I’m proud and excited to welcome Author D.V. Stone. Today is the launch day of her new release! Welcome, Donna! Congratulations on Jazz House!
I have to tell you, I’m a fan! I eagerly look forward to your posts on the various social media venues. You always seem to be doing something interesting. Before we delve into writing and your upcoming release, won’t you please tell us about yourself?
Thanks so much not only for your kind words but for having me over today. As I’m doing this interview, we’re returning from a camping trip that included Maine and Massachusetts. I’m blessed to have retired from full-time employment and now can focus on the things I love. Hubby and I love to travel, history, and camping. We are both avid readers and enjoy opening a book or, in my case, a device and reading around the campfire. Cooking is one of my hobbies, and I recently was invited by Still Moments magazine to contribute a recipe and short blurb about the recipe to each of their issues starting this fall.
I look forward to your recipes! I love the premise of your blog, Around the Fire with D.V. Stone. You have such a warm, relaxed style and you very generously showcase and interview a lot of authors. How did you come up with the idea and how in the world do you find the time?
Thank you! One of the things about camping is if you light a fire, people will join you. Discussions often lead late into the night, and you learn so many interesting things. Other people interest me. Anytime I can talk about books is a bonus. Time management is much easier now that I don’t have a nine to five.
Tell us about your writing! Where do you write? When? Do you have a favorite spot or time of day?
When my son moved out, my DH turned his room into an office/library. I spend a lot of time there. However, I move around a lot depending on the weather. A lap desk makes me mobile. The deck is one of my favorite places, and my camper has a bunkhouse that doubles as an office when we hit the road.
Okay (rubbing hands together), let’s talk about your Impact Series. How did you arrive at the name for this series? Tell us more about your inspiration and research.
I believe we should all we can to make an Impact in our world. Each of our lives touches so many others for the good and the bad. Choices we make, or don’t, have repercussions. As a former EMT, both as a volunteer and a professional, was an important part of my life. When I learned about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) I took what I knew and loved. Rock House Grill was the first book and combined my love of Rock/music-House/family-Grill/cooking into a novel about love and how our life choices can help or harm others. Jazz House easily followed with a continuing theme of First Responders.
That sounds like an amazing combination! Jazz House – it looks intense! Please tell us about your latest release!
At the end of RHG, Shay and Olivia are getting ready to take on the restaurant world by opening Jazz House. They listen to a demo tape for their dinner club’s entertainment, and we hear about Madeline Cielo. One of my favorite characters in the first book is Michael Michau, a police officer who had a crush on Shay. I needed Michael to have his happily ever after. In the same way, Shay makes an Impact on the House family, as Michael does in Madeline’s shattered life.
Were some scenes hard to write? Did you ever get emotional?
One day I’m going to finish Olivia’s story. Liv is like the spoke of the wheel the series revolves around. Her story is tragic, and every time I write a scene with her, my heart breaks.
I realize this might seem a crazy question, considering we’re celebrating the launch of Jazz House. But we’d really like to know – is your next book in the works?
Honky Tonk House is being drafted. Along the lines of First Responders, this one will focus on a female firefighter. I’m a huge fan of 80s and 90s country music, hence Honky Tonk. I have a couple of lost souls looking for love and haven’t decided which male character will find his soul mate. Both Nick (Shay’s ex-husband) and Zach, another EMT, have been requested. We’ll see. I’m also working on several Indie projects. One is a fantasy series, the other a historical paranormal adventure.
Oh, wow -- it all sounds great! Before we go, is there anything else you’d like to share?
We live in very difficult times. Be kind. You never know what someone else is going through. Make an Impact for the good. One of my favorite quotes is—let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.
I respect and appreciate that. Thank you, Donna. I look forward to reading Jazz House and the Impact Series. I wish you happy travels and much success!
About the Author
D. V. Stone is an award-winning, multi-genre, traditionally and independently published author. She writes books people want to read. Whether romance or fantasy, her stories are about the importance of friends and family. About overcoming obstacles while doing it with humor.
Around the Fire is a popular weekly blog where she introduces both established and new authors, giving an insider’s look into their lives and books and tidbits about her own life.
After retiring, she is now a full-time author and incorporates her life experiences into her books.
A former Emergency Medical Technician, she volunteered in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. She worked as a professional EMT in a women’s state prison. She was the proprietor of a coffee shop and a small restaurant/ice cream stand in the years that followed. The years following were as a manager in an animal emergency hospital, while her last position was in a human medical office.
When not behind the wheel of 2Hoots—a 41-foot long 13.2 feet high 5th Wheel camper, she rambles around town in Northern New Jersey in a white Camaro. She also loves travel and history.
D.V. is wife to an amazing husband, mother to one son, and not your average grandma to three beautiful grands. A woman of faith, she believes and trusts in God.
“My greatest pleasures are spending time outside with friends and family, cooking over the open fire, sipping a glass of wine, and reading.”
Hali, her rescue dog, always reminds her to let readers know, “Woof, woof.” Which is loosely translated as support your local animal rescue.
You can learn more about D. V. by following her on social media.
For one-stop connections Link Tree
Amazon Author Page
Around the Fire Blog with D.V. Stone
Jordan Vasilakis is on the run, living under an assumed name. After a disastrous marriage to a notorious Greek business tycoon, she flees to the States and starts rebuilding her life. But her ruthless husband is determined to destroy her…once he finds her.
Michael Machau is drawn to the new singer at Jazz House restaurant, but the guarded woman is harboring dangerous secrets. The dedicated police officer may have to risk more than just his heart to forge a connection with the woman he knows as Madeline Cielo, especially when he discovers she’s living a lie.
Worlds collide. Lies entangle. Survival, much less love, is in question. They must quickly distinguish friends from enemies or risk losing everything—including a future together.
Excerpt from Jazz House
Jordan scrambled to the other side of the limo.
“You sing good tonight.” He scrolled through his phone.
Outside the window, massive cruise ships docked in the port. Happy older people made their way up the gangplanks toting bags filled with souvenirs, while the younger ones debarked dressed for the nightlife. Sparkly sequins flashed like diamonds as one young woman twirled on the pier.
God, how had she come to this life? She willed her hovering tears not to fall. Kyrios wouldn’t approve.
When she was offered a place in the touring group ten years ago, she thought it was the beginning of great things. Standing in the cabaret with the lights shining down was her dream come true. When she was the woman in the sparkly dress.
Until he showed up.
Each night, Kyrios Vasilakis, Greek business tycoon, sat at the front table watching her. Yes, he was older but so very handsome. Dark hair with silver at the temples, he cut a dashing figure in his black suits.
Jordan began to sing to him. It was the beginning of the end. After a whirlwind romance, she found herself a prisoner in marriage to a brute.
Other Books by
D. V. Stone
Rainbow Sprinkles by The Wild Rose Press
After the storm come the rainbows.
Amazon Barnes & Noble iBooks
Rock House Grill by The Wild Rose Press
One man’s choices. One woman’s Impact.
Amazon Barnes & Noble iBook’s Google Books Kobo
Australia Burns by The Wild Rose Press
Agent Sam Carter
The Mystery at Branch Lake https://a.co/bb0HlkS
The Mystery at High Pointe Tower https://a.co/bb0HlkS
Today, I’m thrilled to welcome Author Cherie Colyer. Her paranormal romance Salted Caramel Bliss with a Wedding Kiss just launched yesterday! The title alone sounds scrumptious and as you will see from my review, so is the story!
