MAY - CELEBRATING ALUMNI - Where Are They Now?
5-28 Alumnus and Best Selling Victorian Romance Author Christy Carlyle
5-29 Alumnus and award winning author of Norwegian Romance Kris Tualla
5-31 Alumnus and Post Apocalytic Author Tam Linsey

Also Book Recommendations from the Genre-istas!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Kris Tualla - "When" is she now?

Kris Tualla
Where am I now? Don’t you mean “when”?

As the author of mostly (I’ll get to that in a minute) historical novels, I find that when I am deep into writing the story I actually forget what time it is, what day it is, and even what year it is. I’m not kidding. I have to look up from my laptop—where all fiction lives—and focus to bring myself back into the present. Hopefully before I miss some important appointment or meeting!

Since stepping down after five years as a regular blogger on Romancing the Genres, I published a mixed-genre trilogy: a Viking caught between life and death for 950 years who manifests to my modern-day heroine, a collections manager at a museum.

This story encompasses several elements of a historical novel, both in the hero’s character and the heroine’s job. It also includes a light paranormal aspect in the hero’s condition, one that is remedied at the end of the second book when he returns to physical life. I’ve never written paranormal before, so that part was fun.

And it’s a contemporary story; the first one I’ve written for publication. That was fun as well, but I doubt I’ll do it again. Turns out I really like creating worlds, and writing the here and now doesn’t present the same challenges as either the parameters of a non-corporeal existence, or the environment of say, 18th-century life.

My current works in progress, however, are bridging this gap: I am telling my contemporary heroine’s great-grandfather and great-uncle’s stories. These brothers were involved in World War Two, but not the WWII that Americans are familiar with.

I’m telling Norway’s story. At least part of it.

The upside of writing an era which people remember is that there are plenty of first-hand experiences to tap into through social media—and I have. I’ve been given wonderful anecdotes to include in the narrative and will give credit in the end notes.

The downside of writing an era which people remember is that there are plenty of first-hand experiences to contradict what I might include. Memories of seventy-five-year-old events aren’t perfect for one, especially if the reporter was a child at the time. And people in different parts of the country experienced different things.

I knew this was going to be challenging when I had to stop halfway through the opening sentence to look up what high schools were called in Norway (secondary schools) and the task went on from there. Detail after detail needs to be right or I’ll be called out on it. I do plan on asking some of my anecdote contributors to read the pre-published proof and let me know if I blew something.  Not only will this help my accuracy, but it might garner some new readers in the process.

Anyway, that’s “when” I am now. Once the books are completed, I’ll come back and finish this tale. Until then, I’ll be disappearing into the Nordic world of Nazi occupation.

See you on the flip side.

Learn more about Kris by visiting her website: http://kristualla.com

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Christy Carlyle: Finding a Path That Fits


Happy anniversary, Genre-istas! How time flies. I will always be grateful to Romancing the Genres and its blog queens for what they taught me about myself as a writer and the fun and discipline involved in blogging regularly. Thank you so much for inviting me back!

For those who don’t know me, I write Victorian-set historical romance.

I refer to 2015 as my whirlwind year. I signed my first traditional publishing contract with Avon/Harper Collins to release a three-book Victorian historical romance series for their digital-first Avon Impulse line. Now those books—One Scandalous Kiss, One Tempting Proposal, and One Dangerous Desire—are in the hands of readers. Between March of 2015 and 2016, I gained a publisher, developed a relationship with my fabulous editor, signed on with an agent, and even made the USA Today bestseller list due to a mix of crossed fingers, all the stars aligning, and a successful price reduction-paid promo combo. Currently I’m working on the first book, Rules for a Rogue, in a new three-book Avon Impulse Victorian historical romance series. Whew. Yep, definitely a whirlwind.

Looking ahead, I believe 2016 and beyond is about finding my path in the larger hybrid world of publishing. If I consider this process as an equation, I have to admit that I don’t yet have the answer, but I know it involves finding balance between my goals, time, and commitments. Before I signed with Avon, I’d published three stories independently as part of my Whitechapel Wager series. I still plan to continue that series, as well as begin new ones.

