Guest Post: Tina Gabrielle, The Duke Meets His Match

Thank you for featuring me! I’m Tina Gabrielle and I write adventurous historical romances.

The Duke Meets His Match is the third book in the Infamous Somerton’s series and can be read as a stand-alone book. The series is about the three daughters of an infamous art forger who duped half of the ton with his forgeries, then abandoned his daughters when his crimes became known. I like to write strong, intelligent heroines, and each of the three sisters has their own story. In An Artful Seduction, Eliza is the eldest sister who devises a false identity as a widow to open a print shop. In Real Earls Break the Rules, Amelia is the middle sister who inherited her father’s ability to forge priceless works of art.

In The Duke Meets His Match, Chloe is the youngest Somerton sister with the most colorful past. She was sickly as a child, and in order to help her sisters afford her medicine from the apothecary, she became a pick pocket. Years later, her sisters have married wealthy earls and Chloe’s lifestyle has changed. She now has a chance to marry Henry, a young, wealthy lord. But things don’t go quite as she’s planned. Henry has a mentor—the dangerously handsome Michael Keswick, the Duke of Cameron—who stands in her way. Michael recognizes Chloe from her thieving days. He’s also returned from Waterloo, and he owes his life to Henry’s father who died on the battlefield to save his life. Michael sees Chloe as a fortune-seeking miss and warns her to stay away from Henry and his newly inherited fortune. But Chloe refuses to be intimidated, and what begins as a battle of wills soon becomes a fierce attraction.

But both Michael and Chloe have their own internal struggles. Michael suffers from nightmares from the war, and Chloe harbors guilt from keeping her thieving past from her sisters. They find unlikely solace in each other’s arms. Chloe helps Michael find peace from the war, and he eases her conscience. They realize they are not enemies, but the two most lonely souls in England must learn to trust their hearts and risk all for the ultimate prize—true love.

Here’s a blurb for The Duke Meets His Match:

She’ll be his ruin or his salvation…

London, 1816 - The daughter of an infamous art forger, Chloe Somerton grew up poor. Desperate to aid her sisters, she’d picked a pocket…or two. Now circumstances have changed, and Chloe has a chance to marry a young, wealthy lord. Only his mentor—a dark, dangerous duke—stands in her way. The duke knows about her past, and she’ll do anything to keep him from telling.

The moment Michael Keswick, the Duke of Cameron, sees Chloe Somerton, he recognizes her as a fraud. The stunning beauty with sapphire eyes and golden hair now appears to be a proper lady, but he knows better. What begins as a battle of wills soon escalates into a fierce attraction. In Chloe, Michael finds peace from the memories of war, but he refuses to marry…and she won’t settle for anything less.
 

GIVEAWAY! To celebrate my release, I’m giving away an Art Masterpieces adult coloring book, a $15 Amazon gift card, and an ebook of An Artful Seduction, the first book in the Infamous Somertons series. Thanks for reading!

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About Tina Gabrielle

Bestselling author Tina Gabrielle is an attorney and former mechanical engineer whose love of reading for pleasure helped her get through years of academia. She often picked up a romance and let her fantasies of knights in shining armor and lords and ladies carry her away. She is the author of adventurous Regency historical romances for Entangled and Kensington Publishing.

Publisher’s Weekly calls her Regency Barrister’s series, “Well-matched lovers…witty comradely repartee.” Tina’s books have been Barnes & Noble top picks, and her first book, Lady Of Scandal, was nominated as best first historical by Romantic Times Book Reviews. Tina lives in New Jersey and is married to her own hero and is blessed with two daughters. She loves to hear from readers. Visit her website to learn about upcoming releases, join her newsletter, and enter free monthly contests at www.tinagabrielle.com

Q&A with Charles Kowalski

Can you describe what your book is about in one sentence?

A peace-loving religion professor, striving to atone for his crimes as a military interrogator, must help stop deadly biological attacks on the world’s great pilgrimage sites on their holiest days.

What is the theme of Mind Virus?

Mainly, that the fanaticism that leads to violence can be found anywhere, whether among religious believers or nonbelievers, and the will to seek peace and understanding can also be found anywhere.

How do you develop your plots and characters?

