Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Interview with Serge Gervais from HIDING

Emcee: Welcome to "Meet the Character," a daily talk show where we interview heroes and heroines from Wild Rose Press releases. Today our guest character is Serge Gervais from the book HIDING.
Bienvenue, Serge.

Serge: Merci.

Emcee: I understand that you are from Paris.

Serge: Oui.

Emcee: Have you lived there all your life?

Serge: Non, I grew up with my grandparents in Breil sur Royal in the French Alps a very old, picturesque village.

Emcee: And what brought you to Paris?

Serge: I came to study business at the Sorbonne. At first, I though Paris was noisy and crowded. I was not used to traffic, but to long hikes through the mountains to crisp, clear, cold streams.
I really prefer Alpine mountain goats to double-decker buses, but there are so many interesting people in Paris, tourists from all over the world.

Emcee: And what do you do in Paris?

Serge: I am a concierge at a hotel where I enjoy meeting guests, but I have been saving to buy my own restaurant.

Emcee: What type of food to you plan to serve?

Serge: French traditional. Both of my grandparents were excellent cooks. My grandpere taught me the proper way to prepare escargot by having the snails kept in a terrarium where they are fed special savory herbs.

Emcee: And how did you meet Teresa Worthington?"

Serge: She was a guest at the hotel, so very petite and cute, but she looked lost, afraid.

Emcee: And what first attracted you to her?"

Serge: She had a beautiful smile that lit up her whole face when she talked about her artwork. And when I saw what she could do with a paintbrush I was amazed.

Emcee: You thought she had a lot of talent?

Serge: Absolumont!

Emcee: But you didn't know then that she was being pursued by an obsessive and abusive ex-boyfriend.

Serge: No.

Emcee: Would you have gotten involved with her, if you had known?

Serge: (long pause) Yes, looking back I don't think I could have resisted her. Finding her was like finding a missing part of myself. I would do anything to protect her.
I hate when men bully and mistreat women.

Emcee: So when does HIDING come out from hiding?

Serge: Aug. 7, 2015 is our release date.

Emcee: And what do you hope readers will take away from this book?

Serge: An appreciation for the beauty of France, the French people, and our culture. I hope they will grow to love Teresa the way that I have.

Pre-Order on Amazon!

Katherine McDermott, author

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Wisdom of the Siesta

The wisdom of the siesta and the functional beauty of the hammock were lessons learned on my first trek through Maya country. Mayan hammocks bear little resemblance to those purchased in big box stores—I refer to the wide strip of fabric held open with a wooden or metal bar and attached to a metal frame. Little comfort there.

Rope varieties are better, but nothing offers the relaxation found in Yucatán’s traditional bed. Woven of yarn in colorful patterns, hammocks are sized for toddlers up to the matrimonial versions. A weaver in Cancun told me the latter style is more finely woven than the others, and those made for newlyweds are often quite fancy. Whether suspended between two trees, or from hooks in a bedroom or a thatch-roofed rural dwelling called a choza, the bed provides airy comfort in a tropical clime.

After our driver discharged his passengers at our first stop in Yucatán, he hung his hammock between a tree and the handle on his bus’s door and settled in for siesta while we over-stimulated Norté Americanos trekked through the jungle to Cobá’s principal ruins. He awoke refreshed and ready to drive several more hours before nightfall. Eleven days and three archaeological parks later a vendor near the Guatemalan border offered hammocks for sale while nearby her daughter slept in a mini-version of the woman’s handiwork. In a later post I’ll tell you a bit about the hammock’s history in the culture.

What I won’t reveal is what my hero and heroine in Two Hearts in Time did in their woven bed. You’ll have to read the book—it’s coming soon.

Raymona Anderson

On her website
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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Rehab for the Heart

The first book of my new Healing Hearts series, will be released today.

This book is dear to me because of its medical theme. Many of my compatriots, from all walks of the nursing profession, have similar histories of failed marriages or dysfunctional pairings.

I've given this a lot of thought over the years (having been there myself) and I think part of the cause for those broken relationships is the very reason we became nurses in the first place. We want to help people. We want to make things better. We look at those wonderful but flawed men who attract us like moths to a flame and just know that with enough love and understanding we can erase those flaws--or at least minimize them.

Naturally it's much easier to see the flaws in our partners than those in ourselves. I mean, theirs are always much worse than ours, right?