The most exciting aspect of being an authorpreneur—a term coined, I believe, by Romancing the Genres’ own Kris Tualla—is the opportunity to forge our own unique paths as authors. The current publishing landscape presents us with lots of options and myriad challenges. To that end, I’ve learned to try new things, like joining the February 2016 boxed set, Passionate Promises, with several authors from the Embracing Romance group blog.

Learning how to be a better writer, marketer, and manager of my own time and author platform is now my full-time occupation. As a former teacher, the opportunity to continue learning thrills me, even if the possibilities sometimes feel overwhelming. Whatever path I settle on has to allow me to embrace challenges gracefully while never ever losing my love for the writing itself. If my whirlwind year taught me anything, it is that writing engaging and emotional stories trumps everything else.

What do you do to find a balanced path in your life? If you’re writer, do have any tips on juggling the multiple demands of authorpreneurship?

Christy Carlyle


Christy Carlyle
Fueled by Pacific Northwest coffee and inspired by multiple viewings of every British costume drama she can get her hands on, USA Today bestselling author Christy Carlyle writes sensual historical romance set in the Victorian era. She loves heroes who struggle against all odds and heroines who are ahead of their time.

A former teacher with a degree in history, she finds there's nothing better than being able to combine her love of the past with a die-hard belief in happy endings.


Friday, May 27, 2016

Weaver’s STRYOFOAM CORPSE Delivers Reader’s Trifecta: Mystery, Romance, Laughs

By Linda Lovely

A heroine-in-hiding who hasn’t lost her sense of humor—at least until she’s the prime suspect for killing her sleazy peeping Tom neighbor. A strapping sheriff who faints at the sight of a corpse. The sheriff’s life-long buddy, an attorney, who lusted for our heroine long before learning she was the sheriff’s secret girlfriend. A politician who plays dirty as he tries to replace the sheriff with his nincompoop son.  

In her newest romantic mystery, STYROFOAM CORPSE, author Robin Weaver weaves these characters in and out of a plot that’s full of surprise twists and turns. It’s a perfect summer read for folks like me who enjoy mysteries entwined with romantic complications and seasoned with humor and snark. By the way, those are trademark signs you’re reading a mystery written by Robin (Snark-is-her-middle-name) Weaver, one of my favorite authors.

Here’s a quick synopsis.
Sheriff Casey Randolph suffers from necrophobia, e.g. the sight of dead bodies makes him weak in the knees and weaker in the stomach. Casey’s crazy about Shannon Summers but keeps their relationship secret for two reasons. He’s running for re-election and he’s sure his opponent, Butchie Blackwell, would twist the relationship into something ugly since Shannon, while separated, is still married. Also she’s hiding from her bullying husband while waiting for her divorce to become final.

Shannon’s neighbor, Timothy Welch, a lecherous peeping Tom, calls the sheriff’s office to report a woman stabbing a man to death and the address he gives is Shannon’s. A frantic Sheriff Casey speeds over, but soon finds the dead body in Shannon’s pool is actually a Styrofoam dummy. She acted out stabbing the centerpiece decoration for her Halloween party just to play a mind game on the peeper. The sheriff visits Welch and warns him to quit bothering Shannon.

After her Halloween party, Shannon awakens poolside and groggy to discover that her Styrofoam corpse has been replaced with a real dead body—who is soon identified as peeper Welch. Shannon’s the prime suspect since she’s verbally threatened Welch, and she’s alone with the body inside her gated, locked home. Initially Sheriff Casey wonders if Shannon might have been under the influence of illegal drugs contributed by party guests, and thinks it’s possible she could have killed Welch in self-defense.

The sheriff calls on his life-long buddy, Parker Daniels, to help Shannon since he can’t publicly do so. He doesn’t realize Parker and Shannon know each other, but hadn’t acted on a mutual attraction. Oops. Jealousy enters the scene.
 
This is just the START. The twists and turns include political shenanigans, illegal bugs, kidnapping, and an array of suspects who had good reason to kill Welch. Will let you discover how it all turns out! Click here  to buy STYROFOAM CORPSE.

