Monday, July 29, 2013

Guest Author - Mishael Austin Witty

I'm pleased to welcome contemporary romance author, Mishael Austin Witty today. And she's having a giveaway! Please leave a comment with your contact information at the end of the post, and you'll be entered in a drawing for an e-book version of her book, BELIEVE IN ME

Mishael, please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.

Do I have to? Ugh. This is always one of the hardest questions for a writer to answer (or is it just me?). There’s so much to say…Where do I start?

I’m a wife and a mother of two little girls. I also have two female feline fur babies who always like to sit next to (or on top of) the laptop while I’m trying to write.

I’m Kentucky-born and bred, but I’ve never been to an actual Derby (although I have been to a couple of horse races at Churchill Downs). I DO know all the words to “My Old Kentucky Home” (both the PC and the non-PC version), and I’ve always had a bit of a crush on Stephen Foster, the man who wrote the song.

I love this state, even if it didn’t officially choose sides in the War Between the States. I personally have to side with the North, since my great-great-great-grandfather, Nat Austin, was gunned down by Confederate soldiers (and he wasn’t even a soldier himself. He was a blacksmith in Tompkinsville, Monroe County).

I’m an amateur genealogist, I make my own jewelry, and I’m a Christ follower who is fascinated by all things spiritual.    

Why did you decide to write contemporary romance? What is the appeal?

I first got the idea for this novella when I decided to answer an open call for submissions for a collection of Christmas novellas by Entangled Publishing. The task was to come up with a title by using a lyric from the song “Santa Baby”, so I used the line, “let’s see if you believe in me” to come up with the title BELIEVE IN ME. From the title, I had to come up with the story idea. What would make someone feel like they had to say that to someone else? There obviously had to be a break in the relationship somewhere, so the story idea was born.

I’d really never written a romance before, but I thought it might be fun to try. I’m a psychologist by training, so I love looking into people’s minds, behaviors, and relationships. And, since romance is all about relationship, the genre seemed like a natural fit for me. It was so much fun to write this story – to get to know all the characters and see how their relationships and conflicts all played out.

How much research goes into your books, and how do you tackle that?

For most of my books so far (BELIEVE IN ME and my first, SHADOWS OF THINGS TO COME), there hasn’t been a lot I’ve needed to research. For my zombie fairy tale, CAMPANULA (also available on Amazon), I needed to research herbs and their effects. Google and Wikipedia basically told me everything I needed to know about that.

For my upcoming historical novel, THE FADING SUN, I had to research a lot – what foods people in the Civil War era ate, how they dressed, etc. I wanted to really get in there and set the scenes authentically. Since the story is a fictional account based on the actual story of Nat Austin’s killing and the life of his widow, Jane, following his death, I used a lot of details gleaned from my genealogy research to fill in the character details, including ages, dates of births, marriages, number of children, etc. 

Also, I wanted to include local reactions to the major historical events that were occurring at the time, since there were so many social and political changes taking place. I used local historical papers (as local as I could get, anyway. I tried to stick with Kentucky) for this, accessed via the Louisville Free Public Library’s website. They have an awesome collection, and you can search for any date you want. So many fascinating story ideas in those pages too. I’ve gained several ideas for more historical fiction stories. I can’t wait to write them!

What is the best comment you ever received from a reader? The worst or weirdest?

The best comment I ever received from a reader was that BELIEVE IN ME reminded her of a Debbie Macomber Christmas romance, with “tension, romance, and characters that are warm and believable”.  I hadn’t yet made the connection between my book and Debbie Macomber’s books (although I have read several), and that “ah ha!” moment was priceless! Especially since it came from a reader.

The worst comment I’ve received from someone so far on this book was that it ruined her afternoon (and yet she kept reading to the end, even after she knew she didn’t like it). Here’s a particularly scathing quote: “The heroine was stupid, stupid, stupid. I couldn't believe her actions. Her mother, her mother's best friend, the stupid jerk from high school (10 yrs. ago) that was her sweetheart then, you name it. All just dumb. Even the dialogue was bad.”

