Give a warm welcome to Judy Meadows, author of Escape From Behruz released on April 21, 2017!
Pull up a chair, grab a drink of your choice from the cooler, a Chocolate Chip or Peanut Butter cookie from the plate, and let’s find out a little about Judy and Escape From Behruz.
First of all what inspired this particular story?
I love secret baby stories. A woman’s emotions revolving around childbirth—finding out she’s pregnant, being pregnant, giving birth, caring for the new baby—are about as elemental and intense as it gets. And a man’s emotions—finding out he’s going to be a father, watching his partner’s belly grow, feeling the baby move, sharing in labor and birth, getting to know his new baby–are equally intense and elemental. For a woman to intentionally withhold the information that a man is going to be or has become a father is a huge betrayal.
And it’s good material for a story.
What can ruin a secret baby story for me is if the heroine’s motivation for withholding the information is weak (which it often is: i.e. “he would be mad at me”). So…I set out to write a secret baby story that had an unimpeachable motivation for keeping the secret. No one who knows her story will fault this heroine for keeping her secret. (Of course the hero does blame her, but not for long, not when he understands what her reasons were.)
That was the germ that sparked the plot. What could happen that would make it impossible for a woman to let the man she loves know about her pregnancy?
The story is set in a fictional country in the Middle East (located between Iran and Afghanistan). The locale also strongly influenced the plot. I chose the Middle East because I traveled in Iran and Afghanistan in the 70’s and lived in Iran for a year—all before the area was besieged by political turmoil and war. I loved the area and the people. I knew what it was like to be an American woman traveling there. So I made my heroine an American woman and plopped her down in that area.
What secret do you use to blast through writer’s block?
I read! I can open my favorite book on writing, The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Maass, to just about any page, and I’ll be inspired. Good fiction writing, any genre, inspires me. Writing by Rosamunde Pilcher, C.S. Lewis, and Vanessa James all somehow infiltrate my brain with their rhythms and sentence structure and make my writing more fluid.
Did you tell friends and family that you were writing a book? Or did it take a while to come out and tell friends and family you were a writer?
“Coming out” is an apt analogy for what it’s like to tell friends you’re writing a romance novel. I started by telling peripheral people (like someone I met while vacationing in Mexico, someone I was never going to see again). But there came a time when the only explanation for my lack of availability (What was I doing with my time?) was the truth. I’d written a successful nonfiction book by then (Touching Bellies, Touching Lives, about midwives in Mexico) so that helped a little, but what helped the most was joining my local chapter of Romance Writers of America. Being with women who took their craft seriously and supported each other and learned from each other was what gave me the perspective I needed to be proud of the work myself.
What do you want your readers to take away from your books?
First and foremost: intense emotional satisfaction. I want them to really care about the characters and really share in the joy the characters feel when they get their happily-ever-after ending.
Secondly (this wasn’t my intention when I started writing about Behruz but I see it as a possible bonus effect), I hope reading my stories will help readers see past stereotypes about the Middle East. The characters are real people with real puppies and real quirks, talents and dreams.
Do you find it easier to write from a male or female point of view? Why?
Female! I would write from purely the female point of view, but publishers nowadays prefer a balance between the male and female points of view, so I’ve tackled that. I find I can get to know my hero and his motivation by looking at the heroine through his eyes. Why is he attracted to her? What does he long to have happen with her? How does he experience the pain of setbacks? How does it feel to love so deeply? Starting with that, he comes to life for me.
Okay, tell us a little about the story.
Rashid will escort Olivia and the baby through the mountains to Iran in order to escape the violence in Behruz, but he won’t let Olivia near his heart. Not again. Not after the way she trampled it two years ago.
Olivia accepts his help, but she has no interest in his heart. She’s never forgiven him for abandoning her when she needed him most. Still, she has to be careful. He mustn’t learn that the baby the world thinks is heir to the Behruzi throne is actually her son. And Rashid’s.
Can they make it through the trek, sharing a tent each night, without giving in to the attraction that has always drawn them together? Can Olivia hold in the secret that could destroy her?
Ohhh, sounds intriguing. Do you have a sneak peek from the book for us?
Walking toward the tent of her “husband,” Olivia felt like a bride. The mantle framed her face and fell down her back like a bride’s veil, and the long skirt swayed with every step. Rashid stood in front of the tent talking to Saddiq. He was wearing a long shirt and a wool vest like those worn by the other men. He was holding up a rifle, sighting along the barrel. He said something to Saddiq and handed him the rifle; then he turned and saw the procession of women approaching. Time stopped for several heartbeats when his eyes fell on Olivia. He seemed to straighten up, to become taller, and everything about him became very still.
She met his gaze boldly. The petticoats swished around her legs when she walked. She felt the swing of her arms, the sway of her hips, even the slight bounce of her breasts. All the women stood behind her, waiting for Rashid’s reaction.