Everything begins with “What if…?” In this case, the question was, “Everyone is always talking about terror in the name of religion; could there be terror in the name of atheism?” From this question flows the rest of the plot and the characters. It was easy to develop Robin Fox; he’s the person I might have been if my life had taken a slightly different turn. As for the other characters, they may be loosely patterned on a real person, or a composite of several. If a minor character doesn’t seem sufficiently well-developed, I ask myself: if I were an actor, how would I play this character? How would I see the story from his or her point of view, since in our own minds, we’re always the central character of any story we appear in?

What was your favorite part of writing Mind Virus?

Following in my protagonist’s footsteps in Israel, Vatican City, and England.

Give us some insight into your main character. What does he do that is special? What are his character flaws?

One reader described Robin Fox as “Indiana Jones meets Sherlock Holmes: brilliant, moral, instinctive, with uncanny powers of perception.” Having seen a great deal of the world as the son of a Foreign Service officer, he is multilingual, culturally adaptable, able to survive in just about any country, but never completely at home anywhere. After his traumatic experience in Iraq, he is passionately committed to peace and nonviolence, to the point where he sometimes hesitates when decisive action may be called for.

If you could spend time with a character from your book, which character would it be? And what would you do during that day?

I would love to spend a day with Robin Fox, listening to his stories about all the places he’s traveled in search of enlightenment—meditating with monks in the Himalayas, whirling with dervishes in Turkey, sweating with shamans in the American Southwest—and asking what conclusions he’s drawn about the beliefs that unite the world’s faith traditions.

Tell us about the conflict in this book. What is at stake for your characters?

There are many layers of conflict. The main one, of course, is the race to stop the villain before he can start a worldwide epidemic. There’s also the undercurrent of tension between Fox and his CIA counterpart, John Adler, and Fox’s anxiety that the more he cooperates, the deeper he’s dragged back into a chapter in his life that he wanted to keep closed forever. And to top it all off, there’s danger to the woman for whom Fox secretly harbors an impossible love.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Mind Virus?

I learned a great deal about the subtle art of interrogation. Stories of “enhanced interrogation techniques” (a code word for torture) dominated the news during the Iraq War, but the best interrogators would probably dismiss those as crude and ineffective. Good interrogators have to be keen students of psychology and talented actors, capable of improvising themselves into whatever role will help them earn the subject’s trust. Fox summed it up when he reflected, “In any interrogation, the most important questions are the ones that aren’t asked. Who is this person? What does he want most? What does he fear most? Once you know the answers to those, the field is won.”

Mind Virus seems to have some technical aspects that appear to require some expertise or background in the field. How did you come by this information? (Is it in your background, or did you just do research?)

Mind Virus was a very research-intensive book. Very little in my own background prepared me for it, so I read everything I could get my hands on and consulted everyone willing to share their experience and expertise with me.

What makes your book different from other books in your genre?

Mind Virus isn’t the typical thriller that pits the infallible West, led by the invincible United States, against the dark forces of Islam. It paints the world in more shades of gray (though perhaps not fifty!). And Fox is quite different from the standard-issue action-adventure protagonist; he’s a reluctant hero, tormented by remorse and self-doubt, who always prefers nonviolence over violence when he has a choice.

Of all the characters you have created, which is your favorite and why?

Of course, Robin Fox is my favorite, but his antagonist is a close second. It was great fun to read authors from Nietzsche to Harris and combine the nastiest parts of their philosophies into one monomaniacal psychopath from hell. His appearance may be brief, but he gets some of the best lines in the book.

What are some of your favorite authors or books?

Of course, I took some inspiration from the big names in the genre, like Lee Child. Tana French showed me it’s possible to write genre fiction with a literary flair. Dan Brown, Daniel Silva, and Jeffrey Small paved the way for thrillers with religious themes. Barry Eisler and Barry Lancet showed me it’s possible for Japan-based authors to produce books with worldwide appeal; I’m hoping the same will prove true even for one who isn’t named Barry! And the list wouldn’t be complete without Leo J. Maloney, who ever since our chance meeting at Killer Nashville has been very generous with his time and expertise and always gave me a dose of encouragement at just the time I needed it.

What other projects are you working on?

I have other Robin Fox novels in the works, the next one set in my adopted homeland of Japan. I’m also working on a standalone thriller featuring an archaeologist who, in the course of an undercover operation to recover artifacts stolen from Iraq, finds evidence that she is descended from an extraterrestrial race tasked with saving humanity from an impending disaster.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Forget what they say about “write what you know.” Write what excites your imagination, and the knowledge you need can be acquired. And if a story grabs hold of you and won’t let go . . . tell it! Pay no attention to the inner voices that say “this is no good” or “no one else will be interested in it.” Believe in yourself, even when it feels like no one else does. To paraphrase Florence Foster Jenkins, people may say you can’t write, but never let it be said that you didn’t write.

