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Find An Author Friday: Ria Cantrell & P. A. Crust

We had the opportunity to interview two historical romance authors for the price of one this week. Ria Cantrell and her husband P. A. Crust.

Ria grew up in the suburbs of Long Island. She has enjoyed some very exciting endeavors in the past including competing as a figure skater, dancing professionally as a belly dancer, and singing as a classically trained vocalist with auditioned chorales as well as working as a soloist.

With a love for history, Ria was fascinated with Medieval and Renaissance history and found herself drawn to participate with reenactment groups that recreated the Middle Ages. Since fostering her love of all things medieval, Ria's stories soon became flavored with Medieval and Renaissance themes.

P. A. Crust was born and raised in the heart of rural Lincolnshire, England, and grew up in the idyllic setting of a small village in the 1950s. The 60s saw him playing in many local beat groups and he has retained his love of performing live music all his life. He worked professionally as a musician all around the UK as well as Europe and Scandinavia for many years.

They now live in the sunny tropical paradise of Southwest Florida. The two share their love for music and writing. They perform together locally and they collaborate on writing endeavors.

 

What did you do before becoming a Romance writer, and how has it impacted your writing?

Ria: So many things really. I worked full time as a secretary or an office manager, but it seems that long before I ever entered into the work force, I longed to be a writer. I wrote stories and poems as a kid; for as long as I can remember. Nothing was like having a brand new notebook to scribble thoughts. Back in those early days, my stories were like soap operas. I just could not end them. I remember one story filling 14 notebooks. I guess it is still hard for me to let go of my stories, which is why, I think I wrote a series to start. I just needed to weave everyone’s part into the tapestry that is the Celtic Storm series.  I also was a belly dancer, and a figure skater. I think I have been fortunate because I have come from a family that believes in the arts, and in the pursuit of dreams.

What is one thing about your novels or your writing that sets them apart? 

Ria: That is an interesting question. I think I touch more on the psychological level instead of just creating beautiful “eye candy”. My characters have depth and substance and can be a little complex. Just when you think you have them sorted out, they surprise you with another facet of their personalities. They are all very real to me.  I haven’t told too many people this, but I believe that each character I have created is me in some way. Yes, even the male ones. What I mean is that the things they go through are things I have experienced. I solve their problems based on challenges I have faced. The obstacles they overcome are ones I have as well. Likewise, in creating my characters, I have been able to fight my own battles at times, too.  It has become sort of like a wonderful symbiotic relationship. I believe writing has probably saved me a fortune in therapy.

Where do you get the inspiration for the paranormal elements of your stories?

Ria: I am a woman of deep faith. With that comes the belief that anything is possible. Certain aspects of the paranormal, like the ability to walk through time, I think may be plausible. Lots of people have written about it. Many of us get that feeling of déjà vu. As for the aspects of spiritual encounters, I most definitely believe in them. I will explain more about that in the next question.

Have you had paranormal experiences, and if so, what is the most memorable?

Ria: Yes, I would say most of my life. I remember talking to a woman named Julia when I was a little girl and I later learned that she was the previous owner of my childhood home.  She was like a little Italian grandmother.  I have had so many experiences, really. It is hard for me to pick just one. One particular one was after my father had passed away. I was awoken by a man standing in my room, which I refer to as the Gate Keeper. He said for me to tell my mother that my father was alright. My father had been very ill and so I believe that his energy needed to gain strength, which is why he didn’t come himself. Well, I told my mother and she said that my sister had the same experience. My sister doesn’t believe in all this “Hocus Pocus”, as she calls it.  Another time, a friend who was very dear to my heart passed away suddenly.  A psychic told me he would make his presence known to me.  One day, while riding the subway, Iwas thinking of him and I felt as if someone pushed my face gently to the side. There on the wall was a poster and his picture was on it. He worked for the transit authority and I remember had had mentioned that he had ended up being on a promo of some sort. I had forgotten about it, really. From that day, I saw that poster everywhere. I believed that was his way of letting me know he still watched out for me. Maybe, he is even my inspiration for my Derek Campbell character.

Your husband, Paul Crust has recently started writing. Do the two of you collaborate?

Paul: We mostly brain storm together and if we have a particularly difficult twist in the plot, we come up with ideas to make the story believable. We have worked out some story holes this way. It is really quite nice to do that. We also read our Works in Progess out loud and get feedback on what we have written. It really helps set the tales in motion.

How did you two meet and fall in love? 

Ria: Oh, dear; well here goes. We had both been divorced around the same time.  As you may or may not know, Paul is from England.  Well, I had done the post –divorce dating thing and had decided single life was best for me, but I was still lonely…and probably sad. I stayed up nights just writing or blogging and then playing trite games when I couldn’t sleep (which was most every night).  So I started playing this game called Vampire Wars. Now, I must say that I am not one of these Vampire groupies. I am not into much more than the Buffy series, but it was a way to pass the time. So I “bit” Paul, who was a higher level “vamp” than I was and so he promptly and effectively killed me. But instead of gloating about it, he typed a note and said, “So sorry. Didn’t mean to kill you, but you weren’t a high enough level vampire to bite me.” When I read the words "So sorry", I figured the man was British, because you know, I mean an American guy would have been like, “Take that you blankity blank…” We started writing to each other and then we started Skyping and we would end up talking for hours. Then, after about two and half years, we decided we already loved each other and it was time to meet in person. Paul saved up to come to America for Christmas in 2010. He asked me to marry him on Christmas Eve and we were married in 2012.

