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Mar 28 - Viking Historical Romance Author, Kris Tualla

Thursday, March 26, 2015

HAPPY BIRTHDAY RTG - MARGARET TANNER

ANNIVERSARIES - MARGARET TANNER

I can't believe how quickly the time has passed since Sarah and Judith invited me to be part of RTG. There have been so many interesting and memorable posts.

My 3 novel collection, The Loves We Left Behind, published by Books We Love, also commemorates a birthday, the centenary of World War 1. Unlike the happy anniversary celebrations for RTG, the centenary of World War 1, perhaps the costliest war in history with regards to casualties, was a tragic event, but nevertheless, it deserves to be remembered. The men who sacrificed their lives and health, the army nurses who cared for the wounded and the brave women who waited at home for their menfolk to return. They deserve to be remembered, revered even.

BLURB FOR THE LOVES WE LEFT BEHIND:
Special Centenary Edition containing three novels depicting three different women who triumph over tragedy during the 1st world War.

A hundred years ago, from the far flung corners of the British Empire, young men rushed to fight for Mother England. They left their wives and sweethearts behind. Many of these brave women waited in vain for their men folk to return. How did they cope with the loss and heartache? Could they ever hope to find happiness with another man? Three full novels, each telling a brave young woman’s story of triumph over tragedy and adversity. Allison’s War, Daring Masquerade and Lauren’s Dilemma.
Allison’s War:
In 1916, on the French battlefields, a dying soldier’s confession has the power to ruin the woman he loves.

Daring Masquerade:
Harriet Martin masquerades as a boy so she can work with her shell-shocked brother, falling in love with her boss wasn’t part of the plan.

Lauren’s Dilemma:
Lauren Cunningham, carrying the out-of-wedlock child of a soldier, marries another man who is unjustly tried for murder. To save his life, will she publicly admit her sin, and risk the diabolical consequences that will surely follow?




Available in print and e-book formats.
 



 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

March Enjoys Messing With People...

...especailly ME!
by M. L. Buchman

Maybe it’s because I was born in March.
A bit closer to birth than I am now
Maybe it’s because of the whole “In like a lion, out like a lamb" thing. For the first 3 or 4 decades of my life I could say to any Philadelphian that I was born in the second worst snowstorm in Philly’s history and they’d all say, “Oh, mid-March” and name the year.

My dad was once traveling in the Mexican jungle during my birthday--he was an IBM engineer who spoke no Spanish, so I have no explanation for it, but he was there. I know this for a fact because he sent me a postcard of a plastic toucan (had to be plastic…I mean those things are too silly to actually exist, aren’t they?)
C'mon, really?
The postcard said simply, “In jungle, have boots and parka just in case.” (And at this point let me say, the whole East Coast-Arctic Blast thing…I feel really bad about that.)

So, what do I do when surrounded by too much weather? I write romance suspenses. Of course, I do that when it’s sunny and beautiful out as well (and when it’s raining on the Oregon Coast like right now). For some people, Christmas is the time of things past, present and future…you know, ghosts, New Year’s goals, stuff like that. For me, it’s definitely the chaotic, turbulent transition from winter to spring. That and growing a year, um, wiser? Taller? Further behind? More experienced! That's it.

So here are some of this springtime’s past, present, and just barely future.

NIGHT STALKERS PAST 
My latest short stories go back in time to discover how two of my favorite characters, Michael Gibson and Emily Beale, came to join the Night Stalkers. Check out Heart of the Storm and Beale’s Hawk Down.
FIREHAWKS PRESENT 
Smokejumper Two-Tall Tim goes home to the small town of Larch Creek, Alaska and rediscovers his own past, the wildfires of his present, and the dreams of the future in Wildfire at Larch Creek. (Cool tip: this is also the start of a new contemporary small-town romance series coming this summer.)

NIGHT STALKERS PRESENT 
Bring On the Dusk gives us Michael Gibson’s long-awaited love story…and this may have been my favorite one to write. I love these characters so much. The fliers of the 5th Battalion D Company just keep getting more fun to write.

