Give a warm welcome to Claire Marti, author of At Last in Laguna! Just released October 18, 2017. I see you brought a guest with you.
Yes, I’ve brought Brandt Dempsey from At Last in Laguna.
Wonderful! Pull up a chair, grab a drink of your choice from the cauldron, a Bat Wing Chocolate Chip, Pumpkin or Peanut Butter cookie from the plate, and let’s find out a little about Brandt Dempseey and At Last in Laguna. But first Claire, tell us about writing At Last in Laguna. 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?
Actually, this story, my second novel, almost wrote itself. Alyssa and Brandt were percolating under the surface all through Second Chance in Laguna, so I was eager and ready to write their story. I had strong visions of both of them, but they surprised me a few times too. I’d call myself half-plotter/ half-pantster. I need to have a story arc with the major turning points, which can be fluid. I start with the characters. I know the lessons I want each character to learn and how they’ll need to grow in order to earn their happily ever after.
Okay then, lets find out about what makes Brandt tick.
What event in your past has left the most indelible impression on you?
I’m very private about my past, but I’m working on making peace with it, so I’ll share with you. Most people don’t know, but my parents were abusive addicts and my early childhood was brutally tough. When they died, I ended up on the streets and in the foster care system. Luckily, I met my “Uncle John,” a Good Samaritan who helped me get off the street and into school. His kindness and generosity are why I’m here today.
What do you most value?
Loyalty. I don’t have a family, except for the few close friends and Uncle John so, I’ll fiercely protect them and stay true to them no matter what.
What is the type of woman you want to spend the rest of your life with?
I’ll be honest, I never pictured myself in a long-term relationship. I’ve purposefully kept my dating life on the casual level because I’m not marriage material. If I could describe the perfect woman, she’d be intelligent, funny-as-hell, and gorgeous inside and out. Okay, I just described my best friend’s little sister, Alyssa. She’s the marrying type.
What do you consider most important in life?
Making a mark by helping others have a chance at a better life. My new center, Tearmann House, means safe haven in Gaelic. It’s going to be a place where abused women and children who aren’t receiving the assistance they need from the system can find refuge.
What is your biggest secret?
At Nick and Sophie’s wedding, Alyssa took me aside, kissed me, and suggested we have an affair while her brother heads off to his honeymoon. She shocked me and now I can’t fight these feelings she’s unleashed. Nick can’t find out: he asked me to act like a surrogate big brother while he’s gone.
Oh, boy I’d say you’re in deep dodo, Brandt.
How about a little about At Last in Laguna!
Alyssa Morgan has secretly been in love with her older brother Nick’s best friend, Brandt Dempsey, since she was an awkward, lonely teenager. When she catches the bouquet at Nick’s wedding, she throws caution to the wind and propositions Brandt to a two-week fling. He’s tried to ignore how Alyssa has blossomed into a strong, talented, gorgeous woman because as his best friend’s baby sister, she’s off limits.
After they share a mind-blowing kiss, Brandt struggles to fight their undeniable chemistry. His tragic childhood scarred him, but he pushes it deep inside, only allowing the world to see a wealthy, carefree entrepreneur. Forced to work together on Brandt’s latest charitable venture, Brandt and Alyssa’s passion cannot be denied. Alyssa knows he’s the one. Can she convince him they belong together?
A sneak peek between the pages of At Last in Laguna.
What was his deal this morning?
She’d give him the cold shoulder if it killed her.
And it just might.
He’d rejected her, so why was he opening doors, hovering, and acting like a pest? Practically breathing down her neck. She could swear he’d sniffed her. Sniffed her. He couldn’t conceal his awareness. If he were so attracted to her, he would’ve agreed to her proposition, right? Since he’d shot her down in flames, he could at least have the decency to ignore her today. Rude, infuriating man.
Inhaling a deep cleansing breath, she forced herself to concentrate on the center. Sunlight streamed through the abundance of windows and along with the high ceilings imparted a feeling of freedom and space, perfect for the planned occupants. Because they’d decided to wait to obtain her input for the more specific room layout, the building’s interior remained a shell. She’d add to her brother’s amazing design and ensure Tearmann House’s beauty and serenity.