Does your own love story influence your writing?

Ria: I’d like to think that it does. I mean, we have had to overcome time and space to be together so I think that plays a part in our stories. Our heroes and heroines defy logic, and overcome great odds to live happily ever after. Having been through what we had, we believe it with all our heart.

Paul, what prompted you to start your own writing career?

Paul: I think I was always just a few steps away from it for a large part of my life. I used to run a small publishing business in the UK back in the 1970s and 80s and produced a weekly, free newspaper.  I had to be a “jack of all trades” and do type-setting, graphics, advertising and even write articles. I also designed covers for books as well as brochures and organized advertising campaigns for clients. I became involved in the production of several books and so started a yearning to write one of my own. It was not until I moved to the USA and became involved in Ria’s writing journey that the opportunity arose for me to take the first tentative steps of my own.

Was there anything that surprised you when you actually began writing a book for the first time?

Paul: Yes, actually there was a big surprise. I don’t know if the same thing happens to other authors, but I discovered that once I had described the characters and given them a name, they seemed to almost come to life and tell their own story. I then set them down in a particular time period and situation and away they go with me running after them trying to take notes. I know that sounds more than a little crazy, but that is very close to the way it feels when I am writing.

Do you have any advice for new authors?

Paul: I think the main piece of advice I would offer to other authors who are just starting out is to believe in yourself and don’t give up at your first bad review.

Where can we find your current work?

Ria: On Amazon. Right now our books are strictly e-books, but we are hoping to have printed versions and audio versions available within the upcoming year.

What would you like to share about your next book?  

Paul: I am currently working on my second novel, which will also be a time-slip romance that has some wonderful twists which will keep you guessing to the end.  This time, it will be set in present day and during the second World War. 

Ria: I am finishing the last book of the Celtic Storm Series. All previous characters will make an appearance. There is intrigue, adventure and of course, passion. There will also be some unexpected drama that hopefully, will keep the pages turning.