Blind Tribute Guest Post: Letters to Palmer

Emily Wentworth-Daria_Sushkova_by_I.Makarov_(1850s_Muranovo).jpg

Palmer:

Your reckless and foolhardy move here has put you in great danger. Only your father’s influence keeps us out of danger as well. I must, as your loving mother, advise you to leave Charleston forthwith; in fact, leave the South. Those in a position to make life difficult for you have already begun. It can only become more perilous should you choose to stay. I know better than to think you will stop writing, so please, my son, I beg you. Go home to Philadelphia.

Your mother,

Mrs. Emily Beaufain Wentworth

 

 

My dear brother:

It breaks my heart to ask you to leave when you have been here such a short time. I long for the days of our youth when we were not separated for so much as a mile, and it has been with a heavy heart I accepted your move to and life in Philadelphia. Still, Palmer, you must reconsider your decision to stay in Charleston. Anyone who would speak for you is constrained by the confines of our small community. You belong here, my dear brother, but I hope to have many years within which to share our lives, even at a distance, which necessitates your removal from Charleston.

Your sister,

Mrs. Ruth Wentworth Telfair

 

About the Book

Every newspaper editor may owe tribute to the devil, but Harry Wentworth’s bill just came due.
 
As America marches toward the Civil War, Harry Wentworth, gentleman of distinction and journalist of renown, finds his calls for peaceful resolution have fallen on deaf—nay, hostile—ears, so he must finally resolve his own moral quandary. Comment on the war from his influential—and safe—position in Northern Society, or make a news story and a target of himself South of the Mason-Dixon Line, in a city haunted by a life he has long since left behind?

The day-to-day struggle against countervailing forces, his personal and professional tragedies on both sides of the conflict, and the elegant and emotive writings that define him, all serve to illuminate the trials of this newsman’s crusade, irreparably altering his mind, his body, his spirit, and his purpose as an honorable man. Blind Tribute exposes the shifting stones of the moral high ground, as Harry’s family and friendships, North and South, are shattered by his acts of conscience.

Excerpt

He took a seat at his desk, pulled out a fresh sheet of paper, inked his pen, and began to write, referring, again and again, to the structure and notes he had developed on the wall, occasionally flipping through earlier entries in the notebook. He had not even fleshed out half a page when a hush fell over the newsroom, accentuating the thumping of the press under his feet, printing the pages he had already approved. Reluctantly, he turned the clock on the corner of his desk to read the face.

Still more than an hour till deadline. What in the name of—?

His half-open door blocked his view, so he stood and strode to the doorway, stuck his head out, and bellowed, “You have sixty-four minutes. I want to hear nothing but news out…” His voice trailed off.

Fleur and Belle—who shouldn’t be out without an escort, and certainly shouldn’t be in a room filled with men—were crossing the newsroom to his office. All his reporters’ heads had turned to watch.

At sixteen, they were enchanting, charming, perfectly matched miniatures of his wife, and had only recently been deemed old enough to wear their hair up and hems down. They were dressed in fashionable coats, exactly the same but for color: Fleur in sea green and Belle in lemon yellow, to match their hair ribbons. Harry and Anne had named them in a fit of mutual whimsy, when he’d said, at first sight, they looked like two beautiful flowers. Harry had been charmed by the scene of his wife with his brand-new girls; she had been charmed by the pink hothouse roses and star sapphires he’d brought.

Now, however, his beautiful flowers were ten steps into the newsroom, both blushing identically and trying to keep the men from looking by staring at their own toes. It only took one hard stare from Harry before every man present began to examine his own desk.

He rushed out to meet the girls halfway across the room, where he put an arm around each in a futile effort to protect them from the gaze of these worldly men whom he never intended for them to meet. Then he scooted Belle and Fleur into his office and slammed the door behind him—making both girls jump—to let the entire building know, in no uncertain terms, what sort of mood it had put him in to find his little girls in his newsroom. Eventually, Harry heard the noise of the newsroom slowly, tentatively, take shape again, certain more than half the conversation was now devoted to detailing the vile things they would like to do with his daughters. He would sack any man he heard make an untoward comment. If he could manage not to shoot him first.

