historical romance

Review, Interview + Giveaway with Jody Hedlund & The Doctor’s Lady

>Jody Hedlund is one of the fabulous authors I met on Twitter. I’ve admired her thoughts on writing, the writing life and developing a career as an author. I’ve appreciated the genuine warmth and sincerity that comes across even online.

Leave a comment or question for Jody to enter for one of these prizes:
1) A copy of The Doctor’s Lady
2) 1 of 5 custom handmade bookmarks
Open Internationally

The Doctor’s Lady released early September and I was lucky enough to receive and early copy for review. This is the first novel I’ve read by Jody, but it won’t be the last. Her debut, The Preacher’s Bride, is near the very top of my TBR pile. And I was thrilled to hear recently that we will all be blessed with more of Jody’s talent as she has secured a three book deal with Bethany House. (YAY Jody! Congratulations!)

The Doctor’s Lady

Priscilla White knows she’ll never be a wife or mother and feels God’s call to the mission field in India. Dr. Eli Ernest is back from Oregon Country only long enough to raise awareness of missions to the natives before heading out West once more. But then Priscilla and Eli both receive news from the mission board: No longer will they send unmarried men and women into the field.

Left scrambling for options, the two realize the other might be the answer to their needs. Priscilla and Eli agree to a partnership, a marriage in name only that will allow them to follow God’s leading into the mission field. But as they journey west, this decision will be tested by the hardships of the trip and by the unexpected turnings of their hearts.

Review:
This novel was so much more than I expected.  As inspirational romance is not a genre I read often, I suppose my expectations were a bit out of whack. 🙂  Going off the cover, the cover copy, the genre, the publisher I was ready for a light love story and lots of rich historical fact. 

Boy, did I underestimate!  The Doctor’s Lady went above and beyond my every expectation.

While the cover copy explains the external conflict that fuels the hero and heroine’s cross-country journey and hints at a touch of romance, it doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of all the depth beneath the cover.  The Doctor’s Lady is filled with characters so real I often felt as if I could reach out and touch them; their struggles so universal, every human being could relate on some level. Their commitment to fulfill their God-given calling while struggling against broken hearts, dashed dreams and dimmed hopes created strong internal conflicts while the untamed Western lands and the hardships they brought created a very real, very threatening external antagonist. 

Click for larger view

The Doctor’s Lady is filled with sigh-worthy moments–those turning points, sometimes epiphanies, sometimes small flickers of revelation, when the hero or heroine would make a self discovery which would bring them closer to the other–a relationship the reader can see is part of the reason God brought them together on this mission, but one neither character is willing to give in to.

The hero, Eli Earnest, has a wonderful character arc.  His stubbornness and preconceived ideas give way to a new perspective and a fresh respect for not only the heroine, Priscilla, but for women in general, seeing them as strong individuals rather than his previous opinion of them as “liabilities” because of their weaknesses.  The reader also gets to watch him slowly fall in love with Priscilla, all while he ignores the signs.

Priscilla starts out strong, but becomes even stronger as the book moves forward.  One of the things I loved about the heroine was the way she could be so very strong, yet never need to overpower or bully or use harshness to show her strength.  She never lost that feminine softness, no matter how rough the road became, as that made me respect her all the more–woman to woman.  I found it especially enjoyable to watch her grow stronger in one aspect of her personality while softening in another to allow Eli into her heart.  A very complex character growth that Jody portrayed artistically.

Through it all, the external conflict never wained.  At every turn in the road, every fork in the path, new conflict arose, testing the characters will, their determination, their commitment all while showing their internal growth. 

I’m a picky reader.  Someone who has to have something pushing me forward to the next page–personal conflict, character growth, plot twists, action.  I won’t hang out for lingering description, although I value beautiful prose.  I’m not patient enough to wade through paragraphs of historical facts, no matter how fascinating.  I need stuff (a highly technical term) to happen–internally, externally, it doesn’t matter.  But something has to happen to get me to move forward.

I couldn’t stop moving forward with Jody’s book.  There were nights I purposely didn’t pick up the book because I knew I wouldn’t put it down and I had to get sleep for work the next day.

Oh, and don’t let the genre fool you…Jody is absolutely fabulous with sexual tension.  The attraction between these two sparks from the beginning and the heat only grows throughout the story.  But one of the elements that makes that desire so strong between them is the development of their emotional bond along the journey.  Their attraction and love for each other is truly a beautiful thing to watch grow in front of your eyes.

And I’m thrilled with the excerpt she chose to post because it’s one of my favorite moments in the book.  I think it’s the moment my heart completely opened to Eli and I knew Priscilla’s would too.  This excerpt is the perfect example of so many passages in The Doctor’s Lady that gave me “Ahhh” moments.

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today?

I had a lot of fun writing the wedding night scene. Because Eli and Priscilla agreed to a marriage in name only, they have no plans to consummate their marriage. However, nobody else knows their secret. And so after the wedding, Priscilla’s mother and sister help her get ready for her first night with her new husband. They turn back the covers on the bed, brush her hair, and give her instructions on what to expect. While they’re doing this, Priscilla gets really nervous. And a little later when Eli finally comes into the room and sees her in her nightgown with her hair down, he gets nervous too.

I enjoyed exploring the growing attraction between them, the awkwardness of being thrust together in the same bedroom (after only knowing each other for about a week), and then watching them figure out how they’re going to handle the physical aspect of their relationship for the duration of their trip West.

What creates the biggest conflict between your hero and heroine?

One of the biggest conflicts is that Eli, the hero, didn’t want to have to take a woman to the West. He thinks it’s too dangerous and would rather go alone. However, in order to start the mission to the Nez Perce (and receive funding for the trip), the Mission Board leaves him with little choice—he either must take a wife or give up his dream of going west.

Priscilla, the heroine, on the other hand, wants to prove that she is strong enough for such a trip and life in the west. She believes she has all of the qualities necessary. However, as the trip progresses, they face one life-threatening danger after another but meanwhile begin to fall in love. Eli’s growing love for Priscilla only makes him all the more determined to keep her safe. He’s even decided to give her an annulment and send her back home if needed. 

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?

If I had to pick one person who has been the most instrumental in shaping my writing career, I’d have to single out my mom. When I was growing up, she facilitated an environment that fostered my love of writing and my creativity. She read a lot to me, allowed time for plenty of free play, believed in me, taught me to work hard, and encouraged me to dream big. Because of that, I grew up knowing I could do anything I set my mind to. Even today, she’s still a huge part of my writing career, cheering me on and encouraging me in countless ways.

What is your writing routine?

Since I have 5 children ranging in ages from 6 to 14, I have often have trouble finding uninterrupted writing time! But usually I try to carve out a couple of hours each afternoon to meet my daily word count goal (or chapters when I’m editing). Whatever I don’t finish during the afternoon, I come back to after my kids are in bed.

I also have a couple of mornings a week where I get a few extra hours of writing time, and I also take the entire day on Saturday to write.

Which do you like more—rainy days or snowy days?

I’m going to have to say rainy days. I love the blowing wind and the way the leaves and raindrops patter against the house. On those dark days, I light scented candles and drink hot tea.

And while I like snowy days too (I am a Mid-Western girl born and bred!), by the end of the winter I get tired of all of the shoveling that we have to do!

Where can readers find you?

I hang out on Facebook here: Author Jody Hedlund
I also love to chat on Twitter: @JodyHedlund
My home base is at my website: jodyhedlund.com

Excerpt from Chapter 5 of The Doctor’s Lady by Jody Hedlund:

(When Eli knows he has to ask Priscilla to marry him in order to fulfill his dream of going west. He sneaks into the classroom where she is teaching and . . .)

