Fun Friday with Camilla Fetherwell from Lipstick on the Strawberry by #author Margaret Ann Spence #mustread #womensfiction

Today’s Fun Friday includes a little lesson in photographic technique. Here is author Margaret Ann Spence to explain.


Thank you, Betty, for the opportunity to introduce your readers to Lipstick on the Strawberry, a book about food and family secrets.

A little salt, a little sugar and more than a dash of vinegar characterize caterer Camilla Fetherwell’s relationships with her family – and the men in her life. As for love, the main ingredient, will it be burned to a crisp, or served tender and delicious?

What Camilla loves to do for fun is to travel and sample the food of other countries! When the book starts, she’s already relocated “across the pond”, to Massachusetts. She may have gone from the frying pan to the fire as, newly divorced, she struggles to keep her business afloat. But experimenting with new dishes keeps her clientele happy and all her senses engaged.

Camilla is English. She chose her profession because she feels unable to live up to her family’s academic expectations in the storied, historic, university town of Cambridge, England. She feels excluded from the academy, and learned to cook in the kitchen of one of the university colleges, horrifying her snobby parents.

This photo of one of the famous university colleges shows how our Camilla feels about her home town. Not welcome!

Kings College

Camilla was cut off from her family for a youthful indiscretion. She’s always wondered why her teenage relationship with a boy who came to live with the family was so taboo, and escaped her family’s stifling respectability to live in Boston. Returning to England for her father’s funeral, she finds he had a secret that upends her assumptions and threatens her reunion with her first love. Her father is not the only one with a secret, however, and Camilla is the catalyst for their uncovering.

In family relationships, are things ever really what they seem?

That thought led me to my title. It’s a food photographer’s trick. Just as a freshen-up of lipstick can do wonders for a face (especially mine!) so a photographer can swipe a lovely red over an unripe strawberry to make it look perfect. What truths lie under a supposedly unblemished life?

One reviewer said, “This story moves along at a cracking pace. I found it hard to put down…We are led down some tantalizing paths, until the final resolution. Appropriately, food features a great deal in this book, in fact, the writing itself is quite luscious.”

I imagined Camilla when we lived in Cambridge for a year. While in England I discovered a surprise – British food has had a bad rap! Says Camilla, “We’re long past the stodge and school-dinner stereotype.” I started researching and cooking British specialties, and many of them appear in the book as Camilla’s adaptations from the originals, using American measurements.

In keeping with Camilla’s feeling like a “fish out of water,” here she introduces a Scottish fish soup with a funny name – Cullen Skink.

This mouth-watering chowder is from the fishing town of Cullen. The word “skink” means “shin” in the Scots dialect. How we got from shin, which implies meat, to smoked fish is a mystery. But the word also means soup. It’s a great dish for a cold winter’s night, which is exactly when its eaten in Lipstick on the Strawberry.

Camilla’s Cullen Skink

Ingredients

1½ pints whole rich milk, 1 oz. butter, 1 bay leaf, 1 lb undyed smoked haddock or any smoked white fish*, one large onion, diced finely, one leek, washed and thinly sliced, two large potatoes, diced into quarter inch by half inch cubes.

Method

Poach the fish and bay leaf in milk, very gently, until fish is cooked through, about five to ten minutes. Turn off the heat and remove fish with slotted spoon and reserve.

In a pan, melt the knob of butter and cook the onions and leeks gently until translucent, add potatoes and sauté till they are golden all over. Add the potatoes and onion to the milky fish stock. Poach the liquid mixture until potatoes are tender – this could take up to 40 minutes, because the milk should never boil.

In the meantime, as soon as the fish is cool, skin it (skin should lift right off), flake the fish meat, and chill in refrigerator until the rest of the soup is ready.

When potatoes and onions are tender, remove the bay leaf, replace fish into the soup, bring gently to the simmer, and pour into bowls, garnishing with parsley or chives.

Traditional cooks mash the potatoes to make the soup thick. I find chunks of potato poking out of the soup with the fish to be more interesting.  An option is to mash half the potato to thicken the soup and chunk the rest. This is the most delicious chowder with a wonderful smoky flavor. Serve with crusty bread and a salad for a complete meal.

*Smoked fish is hard to find in the U.S. I found a delicious compromise by using canned smoked trout I found at World Market together with a fillet of cod. Drain the trout of oil before using.