“This is no place for you!” Harry yelled, grinding his teeth, trying, far too late, to keep his anger from frightening them. “What the blazes are you doing here? Why are you without an escort?” Their governess should never have let them leave, and his driver would never have prepared the carriage for them, were they alone. He couldn’t help himself from shouting louder, “What is your mother thinking, letting you come here?!”

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About the Author

Mari was “raised up” in journalism (mostly raising her glass at the Denver Press Club bar) after the advent of the web press, but before the desktop computer. She has since plied her trade as a writer, editor, and designer across many different fields, and currently works as a technical writer and editor. 

Under the name Mari Christie, she has released a book-length epic poem, Saqil pa Q'equ'mal: Light in Darkness: Poetry of the Mayan Underworld, and under pen name Mariana Gabrielle, she has written several Regency romances, including the Sailing Home Series and La Déesse Noire: The Black Goddess. Blind Tribute is her first mainstream historical novel. She expects to release the first book in a new family saga, The Lion’s Club, in 2018.
 
She holds a BA in Writing, summa cum laude and With Distinction, from the University of Colorado Denver, and is a member of the Speakeasy Scribes, the Historical Novel Society, and the Denver Press Club. She has a long family history in Charleston, South Carolina, and is the great-great niece of a man in the mold of Harry Wentworth.

Connect: Website

Songs That Played a Part in Until You by Bridie Blake

Music plays a huge part in my writing process. I can’t write without listening to it, certain songs inspire specific scenes or character inspirations, or some songs just remind me of the story I’m trying to tell. For each book I work on, I create a playlist to write to, constantly adding to it when a song pops into my mind.

I’ve compiled a list below of the songs that played a part in creating Until You:-

  1. Will You Love Me Tomorrow - Carole King - this song helped inspire the character of Jason and the lyrics really spoke to me of his fears that people only want the movie star and not the person.

  2. Thinking Out Loud - Ed Sheeran - this is what I imagine as the theme song

  3. Young and Beautiful - Lana Del Rey

  4. Starving - Hailee Steinfeld, Grey feat. Zedd

  5. All of Me - John Legend

  6. No Promises - Shawn Mendes

  7. Everything Has Changed - Taylor Swift feat. Ed Sheeran

  8. Heartbeat - Carrie Underwood

  9. Ordinary People - John Legend

  10. Stay My Love - Una Healy, Sam Palladio

  11. Like This - Shawn Mendes

  12. Issues - Julia Michaels

  13. Million Reasons - Lady Gaga

  14. As She’s Walking Away - Zac Brown Band

  15. White Blank Page - Mumford & Sons

  16. Like I’ll Never Love You Again - Carrie Underwood

Q&A with Sophie Barnes

What is their favorite place to visit? 

Denmark. It’s where I’m from. My parents have a summerhouse by the beach in the southern part and a house near Copenhagen. I love it there plus I get to see the rest of my family.

What are 5 things you must have with you when you write?

My laptop, a notebook, my Jane Austen Map of London, various pens in different colors and a hot cup of coffee.

Do you have any post-publishing regrets?

Yes! In my first book, How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back, Tchaikovsky is mentioned as a current figure. I meant to change him to a different composer since he wasn’t even born at the time when the plot takes place, but I forgot. Really wish I’d seen that during edits. I haven’t used ‘fillers’ since.

Can you tell us a little about your book?

It’s a fresh spin on Pygmalion featuring a bare-knuckler boxer from the slums of St. Giles who suddenly becomes the Duke of Huntley. Navigating high society can be troublesome – especially with two younger sisters in tow – but thanks to his next door neighbor, the alluring Gabriella Radcliffe, he comes up to scratch while losing his heart in the process.

What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

I LOVED Julia Quinn’s The Girl With The Make-believe Husband. Right now I’m reading Sarah MacLean’s The Day Of The Duchess. Both authors are auto reads for me.

What types of scenes are your most favorite to write?

Definitely dialogue. When the characters are interesting and there’s a bit of tension, the dialogue pushes the story forward in a fun and interesting way. Describing what people are doing sometimes gets me while Love scenes are the hardest.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

The sequel to A Most Unlikely Duke is called The Duke Of Her Desire. It releases December 27th and features Raphe’s sister, Amelia, as she struggles to renovate a house on the edge of St. Giles and turn it into a school. Contending with her brother’s friend, the Duke of Coventry who’s been charged with protecting her, leads to a lot of quarreling, tension and high passion.