“Spin around again like you did for us in the tent,” Fatima whispered to Olivia.
Rashid’s nomad clothes made him look primitive and very male. His eyes were intent on her, like the eyes of an animal watching its prey. He was motionless except for a slight quivering of his nostrils.
Olivia lifted her arms slowly, and the women stepped back away from her. Then she began the pirouette. She moved as if in a trance. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion. But still the skirt rose, its colors blurring as she spun, and she felt dizzy and flushed when she stopped. She gave Rashid a smile that came from some new knowledge.
“You are a temptress,” he said in English. His eyes were dark pools that beckoned her to tempt and be tempted.
“The ladies are waiting to see what you think of their handiwork.”
He stepped toward her and reached his hand up to touch her face at her temple. Then he slid it down until it cupped the nape of her neck. A shiver of response rippled through her, but she didn’t move.
“She is very beautiful,” he said in Farsi. “The costume is perfect. She is perfect.” He kissed her lightly on the lips. The speculations and remarks of the nomads hushed. A crow cawed in the distance, and then it was silent too. She was mesmerized. She felt possessed.
About the Author:
I grew up and went to college in Minnesota but now live in a small town in Oregon with my husband Jim. I love to travel, read, hang out at the beach, cook, and play with grandchildren. I’ve always loved cats, but sadly find myself catless at the moment. Our 19-year-old Simba and 17-year-old Tinker Bell both died last year.
I worked as a systems analyst for IBM when I finished college. When I retired from that field, my husband and I bought a farm in northern California. We grew apples, Asian pears, and raspberries for ten years before retiring again, this time to Oregon.
When our only child was a senior in high school, we adopted a 10-year-old girl from a Russian orphanage. I spent two weeks in Moscow finalizing the adoption and then came home to start the parenting thing for a second time.
When our Russian daughter was settled into the family, I trained to become a doula and volunteered to help Spanish speaking women in labor at the hospital across the street from our home. Soon I was very busy. After a few years of doing pro bono work, I made a website and began to work as a doula professionally.
During 20 years of working as a doula, I’ve helped 460 women in labor. My second romance novel, Midwife in Behruz (sequel to Escape from Behruz) features a midwife and uses my experience with childbirth. I’ve just finished Midwife in Behruz and am beginning to plot the final book in what will be a trilogy of stories set in Behruz.
It was wonderful having you with us today. What an interesting life you’ve led Please feel free to stop by anytime. Good Luck with Escape From Behruz.
Posted in Authors' Secrets Blog and tagged Adventures, Behruz, Contemporary, Judy Meadows, Romance by email@example.com with 29 comments.
Give a warm welcome to Lisa Mondello, author of Under A Texas Star, released on March 21, 2017! Book nine of Texas Hearts.
Pull up a chair, grab a drink of your choice from the cooler, a Chocolate Chip or Peanut Butter cookie from the plate, and let’s find out a little about Lisa and her Texas Hearts. Oh, don’t forget to enter for a chance to win a Kindle FIre, Raflecopter at the end of the post.
Lisa, tell us a little about writing this story. Was it fun or difficult? Do your characters always act as you expect? Are you a plotter, or fly (write) by the seat of your pants?
I am neither plotter or pantser. I’m a puzzle writer. Stories come to me in pieces, like a scene from a film. They’re very clear. But it’s only one scene and it can be any part of the story. So I write all those first and then piece things together.
Under a Texas Star was fun and difficult. It was fun because I used real stories from my husband’s time in the marines. Yes, he really stepped on an alligators head while wading in water to make a rope bridge. I also loved writing Brian’s character. I love writing about kids because they say what’s on their mind and do the unexpected. Even though he has a serious illness, he made for some heartwarming moments that made me smile. The subject matter was difficult all around. Grief is a very difficult thing. Everyone handles it different. But it’s important to know that however you handle it, it’s okay. As long as it doesn’t stay bottled up inside. There are parts of this story where I literally cried through them because when I write about my characters, I feel their pain deeply. I can’t express their emotions correctly if I’m not feeling it myself. So it can sometimes wear me out when I’m writing.
Interesting, I know how you feel. I see you brough Tom and Jenna with you today, lets see what makes them tick.
Hello Tom (Tag) Garrison, mind if I ask a few questions?
Tells us about the real you— What event in your past has left the most indelible impression on you?
Being capture and imprisoned overseas while in the military. But the most profound thing was coming home to learn that I’d lost my wife and my child.
What do you most value?
My privacy, although that is getting harder to get these days since moving to Texas. Home and family are becoming important to me again.
What is the type of woman you want to spend the rest of your life with?
Someone who loves family, who is strong and who can quiet the demons in my head.
What do you consider most important in life?
What is your biggest secret?