Other fun reads by Robin Weaver include BLUE RIDGE FEAR and FRAMING NOVERTA.Click on the titles for links to her books.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

PASS THAT BOOK ALONG - MARGARET TANNER

ON THE OREGAN TRAIL - MARGARET TANNER

I haven’t read anything of late except books that I needed for research. I picked up this book in the library and thought it would be as dry as dust to read, but I was desperate for the information it might have contained. Well, what a surprise. I actually read the whole lot, not just the sections that I thought I would need. Normally, I would skim through the pages looking for information, but I actually read this book from cover to cover. It is called Days On the Road, Crossing the plains in 1865, and was the diary of Sarah Raymond Herndon. She was a 24 year old school teacher who left her native Missouri with her mother and brothers, to join a wagon train heading along the Oregon Trail. They were four months on the trail. She kept a diary and it made for a fascinating read.

The reason I was interested in this kind of information is I have recently started writing Western Romance, and I wanted to get a better feel for the hardships people endured out on the plains. I am multi-published in historical romance set in Australia, and very familiar with our history, but American history, well, I can do with a little help.

I really enjoyed reading about Sarah and her mother straining milk into a butter churn that had a lid, and fixing it to the front of the wagon, where it was churned into butter by the motion of the wagon. How clever was that.

What I really found interesting (maybe it’s the romantic in me), was the fact that with so many single young men available, a couple of doctors and reasonably well to do gentleman who were interested in Sarah, she had no interest in any of them.  She did eventually marry, but not in this story.

A few months after the family’s arrival in Virginia City, a school was started and Sarah became a teacher there, earning the princely sum of $125.00 per month. So, you can see this book was a goldmine of information on day to day living for someone like me.

The Sherriff’s Outcast Bride.

A vengeful man tells a lie, and Becky Tucker’s reputation is ruined. Castigated and shunned by the townsfolk, she leads a life of servitude on her stepfather’s ranch.

Desperate to escape, she accepts a reluctant marriage proposal from the sheriff of Blackwood, Ryan Mulligan.

To find happiness together they will need to overcome dark secrets from the past, betrayal and
treachery.


 For a short time, only 99 cents Amazon Kindle.




Tuesday, May 24, 2016

5-STAR REVIEW: BABY, I WANT YOU (Contemporary Romance)

BABY, I WANT YOU

Two stubborn dreamers wounded in love must learn to trust and compromise to earn their Happily-Ever-After.

New York City sales and marketing expert Anais Cooper is burnt out on big city living. When she unexpectedly inherits a Spanish Colonial Mansion on ten acres of Anastasia Island, a suburb of St. Augustine, Florida, she applies for a minority business loan, quits her job and moves south. Anais’s goal is to turn the ramshackle place into an upscale spa. Her overbearing, disconcertingly attractive neighbor, retired athlete Palmer Freeman, has other plans for the property. It’s obvious to Anais that he doubts she has the business acumen or means to turn Casa Libre into an income-producing property. Determined to succeed, she turns all his offers to purchase her property down flat.

Palmer, a single parent raising two girls, has his own challenges. His youngest, Savannah, is rebellious and has an eating disorder. But she seems to connect with Anais, his uncooperative neighbor, whose property he wants for a business project of the heart. Palmer gets the idea to strike a deal. He’ll endorse the new spa if Anais agrees to help Savannah lose weight. What he doesn’t anticipate is his strong attraction to a woman who really should be the enemy.

From smart and sassy Anais, to lonely and manipulative Savannah, to hard-working and passionate Palmer, Marcia King-Gamble's characters captured my heart. Even Savannah’s cat, Molasses, was well-drawn. Both Anais and Palmer had been betrayed by their exes, but Palmer is more closed off emotionally. With their trust issues, neither was prepared to fall in love with a business rival. But neither could hold out long against an attraction that was more than skin deep.

While neither Anais nor Palmer is perfect, that is one reason I like them so much! They both have to grow as people in order to realize they are perfect for each other and to help Savannah overcome her emotional problems. Together they can overcome any obstacles.

I also loved the Anastasia Island setting Ms. King-Gamble describes, especially Casa Libre, with its unique history and aura of impoverished gentility. Experiencing Anais and Jaqui’s Herculean efforts that transformed the mansion into the architectural beauty it was meant to be and the resurrection fern chocked gardens into an elegant showplace was a great adventure for non-handywoman, non-gardener me.


I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading many more from prolific, award-winniing author Marcia King-Gamble!