A burst of laughter near the back of the narrow schoolroom finally commanded her return to earth and to her classroom.
“Now, children. You are disobeying our rule for silence.” Her gaze lingered on the board for a second longer before she tore herself away and pivoted to face the class.
The younger children perched in their desks near the front of the room, and the older children sat in the back near the entrance—mostly the girls who weren’t privileged enough to attend Female Academy in Troy where she’d done a significant amount of her schooling.
The students’ wide smiles greeted her, and the sunshine pouring in the large windows lit their faces. She had only to follow their glances to the back row to see the source of their laughter.
Her fingers flew to the cameo at her neck.
With his long legs tucked awkwardly under a desk and his hand raised, Dr. Ernest watched her with a solemn expression that didn’t match the merriment in his eyes.
“Miss White.” He lowered his hand. “I have a question.”
She stared at him speechless, a strange mixture of excitement and apprehension stirring in her stomach.
“Some scientists say that Ceres isn’t really a planet.” He hunched his back to fit onto the small bench, and his knees pushed against the flimsy desk top. “After all, it’s located in the asteroid belt.”
What was he doing back in Angelica? And how had he managed to sneak into the school without her hearing him?
His shirt and waistcoat were crisp and clean. Without his hat, the wild, untamable waves of his hair had rebelled against his obvious attempts to smooth them down. He’d shaven the shadowy layer of stubble, but his smooth, tan skin had a scruffiness he couldn’t shed. He was as well groomed as any gentleman she’d ever met. But for all his efforts, there was still something rugged about him—and something dangerously appealing.
Her hand fluttered to the wisps of hair that floated about her face. Surely he wasn’t back to carry out Mother’s marriage charade.
Even from the furthest row of the classroom, his winter blue eyes caught hers with their intensity. For a long moment she couldn’t breathe. Nor could she look away. He was a flame, and she was the little girl who’d been warned not to touch. Only she couldn’t remember why she ought to stay away, especially when every nerve in her body urged her to reach out.
“And Ceres is too small.” A grin teased the corner of his mouth, almost as if he knew he was getting the reaction from her he’d intended.
She forced herself to start breathing again, calmly. If he thought he could steal into her classroom and flirt with her, then just wait until she joined in. She’d had plenty of practice in her younger days, when she’d been much more carefree. He’d be no match for her ability to beguile.
“Why, Dr. Ernest.” She tilted her head. “You said you had a question. And all I’ve heard are statements.
 “Excuse me, Miss White.” His grin widened. “Course, you’re right.”
She lifted her lips into her sweetest, most practiced smile. “Would you like to try rephrasing your statement and show the children how to ask a proper question?”
“Certainly,” he drawled. “For such a pretty lady like you, how could any man say no?”
The older girls tittered. Their flashing smiles and flushed cheeks were evidence they had already fallen prey to his winsome ways.
She braced herself. He wouldn’t so easily sway her. After all, he’d made it quite clear he wasn’t interested in her.
“So . . . ” he started.
If he wasn’t back because of her, why was he sitting in her classroom intent upon engaging her in playful banter?
“So, my question is this.” A shadow filtered through his eyes and snuffed the laughter in them, making them too serious. And when he extricated his legs from the desk, instead of rising to his feet, he lowered himself into the aisle onto one knee.
She stifled a shiver.
“Miss White?” His gaze found her again.
The intensity sent her heart into wild dash. Her fingers went back to her throat, to the delicate cameo, to the pattering of her pulse beneath.
His eyes spoke the words before he could get them out. “Will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?”
©Jody Hedlund, 2011
Leave a comment or question for Jody to enter for one of these prizes:
1) A copy of The Doctor’s Lady
2) 1 of 5 custom handmade bookmarks
Open Internationally
*MUST* Leave a contact email to WIN!
If you have trouble commenting try :
~ a different browser
~ leaving a comment w name and URL
~ leaving comment as annonymous w email/name in message
~ email me and I’ll post your comment (joan @ joanswan.com)


Jody Hedlund is an award-winning historical romance novelist and author of the best-selling book, The Preacher’s Bride. She received a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and a master’s from the University of Wisconsin, both in Social Work. Currently she makes her home in Michigan with her husband and five busy children. Her second book, The Doctor’s Lady released in September 2011.

>Review, Interview + Giveaway with Jody Hedlund & The Doctor’s Lady

>Jody Hedlund is one of the fabulous authors I met on Twitter. I’ve admired her thoughts on writing, the writing life and developing a career as an author. I’ve appreciated the genuine warmth and sincerity that comes across even online.

Leave a comment or question for Jody to enter for one of these prizes:
1) A copy of The Doctor’s Lady
2) 1 of 5 custom handmade bookmarks
Open Internationally

The Doctor’s Lady released early September and I was lucky enough to receive and early copy for review. This is the first novel I’ve read by Jody, but it won’t be the last. Her debut, The Preacher’s Bride, is near the very top of my TBR pile. And I was thrilled to hear recently that we will all be blessed with more of Jody’s talent as she has secured a three book deal with Bethany House. (YAY Jody! Congratulations!)

The Doctor’s Lady

Priscilla White knows she’ll never be a wife or mother and feels God’s call to the mission field in India. Dr. Eli Ernest is back from Oregon Country only long enough to raise awareness of missions to the natives before heading out West once more. But then Priscilla and Eli both receive news from the mission board: No longer will they send unmarried men and women into the field.

Left scrambling for options, the two realize the other might be the answer to their needs. Priscilla and Eli agree to a partnership, a marriage in name only that will allow them to follow God’s leading into the mission field. But as they journey west, this decision will be tested by the hardships of the trip and by the unexpected turnings of their hearts.

Review:
This novel was so much more than I expected.  As inspirational romance is not a genre I read often, I suppose my expectations were a bit out of whack. 🙂  Going off the cover, the cover copy, the genre, the publisher I was ready for a light love story and lots of rich historical fact. 

Boy, did I underestimate!  The Doctor’s Lady went above and beyond my every expectation.

While the cover copy explains the external conflict that fuels the hero and heroine’s cross-country journey and hints at a touch of romance, it doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of all the depth beneath the cover.  The Doctor’s Lady is filled with characters so real I often felt as if I could reach out and touch them; their struggles so universal, every human being could relate on some level. Their commitment to fulfill their God-given calling while struggling against broken hearts, dashed dreams and dimmed hopes created strong internal conflicts while the untamed Western lands and the hardships they brought created a very real, very threatening external antagonist. 

Click for larger view

The Doctor’s Lady is filled with sigh-worthy moments–those turning points, sometimes epiphanies, sometimes small flickers of revelation, when the hero or heroine would make a self discovery which would bring them closer to the other–a relationship the reader can see is part of the reason God brought them together on this mission, but one neither character is willing to give in to.

The hero, Eli Earnest, has a wonderful character arc.  His stubbornness and preconceived ideas give way to a new perspective and a fresh respect for not only the heroine, Priscilla, but for women in general, seeing them as strong individuals rather than his previous opinion of them as “liabilities” because of their weaknesses.  The reader also gets to watch him slowly fall in love with Priscilla, all while he ignores the signs.

Priscilla starts out strong, but becomes even stronger as the book moves forward.  One of the things I loved about the heroine was the way she could be so very strong, yet never need to overpower or bully or use harshness to show her strength.  She never lost that feminine softness, no matter how rough the road became, as that made me respect her all the more–woman to woman.  I found it especially enjoyable to watch her grow stronger in one aspect of her personality while softening in another to allow Eli into her heart.  A very complex character growth that Jody portrayed artistically.

Through it all, the external conflict never wained.  At every turn in the road, every fork in the path, new conflict arose, testing the characters will, their determination, their commitment all while showing their internal growth. 

I’m a picky reader.  Someone who has to have something pushing me forward to the next page–personal conflict, character growth, plot twists, action.  I won’t hang out for lingering description, although I value beautiful prose.  I’m not patient enough to wade through paragraphs of historical facts, no matter how fascinating.  I need stuff (a highly technical term) to happen–internally, externally, it doesn’t matter.  But something has to happen to get me to move forward.

I couldn’t stop moving forward with Jody’s book.  There were nights I purposely didn’t pick up the book because I knew I wouldn’t put it down and I had to get sleep for work the next day.

Oh, and don’t let the genre fool you…Jody is absolutely fabulous with sexual tension.  The attraction between these two sparks from the beginning and the heat only grows throughout the story.  But one of the elements that makes that desire so strong between them is the development of their emotional bond along the journey.  Their attraction and love for each other is truly a beautiful thing to watch grow in front of your eyes.

And I’m thrilled with the excerpt she chose to post because it’s one of my favorite moments in the book.  I think it’s the moment my heart completely opened to Eli and I knew Priscilla’s would too.  This excerpt is the perfect example of so many passages in The Doctor’s Lady that gave me “Ahhh” moments.

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today?

I had a lot of fun writing the wedding night scene. Because Eli and Priscilla agreed to a marriage in name only, they have no plans to consummate their marriage. However, nobody else knows their secret. And so after the wedding, Priscilla’s mother and sister help her get ready for her first night with her new husband. They turn back the covers on the bed, brush her hair, and give her instructions on what to expect. While they’re doing this, Priscilla gets really nervous. And a little later when Eli finally comes into the room and sees her in her nightgown with her hair down, he gets nervous too.

I enjoyed exploring the growing attraction between them, the awkwardness of being thrust together in the same bedroom (after only knowing each other for about a week), and then watching them figure out how they’re going to handle the physical aspect of their relationship for the duration of their trip West.

What creates the biggest conflict between your hero and heroine?

One of the biggest conflicts is that Eli, the hero, didn’t want to have to take a woman to the West. He thinks it’s too dangerous and would rather go alone. However, in order to start the mission to the Nez Perce (and receive funding for the trip), the Mission Board leaves him with little choice—he either must take a wife or give up his dream of going west.

Priscilla, the heroine, on the other hand, wants to prove that she is strong enough for such a trip and life in the west. She believes she has all of the qualities necessary. However, as the trip progresses, they face one life-threatening danger after another but meanwhile begin to fall in love. Eli’s growing love for Priscilla only makes him all the more determined to keep her safe. He’s even decided to give her an annulment and send her back home if needed. 

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?

If I had to pick one person who has been the most instrumental in shaping my writing career, I’d have to single out my mom. When I was growing up, she facilitated an environment that fostered my love of writing and my creativity. She read a lot to me, allowed time for plenty of free play, believed in me, taught me to work hard, and encouraged me to dream big. Because of that, I grew up knowing I could do anything I set my mind to. Even today, she’s still a huge part of my writing career, cheering me on and encouraging me in countless ways.

What is your writing routine?

Since I have 5 children ranging in ages from 6 to 14, I have often have trouble finding uninterrupted writing time! But usually I try to carve out a couple of hours each afternoon to meet my daily word count goal (or chapters when I’m editing). Whatever I don’t finish during the afternoon, I come back to after my kids are in bed.