We would like to thank Helen, Ken and all the people involved in One Time Editing. You are so wonderful and we are so blessed to know you.  Thank you for considering us for your interview. It has been an honor for us to share our thoughts with you.

~~~

Where can readers find you?
Facebook (Ria)

Facebook (Paul)

Goodreads (Ria)

 Goodreads (Paul)

Twitter (Ria)

Pinterest (Ria)

Where can readers find your books?

Amazon (Ria) 

Amazon (Paul)

Find An Author Friday: Becca Boyd

Becca Boyd is a best-selling, award-winning author of both romantic suspense and historical action-adventure romance. After careers in youth work, musical theater, and non-profits, she writes novels for both adults and young adults as Becca Boyd and R. L. Syme.

Her first novel, His Wounded Heart, was a finalist in the prestigious Genesis Award, the top honor for unpublished writers in the ACFW. Her first Highlander novel, The Outcast Highlander, was an Amazon best-seller, and the first volume of that series is now complete with Lachlan's Revenge. She is a member of Chick Tales--an author co-op that writes contemporary romance in Somewhere, TX.

Becca is a writer of heroes worth loving and villains worth hating. Lover of cheese (#fancycheese) and binge-watching and strawberries and hope. A Tweeter and Pinner of things. She loves to hear from readers via social media.

What did you do before becoming a Romance writer, and how has it impacted your writing?

Before I wrote romance, I was a reader of romance. I think that’s probably the biggest thing that contributed to me loving writing and getting better as a writer. I also have an undergrad degree in Literature and did an MFA in Creative Writing, but it was really the reading that birthed a love of the genre in me. Studying literature isn’t making literature. It does help build critical thinking skills and knowledge of story structure, etc., but reading fosters a love of the genre. Reading great romance makes you love great romance.

How does it feel to have a book on the USA Today bestseller list?

Honestly, it was surreal. We found out the day before Thanksgiving, which was a release day for me for a different book, and I had the chance to do a couple of live Periscope sessions for the party that night and I just kept saying it out loud, like I was going to convince myself somehow that it had really happened.

Tell us about how you found out you were on the list, and what was the first thing you did when you found out?

I actually got a Facebook message from my friend Krystal, who sent me a screenshot of the list. We both had a moment of squealing, but I was in the middle of release day, so I had to go back to the work I was doing, and then it was so surreal after that. My PA called me about something else related to the release and said, “Why aren’t you more excited about this?” And it sort of hit me then. I should be through the roof. I kept thinking, I’ll be excited after the release is over. And now it’s starting to sink in a little more.

How did you make the decision to become a full time writer?

I actually lost my job. I had been writing part-time and had a couple of books out, and I thought… what could I do if I just made writing my full-time job. And it turned out, I could hit the USA Today list.

How do you determine the setting and characters for your stories? Do you write more than one romance genre, and what are they?

This far into my Highlander series, almost all of my characters have been set for me already, because of previous books. And I have the books (the main couples at least) planned out for a whole series. But I do write Highlander romance, and then romantic suspense. And I’m also writing a series of historical Young Adult mysteries.

How do you manage to switch “voices” from historical to contemporary, to YA?

I usually try to only be actively writing one book at a time, which helps. Plus, these characters are like real people to me, so when I’m writing Marcus Edison (contemporary cop from Somewhere, TX), he has a voice that I hear when he’s narrating, and he has motivations and actions, and I write in deep 3rd POV, so it’s almost like writing in first person. That way, I really hear a person’s voice. So when I’m done writing Marcus and I switch to Valcymer Vanhorn (medieval Dutch pirate), Valc has a voice to me, and he has a humor and a way of looking at the world that is different from Marcus. So, when my characters feel alive, it’s much easier to write one and then the other. Still, I do prefer to only write one book at a time. For my own sanity.

Where can we find your current work?

On my website is probably the most central location. http://rlsyme.com But the books are available at all major retailers. R.L. Syme for the historicals and Becca Boyd for the contemporaries.

What would you like to share about upcoming releases?  

I have a new historical series starting up this winter that will be an “origin” story for Somewhere, TX. Or rather, the first of the origin stories, because there will be a few. We had a set of cursed swords in our worldbuilding for STX that have their roots in the Highlands of Scotland, and that’s the book I’ll be releasing in February as part of the Texas on the Rocks boxed set from Chick Tales. Other than that, I’m hoping to start on my second set of the Highland Renegades medieval romance, and we’ll see from there! :)

Find An Author Friday: Màiri Norris

Màiri Norris is a USN vet who lives in Virginia with her USCG retiree husband and two cats. She loves to read, make dollhouse miniatures and travel (her heart belongs to the Highlands of Scotland) when she's not busy writing. At age six she learned to read and discovered a new universe to explore through books. Many genres interest her, including science fiction and mystery, but historical romance is her favorite. She is a proud member of Romance Writers of America, Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, Hearts Through History Romance Writers, Chesapeake Romance Writers, Beau Monde and Clan Donald, USA.

What did you do before becoming a Romance writer, and how has it impacted your writing?

It’s delightful to be here at One More Time Editing. My earliest memories are tied up with the three earliest goals of my life. I received a Florence Nightingale kit for my fifth Christmas and already knew by then I wanted to become a nurse. The next was to follow my birth father and join the Navy. After that was the desire to find my very own ‘one true love’. I’ve been greatly privileged in that I have achieved those goals. I did become a nurse, and my years in the navy combined the first two goals in that I was a Hospital Corpsman. During that time I met my darling husband. The realization of each goal can be seen in my writing. In my stories, there is always a need for healing of body, heart or soul. My heroes are warriors, and my heroines, while not ‘warriors’ in the sense of battling as with a sword, are strong in the way of caregiving women who are willing to fight for those they love.

What is one thing people should know about your novels or your writing that sets them apart?

The primary literary inspiration for my style of writing is the incomparable Ms. Victoria Holt. Following her shining example, I attempt to weave my romances with a strong and sometimes convoluted plot. While I try to keep the romance and relationships foremost, my goal is also to challenge my readers with a mix of history, mystery and/or intrigue.

How do you determine the setting and characters for your stories? (For example, are you inspired by current events and prominent people in the news, or do you write with a traditional trope in mind, like a fairy tale?

I think the foundation for most romance writers is the traditional trope, but our muses take inspiration from a variety of different sources to flesh those out. In my case, my love of Celtic history and the Celtic blood flowing through my veins plays a dominant role in my choice of setting and characters.

Do you write more than one romance genre, and what are they, if so?

Historical romance remains my first love, but my stories have a tendency to edge toward historical mystery and suspense as the colorful backdrop for the romance. I truly enjoy weaving my romances with both.

What is the best part of researching an era for a story?

The sheer joy of discovery. Every era enjoys its own unique and fascinating aspects. The search to find those that, in some way, impact my stories is as enjoyable as writing the story.

Where can we find your current work?

For Love of the Rose

What would you like to share about your next book?

My next work is the third book in the Ballads of the Roses series, entitled Scent of Wild Roses, the story of Evart D’Auvrecher, firstborn son of Fallard and Ysane from Rose of Hope and the healer, Annice of Aiglantier. I wrote it some years ago and am in the middle of extensive rewrites. If all goes well, it will be available in early spring, 2016.

Thank you so much, OMTE, for inviting me to join you today.

~~~

Màiri Norris can be found online at the following locations:

Màiri Norris.com

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Romancing the Eras.com

Find An Author Friday: Diane Dario

Next up on our “Find An Author Friday” is Diane Dario. Diane won a publishing contract at our FB party launching our debut publishing client, Beppie Harrison. Diane’s debut publication is a Regency Era novella and will be published by the end of this month. We’ll be announcing the actual release details soon. We are still finalizing details like her Author Pages, but you can find her on Pinterest in the meantime!  Please help us welcome Diane Dario.

Hi Diane, please tell us a little about yourself and how you became an author.  

I have been reading romance novels since my aunt introduced me at the age of 14, and I have not stopped reading them.

Regency romances are one of my all-time favorite eras; grand ballrooms, dinner parties while sitting next to a grand duke or war hero just returned from fighting against Napoleon and the French.. Hey a girl can dream, can’t she?

When I'm not reading or writing, I am enjoying the joyful moments with my growing family, the ballet, and romantic movies.

Writing has always been a great passion for me; a long road of many ups and downs, lots of online writing classes, and the years it took to get the craft right. Finally, all my time and efforts paid off, and now my dream of becoming a published author is going to become a reality. Thanks for a great opportunity of winning a first chapter Facebook contest.

It just goes to prove dreams can come true as long as you do not give up on them.

 

What is your favorite part of writing?

The research and having the opportunity to let my imagination run away with me as I go into another place and time while creating romantic stories.

 

What do you use as inspiration for your characters?

I am a big fan on Pinterest and love creating boards for my romances. Visit me there to see what my characters look like and the background for my stories.

Your upcoming release, The Rake’s Redemption takes a slightly different spin on the “left at the alter” storyline. Where did you get the idea for your unique spin on this familiar theme?