LipstickontheStrawberry_w11172_750Estranged from her English family, Camilla Fetherwell now lives in the United States and owns a successful catering business. Returning home for her father’s funeral, she reunites with her first love, Billy, whom she hasn’t seen since her father broke up their teenage romance. Billy seems eager to resume their love affair. But after one blissful night together, things take a turn.
Camilla suspects her father may have led a secret life, and when Billy reveals something he, too, has discovered, her apprehension grows. Billy holds her heart, but their relationship might be tainted by what her father hid. A reunion seems impossible.

Her life feels as splattered as her catering apron. As she watches her food stylist make a strawberry look luscious with a swipe of lipstick, Camilla wonders if a gloss has been put over a family secret? Can she and Billy survive what’s underneath?

Author photo- Margaret Ann SpenceAs a child, Margaret wanted to run an orphanage or be an author. Perhaps the Madeline books inspired both ideas. Debating whether to do good or have fun, she gave up studying to be a social worker and pursued a life around the written word. High heels, tight skirts and makeup won over sensible shoes, though publishing promised a permanently low salary. She worked as an editorial assistant for a major publishing house, for a magazine and for a university. She earned a master’s degree in journalism, wrote a slew of press releases as a publicist, and as a freelance writer when her children were small, published feature articles in newspapers and magazines.

In the past few years, she’s turned to writing fiction and essays. Her essay, The Dog Catcher of Jabiru, won the Tara L. Masih Intercultural Essay Prize in the Soul-Making Keats Literary Competition in 2014.

Get to know her at www.margaretannspence.com.


I love to cook and to read, so reading about cooks and recipes is always a good fit for me. Thanks for sharing, Margaret!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

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Fun Friday with Rachel Thompson from The Rancher’s Redemption by #romance #author Melinda Curtis #cowgirl #quilter #singlemom #fiction

Today’s Fun Friday post features a very busy woman who is helping to run a ranch while fighting for a divorce and to remain close to her young daughter. But I’ll let Melinda Curtis introduce you to Rachel Thompson and all she’s up to!


Thanks for inviting me and my heroine Rachel Thompson to drop by for Friday coffee. Rachel is featured in The Rancher’s Redemption, Book #3 in the Return of the Blackwell Brothers series.

Rachel is a small town lawyer who’s trying to rebuild her life. Her divorce is final but she can’t get her ex to sign a final custody agreement regarding her baby. Her father died a few years ago and she’s helping her mother and grandmother run the Doubt T, which means she basically running the ranch with an elderly foreman who should really be retired. Five years ago, her family lost river water rights to the Blackwell Ranch and she’s brought a lawsuit against them to try and win back much-needed water.

TheRanchersRedemptionFinalEssentially, Rachel is like most single moms, sandwiched between caring for a child and parents/grandparents, struggling to juggle balls in the air. Rachel was raised to be a rancher’s princess by a father who doted on her. She knows how to ride and the fundamentals of roping, but she’s unsure of her skills. However, her horse, Utah, is awesome. The kind of horse a father would give a daughter because he knew that horse would take care of her. This may sound cliché, but she enjoys long rides on her ranch, often taking her daughter, Poppy, who rides on the saddle in front of her. Three generations of Rachel’s family are crafty. Quilting is another way Rachel slows down, stays in tune with her mother and grandmother, and feels connected to the family ranch, which the Thompsons have owned for generations.

Having raised three kids and juggled two careers – writing and being a marketing manager – Rachel and I really bonded. It’s challenging to figure out which hat you need to put on first or even the longest every day – mom, daughter, rancher, lawyer, individual. I enjoy long walks with my dogs and have a group of women friends at the gym, but like Rachel, I lean heavily on my man to keep me grounded and in touch with what’s important in life.

You can read an excerpt of The Rancher’s Redemption here:

http://www.melindacurtis.net/bookshelf/171-the-rancher-s-redemption

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2kRiymM

Harlequin: http://bit.ly/2kP7vuw

BN: http://bit.ly/2Jzwpwp

iBooks: https://apple.co/2JjmUhr

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2JvxPb2

KOBO: http://bit.ly/2LqyffZ

 

MelindaCurtis (574x640)Prior to writing romance, award-winning, USA Today bestseller Melinda Curtis was a junior manager for a Fortune 500 company, which meant when she flew on the private jet she was relegated to the jump seat—otherwise known as the potty. After grabbing her pen (and a parachute) she made the jump to full-time writer. Between writing sweet romance for Harlequin and indie-pubbed sweet romantic comedy, Melinda finds time to bond with her husband over home remodeling projects. She recently came to grips with the fact that she’s an empty nester and a grandma, concepts easier to grasp than jet-setting on a potty. You can sign up for Melinda’s mailing list and receive two free reads here.