I also have a couple of mornings a week where I get a few extra hours of writing time, and I also take the entire day on Saturday to write.

Which do you like more—rainy days or snowy days?

I’m going to have to say rainy days. I love the blowing wind and the way the leaves and raindrops patter against the house. On those dark days, I light scented candles and drink hot tea.

And while I like snowy days too (I am a Mid-Western girl born and bred!), by the end of the winter I get tired of all of the shoveling that we have to do!

Where can readers find you?

I hang out on Facebook here: Author Jody Hedlund
I also love to chat on Twitter: @JodyHedlund
My home base is at my website: jodyhedlund.com

Excerpt from Chapter 5 of The Doctor’s Lady by Jody Hedlund:

(When Eli knows he has to ask Priscilla to marry him in order to fulfill his dream of going west. He sneaks into the classroom where she is teaching and . . .)

A burst of laughter near the back of the narrow schoolroom finally commanded her return to earth and to her classroom.
“Now, children. You are disobeying our rule for silence.” Her gaze lingered on the board for a second longer before she tore herself away and pivoted to face the class.
The younger children perched in their desks near the front of the room, and the older children sat in the back near the entrance—mostly the girls who weren’t privileged enough to attend Female Academy in Troy where she’d done a significant amount of her schooling.
The students’ wide smiles greeted her, and the sunshine pouring in the large windows lit their faces. She had only to follow their glances to the back row to see the source of their laughter.
Her fingers flew to the cameo at her neck.
With his long legs tucked awkwardly under a desk and his hand raised, Dr. Ernest watched her with a solemn expression that didn’t match the merriment in his eyes.
“Miss White.” He lowered his hand. “I have a question.”
She stared at him speechless, a strange mixture of excitement and apprehension stirring in her stomach.
“Some scientists say that Ceres isn’t really a planet.” He hunched his back to fit onto the small bench, and his knees pushed against the flimsy desk top. “After all, it’s located in the asteroid belt.”
What was he doing back in Angelica? And how had he managed to sneak into the school without her hearing him?
His shirt and waistcoat were crisp and clean. Without his hat, the wild, untamable waves of his hair had rebelled against his obvious attempts to smooth them down. He’d shaven the shadowy layer of stubble, but his smooth, tan skin had a scruffiness he couldn’t shed. He was as well groomed as any gentleman she’d ever met. But for all his efforts, there was still something rugged about him—and something dangerously appealing.
Her hand fluttered to the wisps of hair that floated about her face. Surely he wasn’t back to carry out Mother’s marriage charade.
Even from the furthest row of the classroom, his winter blue eyes caught hers with their intensity. For a long moment she couldn’t breathe. Nor could she look away. He was a flame, and she was the little girl who’d been warned not to touch. Only she couldn’t remember why she ought to stay away, especially when every nerve in her body urged her to reach out.
“And Ceres is too small.” A grin teased the corner of his mouth, almost as if he knew he was getting the reaction from her he’d intended.
She forced herself to start breathing again, calmly. If he thought he could steal into her classroom and flirt with her, then just wait until she joined in. She’d had plenty of practice in her younger days, when she’d been much more carefree. He’d be no match for her ability to beguile.
“Why, Dr. Ernest.” She tilted her head. “You said you had a question. And all I’ve heard are statements.
 “Excuse me, Miss White.” His grin widened. “Course, you’re right.”
She lifted her lips into her sweetest, most practiced smile. “Would you like to try rephrasing your statement and show the children how to ask a proper question?”
“Certainly,” he drawled. “For such a pretty lady like you, how could any man say no?”
The older girls tittered. Their flashing smiles and flushed cheeks were evidence they had already fallen prey to his winsome ways.
She braced herself. He wouldn’t so easily sway her. After all, he’d made it quite clear he wasn’t interested in her.
“So . . . ” he started.
If he wasn’t back because of her, why was he sitting in her classroom intent upon engaging her in playful banter?
“So, my question is this.” A shadow filtered through his eyes and snuffed the laughter in them, making them too serious. And when he extricated his legs from the desk, instead of rising to his feet, he lowered himself into the aisle onto one knee.
She stifled a shiver.
“Miss White?” His gaze found her again.
The intensity sent her heart into wild dash. Her fingers went back to her throat, to the delicate cameo, to the pattering of her pulse beneath.
His eyes spoke the words before he could get them out. “Will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?”
©Jody Hedlund, 2011
Leave a comment or question for Jody to enter for one of these prizes:
1) A copy of The Doctor’s Lady
2) 1 of 5 custom handmade bookmarks
Open Internationally
*MUST* Leave a contact email to WIN!
If you have trouble commenting try :
~ a different browser
~ leaving a comment w name and URL
~ leaving comment as annonymous w email/name in message
~ email me and I’ll post your comment (joan @ joanswan.com)


Jody Hedlund is an award-winning historical romance novelist and author of the best-selling book, The Preacher’s Bride. She received a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and a master’s from the University of Wisconsin, both in Social Work. Currently she makes her home in Michigan with her husband and five busy children. Her second book, The Doctor’s Lady released in September 2011.

Interview + Giveaway with Diana Cosby and HIS DESTINY!

>

Diana Cosby, International Best-Selling author (and fellow Margie Lawson grad) , is with me today talking about her upcoming release HIS DESTINY, on sale this October, and chocolate cake! Yes, you heard me right! Chocolate cake! In fact, she’s sharing her very own special recipe of chocolate cake! YUM!!
We’ve got lots of giveaways and lots to talk about!
Remember to leave a comment or ask Diana a question to enter for one of the following prizes:
1) An ARC of HIS DESTINY
2) Claymore letter opener with a sheath (shaped like sword)
3) 1 of 5 custom handmade bookmarks

THEIR SECRETS WILL DRAW THEM TOGETHER

As one of England’s most capable mercenaries, Emma Astyn can charm an enemy and brandish a knife with unmatched finesse. Assigned to befriend Dubh Duer, an infamous Scottish rebel, she assumes the guise of innocent damsel Christina Moffat to intercept the writ he’s carrying to a traitorous bishop. But as she gains the dark hero’s confidence and realizes they share a tattered past, compassion—and passion—distract her from the task at hand…

BUT THE TRUTH MAY TEAR THEM APART

His legendary slaying of English knights has won him the name Dubh Duer, but Sir Patrik Cleary MacGruder is driven by duty and honor, not heroics. Rescuing Christina from the clutches of several such knights is a matter of obligation for the Scot. But there’s something alluring about her fiery spirit, even if he has misgivings about her tragic history. Together, they’ll endure a perilous journey of love and betrayal, and a harrowing fight for their lives…

Diana, tell us about your upcoming release.

His Destiny is Sir Patrik Cleary MacGruder’s story about redemption. A tortured soul, he yearns for a family who believes him dead, and he is determined to somehow mend a bond he shattered. But he doesn’t count on saving a woman he believes is Scottish, her betrayal, or that amongst the setting of Scotland torn in a war for its independence, to find love.

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today?

My favorite thing about His Destiny is the characters, their struggles, the challenges they overcome to find peace with self as love; Patrik as Emma both hold dark secrets that can destroy them.

What sparked the idea for this book/series?

I love fairies as crystals. I thought how neat to create a series where by inventive means, each heroine takes a crystal belonging to her respective hero before she flees. I’ve had a blast incorporating that aspect in each MacGruder brother book.

What creates the biggest conflict between your hero and heroine?

As a child, Sir Patrik Cleary MacGruder’s family was murdered before his eyes by English knights. Since, he’s despised the English. The heroine, an English mercenary, is hired by an English advisor to gain Patrik’s trust and learn the secrets he knows. His Destiny begins by the heroine pretending to be a Scottish woman in distress, setting up an event where Patrik ‘saves’ her. The biggest conflict is that Emma doesn’t count on falling in love with Patrik, and being forced to decide if she can walk away from her mission or tell him the truth.

Why did you put these two together?

Sir Patrik Cleary MacGruder is a tortured hero, a strong knight who would easily overwhelm most women. So, I knew the heroine must be as strong as him, hence I made her a mercenary. Then, I knew his heroine must be English, whom he despises with his every breath. When I paired the two in a dynamic setting, sparks ignited.

What do you love most about this book/series?

That the common theme woven throughout the MacGruder brothers series is, “All is not what it seems.”

What is your writing routine?

Each day after my morning work, I write until I reach my daily goal. When I’m writing new pages, I write 5 pages a day. When I write, I normally have a Macintosh candle going and listen to soundtracks like Braveheart, Rob Roy, or Elizabeth: The Golden Age.

How do you keep in touch with your readers?

Daily on Facebook. Otherwise, e-mail, newsletters, book signings, speaking engagements, and other venues. I love trying new things, and recently appeared at a wine festival where I performed the waltz with a local dancer. Too fun!

What would you like to tell readers?

To always follow your heart and believe in yourself. Dreams are vision of what you can become.

What is your preferred genre to read for pleasure?

Romantic suspense any setting.

What did you do before you became a full-time writer?

I’m a retired Navy Chief, AGC(AW). I was a meteorologist/oceanographer.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you started writing?

To trust myself. Each story is unique, and only we can tell our story.

