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 Susan V. Vaughn, author of Beyond Fate just released on March 24, 2016!
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 Susan and Beyond Fate.
Susan if you could use one line to discribe Beyond Fate, what would it be? Years of separation mean nothing when love is in the air…
What inspired this particular story?
I have a huge connection to Beyond Fate because I wrote the first chapter of it when I was still in college. I attended Central Michigan University, which is the same college my characters meet. The fraternity party they were at is based off a frat house I used to go to all the time. Years later, when I found this story, I decided it needed a proper ending. I began the story from a college perspective, which is when my characters first fall in love. I finished the story from an adult perspective, which is when my characters get their second chance at love.
What secret do you use to blast through writer’s block?
I like to write the dialogue in a scene first, then go back through and add the action. Not only does this help me break through writers block, it decreases instances of choppy dialogue. It’s also a great way to give my characters their own voice while staying true to the story line.
What inspired you to write?
I have been writing romance for five years now. I started doing it for myself because I enjoy the creative process so much. But then things changed. I watched my children grow, and develop their love of writing. All the journals around my house now are filled with my kid’s imagination. There is no paper left in our printer, no notebooks unfilled. My children are little paper thieves! They write because I write. I have opened their world to the notion that you can make a living from your imagination. My children have given my creativity a greater purpose.
Do you see yourself in your characters?
Both the main characters in Beyond Fate suffer the loss of a loved one. For Russell, the loss is his sister. For Julia, the loss is her best friend. Although Katherine Webb is dead, both Russell and Julia began experiencing signs from her. But it’s only when they start following those signs that they find their paths intertwined again. It’s almost as if Kat is playing matchmaker from beyond, which is consequently how the story got its name.
I really connected to this story and to the characters, because I know what it’s like to lose someone I love. I know so many other people know this pain as well. Loss is a part of human existence. It is something that connects us all.
What do you want your readers to take away from Beyond Fate?
This book takes you on an emotional journey. There is love, loss, heartache, and of course, laughter. Every good romance has got to have laughter! For my two main characters fate leads them in directions they never thought possible, which is what I hope readers will experience while reading it.
Sounds like a greaat book.
Tell us a little more about Beyond Fate.
Julia Diaz never wanted to fall for her friend’s older brother, especially at a college frat party. But, for some reason, her heart was stolen by Russell that night. Eight years after, she never forgot him. Now destiny has brought them together. Only this time Russell is no longer a boy. He’s a man who knows what he wants and will not be denied.
Russell Webb used to be optimistic, and fun loving until a family tragedy turned his world on its side. Putting all his focus on work, he picked himself back up, and managed to turn his grief into something resembling a life. When a woman from his past reappears, and gives him a glimpse of true happiness, he’ll do anything to secure her heart. Even face the darkness he has avoided for so long.
How about a peek into the book itself?
His heart pounded as he made up the distance between them. He’d fought the urge to hold her in his arms all week. He no longer could.
“Hey! What are you doing?” Her question was lost as he pulled her against him, and covered her lips with his own. She sank desperately into his embrace for a moment, before pushing him back. “Russ, stop.”
“Why?” He grabbed one of her hands, and kissed the soft skin of her palm. She smiled, her face flushing red, her eyes flashing hazel.
“Because we are supposed to be friends, and we’re at work.” She glanced nervously around the deserted hallway.
“Nah, work’s over,” he said lightly, refusing to address the friendship statement. “It’s time for us.” He secured her hand in his, and led them toward the parking lot with single focus. “I’m taking you to dinner.”
“Wait! I have to grab my things from the music room.”
“No time for that.” He quickened his pace through the parking lot, determined to take her to dinner, not caring who witnessed his desperation. He’d waited all week for this opportunity.
“I guess you’re not giving me a choice then?” She sounded amused, not annoyed, a good sign.
“Now you get it.” He winked back at her. “I am your boss, after all.”
She sighed loudly in exasperation, and then began to giggle. It made him grin like a man who had never been happier in his life.
About the Author:
Romance Author, Susan V. Vaughn understood the meaning of sarcasm before she could walk. Her childhood in the suburbs of Detroit was spent mainly trying to outwit her six creative siblings. When she wasn’t working on the next soul-crushing jab, she sharpened her imagination on romantic literature and day dreamed about her knight in shining armor.