Serenity. What a concept. Ha.
You can find At Last in Laguna at:
About the Author:
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, Claire 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 and teaching yoga. At Last in Laguna is the second book in her Finding Forever in Laguna series from The Wild Rose Press.
More about Claire:
It was wonderful having you both with us today. Please feel free to stop by anytime. Congratulations and good luck with your new release At Last in Laguna!
Posted in Authors' Secrets Blog and tagged At Last in Laguna, Claire Marti, Contemporary, Romance, Wedding by firstname.lastname@example.org with 18 comments.
Give a warm welcome to Judy Meadows, author of Escape From Behruz released on April 21, 2017! NOW on sale for 99 cents! What a buy.
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 the 99 cent sale on Escape From Behruz.
Posted in Authors' Secrets Blog and tagged Adventures, Behruz, Contemporary, Judy Meadows, Romance by email@example.com with 33 comments.
Tomorrow, October 3, 2017, is release day for Peggy Jaeger’s A Shot at Love. I had the great pleasure of being offered an advanced copy of this book. I truly enjoyed reading the Spooktacular whodunit! LOL. After all it’s October.
Pull up a chair, grab a drink of your choice from the cauldron, a Bat Wing Chocolate Chip, Pumpkin or Peanut Butter cookie from the plate, and let’s find out about A Shot at Love.
Here’s my take on A Shot at Love.
Gemma Laine is a world famous photo journalist. When a Mob hit goes down right in front of Gemma, she captures it all with her digital camera. Now the FBI take her camera and SD card as part of their investigation, raising her ire as those are not the only photos on that SD card and that camera is her baby.
The police and FBI are not the only ones seeking those pictures. After an attempt on Gemma life, Special Agent Kyros Pappandreos insists on taking Gemma into protective custody. In the mob hit, two of his men and a crucial witness were killed. He’s not taking any chances with her.
What neither Ky or Gemma anticipate is the heat that sizzles between them as Ky tries to keep Gemma out of the mob’s hands.
The storyline keeps you enthralled with the perfect balance of romance and suspense. It’s no surprise that Peggy’s characters grab hold of you and don’t let go until you’ve turned the last page and closed the book with a satisfied sigh. I highly recommend A Shot at Love and look forward to reading the next book in this series.
5-Stars in my haunted skies.
A little about A Shot at Love.
Nothing’s impossible when love is on the menu. In Peggy Jaeger’s luscious series, the only thing more tempting than a delicious meal is a truly delectable romance . . .
Look for exclusive recipes in each book!
Photographer Gemma Laine is looking for arresting faces on the streets of Manhattan when her camera captures something shocking—a triple murder. In that moment, she becomes a target for the mob—and a top priority for a very determined, breathtakingly handsome, FBI special agent. With deadlines to meet and photo shoots on her calendar, Gemma chafes at the idea of protection, but every moment she spends under his watchful eye is a temptation to lose herself in his muscular arms . . .
With two of his men and one crucial witness dead, Special Agent Kyros Pappandreos can’t afford to be distracted. But Gemma is dazzling—and her connection to Kandy Laine’s high-profile cooking empire makes her an especially easy mark for some very bad people. Keeping her safe is much more pleasure than business, but as the heat between them starts to sizzle, Ky is set to investigate whether they have a shot at love . . .
Available at Amazon and other online retailers.
About the author:
Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them.
Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, Peggy brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she has created the families she wanted as that lonely child.
A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.
You can find Peggy at:
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00T8E5LN0
Stop by Authors’ Secrets often where you’ll find award winning and best selling authors, interviews, their new releases and my reviews.
Posted in Authors' Secrets Blog and tagged A Shot at Love, Contemporary, Historical Romance, Mystery, Peggy Jaeger by firstname.lastname@example.org with 4 comments.
Give a warm welcome to Jennifer Wilck, author of In The Moment released September 1, 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 Jennifer Wilck and her new release In The Moment.
Tell us what inspired this particular story?