I once read--don't ask me where, it was too long ago--that men marry women expecting they will never change and women marry men expecting that they will. Both inevitably are disappointed.

Don't misunderstand me. I don't think it is the nurse who has no flaws and is always the heroic figure in any partnership. While he or she may be staying in what would be seen from the outside as an intolerable situation, they may be acting as an enabler and instead of helping their situation, they reinforce the very behavior they'd like to banish.

Of course there are lots of happy, healthy marriages in the medical field, and I salute those couples for the effort it took both partners to do the work and gain enough understanding of their mates to form a lasting bond.

For the rest of us, though...
Patients, especially those destined for a long hospital stay, have an easy 'in' to our hearts as care-givers. After all this is what we trained for, right? Hopefully we can fix them. Heal them. Send them back into the world all shiny and new. Of course it doesn't always work out that way, but that is the goal we strive for from the very first instant they become our patient.

If it turns out they have more than a simply grateful appreciation for our efforts, the professional distance we are expected to maintain becomes more difficult to achieve. And let's face it, if the patient is a male who's hotter than hell, and who pleads for continued visits, keeping that distance becomes an heroic struggle.

But I digress.

This book is about a woman who didn't get the chance to make her marriage work, although it's doubtful that more time might have made any difference. Initially Gwen sees herself as the cause of her marriage's catastrophic failure and so decides she's better off single. She resists her best friend's persistent attempts to push her back into the social scene and pours all her pent-up affection on the small menagerie she has somehow accumulated. But her resolve weakens when fate literally thrusts an attractive man into her path.

Thus, Nick becomes her patient following his serious auto accident.

Nick and Gwen both have trust issues burned into their hearts by former partners. Initially they are both wary, but their attraction continues to grow. Eventually Gwen succumbs to Nick's allure then finds out it is easy to fall for a man's charms but much more difficult to trust his motives.

Once discharged from the rehab facility, Nick is challenged to find a way to spend time with Gwen and replace his patient persona with a much more intimate one. Unfortunately his plan, developed on the spur of the moment, involves some subterfuge.

So the question for Gwen becomes: can caring for, wanting, and even loving a man be enough to bet your future on? Or is trust the key ingredient to a happy marriage?

What's your opinion?

Karen Ann Dell

In the interest of avoiding all possibility of a HIPPA violation, I write under a pen name and all characters in my works are completely fictional.
--Not that I haven't used a character trait or two compiled from my thirty-plus years in the medical arena... ;)

Click here to read more about Rehab for the Heart

Karen Ann Dell
(this post originally posted on http://karenanndell.com/)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Packing For Conference—My Three Top Tips...

I’ve just got back from the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s 2015 conference, held at Queen Mary’s University in London (you can read more about that here). I attended this annual event for the first time last year, but only on a day ticket. It was so good and I learned so much, I put my name down for this year’s conference the moment the list opened. It also gave me the chance to do my bit by helping fill the goody bags which each delegate receives with donations of paperbacks, bookmarks, sweets and chocolate. This year, those bags included advertising flyers for my titles with The Wild Rose Press, His Majesty’s Secret Passion and Her Royal Risk.

As a conference newbie, I had a lot to learn. Much of that was about packing my case. My OH has enough business miles under his belt to qualify for Club Class on Mars One. When he walked into our bedroom and saw what I intended to take with me to London, he laughed. My packing list was at least a yard too long, apparently, and I was taking all the wrong things.
If that news wasn’t bad enough, he turned out to be right—grr!

Now, with a whole week of conference experience behind me, here are my three top tips for the conference newbie. They’re handy whether you’re heading off to New York for the RWA meet, or some other far-flung destination.

1.Lay everything you want to take out on your bed (or other large flat surface). Then...
2....put 40% of it straight back in the wardrobe.
Believe me, it’ll weigh you down for no purpose. You’ll never wear it. Not even your gym kit. Especially not your gym kit. At home I run nearly every day, but then I live in the middle of nowhere. I rarely meet anyone else when I’m out jogging. If I do, they’re bound to be much older and larger than I am. That’s just the demographic of this area. That’s why I ignored OH, and dragged my gym bag to London. Bad mistake. Everyone who runs in the city is twice my height, half my weight and barely a third my age.
Don’t worry—you’ll have so much fun at conference, even if you look like an Olympic champion you won’t be running. You won’t have the time. Vow to catch up with your exercise regime when
you get home.