Welcome Cherie, and congratulations on your new release! Before we get knee-deep in questions, won’t you tell us a little about yourself?
Thanks for having me on your lovely blog! I’m the mother of four amazing sons, a senior technician for an IT company, a bit of a solitary witch, lover of nature, Harry Potter geek, author, wife, and friend to some amazing people. My happy place is in books, from reading great stories to creating my own contemporary worlds.
You write children’s books, YA fantasy, and adult paranormal romance. There’s something always a little magical in your writing, which I find impressive, appealing, and clever. It takes a lot of imagination to write fantasy. To me, adding even a little magic or other-worldliness also softens – sometimes even disguises -- an important lesson or a painful truth. On the other hand, it can also be sheer fun. I’m all for that!
So why do you write magic and fantasy? From where do you find your inspiration?
I’ve always been drawn to stories with magic in them. The idea that people can possess magical powers or be supernatural fascinates me, and whose to say there isn’t a bit of magic in us all. I certainly believe there is.
My inspiration comes from all over the place. Peyton, the protagonist in Salted Caramel Bliss and a Wedding Kiss, was Cassie’s best friend in Merry Little Wishing Spritz. The inspiration for these characters came from my desire to step into the world of adult paranormal romance and an idea I had for a stories that happen to include three witches. When the Wild Rose Press announced their call for submissions for their series, I stole the characters from my unfinished WIP and created these new books. And I’m so glad I did!
Do you have a favorite place to write?
I usually write in my family room. I’m pretty good at ignoring the TV and my husband. (Shh, don’t tell him I said that.)
What sort of books do you read?
This probably won’t come as a surprise, but most of the books I read have a touch of the paranormal in them. From Harry Potter (I’m a proud Gryffindor!) to The Midnight Library. Really, put a little magic or a witch, vampire, or faerie in a book and I’ll check it out.
Now, for Salted Caramel Bliss with a Wedding Kiss! Was it fun to write? I looove Roman, Travis, and Peyton. Spoil us. Tell us a little about your main characters and how the story evolved.
I had a lot of fun with this story. As I mentioned earlier, Peyton is the best friend in Merry Little Wishing Spritz, so I knew her pretty well. She’s a witch and a seer, and it’s a premonition that brings her to the small seaside town in Salted Caramel Bliss with a Wedding Kiss.
Roman, though not without his flaws, is selfless. He cares about the people around him and tends to do the right thing. Well, most of the time. He really screwed up with Peyton when they had been together.
This is their second chance, even if neither of them asked for it. But I don’t want to give away any spoilers, so I’ll just say that I loved writing this story.
Excuse me, but I have to ask – what’s your favorite ice cream?
Usually, it’s cappuccino mocha chip, or any coffee flavored ice cream, but I can’t resisted the chocolate peanut butter ice cream at the ice cream parlor by my house. And normally, I never get chocolate ice cream.
Mmm, that sounds delicious! I must admit, I have a weak spot for pretty much all ice cream.
I know that you’ve just launched a book. I do. But do you have something else in the works? We’d love to know.
I do! As far as WIP, I’ve been playing around with another spinoff with the characters in Merry Little Wishing Spritz and Salted Caramel Bliss with a Wedding Kiss. It’s been a bit slow going, because I’ve had to stop to work on edits for this book and a middle-grade fantasy, Atticus Everheart, Fifth Grade Tutor…and Monster Hunter? which comes out this fall.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us before we close?
I love to hear from readers, so drop a comment below or find me on Instagram or Facebook. Although, I’m better with IG than FB.
Thank you for joining us today, Cherie. Wishing you joy and great success with your wonderful, imaginative books!
Thank you so much for having me on your blog. It’s been a lot of fun!
About the Author
Professional network technician by day, novelist by night, Cherie lives a quiet life in the Chicago suburbs with her charming husband. She has four amazing sons who she loves dearly. Cherie magically weaves together stories with a paranormal twist. She’s the author of the Embrace series, Challenging Destiny, Damned When I Didn’t, and Friends to the End. She waltzed into the adult novel world with Merry Little Wishing Spritz. She’s delighted to be back with Salted Caramel Bliss with a Wedding Kiss.
To learn more about Cherie and her novels, visit www.cheriecolyer.com.
Award winning author of fiction with a paranormal twist.
A kiss to remember... if only she could.
Roman Briggs built a life for himself in Siren’s Cove. He restored the Sugar Cones Ice Cream Parlor and turned it into a popular stop along the boardwalk. He has everything he needs until a certain blue-eyed woman wanders back into his life.
Seer and witch Peyton Woods isn’t sure why her latest visions feature a man and boy she’s never met. Determined to find out, she casts a spell that leads her to a small beach town in Maine and, to her utter surprise, the man who broke her heart eight years earlier.
Peyton's left with one question. Why didn't her magic show her him?
Salted Caramel Bliss with a Wedding Kiss by Cherie Colyer
“We’re meeting up with Henry and some friends,” Roman said. “We always watch the fireworks together during the summer festival. You’re welcome to join us.”
Since I was there to see Henry and Travis, I couldn’t say no.
I expected to stop at a picnic table, but Roman strolled past them on his way to the docks.
“We’re going on a boat?” I asked. On land, if the metaphorical shield protecting my heart from breaking cracked, I could leave. But on a boat, I’d be trapped.
“Just a mile out. We can see the fireworks better. Come on.” He jerked his head to the side. When I still hesitated, he added, “I don’t bite.”
I remembered him nibbling all the right places when we dated. The memories sent an elated shiver through me. Sex with Roman had always been amazing. At least, I thought it was. Roman obviously enjoyed love-making with Travis’s mom more. The thought added a new layer of protection around my heart. I reminded myself that I was over him. His endless brown eyes and smoky voice no longer had any sway over me. Now, if I could just convince the fireflies in my stomach to settle down, I’d be okay.
I could do this. I could be held captive on a boat with Roman and not let old emotions ruin the evening. Maybe we were destined to be friends all along.
That thought had me agreeing to go with them to watch the fireworks.
Roman led the way to the pier and a battered blue- and-white fishing boat. I stumbled. The boat looked as if it had made hundreds of exhausting voyages and was ready to sink.
“She isn’t pretty,” Roman said as he lifted Travis onboard. “But she’s safe.”
“Sturdiest fishing boats on these waters,” Henry said from the back of the boat. He sat on a folding chair next to an older Black couple.
“It’s the only fishing boat docked in this harbor,” a white-haired man said, clapping Henry on the back as he walked by.
“Don’t listen to Mattie.” Roman climbed in and then held his hand out to help me.
I glanced over my shoulder, finally second-guessing this whole trip. What had I been thinking, racing off to follow a vision and then sticking around even after I found out Roman was here? I should have fled Siren’s Cove the moment Karly said his name.
But then Henry coughed as if choking, and Travis patted his back, just like I’d seen in a vision.
Jinx jumped on my legs. She wasn’t worried about boarding the vessel. I scooped her up and whispered, “Don’t get attached to these people. Hanging with them is a onetime thing.”
Jinx licked my face. I seriously wondered if I should trust the instincts of such a young familiar. Maybe magical companions grew into their sixth sense instead of being born with it. Past the boat, a spark shimmered above the water. Was the spell that led me here telling me this was the right course to take? Or was the glow of the evening sun reflecting off a buoy? I hoped to soon find out.