I always enjoyed reading second chance on romance books and I thought I could do this. The hard part was trying to come up with a plot that wasn’t used before. I do hope you like Caroline and Pierce as they found the love they once shared wasn’t lost forever.

 

This story also has elements of the difficulties soldiers face when they return home. Who or what was your inspiration for this secondary theme?

The upcoming anniversary of Waterloo. I thought what must it have felt like to be in battle, seeing your fellow soldiers and friends die right before your eyes.

 

Is The Rake’s Redemption part of a series? If not, what else do you write about?

No The Rake’s Redemption is a stand-alone book.  I enjoy writing anything and everything that pertains to the Regency era.

 

What do you have coming up next?

A Christmas Regency novella – The Earl’s Temptation. A rash promise to his friend forces Noel Redgrave, the Earl of Ravenstone, to find a woman who will pose as his fiancée. The Christmas season has always been important to him especially now that he has returned home from the war.

The only lady who would do is Lettice Durham, a friend and former army officer’s sister. Lady Lettice intends to remain unmarried, having no need for a husband to live the life of her dreams.

The second is a full length novel - The Captain’s Lady. Captain Roderick Seymour, of His Majesty’s Royal Navy, is the second son who inherits the title of Marquis. The family estate comes with dark secrets, and the ghost of his mother, who appears before danger approaches.

Roderick inquiries into the deaths of his brother and parents leads to startling discoveries and an increasingly inconvenient attraction to the strong willed Arabelle Worsley, who wants to help him to solve the mystery surrounding his family’s deaths.

Rake’s Redemption is a story of love interrupted by a young man’s call to duty…

Pierce, a younger son, realizes that the life of a military officer is far beneath what the woman he loves deserves. Despite her reassurances, he makes a decision to leave her behind, which will haunt him even after he returns from the war. 

Caroline, socially ruined by a failed elopement, yearns for a husband and children of her own. Finally deciding to accept the attentions of eligible bachelors, her world is turned upside down once again when her brother in law returns from fighting Napoleon on the peninsula.

When Pierce returns to his childhood home, he and Caroline soon realize they share a sizzling physical attraction. But will the lingering pain of rejection she carries, and his dark memories of battle stand in the way of love? 

~~~

Where can readers find you?

Pinterest

Which Social Media Platform is Right for Me? (Series Introduction)

As an author, which social media platform(s) are appropriate for you? 

 

Despite the common perceptions that the nature of social media relationships are relaxed, trivial, and arguably shallow, it is hard for an author to ignore its potential for low-cost guerilla marketing. If used correctly social media platforms like FaceBook, Twitter, or Google+ can expose authors to new readers, editors, publishers, or other industry professionals. However, there are currently so many platforms available it would be impractical to devote an amount of time sufficient to establish or expand your author platform while also writing a novel, attending conferences, or working a day job.

 

So the question becomes, which social media platforms should you focus on to reach the greatest amount of your target audience? This series will attempt to provide summary descriptions of each social media platform, as well as their pros and cons.

IMG_4717.JPG

Even as we offer our perspective, it is important to note that:

A) One More Time doesn't know everything about social media.

B) Even if One More Time did know everything about social media, it would be nigh impossible to summarize that knowledge into a few compartmentalized blog posts.

 

Learning about social media is a long evolution that will require a great amount of passive study. Simultaneously, it is a very young field, evolving as rapidly as our most modern technology, therefore many assumptions may only be correct for a short amount of time. There is a wealth of conflicting information, baseless claims, and spurious contributors whose aims are only to lure you into spending money on their insubstantial programs. We have endeavored to wade through this deluge and shall report back to you what we know to be true.

 

Social Media Sites to be reviewed (Hyperlinks will be updated as blogs are published):

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn

Find An Author Friday: KC Klein

KC Klein has lived most of her life with her head in the clouds and her nose buried in a book. She did stop reading long enough to make a home with a real life hero, her husband, for over twenty years. A mother of two children, she spends her time slaying dragons, saving princesses, and championing the belief in the happily-ever-after. An award winning author, KC Klein has written her gritty, sci-fi, Dark Future Series, and The Omega Galaxy Series, but she has become most widely known for her popular Texas Fever contemporary romance series. 

Hi KC, I know you write as part of a group called the Chick Tales. How did you girls meet?

Well , that is an interesting question. The chances of our group actually coming together and writing not just one, not two, but three box sets plus additional tie-in books was very slim. I answered a call out on the PAN group for any authors who would be interested in forming a LLC similar to the Indie Voice. We initially had a lot of response and then a lot of drop outs. The company’s vision changed multiple times as did the members. There were many times I didn’t think the Chick Tales would come to fruition. The amount of work was intimidating. The scheduling was an absolute nightmare. I finally left it in God’s hands. I asked that if this was the best move for me then for Him to make it happen. We are still here a year and a half later and so I am very confident that this is where I should be.

Of the genres you write, which is your favorite, and why?

Oh, I LOVE dark and gritty. I write contemporary western, space opera/sci-fi romance and dystopian romance. My favorite has to be the dystopian probably because with that series I have written them all in first person. I feel like I have more freedom in the sci-fi and dystopian genres. It’s a nice to break away from the rules of a traditional setting. 

Your last book, The BlackHearted Cowboy, had some very serious themes. How did this book help you grow as an author?

That book was intense. I came up with the idea just after finishing The Cowboy Rock Star which was a very funny and light hearted book. I find that I need to alternate the tone of my books or I get bored. The Blackhearted Cowboy never got boring for me. When I sat down to write that book I wanted to answer questions about forgiveness and what it really meant. Could a person forgive, while at the same time not condone? Could a person make a really bad mistake, but still be considered good?

These are questions I wanted to explore in The Blackhearted Cowboy and as a result, not only did it give me a great book, but helped me work through some of my own issues.  So that’s a win-win in my book.

Your Sci-Fi romance, The Space Captain’s Courtesan, has qualified for a RONE Award. What does that mean, and how did you feel when you found out?

Well, of course winning the RONE is great. I already won one for the multi-authored, sci-fi romance anthology, Hotter On The Edge. I wasn’t able to go to the ceremony, but I have the award sitting in my office and it always makes me smile.

I knew The Space Captain’s Courtesan was a good book. I’m proud of every book that I’ve written, but something was different about Space Captain. I really feel that it’s my best work to date. I put a lot of work into that book and from the reviews and my readers I can tell it showed.  

You recently attended Comic Con in CA. What was the best thing about being there? 

Ha! The Comic Con thing is totally my husband and kids. Unbeknownst to me, I married a complete geek who then turned my little girls into geeks in training. They get so excited about the upcoming super hero shows and movies that my favorite part is watching them. We did all dress up this year. Yes, even me and in case you are wondering, I went as an Amazon warrior. LOL!

What’s next in your pipeline, and how soon can we expect it to be available?  

I always love when I am working on a new project. The raw creativity of the first draft is my favorite part. I am so excited to be re-releasing my Dark Future series in September. And finally, after I don’t know how many years, I am working on the last and final book of the series, As Dawn Breaks. I’ve had fans ask me for years if there would be a sequel and finally I can say yes. I hope to have it out by next year.

Also, the Chick Tales will be releasing our next boxset in February 2016. In that book readers will see how my pervious series, Texas Fever, is connected to my Somewhere Texas books and where Cash Rodriguez finally gets his book.

Thank you so much Helen for having me here and interviewing me. Writing is always more enjoyable when you have the backing of a great editor and I’m glad you are mine. Thanks again. 