Sounds like a pretty cool way for Rachel to relax with her daughter, out riding the range together. Not that I’ve ever been to a real ranch, just horse farms and such with my equestrian daughter. I cross-stitch and so does she, so we have that in common, too. Reading is also a shared love! Keeping in sync with my son is more of a challenge for me. I think I do that through Sunday dinners. I get to see him each week that way! How do you stay connected with your child? What challenges do you face with regard to maintaining the relationship?

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

Fun Friday with Becky Hollister from An Innocent Man by #romance #author Augustina Van Hoven #PNR #ghosts #journalist #fiction

Fun Friday is here again, this time bringing Augustina van Hoven and her investigative reporter Becky Hollister in An Innocent Man. I’ll let Augustina introduce her properly…


Thank you, Betty, for the opportunity to introduce my character, Becky Hollister from AN INNOCENT MAN.

Becky is an investigative reporter with the Idaho Statesman.  She is a close friend with time traveling Jessica in my first two books of the Love through Time series and appears in both books.  Due to a devastating heartbreak she experienced, Becky moves from Boise to Lewiston and starts working for a new newspaper, The Lewiston Tribune.  She rents a small house and that simple thing changes her life, forever.

For fun and relaxation, Becky loves to garden, but being on the go makes a backyard garden impractical.  She also loves to cook.  This gives her a great opportunity to enjoy both things by growing herbs and vegetables indoors in mason jars and a hydroponic grower.

LETTUCEHerbs are easy to grow in a well-lighted area in quart mason jars. You place a half inch of small stones in the bottom of the jar to help with drainage then add potting soil and a plant or seeds.  Fresh herbs really add to the flavor of any food dish.  And by growing them in the house, you are guaranteed fresh herbs year round.  A good hydroponic grower runs around $120.  You can grow lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, herbs or even flowers in them year round.

Becky keeps her herb jars on shelves in front of a southern facing window.  Her Aero hydroponic grower currently sits on her counter and she’s growing lettuce in it.  She can have a great salad by grabbing her scissors.

AugustinaVanHoven_AnInnocentMan_HRAfter being jilted at the altar, journalist Becky Hollister moves to a new city to try to put her life back together and ease the heartache.  She’s surprised to find her new home is already occupied by a man who died 20 years ago.  Will solving his murder help her to learn to love again?

Sheriff’s deputy, Mark Collins, is intrigued by the feisty reporter and her determination to unlock the truth behind a crime that happened when he was a kid.  But every time he tries to get closer to her, she runs away like a wounded animal.  If he can help her solve the cold case, can he also help heal her broken heart?

Amazon      Barnes & Noble     Apple     Kobo

Tina small - CopyAugustina Van Hoven was born in The Netherlands and currently resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two dogs and three cats. She is an avid reader of romance, science fiction and fantasy. When she’s not writing she likes to work in her garden or in the winter months crochet and knit on her knitting machines. Get to know her at www.augustinavanhoven.com.

Twitter:  @augustinavhoven

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Augustina-Van-Hoven-Author/336028986575129

Pinterest: Augustina Van Hoven, Author


This one is right up my alley! I love a good ghost story! And fresh herbs in my cooking. I may have to try growing some—but then again, I do not have a green thumb. It’s probably safer for the plants if I buy what I need. How about you? Do you grow your own herbs or other plants? Without killing them, like me?

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

Fun Friday with Patricia O’Neill from Going Through the Change by #author Samantha Bryant #superhero #humor #fiction #menopause

Fun Friday is really going to be a “super” fun one today! Meet Patricia O’Neill from Samantha Bryant’s Going Through the Change. I’ll let Samantha take it from there!


Thanks, Betty for inviting me and my character Patricia O’Neill to drop by and introduce ourselves! Patricia is one of the Menopausal Superheroes from my series. She’s featured in three novels and one set of short stories now, all available on Amazon or at your favorite book store upon request.

PATRICIA
Image by Charles C. Dowd

Patricia O’Neill, aka “the Lizard Woman of Springfield,” was hard as nails even before she became bulletproof. Her climb up the corporate ladder began in the 1970s, and she smashed more than one glass ceiling on her way to the top. Her thick skin protected her from the slings and arrows of men who would have preferred to keep her “in her place” and helped her ignore the usual insults and threats hurled at women who make their way in a man’s world.

Until recently, Patricia’s idea of a good time involved expensive theater tickets, high priced wine, and conversations that last until dawn. Well, at least at night. By day, she always liked kicking butt, whether metaphorical butt in the boardroom, or actual butt in the gymnasium.