NIGHT STALKERS NEAR FUTURE 
And just to tease you, a new Night Stalkers' company is coming, the 5E, launches a new cast of characters on April Fool’s Day! No kidding! Preorders not ready yet, but you can buy to on 4/1!!! Target of the Heart, next week.

March has treated well this year. Hope I didn't hand off my March curse to you.
-------
M. L. Buchman has over 30 novels in print. His military romantic suspense books have been named Barnes & Noble and NPR “Top 5 of the year” and Booklist “Top 10 of the Year.” He has been nominated for the Reviewer’s Choice Award for “Top 10 Romantic Suspense of 2014” by RT Book Reviews. In addition to romance, he also writes thrillers, fantasy, and science fiction.


In among his career as a corporate project manager he has: rebuilt and single-handed a fifty-foot sailboat, both flown and jumped out of airplanes, designed and built two houses, and bicycled solo around the world. He is now making his living as a full-time writer on the Oregon Coast with his beloved wife. He is constantly amazed at what you can do with a degree in Geophysics. You may keep up with his writing by subscribing to his newsletter at www.mlbuchman.com.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Writing Animal Characters

Hi, I'm Paranormal Romance Author Sarah Raplee.
(This blog was first posted on the Mid-Willamette Romance Writers of America Blog in 2011.)

Okay, I admit it; I’m a sucker for animals. Growing up in suburbia, we always had pets: dogs, cats, a cottontail rabbit, parakeets, guppies, horned toads, turtles, a duck, ground squirrels, coconut crabs, and for one glorious day, a turkey named Jim that my father won in a contest.

I was the kid who read all the books in the school library that were written from the animal’s point of view, the ones that described the life of a beaver or an owlet from birth to independence (and sometimes on to parenthood.) As a young teen, I wanted to be a wildlife biologist. And the first book I wrote was a non-fiction children’s book about osprey (fish hawks.)

Not surprisingly, animal characters appear in my stories. If you haven’t written an animal character who is more than a walk-on, give the idea some careful consideration. Statistically speaking, most readers own or have owned pets. Pets and their owners are easy for readers to relate to, care about and to root for.

Writing animal characters is more than a gimmick. Remember the Lassie books? Or The Cat Who… mysteries? Books like Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen and The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein were on the bestseller lists for ages. In both books, animals are major characters. In the second book, Enzo is the narrator.

In my books, most animals are true secondary characters who serve important roles: mentor, foil, mirror, scene antagonist, catalyst, ally, family, window into hero/heroine/villain’s character. My animal characters’ actions affect the plot as well as the tone of a story (often providing comic relief.)

A word of caution: do your research, and remember that animal characters have instincts as well as their own Goals, Motivations and Conflicts. If your animal’s behavior is atypical for the species/breed, you’d better have a convincing explanation woven into your story.


Do you write animal characters? Do you enjoy reading them in a Romance?

Copyright 2011 Sarah Raplee All Rights Reserved

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Culinary Secret in Switzerland by Courtney Pierce


A Note from Courtney Pierce

Today I’m thrilled to join you as a regular Genre-ista on Romancing the Genres. With so many stellar writers on one blog, I’m honored at the invitation to make a contribution to the team. My novels and short stories tend to bend genres, but nest under what is now called Baby Boomer Fiction. My characters are products of the sixties, like me, and always include a trickster animal or two that steals the show. Some of my books have an element of magical realism; others are filled with humor and family drama. While I've just released my fourth novel, The Executrix, I pause and breathe to dash off a short story when a moment of inspiration strikes. I look forward to sharing some of them with you! Now, off to Switzerland for a bit of nosh . . .


A Culinary Secret in Switzerland

Switzerland holds wonders beyond soaring mountains, sheep bells on the hills, and waterfalls that appear to drop into infinity. For me, the wonder was cheese. Local cheese. Huge wheels of cheese. Take an extra cholesterol pill and plunge into a world of churned milk that holds a secret. 

Photo: Franky242
In 2001, my husband and I headed to Kanderstag, about two hours southwest of Zurich by speedy train, for a ten-day stay at a seventeenth-century chalet called Landgasthof Ruedihus. The bustling cityscape gave way to rolling hills surrounded by snow-capped mountains. The owners of the hotel met us at the station for the two-minute ride to a paradise that hadn't changed for over three hundred years.