Q&A with Vanessa Kelly

If you could sit and write in a different country where would it be? 

England, probably the Lake District or the Cotswolds. My fantasies generally do not involve sexy guys—they involve peaceful little cottages on a hillside overlooking a beautiful lake. Oh, and tea, scones, and a nice glass of wine at the end of the day. LOL!

Co-writing: have you done it with another author, if not, would you?

I co-write with my husband as VK Sykes. We’ve written a number of books, including contemporary romances and romantic suspense. Hubby is also my critique partner for my historical romances. I enjoy the process and we work very well together—likely because we know each other’s weak spots and how to deal with them. It’s really fun to work creatively with him; plus, it keeps us busy so we don’t kill each other from boredom! I don’t know if I could actually co-write a book with another author, although I’ve worked on interconnected anthologies with other writers. I enjoyed that process, too.

Can you tell us a little about your book?

THREE WEEKS WITH A PRINCESS is the second book in The Improper Princesses Series, which is a spin-off from my previous series, The Renegade Royals. That series featured the illegitimate sons of England’s royal dukes, who fought for their rightful places in the world—falling madly in love with some pretty swell gals along the way, of course. In this new series, the illegitimate daughters of royal dukes take their turn, surmounting all the obstacles that society put in their way in that time period, and winning the hearts of their own heroes. There’s love, laughter, adventure, and just a little bit of danger to spice things up!

How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

Aside from the fact that it’s a spin-off, THREE WEEKS WITH A PRINCESS is based on the famous movie musical, Gigi. My heroine, Lia Kincaid, is the daughter and granddaughter of notorious courtesans and is expected to follow in their footsteps. There are a few problems with that plan, however—she has no desire to become a courtesan and she’s madly in love with her childhood friend, Jack Easton, Marquess of Lendale. But events conspire to push Lia in the direction she doesn’t want to go, and Jack is pretty much losing his mind trying to stop her. Jack, unfortunately, also has big problems, which include a mother who hates Lia’s guts and a debt-ridden estate all but falling down around his ears. Needless to say, Lia and Jack have more than a few obstacles to a happily ever after!

What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

I just read a great book called BITTER SPIRITS, a paranormal romance set in San Francisco during the Roaring Twenties. The hero is a bootlegger and the heroine is a spirit medium, and they meet under very unusual circumstances: the hero is under a curse. They have tremendous chemistry and I loved the atmospheric setting. I’m halfway through the second book in the series by Jenn Bennett, and I’m enjoying it, too. I’m kind of a sucker for unusual historical settings for romance, and this one really fit the bill.

What do you like best about being a writer? What is the most challenging part?

 The best part for me is writing The End. I relish having a finished book in my hands, and it’s still a thrill to know I created a new story with characters I’ve invariably come to love. The most challenging part is actually sitting down every day and getting words on the page. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes not. There are days when I feel like being lazy or reading a book, but deadlines mean butt has to get into chair, regardless of inspiration striking or not.

Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

The theme I most frequently come back to, whether I realize it or not at the time, is family and finding home. It’s just the one that sticks with me. I do have a number of characters I’d like to return to at some point, mostly secondary characters from my Renegade Royals Series. There are a pair of children in my recently released short story, THREE RENEGADES AND A BABY, who I think are demanding their own story when they grow up. So, stay tuned for that!

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

My next book is called THE HIGHLANDER’S PRINCESS BRIDE, and it’ll be out in November. It’s Improper Princesses 3, and it moves the action to a remote castle in Scotland. My heroine finds herself trying to teach a very rambunctious family of Highlanders how to be proper gentlemen, a la Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. This book segues into my next series, which will feature the Kendrick brothers—a wild group of Highland rogues! I’m really excited to be moving in that direction.

Q&A with Megan Ryder

Name one thing you won’t leave home without.

I never leave home without my ipad mini. I can write on that, take notes on it, and read on it. If I’m stuck in traffic, in a doctor’s office, waiting somewhere, I have something to do. I am not the most patient person but with my ipad, I can occupy myself for hours. I can actually leave my phone at home and be fine but if I leave my ipad, I get twitchy. 

What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

I adored Silver Silence by Nalini Singh. She is one of my go-to authors and I re-read her constantly.