And, for the weird? This one takes the cake: “Moved very quickly. Good character's [sic], Hyatt needed a little more fleshing out. Loved Mon and Mom. Look forward to reading another book with more meat to it.” These aren’t even my characters (with the exception of “Mom”). Was this person even actually reading my book? Very curious!

Still, I love hearing from readers – the good, the bad, and the odd. It’s encouraging to know that you’re not just writing into a vacuum. Someone is actually reading what you’re putting out there. It may not be their cup of tea, but at least they read it…and your writing caused enough emotional reaction in them to make them want to comment on it. That’s the best part (for me) of being a writer – making people feel something.

Tell us a little about your writing style? Do you plan and plot your stories, or do you just plow through them?

I always have to have some sort of plan before I begin writing anything; otherwise, the story doesn’t get written. If I don’t have any of idea of where I’m going, then I won’t even start.

I don’t, however, plot every detail. I tried that once with a historical novel that never got written because I wrote basically everything that happened down in my outline summary. When it came time to actually write the thing, I found that I’d outlined the excitement right out of the story. I was no longer interested in writing it. I may go back to it at some point. It’s been several years since I started it and gave it up. But, for right now, there are other tales to tell.

Can you tell us a little about your current work, BELIEVE IN ME? Is there a story behind the story?

There is definitely a story behind the story. As I mentioned before, I began writing the story in response to a call for submissions. Entangled Publishing didn’t want it. They said the story was good; it just wasn’t for them. So, since I’d already self-published one book, SHADOWS OF THINGS TO COME, I thought I’d try to self-publish this one, as well.

The underlying theme of this story is real, self-sacrificial love, forgiveness, and reconciliation. BELIEVE IN ME shows the magic that can occur when two people realize that they both played a part in making a bad situation worse, but they can both change their attitudes and turn things around to make it right again.  I published an article on my website that describes this in more detail. You can find that here:

What sets your heroine, Trina, apart from all the other women in your hero’s, Walt’s, life? Why is she perfect for him?

Trina is the only woman that Walt ever truly loved. She was the first woman he had sex with, and is really the only woman that he ever wants to be with physically. The thought of having sex with another woman has just never entered Walt’s mind ever since he met Trina in college.

She is stubborn, and sometimes childish, but so is Walt, and he acknowledges that. She brings out the best in him, in ways that he never thought possible. He never thought anyone could love him, with all his imperfections and insecurities, but Trina does, and Walt loves her because of that.

There’s not any one thing that separates Trina from all other women in Walt’s life. Everything about her sets her apart. She IS the only woman in Walt’s life, as far as he is concerned, and he’s determined to prove that to her.

Have you ever had writer’s block? How do you deal with it?

Ha! It seems that I, literally, go through this on a weekly, if not almost daily, basis. During these times, I’ll read…and, quite often, reading what other people write gives me the motivation to write my own stuff. Not that I think I can necessarily do it better than whatever author I happen to be reading at the moment (although sometimes that is the case), but mostly…it’s just that I’ll get a spark of an idea from reading someone else’s work, and then I can take that idea and make it my own.

I also once read a fabulous tip from Janet Burroway’s book, WRITING FICTION: GUIDE TO NARRATIVE CRAFT, about a writing technique called clustering. Actually, I think it’s more than a writing technique, but it works great for writers too. Basically, you just pick one word at random (you’ll probably need a hard copy of a book for this), try to think of as many other words as you can, build a story idea from that, and just write for 15 minutes. I wrote an article about one experience I had with clustering (and the end result). You can read that here:

Can you give us a little background on your hero, Walt, that’s only in your author notes, and not found in your story? What inspired you to create this character?

Yes. I definitely can.