How would you best describe your books?

Scottish medieval romantic suspense. Think Braveheart meets Romancing The Stone.

Claymore Letter Opener – Click for larger image

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?

My life goal is to make a positive difference in others’ lives. In addition to volunteering for Habitat For Humanity as well as other charities, I donate 10% of my royalties to a charity of my choice. As my career grows, my dream of making a larger difference in others life is realized. It’s truly humbling. I have many future goals, buy a working dog for a local police station, buy a fire truck for a local fire department, sponsor an entire home for Habitat For Humanity, with my largest goal being to open a place where military members can stay for free with their families during rehabilitation.

International Food Bank Food Drive:
In addition, I have an annual International Food Bank Food Drive as when you give a person who is struggling a warm meal, you give them hope. To participate:

Between 1 November 2011– 4 December 2011, when you donate to a local food bank, post on my Facebook page or Facebook Fan page, then I’ll add you in the drawing. On 5 December I will draw a name from those received and post the winner’s name on Facebook. The winner will receive an autographed set of the MacGruder brother series: His Captive, His Woman, His Conquest, and His Destiny. I’ll sign the books and send them priority to whomever you would like to give a personal Christmas present!

What are your current projects?

I’m currently working on a story for a Highland Vampire anthology coming out in 2012. Other authors for the trilogy include Hannah Howell, who is an amazing story teller!

I’m preparing for a book signing tour in Scotland during the summer of 2012!

Do You Have Any Undiscovered Or Hidden Talents?

I LOVE to bake, and I often create new recipes.  A favorite is, “Diana Cosby’s Awesome Texas Chocolate Cake.” It has layers of devil food cake, ganache, whipped topping, and shaved chocolate.  **Recipe below**

Do You Believe That The Cup Is Half Empty Or Half Full?

Half full, rising, and I believe each day is filled with enormous blessings.

Are You An Introvert Or An Extrovert?

Introvert.

Which do you like more—rainy days or snowy days?

Each are amazing and inspire me.

Are you a night or a morning person?

Definitely a morning person!

At The Beach Would You Rather Play In The Sand, Or Play In The Water?

Play in the water.

Are You Usually Late, Early Or Right On Time?

Early.

Where can we find you online?

Website
Facebook

Diana Cosby’s Awesome Texas Chocolate Cake

Devil’s Food Cake mix
Ganache
Whipped topping
Chocolate shavings
Chocolate frosting (*I make homemade.)

Ganache:
.1/2 cup heavy cream
.1 lb. semisweet dark chocolate
*In a heavy saucepan, bring heavy cream to a boil. Remove from heat, mix in chocolate, stir until melted. Chill ganache until peanut butter consistency.

Directions:
Bake two 9” layer cakes according to directions. Once cooled, set first layer on a cake plate. Add coat of ganache. Layer with whipped topping. Next, add second layer of cake. Coat with ganache. Frost side of cake. Layer top with whipped topping. Sprinkle on top with chocolate shavings. Chill until served.

Note: I love baking as creating recipes. With a passion for chocolate, I thought the pairing of devil’s food cake, ganache and whipped topping would be yummy. The addition of the whipped topping cuts the sweetness of the cake, making it moist and rich and a perfect anytime cake.

Enjoy!

Most people think of retirement as a time to relax. For me, retiring from my job as a Navy Chief Meteorologist/ Oceanographer allowed me to pursue my passion—writing romance novels. With 33 moves behind me and having traveled through many more countries, I was anxious to create characters who reflected the amazing cultures and people I’ve met over the years.

My years of living in Europe drew me to write in the medieval time frame. After watching the movie Braveheart and with my passion for writing complex plots, I knew I had to write in this volatile medieval timeframe, hence the MacGruder brothers were born.

I have many passions in life, but one that resonates in my life is that of giving. I firmly believe that each of us can make a positive difference in another person’s life. There are so many charities that I believe in. With each book I sell, I will tithe ten percent of my royalties to a charity of my choice. Some of the charities I’ve chosen are:

-The National Trust for Scotland, which acts as guardian of Scotland’s magnificent heritage of architectural, scenic and historic treasures.

-Habitat For Humanity [http://www.graysonhabitat.org/], which gives a deserving family more than a home, but a foundation upon which to build their dreams.

-Ducks Unlimited [http://www.ducks.org/], which supports wildlife and wetlands conservation.

His Captive-Alexander MacGruder
His Woman-Duncan MacGruder
His Conquest-Seathan MacGruder
His Destiny – Oct 2011 Pre-Order now! 
Highland vampire anthology: Title/Release date TBA

Remember to leave a comment or ask Diana a question to enter for one of the following prizes:
1) An ARC of HIS DESTINY
2) Claymore letter opener with a sheath (shaped like sword)
3) 1 of 5 custom handmade bookmarks
Book and bookmarks International
Claymore letter opener US/Can only
*MUST* leave contact email to WIN

If you have trouble commenting try :
~ a different browser
~ leaving a comment w name and URL
~ leaving comment as annonymous w email/name in message
~ email me and I’ll post your comment (joan @ joanswan.com)

>Interview + Giveaway with Diana Cosby and HIS DESTINY!

>

Diana Cosby, International Best-Selling author (and fellow Margie Lawson grad) , is with me today talking about her upcoming release HIS DESTINY, on sale this October, and chocolate cake! Yes, you heard me right! Chocolate cake! In fact, she’s sharing her very own special recipe of chocolate cake! YUM!!
We’ve got lots of giveaways and lots to talk about!
Remember to leave a comment or ask Diana a question to enter for one of the following prizes:
1) An ARC of HIS DESTINY
2) Claymore letter opener with a sheath (shaped like sword)
3) 1 of 5 custom handmade bookmarks

THEIR SECRETS WILL DRAW THEM TOGETHER

As one of England’s most capable mercenaries, Emma Astyn can charm an enemy and brandish a knife with unmatched finesse. Assigned to befriend Dubh Duer, an infamous Scottish rebel, she assumes the guise of innocent damsel Christina Moffat to intercept the writ he’s carrying to a traitorous bishop. But as she gains the dark hero’s confidence and realizes they share a tattered past, compassion—and passion—distract her from the task at hand…

BUT THE TRUTH MAY TEAR THEM APART

His legendary slaying of English knights has won him the name Dubh Duer, but Sir Patrik Cleary MacGruder is driven by duty and honor, not heroics. Rescuing Christina from the clutches of several such knights is a matter of obligation for the Scot. But there’s something alluring about her fiery spirit, even if he has misgivings about her tragic history. Together, they’ll endure a perilous journey of love and betrayal, and a harrowing fight for their lives…

Diana, tell us about your upcoming release.

His Destiny is Sir Patrik Cleary MacGruder’s story about redemption. A tortured soul, he yearns for a family who believes him dead, and he is determined to somehow mend a bond he shattered. But he doesn’t count on saving a woman he believes is Scottish, her betrayal, or that amongst the setting of Scotland torn in a war for its independence, to find love.

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today?

My favorite thing about His Destiny is the characters, their struggles, the challenges they overcome to find peace with self as love; Patrik as Emma both hold dark secrets that can destroy them.

What sparked the idea for this book/series?

I love fairies as crystals. I thought how neat to create a series where by inventive means, each heroine takes a crystal belonging to her respective hero before she flees. I’ve had a blast incorporating that aspect in each MacGruder brother book.

What creates the biggest conflict between your hero and heroine?

As a child, Sir Patrik Cleary MacGruder’s family was murdered before his eyes by English knights. Since, he’s despised the English. The heroine, an English mercenary, is hired by an English advisor to gain Patrik’s trust and learn the secrets he knows. His Destiny begins by the heroine pretending to be a Scottish woman in distress, setting up an event where Patrik ‘saves’ her. The biggest conflict is that Emma doesn’t count on falling in love with Patrik, and being forced to decide if she can walk away from her mission or tell him the truth.

Why did you put these two together?

Sir Patrik Cleary MacGruder is a tortured hero, a strong knight who would easily overwhelm most women. So, I knew the heroine must be as strong as him, hence I made her a mercenary. Then, I knew his heroine must be English, whom he despises with his every breath. When I paired the two in a dynamic setting, sparks ignited.

What do you love most about this book/series?

That the common theme woven throughout the MacGruder brothers series is, “All is not what it seems.”

What is your writing routine?

Each day after my morning work, I write until I reach my daily goal. When I’m writing new pages, I write 5 pages a day. When I write, I normally have a Macintosh candle going and listen to soundtracks like Braveheart, Rob Roy, or Elizabeth: The Golden Age.

How do you keep in touch with your readers?

Daily on Facebook. Otherwise, e-mail, newsletters, book signings, speaking engagements, and other venues. I love trying new things, and recently appeared at a wine festival where I performed the waltz with a local dancer. Too fun!

What would you like to tell readers?

To always follow your heart and believe in yourself. Dreams are vision of what you can become.

What is your preferred genre to read for pleasure?

Romantic suspense any setting.

What did you do before you became a full-time writer?

I’m a retired Navy Chief, AGC(AW). I was a meteorologist/oceanographer.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you started writing?

To trust myself. Each story is unique, and only we can tell our story.

How would you best describe your books?

Scottish medieval romantic suspense. Think Braveheart meets Romancing The Stone.