I am in the middle of binge reading the Chicagoland vampire series by Chloe Neill and am loving them.

I just read an ARC of Jamie Beck’s new book Before I Knew, coming out in August. So good and emotional.

And I just read an ARC of Jamie K Schmidt’s Stud coming in July. Sexy and fun, but I loved the characters too.

What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

What are your favorite types of stories to read?

While I enjoy contemporary romance, my guilty pleasure and my go-to reading is paranormal romance and urban fantasy. I can’t get enough of those genres. I have so many authors that I love including Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Chloe Neill (a recent find), Patricia Briggs. Honestly, I could go on and on.

Tell us all about your main characters—who are they? What makes them tick? Most importantly, what one thing would they need to have with them if stranded on a desert isle? ;)

Brigid is a type-A lawyer, determined to make partner at her law firm as soon as possible. The problem is – is it her dream or her parents’ dream? Brigid comes from a high-achieving family. She defines herself as the “boring piece of cheese in the center of a sandwich of brilliance” and she feels constantly inadequate. So she feels this constant need to prove herself to everyone around her. Grady is the one person she doesn’t have to do that with; he loves her for who she is, can see who she really is and accepts her. But she can’t accept him because he is not the type of person her family would expect. He’s not on her plan.

Grady is a contractor who rebuilt his father’s business after his father almost lost it due to an illness. He and his older brother, the groom Matthew, were very close until their parents divorced when Grady was young, with Grady staying with his father. He didn’t see Matthew or his mother again until Matthew reconnected when they were older. His mother had been focused on her status and appearances so when he met Brigid, he thought she was just his mother. He soon learned she wasn’t but her constant choices make him fear that he will always be second in her life, something he just can’t accept. But he keeps trying to get Brigid to pull her head out of her law books and see the world around her and the possibilities, especially him.

Since they’re both so different, Brigid would want her cell phone and a signal on a deserted island because she needs to stay connected at all times. What if the office needs her? Grady, on the other hand, is perfectly fine with a six-pack of beer and his tools to build something, shelter or something to mess around with. He’s not fussy.

Where did the inspiration for this book come from?

This book is part two in a series about a matchmaking bride and the bridesmaids who she is determined to bring together with the ones who got away. It came from thinking about weddings and thinking about blissfully happy brides and how often they want everyone around them to be as happy as they are. I also love reunion stories so I started thinking about wedding romances, bridesmaids and what would it be like to be in a wedding and have the bride decide to play matchmaker. Now, it’s pretty hard to have a full romance in a week but, if you have a bride determined to bring her friends all back together and match them again, well, then you have a series. Trying to write three books all over the same week was a bit of a challenge though. Trying to make each story unique and not repetitive. But each bridesmaid was a strong character and tough in their own right, so I think they’ll keep people reading.

How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?

I have been writing for more years than I can remember. I always write stories when I was a kid, usually about horses or dogs, then fan fiction when I was older, and then romance in college. I didn’t get serious until the late nineties when I joined Romance Writers of America and my local chapter, which was a God-send, because I met people like me and learned all about writing. I value my friendships that I’ve made as a writer and how I’ve grown as a person through those friendships. What I love about being a writer is the what-if aspect. I’ll hear a news story – any kind – and start spinning a tale off of it. Imagine if this happened, or what if this happened? Many of those ideas don’t go anywhere but sometimes, that little kernel blossoms into something else and you can’t get it out of your mind.

What do you like best about being a writer? What is the most challenging part?

The best thing about being a writer is all of the great ideas out there. I love thinking of new ideas, the fodder for stories, and the possibilities that exist. I also love the people I’ve met as a writer, both other writers and readers. Seriously, romance readers and writers are the best people in the world. They are so welcoming and positive and supportive. Many of my closest friends I met through writing and I love it.

What do you do when you are not writing?

I love to knit, so that takes up a lot of time, however, I recently got a puppy, a rescue cocker spaniel. He was six months old when we got him and not training (not even potty trained) so that has been a challenge. So, much of my free time has been taken up training him and trying to convince him that outside is for potty, not inside. But he’s a sweet dog and I love him.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

After Something Borrowed, book 3 will be out – Something New. That will be Anna and Wyatt’s story.  Anna and Wyatt had a real volatile history, with Wyatt as the football star and Anna the wanna-be movie-star. Unfortunately, Wyatt had a career ending knee injury and couldn’t achieve his dreams while Anna went on for hers, leaving Wyatt behind. A lot of simmering resentment remains between them, along with guilt. Anna comes off as a real bitch in these books but she might surprise everyone in her story. I loved writing her book and hope readers like her as much as I did. 
 