JUST YOU
Marcia King-Gamble hails from a sunny Caribbean island where the sky and ocean are the same mesmerizing shade of blue. She is a former travel industry executive and a self proclaimed globetrotter. Marcia is particularly fond of Hong Kong, Venice, and New Zealand, not only for the scenery, but because of the mouthwatering food. A National Bestselling author, Marcia has penned 31 books and 6 novellas. Her free time is spent at the gym, traveling, and with her animal family.

She loves hearing from you. E mail her at mkinggambl@aol.com or like her on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Marcia-King-Gamble/12364168212Visit www.lovemarcia.com to find out what she's been up to.
HIS GOLDEN HEART

Monday, May 23, 2016

Michelle Monkou's Recap of Outlander, Season 2, Episode 7

Outlander Season Two, Episode Seven - Faith
(See below for links to all recaps)
(Courtesy of Sony Pictures Television)
All week long Outlander fans on social media have posted advisories about this episode's triggers for a variety of issues: losing a baby, child sexual abuse, and the overall weighty emotional content. Truly a positive sign that Outlander has continued to get people talking. By the time I watched, I was ready for the pain. But no matter how hard the preparation, the beauty of the episode (and I choose to look at this episode from a technical perspective) took my breath away and threatened an outpouring of my tears. I gave myself a headache keeping those tears in.

(Courtesy of Sony Pictures Television)
This episode was a final salute to Paris and its King. Through Claire's eyes we see the power of an absolute monarchy. How life hangs in a delicate balance of his whim or insecurity or even lust. The actor Lionel Lingelser is a marvelous model and interpreter of this famous/infamous man and his appetites. As I'd tweeted before, he is a scene stealer with the subtle artistry to achieve the magnitude of what's necessary to deliver and affect the scenes. Regardless of how independent and clever Claire can be, her fate is still at the king's mercy. Suppressing parts of herself to survive and outmaneuver his ire is part of the Parisian experience that sucked her in and spat her out.

In addition to Lionel, what a bloody great cast of actors. I mean really. I must give a shout out to the secondary characters and extras. From the servants who welcomed Claire back to the house, to the nuns and Mother Hildegarde's kindness, to little Fergus and his trauma, and the needed intervention of a very pregnant Louise de Rohan to take Faith from Claire. All of these smaller gems alongside the major drama unfolding added such emotion that should not be considered decorative edging, but hearty, significant contributions to a robust production.

The musical score is outstanding, as usual. I'm always ready to dance and sing whenever the theme song plays, but this time, I knew where the story would pick up after seeing Claire clutching her belly and blood saturating her legs and the ground in episode 6 -- Best Laid Plans. This episode -- Faith, the music reached in and poked at my heart, as if to say, Hold on. You will reach for several boxes of tissues. I got through the scene of Claire being told that her baby died.

But when Claire emerges from the carriage upon her return to the house, the music begins its haunting accompaniment for her walk. That's when I teared up. The household staff flanking her on either side to show their deep respect and share in her sadness couldn't have been as successful with its emotional punch without the layering of the soft, mournful melody. Watch it again, and pay attention to the music. Kudos to Bear McCreary.

The editing sequence, as Claire told Jamie about their baby, is beautiful. The flashbacks, along with the visual of Jamie, now bearded and haggard, and Claire's narrative that still rang with the pain, anger, grief, and acceptance was the sum total of what has been lost to this couple.

Faith in its literal meaning of a child and as a symbol of what has been stretched to its limit started this episode and ended this episode. Claire and Jamie were tested again. Life just keeps
(Courtesy of Sony Pictures Television)
on challenging and poking at their reserves. No one walks away a winner. But they've weathered a storm of hurricane force and will return home to Scotland--together, as a unit. And let's face it, while Caitriona was a distinctive model of Parisian fashion. No one can compare to Sam in his full Highlander gear.

My Weekly Recaps
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6

Michelle Monkou writes for Harlequin Kimani, Evernight Publishing, and her indie pursuits with Stella Maris Publishing. Michelle’s website is michellemonkou.com. You can also connect with her on Facebook.




Sunday, May 22, 2016

Writers who read . . . It's a good thing!

 By Courtney Pierce

As a fiction writer, I find it difficult to crack open a book without an agenda. Stepping into a story, especially a series, becomes a study of the author’s voyage through creation, craft, and character development.