As a younger woman, she was a field hockey champion nicknamed “The Amazon” by her teammates for her amazing athleticism and six feet of height. As an older woman, she had taken to kickboxing and other forms of martial arts for release.

In Going Through the Change, when Patricia first goes through her more unusual changes, gaining the ability to transform into a bulletproof lizard woman, superheroic antics were the last thing on her mind. As she told her intern, who was trying to talk her into using her new abilities to make a difference, “I’m not Peter Parker. I don’t buy the whole ‘great power comes with great responsibility’ racket. I didn’t ask for this, and I don’t owe anyone anything.”

In Change of Life and Face the Change, the second and third books of the series, Patricia learns to be a little more of a team player. As she joined forces with the other Menopausal Superheroes, she learned to value the friendship of other women. She may even make room in her life for love. She said it herself: “I’ve got a big closet. There’s more than one surprise in there.”

all coversI can’t wait to find out what else Patricia has in store for me and for our readers as this series continues to develop! You can keep up with us both by signing up for my author newsletter (one email per month, maximum): http://eepurl.com/bwgsxD

Contest! To enter for a chance to win an e-book of whichever of my novels you choose, please leave a comment telling me about a heroic woman you admire.

600-800GOINGTHROUGHTHECHANGE-COVERGoing through “the change” isn’t easy on any woman. Mood swings, hot flashes, hormonal imbalances, and itchy skin are par for the course. But for these four seemingly unrelated women, menopause brought changes none of them had ever anticipated—super-heroic changes.

Helen discovers a spark within that reignites her fire. Jessica finds that her mood is lighter, and so is her body. Patricia always had a tough hide, but now even bullets bounce off her. Linda doesn’t have trouble opening the pickle jar anymore… now that she’s a man.

When events throw the women together, they find out that they have more in common than they knew—one person has touched all their lives. The hunt for answers is on.

BUY LINKS:

BOOK ONE: Going Through the Change

Samantha’s Amazon Author Page

meandbatman copySamantha Bryant believes in love, magic, and unexplainable connections between people. Her favorite things are lonely beaches, untamed cliff tops, sunlight through the leaves of trees, summer rains, and children’s laughter. She has lived in many places, including rural Alaska, Kansas, Kentucky, Vermont, England and Spain. She is fierce at heart, though she doesn’t look it.

She’s a fan of Charlotte Brontë, William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Neil Gaiman, Shirley Jackson, and Joss Whedon, among many others. She would like to be Margaret Atwood when she grows up, but so far it doesn’t look like she’ll be growing up any time soon.

Samantha writes blogs, poems, essays, and novels. Mostly she writes about things that scare or worry her. It’s cheaper than therapy. Someday, she hopes to make her living solely as a writer. In the meantime, she also teaches middle school Spanish, which, admittedly, is an odd choice for money-earning, especially in North Carolina.

When she’s not writing or teaching, Samantha enjoys time with her family, watching old movies, baking, reading, and going places. Her favorite gift is tickets (to just about anything).

Her Menopausal Superhero series is available on Amazon or by request at your favorite bookstore. It now includes three novels and a set of short stories. You can find her online on at http://samanthabryant.com, on Twitter as @mirymom1, or on lots of other procrastination toys, um, social media.


What a fun series to read! I hope you all enjoy Samantha’s stories. Remember to leave a comment for a chance to win one of her books, too. Good luck!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

2018 Reader Survey Report

I always find the results of this reader survey enlightening and interesting. Enjoy!

A Writer of History

This year’s survey report is now available. It’s taken me quite some time to compile the results because … as you know I spent the last five weeks recovering from a plane crash.

The survey attracted 2418 participants from around the world – 84% female and 16% male.

A few highlights to whet your appetite.

  • AS IN PRIOR YEARS, THE SURVEY ATTRACTED HIGH VOLUME READERS– 72% read more than 20 books a year; 55% read more than 30
  • 49% of participants USE SOCIAL MEDIA REGULARLY TO SUPPORT THEIR READING 
  • GENDER MAKES A DIFFERENCE– among the differences—women read more than men and use social media more regularly in support of reading; men and women prefer different types of stories and different non-fiction
  • PRINT BOOKS REMAIN POPULAR– Of 2418 participants, 75% frequently or exclusively use print books
  • Not surprisingly, ENTERTAINMENT IS THE DOMINANT REASON FOR READING…

View original post 181 more words

Between the Lines: Visiting an Indoor Shooting Range #research #shooting #pistols #guns #PNR #paranormal #mustread #supernatural #romance #fiction

When my characters get wild ideas, I sometimes have to go beyond my own comfort zone to help them achieve their goals. So it was with Beth Golden in Veiled Visions of Love when she decided she needed to learn how to shoot a pistol to protect herself and others.