This book fills all requirements for a relaxing, enjoyable read: there's sand and surf, an adorable kid, a cute puppy, a gorgeous, single-dad, and a loveable, relatable heroine who just happens to be a witch.
The discomfort and sexual tension between Peyton and Roman had me rooting for them immediately. They have a history, and they really aren’t sure how to deal with each other. But Roman’s son Travis has no issues. His sweet, innocent presence bridges their awkwardness perfectly and adds charm to every scene he’s in.
And I can’t leave out Jinx, the smart little puppy who is Peyton’s familiar. I can’t imagine the story without her. Neither, I’m sure, could Peyton.
There are some unexpected twists and turns, and the story flows easily. Lightly, deftly, Colyer weaves ice cream and magic throughout the book, lending fun and whimsy to this summer romance. She is an excellent storyteller.
I could read a book like this every day. Whether you’re actually at the beach or just wishing you were, this story will engage you, relax you, and make you smile. Highly recommended!
Welcome, Silver Dagger Tours and Author Susan Stradiotto!
by Susan Stradiotto, author of Raine of Fire
When writing fantasy, there’s a concern that magic will be seen as the proverbial dues ex machina, or the thing that suddenly happens that allows the main characters to get out of an impossible situation. A classic fantasy example is the golden eagles in the Lord of the Rings. I’ve always felt that magic in any world or story should have limitations. Therefore, when I was building the world for Raine of Fire (and what will be come the world for the series to follow), I wanted to make sure that each and every bit of magic used had its own unique drawback.
There are so many books out there where the magic user loses energy when they access magic. That’s one way to do it, but I felt like there could be some more specific consequences. When dealing with the Fae, I couldn’t assign a limitation to Faerie magic as a whole, because their magic is granted by the goddess Danu and is tied strongly to the realm of Faerie. So, I looked for other options.
One of the scenes in Raine of Fire shows the main characters Raine going on a “memory walk.” This is a fae ability where the faerie can relive a person’s memories through their eyes. There are actually a number of limitations associated with this ability.
First, the faerie must be touching the person. There is no walking by a person and getting a flash of their memories.
A second limitation is that the faerie cannot sense how the person was feeling at the time the memory occurred, only how the person feels in the present. This allows events to be viewed objectively or with almost an analytical lens. However, it also restricts the faerie from knowing immediate reactions. For example, when walking through a criminal’s memories, there might be a separation the criminal has created between themself and the crime.
Finally, there is the big consequence. When a faerie can take on physical or mental characteristics of the person they memory walk into. In Raine of Fire, the example is a hip problem, so Raine limps away from the encounter with the same affliction. This is temporary, of course, because Fae are immortal.
There is also an unwritten rule: Never memory walk with the dead. I’ll let that one sit with you for a while.
Sparks fly when an exiled Fae prince and a straight-laced detective team up to solve a murder.
Banished by his mother from Faerie, Raine Abarta wants nothing more than to entertain people on the streets of Wickney, Wisconsin. But when the daughter of a prominent senator stumbles upon his show, he’s drawn into her world and her mother’s murder.
When Raine takes his act down to the police department with intentions of helping solve the puzzle–or, uh, the “case”–he meets the ultra-serious Detective Kennedi Craine. To his dismay, she views him as nothing more than a charlatan, but when has that ever stopped him?
Kennedi’s latest case is open and shut, more of a paperwork and media hassle than a case. Senator La Point, after all, was holding the smoking gun over his wife’s lifeless body. So, when a random guy off the street walks in telling her she’s wrong, she sends him on his merry way. At least she thinks she does. As he keeps popping up, she begins to wonder if he’s on to something. And when he broaches a situation from her past, she just can’t leave him alone.
Raine helps her solve another small case, and she starts to wonder if there might be something more to both mysteries before her.
Fabulous read for fans of the TV shows Castle and Bones.
Susan Stradiotto is passionate about the written word, whether it is in her own writing or her editing practice. She is a fan of well-told stories. Susan is always searching for unique voices and stories that tell a truth. As Neil Gaiman said in his master class, “Write the truest story you can.” She believes that is what makes a story sing.
Susan is an author of fantasy and romance and has professional editorial experience with genres such as romance, memoir, mystery/thriller, cozy mystery, fantasy, and women’s fiction. She attended Capella University for her BS in Information Technology and the University of Chicago’s Graham School for her professional editing certification. She lives in Eden Prairie with her husband, a hoard of Bernese Mountain Dogs, and one Miniature Dachshund.
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
What an amazing book! Beginning with a fascinating examination of the evolution and dissolution of Scottish Gaelic, which in turn leads to a brief history of the Scottish Gaels, Wilson McLeod and Meg Bateman then move on to explain the different forms of Gaelic poetry. The poems, from the seventh century to the seventeenth, are in full text, not shortened, and presented in Gaelic as well as translated into modern English. As I said, amazing.
I fell in love with a couple of poems, circa 1200, attributed to Deirdre, a famous character of Gaelic legend. I named my character Deidre after her. Her name means sorrowful or broken-hearted, and her story is, indeed, tragic. She lived in ancient Ireland and was to marry an Irish king. But she fell in love with a young warrior named Naos (Naoise, Naisi). They ran away together to Scotland, along with his two brothers, and enjoyed a happy interlude there. But in the end they returned to Ireland because they were urged to to do so with the promise that they would be safe and welcome. But they were betrayed, resulting in the murder of Naos and his brothers and Deirdre's suicide.
I cannot not reproduce the poems as they are translated in this excellent book due to copyright restrictions. But if you enjoy poetry or are interested in Scottish literature or history, I encourage you to look into it. Meg Bateman, who translated the poems from the Gaelic, states in her note about the translation that she has given "pre-eminence to rhythm". It certainly shows in her work.
However, since the poems attributed to a medieval legend are (obviously) very old, they are translated and shared elsewhere. The most famous ballad, Deirdre's Lament, is a heartrending love song to Scotland. I found the following translation at Glen of the Red River, which is a great website.
No one knows for sure who composed the ballad, but Deirdre (of legend) gets the credit.
“My love to thee, yonder land land in the east,”
“and sad it is for me to leave the sides of thy bays and harbours,
and of thy smooth-flowered, lovely meadows,
and of thy green-sided delightful knolls.
And little did we need to do so. ”
A land dear (to me) is you land in the east,
Alba with (its) wonders,
I would not have come hither out of it
Were I not coming with Naisi.
Dear are Dun-fidhga and Dun-finn;
Dear is the Dun above them;
Dear is Inis Draigen, also;
And dear is Dun Suibhne.
Caill Cuan !
To which Ainnle used to resort, alas!
Short I deemed the time
With Naisi on the coast of Alba.
Glen Laidh !
I used to sleep under a lovely rock ;
Fish and venison and fat of badger ;
That was my food in Glen Laidh.
Glen Masain !
Tall its sorrel, white its tufts;
We used to have unsteady sleep
Above the shaggy Inver of Masain.
Glen Etive !
There I built my first house:
Lovely its woods after rising
(A cattlefold of the sun is Glen Etive).
Glen Urchain ! (Glenorchy)
It was the straight, fair-ridged glen :
Not more gallant was a man of his age
Than Naisi in Glen Urchain !
Glen Daruadh (Glendaruel)
Dear to me each of its native men ;
Sweet the cuckoo’s note on bending bough,
On the peak above Glen Daruadh.