Well, that would be something I did with my cousin Wolf. The family knows we were gone for a few days when we were in our early teens, but they don’t know that we’d jumped a train and headed north to Washington DC and then jumped another train to head home. I’m not sure Oma would have liked that at all. I think Opa would have wanted to come with us though.
Thank you for being here today and answering my questions.
Now lets turn our attention to Jenna Atkins. Would you answer a few questions for me?
Who are you really?
I am a mother, rancher and small business owner who is trying my best to keep my nose above the water line every day while caring for my sick child.
Who were the biggest role models in your life?
My parents. They had a love that people envy. Unfortunately I didn’t have that in my first marriage. But I have hope.
What kind of man do you want to spend the rest of your life with?
Someone who is committed. Not just in words but in deed. Someone who I can lean on and who will be there for me and my son when I fall apart and when I forget that there is more to life than being a mother.
What kind of man would you never choose?
Someone selfish. It takes two to make a life work.
What is most important to you in life?
What is your biggest fear?
That I will lose my son before he has a kidney transplant.
Ok now I’m going to put you on the spot. Is Tom what you are looking for? You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to.
Oh, I think I’ll let you read the book and find out!
Lisa, tell us a little about your book Under A Texas Star:
Military hero Tom Garrison is an expert in high intensity emergency situations. But after years of military service, all he wants to do is hide from the world. When single mom Jenna Atkins bangs on his door in the middle of the night begging for his help for her sick young son, Tom can’t ignore it. He flies Jenna and her son to an emergency center that can help the sick child, but can he just walk away?
Despite his efforts, Jenna and Brian capture his heart—just as he captures theirs.
Both Jenna and Tom have battled life’s surprises and been touched by tragedy. Can they overcome the past to open their hearts to love again?
Reaching back and securing his hands at the nape of his neck, he watched as the millions of stars that had dotted the blue-black sky just a half hour ago blinked out one by one in the morning light.
He didn’t want to be alone for this moment, but it was more than that.
He wanted to be with Jenna. Climbing into his truck, he headed over to the Jenna’s. There was a light on downstairs in the den, which Tag hoped meant someone was awake at the Atkins farm. Jenna had said that she had a lot of sewing to catch up on. Maybe she’d gotten up early to get started before Brian woke up. With any luck, she’d be awake.
Anticipation rolled through him. Within seconds Jenna came bursting out of the front door onto the porch. Despite the porch’s shadows, he could see from the light filtering out from the den window that it was her. A smile immediately hit his face, but then he saw the panic in her eyes when she came down the porch steps.
His stomach clenched as the quiet peace he’d been feeling during the drive over shifted into concern. Had something happened? Was that really why she was up so early?
New York Times and USA TODAY Bestselling Author, Lisa Mondello, has held many jobs in her life but being a published author is the last job she’ll ever have. She’s not retiring! She blames the creation of the personal computer for her leap into writing novels. Otherwise, she’d still be penning stories with paper and pen. Her book The Knight and Maggie’s Baby is a New York Times Bestseller. Her popular series includes TEXAS HEARTS, DAKOTA HEARTS, Fate with a Helping Hand and the new SUMMER HOUSE series. Writing as LA Mondello, her romantic suspense, MATERIAL WITNESS, book 1 of her Heroes of Providence series made the USA TODAY Bestsellers List and was named one of Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2012.
You can find more information about Lisa Mondello at lisamondello.blogspot.com and sign up for her newsletter to receive new release information at http://eepurl.com/xhxO5
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It was wonderful having you with us today. Please feel free to stop by anytime. Good Luck with Under a Texas Star!
Posted in Authors' Secrets Blog and tagged Contemporary Romance, Lisa Mondello, Sweet Romance, Texas Hearts, Western by firstname.lastname@example.org with 2 comments.
Give a warm welcome to Viola Carr, author of The Dastardly Miss Lizzie released on April 18, 2017!
Pull up a chair, grab a drink of your choice from the cooler, a Chocolate Chip or Peanut Butter cookie from the plate, and let’s find out a little about Viola Carr and The Dastardly Miss Lizzie part of her Electric Empire books.
In the third book in Viola Carr’s fantastically fun and wonderfully edgy Electric Empire novel, set in the gritty world of alternate Victorian London, Dr. Eliza Jekyll must team up with her secret other half, Miss Lizzie Hyde, as her world comes crashing to a halt when a madman begins targeting the city’s most important scientists, and sorcerers threaten all she holds dear.
Crime scene physician Eliza Jekyll is trying to share a life with her rebellious second self, Lizzie Hyde. But being two people in one body isn’t easy, not when Eliza has a professional reputation to protect and Lizzie is veering headfirst into a life of debauchery and crime with an increasingly demented Mr. Hyde. Not to mention the difficulty of making a respectable marriage with Remy Lafayette–Royal Society investigator and occasional lycanthrope–while Lizzie enjoys her own dubious romantic entanglements. And with England on the brink of war, Remy’s secretive mission in sorcery-riddled Paris grows ever more sinister. Has he been an enemy agent all along? Or is Eliza finally going mad?