I have fired a pistol before, and way back in the dark ages a BB air rifle. In fact, I love to tell the story about when I asked my father-in-law, a retired brigadier general, to teach me to shoot his pistol. He took me out back of his lakeside home and propped a target on the dirt cutaway wall of his steep driveway. Then he instructed me on how to hold the pistol, how to aim, and then let me have at it. I squeezed the trigger gently and it fired a bullet that was just off the center red circle. I adjusted my aim and fired again, hitting the bull’s eye. When we went back inside the house, he told my husband to not let me get angry with a gun nearby. I haven’t ever had any desire to own a gun let alone shoot it at anyone or anything for that matter. So my dear loving hubby is perfectly safe!

In order to have a better understanding of what a new shooter would need to do and learn, I took a deep breath and went to visit the Bullet and Barrel indoor shooting range near my home in Huntsville, Alabama. This place was awesome, too! I walked in the door to a huge retail store of clothing and accessories for hunters and everyday people who want to carry a gun safely. The salesman proved to be very helpful indeed when I told him I was there to research for my novel.

We talked about what kind of pistol my character was most likely to find useful for her situation—becoming an airplane repo agent. Something she could easily handle and manage. He helped me choose the right semi-automatic pistol, then talked about the ammunition and cartridges. I was offered the opportunity to take a free shooting lesson but declined. I know what a gun sounds like when it’s fired and while I’m pretty sure there are people who can detect the differences and then identify the weapon, my characters are not that savvy. So I didn’t need to know that bit of information. He did show me several styles of purses designed to conceal a pistol, which was something that never would have occurred to me. I’ve also found out since that several of my friends carry a gun. I’m honestly of mixed feelings about that, but of course, it’s not my decision. I can see pros and cons to carrying a gun, and I personally have decided it’s not for me.

I did watch the gun safety video required of all people who want to get a carry permit of any kind. That proved insightful for the kind of training Mitch would give to Beth, the kinds of cautions, too. I also asked about the licensing laws in Alabama vs. Tennessee. It’s rather intriguing how much they vary from one another but I suppose not all that surprising. In case you’re wondering, it’s easier to get a conceal carry permit in Alabama.

I was given a tour of the entire facility and was surprised to learn that they’d held a wedding reception in their conference room available for rentals. They also had a virtual shooting range where you could shoot laser-aimed “bullets” at various characters on the blue screen. That sounded kinda fun, actually, but I didn’t have time to take them up on the offer of a trial.

I came away from the Bullet and Barrel with new understanding and insights into the world of guns and those who choose to carry them. I hope you enjoy Veiled Visions of Love and the dangerous situations that Beth gets into—and out of. Thanks for reading!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

Veiled_Visions_of_Love_600x900His search for a home led him straight to her heart…

Psychic Beth Golden longs to live the life of a heroine in a suspense novel but knows she’ll die of boredom working in the bookstore in the small town of Roseville. Until a pilot rolls into town on his motorcycle with a secret mission. When he introduces her to a whole new world of daring and romance, she’s captivated by a lifestyle filled with unexpected and dangerous surprises.

Major Mitch Sawyer, currently serving in the Reserves, has lived all over the world and wants nothing more than to have his own home with a wife and family. Forced to complete one more airplane repo job before he can afford to resign his commission and make his dream a reality, he entices a sexy book lover to help him by becoming an undercover biker chick. Only Beth’s hunger for excitement endangers both herself and an innocent bystander. Can he protect them—and his heart—before it’s too late?

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Fun Friday with Maximus and Lucius St. Albans from When the Marquess Returns by #author Alanna Lucas #histrom #mustread #fiction

Let’s travel to London for Fun Friday and meet Maximus and Lucius St. Albans from When the Marquess Returns by Alanna Lucas. Take it away, Alanna!


Thank you, Betty, for having me today! I’m excited to share When the Marquess Returns with you today. Although I’m supposed to do a post about what one of my characters does for fun, the hero is an identical twin with a rather jealous brother, so you get two for one!

Allow me to introduce identical twins Maximus and Lucius St. Albans. They’re the missing grandsons of the Duke of Warrington, who were stolen as infants. Prior to being discovered as the missing heirs, the twins enjoyed traveling the continent on the Grand Tour, while expanding their minds (although Lucius would add other *delights* to the list), and spending time with their adoptive family near Plymouth. Maximus has always enjoyed the quiet country life, finding pleasure in horseback riding, reading, and sketching plans for buildings he one day hoped to build, but Fate had a different plan.