My life runs on tea. I can get pretty mean when I’m deprived, so I took along a few tea bags, some dried milk and a small spoon so I could make the first and last drinks of the day. My flat had a kitchen, otherwise a travel mug and in-cup boiler would been on my packing list, too.
If tea and coffee aren’t your thing, pack a corkscrew with an integral bottle opener (unless your budget runs to champagne, or you can impress someone who has a bottomless expense account!). Protect its point with the last cork you drew.
I get terrible migraines if I don’t eat regularly. Just in case I was delayed on the long journey to London—always likely—I went prepared with a couple of crackers, a piece of cheese (which doesn’t give me migraines), and an apple. I took iced water and my tablets, too, and luckily didn’t need any of it. Yes, we do have shops in England, and buffet cars on trains, but you can’t rely on the opening times, or stock levels, of either.

Take some soft ear-plugs! My room was great, and I never heard my neighbors once we’d said goodnight. Unfortunately, we were in student accommodation. Our flats overlooked the main pedestrian route through the campus. The university hosts hundreds of exchange students during the long vacation, as well as delegates. A run of hot weather sent endless streams of people milling past our block, from 7am straight through to 2 or 3am the following day. Even then there was no peace, as that was when the trash carts rumbled into action, and the university cleaning shifts changed. The surrounding high buildings acted like canyon w
alls, echoing every noise.
My window was double-glazed. When shut, it kept out virtually all sound. It also kept in all the heat my sunny room absorbed during the day, while I was sitting in one of the university’s air-conditioned lecture theaters. Each night, I could either keep the window closed and sleep in silence while gently stewing, or open it and try to nap between the bursts of party people passing below.
As I can remember racketing through the streets in the early hours of the morning with packs of other high spirited students, I could hardly complain about getting a taste of my own medicine!

When she isn't cooking, gardening or beekeeping, Christina Hollis writes contemporary fiction starring complex men and independent women.  Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and she’s sold more than two million books worldwide. You can catch up with her at her blog, on Twitter, and Facebook and see a full list of her published books here.

 Her current release, Her Royal Risk, is part of her Princes Of Kharova series published by The Wild Rose Press, and is available here. To find out more about Christina, and the next book in her Princes Of Kharova series, Heart Of A Hostage, you can sign up for her newsletter

Her Royal Risk—Published by Wild Rose Press — http://bit.ly/1GQPIIq
His Majesty's Secret Passion—Published by Wild Rose Press — http://bit.ly/1ujX5zc

Christina Hollis

Monday, July 20, 2015

Sights and Sites with Eve Dew Crook

Peru is a country of thrilling views. Machu Picchu, perhaps the most famous, is awesome—a wonder on a clear day, mystical in the fog and rain, and heart-stoppingly magical under a starry sky. However, it has often been written about, so I set my story elsewhere. With so many fascinating sites along the coast, through the mountains, and on to the Amazon jungle, I had lots of great choices. Since I’m a ruin junkie, I chose the crumbling Moche fortress-pyramids built in the desert for PASSION, PERIL, PERU. The Sun and Moon pyramids exist, the Stars pyramid is the author’s imaginative addition.~ Eve Dew Crook

Peril Passion, Peru - Coming August 12!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Where McLaren Comes to Life

Like many other writers, I’ve had a bunch of jobs outside the home before I attained my goal of writing full time. My first job as a clerk in a music store was a lot of fun. I got to tune and polish guitars, play them for beginners so they could hear the instruments’ tone, chat with musicians, etc. But my “office” was the checkout counter, and offered no chance of reflecting my personality or letting me create a place -- however small – that was tranquil. The counter was cluttered with boxes of guitar strings and cassette tapes, a glass jar of guitar picks, a stand-up sign advertising the deal of the week, a small rack of sheet music, musicians’ business cards (under the glass countertop), and the cash register.

I love music, so the job contained elements of Heaven, but I felt as though I were an afterthought -- someone to stand there and bag the merchandise.

After a handful of years there I became a secretary for various businesses. Depending on the job, the size of my desk varied greatly, but at least a framed photo, my coffee mug, and a plant claimed one of the desk corners. Having a bit of a comfort zone definitely improved my morale, especially when a day didn’t go very well.

Now that I write full time, my work environment is Unashamedly Jo. I write the McLaren mystery series (In case you don’t know, Michael McLaren is a former police detective who quit his job and now investigates cold cases on his own). My office reflects not only my protagonist but also my love of Britain. This may not seem like anything to write home about, but I live in St Louis, so perhaps my British décor is something you might not expect of an American author.