Photo: Reudihus
After the required jet-lag nap, we stirred from our down comforters to the aroma of baking cheese. The invisible waft drew us down the creaky staircase to a low-ceilinged pub on the ground floor, filled with guests and locals exchanging tall stories. As we slipped into a booth, we spotted an enormous wheel of golden cheese under a heating element.

Ah-ha! The source of the delectable scent. My stomach growled, as if reaching out to the gooey scrape of the knife. After an inquiry―a beg, really―we found out the dish was called raclette: browned cheese melted under high heat and served with homemade bread. Oh my! I didn't need the menu. A point of the finger and a smile did the trick. We stared as our cheese bubbled and, with an expert sweep, pooled on the plate. 

Nutty. Smooth. A close-your-eyes experience to savor the flavor before swallowing. Now, I've had cheese. And I've had bread. But this combination awakened dormant taste buds.  

“Where did this cheese come from?” I asked the ruddy-cheeked server with a permanent smile. Of course she was happy. She called a quaint village in Switzerland home!

“Our neighbor makes it,” she said in perfect English. “His cows come down from the hill every day and line up to be petted at the fence along the main street.” She winked. “They love the attention. We make the bread here, fresh every day.”

I wanted to hug these cows. Could I buy cow toys in town as an offering of thanks? Maybe cud-flavored chews or a new bell? I became cheese obsessed.

The next morning, we hiked the hills for several miles around Lake Oeschinen to work off the dairy hangover and get ourselves moving, so to speak. As we came back into town, deep-throated clangs drew us forward―cow bells. Right on cue, several perfect bovine specimens lined the fence, a roadside attraction surrounded by locals and tourists with outstretched hands. These lovely beasts, patched jet-black and cream-white, were considered working pets that supported a farmer’s healthy living. Heads held high with doughy eyes, the cows stood proud of their heavy physique. Living cheese, udders full to make a contribution to the family.

The farmer gave three high-pitched whistles and a tap, tap, tap of his walking stick on the road. On cue, the herd lumbered in formation toward the barn. My cheese on the move.

“I’ll be right back,” I said to my husband and slipped through an opening in the fence. Enchanted, I followed the cows to their barn to catch up with their owner.  

Photo: JonathanTurley.org
“They’re beautiful,” I said in German, stroking my hand over one’s pristine hide. I offered my own pat, pat, pat of the ’ole gal’s hefty haunches. I believe her owner trusted me because I appeared to be Swiss: blue eyes, blonde hair, and fair skin.

“Ja, glüchlich Kuh. Gut Käse,” he said. Happy cow. Good cheese.
 
The barn was a timbered factory of cheese-making. Gigantic wheels of dairy gold lined four shelves on one side, aging and decadent, raclette-ready for the local restaurants. The prizes sat only steps away from their straw-bedded source. Farm to table at the highest level. 

I bought a raclette maker when we came home to Houston to stretch the experience. The flavor couldn't compare. Only in Kanderstag could I appreciate the treat. Cookers were universal, but only cows petted by hundreds of admiring hands held the secret of fabulous cheese. I think love seeps into the milk. 


Courtney Pierce is a fiction writer in Milwaukie, Oregon, with her husband of thirty-six years and bossy cat. After a twenty-year career as an executive in the Broadway entertainment industry, she used her time in a theater seat to create vivid stories that are both humorous and poignant. Her fourth novel, The Executrix, brings together three middle-aged sisters after the death of their mother . . . and sparks fly with the baggage. But if you like estate sales, follow her boomer couple who find a magical artifact in an old trunk in the Stitches Trilogy series: Stitches, Brushes, and Riffs. An immortal legacy never had it so good. Follow Courtney on her website: www.courtney-pierce.com

Courtney's books are available at Windtree Press, Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Kobobooks.com, and local independent bookstores in the Portland area.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Researching the Victorians


I’ll take any excuse to buy more books, and nowadays research is my main book buying motivator. By grabbing every promising book on 19th century history that I come across in used bookstores or charity shops, I've assembled a useful little library of books on British and American history over the years. Though I've recently become more reliant on the ease and speed of internet research, I still love the ability to reach for a book and thumb through an index to find the answer I’m looking for.
     