~~~

Where can readers find you?
Facebook

Blog Page: http://kckleinbooks.com

Chick Tales: http://chicktalesink.com

Twitter: @KCKleinbooks

Google+

Pinterest

Sign up for KC's newsletter

Where can readers find your books?

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/KC-Klein/e/B007378AKK

Find An Author Friday: April Holthaus

April lives in central Minnesota with her husband and son. She developed her passion of historical romances through her love of history and genealogy. Over the last several years she has compiled her family tree finding over 350 bloodline grandparents dating back to the 900s. 

When not working or writing, April enjoys spending time with her family, reading and being outdoors.

 

Hi April, what was the one event or who was the person that inspired you to write and publish a book?

The person who inspired me the most was Author Suzan Tisdale. When I first started writing my first book, I never had any intentions on publishing it. After befriending Suzan and joining her street team, I learned more about the writing world and how to publish from her. Without her advice and direction, my 1st book would never have been published.

Click the picture to order "Heart of the Highlands: The Beast" today!

Click the picture to order "Heart of the Highlands: The Beast" today!

You have been very successful in promoting yourself via social media. Is there any advice you can give authors who struggle with this?

Be patient. It takes a lot of time to reach readers and there are many of them out there. How I got started was by joining readers and author groups on Facebook to get my name out there. Another thing I have done is offer my book to other authors as free giveaways to their readers at no cost to them. That helps them have more giveaways and exposes me to new potential readers. Another way to promote yourself is by asking blog sites to see if they will review your book.

Please tell us about your most recent work and where we can get it.

My most recent project is The Protectors of the Crown series. I just published the first book of the series called Heart of the Highlands: The Beast. I am working hard on book two Heart of the Highlands: The Wolf to be published later this year as well as a Highland Holiday novella.

Click the picture to visit April's Facebook page.

Click the picture to visit April's Facebook page.

You’ve researched your family back to the 800s, is that correct? How did your research impact your desire to write historical fiction?

My research brought me closer to the 900s. It has influenced me greatly because it helped me develop a greater appreciation for history.  I think about what their lives must have been like. I am very proud and deeply grateful they lived the lives they had. If they didn’t, I may not be here.

What made you decide to write about the Scottish Highlands rather than the area of your ancestry?

My area of ancestry is predominantly England and France, but I write about the Highlands because they is a certain romantic, attractiveness to it. The history is rich and the stories of the warriors are beyond honorable. Highlanders, to me, seem to make the perfect hero.

If you could take one trip overseas, would you choose do go to a land of your ancestry or to Scotland, and why?

I would go to Ireland. My great-grandparents came from Ireland and I have always had an obsession with wanting to go. Not just because of my heritage, but because of the castles, the history and the beautiful picturesque landscape. 

Click the picture to visit April's Amazon author page.

Click the picture to visit April's Amazon author page.

Give us an excerpt from one of your books.

ESCAPE TO THE HIGHLANDS:

“Our castle was just attacked and the prisoners are gone. Someone will pay for this,” Wayland said in an unsympathetic tone. 

“We will gather men to go after the ones responsible,” the guard said.

“Responsible? We know bloody well it was the Scots,” Lord Wessex sneered. 

“There were only a few of them, how exactly did they get past you and into the dungeons?” Wayland asked the group of soldiers. The line of soldiers looked around at each other but remained silent.

“You will answer or you too will see yourself in the bowels of the dungeon,” Richard hollered.