Claymore Letter Opener – Click for larger image

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?

My life goal is to make a positive difference in others’ lives. In addition to volunteering for Habitat For Humanity as well as other charities, I donate 10% of my royalties to a charity of my choice. As my career grows, my dream of making a larger difference in others life is realized. It’s truly humbling. I have many future goals, buy a working dog for a local police station, buy a fire truck for a local fire department, sponsor an entire home for Habitat For Humanity, with my largest goal being to open a place where military members can stay for free with their families during rehabilitation.

International Food Bank Food Drive:
In addition, I have an annual International Food Bank Food Drive as when you give a person who is struggling a warm meal, you give them hope. To participate:

Between 1 November 2011– 4 December 2011, when you donate to a local food bank, post on my Facebook page or Facebook Fan page, then I’ll add you in the drawing. On 5 December I will draw a name from those received and post the winner’s name on Facebook. The winner will receive an autographed set of the MacGruder brother series: His Captive, His Woman, His Conquest, and His Destiny. I’ll sign the books and send them priority to whomever you would like to give a personal Christmas present!

What are your current projects?

I’m currently working on a story for a Highland Vampire anthology coming out in 2012. Other authors for the trilogy include Hannah Howell, who is an amazing story teller!

I’m preparing for a book signing tour in Scotland during the summer of 2012!

Do You Have Any Undiscovered Or Hidden Talents?

I LOVE to bake, and I often create new recipes.  A favorite is, “Diana Cosby’s Awesome Texas Chocolate Cake.” It has layers of devil food cake, ganache, whipped topping, and shaved chocolate.  **Recipe below**

Do You Believe That The Cup Is Half Empty Or Half Full?

Half full, rising, and I believe each day is filled with enormous blessings.

Are You An Introvert Or An Extrovert?

Introvert.

Which do you like more—rainy days or snowy days?

Each are amazing and inspire me.

Are you a night or a morning person?

Definitely a morning person!

At The Beach Would You Rather Play In The Sand, Or Play In The Water?

Play in the water.

Are You Usually Late, Early Or Right On Time?

Early.

Where can we find you online?

Website
Facebook

Diana Cosby’s Awesome Texas Chocolate Cake

Devil’s Food Cake mix
Ganache
Whipped topping
Chocolate shavings
Chocolate frosting (*I make homemade.)

Ganache:
.1/2 cup heavy cream
.1 lb. semisweet dark chocolate
*In a heavy saucepan, bring heavy cream to a boil. Remove from heat, mix in chocolate, stir until melted. Chill ganache until peanut butter consistency.

Directions:
Bake two 9” layer cakes according to directions. Once cooled, set first layer on a cake plate. Add coat of ganache. Layer with whipped topping. Next, add second layer of cake. Coat with ganache. Frost side of cake. Layer top with whipped topping. Sprinkle on top with chocolate shavings. Chill until served.

Note: I love baking as creating recipes. With a passion for chocolate, I thought the pairing of devil’s food cake, ganache and whipped topping would be yummy. The addition of the whipped topping cuts the sweetness of the cake, making it moist and rich and a perfect anytime cake.

Enjoy!

Most people think of retirement as a time to relax. For me, retiring from my job as a Navy Chief Meteorologist/ Oceanographer allowed me to pursue my passion—writing romance novels. With 33 moves behind me and having traveled through many more countries, I was anxious to create characters who reflected the amazing cultures and people I’ve met over the years.

My years of living in Europe drew me to write in the medieval time frame. After watching the movie Braveheart and with my passion for writing complex plots, I knew I had to write in this volatile medieval timeframe, hence the MacGruder brothers were born.

I have many passions in life, but one that resonates in my life is that of giving. I firmly believe that each of us can make a positive difference in another person’s life. There are so many charities that I believe in. With each book I sell, I will tithe ten percent of my royalties to a charity of my choice. Some of the charities I’ve chosen are:

-The National Trust for Scotland, which acts as guardian of Scotland’s magnificent heritage of architectural, scenic and historic treasures.

-Habitat For Humanity [http://www.graysonhabitat.org/], which gives a deserving family more than a home, but a foundation upon which to build their dreams.

-Ducks Unlimited [http://www.ducks.org/], which supports wildlife and wetlands conservation.

His Captive-Alexander MacGruder
His Woman-Duncan MacGruder
His Conquest-Seathan MacGruder
His Destiny – Oct 2011 Pre-Order now! 
Highland vampire anthology: Title/Release date TBA

Remember to leave a comment or ask Diana a question to enter for one of the following prizes:
1) An ARC of HIS DESTINY
2) Claymore letter opener with a sheath (shaped like sword)
3) 1 of 5 custom handmade bookmarks
Book and bookmarks International
Claymore letter opener US/Can only
*MUST* leave contact email to WIN

If you have trouble commenting try :
~ a different browser
~ leaving a comment w name and URL
~ leaving comment as annonymous w email/name in message
~ email me and I’ll post your comment (joan @ joanswan.com)

Interview + Giveaway with Caroline Linden and ONE NIGHT IN LONDON

>Bewteen Avon and Kensingon, Caroline has published a dozen historical romances and her latest, ONE NIGHT IN LONDON, just released in September! Her next, BLAME IT ON THE BATH, releases in March 2012 — SQUEE, we’re release buddies! — so watch for it.  Welcome, Caroline! Thanks for coming!

Lord Edward de Lacey has noble expectations—until a secret from the past threatens to cost him everything. Francesca Gordon will stop at nothing to find her niece— not even bargaining with the ruthless Lord Edward. But what begins as purely business might become something closer to pure passion…

Comment or ask Caroline a question to win 1 of 5 custom bookmarks!!

Tell us about your upcoming release.
ONE NIGHT IN LONDON is about a desperate woman trying to save her niece from a wicked stepmother, and a man determined to save his inheritance. He steals her lawyer, she coerces him into helping her as payback, and then the sparks start to fly.

What creates the biggest conflict between your hero and heroine?
I think it’s that they are so different. Francesca, the heroine, is impulsive, passionate, and a bit warm-tempered. Edward is disciplined, coldly logical, and rather ruthless in pursuit of what he wants…although he does try to resist it when Francesca turns out to be what he wants.

Why did you put these two together?
I love characters who complement each other! They share some common ground, but have different strengths and weaknesses so they can support each other.

Is there a message in this novel that you want readers to grasp?

I don’t know about a message in the novel—except that love is worth fighting for, even to the point of humbling yourself—but the book is part of a campaign to raise awareness of ovarian cancer. A portion of the sales will go to fund research and patient support programs, and at the back of the book is a page listing the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, which is difficult to detect early and thus incredibly deadly. Read it! Share it! Rip it out and post it on your bathroom mirror!

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
This may sound strange, but: action/adventure movies. I love things like the Jason Bourne films and Star Wars, because something is always happening. Every line of dialogue counts. Little things turn out to have big significance.I tend to get bored by description, no matter how beautifully written.

How do you keep in touch with your readers?
I update my website most months, and I’ve been trying to keep my Facebook page active with random weekly updates. And I answer all my reader email. Sometimes in deadline panic I slack off all these things, but I love to hear from readers!

What are you reading now?
I just finished BLACK SHEEP by Georgette Heyer, which I really liked. Very different from the book I read before, A TALE OF TWO LOVERS by Maya Rodale—which I also really liked!

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Strong, multifaceted characters with interesting problems. You can wring a lot of plot from good characters.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you started writing?
There is no Right Way to be an author, to be published, to write a book, to run your career… Everyone creates their own path, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
Personally, I lovelovelove Scrivener. Fabulous writing software! But otherwise, I think you just need determination and persistence. And maybe the occasional pedicure.

What are your current projects?
Right now I’m writing the final book in the Truth About the Duke trilogy (ONE NIGHT IN LONDON is the first). In spare moments I jot down a few lines of a possible novella about a secondary character from ONE NIGHT IN LONDON, and when I’m really stuck on the book, I work on my paranormal magnum opus.

Do You Have Any Undiscovered Or Hidden Talents?
It’s not quite hidden; it’s exploited probably far too often! I make awesome cookies. I love cookies. If you have a good cookie recipe, send it to me. Of course, then I eat the cookies, which is not so good…

Where can we find you online?
www.carolinelinden.com and http://www.facebook.com/AuthorCarolineLinden

Caroline Linden earned a math degree from Harvard University before turning to writing fiction. Ten years, nine books, two Red Sox championships, and one dog later, she has never been happier with her decision.

Comment or ask Caroline a question to win 1 of 5 custom bookmarks!!

**International**

MUST leave contact email to win!

>Interview + Giveaway with Caroline Linden and ONE NIGHT IN LONDON

>Bewteen Avon and Kensingon, Caroline has published a dozen historical romances and her latest, ONE NIGHT IN LONDON, just released in September! Her next, BLAME IT ON THE BATH, releases in March 2012 — SQUEE, we’re release buddies! — so watch for it.  Welcome, Caroline! Thanks for coming!

Lord Edward de Lacey has noble expectations—until a secret from the past threatens to cost him everything. Francesca Gordon will stop at nothing to find her niece— not even bargaining with the ruthless Lord Edward. But what begins as purely business might become something closer to pure passion…

Comment or ask Caroline a question to win 1 of 5 custom bookmarks!!