Walt’s a largely misunderstood character (at least by the MC, Trina), and he has a fascinating background that doesn’t really come out at all in BELIEVE IN ME, but I’m thinking of developing an entire prequel based on Walt and his relationship with his mother…and how that nearly prevented his marriage to Trina. Walt and Trina never really have had an easy road. Poor guys!

That storyline does hit a little close to home for me, since my relationship with my own mother is so strained, and she was against me marrying my husband from the very beginning. But I did it, anyway, and it was one of the smartest decisions I ever made. He’s just perfect for me – and, as I said before, I think that Walt and Trina are perfect for each other, but they have a hard time figuring it out sometimes. So, basically, real life inspired me to create these characters.

Describe a favorite scene in BELIEVE IN ME?

I really love the last scene. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read it yet by giving too much away, but I think it’s really sweet how it ties everything together in a refreshingly romantic way. Since this was the first time I’d ever tried my hand at writing a romance, I’m especially proud of it.

I did have a little help, though, from some awesome beta readers who are more avid romance fans than I am! I’m sure I couldn’t have done half as well without them.

What else do you have in store for your readers?

First, I want to mention that the Kindle version of BELIEVE IN ME is on sale for 99 cents through the rest of this month (through July 31). After that, it goes back to its regular price of $2.99.

Also, I have a historical fiction/romance book coming out soon, which will probably appeal to at least some of the same readers who like BELIEVE IN ME. It’s about how a Civil War widow copes with the loss of her husband…and falls in love with his boyhood friend. This is loosely based on the aforementioned true story of the shooting of my great-great-great-grandfather and the aftermath for the family he left behind. It doesn’t have an HEA – at least not yet. This book, THE FADING SUN, is the first in the Sunset’s Hope trilogy, and the series does end happily!

Oh, and be sure to look for my upcoming (January 31, 2014) story, “Protecting Zoe”, in Kathi Macias’s  Twelve Days of Christmas series, from Helping Hands Press. The first story in that series (from Kathi herself) comes out in mid-August, and it’s a good one!  

Reconciliations can occur. Broken hearts can be mended. If you believe...

For the past year, twenty-something radio producer Trina Gray has been focusing
on her career and trying to forget that her once idyllic marriage is soon
coming to a heartbreaking end. Almost a year ago to the day, Trina caught her
husband, Walt, kissing her sister in her mother's kitchen under the mistletoe.

But it's Christmas time again, and Trina feels the familial pressure to
return to the nest for the annual holiday celebrations. It's only for a week.
Surely she can tolerate being in the same house with her sister for that long.
What she doesn't bargain for, though, is that her mother has invited Walt to
stay with the family for the holiday season, as well.

Walt's presence sends Trina running to her old friend, Mim's, bed and
breakfast, where she runs into her high school boyfriend, Kurt. Trina quickly
realizes the attraction is still strong between them, and the temptation to be
with him is stronger still, even if he is only looking for a one-night stand.
But, as Trina discovers, Walt's not willing to give up without a fight this

Will Trina and Kurt rekindle their juvenile romance? Or will she repair her
relationship with Walt? Who can she believe in?

Buy on Amazon:

Connect with Mishael Austin Witty online

Monday, July 22, 2013

Guest Author Mary A. Adair

Thanks to Peggy for hosting me on her remarkable blog. To show my appreciation to her readers, I’m giving away an e-book of PASSION’S VISION, book one in my Passion series, to one person who leaves a comment today.

The first book in the Passion Series, PASSION'S VISION was inspired by a real person. An ancestor of my husband lived in the mid 1700’s here in America. This man was an agent for the King of England; he was a physician, a spy, an animal skin trader, and the author of a book that became referred to as the first and best information on the American Indians.  The man is James Adair, and his book is HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN INDIANS.

I was pleased to be able to track down a copy of this book. Difficult to read, I still loved every minute I spent with this man’s writing. Now there are more modern versions in which the old text has been rewritten in easy to understand form. One such version is by Kathryn E. Holland Braund, Auburn University. Delving into an important book written by an ancestor of my husband’s made my research even more fascinating.