Dear (to me) is Draigen with its great beach ;
Dear its water in pure sand :
I would not have come out of it from the east,
Were I not coming with my beloved.
Deirdre sounds homesick even as she's leaving, doesn't she? And knowing what happens afterward makes it all the sadder. But at least she experienced love in a beautiful land.
For more Medieval Monday, be sure to visit authors Mary Morgan and Barbara Bettis -- magnificent Ladies of Medieval Monday!
Wishing you a wonderful day and week ahead!
Tremors Through Time
Available at your favorite online bookstore.
Welcome, Silver Dagger Tours and N.J. Walters!
Forgotten Brotherhood Book 5
by N.J. Walters
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Nothing was supposed to wake half dragon, half human Lucius from his Deep Sleep. Nothing. And yet something, or rather someone has. The unexpectedly attractive human not only touched him. She kissed him. Now Lucius is awake, and more powerful than he has ever been in his 4,000 years of existence. And once he finds out who led her to his cave, he’ll deal with his 300 years of hunger…
College professor Raine Carson spent her life obsessed with myths and legends. And now she’s woken one up. Only, Lucius is nothing like anything she’s ever seen or read about in her history books. Because this man is part sexy badass and part terrifying…monster. Yet she wants him with a hunger like nothing she’s ever felt before.
Lucius used to be part of the Forgotten Brotherhood—a ruthless group of paranormal assassins. Now he’s unsure if his former Brothers are their allies…or enemies. All he knows is that someone is hunting him, and Raine is just as tangled up in this mess as he is. And he’ll protect her—even if it means unleashing his Dragon and all of its power.
Each book in the Forgotten Brotherhood series is STANDALONE:
* Fury Unleashed
* Arctic Bite
* Burning Ash
* Bjorn Cursed
* Ancient Desire
Once upon a time N.J. had the idea that she would like to quit her job at the bookstore, sell everything she owned, leave her hometown, and write romance novels in a place where no one knew her. And she did. Two years later, she went back to the bookstore and her hometown and settled in for another seven years.
One day she gave notice at her job on a Friday morning. On Sunday afternoon, she received a tentative acceptance for her first romance novel and life would never be the same.
N.J. Walters is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author who has always been a voracious reader, and now she spends her days writing novels of her own. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, time-travelers, seductive handymen, and next-door neighbors with smoldering good looks--all vie for her attention. It's a tough life, but someone's got to live it.
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
I’m honored to welcome author Kim Janine Ligon on the eve of her new release. Her romantic suspense novel Polly’s List launches tomorrow! Welcome Kim, and congratulations.
Thank you for the invitation, Anastasia.
How are you feeling about your imminent book launch?
It’s still a little bit surreal. Even though I have my author copy and can look it up online, I still can’t hardly believe it is finally happening.
I have so many questions! But first, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?
I had a demanding career in healthcare information technology and after I retired, I finally had the time to pursue things that interested me like writing, spinning, weaving, and all kinds of needlework. I’m the oldest of ten children and grew up in Wisconsin. I live now in Alabama with my husband and encourager of forty-seven years.
I find it fascinating that you spin and weave! Have you done it for long? What made you choose this ancient craft? Do you have a spinning wheel at home? Please, will you tell us a little more about your amazing hobby, how you started, and why?
I knew before I retired that I wanted to learn to spin. I was a history major in college and I’m fascinated by the arts that were necessary to survive before so much technology invaded our lives. Spinning is one of those things. It doesn’t require electricity, only patient creativity. I have a spinning wheel that I got about six years ago. It is a space-saving upright model rather than a “Rapunzel” looking one. It has two treadles which makes it a little easier to get in a rhythm. I hadn’t realized until I brought it home how many simultaneous things have to happen at once to spin a consistent even yarn. You are treadling with both feet at, hopefully, a smooth, slow pace. With one hand you control the twist of the yarn and with the other you are stretching out the fiber to feed into the yarn twisting on the bobbin. It is easy to mess up. The best analogy I have is when you were a new driver on a three lane highway for the first time. You are in the middle lane and have to change to the right lane to exit. Traffic is heavy. You have to use your side and rear view mirrors, maintain a consistent speed, and plan for how soon to move over. It’s a lot to keep track of when you first start. Now, I find it very peaceful and rewarding. It’s fun to experience the sensations of the different fibers running through your hands and great to be able to knit or crochet things from the yarn you spun yourself. I’ve created over ten miles of yarn and I’m still spinning.
"Ten miles of yarn" -- that's fabulous! I enjoy needlework and appreciate fine yarn, but I've never even mastered basic stitches. It must be very rewarding from start to finish.
I love how you compare spinning yarn to “spinning romance”, but do you suppose you might incorporate an aspect of your craft into future books?
As you know from reading Polly’s List that Polly is a spinner. I think some part of a writer’s hobbies get into their stories like your love of gardening brings people together in Tremors Through Time. It’s part of writing what you know.
That's so true.
Now for your writing! I thoroughly enjoyed Polly’s List, as my following review shows. But why romance and why suspense? Please, tell us about your writing and what inspires it.
Many of my early romance books were passed along from my mother. I’m basically an optimist who loves a happy-ever-after ending. I firmly believe there is someone for everyone out there. You just have to be aware enough to grab them when they come by. I add the suspense element because there is nothing like a little danger to drive people into the safety of one another’s arms. And right now, I’m writing sweet, not steamy, romance so you need a little something to spice it up.
And what about Polly’s List? How did you come up with the plot? The first inkling of the plot came while I was spinning and looking out my window one day thinking about how interesting it was to be able to observe the world outside in relative anonymity.
Was it fun writing the characters?
Absolutely. I wanted to use the name Mikal because I liked the gender ambiguity of the spoken name and potential for confusion. CJ just seemed to put himself out there and insist on having a story. We actually had a dog named Rhett when I was growing up, although he was a German Shepard, not a Basset Hound.
Do you have a favorite character?
A “mom” shouldn’t have favorites, but mine in this story is Will, without a doubt. I love being an observant auntie and Will is a composite of my many nephews, great nephews and great-great nephews. Leave it to a child to tell the unvarnished truth and force adults to shed their pretensions.
And talk about suspense – both with the romance and the mystery! Were you laughing gleefully-- like an evil genius -- when you added each new twist? Did you have it all planned or did the story and/or characters surprise you sometimes?
Sometimes I will confess to laughing out loud at what I’ve just written. I’ve also gotten too teary to see the keyboard. I think that’s good because hopefully my readers will have the same responses. To paraphrase Stephen King: no tears or laughter in the author; no tears or laughter in the reader. I have a basic outline—basic being the operative word. But my characters are almost as strong minded as their creator. Mine appear in my dreams to straighten me out. They insist on name changes sometimes and usually send me down a trail that I hadn’t originally conceived—like CJ’s old love interest having a role. (I won’t say more to keep from spoiling it.) They almost always make their story better in the end. I appreciate the help!
Have you started working on your next book?
Yep. I have five different books that are works in progress. One, however, is complete and being reviewed. It also takes place in Lansdale, Wisconsin. Some of the characters overlap with Polly’s List, but it is a standalone novel too. I learned so much on this first publishing experience that I wanted to be able to use it again.
Wow! Five books! That's amazing!