Q&A with Gayle Callen

If you had to title your own life what would it be and why?

“Lucky in Love.” I met my husband a year before we started dating, but once we dated, we married within six months. And I knew that first month that I was in love with him. So any time someone uses love at first sight in a romance novel, I think it could be true, because it happened to me. And we’ve been married 35 years, so it can work!

What is your favorite place to visit? 

It may sound cliché for a historical romance author, but I love England. I’ve visited three times now, and every time I see a different part of the country, I fall in love all over again. Last time, I visited my daughter who was studying for her semester abroad in London. The two of us rented a car and drove north—on the left side of the road!—all the way to Yorkshire. The countryside changes so much, from thatched roofs and abundant gardens, to bleak moors that roll to the horizon. Incredible!

Favorite writing place. 

Even though I’ve written most of my books from a small office on the lower level of my house, my favorite place to write is on my patio. I spent all last summer working outside 4-6 hours every day. My yard is mostly trees, but I have an umbrella to sit beneath when the sun is overhead. I planted begonias and impatiens, which do well in the shade. I put up my feet up, my laptop on a lap desk, and I write, listening to the sound of the bees, the birds, and distant lawn mowers. My neighbor has several bird feeders that spill seeds onto the ground, so sometimes birds, squirrels, bunnies, and chipmunks are all cavorting in the grass together, like my own private show. It’s so peaceful!

What are 5 things you must have with you when you write?

Ooh, interesting question. I don’t think I’m superstitious about anything in particular, but there are some constants when I’m writing a book. A laptop is number one—a desktop computer can’t easily be moved, so I’ve used a laptop for years so I can set it aside to research, spread out my index cards, etc. And I want to be able to take it with me, too! Next, I always have ice water in a big insulated mug. I have index cards, because that’s how I keep track of all my scenes. I use a purple pen to write on them. And lastly, markers, because I highlight a corner of each index card to keep track of all my plotlines when I lay the cards out: purple for the heroine’s emotional growth, blue for the hero, pink for the romance plot, then green/orange/red for the various plotlines in the book. Yes, I love to organize and plot things out.

Can you tell us a little about your book?

I was so excited to write LOVE WITH A SCOTTISH OUTLAW, mainly because I finally found a story to fit a plot I’d always wanted to write: amnesia. I opened the book with the heroine, Catriona, waking up in the Scottish Highlands, her head bleeding, not knowing who she is. It was such fun to write! The hero Duncan is the chief of an outlawed clan—and he knows exactly who she is, the daughter of his enemy. While Catriona thinks he is being kind enough to house her while she discovers who she is, Duncan is really holding her captive. And of course, the sparks fly!

Q&A with Eva Moore

If you had to title your own life, what would it be, and why?

This honestly made me laugh. “And Then She Moved” would be the title of my autobiography. I married an ambitious man, and we have moved 12 times in the last 15 years, and that doesn’t include the college years. I’ve had three children: one in Illinois, one in California, and one in Singapore. While all that travel and relocating takes effort, it has brought amazing people and experiences into my life. I wouldn’t trade them for the world. And hey, I can write anywhere, right?

Have you ever come up with content on vacation?

All the time. With all of that moving and traveling, we have seen amazing places and things. I always travel with a small journal to take notes of sights, sounds, and scents because inevitably my characters end up there some day. Each book in the Girls’ Night Out series is set in a place I’ve either lived or visited. “Someone Special” is in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I wrote it the year we moved here from Chicago. I was essentially a tourist in my new hometown. “Second Chances” is set in Yolo County, CA and is based on the organic farm my veggies come from and a festival I attended. “Three Strikes” is set in Bali, where my husband surprised me with the best birthday trip ever during our Singapore years. “Forever Nights” takes place in Las Vegas, because I was so inspired by RT 2016 and my meeting with Cherry Adair that it all just fell into place.

Are any of your characters based on people in your real life?

My characters always have a healthy dose of me in them, but they are also made up of borrowed traits from people I love. While my best friend from college was reading “Three Strikes”, she called me at 3 am from the other side of the world to ask, “Am I Stella? Because I am TOTALLY Stella!”