It didn’t take long for this hairdresser by trade to turn her passion for reading romances into writing her own unique love stories. Susan lives her life finding laughter in all situations, and delights in marrying sarcasm with romance to create realistic falling-in-love stories in the unlikeliest of scenarios.
Susan lives on the shores of Lake Huron with her real life knight in shining armor and enjoys watching their three children learn the art of sarcasm and wit.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Susan-V.-Vaughn/e/B016H54WWI/
It was wonderful having you with us today. Please feel free to stop by anytime. Good Luck with Beyond Fate.
Posted in Authors' Secrets Blog and tagged Beyond Fate, Contemporary, Fate, Romance, Susan V. Vaughn by firstname.lastname@example.org with 3 comments.
Give a warm welcome to Claire Marti, author of Second Chance In Laguna, available for pre-order Now!
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 Claire and her Second Chance In Laguna.
Claire Marti started writing stories as soon as she was old enough to pick up pencil and paper. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a BA in English Literature, she was sidetracked by other careers, including practicing law, selling software for legal publishers, and managing a non-profit animal rescue for a Hollywood actress.
Finally, Claire followed her heart and now focuses on two of her true passions: writing romance novels and teaching yoga. Her debut, Second Chance in Laguna, releases from The Wild Rose Press on March 31, 2017 and is the first in the Finding Forever in Laguna series.
Now tell me a little about what inspired you to write?
I’ve been writing since I was a child. I spent a lot of time alone and read prolifically. I started writing my own stories in elementary school. I dreamt of becoming a novelist, but was side-tracked with more “practical careers.” I’ve been publishing non-fiction articles for years in the wellness, yoga, and fitness industry. I also published a memoir a few years ago documenting my journey through breast cancer and how yoga helped me heal.
What do you want your readers to take away from your books?
I want readers to be inspired to always follow their dreams. I’m a big believer in manifestation. Whatever you focus on expands and whatever you remove your attention from diminishes. Life is short and there’s no time like the present to follow your deepest desires. When you are true to yourself, you’re in a position to love and be loved. Ignore the negative people who hold you back. Stop focusing on the million reasons why not. Find the one reason why and go for it!
If writing is your first passion, what is your second?
Teaching and practicing yoga. When I’m passionate about something, I have to share it. When I began practicing yoga, it helped me become a softer, kinder version of myself. I began teaching and also training others to become teachers. In terms of writing romance, I’m a hopeless optimist/romantic and sharing smart, sexy happily ever afters is my way of providing a little sunshine for others. I’m a work in progress—I was a yoga teacher who wrote, now I’m a writer who teaches yoga.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I love to read, to spend time on the beach, to travel every chance I get, to practice and teach yoga and Pilates, to spend time with my husband and friends. I love delicious food, although I can’t cook to save my life.
You can follow Claire here:
How about a little about Second Chance In Laguna?
When Sophie Barnes’s fiancé jilts her at the altar, her carefully planned life implodes. Considering her ex’s betrayal to be a rude wake-up call, she leaves everything she knows in San Diego and flees to Laguna Beach. She vows to transform her life by avoiding men for a year and by fulfilling her dream of writing a wildly successful novel.
Sophie’s new landlord, Nicholas Morgan, is a gorgeous, successful architect with a player reputation. He makes it tough for Sophie to remember that she’s sworn to be single. Nick’s avoided the intimacy of a long-term relationship–until Sophie’s independence, courage, and beauty touch his guarded heart. Both Sophie and Nick are terrified of being hurt again, but can they resist the pull of true love?
Can we have a sneek peek into Second Chance In Laguna?
Nick arrived right on time, looking gorgeous in faded jeans and a plain white t-shirt. How did he always manage to start the butterflies fluttering in her stomach? Just by standing there with the setting sun framing him? She was in trouble.
“Hi beautiful, ready to go?” He clasped her face in his hands and planted a soft kiss on her lips.
Returning his kiss, Sophie wound her arms around his neck and deepened it. She couldn’t resist. His strong arms wrapped around her waist, hugging her close to his broad chest.
“Mmmm, feel free to greet me like that every time I come over,” he said, lips curved up into a sweet smile.
Heat washed her cheeks and she returned his smile. “Let’s go. Prepare to be blown away by the movie snack of the century.”
Determined to keep things light and enjoy the movie before “the talk,” Sophie thrust down the lick of panic bubbling in her gut. She’d accomplished next to nothing all afternoon, instead wrestling with whether she needed to tell him about Doug.