Once the boys were discovered to be the lost heirs, London was abuzz with excitement. Every lady in Town vied for their attention, hoping to catch their eye, and an illustrious title. Maximus and Lucius’s days are now filled with endless lessons on how to be a proper heir to a dukedom and learning about their family ancestry.

However, Lucius being Lucius decided those lessons were not exciting and added frequent visits to one of London’s notorious gaming hells to his list of fun, leaving Maximus to clean up his brother’s messes. But despite Lucius’s propensity for trouble and the endless etiquette lessons, Maximus does find time to enjoy the simple things in life—reading, taking long walks, and trying to win the heart of the Cursed Heiress.

One guess which brother has more fun causing trouble?

Contest!! For a chance to win an ebook from my backlist leave a comment about what you enjoy doing for fun!

AL-eBook (1)A Marquess in Waiting and the Cursed Heiress…

The ton is abuzz and mamas are lining up their daughters; identical twins Maximus and Lucius St. Albans are making their entry into society. But they’re not just eligible―they’re the missing grandsons of the Duke of Warrington, stolen as infants.

However, Maximus doesn’t relish the battle with his cocky, reprobate brother to be the next Marquess. And he has no time for the simpering misses now vying for his attention. Only Miss Sabina Teverton has his interest.

She was resigned to life as a spinster but from the moment Sabina meets Lord Maximus, her heart is torn. She dreams of a match with him―but how can that be when she’s been branded as cursed…and she knows secrets of that night long ago when Maximus and his twin were snatched from their cradles?

Amazon      Barnes & Noble      Kobo      Apple

side headshotAlanna Lucas grew up in Southern California, but always dreamed of distant lands and bygone eras. From an early age she took interest in art, history, and travel, and enjoys incorporating those diversions into her writing. Alanna makes her home in California where she spends her time writing historical romances, dreaming of her next travel destination, and spending time with family.

Get to know Alanna at her website www.alannalucas.com or follow her at Facebook, Twitter, Amazon Author Page, or BookBub.

Wow, that would be quite something to find out your heir to the throne and all that would entail. What a great story, Alanna!

Remember to leave a comment below to have a chance to win a copy of this tantalizing story!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

Between the Lines: Custom Perfumes #research #perfume #scents #PNR #paranormal #mustread #supernatural #romance #fiction

One of the quirks in my hero, Mitch Sawyer, in Veiled Visions of Love, is that he has a highly developed sense of smell. In fact, his family runs a perfumery which they hope he’ll become part of at some point in his life. A career path he’s resisting. His olfactory sense makes him both vulnerable to strong odors and aromas, which give him a migraine, but also able to match the perfect scents to a person.

When he meets Beth Golden for the first time, he’s accosted by her too-sweet perfume. He doesn’t believe she should wear such a sweet floral scent and eventually he takes her shopping for “her” perfume. An intimate gift from him to her, something to remind her of him even when he’s not nearby.

I should admit at this point that I don’t know much about perfumes. I’ve worn the same scent for decades and don’t really have any intention of changing. For Beth, I knew I wanted the scent to be more subtle but alluring, probably with some vanilla which I think of as a warm and comforting scent. But what do I know? So I had to do some digging as to what perfumes Mitch might suggest and why.

Over at the Perfume Review Guide site, I struck paydirt—er, the perfect scent based on the description. Turns out I was close when I said vanilla is comforting. According to two separate polls, “men prefer scents that remind them of comforting situations” and vanilla came in a close second on the list of scents that “drive them wild.”

After reading the descriptions on the Perfume Review Guide’s list of top vanilla based perfumes, I decided to go with the Novella Vaniglia by Santa Maria Novella. Here’s how they describe the scent:

Novella VanigliaThis scent is dark, smoky, and boozy, but is neither harsh nor sweet. The top notes fade fast and the perfume develops into a lush and rich woodsy fragrance that wears well in both the winter and summer. Another scent that is labeled for either men or women, it combines a non-sweet base of vanilla with light floral and warm spice fragrances.