I attach a photo of my cozy nook so you can get the idea.

There’s a small book shelf on the wall. On it are two of my most prized possessions: an English bobby helmet and an English police inspector’s hat. I got them from two friends who happened to be in the job at the time. A length of McLaren tartan, on which is pinned the Clan badge, hang down. (Yes, I may legally wear them; I belong to the Clan.) More inspiration for my guy. A small framed photo of rocks and exuberant ferns sits at the end of the shelf. The spot’s in Beresford Dale in Staffordshire, which hugs the western border of Derbyshire, and is one of my favorite places. The red phone booth tin to the photo’s right had candy in it (verb tense is correct).

The painting on the wall is of Bolton Castle. Well, it's the building’s ruins, actually. It’s a pen-and-ink watercolor done by a friend of mine, Alan Bamford (if you google his name, you’ll get the ‘wrong one’). Alan lives in Bedfordshire, England, but when I met him in the early 1970s he lived in Bolton, Lancashire. Which was where I vacationed for a month, staying with a college friend. I went to a street art festival and Alan was one of the artists exhibiting his paintings. I bought two of them – this one and a rendition of Hall i’th’ Wood, a 16th century manor house in Bolton. When I returned to Bolton the next year, I bought another of Alan’s paintings. Through our forty-year friendship I’ve purchased eleven pieces. They’re all different (a coastal fishing village, a thatched-roof cottage, a water mill in winter, etc), but I keep Bolton Castle on the wall above my computer monitor. I love castles, so that’s a good reminder of my time in England. Plus, it provides inspiration for some place McLaren might investigate. Bad guys lurk everywhere!

On the desk top (with is an eight-foot long kitchen countertop sitting on three 2-drawer filing cabinets – the counter gives great, uninterrupted space) are two McLaren mugs filled with markers, letter opener, paper clips, etc. My Clan coffee mug usually holds hot tea. To the right of the computer monitor is a mug I got in Buxton, Derbyshire. The town is the headquarters for the B Section of the Derbyshire Constabulary, and McLaren’s sidekick, Jamie Kydd, works out of that office. Again, it’s another three-dimensional memory that helps connect me to the town and to Derbyshire, where McLaren works most of his cases.

I’ve got a pillow covered in McLaren tartan for my chair. It’s not in this photo but I wanted you to know that he and I support each other. I also have an area rug, the design of which is the British Union Jack.

Of course the desk is just one component of my office. There are other things among the research books and maps that mean a lot to me: a letter from Ngaio Marsh’s cousin (Ngaio is my favorite mystery writer); various photos of British police friends, my folk singing group, and the Scottish folk group I managed for a while; mementoes of my trip to New Zealand (I have a sneaking suspicion that McLaren may go there one day and get involved in a cold case); a sprig of dried heather; yards of British police crime scene tape; and a Write Spite voodoo doll (I used to stick pins in it whenever a publisher rejected me, but I haven’t used it since The Wild Rose Press accepted my manuscripts!)...

It’s a soothing, soul-embracing space. It also inspires me, and reminds me of incidents and places I can use in my mysteries. I can’t ask much more than that.

Jo A. Hiestand

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Interview with Lord Geoffrey Austen OF ONCE UPON A DUKE

Hello Readers and Writers: My story ONCE UPON A DUKE, has been ruminating since 2007. It is soon to be published by The Wild Rose Press in summer 2015. I am in love with the Regency period. To me, it is a Classic Romantic Elegant era with dashing Alpha heroes and strong, fiery, smart women, and clothing to die for.

Setting: Regency England 1817, Geoffrey Austen, Duke of Sutton--a handsome rake with raven black hair and piercing grotto blue eyes is betrayed by a false fiancé and is suspect of all women. He is an Alpha male, age thirty-four, tall, has a scar on his face and a tortured soul. He resolves never to marry for any reason. He does not expect his heart will become captive and his world turned upside down by the lovely Serena.