“It’s just, we are not certain what we saw, my lord,” the same brave solider said.  “And what is it that you think you saw?” Wayland asked. The solider cowardly lowered his head and whispered, “Lady Jacqueline, my lord.” 

“Blasphemy. What is the meaning of this?” roared Lord Wessex.

“It’s true, my lord. We saw Lady Jacqueline open the door to the dungeon and that is when moments later, we saw the prisoners escaping to the woods,” the man replied.

Facing Richard, Lord Wessex fumingly asked, “You dare have me wed a traitor?”

“No, my lord. Certainly these men must be mistaken. If you wish, we will confront her at once,” Richard said as they headed towards the staircase.

Jacqueline shook from the loud thundering sound the door made when someone repeatedly pounded on it. Opening the door, she saw Maggie standing in the doorframe. Deathly pale the poor woman looked distraught.  Maggie brushed past Jacqueline, grabbed onto Jacqueline’s slippers and forcefully shoved them into Jacqueline’s hands. Reaching for the handful of silver that Jacqueline kept inside a black velvet trinket box, Maggie shoved the coins into a small leather pouch and tied it to the rope of Jacqueline’s cloak.  Puzzled by Maggie’s unusual behavior she asked, “What is it, Maggie?”

“May God have mercy on this night, my lady.  Lady Jacqueline, I overheard one of the guards talking to your brother and Lord Richard. Your brother and cousin are on their way up here. They know that you were the one that helped them escape. They believe you to be a traitor and helped the Scots through the gate. You must go. Now. Quickly.”

“But, Maggie I have nowhere to go.”

“My lady, if you stay.” Maggie stopped in mid-sentence and began to weep in her hands.

Jacqueline knew what she was going to say. That she would be charged with treason and put to death.  “How can I leave without being noticed?”

“You will need to take the secret passageways within the walls. If you stay to the right, it should take you to the cave next to the river. Do you remember the way?” Jacqueline only nodded. Maggie moved the tapestry to reveal one of the several entrances hidden throughout the castle. As a young girl, Jacqueline often played within the passageways only to get lost several times. Jacqueline hugged Maggie and without saying a word, she slipped inside the small doorway.  “Bless you, Maggie.” “May God watch over you, child.”

~~~

Where can readers find you?
Facebook: www.facebook.com/author.april.holthaus


Blog Page: myromanticenchantments.blogspot.com/


Twitter: @aprilholthaus

 

Where can readers find your books?

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/April-Holthaus/e/B00FG76R9U

Find An Author Friday: Regan Walker

Hi Regan, What was your occupation before you became a best-selling romance writer?

I am a lawyer and practiced for decades before turning to become a full time writer of fiction. I don’t miss the law but I do miss my clients. Solving their problems kept me busy.

Of the genres you write, which is your favorite, and why?

Well, first, I only write in one genre. But as for subgenres, that is very hard to say. There is something about each subgenre of Historical Romance I have written in—Regency, Georgian (late 18th century) and medieval—that I love. The hardest part about a medieval is the limitation on the words I can use if I want it to have a period feel, which I do, but I love diving deep into the past and creating a believable world for my readers. I love the banter and costumes of the Regency and my Regencies all feature spies for the Crown so there’s some mystery there. And the late 18th century, the setting for my newest romance, TO TAME THE WIND, was very exciting. Two of my novels feature ship captain heroes: TO TAME THE WIND and WIND RAVEN. Each requires hundreds of hours of research and I love that, too.

What do you find is the hardest part of writing?

I am not a plotter so each book is an adventure of discovery as I follow the history and the characters to the conclusion. Sometimes, in the middle I do wonder where it is all going. Once in a while, I get stuck or go down a rabbit trail and finding the right path can be a challenge. Then, too, one cannot let the characters get in a slump either. Then I must slap them upside the head and demand they get back into their places.

What’s your favorite thing about each of your genres?

I write (and read) only in one genre: Historical Romance. What I love is being swept away into the past, living the historical events with the characters. Contemporary romance holds no fascination for me; it’s too much like reading the newspaper or watching one of Hollywood’s romantic comedies. Paranormal romance can be too weird for me though I used to read it. Fantasy and time travel are also a bit “out there” for me, though I’ve read some.

Have you traveled as part of your research, and if so, how much time do you allocate to each of the following: museums, talking to locals, libraries, taking photographs, etc.? 

I have traveled to over 40 countries so I have a wealth of memories to draw upon. Last year I made a trip to the Scottish Highlands with a fellow author for research for a series I have planned in future. I had been to the country several times before but this time, I wanted to capture the feel of it, smells, birds, weather, and the people, of course. Scotland did not disappoint. I did not spend a lot of time in museums or libraries. I did take a lot of pictures, some of which can be seen on my Pinterest board for the trip: https://www.pinterest.com/reganwalker123/regans-trip-to-the-western-highlands-of-scotland-s/

What would you like to share about your next book?  

I am writing ROGUE KNIGHT, book 2 in my Medieval Warriors series set in York, England in 1069. I expect to publish it in the Fall. It’s the story of a good humored, valiant French knight, Sir Geoffroi, who was a character in The Red Wolf’s Prize, and Emma of York, a young, courageous widow living in a tumultuous time in the history of Yorkshire. It’s been a challenge but I love it. You can see my Pinterest board for the book here: https://www.pinterest.com/reganwalker123/rogue-knight-by-regan-walker/. It’s my research in pictures and shows the characters as I see them.

Give us an excerpt from one of your books.

To Tame the Wind

The door of the carriage swung open, a gown was tossed into her lap and a broad shouldered man filled the opening.

Claire’s jaw went slack while her heart kicked into a gallop as if responding of its own accord to the first man to stir it from slumber.

Bonjour, Mademoiselle Donet,” he said in French. “Captain Simon Powell.” He bowed in grand gesture. “Your humble servant with something for you to wear.”

The golden one. It had been nearly two years since she had seen him, but she had never forgotten the night of the masquerade. She had never forgotten him. Though the linen shirt stretched tight across his broad chest and the leather breeches and boots he wore now were a far cry from the shimmering costume he’d worn then, his amber eyes were the same. Impossibly, he was even more handsome that in her faded memory. In the last two years, he had never been far from her thoughts, for the night she’d first seen him—and imagined a man’s pleasure—was the night Claire’s girlish dreams had ended forever.

And now he’d returned to France and abducted her.

He leaned into the carriage and untied her feet, then her wrists. The touch of his rough man’s hands on her skin sent odd chills rippling through her. She bit her lip, shamed by her body’s reaction to this stranger. Her living temptation turned away for a moment, then faced her, a cup in his outstretched hand. “’Tis only water,” he said when she was reluctant to take it.

Too grateful to complain, she hastily brought the fresh water to her dry lips and drank her fill.

“I’ll give you some time to dress,” he said not unkindly. His eyes shifted to her blanket-covered nightclothes. “I wouldn’t want my men to see you as you are.”

Claire felt her cheeks burn at the thought.

“The gown is modest enough to please even your nuns,” he said. “Call me if you need… ah, assistance. I will be just outside.”

She fumed at his insolence, at his actions that had placed her at his mercy. Though she knew he was English and a privateer, she had no idea why he had taken her, and she would wait no longer to learn the truth of it. “Why did you bring me here? Why did you take me from the convent?”

Leaning one arm against the frame of the carriage, he regarded her intently, his eyes like chips of amber.

“You have your father to thank for that, mademoiselle. As soon as he returns what is mine you will have your freedom.”

Claire blinked. “My father?” Her voice sounded to her like the pleading of a feeble schoolgirl. She would not be cowed! She lifted her chin, confident in his error. “What has he to do with this… this perfidy? Papa is a man of business and letters, a man of some wealth. He has no need to steal!”

His mouth twitched up in a grin, drawing Claire’s gaze to his sensual lips, reminding her of a night when she had seen him use those lips to good effect. She scowled, angry with the rogue and with herself for finding him so attractive.

He shut the door of the carriage and peered in through the open window. “Your father, mademoiselle, is a pirate.”

 

TO TAME THE WIND

Copyright © 2015 Regan Walker