Is there anything you’d like to share in closing? I am so pleased with my experience with The Wild Rose Press. My editor is top notch and the camaraderie of the authors in the Rose Garden is beyond anything I could have imagined. It is nice to have so much talent cheering you on and helping you down the path on this new adventure. I am truly blessed.
I agree. It is a wonderful publishing house and the authors are as generous as they are talented.
Thank you for joining us, Kim. Wishing a great launch for Polly’s List and all the best to you!
Thanks, Anastasia. It has been fun.
Find Kim at her website, Spinning Romance.
Kim Ligon has been writing stories for most of her life—some on paper and some only in her head. She has lots of source material growing up as the oldest child in a large family in a small town in Wisconsin. Her father was a veterinarian so there were not only lots of children around, but all manner of house pets and farm animals too. Her love of reading comes from her mother who was seldom seen sitting down without a book in her hand. After a demanding career in healthcare information technology, she is now getting to do all the creative things she loves which includes writing her stories to share with you. She lives with her chief encourager and personal romantic hero, her husband of almost forever, in Alabama. Please follow her further adventures at www.spinningromance.com.
CJ Reynolds couldn't wait to escape his hometown. He's loving his bachelor life as a software developer in California. So much so that he hasn't been back in years to see the grandmother who raised him.
Mikal Benson believes her small town is perfect for raising her son, Will, alone. When Mikal finds her neighbor, Polly Rogers, sprawled on the floor in a pool of blood, barely clinging to life, she calls Polly's grandson--CJ Reynolds--and insists he must come home. Now!
From her coma, Polly whispers three words that change everything. Did she fall or was she pushed? CJ, Mikal, and Will form an unlikely team coming together to discover the truth as danger engulfs them and love transforms them into a family.
Excerpt from Polly's List by Kim Janine Ligon
Why is the Bassett baying? Mikal Benson hurried across the yard and pushed her neighbor’s unlocked back door open. It groaned loudly. The still howling dog rumbled into the kitchen – as quickly as his short legs would allow.
“What’s wrong Rhett? Polly, where are you?” she called as she crossed the worn linoleum-covered kitchen floor. “It’s me, Mikal.”
The dog loped into the front entryway. She followed. What happened? Was the purple-flowered heap with legs and arms akimbo Polly? Blood pooled beneath her head . The body was lying in front of the door. Was she still alive? Mikal knelt beside her neighbor’s crumpled body. She gently picked up her arm and felt for a pulse. It was faint. Polly took a ragged breath and moaned. Mikal pulled her cell phone out and called 911.
A blood stain circled Polly’s head like a dark, expanding halo – blotting out the muted colors of the antique rug and spreading into the cracks in the parquet floor. Something had to be done.
Polly’s List had me at the edge of my seat from Chapter One and kept me there throughout the book. Talk about suspense – on multiple levels!
The action begins immediately. What a shocker!
The mystery: will the victim survive? Will there be more victims? Will the main characters be all right? There are so many twists and turns!
The romance kept me every bit as anxious! At first, Caleb – or CJ, as he prefers to be called – is stand-offish and abrupt. I could not imagine him with Mikal, who is warm and caring. But he finally begins to thaw. The dynamics between him and Mikal and Will ease into a sweet and natural rhythm. Then, of course, the twists and turns begin!
I loved all the main characters. I was rooting for them from the beginning – even Caleb! Despite his rough first impression, it’s clear that he’s a good person. Mikal, on the other hand, is loveable right from the beginning. Warm-hearted and thoughtful, she's the neighbor anyone would hope for. Her son Will is absolutely adorable. He has an important role in the story and shines every step of the way. The title character Polly is an irresistible little, old lady. Her dog Rhett rounds out the ensemble perfectly.
The setting offers a warm, cozy, small-town atmosphere. I'd like to emphasize the cozy aspect of this story. Polly’s List really is a cozy mystery and romantic suspense all rolled into one!
If you’d like to spend some time with characters you love and a story that will have you turning pages fast, do yourself a favor and read Polly’s List. Five stars!
tapestry of King Arthur that hangs in The Cloisters, New York
Nope! King Arthur was not a bard. At least, not to the best of my knowledge. But we know of him because of bards. Their oral traditions kept his legend alive until that time when they were written down.
And so it was with all the lore and history handed down by word of mouth for generations upon generations before writing.
Happy Medieval Monday! When I began researching this topic -- bards -- I realized it might be vast. But I had not an inkling...
The term “bard” comes from the Proto-Celtic word bardos, which referenced a poet-singer or minstrel. But bards were known by other names in other places, and they were not all singers or musicians.
While their responsibilities obviously varied from place to place and in different times, their responsibilities were multifold, serious, and often took courage.
They were the ones who made the rounds and shared good news and bad with their king/patron/chief as well as the people. They went into battle with their lords to both provide stress relief for the warriors and to witness their deeds.
They were storytellers of the highest degree, teachers, historians, and genealogists. So much from religion and prehistory would have been lost without the bards.
The Scottish bárds passed down clan history. In Ireland, there were different classes of bards. There were also Druid bards who were honor-bound to keep Druid lore alive but secret.
Welsh bardds kept King Arthur’s legends alive. French troubadours romanticized it.
Norse skalds told the sagas.
To say nothing of the world of religious traditions, creation stories, and ancient myths, etc., etc.
It gladdens my heart to know that there is a resurgence in the bardic tradition. Many, many storytellers honor their mission and take it seriously.
Bards are not prophets. They’re more historians. Aren’t they? In viewing time as more fluid -- ebbing and flowing -- perhaps they’re both?
Be sure to visit Barbara Bettis and Mary's Tavern for more Medieval Monday!
Now available at all major online bookstores.
I’m delighted to be interviewing Maggie Sims, author of the School of Enlightenment Series. Her romances are of a spicier subgenre than mine and I’ve been looking forward to this chat. Welcome, Mags!
Before we get carried away about books and writing, won’t you tell us a little about yourself?
Thank you for hosting me!
My love of reading started early. Even prior to my teen years, I would ask to be left at the public library for hours on a Saturday or during summer. I read Jane Eyre for fun, long before it was assigned in high school. In between the classics, I found the rounders of Harlequin and Silhouette books – anyone else old enough to remember the lavender covers?
My other big hobby is travel. Before marrying my dad, my mother was one of those glamorous flight attendants on Pan Am international flights. I inherited a passion for any and all travel from her – I can barely stand to eat at the same restaurant twice, for want of discovering new places.
My undergrad was at a small liberal arts college, giving me more opportunity to read and to learn to write better before I turned to business. I earned a CPA and an MBA and moved up the ranks of the corporate world.
Between that and living in New York City for much of my twenties, I was way too busy to settle down. Two moves and many trips later, I ended up in the San Francisco Bay Area and met the love of my life at the tender age of 32. We’ve been together ever since and retired a year before COVID. We currently reside outside Austin, Texas and have one old dog and two four-month-old kittens.
I love that we live in the same state. :)
What do you like to read? Do you have a favorite book or two? How about a favorite author?
If left to my own devices, I read romance almost exclusively. In fact, I joined a friend’s book club to force myself to get some exposure beyond romance. Within romance, I read pretty much all heat levels except sweet, and all periods – from ancient times to future, from paranormal to historical fiction (fictionalized versions of historical figures and events).