Three of my favorite basic Victorian era research books are Daniel Pool’s What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew, Judith Flanders’ Inside the Victorian Home, and Gail MacColl and Carol Wallace’s To Marry an English Lord. For anyone wanting to get a feel for the era, these books are highly readable, well-illustrated, and full of useful information.

When I started writing my Whitechapel Wagers historical romance series, I already had a good basic grasp of the late 19th century time period, but I made sure to collect all the research books I had about Victorian era London and the Jack the Ripper investigation specifically. I love having research materials nearby when plotting and drafting. I also conducted plenty of internet searches on specific topics related to my stories, such as nursing, charity institutions, and the Metropolitan Police force during the period.

I find maps to be particularly useful and grounding when I’m writing, and luckily many historical maps are available online. I did create some fictional street names in my stories, but I also used real street names, and I had to know in my mind where they were and the distances that my characters would travel to get from one location to another. A map of 1888 Whitechapel still hangs on the wall next to my desk.

Travel itself became another research rabbit trail. As I was writing, I realized I didn't know enough about hansom cabs, which were the Victorian version of our modern yellow taxi cabs. My characters use them throughout my stories to travel from one part of London to another, and I needed to know the various parts of the cab, how one entered, communicated with the carriage’s driver, etc. 
     
One of the great dangers of research is the possibility of getting lost in it. A history book usually isn't a light read, and you can get drawn into chewing over facts and following rabbit trails—one book or fact leading you onto the next. All that time spent researching tidbits for your novel can sometimes hold you back from the writing itself. While the past is a pleasant place to get stuck, when research slows down your writing time, it can become problematic.

To stop myself from getting sucked in, I now go ahead and draft my story and make a note of anything I want to research during revisions. In the past I've used file folders, index cards, and Word files to collect research notes. Now I rely on Google Docs, Simplenote, or Evernote to quickly capture research information online. But the hands-down most useful writing and research aid I've found in recent years is Scrivener. Because of its binder-style structure, I can maintain folders with notes, images, and snippets of research that are visible and easily accessible in the sidebar of the same window where I’m composing my draft.

As a visual person, being able to grab images of clothing, maps, cityscapes, and art to inspire and inform my writing is essential. I've found Pinterest to be a boon in this respect. Not only can a search provide me with useful images, but I've created my own Pinterest boards for each of my books. It’s like an online scrapbook that I can refer to during the draft process and then share with my readers once my book is finished. I've now linked to each of my books’ Pinterest boards from each book’s page on my website.
     
I love to share research tidbits and learn from other writers. I may not have an answer to a question about 19th century London, but I will likely have an idea of where to look.
                        
If you do research, do you have any tips and tricks you recommend?

Learn more about Christy Carlyle here.



Friday, March 20, 2015

An Old-Fashioned British Pudding

I'm talking about a dessert and not myself! Hi, I'm Pippa Jay, author of scifi and the supernatural with a romantic soul. A born and bred Brit with no plans to move elsewhere. When I saw the topic for this month, I was pretty stumped. British food has absorbed so many dishes from other countries that in a poll done a year or two ago the top British dish was chicken tikka masala (although last year it got knocked down to number 14 with the good old British roast dinner coming in first place). But I decided to go with a personal favourite and something really traditional - bread pudding.

I know, I know. The name doesn't exactly sound all that dessert-like or tasty. But like a lot of old fashioned types of British food, it's thick, sweet and stodgy, designed to fill the stomach cheaply. And you can easily vary it by using different types of bread, including brioche (chocolate brioche especially makes for a decadent version) or by using different fruits, spices, and/or any other kind of additions you fancy. The idea was to use up possibly stale bread that some households couldn't afford to just throw away.