A few years ago, my daughters and I stopped by an open house in a neighboring town. The girls and I love to check out houses and dream about living in them, and this house was perfect for that. An 1860s Victorian mansion, it was three floors of exquisite molding, fireplaces and hardwood floors. The previous owners had renovated the two bottom floors, retaining the history although modernizing the kitchen and bathrooms. The uppermost floor, though, hadn’t been touched in a long time. In fact, in one of the bedrooms traditionally used by servants, you could still walk on the original wood beam flooring.
This house spoke to me. Not only because I would have given my left arm to live there—if only I had a spare couple of million dollars available—but because I could hear and feel the people from the past who had lived there before. I could see them descending the stairs, hands trailing on the polished bannisters. I could listen to them cozying up in the library by the fire. The house was calling to me.
Unfortunately, since I really don’t have that spare couple of million dollars, we couldn’t buy the house. But I wasn’t about to forget it, and since I’m a writer, I decided to write about it. It was going to be the star of my next book. Since I write romance, someone was going to live in it.
Enter my heroine, Cassie. She was a foster child, shuffled from home to home until she came to this house. It was the first place she felt like part of a family. When her foster mother died, the bank sold the house and Cassie, who had been encouraged to go to college and become successful by that very same foster mother, bought it and began to renovate it. Her dream was to live there and raise her very own family there, to fill it with the love and laughter she remembered and wanted for herself.
Then comes my hero, Rayne. He’s a war photographer emotionally scarred by what he’s seen and what he feels he’s caused. He wants nothing to do with permanence. He’s passing through the town on his way to deliver something to someone—to make good on a promise. Cassie offers him temporary shelter and a way to make some money and he accepts. And then he falls in love.
I won’t tell you anymore, because, you know, spoilers. But I hope the story speaks to you the way this house spoke to me!
A bit more About In The Moment.
Cassie Edwards, a former foster child, purchases an 1870s Victorian mansion, the one home from her childhood where she felt like part of a family. She’s spending her summer lovingly restoring it, with dreams of one day raising a family of her own here. Rayne Tucket, a photojournalist, is haunted by the death of his best friend in Afghanistan, a death he thinks is his fault. He survives day to day. Forever is not in his vocabulary. Swearing off photography, he answers an ad for a handyman—mindless, no emotion involved. As the two of them renovate her house, can Cassie show Rayne that love is strong enough to heal all wounds?
A peek between the pages of In The Moment:
The intimate closeness made her stomach flutter. The proximity of their bodies, the rush of the water, and his feathering touch on her lips made her dizzy. She gripped his arms for support. He grasped her waist, staring deep in her eyes.
He was going to kiss her. She knew it. His pupils dilated. Time slowed. The rushing water pounded around her. She opened her mouth, as much to drink in air as to get ready to kiss him back. His eyes narrowed, focused on her lips. She leaned toward him. Their wet bodies pressed against each other. Her breasts tingled, and her stomach heated at the contact. She wanted this to go on forever, but at the same time, she wanted him to hurry up and kiss her so their lips could finally meet. At the last possible second, he pushed away.
She stood there, confused and aching.
“I’m not the staying kind, Cassie.”
She frowned. “What do you mean?”
“A woman like you needs a man who’ll stay forever. My time here has an expiration date.”
She ducked under the water. When she came up, she pushed her hair out of her face. “I know you’re leaving. You don’t have to, though.”
“Yes, I do.”
“Because I have a promise to keep.”
“What kind of promise?”
“The unbreakable kind.”
About the Author!
Jennifer started telling herself stories as a little girl when she couldn’t fall asleep at night. Her favorite stories to write are those with smart, sassy, independent heroines; handsome, strong and slightly vulnerable heroes; and her stories always end with happily ever after.
In the real world, she’s the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men she knows. When she’s not writing, she loves to laugh with family and friends, is a pro at finding whatever her kids lost in plain sight, and spends way too much time closing doors that should never have been left open. She believes humor is the only way to get through the day and doesn’t share her chocolate.
She writes contemporary romance, some of which are mainstream and some of which involve Jewish characters.
Learn more about Jennifer at her social media haunts below:
It was wonderful having you with us today. Please feel free to stop by anytime. Good Luck with In The Moment!
Posted in Authors' Secrets Blog and tagged Contemporary, In The Moment, Jennifer Wilck, Romance, Women's Fiction by email@example.com with 16 comments.