Does any author you know have a favorite book? I’d be amazed! Keeping it PG-13, I’ll pick two of my favorite comfort reads – the books I reread when my brain needs a break. They’re really different, so you’ll get what I mean when I say I pan-read romance:
You write erotica. I don’t read erotica and can’t imagine writing it. To me, it’s like a wild frontier. Even prolonged, steamy sex scenes make me somewhat uncomfortable. So this is new territory for me.
Ssooo…first, I don’t write erotica. But thank you for mentioning it. LOL! It gives me an opportunity to clarify.
Erotica does not necessarily include an HEA (happily ever after) or even an HFN – happy for now – ending. It’s about the sex; plot, story arc, and character development are secondary. (And if you’d like to further investigate the difference, I can point you…😉 teasing!)
Erotic romance on the other hand is a romance story, full character development – goals, motivations, conflicts, both internal and external, and a romance plot arc. What most in the industry specify as erotic romance is when the sex is integral to the characters’ journey: if you take the sex out of the story, the story doesn’t make sense. Example, trying to keep it PG-13 – in my first book, the heroine sees her hosts (cousin and his wife) fooling around and is curious. The 18-year-old turns to her cousin’s best friend to explore that curiosity, which leads to her being compromised and them needing to marry, etc. etc. – and that is only the first half of the book. Erotic romance is also different from steamy romance in the language used (think other four letter words vs. euphemisms for body parts, even in a more open-door romance).
Good to know!
When writing the more erotic scenes, is the writer concerned with showing tender emotions and the characters' physical reactions to each other?
In an erotic romance, it’s still about the romance. So while the characters might engage in sexual play earlier in their relationship than in a less steamy romance, their emotions are still engaged. Or maybe they experience unexpected emotion during the intimacy, or just after. The sex is included in the story because it’s a physical manifestation of their attraction to one another, which is emotion-based. Their thoughts and their physical reactions are on the page (if it’s done right) so the reader can relate to the characters’ growth in the relationship. It’s still a romance at the core of the story.
Would you mind going over the heat levels in romance? I’m assuming that erotica has varying heat levels within the subgenre as well?
Within erotic romance and erotica the differentiations are actually a different scale, honestly – for the different kinks (read kinks as personal preferences for sex, just as all of us have our own personal preferences of how and when and where we like to be touched). There are hundreds of nuances of BDSM (bondage, dominance/submission, sadism and masochism – a person can enjoy literally only one kind of bondage and nothing else, or that and some dominance, etc. etc.). Even without bondage and impact play, there are role plays and many other kinks/preferences…there are threesomes and foursomes and reverse harem, etc. (You asked!)
For overall romance, the general standard I see in Facebook groups for readers is as follows:
Mild (ex. PG movie, Hallmark, “sweet”, some handholding, a chaste kiss, no detailed descriptions of intimacy, any intercourse and steamy scenes occur off the page or it fades to black, lots of emotional tension. There are further levels within this of no sex before marriage – one of my fellow Austin-area TWRP authors is Mormon, for instance.)
Medium (ex. PG-13 movie, second base, kissing and touching and intimacy shared but less focus on the body parts, majority of the sexy stuff is still behind closed doors)
Steamy (ex. R movie, sex on the page, doesn’t fade to black but might follow the participants through the door and into the bed)…on Instagram, ‘steamy’ refers to this and level 4, FYI, in case folks follow bookstagrammers for reading suggestions
HOT HOT HOT (ex. NC-17 movie, explicit sex, graphic language, anatomically descriptive in detail)…on TikTok this is called ‘spicy’ FYI
As a last note on this, you’re not alone in being uncomfortable with this subgenre of romance – spicy romance authors have been arguing with Amazon for the last two years, since they moved their ‘erotic romance’ category out of romance, and under Literature & Fiction / Erotica / Romantic Erotica. This stinks for authors put there (they call it ‘the Amazon dungeon’) because books under Erotica will not come up in general searches by readers – e.g. “Regency Romance”). But to find more categories of erotica and erotic romance, take a look at the Kindle store categories under Erotica.
Thank you for explaining all of this with patience and eloquence. What inspired you to write erotica... I see now I must correct myself... erotic romance? Please tell us about your writing and your writing journey.
I love sharing how I ended up writing the stories I chose to start my career as a romance author.
My mum is British, and I’m of an age where many of the full-length romance novels from my early romance-reading days were historical – Kathleen Woodiwiss, Johanna Lindsay, etc.
More recently, I found Maya Banks (her early books were much better than recent ones) and a couple other spicy / erotic romance authors. Then Fifty Shades came out and so many readers were looking for more of that, and authors were making bank.
Once or twice in my corporate career I had breaks between jobs. Back around 2000 I had one and I started to try to write a Harlequin romance novella (it’s still unfinished and has pay phones in it, so that will never see the light of day!). When we retired, I found I did not sit still well, and my husband did not enjoy my project management efforts left over from my corporate life (go figure…). And I was reading a lot.
I wondered how historical romance authors would tell a more kinky story. But when I searched for historical erotic romance, there were only a handful of authors who had written that. The business side of my brain woke up and said, “if you’re going to attempt this, go for the niche market where there is higher demand and less supply.” Sadly, in the 5 years it took me to learn the craft, write, rewrite, rewrite again, and rewrite again Sophia’s Schooling, there are a lot more on the market. And younger readers don’t read as much historical romance.
I am still amused at the two sides of my brain attempting to make this profitable. 😊
I cannot imagine you being anything but successful at whatever you attempt.
Do you feel that there are misunderstandings about your chosen subgenre?
Well, given that you did not differentiate between erotica and erotic romance, sure… 😊 But my guess is that many readers who don’t know that would probably not read either type of story. And that is ok. I’ll never (other than for peer reviews) knowingly pick up a book where the couple doesn’t have sex as part of their journey. As I told my friends when we were single – none of us would buy a $100 returnable dress without trying it on, so why would we want to commit to someone for the rest of our lives without testing all interactions for the right fit? But I also respect the fact that while that is right for me, it’s not for everyone. So I market accordingly, and tag bookstagrammers who read what I know to be at least something close to what I write, etc. I’d rather people read my book and love it, knowing what they’re getting, so they aren’t disappointed…and so I don’t get bad reviews, of course.
Your new series, School of Enlightenment, has a historical setting. Did you have to do a lot of research in that regard? Please tell us about it and about the first book in the series, Sophia’s Schooling.
The School of Enlightenment (4 books eventually) is a secret school that empowers young women of all classes in Regency England to take their future and their pleasure in their own hands. It helps titled young ladies navigate their husbands’ world of the House of Lords to influence the passing of laws that protect women and children, it helps working class women learn to manage their own finances. And yes, it teaches these ladies to know their bodies and how to derive pleasure from sex.
Book 1 is about the untitled cousin of an earl who was orphaned, and the earl’s best friend—a second son with a secret he considers shameful—who is suddenly thrust into the earldom.
Book 2 is about a working class girl with East Indian heritage who wants to open a bakery combining British pastries and her great-grandmother’s recipes.
Book 3 is about a widow who owns an apothecary and an earl who is connected to the school…but I haven’t figured out what I’m sharing in the blurb yet, so I’m keeping that vague.
Each of these books, in addition to having all the romance steps of discovery and interest, doubt and dark moments, and ultimately a grand gesture and an HEA, have some historical details about laws and road surfaces and workhouses, and tell a story of strong women who navigated behind the scenes, around the same time that the Blue Stocking Society was working out in the open for changes. I am just sad that my research had to be mostly from my home due to COVID.