Of course, I fictionalized the information I gleaned, but I am pleased to have had this tool as a basis. Adair’s book is somewhat controversial due to his religious and anthropological theories, but I avoided those. What I craved was daily life of the Cherokee plus the struggles and triumphs they shared.

The second book of the series, PASSION'S PRICE, takes place in England. In the second story, Golden Dawn Fitz-Gerald goes to England to save her childhood friend, Raven Cloud. Dawn is the daughter of James Fitz-Gerald and New Moon. In book one New Moon is a warrior in every since of the word. She raised her daughter to stand proud and strong and to honor her birthright as a Cherokee warrior. New Moon taught Golden Dawn to cherish and listen to the gift of vision she inherited from her mother.

Golden Dawn learned her lessons well. When she had a vision that her childhood friend, the man she knew was for her, was in mortal danger she knew what to do. She would go to England and save the man she loves. Dawn is a delightful mix of her mother and father as well as having a personality and temperament all her own. She will go to England, she will face down any obstacle and she will pay any price to save the man she loves. Dawn is not the typical English lady. In appearance she can easily pass as a member of society, but she causes quite a stir as a Cherokee warrior on a mission.

Currently, I’m writing the third book in the series, PASSION'S PROMISE. This is the story of Raven Cloud and Golden Dawn’s son, Johnny Cloud. Johnny returns to the land of his mother’s people in a time of great strife for the Cherokee. This is where he believes he belongs. He marries a beautiful Cherokee woman who is sweet and gentle yet possesses a strength that amazes him. He learns she is pregnant just when they were about to leave to visit his parents in England. She explains she cannot go but he must go without her.  She assures him she will be safe with her people but extracts from him a promise that he will love and protect his expected daughter as much as he would a son. He laughs and promises that he will cherish their child no matter the sex. He also promises to return to America as quickly as he can. He truly believes he will be back before the child is born. He is wrong. PASSION'S PROMISE is the story of a father who will do what he must to keep his child safe in a time of war and violence.

Here’s the blurb for the first in the series, PASSION’S VISION:

Passion's Vision takes place in the mid 1700's in the Carolina’s Cherokee villages. James Fitz-Gerald is an agent for the Court of King George II. James is on an undercover mission from the King when he arrives in the Cherokee village, Chota Town. He knows this mission will be his most difficult with the lives of both white families and Native Americans in the balance. With this responsibility weighing heavily on him, the furthest thought from his mind is a romantic entanglement. That is, until his life is saved by a proud and beautiful Cherokee woman.

New Moon, sister to Chief Dancing Cloud, is a warrior in her own right, but also one who sees visions. She hardly notices the white man whose life she saves in battle. But when James arrives in her village, she is reminded of the troubling visions sent to her by the Great Spirit. She determines within her heart, even after a vision from the Great Spirit telling her otherwise, she will never belong to a white man, and most assuredly not to this one her villagers call Red Panther.

PASSION’S VISION is the story of the love and respect that grows between an agent for the Court of King George II and a Cherokee Princess. Their lives are destined to be filled with adventure and triumph, sometimes with loss and pain, but always with passion.

Here’s an excerpt from PASSION’S VISION:
New Moon stood before the open doorway of her summer lodge and peered into the dark interior. Behind her she could hear the excitement of the village; it crawled over her skin like a thousand ants. She breathed deeply of the scent of wood smoke and roasting meat, but not even the comforting aromas that spoke of the safety of her home could quiet the uneasiness of her spirit.
His hair was the deep rich color of the great river’s clay. Every nerve, every sense, told her he was the one. She could feel him now, drawing closer.
As if in response to her thoughts, the village quieted. Even the dogs that had moments before been yelping suddenly stilled. She did not have to turn around to know they were watching him. He would at this moment be coming through the gate of the tall wooden wall surrounding their community.