Photo: Scottoline.com
I recently plowed through a legal mystery series by Lisa Scottoline. The premise’s combination of an all-women law firm, sparkly humor, and a tangle of moral dilemmas rang all my chimes—in spades.

Each of the three main characters comes to the firm of Rosato & Associates with their own set of unique baggage. Every book of the series solves a case in a “chickalicious” way. I cared about these three women, with all their character flaws and passion for the law. They’re chased, get shot at, and break their heels in their willingness to put their lives on the line for truth. A hook of the highest order.


Photo: Scottoline.com
While I burned to speed through the series, I took my time to study their construction—first lines and last lines of chapters, pacing, and how the plots unfold—to understand how Lisa Scottoline tethered me to a journey. The first book in the series, Everywhere That Mary Went, was a bit rough in the craft department. Those colorful dialogue tags and adverbs were a “no-no” distraction, along with shifting points of view. Can’t get away with that these days. But I kept going. Lisa Scottoline made me laugh out loud with her clever turns of phrase. I’m glad she didn’t go back at fix the crafty bumps, because they showed that she is human, like the rest of us writers.


The magic of character development unfolded. Lisa Scottoline learned more about her characters, as we readers did with her. By Rough Justice I was all in. This is why readers love a series. One book can’t show us what multiple books can with the same cast. It takes time, more than a mere three-hundred pages, to get deep inside a character’s head. Authors and their fans want to linger in there and hangout. Today’s required pacing of a standalone book doesn’t allow for such luxury.

Photo: Scottoline.com
By the tenth book, Lady Killer, I’d learned plenty about the law, but I also enjoyed the author’s growth in her craft. That was fun. Lisa Scottoline took her real-life experience as a former trial attorney to express herself through prose, to say what she couldn’t in a courtroom. The law isn’t so black and white. As far as I’m concerned, Ms. Scottoline had found her ultimate calling.

Authors go through pangs of self-doubt. I certainly do. Am I doing it “write”? Am I a legend only in my own mind? Writing a book is harder than most readers think. As I moved through the series, I could easily identify where Ms. Scottoline fretted over artistic choices, and also where she sat back like a Cheshire cat and flung the littered poo. Those moments were golden for me.

Lisa Scottoline became my soul sister over the two months that I read her books—and she doesn’t even know me. I procrastinated to read the last one so the series wouldn't end. That’s what being a reader who writes is all about. Or is it the other way around? Depends on the day.

Here is Lisa Scottoline’s website if you want to learn more about her work:  scottoline.com

The Rosato & Associates series: Everywhere That Mary Went, Legal Tender, Rough Justice, Mistaken Identity, Moment of Truth, The Vendetta Defense, Courting Trouble, Dead Ringer, Killer Smile, Lady Killer, and Think Twice.


Courtney Pierce is a fiction writer living in Oregon with her husband of thirty-seven years and bossy cat. She writes for baby boomers. Her novels are filled with heart, humor, and mystery. Courtney has studied craft and storytelling at the Attic Institute and has completed the Hawthorne Fellows Program for writing and publishing. Active in the writing community, Courtney is a board member of the Northwest Independent Writers Association and is a member of Willamette Writers, Pacific Northwest Writers Association, She Writes, and Sisters in Crime. The Executrix received the Library Journal Self-E recommendation seal. 

Check out all of Courtney's books at:

New Release!
The Dushane Sisters are back with Courtney's new release of Indigo LakeMore laughs, more tears...and more trouble. Protecting Mom's reputation might get the sisters killed―or give one of them the story she's been dying to live.

New York Times best-selling author Karen Karbo says, "Courtney Pierce spins a madcap tale of family grudges, sisterly love, unexpected romance, mysterious mobsters and dog love. Reading Indigo Lake is like drinking champagne with a chaser of Mountain Dew. Pure Delight."

Colorful characters come alive in Courtney's latest trilogy about the Dushane sisters. Beginning with The Executrixthree middle-age sisters find a manuscript for a murder mystery in their mother's safe after her death. Mom’s book gives them a whole new view of their mother and their future. Is it fiction . . . or truth? 

Get out the popcorn as the Dushane Sisters Trilogy comes to scrumptious conclusion with Indigo Legacy. Due out in early 2017. Stay tuned!