The angel on her shoulder whispered to tell him because if they were going to have any kind of relationship, even a friends-with-benefits one, honesty and trust were vital.
The devil urged her to zip it. They’d only known each other a few weeks. What if he lived up to his “Player of Laguna” reputation and expected only a fun fling? Even though he seemed deeper than that. What if she scared him off with a premature talk?
You can find Second Chance In Laguna at the links below:
It was wonderful having you with us today. Please feel free to stop by anytime. Good Luck with Second Chance In Laguna!
Posted in Authors' Secrets Blog and tagged Claire Marti, Contemporary, Laguna Beach, Romance by email@example.com with 9 comments.
Give a warm welcome to Connie Bretes, author of Blue As Sapphires released February 16, 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 Connie and Blue As Sapphires.
National Statistics. On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. … 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.
Boy those are scary stats.
Blue As Sapphires was born from my love of sapphire digging, and gold panning in the beautiful Gem Mountains and Rock Creek River that runs through Philipsburg, Montana. Another issue that I’m passionate about is doing away with domestic abuse. I took the two subjects and combined them into a story that made Marissa determined to survive and overcome her ex-husband’s physical and emotional abuse, and the sheriff, Riley McCade, who is determined to love and protect her.
Tell us a little about Blue As Sapphires:
Escaping from her abusive ex-husband, Marissa Simpson came back to her hometown to start over. She had no intention of getting involved with another man, or with the community she left behind all those years ago. That is, until Riley McCade showed up.
Riley was the Sheriff of Granite County and he commanded a work force of fifteen deputies. He loved his community and went out of his way to protect and serve. When he met up with Marissa, he was bound and determined to get to know her even though she said she wasn’t interested.
The more he got to know her, the more he learned of her past. Could he protect her and earn her love?
A Word About The Author
Connie began her career as a secretary in 1977 for the State of Michigan as a civil servant. She retired from the Michigan Department of Transportation after 38 years as the department’s forms analyst. She has an MBA in Business Administration – Leadership Studies, and a BA in Business Management.
She has six books published, with five more on the way.
Connie spends most of her time behind her computer, writing, editing and researching for her next story. When she’s not there, she can be found checking out ghost towns, sapphire mining, and gold panning with her best friend and husband, Jim. Her other hobbies consists of basket weaving, and jewelry making.
She is a member of RWA’s From The Heart Romance Writers, and Kiss of Death Romance Writers, and lives in Basin, Montana
You Can Find Connie Bretes on:
How about a peek into Blue As Sapphires?
Marissa laid back and wrapped her arms around Riley’s neck. She brought her lips to within an inch of his. She stared into his eyes and noticed how tender they looked. She moved in a little more, and her lips met his. He moved his mouth over hers, devouring it. While the fireworks were going off in the sky, Marissa felt her own fireworks. His kiss sent a shock wave through her entire body. Riley guided Marissa so she was on her back and he was partially on her. His Stetson concealed their faces. They continued to kiss and touch, looking lovingly at each other, and then kiss again.
The fireworks lasted for fifteen minutes, and suddenly a flashlight shone on them and voices interrupted them. Three firefighters stood in front of them singing a line from Burning Love.
Riley and Marissa quickly broke apart.
“What the hell?” Riley said. A hint of irritation laced his voice. He abruptly stood up, grabbed Marissa’s hand, and pulled her up.
“We were told that there was sparks on the ground, and we were asked to put it out,” Mitch said, laughing.
“Just who the hell told you that?” Riley asked.
“Heidi,” John, second firefighter, said with an amused smile on his face.
Riley and Marissa shot Heidi a glance.
“We can see that the sparks have been put out so we’ll head back to the truck.” Mitch smiled even wider.
Dave and Cindy stood off to the side chuckling. Someone from the crowd that had gathered around them asked, “Hey, Sheriff, got a new girlfriend?” Ripples of laughter rang through the crowd.
Marissa continued to glare at Heidi. She couldn’t believe her friend would do something like that. As the party broke up, Marissa said to Heidi, “We will talk later.”
Stop by here, http://www.constancebretes.com/news–things.html for a chance to win a free copy of Blue As Sapphires.
It was wonderful having you with us today. Please feel free to stop by anytime. Good Luck with Blue As Sapphires!
Posted in Authors' Secrets Blog and tagged Connie Bretes, Contemporary, Domestic Abuse, Romance, Sapphires, small town by firstname.lastname@example.org with 2 comments.