If anyone is interested despite all my warnings above 😊 then Sophia’s Schooling can be found here on all major retail platforms. Or if anyone is unsure and wants to dip their toes in my world without committing to buy a book, sign up for my newsletter that talks about books, wine and travel once a month, and they’ll receive a free 23k word novella. Sign-up link is on my website www.maggiesims.com.
Love the premise! Is the next book in the works?
Book 2 is actually available for preorder on some platforms currently here and everywhere on October 19.
There is also a spinoff short story from Book 2 that is coming out in a winter holiday anthology on October 18 – and I didn’t even ask for that date.
Books 3 & 4 are in the works now – yay!
Wow! Go, you! Any last thoughts you’d like to leave us with?
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to talk about my books and my subgenre. I know your audience is less likely to be mine, but I hope this has been somewhat informative. My experience to date with The Wild Rose Press has offered me the chance to get to know many fun, friendly authors, especially you.
It’s also helped me read quite a bit outside even romance – if I may plug the suspense book Not My Child by Lis Angus, and the YA Fantasy From Brick & Darkness by J.L. Sullivan – they are TWRP 2022 debut authors like you and I.
Your book is one of the next on my list to read, and I’m excited to continue this journey with you.
If your readers want to know more, they are welcome to visit me at www.maggiesims.com, and/or follow me on social media (I’m mostly on Instagram). They are also welcome to email me directly, especially if they have specific questions or concerns, at firstname.lastname@example.org. 😊
Thanks so much for joining us today, Maggie. This has been great -- educational, interesting, and fun. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you through The Wild Rose Press and look forward to sharing our writing journey, too! I just love your sense of humor and your confidence. I wish you much success.
And now, for those of you who might be interested in some extra spice, following is more information about Maggie's books along with some excerpts!
Sophia’s Schooling (School of Enlightenment Book 1)
An innocent country girl...a jaded earl...an education in pleasure.
Orphaned at eighteen, Sophia has learned love means loss. Now she must leave her country home to navigate the opulence of the London Season, although she has no desire for romance or a husband.
Edward, the newest Earl of Peterborough, is struggling with the business of his family estate. He has shunned marriage due to a shameful secret, but with his title comes the need for heirs.
Despite their misgivings, Sophia and Edward cannot resist their attraction. When she accidentally discovers his penchant for spankings, her curiosity is her undoing. A clandestine meeting risks a scandal. Only marriage to a reluctant bridegroom can save her reputation. But perhaps the School of Enlightenment can give her an education in love.
Edward gave a mental snort. “You continue to disobey orders.”
Sophia groaned in frustration, probably suspecting where his statement was leading. “I’m very sorry.” She sucked in a breath. “I shan’t do it again. As I came out alone, I thought it would be safe.” She sent him a sidelong glance. “Is this a punishable offense, my lord?”
Perfect. She knew she was wrong. She saw what was coming. Her side-eyed glance told him she mayhap even invited it. Who was he to refuse a girl a spanking?
He took a deep breath, wishing… No. She’s not mine to covet. But she is mine to punish tonight.
His eyes shuttered as he considered. Was he taking advantage of her naiveté about Ton rules? He knew she’d enjoyed the last punishment and could not deny either of their desires. He almost heard the turn of the key as his conscience was again locked away.
He pushed, “We have been over this, Sophia. Punishment is an important learning tool. Hopefully, it shall be an incentive for you to obey specific directions in the future.”
Frustrated, she crossed her gloved arms. “Darn it. My feet hurt so much. I did not anticipate my bottom becoming sore, too. I shan’t be able to sit or stand comfortably.”
That wasn’t a no.
Purchase Sophia's Schooling.
Penelope’s Passion (School of Enlightenment Book 2)
Schooled in the art of pleasure, her real passion is baking. Required to marry, the earl’s heir finds his new courtesan more to his taste.
1816 - London
After her mother's death, Penelope Wood's hope of opening a bakery falls victim to the real need to support herself. When four retired courtesans present her with a temporary yet lucrative path back to her dream, she wants to hear more. Attending the School of Enlightenment, participating in a Virgin Auction, and becoming a courtesan all sound feasible. The most important rule--do not fall in love.
Lord Michael Slade, heir to the Earl of Mansfield, loves his family above all else, cooks for relaxation, and revels in his membership to a discreet spanking club. But his father is ill, and his mother is pushing him to marry. Even so, when he meets a dark-haired beauty who doesn’t mind a good spanking and discovers she's up for auction, he can't let her go to another man. He has to have her...at least until he finds a wife.
With an inevitable marriage looming and a vow to remain faithful to his hypothetical bride once he's engaged, both Penelope and Michael must protect their hearts, even as they find a connection they cannot deny.
“Hmm, a proper greeting first, eh? And a thank you, mayhap?”
“Of course, my lord, I am sorry,” Penelope said, aghast. Gor, how could I have forgotten my training so easily? Leaning up, she brought her lips to his in a gentle kiss. “Welcome, ’tis lovely to have you here with me.”
“All is well, Pen. I was teasing you.” Michael smiled. “But I would not be upset by you removing one article of clothing to thank me.” He arched his brows in hope and took one step back, releasing her.
“Oh!” She considered, tilting her head. Then, with a small smile, she bent and removed a slipper.
“Will that do, my lord?” She slid him a sidelong look. Internally, she berated herself. I should be
thinking of these games. But I like that he created this one. I like playful Michael a lot, I shall do better in the future.
He strolled over and fingered the bread peel, his lips pursed. “At the very least, the pair is really one article of clothing as you always wear them together. Beyond that, I can see I will need to be more specific. Fair enough, young lady.”
Preorder Penelope's Passion.
Roslynn’s Rebellion (free prequel for newsletter subscribers)
He wants to bury his secrets. She is creating a new secret school. Can they work together?
1813 - London
Lady Roslynn St. Pierre has no need for a typical Ton husband. Frustrated with the constraints women are forced to endure, she desires a partner who will show her unbridled passion as well as supporting her ambitions to empower women. If the rumors are correct, the Earl of Suffolk might be precisely the man for her.
Nicholas needs a perfect wife. To advance his parliamentary agenda, he must forge a spotless reputation in Society, putting to bed the whispers of his membership in a spanking club, which so scandalized the Ton. Besides, his lady wife will undoubtedly have no interest in his more prurient desires.
Roslynn is determined to win his heart and satisfy his secret needs. But her plans go awry when her idea for a secret school for women conflict with Nicholas’ expectations in a wife. Together, they must determine whether Ton expectations will dictate their marriage or they will forge their own relationship.
About the Author
Maggie Sims began her love affair with romance before her teen years, drawn to the Regency by her mum’s British influence. In her twenties, she did her best to live the Carrie Bradshaw life in New York City, albeit with less expensive shoes and more books
Despite reading hundreds of romance novels in her life, she was still blown away when she met the love of her life, an ex-Marine cinnamon roll with creative woodworking and culinary skills.
Having retired from corporate life, they live in Central Texas and are parents to a varying number of dogs and cats. When not writing, Maggie is a wine enthusiast, a travel junkie, and a romance reading fiend. She also sporadically crochets for KnotsofLove.org and does just enough exercise for that second glass of wine at night.
To find out more about Maggie’s latest reads, favorite wines, and travel destinations, sign up for her newsletter and follow her on social media.