The buy links for PASSION’S VISION are

About the author:

Mary A. Adair is an Amazon bestselling author of Native American romance, including the poignant PASSION’S VISION, recipient of the Betty Hendricks Award. Mary did extensive research on several Native American tribes for the 18th century setting of her books. One of her many sources for learning about the rich Cherokee culture of that period was a book written in the mid 1700s by James Adair, an ancestor of her husband.

Mary is also the author of CAPTIVE SPIRITS, a young adult fantasy. In addition to being an author, she is a registered laboratory technician in radiology and phlebotomy. After spending most of her life as a Texan, she now lives in Southeastern Oklahoma with her husband and their menagerie of animals.
Twitter @MaryAdairdotcom

Thanks again to Peggy for hosting me.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Historical romance author - Margery Scott

It's my pleasure to welcome historical romance author, Margery Scott to my blog today! Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.

Unlike a lot of other authors, I wasn’t born with a pencil in my hand and with stories dying to be told. I didn’t even think about writing until my children were grown and gone. Just for fun, I decided to try writing a fictional account of my parents’ romance during WWII, and  I discovered how much I enjoyed writing. The rest, as they say, is history. Now, I’m lucky enough to live on a lake in southern Canada and I write full-time – historical romance, suspense, contemporary, whatever genre my muse dictates. When I’m  not writing, I’m usually traveling, searching for the perfect setting for my next novel, or wielding a pool cue or a pair of knitting needles.

How much research goes into your books, and how do you tackle that?

Writing historical romance gives me an excuse to do something I love to do – research.  If I didn’t give myself a deadline, I’m sure I could spend all my time searching for obscure tidbits to add to my novels instead of writing. There’s a fine balance between too much research and not enough. The hard part is knowing when enough is enough.

Tell us a little about your writing style? Do you plan and plot your stories, or do you just plow through them?

I call myself a plotter but I really think I’m a hybrid. I love charts and lists, spreadsheets and detailed outlines. I really do plan to stick to them, but somehow, around chapter three, the outline I slaved over is forgotten and my right brain takes over. I do think – for me – it’s important to have that outline, almost a safety net in case I get too carried away.

Can you tell us a little about your current work,  Trey? Is there a story behind the story?

Trey is the second novella in the Morgans of Rocky Ridge trilogy.  When I wrote Cade’s story (the first book), I had no intentions of writing a trilogy. Somewhere during the writing, Trey and Zane, Cade’s two cousins, demanded their own stories.

What sets your heroine, Claire, apart from all the other women in Trey’s life? Why is she perfect for him?

Trey has spent his life relying on his good looks to charm women. Claire is the only woman he’s met who’s not only immune to him, but dislikes everything he stands for, yet manages to see through the happy-go-lucky exterior to the man he really is.

What else do you have in store for your readers?

I’m working on Zane’s story now, and it should be available late next month. Zane is the antithesis of Trey – he’s a quiet, non-assuming man who has made the choice to live his life alone. Until Priscilla Ford comes into his life and makes him start questioning those choices.

The Morgans of Rocky Ridge: Trey is available now at the following e-retailers:

Margery loves to hear from her readers. You can contact her here:
Website: www.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Western Roundup Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the second annual Western Roundup giveaway hop! I hope you check out all the participating blogs and find some great new western reads!

I am offering a free e-book copy of COME HOME TO ME (Second Chances Time Travel Romance Series, Book 1) this year. Please leave a comment with your contact information to be entered in the giveaway. 

Jake Owens is tired of life on his parents’ Montana ranch, catering to city folk who want a taste of old-fashioned country living. He enjoys life in the fast lane, with fast cars and even faster women. When he falls in with the wrong crowd and is accused of murder, a stranger’s bizarre offer at a second chance might be his only hope to clear his name.