Tell us about your upcoming release.
ONE NIGHT IN LONDON is about a desperate woman trying to save her niece from a wicked stepmother, and a man determined to save his inheritance. He steals her lawyer, she coerces him into helping her as payback, and then the sparks start to fly.

What creates the biggest conflict between your hero and heroine?
I think it’s that they are so different. Francesca, the heroine, is impulsive, passionate, and a bit warm-tempered. Edward is disciplined, coldly logical, and rather ruthless in pursuit of what he wants…although he does try to resist it when Francesca turns out to be what he wants.

Why did you put these two together?
I love characters who complement each other! They share some common ground, but have different strengths and weaknesses so they can support each other.

Is there a message in this novel that you want readers to grasp?

I don’t know about a message in the novel—except that love is worth fighting for, even to the point of humbling yourself—but the book is part of a campaign to raise awareness of ovarian cancer. A portion of the sales will go to fund research and patient support programs, and at the back of the book is a page listing the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, which is difficult to detect early and thus incredibly deadly. Read it! Share it! Rip it out and post it on your bathroom mirror!

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
This may sound strange, but: action/adventure movies. I love things like the Jason Bourne films and Star Wars, because something is always happening. Every line of dialogue counts. Little things turn out to have big significance.I tend to get bored by description, no matter how beautifully written.

How do you keep in touch with your readers?
I update my website most months, and I’ve been trying to keep my Facebook page active with random weekly updates. And I answer all my reader email. Sometimes in deadline panic I slack off all these things, but I love to hear from readers!

What are you reading now?
I just finished BLACK SHEEP by Georgette Heyer, which I really liked. Very different from the book I read before, A TALE OF TWO LOVERS by Maya Rodale—which I also really liked!

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Strong, multifaceted characters with interesting problems. You can wring a lot of plot from good characters.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you started writing?
There is no Right Way to be an author, to be published, to write a book, to run your career… Everyone creates their own path, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
Personally, I lovelovelove Scrivener. Fabulous writing software! But otherwise, I think you just need determination and persistence. And maybe the occasional pedicure.

What are your current projects?
Right now I’m writing the final book in the Truth About the Duke trilogy (ONE NIGHT IN LONDON is the first). In spare moments I jot down a few lines of a possible novella about a secondary character from ONE NIGHT IN LONDON, and when I’m really stuck on the book, I work on my paranormal magnum opus.

Do You Have Any Undiscovered Or Hidden Talents?
It’s not quite hidden; it’s exploited probably far too often! I make awesome cookies. I love cookies. If you have a good cookie recipe, send it to me. Of course, then I eat the cookies, which is not so good…

Where can we find you online?
www.carolinelinden.com and http://www.facebook.com/AuthorCarolineLinden

Caroline Linden earned a math degree from Harvard University before turning to writing fiction. Ten years, nine books, two Red Sox championships, and one dog later, she has never been happier with her decision.

Comment or ask Caroline a question to win 1 of 5 custom bookmarks!!

**International**

MUST leave contact email to win!

Leigh Michaels: Review, Interview & Giveaway THE WEDDING AFFAIR

>THE WEDDING AFFAIR is Leigh Michaels’ new release as well as the first of her historical romances that I’ve read. I received the book from Soucebooks for review and so thrilled I did–as I’ve found another fantastic historical romance writer to follow!

THE WEDDING AFFAIR:

The Duke of Somervale’s sister is getting married in the wedding of year — but the wedding guests are in the mood for affairs, not vows!

The Duke needs the help of beautiful, stubborn Olivia Reyne to fight off the debutantes who have taken over his country estate. Olivia’s willing to help — at a price which will secure the future for her small daughter.

Penny Townsend sees the wedding as her last chance to salvage her arranged marriage and turn it into something more than a matter of convenience.

And vicar’s daughter Kate Blakely needs a job — and fast — before she gives in to the tempting presence of her first love!

MY REVIEW:  This novel was such a treat to read. One of the elements I loved most was its three storylines. Yes — three. Three heroes, three heroines, three stories. Each woven into the same setting, timeframe and plot so that they weave efforlessly together. I felt as if I was watching a movie rather than reading a book. Leigh’s ability to juggle three romances so fluidly turns me a tad green, as I find adding a secondary romance challanging while all three of her romances stand alone and carry equal uniqueness and weight without overshadowing the others.

The technique made the the novel fly by because there are of course three times the troubles, three times the conflicts, three times the risk and of course three times the romance *blush*.  (Tip: When you read this, make sure you’ve got a Big Gulp of ice water nearby.)  Just as one couple reaches a conflict pinacle, Leigh switches to another couple, another situation, equally as troublesome, equally as intriguing, and all the time in the back of my mind I’m wondering…but what about the others? What’s going to happen with them? The result was an eveloping page-turning read where I found myself both enthralled with the characters I was reading about, yet dying to know what happened with the others.

I enjoyed Leigh’s humor, unique with each character or set of characters true to their relationships and situations, as well as her effortless and rich character development.

THE WEDDING AFFAIR was a fun, intruiging, fast read and I’ll be watching for Leigh’s future books!

LEIGH’S INTERVIEW:
Tell us about your upcoming release.

In The Wedding Affair, the Duke of Somervale’s sister is getting married, but the guests who have gathered for a house party leading up to the wedding are much more interested in their private affairs – and I do mean affairs! – than in the bride and groom.

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today?

Like my previous two historicals, Just One Season in London and The Mistress’ House, this is a triple story – three heroes, three heroines, and three romances which are woven together into one book. I love writing triple stories because there’s so much action that even I never quite know what’s going to happen next.

Tell us something unusual about this book (i.e. in its creation, execution, production).

The archery scene which appears in the last fourth of the story was at the beginning of chapter two in the first draft. That’s what’s called a heavy revision.

Do You Have Any Undiscovered Or Hidden Talents?

I’m sure I do, but I’m still looking for them.

Favorite Midnight Snack?

Very dark chocolate chips, melting slowly on the tongue, one by one…

Are You An Introvert Or An Extrovert? 

Introvert pretending to be an extrovert.

Are You A Window Person Or An Aisle Person?

Window.

Ever Hit A Jackpot On A Slot Machine?

No, but I have hit the jackpot in a couple of other areas, like (1) selling my first book despite the worst synopsis and sample chapters in the history of the world, and (2) being asked to flat-sit one summer in London, about a mile from Buckingham Palace.

Are You Afraid Of Heights?

Only if I’m looking down!

How many pillows do you like to sleep with?

Just one. The other two are to prop me up so I can read in bed.

Do you believe in snipes?

Of course; doesn’t everyone? (Please don’t tell me Wesley’s a mythical character like Santa – it would break my heart!)

Which do you like more—rainy days or snowy days?

Snowy, because I can sit in the bay window in my living room and feel as though I’m in a silent snow globe. Also, because of my childhood in an isolated rural area, snow days are always kick-back-and-read days – even though, with my office in my house, I really have no excuse not to work no matter what the weather.

Where can we find you online?

My website is www.leighmichaels.com, on Facebook look for Leigh Michaels, and on twitter I’m @leighmichaels.

Ask Leigh a question or leave a comment to enter for 1 of today’s 2 prizes:
1) An ARC of THE WEDDING AFFAIR and matching bookmark
2) 1 of 5 handmade custom bookmarks

International
**MUST** leave a contact email to WIN

BIO:  Leigh Michaels is the author of nearly 100 books, including 80 contemporary novels, three historical romance novels, and more than a dozen non-fiction books. More than 35 million copies of her romance novels have been published. Six of her books have been finalists for Best Traditional Romance novel in the RITA contest sponsored by Romance Writers of America and she has received two Reviewer’s Choice awards from Romantic Times.

Leigh is the author of non-fiction books such as WRITING THE ROMANCE NOVEL, a step-by-step workbook, and CREATING ROMANTIC CHARACTERS and she teaches romance writing on the Internet at Gotham Writers–Workshop, www.writingclasses.com.

>Leigh Michaels: Review, Interview & Giveaway THE WEDDING AFFAIR

>THE WEDDING AFFAIR is Leigh Michaels’ new release as well as the first of her historical romances that I’ve read. I received the book from Soucebooks for review and so thrilled I did–as I’ve found another fantastic historical romance writer to follow!

THE WEDDING AFFAIR:

The Duke of Somervale’s sister is getting married in the wedding of year — but the wedding guests are in the mood for affairs, not vows!

The Duke needs the help of beautiful, stubborn Olivia Reyne to fight off the debutantes who have taken over his country estate. Olivia’s willing to help — at a price which will secure the future for her small daughter.

Penny Townsend sees the wedding as her last chance to salvage her arranged marriage and turn it into something more than a matter of convenience.

And vicar’s daughter Kate Blakely needs a job — and fast — before she gives in to the tempting presence of her first love!

MY REVIEW:  This novel was such a treat to read. One of the elements I loved most was its three storylines. Yes — three. Three heroes, three heroines, three stories. Each woven into the same setting, timeframe and plot so that they weave efforlessly together. I felt as if I was watching a movie rather than reading a book. Leigh’s ability to juggle three romances so fluidly turns me a tad green, as I find adding a secondary romance challanging while all three of her romances stand alone and carry equal uniqueness and weight without overshadowing the others.