Today I'm leaving the blog in the capable hands of talented romance author Virginie Marconato. Welcome, Virginie!
Wedded To Her Golden Knight is my latest release, and my first friends to lovers romance. The theme of unrequited love was one I have wanted to explore for a while and from that starting point Sebastian and Catriona’s story came out easily.
It is set in the middle of the Hundred Year’s War, at a time when luck was favouring the English. My hero takes part in the famous Battle of Agincourt in October 1415, which was a resounding victory for Henry V of England, who annihilated the French troops despite being vastly outnumbered. Sebastian will find that war is not the glorious enterprise he imagined. Although that opinion is perhaps representative of what we think today, I cannot help but think that people would have considered such massacres just as horrific as we do.
Why focusing on the 14th and 15th centuries for my historical romances? Quite simply, because I have always been drawn to the Middle Ages. I don’t really know why. It could have been the Egyptians, or the Romans or the French revolutionaries who captured my imagination but for some reason I can’t explain, as soon as the teacher started to talk about this particular conflict, I was hooked. I imagined myself as a henin-wearing lady staring into the distance as her valiant knight rode away to war. This image never left me and is always at the forefront of my mind when I start a new book.
Ironically, being French myself, I ended up married to a British man. It pleases me to prove, six hundred years later, that our two nations don’t have to hate each other!
I have written three other books set during the Hundred Years War and two during the War of the Roses, all set in England. You can find them on Amazon.
Thank you for giving my books a chance!
Friends becoming lovers in the middle of the Hundred Years War.
Catriona has been in love with Sebastian all her life. But the rakish future Earl of Whitley has eyes for every woman – except his best friend.
Then one day, against all odds, he proposes to her to save her from marriage to a man who scares her. Or so she thinks…
It will come as a bitter blow to realise that he only did so to gain back his inheritance.
Can a woman deeply in love with her husband accept the fact that she has only been married to be used as a brooding mare? What will it take for Sebastian to realise that what he feels for his wife is love of the deepest kind?
His departure for war will precipitate them into a whirlwind of self-discovery and when secrets are revealed, Catriona and Sebastian will have no choice but to accept what they cannot change.
Damn the girl!
How dare she meddle where she had no business to? He should make her pay for her impudence, accede to her request to kiss her. He allowed himself a smile. Let us see how long it would be until she admitted that she had bitten off more than she could chew and ran away in fright.
The idea made him choke on a laugh. Catriona had probably never kissed anyone before and she might literally bite and chew at his mouth. Her kisses would never compare with Arabella’s expert ones, she might even draw blood if he wasn’t careful. The laugh he had tried to contain escaped his throat at the thought.
When Sebastian laughed the sound pushed Catriona over the edge. He had called her a child and now he was laughing at the idea of kissing her, as if such a thing was too ludicrous to even contemplate. She could not countenance it. The man she loved saw her as a twelve-year old girl.
Well, he was about to see how wrong he was.
With a cry of frustration she launched herself at him, aiming for his mouth. It was not easy, as he was much taller than she was and in her outrage, she misjudged it. Sebastian, utterly unprepared for the assault, staggered backwards and tripped on a rock. They both fell to the floor, Catriona landing on top of him, panting in surprise and fright. She was unhurt, he had cushioned her fall most efficiently, but for a long moment she stared at him in mortification.
Dear. Not the best start.
“What the devil do you think you’re doing?” he exclaimed at length, sounding winded by the fall, and not a little annoyed.
“Giving you no choice. Now you are going to have to kiss me, or I won’t let you get back up.”
The blue eyes widened. “You won’t let me get back up?” he said slowly, as if that was the most ludicrous thing he had ever heard.
“No. Not unless you kiss me first,” she said boldly, feeling both daring and deliciously vulnerable.
“Cat, I’m quickly running out of patience and I’m still aroused from my encounter with Arabella. Are you certain you want to tease me?”
All she heard was a grunt. Then there was a sudden jerk and, without understanding just quite how Sebastian had managed it, she found herself with her back onto the floor, pinned under a hard masculine body.
“My dear little Catriona. No one makes me do something I do not want to do. I thought you knew me well enough to have realised that by now.” His lips curled into the hint of a smile. “And now I would very much like to see you get up. I think we can both agree that it was not exactly difficult for me to overcome you. The reverse might not be quite as straight forward I’m afraid.” The smile he had been fighting bloomed on his lips. “But I’d love to see you try.”
Catriona knew she had no chance of lifting him off and she refused to humiliate herself by even trying. Besides, she did not want push him off, rather the opposite. The heat of his body against hers was sending her senses into a wild tangle. It was the first time they had touched thus, so intimately, like lovers. It was intoxicating, delicious. Why on earth would she want to put an end to the moment? She could tell he was careful to keep most of his weight off her despite his annoyance and as a consequence she could experience the pleasure of the contact without the inconvenience of having to fight for her every breath.
She lay there, breathing heavily with a mixture of apprehension and barely controlled desire. Her breasts were straining against his chest, one of his legs was lying between hers. Feeling him so close to her was creating havoc within her body, filling her mind with all sorts of lewd thoughts. She licked her lips and the light in his eyes changed.
Suddenly Catriona was not so sure she was in a position of weakness. Sebastian had strength on his side but she had… something else, something she could not quite identify but which seemed to keep him firmly under her spell.
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About the Author:
I think I became a writer the day I decided to write a (very bad, shamefully close to the real story) version of White Fang when aged nine or ten! As for the Middle Ages I fell in love with it at school during a history lesson, then Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood put its final seal on it all. A girl of twelve then, I never recovered!
So much delicious romance, so little time! Happy Medieval Monday!
The Medieval era was long and varied -- from approximately 500 CE to 1500. Although popular fiction might have us believe otherwise, it does refer to the whole world, not just Europe. I point this out because there was a lot more travel than we generally consider. Vikings were all over the place, as were missionaries, explorers, merchants, and pirates.
To write a solid historical novel, a writer has to do a surprising amount of research. One thing leads to the next and the next... There is a lot of fiction written by PhDs and I can understand why. History is fascinating and demands to be remembered and shared. In my opinion, medieval history calls to be revealed in all of its richness and glory and gore. They don't all have to be in one story. Personally, I do very well without the gore. That's just me, of course. I love the beauty and mystery of it all.
There are so many wonderful writers who craft magnificent, medieval tales of adventure and romance. Some amazing authors -- just to get you started: Mary Morgan, Barbara Bettis, Judith Sterling, Ruth A. Casie, Mary Gillgannon, Amy Jarecki, Sherry Ewing, Cathy and DD MacRae, Jenna Jaxon, Sophia Nye, Madeline Martin, Eliza Knight, Tanya Anne Crosby, Julie Garwood, Vonda Sinclair, Shelly Thacker, Mairi Norris, Ashley York, and a new favorite, Virginie Marconato. Some write in a variety of romance subgenres and some write strictly medieval romance. Some add fantasy to the history, some do not. They all write beautifully.
Care to disappear for a while into a world of magic and mystery, chivalry and romance? Try one of these authors. Oh, and you might want to check out my time travel romance, Tremors Through Time. :)
Be sure to visit Mary Morgan and Barbara Bettis (beloved authors of mine) for more medieval romance!
Available at your favorite online bookseller.
It's no secret that I prefer fat HEAs. Where better than in a beautiful romance?
From me to you with a smile.
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