Given that Beth is longing to be adventurous and daring, this seemed to fit the bill perfectly. Something that sexy and strong Mitch would love to inhale and easy to detect should the need arise. Which it does…

Subtle details like this are aimed at adding layers of meaning and sensuality to my stories. I hope you enjoy Veiled Visions of Love. Thanks for reading!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

Veiled_Visions_of_Love_600x900His search for a home led him straight to her heart…

Psychic Beth Golden longs to live the life of a heroine in a suspense novel but knows she’ll die of boredom working in the bookstore in the small town of Roseville. Until a pilot rolls into town on his motorcycle with a secret mission. When he introduces her to a whole new world of daring and romance, she’s captivated by a lifestyle filled with unexpected and dangerous surprises.

Major Mitch Sawyer, currently serving in the Reserves, has lived all over the world and wants nothing more than to have his own home with a wife and family. Forced to complete one more airplane repo job before he can afford to resign his commission and make his dream a reality, he entices a sexy book lover to help him by becoming an undercover biker chick. Only Beth’s hunger for excitement endangers both herself and an innocent bystander. Can he protect them—and his heart—before it’s too late?

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Fun Friday with Maud Somerset from Lady Soldier by #romance #author Jillian Chantal #histrom #regency #fiction #books #tomboy

Another Fun Friday has arrived! Bringing with it the feisty Matilda “Maud” Somerset from Jillian Chantal’s historical romance, Lady Soldier. I’ll let Jillian introduce her to you…


I’m super excited that Betty invited me to come by and introduce the heroine of Lady Soldier and yak about what she likes to do for fun.

Matilda “Maud” Somerset is not your standard Regency era girl. She’s what we modern women would call a tomboy. It’s not her fault. In fact, her mother places the blame squarely on the shoulders of Maud’s father, Richard Somerset, one of the younger brothers of the Duke of Beaufort. Lord James was a soldier in his younger years. In fact, he was a crack shot and served king and country as a sharpshooter.

Maud had a brother who was a year older than her. Their father was sure his son would follow in his footsteps and enlist in the army. He was resolved to train the boy in all the arts of war and he began this early in the boy’s life. The mistake he made that causes his wife no end of shame and worry? He allowed Maud to tag along. And now his daughter would rather shoot at targets, ride astride and fire arrows into bales of hay than sit in a parlor entertaining suitable beaus or doing needlepoint.

Her mother despairs of Maud ever making a suitable match. Maud isn’t interested at all in being the wife of a nobleman. She wants to continue in all the unladylike pursuits as they make her happy and feel useful. Not that she really has anything against playing the pianoforte. She’s just better at hitting a bullseye than hitting a high note while singing.

She knows she will eventually have to marry and settle down to a life of dull domesticity, but in the meantime, she’ll continue to thwart her mother. She and her horse are inseparable and she spends a lot of time riding and out in the sun which also makes her mother crazy as Maud’s skin isn’t as white and soft as is fashionable for young ladies. Maud promises to wear hats to shade her face, but somehow, they keep getting lost. Alas. And let’s not even mention the state her hair ribbons can manage to find themselves in.

Maud swears she truly isn’t trying to send her mother to an early grave, but a girl has to be true to herself, doesn’t she?

To enter to win an ebook copy of Lady Soldier, share a tidbit with me. What did you do to drive your mother crazy as a kid/teen? I’ll start. My mom despaired of me when I was a kid as I stayed dirty riding my bike and could go through 2-3 sets of clothes a day when she wanted me to change and stay tidy long enough to go out for dinner or shopping. Oh, and I could never find my shoes. I could lose those suckers in the back seat of the car between home and the restaurant.

Jill-ebook (2)Matilda “Maud” Somerset is a disaster. Her parents and uncle, the Duke of Beaufort, want her to make a spectacular match to a suitable beau. Maud is more interested in galloping across the fields on her stallion, Khan, and shooting arrows at targets. Her mother despairs of her and her father bears the brunt of his wife’s and the Duke’s anger for allowing the girl to learn all the arts of war when he was teaching them to his now-deceased older son.

When Maud’s father is recalled to the Army to fight Napoleon in the Peninsular Wars, Maud sneaks off to join his regiment in his place. His vision isn’t what it used to be, and fearing for his life if he fights, she disguises herself as a man and leaves before dawn. She’s determined to uphold the family honor, even at the cost of her own reputation.

Amazon

Head shot0037 (2) (1)Jillian Chantal is multi-published in the romance genre. She’s a lawyer by day and writer, amateur photographer, and history buff by night. Jillian lives on the beautiful gulf coast of Florida and loves her little slice of paradise. But not too much to enjoy world-wide travel every chance she gets. After all, a writer and photographer needs new and exciting places to go and capture in order to stay fresh, right? And there’s nothing quite like seeing historical places in person, is there?

