea of what to expect, although my knowledge of such gatherings is based on my own expectations more than fact! I hope there shall be lots of writing, not much procrastination and perhaps a glass or two of some nice fizz. Do I expect too much? Quite possibly! I shall report back next week on my findings.

Work with my latest muse Virginia continues and is proving enlightening. Virginia Penrose is developing into an interesting character with a lot to say! I hope my retreat shall give me a chance to get to know her better. I can tell you the book is set around 1910. Whilst doing my research I came across this old photograph which sums up what’s going on in my head perfectly!

 

Picadilly London 1910

Friday Feature ~Stolen Secrets ~ Elizabeth Alsobrooks

Another ‘first’ feature for me. Today I am very pleased to welcome author Elizabeth Alsobrooks and her new fantasy romance book ‘Stolen Secrets’. Welcome Elizabeth. I do not really know anything about fantasy romance please can you tell us a bit about Stolen Secrets…

EA:Stolen Secrets is a romance spin off from my Illuminati (Urban Fantasy) series, so is much more character driven and oriented than what is usual for me. It’s steamier, of course, and the hero is hot, hot, hot, if I do say so myself.  Here is who I pictured when writing this:

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I’m sure you can see how princely he looks? What English gal stranded in Cairo could resist such a persuasive hunk? Well, the heroine, Lady Isabella Valentine tries, but being a romance I guess you know how it ends . . . .

Emm…. maybe I can guess!!

Here’s how it begins:
        Everything about the shop was irregular, including the displays which projected at odd angles, supported by ornate wooden brackets and the occasional book case or other Egyptian artifact. Its merchandise had been collected and added to over a lifetime of adventures, and the result was vastly eclectic and often mismatched and even mysterious. The windows of the cluttered antiquities dealership, not yet shuttered, allowed slanted sunlight to illuminate dust motes, thick and insidious, seeking every crevice and ornate feature in which to drift. Brushing her hand across the table to clear it of its most recent layer, Isabella unrolled the map and traced the route with her fingertip.
She heard the bell above the front door jingle, waited for the expected greeting, and sighed. Five minutes later and Misha would have arrived to clean and bar the entrance, and then she could begin preparing for the dig of a lifetime.
Elizabeth_Alsobrooks ebook stolen secrets
Offered an enormous sum by an anonymous benefactor for the acquisition of an ancient ceremonial relic, a sum that would keep the antiquities shop in Cairo her father left her afloat while she continued her own archaeological pursuits, Lady Isabella Valentine was distracted rather than tempted, then suspicious, when the dashing young Bedouin slipped in just before closing and promised her a deal she couldn’t refuse–for the very same relic. Despite his sensual appeal, she did refuse him, sending him away.
 
Prince Mukhtar, son of Sheikh Abdul Kummel al-Rahman, leader of the Hassana, is on a sacred Illuminati mission for Queen Isis to retrieve something stolen from one of her temples over a thousand years ago. This mortal disbeliever though an enchanting English rose, however beautiful she might be, is clearly in the power of the Usurper and must be persuaded to help him, one way or another. But neither of them know of the evil power they are up against, or what hidden dangers await them in the tomb of the high priest.
Thank you so much for sharing about your new release Elizabeth. Here’s wishing you much success with Stolen Secrets.
Available on February 14th!
You can pre order here…..

Connect with Elizabeth Alsobrooks:

Elizabeth Alsobrooks Website

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