The technique made the the novel fly by because there are of course three times the troubles, three times the conflicts, three times the risk and of course three times the romance *blush*.  (Tip: When you read this, make sure you’ve got a Big Gulp of ice water nearby.)  Just as one couple reaches a conflict pinacle, Leigh switches to another couple, another situation, equally as troublesome, equally as intriguing, and all the time in the back of my mind I’m wondering…but what about the others? What’s going to happen with them? The result was an eveloping page-turning read where I found myself both enthralled with the characters I was reading about, yet dying to know what happened with the others.

I enjoyed Leigh’s humor, unique with each character or set of characters true to their relationships and situations, as well as her effortless and rich character development.

THE WEDDING AFFAIR was a fun, intruiging, fast read and I’ll be watching for Leigh’s future books!

LEIGH’S INTERVIEW:
Tell us about your upcoming release.

In The Wedding Affair, the Duke of Somervale’s sister is getting married, but the guests who have gathered for a house party leading up to the wedding are much more interested in their private affairs – and I do mean affairs! – than in the bride and groom.

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today?

Like my previous two historicals, Just One Season in London and The Mistress’ House, this is a triple story – three heroes, three heroines, and three romances which are woven together into one book. I love writing triple stories because there’s so much action that even I never quite know what’s going to happen next.

Tell us something unusual about this book (i.e. in its creation, execution, production).

The archery scene which appears in the last fourth of the story was at the beginning of chapter two in the first draft. That’s what’s called a heavy revision.

Do You Have Any Undiscovered Or Hidden Talents?

I’m sure I do, but I’m still looking for them.

Favorite Midnight Snack?

Very dark chocolate chips, melting slowly on the tongue, one by one…

Are You An Introvert Or An Extrovert? 

Introvert pretending to be an extrovert.

Are You A Window Person Or An Aisle Person?

Window.

Ever Hit A Jackpot On A Slot Machine?

No, but I have hit the jackpot in a couple of other areas, like (1) selling my first book despite the worst synopsis and sample chapters in the history of the world, and (2) being asked to flat-sit one summer in London, about a mile from Buckingham Palace.

Are You Afraid Of Heights?

Only if I’m looking down!

How many pillows do you like to sleep with?

Just one. The other two are to prop me up so I can read in bed.

Do you believe in snipes?

Of course; doesn’t everyone? (Please don’t tell me Wesley’s a mythical character like Santa – it would break my heart!)

Which do you like more—rainy days or snowy days?

Snowy, because I can sit in the bay window in my living room and feel as though I’m in a silent snow globe. Also, because of my childhood in an isolated rural area, snow days are always kick-back-and-read days – even though, with my office in my house, I really have no excuse not to work no matter what the weather.

Where can we find you online?

My website is www.leighmichaels.com, on Facebook look for Leigh Michaels, and on twitter I’m @leighmichaels.

Ask Leigh a question or leave a comment to enter for 1 of today’s 2 prizes:
1) An ARC of THE WEDDING AFFAIR and matching bookmark
2) 1 of 5 handmade custom bookmarks

International
**MUST** leave a contact email to WIN

BIO:  Leigh Michaels is the author of nearly 100 books, including 80 contemporary novels, three historical romance novels, and more than a dozen non-fiction books. More than 35 million copies of her romance novels have been published. Six of her books have been finalists for Best Traditional Romance novel in the RITA contest sponsored by Romance Writers of America and she has received two Reviewer’s Choice awards from Romantic Times.

Leigh is the author of non-fiction books such as WRITING THE ROMANCE NOVEL, a step-by-step workbook, and CREATING ROMANTIC CHARACTERS and she teaches romance writing on the Internet at Gotham Writers–Workshop, www.writingclasses.com.

Review, Interview & Giveaway: The Queen’s Gamble by Barbara Kyle

>

Barbara Kyle’s upcoming release, The Queen’s Gamble, is as rich and intricate as it’s gorgeous cover. 
Before I forget, I have 5 beautiful bookmarks to give away!
AND a print ARC of The Queen’s Gamble!
Comment  or ask Barbara a questions to enter.
Open internationally.

I am the first to admit to a historical knowledge deficit, alarming (or maybe more embarrassing) considering my father was a history teacher for 30+ years. But I can’t deny my fascination with Barbara Kyle’s ability to weave true history with her own brand of fiction–complex story lines, unexpected twists, seething passion and drama galore. Add in rich characters with seemingly insurmountable conflict, stakes high enough to spear clouds and a smooth, engaging writing style … you’ve got a real can’t-put-it-down read.

I could go on and on about how this book held my attention and gave me a read beyond anything I anticipated, but RT Reviews and Publisher’s Weekly — the REAL reviewing professionals — already do it so well:

” … action-packed adventure that expertly blends fiction with history … a pulsating story of valor and greed, love and passion, and the tremendous cost of loyalty. – Publishers Weekly blog

Not only does Kyle create memorable characters, but she infuses her stories with lush historical detail, fascinating intrigues and court drama. History and romance merge, loyalty and passions run high and readers are riveted to the pages of her highly addictive novels.”  – RT Reviews

Young Queen Elizabeth I’s path to the throne has been a perilous one, and already she faces a dangerous crisis. French troops have landed in Scotland to quell a rebel Protestant army, and Elizabeth fears once they are entrenched on the border, they will invade England.

Isabel Thornleigh has returned to London from the New World with her Spanish husband, Carlos Valverde, and their young son. Ever the queen’s loyal servant, Isabel is recruited to smuggle money to the Scottish rebels. Yet Elizabeth’s trust only goes so far—Isabel’s son will be the queen’s pampered hostage until she completes her mission. Matters grow worse when Isabel’s husband is engaged as military advisor to the French, putting the couple on opposite sides in a deadly cold war.

Set against a lush, vibrant backdrop peopled with unforgettable characters and historical figures, The Queen’s Gamble is a story of courage, greed, passion, and the high price of loyalty…

Now, a little about Barbara
First let me say to Joan, thanks so much for inviting me to your blog. It’s a pleasure to reach out to your readers. (Everybody, check out Joan’s upcoming novel, Fever.)

Q: You weave real history in with fiction to create your novels. That’s fascinating. What sparked that idea?
Movies. Filmmakers have used this technique forever; it’s a grand tradition that I’ve incorporated into my novels. I’m scrupulous about not deviating from the historical record – for example in 1558 Queen Elizabeth did secretly send money to help the Scottish rebels fight their French overlords, and when this “cold war” broke into a hot one she sent an army. Then, into real frameworks like this I set my fictional characters – members of the rising, middle-class Thornleigh family – to play crucial parts in the historical drama.

Q: What is your writing routine?
In the early morning I answer emails for about an hour. For the rest of the morning I fix what I wrote the day before. That’s my favorite thing to do – I could fix forever – so I have to cut myself off at noon. Quick lunch (often eaten at my desk: messy). Then I buckle down to create the next bit. I aim to create five pages a day, but rarely make it; usually it’s three or four pages. At about three o’clock I’m done, and I go for a walk or to the gym.

Q: Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
Great writers of big stories like Leon Uris, Margaret Mitchell, Herman Wouk. And fine writers of narrative non-fiction like David McCullough on John Adams; David Starkey on Elizabeth I; Adam Hochschild on WWI; Erik Larson on Berlin as Hitler came to power. I never tire of reading how we got where we are now, a.k.a. history. 

Even more vivid and beautiful in person.
Reminds me of red velvet cake – YUM!

Q: How does your family view your writing career?
My husband is my biggest supporter and best editor, really almost a co-author. We talk about my characters all the time. If people overheard us they’d think we’re brainsick. (Isn’t that a terrific word? It’s a 16th century word. I use it whenever I can in my Tudor novels.)

Q: How do you keep in touch with your readers?
My Facebook Author Page at http://tinyurl.com/3jljjrl is fun. I respond to almost every comment that readers post there. Also, I love running contests; the one I’m running now is to name the grand new manor house that my characters have built. I also send out a Newsletter every few months. And I adore Twitter and tweet every day. Follow me at @BKyleAuthor.

Q: What authors do you like to read?
Anyone, in any genre, who brings to life the human condition with grace and panache. I’m always reading, about half fiction and half non-fiction.

Q: Do you have a second career? If not, what did you do before you became a full-time writer?
I write full-time, plus every few months I run my “Master Class: Your Novel in Workshop” weekend for writers. I really enjoy helping emerging writers. Before I became an author I enjoyed a twenty-year acting career in theater and TV.

Q: What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Characters that readers care about. And, always, characters who face huge challenges.

Q: What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
Perseverance. And a love of humanity. I don’t mean sentimentality, which is all surface, I mean a deep empathy for the shared values of all peoples in all times.

Q: Which is your favorite of the books you have written?
Yikes, that’s like asking a mother which of her children she loves most! Truly, all of them. Except the work-in-progress, which at the moment is an unruly adolescent, but I have faith that it’s just a stage. Writing, like being a parent, takes a lot of faith.

Q: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I cannot write with any noise around; even a radio in the next room makes me crazy. I can, however, write anywhere, as long as I have silence, heat, and tea.

Q: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Walk, just about every day. Sail – my husband and I have a Cal-46 ketch and we sail her on beautiful Georgian Bay, Lake Huron. And I cook. I’m a very good cook. Vegetarian.