How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

When I began the Girls’ Night Out Series, I wanted my heroes and heroines to find love, obviously, but I also wanted to celebrate female friendships. I would be lost without my girlfriends. By the time I got to Jamie’s story in book 4, I had a pretty good idea who she was. She’s the girlfriend who tells you what you need to hear, even if it’s not what you want to hear. She’s also an empath, so she feels things more deeply than most. I knew she was going to fall for a guy who absolutely did NOT want to share his feelings with anyone. To get motivated, I joined Cherry Adair’s Finish The Damn Book Contest. She graciously spent a half an hour with me in a darkened Las Vegas Starbucks helping me talk through my plot and subplot and conflict and EVERY LAST THING! It was amazing. The energy I took away from that meeting spun into Forever Nights. When it actually ended up winning the contest, I was floored. Literally. I sat on the floor of my bedroom trying to breathe with my cell phone clutched in my hand. Life has been a whirlwind ever since.

What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

When I am not writing, my three darling daughters keep me running! I am a former third grade teacher who is now a stay-at-home mom. They are all off school for summer break, and my days are full of swim lessons, play dates, and marathons of MasterChef Junior and Great British Bakeoff. If I have any spare time (hah), I am reading either the tattered old school romance in my purse or one of my many impulsive additions to my digital TBR. I also spend far too much time on Facebook with the ladies in the Old School Romance Book Club.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Don’t quit. Keep writing, and keep moving forward. I had a few false starts, including a historical romance set in Venice that ran into history issues (Darn you, Napoleon) and a contemporary about an elementary school teacher (a real stretch for me) that fizzled near the end. I turned to writing again when I was home with a three year old and an infant. I was slowly going insane not speaking to other adults, and I was too tired to escape into a book by the end of the night. Solution: start talking to characters in my head. They eventually got so mouthy, I had to put pen to paper just to shut them up. I wrote “Someone Special” over the course of a year, one morning a week at Peet’s coffee shop, while my oldest was in preschool and the then baby was with a sitter. I haven’t looked back. I highly recommend joining the RWA just to have access to their online classes and local chapters. I have learned so much in the last 5 years, and my writing has changed so much. If I were still beating my head against the plot wall in that historical disaster, none of my girls would’ve seen the light of day. Instead, I let it go and moved on, and now I have published four books. In four months.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

You all are fantastic. Your enthusiasm is such an amazing gift, and I am delighted to be a part of Romancelandia. I am one of you. When I find a book I love, I gush and share it everywhere and stalk the author on Facebook just to say, “Thanks for breaking my heart and putting it back together again!” The fact that people I don’t know are leaving reviews for my books is still a bit surreal, but every time someone tells me how much they loved it, I just light up inside. And then I funnel that joy into the next one…

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

I am working on a Christmas novella featuring two secondary characters from “Someone Special”, Seth and Brandy, in an “It’s A Wonderful Life” adaptation. The novella also sets up my next series, which centers on Seth’s cousins in a next-generation Fixer Upper spin-off set in the crazy Silicon Valley real estate market. I can’t wait to share it with you.

Q&A with Vicki Lewis Thompson, In The Cowboy's Arms

What is your favorite part about writing In the Cowboy’s Arms

Hollywood newcomer Matt Forrest is falsely accused of behaving dishonorably. I loved writing the scenes where his foster family stands behind him because they all know he would never do such a thing. Warms my heart.

Is there anyone who you based Matt and Geena off of, or who you drew your inspiration from? 

Matt is a little like my son, who’s the nicest guy in the world, and he sometimes blunders into a dicey situation because he sees the best in everyone.

When did you first realize that you wanted to be writer? 

I’ve been writing since I was eight, but I didn’t realize I could make money at it until I was in my thirties.

What is your favorite thing about writing contemporary romance? 

I get to play with modern-day slang! It’s tricky because some words stick and others fade. The word “cool” is one of the few that’s survived over several generations.

How many books have you written? Is there one that you would consider your favorite? 

About 150. That would be like picking a favorite child! But if I had to choose a recent one, it would be CLAIMED!, the third book in my Sons of Chance series. I heart Jack Chance.

What future projects are you working on? 

More cowboy stories! I love writing them.

Do you have any advice for new writers? 

Don’t be intimidated by the success of others. Everyone starts at zero so leap into the current and swim like hell. It’s not an easy way to make a living, but it’s incredibly rewarding.