Serves: 4-6

Preparation time 15 minutes
You will need:
250g bread (any kind will do, but you could try using chocolate brioche or fruit loaf. A better quality bread will give you a better dessert but it's not essential.)
125g dried fruit like currants, raisins, sultanas, and/or mixed peel, or you could try a tropical mix or chocolate chips - anything, really.
65g suet (this is an English speciality, a very dense fat made from beef or mutton fat, in case it's not a familiar thing in the US)
65g sugar (caster (fine sugar) is best, but I like some golden or demerara sugar to sprinkle on the top for serving)
1 medium egg
A teaspoon of ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg, or mixed spice

Cooking time approx 1 hour
Method:
Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Rip the bread into pieces and leave soaking in water until soft. Then squeeze the bread dry and mix in with the fruit, fat, sugar and spices.
Mix in the egg. If it's too dry, you can add some milk. Pour the mixture into a greased baking dish.
Bake for about an hour until the top is be nicely browned and a skewer comes out clean.
Cool in the tin, then turn out and sprinkle liberally with caster or brown sugar.
If you can't wait for it to cool, turn it out straight away and serve with custard, cream or ice-cream, and a nice cup of tea!



And while you're waiting for it to cook, you can borrow one of my short stories from Amazon's Kindle Unlimited to keep you distracted!

    Hallow's Eve | Reboot | Terms & Conditions Apply
Or all my titles are 25% off at my publisher's site for the whole of March.

Tethered | Restless In Peaceville | When Dark Falls | No Angel
Not subtle, I know, but you'll need something to keep you occupied while you wait for your first taste of that dessert (or to read while you eat). :) I hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

THE ELUSIVE LORD EVERHART

by Vivienne Lorret

Is it March already? Wow! This year is flying by. I hope that good things are headed in your direction.

I'm currently working on edits for book #3 of The Rakes of Fallow Hall Series. But in the meantime, I wanted to let you know that the first book in the series is coming out next week, March 24th. Yay! I'm so excited!

Here is a sneak peek of THE ELUSIVE LORD EVERHART:

Calliope jolted. Sitting upright, her spine snapped into place with the suddenness of an arrow hitting a target. “Did you just…just kiss me?”

Kiss you?” Everhart asked from behind her, his tone a combination of amusement and disbelief. “Preposterous. You know very well that I’m merely aiding in your recuperation. Nothing untoward. My fingers are here”—he thrummed them over the upper portion of her shoulders to demonstrate. “And my thumbs are here”—he burrowed the tips in a circular motion directly into the aching knot at the base of her neck.

She tried not to moan, but a soft whimper might have escaped nonetheless. While he claimed this medicinal massage had been around for centuries, she knew nothing of it. Even so, she never wanted him to stop.

“I distinctly felt something that was neither thumb nor finger on the nape of my neck,” she argued, but with no force behind the words. She found it difficult to summon any censure. Her body hummed pleasantly as if his hands massaged every inch of her, instead of merely her shoulders.

“This accusation comes from a wealth of knowledge on your part, does it?” He altered his grip, kneading her flesh with the heels of his hands.

She swallowed down another moan. “Well, no. But I think I would know the diff—”

“There you have it,” he said succinctly. “You would not even know a kiss if it had happened, which it did not. Now tilt your head forward like before or you will strain yourself again.”



Gabriel Ludlow, Viscount Everhart, will never marry, and thus is sure to win the bachelors' wager amongst his friends. Assuming, of course, that his deepest secret—a certain letter containing a marriage proposal made in a moment of passion—doesn't surface. After all, without Calliope Croft to tempt him, there's no danger of losing. Or of falling in love.

Calliope wants revenge. Five years ago, an anonymous love letter stole her heart and ultimately broke it. Now Casanova has struck again, and Calliope vows to unmask the scoundrel, stopping him from breaking any more hearts. Yet, time and again, Gabriel distracts her from her task, until she can no longer deny that something about him calls to her …

Gabriel was a fool to ignore the depth of his feelings for Calliope, but the threat that kept him from her five years ago remains. Now he must choose between two paths: break her heart all over again or finally succumb to loving her … at the risk of losing everything.

~USA TODAY bestselling author Vivienne Lorret loves romance novels, her pink laptop, her husband, and her two sons (not necessarily in that order ... but there are days). Transforming copious amounts of tea into words, she is proud to be an Avon Impulse author of works including: Tempting Mr. Weatherstone, The Wallflower Wedding Series, and The Rakes of Fallow Hall Series. For more on her upcoming novels, visit her at www.vivlorret.net