Q: Tell us about your upcoming release.
The Queen’s Gamble is the fourth book in my Tudor-era “Thornleigh” series. Isabel, the Thornleighs’ daughter, returns to London from the New World with her Spanish husband Carlos Valverde and their young son, and is swept up in the first international crisis of the young Queen’s Elizabeth reign: the French, who control Scotland, have landed troops along England’s border, threatening an invasion. The Queen recruits Isabel to take money secretly to aid the Scottish rebel faction trying to drive out the French. But when Carlos is sent to Scotland as a military advisor to the French troops, he and Isabel find they are on opposite sides in this deadly war – and the Queen has made their little boy her hostage.

Q: Where can we find you online?
http://www.barbarakyle.com. Do visit!

Comment or ask Barbara a questions to enter for a chance to WIN:



1 of 5 beautiful handmade bookmarks
A print ARC of The Queen’s Gamble

Open internationally
**MUST** leave contact email to WIN

Barbara Kyle is the author of the Tudor-era novels The Queen’s Gamble, The Queen’s Captive, The King’s Daughter and The Queen’s Lady, all published internationally, and she is pleased to have recently signed a 3-book deal to continue this series. Barbara previously won acclaim for her contemporary novels under pen name ‘Stephen Kyle’ including Beyond Recall, a Literary Guild Selection. Over 400,000 copies of her books have sold.

Her latest contemporary novel Entrapped is available as an e-book at amazon.com.

Barbara is passionate about helping emerging writers. She has taught her “Writers Boot Camp” for the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies, and is known for her dynamic workshops for many writers organizations. She offers her own Master Class workshops focused on each participant’s novel-in-progress.

Before becoming an author Barbara enjoyed a twenty-year acting career in television, film, and stage productions in Canada and the U.S. Visit www.BarbaraKyle.com

>Review, Interview & Giveaway: The Queen’s Gamble by Barbara Kyle

>

Barbara Kyle’s upcoming release, The Queen’s Gamble, is as rich and intricate as it’s gorgeous cover. 
Before I forget, I have 5 beautiful bookmarks to give away!
AND a print ARC of The Queen’s Gamble!
Comment  or ask Barbara a questions to enter.
Open internationally.

I am the first to admit to a historical knowledge deficit, alarming (or maybe more embarrassing) considering my father was a history teacher for 30+ years. But I can’t deny my fascination with Barbara Kyle’s ability to weave true history with her own brand of fiction–complex story lines, unexpected twists, seething passion and drama galore. Add in rich characters with seemingly insurmountable conflict, stakes high enough to spear clouds and a smooth, engaging writing style … you’ve got a real can’t-put-it-down read.

I could go on and on about how this book held my attention and gave me a read beyond anything I anticipated, but RT Reviews and Publisher’s Weekly — the REAL reviewing professionals — already do it so well:

” … action-packed adventure that expertly blends fiction with history … a pulsating story of valor and greed, love and passion, and the tremendous cost of loyalty. – Publishers Weekly blog

Not only does Kyle create memorable characters, but she infuses her stories with lush historical detail, fascinating intrigues and court drama. History and romance merge, loyalty and passions run high and readers are riveted to the pages of her highly addictive novels.”  – RT Reviews

Young Queen Elizabeth I’s path to the throne has been a perilous one, and already she faces a dangerous crisis. French troops have landed in Scotland to quell a rebel Protestant army, and Elizabeth fears once they are entrenched on the border, they will invade England.

Isabel Thornleigh has returned to London from the New World with her Spanish husband, Carlos Valverde, and their young son. Ever the queen’s loyal servant, Isabel is recruited to smuggle money to the Scottish rebels. Yet Elizabeth’s trust only goes so far—Isabel’s son will be the queen’s pampered hostage until she completes her mission. Matters grow worse when Isabel’s husband is engaged as military advisor to the French, putting the couple on opposite sides in a deadly cold war.

Set against a lush, vibrant backdrop peopled with unforgettable characters and historical figures, The Queen’s Gamble is a story of courage, greed, passion, and the high price of loyalty…

Now, a little about Barbara
First let me say to Joan, thanks so much for inviting me to your blog. It’s a pleasure to reach out to your readers. (Everybody, check out Joan’s upcoming novel, Fever.)

Q: You weave real history in with fiction to create your novels. That’s fascinating. What sparked that idea?
Movies. Filmmakers have used this technique forever; it’s a grand tradition that I’ve incorporated into my novels. I’m scrupulous about not deviating from the historical record – for example in 1558 Queen Elizabeth did secretly send money to help the Scottish rebels fight their French overlords, and when this “cold war” broke into a hot one she sent an army. Then, into real frameworks like this I set my fictional characters – members of the rising, middle-class Thornleigh family – to play crucial parts in the historical drama.

Q: What is your writing routine?
In the early morning I answer emails for about an hour. For the rest of the morning I fix what I wrote the day before. That’s my favorite thing to do – I could fix forever – so I have to cut myself off at noon. Quick lunch (often eaten at my desk: messy). Then I buckle down to create the next bit. I aim to create five pages a day, but rarely make it; usually it’s three or four pages. At about three o’clock I’m done, and I go for a walk or to the gym.

Q: Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
Great writers of big stories like Leon Uris, Margaret Mitchell, Herman Wouk. And fine writers of narrative non-fiction like David McCullough on John Adams; David Starkey on Elizabeth I; Adam Hochschild on WWI; Erik Larson on Berlin as Hitler came to power. I never tire of reading how we got where we are now, a.k.a. history. 

Even more vivid and beautiful in person.
Reminds me of red velvet cake – YUM!

Q: How does your family view your writing career?
My husband is my biggest supporter and best editor, really almost a co-author. We talk about my characters all the time. If people overheard us they’d think we’re brainsick. (Isn’t that a terrific word? It’s a 16th century word. I use it whenever I can in my Tudor novels.)

Q: How do you keep in touch with your readers?
My Facebook Author Page at http://tinyurl.com/3jljjrl is fun. I respond to almost every comment that readers post there. Also, I love running contests; the one I’m running now is to name the grand new manor house that my characters have built. I also send out a Newsletter every few months. And I adore Twitter and tweet every day. Follow me at @BKyleAuthor.

Q: What authors do you like to read?
Anyone, in any genre, who brings to life the human condition with grace and panache. I’m always reading, about half fiction and half non-fiction.

Q: Do you have a second career? If not, what did you do before you became a full-time writer?
I write full-time, plus every few months I run my “Master Class: Your Novel in Workshop” weekend for writers. I really enjoy helping emerging writers. Before I became an author I enjoyed a twenty-year acting career in theater and TV.

Q: What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Characters that readers care about. And, always, characters who face huge challenges.

Q: What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
Perseverance. And a love of humanity. I don’t mean sentimentality, which is all surface, I mean a deep empathy for the shared values of all peoples in all times.

Q: Which is your favorite of the books you have written?
Yikes, that’s like asking a mother which of her children she loves most! Truly, all of them. Except the work-in-progress, which at the moment is an unruly adolescent, but I have faith that it’s just a stage. Writing, like being a parent, takes a lot of faith.

Q: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I cannot write with any noise around; even a radio in the next room makes me crazy. I can, however, write anywhere, as long as I have silence, heat, and tea.

Q: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Walk, just about every day. Sail – my husband and I have a Cal-46 ketch and we sail her on beautiful Georgian Bay, Lake Huron. And I cook. I’m a very good cook. Vegetarian.

Q: Tell us about your upcoming release.
The Queen’s Gamble is the fourth book in my Tudor-era “Thornleigh” series. Isabel, the Thornleighs’ daughter, returns to London from the New World with her Spanish husband Carlos Valverde and their young son, and is swept up in the first international crisis of the young Queen’s Elizabeth reign: the French, who control Scotland, have landed troops along England’s border, threatening an invasion. The Queen recruits Isabel to take money secretly to aid the Scottish rebel faction trying to drive out the French. But when Carlos is sent to Scotland as a military advisor to the French troops, he and Isabel find they are on opposite sides in this deadly war – and the Queen has made their little boy her hostage.

Q: Where can we find you online?
http://www.barbarakyle.com. Do visit!

Comment or ask Barbara a questions to enter for a chance to WIN:



1 of 5 beautiful handmade bookmarks
A print ARC of The Queen’s Gamble

Open internationally
**MUST** leave contact email to WIN

Barbara Kyle is the author of the Tudor-era novels The Queen’s Gamble, The Queen’s Captive, The King’s Daughter and The Queen’s Lady, all published internationally, and she is pleased to have recently signed a 3-book deal to continue this series. Barbara previously won acclaim for her contemporary novels under pen name ‘Stephen Kyle’ including Beyond Recall, a Literary Guild Selection. Over 400,000 copies of her books have sold.

Her latest contemporary novel Entrapped is available as an e-book at amazon.com.

Barbara is passionate about helping emerging writers. She has taught her “Writers Boot Camp” for the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies, and is known for her dynamic workshops for many writers organizations. She offers her own Master Class workshops focused on each participant’s novel-in-progress.

Before becoming an author Barbara enjoyed a twenty-year acting career in television, film, and stage productions in Canada and the U.S. Visit www.BarbaraKyle.com