~~~

Where can readers find you?

Here are my Author Links:

Email: regan.walker123@gmail.com

Website: http://www.reganwalkerauthor.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/regan.walker.104?fref=ts

Twitter:  @RegansReview

Where can readers find your books?

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Regan-Walker/e/B008OUWC5Y

Find An Author Friday: Lane McFarland

 

Hello! Thank you for having me as your guest. I am thrilled to join you today.

Hi Lane, you work in the technical, data oriented word of IT and software programs. What made you decide to write fiction, and specifically, romance?

My background is in accounting and operation systems management. I worked as a financial systems analyst for a large corporation for many years, but left that life to sell financial software. During the day, I travel around the country giving presentations and demonstrations of my company’s solution, but at night in my hotel room, sitting on the airplane, or while waiting for my team at Starbucks you’ll find me writing.

Kathleen Woodiwiss introduced me to historical romance when I was a young teenager. I have been hooked ever since. The Flame and the Flower, The Wolf and the Dove, and Ashes in the Wind will always hold a special place in my heart.

Why did I choose romance? Because I love it! Stories run rampant through my head. I’m constantly pulling out my phone to jot down ideas for books, characters, or scenes. What a wonderful stress reliever to escape into worlds of intrigue with timeless love and happily-ever-after endings.

You are an active member of the Romance Writers of America. How has your membership influenced your writing career? Are you a member of other writing organizations?

Six years ago, I dipped my toe in the writing world with Romance Writers of America. Through that membership, I joined romance writers’ organizations Hearts Through History, Celtic Hearts, and From the Heart. I served as Treasurer of Hearts Through History for a couple years and became actively involved in the chapter. It was during that time when I joined the critique group. I met some amazing authors who have become good friends. They have helped me tremendously! I wouldn’t be writing if it wasn’t for their wonderful support and encouragement.

How did you decide to write about Medieval Scotland rather than another romance era/genre?

I like most any kind of romance novel, but my heart has always been drawn to the medieval period, particularly in Scotland, Ireland, and England. That said, I plan to write stories spanning the early Middle Ages through the American Civil War. While my books are fiction, each one is based on historical facts, and you will often see known figures such as William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, or The Red Comyn make guest appearances. All my stories revolve around human struggles, sacrifices survivors are forced to make, and their resilience to live and thrive.

You’ll find my books follow different series. I love to read stories that continue through secondary characters. As a matter of fact, the books I’m currently plotting branch off from my first series, The Daughters of Alastair MacDougall. Throughout Cameron, Heather, Lindsey, and Elsbeth, you will meet colorful individuals whose stories beg to be told. After I complete Elsbeth, the legacy will continue throughout generations to come.