Now, she’s confronted by her most baffling case yet: an evil genius with a penchant for theatrics is murdering eminent scientists in the most inexplicable ways. Her investigation uncovers a murky world of forbidden books, secret laboratories and bleeding-edge science punishable by death–and a shocking connection to her father’s infamous experiments. Desperate to learn the truth about her past, she must infiltrate a cabal of fanatical inventors bent on a discovery that will change the world–or destroy it.
With London under attack by sorcery-wielding terrorists, and the Royal Society’s enforcers determined to bury her evidence for good, Eliza needs all the friends she can get if she’s to thwart the killer and keep her head. But when Lizzie’s criminal shenanigans get Eliza fired from the Metropolitan Police, and Remy is implicated in an act of bloody vengeance he didn’t commit (or did he?), she’s on her own.
Except for wily, resourceful, mercurial Lizzie. But Lizzie’s got her own life now. And she’ll do anything to keep it. Even if it means attempting the unspeakable and finding her own body. Even if it means throwing Eliza to the wolves, and letting the world burn…
Viola Carr was born in Australia, but wandered into darkest London one foggy October evening and never found her way out. She now devours countless history books and dictates fantastical novels by gaslight, accompanied by classical music and the snoring of her slumbering cat. She likes steampunk, and thought it would be cool to investigate wacky crimes with crazy gadgets…just so long as her heroine was the creator of said wacky gadgets: a tinkerer, edgy, with a dash of mad scientist.
Posted in Authors' Secrets Blog and tagged Fantastically fun, Mystery, steampunk, Victorian London, Viola Carr by email@example.com with 3 comments.
Today on Authors’ Secrets, I am parading my gorgeous cover for A Warlock’s Secrets, second in the Demon’s Witch Series, release June 14, 2017. Pull up a chair, grab a drink of your choice from the cooler, a Chocolate Chip or Peanut Butter cookie from the plate, and feast your eyes on the swoon worthy cover for A Warlock’s Secrets! My cover artist, Kristian Norris is fantastic, don’t you think?
In case you haven’t heard, the offical world-wide release date is June 14, 2017! Oh, yeah I already told you earlier. I am so excited! Pre-order links to follow next month. In the meantime, enjoy a little about A Warlock’s Secrets.
Here’s your Sneak peek into Tristian’s world in A Warlock’s Secrets, second in the Demon’s Witch Series.
Years ago a sacred ceremony at the Dragon’s Moon Coven, turned deadly. Son of the high priestess, Tristian Shandie’s life changed forever. With a price on his head and revenge in his heart, he has no choice but to follow in his father’s footsteps to a profession shrouded in secrets. Now his skills as an enforcer for the Demon Overlord are second to none. But dangerous secrets he harbors are a liability he can no longer afford.
A chance meeting with a woman he finds irresistible flips Tristian’s world upside down. Hannah is a cyber security specialist with secrets of her own. Bad boys never appealed to her until Tristian, who changes everything. In his darkest hours she is dragged into his magical world. If they survive, is she strong enough to heal his heart and tame the warlock? Or will their secrets destroy them?
Inside the house, a shadow passed by the huge bay window. She held her breath. Am I really going to go through with this?
Walking up the steps to the house, she paused. Why would he leave such an expensive car sitting out when he had a four-car garage? She was stalling. Straightening her shoulder’s she used the brass doorknocker. There was no answer. She knocked again.
The heavy oak door creaked open. Tristian stood shirtless, his abs rippled as he raised one muscular arm to lean on the doorframe. The skintight blue jeans hung low on his hips and his hair tousled as if he’d not been awake long.
When he stared at her, with those huge blue-gray eyes, tingles careened up her spine. She covered her mouth in case drool pooled in the corners her mouth. He was one sexy male. She sucked in a breath and opened her mouth to speak but nothing came out. A brow arched, he peered questioningly at her then twisted to glance backward into the house. The sunlight streaming through the doorway accentuated several scars across his chest, rib area and a healed slash across his back. Who gets those kinds of battle scars and lives to tell the tale? Not going to ask. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all.
The corner of his mouth curved up in an inviting sexy-as-hell grin. “Good morning, Hannah. What a surprise.”
Keeping the cover under wraps almost killed me. I am so happy to finally get to share it with you! I know you are going to love Tristian and Hannah and their wild journey!
Posted in Authors' Secrets Blog and tagged Angels, Assassin, Cyber Security, Demons, faeries, magic, Scottish Highlands, Shapeshifters, Warlock, Witches by firstname.lastname@example.org with 16 comments.