Jillian loves to hear from readers. She can be found at her website www.JillianChantal.com or  http://www.facebook.com/jillian.chantal or

https://twitter.com/JillianChantal

Her books are available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble


Jillian, it’s funny you’d ask what I did that drove my mom crazy! I distinctly remember her asking me repeatedly why I had to analyze everything. I asked the “why” question so often, about everything that people did and said until she’d shake her head at me. I think that’s what makes me a good writer, though, noticing the details and finding out the motivation behind actions and words. Striving to understand…

Remember to leave a comment below for a chance to win a copy of this intriguing book. Thanks, Jillian, for introducing us to Maud!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

Between the Lines: Visiting an Air Show #research #aviation #PNR #paranormal #psychic #supernatural #romance #fiction

Let’s talk about the Tuscaloosa Airshow. I’ve been to airshows before, but it had been a long time. In fact the fondest memory I have surrounding one was a ride in an open cockpit airplane several decades ago with a longtime family friend of my in-laws. What a rush!

Anyway, when my character, Beth Golden, in Veiled Visions of Love decided to get involved in airplane repossession with Mitch Sawyer, the Air Force pilot who rolls into town on his Harley, I had to brush up on what little I knew about planes and airshows. So I found out that a show was coming to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in April 2018. Hubby went with me, of course, because of three reasons: 1) we enjoy traveling together; 2) he knows far more about aircraft than I do; and 3) he likes to help me with my research. So off we went on a day trip!

We were fortunate that the rain that had descended earlier in the week had stopped before the day of the show we went to. But that didn’t mean the ground wasn’t sloppy with mud. Trust me on that! We had to pick our way around the field surrounding the runways and taxiways and buildings. I kept all my senses on alert, trying to absorb the atmosphere, the sights, the sounds, and of course the smells.

An area had been set up to one side where the food vendors were selling all kinds of food and beverages. Everything from hot dogs to barbecue chicken and corn on the cob, desserts like cotton candy and ice cream, and everything you can imagine at a fair or carnival. The onslaught of aromas created quite a heady mix.

We watched a couple of planes climb straight up into the sky, trailing white smoke so it made it easier to follow their movements against the white puffy clouds and blue sky above. Then stood and watched some other aerobatic planes perform with the accompanying roar of the engines and reverberation in the air which I felt in my chest. A pulsation from the sound waves, I guess?

The Blue Angels were going to perform at the show but I was more interested in talking to one of the pilots if I could. I needed to know whether two people could fly in an F-18 fighter jet or not. Luckily, as hubby and I strolled around, discussing what we were seeing, I spotted an Air Force pilot talking to a group in front of us. I waited until they’d finished their conversation and then I approached the pilot, who in fact turned out to be with the Blue Angels. Yay! I was able to ascertain that they have a trainer FA-18 that they use to ferry a pilot to his F-18, which only seats one pilot. So yes, there could be two people in the trainer fighter jet. I was elated to have that piece of the puzzle in place for the story arc of Veiled Visions of Love. Perfect!

IMG_0682
The F-18s used by the Air Force Blue Angels.

We sauntered around the large area of taxiways in front of several buildings used, we assumed, for maintenance and storage. We didn’t go so far as to walk down there, but we did wander among the planes on display and open for tours.

We went into one smaller jet, and I took a few pictures of the cockpit as reference. However, that plane didn’t end up in my book because I wanted something a bit more posh.

By the time we left midafternoon, ready to drive the 2.5 hours home, we were hot and tired and thirsty. But I’d gotten the details I needed to make my story scenes come alive with accurate details and observations at a real major airshow. I hope you enjoy Veiled Visions of Love. Thanks for reading!

Betty

P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I only send out when there is news to share. News like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers. Thanks and happy reading!

Visit my Website for more on my books and upcoming events.

His search for a home led him straight to her heart…

Psychic Beth Golden longs to live the life of a heroine in a suspense novel but knows she’ll die of boredom working in the bookstore in the small town of Roseville. Until a pilot rolls into town on his motorcycle with a secret mission. When he introduces her to a whole new world of daring and romance, she’s captivated by a lifestyle filled with unexpected and dangerous surprises.

Major Mitch Sawyer, currently serving in the Reserves, has lived all over the world and wants nothing more than to have his own home with a wife and family. Forced to complete one more airplane repo job before he can afford to resign his commission and make his dream a reality, he entices a sexy book lover to help him by becoming an undercover biker chick. Only Beth’s hunger for excitement endangers both herself and an innocent bystander. Can he protect them—and his heart—before it’s too late?

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