He meets the beautiful widow Lady Serena, an artist, who holds a sad secret, and has learned what a man can do in malice. She hides what she considers her inadequacies by flirting with Lord Geoffrey, daring him to fall in love with her. She doesn't expect the rake to accept her challenge nor for his kisses to make her eager to face his fears.
Sandra Masters, Author

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS from the author to Lord Geoffrey:

Interviewer: What is your main fear, my lord Duke?
Answer: Getting leg shackled by a woman. I fear commitment and what love can do to a man. My interaction with Lady Serena started out as just another notch on my bedpost, but somehow it grew into something profound when she kissed my scar with tenderness and genuine concern. Even as I now speak, I can feel her nurturing lips. Later, quite by accident, I discovered Serena's story. My heart melted and I found a need to show her the gentleness of a man with a woman who share a real relationship. In a caring gesture, I gifted her a puppy, who she named Adonis, after me and the mythical God of Love.

Interviewer: What is the main conflict?
Answer: Serena wants a commitment of marriage. As a child, I did not see any love from my mother to my father. He adored her and she dismissed him. I have offered the position of mistress. She refused. I left without saying Goodbye. It was not a manly thing to do.

Interviewer: What has messed up your life?
Answer: When I arrived in sooty air defiled London, I found everything a bore. My thoughts were consumed with Serena whom I left behind. I did return and visited her surreptitiously one night at the lakeside manor and it was...comfortable. Her maid prepared a warm meal for me. Adonis, the pup I gave her, wagged his tail merrily and tried to bite my shoe as usual. Serena said, "WE missed you." I wondered how along the way I had acquired a family: woman, a maid and a puppy. Our lovemaking was unbelievable and this time I woke Sleepy Head up before I left.

Interviewer: If everything was so good, why didn't you propose?
Answer: I thought I had time to consider everything. Ours was a tempestuous relationship. Truthfully, I was frightened of what love could do. When I returned to London, all I could do was to think of her. The concept of a future serious relationship started to intrigue me. I returned to visit her the next week, but she was gone. I met with her brother and he informed me she was engaged to another man and she only toyed with me to make him jealous enough to propose marriage. He did. She accepted. Her brother approved. They were to be married in three weeks. Her brother also informed me she ordered the puppy drowned and my portrait burned because it only reminded her of her foolishness with me.

Interviewer: How did you react?
Answer: You can imagine hos outraged I was. I did not care about the portrait she burned, but to order Adonis killed--how could I have misjudged her? I drank myself into a stupor with a good friend and while I tried to find any woman who might east the pain of her loss, they all were found lacking.

Interviewer: Then what happened?
Answer: And just when I thought there was no other choice than to forget her, all she said, all she did and all she represented to me, visitors came to my London townhouse. It was Serena's maid and the groomsmen who returned the puppy to me unharmed. Her maid handed me a personal letter written hastily by her mistress. Serena advised she was held prisoner in an armed fortress and that the marriage was forced upon her, without her knowledge or consent. She reaffirmed her love for me and indicated she would throw herself from a parapet into the ocean rather than marry the monster of a man to whom she was betrothed.

Interviewer: Were you now convinced of her love for you?
Answer. Yes. When I was shown a sketch she had drawn of the three of us, as a family--Serena, myself and the pup, that her brother lied to me--about everything. To add o this, the maid brought the portrait she had painted of me, the one that was purportedly burned, that I knew her brother was guilty of lies for his own selfish purposes.

Serena's letter ended with the words that she would love me forever, in this world or the next. What else could I do but reply that the maid should return to her mistress and tell her that I loved her with all my heart, and that she would either attend our wedding--or my funeral.

I leave you to draw your conclusion how my author charted the ending of the novel.

Interviewer: Is there a working title to this novel."
Answer. Yes, it is ONCE UPON A DUKE, (That's me,) by Sandra Masters. She's the author and my friend. You can visit her website where there is an excerpt at sandramastersauthor.com and you are invited to leave a comment on the Guest page.

The Author: Your Grace, I have created you out of the figment of my imagination. Did I do you justice?
Answer: It is a difficult question and I can only say that you and I have been in each other's heart and soul for a long time. I've enjoyed the fantasy trips we have taken as I created the love scenes with Serena. I do believe readers should enjoy our fairy tale romance. After all, you showed me what love can do to redeem a man.

Interviewer: When do you think the book will be published, Madame Masters?"
Answer: The Wild Rose Press has contracted with me to publish this magnificent story. While release dates are not etched in stone, it does appear it will be published in summer of 2015.l Lord Geoffrey has waited a long time to connect with readers.

Update: Once Upon a Duke is available for Pre-Order now on Amazon.com, KoboBooks.com, Itunes, Nook.com, AllRomanceEbooks.com and Bookstrand.com. Available everywhere on July  24th!