Escaping into a world of brawny Highland warriors and feisty lasses as they fight for independence, stories of daring pirates, raiding Vikings, and valiant knights, transports me to an era filled with strife and hardships only to be overcome by everlasting love.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Throwing my imagination into years gone by, researching dark periods of strife and violence, justice and quests for freedom, and dreaming of what it might have been like to live and survive during these hostile periods have been the most fascinating aspects of writing historical romance.

My Daughters of Alastair MacDougall series begins in May 1297, a time of unrest between Scotland and England. It has been such fun to research this period and imagine living amongst the clans.

Readers love your strong female heroines. Tell us a bit about their personalities.

I have always admired strong women who can take care of themselves, fight for what they believe in, and who don’t give a whit about social norms. But women’s femininity and their softer side are equally important. My female heroines have a mixture of both. They are independent, but their hearts are complete with their beloved heroes.

Tell us about your medieval series. Your next book is Elsbeth. What can you tell us about her and her three sisters?

The Daughters of Alastair MacDougall series is set in the late thirteenth century Scotland. Each book tells a story of one of Laird Alastair MacDougall’s four daughters. As compensation for his indiscretions, the laird promised his wife he would grant his daughters the rare privilege to live their lives as they desired. Each daughter has a unique personality and a strong desire to hold their father to his word.  

The series starts with Cameron. The daughters came of age in a country fraught with war and feuds amongst rival clans. The Graham and the MacDougall clans were no exception. Their disagreements fueled a life-long fight between them. Cameron had devoted her life to the healing arts and rebelled against her father’s feuding ways. Robert Graham, determined to band Scots together against English tyranny, sealed a truce with her father. But after MacDougall broke that truce in a treacherous attack on Robert’s young brother, Robert kidnapped Cameron in an act of revenge. She expected the anger she felt, but not the simmering attraction to the powerful warrior, or the love she developed for his clan.

 

On her mother’s death bed, Heather promised she would help her senile father manage the clan. With miscreants swarming to overtake MacDougall’s land, Heather secretly leads her clansmen on missions for the rebellion. She fights to keep secret her father’s mental illness, while resisting the lure of Alec Campbell, the handsome young laird who challenges her defenses. Alec has secrets of his own. He failed his aging father, and he vowed never again to disappoint his clan or lose his heart, but Heather is a temptation he cannot resist.

Lindsey is a tomboy. She dresses in lad’s clothing and manages her father’s stables, caring for, breeding, and selling horses. She prides herself on her riding abilities and uses her skill to secretly deliver missives to Scottish warriors behind enemy lines. During one of her escapades, Lindsey learns the English captured her friend, Logan, who is to be transported and tried in King Edward’s court. The story starts with Lindsey’s rescue attempt, but rescuing Logan’s heart became her biggest challenge.

Elsbeth recoils at the violent Scottish rebellion and the bleak plight of orphans. After losing her betrothed in the conflict, she sets her course to become a nun, sheltering innocent victims from the cruelties of war. But when Brandon arrives at the abbey, he shakes her convictions and stirs provoking emotions she buried long ago.

After English soldiers murder his family, Brandon seeks revenge and leads numerous clans in Scotland’s fight for freedom. Bent on the annihilation of English oppression, he is resolved to a life of solitude, vowing never to marry and chance the pain of losing loved ones again. Elsbeth realizes not only children are affected by war, but stalwart warriors are also hurt and abandoned. She longs to heal Brandon’s spirit, help him live again, and prays she can reach him before the damage already done has set in stone.

 

Give us an excerpt from one of your books.

Lindsey

Chapter One

Northumberland, England

August 1299

Lindsey MacDougall descended into the dark pit of hell. The stench of excrement and death struck her, but she resisted the urge to gag on the wretched fumes of brutality. Fearful tremors racked her body. She had made it thus far and prayed she could continue.

She glanced over her shoulder at the enemy soldiers standing guard on either side of the door she had just passed through. Swords strapped to their sides, they watched her every move with steely eyes. Few outsiders were allowed in Collins’s dungeon. The men would not hesitate to sound the alarm if they grew suspicious of her and the reason for her visit.

Howls of anguish and despair drifted from below, and she envisioned Satan himself wielding instruments of torture. She gripped the worn stair railing with one hand, her large healer’s basket in the other, and eased her foot onto the next step, then the next. Cold air swirled up from the dark cavernous hole. Flames sputtered from torches secured in brackets lining the dank dungeon, monstrous shadows dancing up from the black abyss.

Nerves stretched taut, sweat dribbled down her temples. She prayed the moisture didn’t cause the ash-paste that disguised her face to slide onto the bodice of her scratchy woolen gown. However uncomfortable, she wanted the soldiers to be put off by her ungainly appearance.

She peered over the railing and let her eyes adjust to the dim light at the bottom of the stairs. Ominous looking corridors ran in four directions like spokes of a wheel with three English soldiers positioned in the center, huddled around a wooden crate.

One guard threw down several cards on the makeshift table and roared while slapping the soldier next to him on the back.

Another tossed his cards on the discarded pile. “I’m out.”

A high-pitched scream followed by agonized moans sent chills slithering down her spine. What evils did the darkened corridors hold? An urge to run back up the stairs and escape the nightmarish scene nearly overcame her.

Instead, she inhaled a fortifying breath and took another step down.

~~~ 

Where can readers find you?

Here are my Author Links:

Email: mcfarland.lane@gmail.com

Website:  http://lanemcfarland.com

FB:  https://www.facebook.com/lane.mcfarland.96

Twitter:  @LaneMcFarland

Where can readers find your books?

Amazon: 

http://www.amazon.com/Lane-McFarland/e/B00G7UQZNI/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1