Rachel Parker is highly devoted to her family. A tragedy prompts a daring move to the Oregon Territory for a fresh start in a new land. After meeting the wagon train’s scout, the meaning of a fresh start may be more than she ever imagined. 

Jake can’t believe he’s been sent back in time to act as scout for a wagon train headed for Oregon, and given the added burden of keeping one emigrant woman safe during the journey. He and Rachel are confused by their attraction to each other. Jake’s ill-mannered, unconventional ways are overshadowed only by his notorious reputation. Rachel’s traditional values and quiet, responsible character are the complete opposite of what attracts Jake to a woman. When their forbidden attraction turns to love, what will happen at the end of the trail?

July 2013 Crowned Heart review from InD'Tale Magazine:

Jake Owens is a randy young man raised on a Montana dude ranch. Certain that adventure lies elsewhere, he follows a blonde bombshell to the city only to wind up in jail for murder. A stranger posing as a lawyer could be the devil or Jake’s salvation, but he offers Jake a second chance – lead a wagon train west as a scout and keep and eye on one Rachel Parker. Thinking anything is better than bars and a thin mattress, Jake accepts. Some unknown force in the universe is watching over Rachel Parker, a young woman whose diligence against hard times sets her eyes on the Oregon Trail determined to find a new life for her family.
From cholera to chaps, Come Home to Me by Peggy L Henderson is the definition of excellent storytelling. Henderson spins this yarn with subtle dialogue and description accurate of the era. So subtle, in fact, the reader won’t know they’ve been transported, like Jake, back in time until they’re entrenched in the hardships of the emigrants who left ruts in the ground in 1848. With the rattle of wooden wheels, and a crack of the whip, the reader will open their eyes as an omnipotent observer to the slow burning love between Rachel and Jake as they cross the mighty American frontier. Y’all are just gonna have to let Ms Henderson wrap her story around ya! There may not be drool on the pant-o-meter, but it’s not necessary with this tightly woven tale. 

“Dammit all to hell!” Jake kicked at the dirt on the ground, his foot connecting with the tin coffee cup he’d dropped when Rachel stumbled and nearly fell on her pretty face. He rubbed at the stinging sensation in his cheek, and cursed the fate that had brought him to this time and place. He cursed Thomas Parker, and finally Reverend Johnson. It was all the old man’s fault. He’d known exactly what he was doing when he told Jake that he had to look out for Rachel. Was this his punishment for something?
Jake scoffed. He hadn’t been sent here for a second chance. He’d come straight to purgatory.  Why else would Johnson have told him to see to Rachel’s safety? The old man knew things. There was no doubt in Jake’s mind that the reverend knew that Jake would fall for her, a married woman, a woman he couldn’t have, a woman who lived in a different time than his own.
Jake’s head snapped up from staring at the darkness on the ground, and his jaw dropped. Was he falling for Rachel? He laughed, a short, pitiful laugh to match the distant bark of a coyote. Over the years, he thought himself in love with lots of girls. It never lasted beyond a few dates. He clenched his jaw. The last one was Sandra. He quickly shook his head. Rachel was nothing like Sandra. These feelings, these thoughts about Rachel, were different from anything else he ever experienced. None of the others had ever brought out such strong protective urges in him. Sandra had set his body on fire, but beyond that, Jake couldn’t recall a single feeling of tenderness. He didn’t think about her constantly, or see her smiling in his mind before drifting off to sleep each night.
Just looking at Rachel sent his heart galloping in his chest. Standing close to her doubled that reaction. And now that he’d held her in his arms, and kissed her . . . there was no describing the sensations her soft feminine body, or the subtle fragrance of the soap she used to wash her hands, evoked in him. He’d briefly taken leave of his senses when the urge to kiss her had become more powerful than any rational thought he possessed. He’d realized his mistake instantly. If he’d pursued the kiss, intensified it, prolonged it any further than for the second or two their lips touched, he was sure he would have lost his mind. 

Please visit all the other Participating blogs for more great books!