Bits 'n Bobs Author Blog
Today I have Madeline Martin on my blog to give us a little insight on her newest book, Highland Ruse, and with great reasons why she writes about spies, but isn't one herself.
You're going to love this!
(And isn't this cover fabulous?)
Thanks for joining us today, Madeline!
Oftentimes we as writers will write the characters we wish we could be. That is most definitely the case with the Mercenary Maidens series where the heroines are swept into an underground organization of all female spies. These women are tough, skilled and all kinds of awesome. In honor of the release of my second book, Highland Ruse, coming out, I’m going to share how my Mercenary Maidens are awesome spies and how I am so not.
The Mercenary Maidens are trained to be stealthy and can walk quietly when needed.
Every joint in my body audibly pops, especially my ankles.
The Mercenary Maidens are fluent in English and Gaelic with some of the girls also able to speak several other languages.
I can pass with rusty French and know enough Spanish to get me onto an episode of Dora.
The Mercenary Maidens have an expert on medicine, healing and gadget creation.
I swear by Motrin, abhor the odor of Valerian root and manage to break most things I touch.
The Mercenary Maidens have mad skills at being covert and smooth, lying when necessary to ensure their survival and success.
When I try to lie, my face goes all red, my arm pits get sweaty, my brain overheats and I can’t remember what gibberish I’m spewing on about.
The Mercenary Maidens are graceful and sure of themselves whether fighting, or captivating a room.
I have actually tripped up an entire flight of stairs only to fall once I got to the top. I’ve fallen down quite a few as well, and regularly trip over the sidewalk, my own feet and air.
The Mercenary Maidens have amazing fighting moves they execute with grace and skill.
My hip pops when my foot goes higher than my waist.
The Mercenary Maidens are exceptional horse riders.
I rode a pony at a Ren Faire once.
The Mercenary Maidens are always planning the next move, orchestrating everything like a complicated chess game.
I’m always plotting out my food schedule and fantasizing about my next meal.
The Mercenary Maidens navigate an elegant party seamlessly and beautifully.
I once fell in a fountain while holding a glass of wine.
The Mercenary Maidens know how to use many different weapons and with considerable skill.
I cut myself on a plastic butter knife once and burned my chest when a spent bullet shell fell down my shirt.
The Mercenary Maidens can fight in a corset.
I can barely take wearing one more than five hours without feeling stabby.
The Mercenary Maidens are able to handle Scottish rain, sleet and snow.
I’m a Florida girl who dons a parka when it hits 60.
All that said, I think you can understand why I write about spies instead of trying to be a spy myself. But the concept is so cool, I just can’t get it out of my head! So, all those fun ideas get put into my books for my heroines to navigate to perfection and I get the experience of writing about it. Win, win!
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About Highland Ruse:
Kaid MacLeod couldn’t protect his clan from an unimaginable slaughter that killed his father and many of his people. He knows retaliation will only bring more death to his people, but if he does nothing, the massacres will continue. His clan is growing angry and all seems lost…until Kaid discovers his nemesis’s betrothed will be traveling through Scotland. Abducting her will give him the leverage he desperately needs to end the slaughter and bring peace to his clan.
Delilah Canterbury is not the highborn daughter of a noble, nor is she by any means wealthy, she’s merely pretending to be a Scottish laird’s betrothed as a means of bringing justice to the man rumored to seek vengeance. Beautifully dressed and ready to succeed on her first mission alone, Delilah is more than she seems…she’s a trap.
Matters get complicated as the truth behind their intentions come to light, especially when a sizzling attraction blossoms between them. With so many lives on the line, and loyalties pledged, will Kaid be able to save his people? And can their love survive the lies and ultimate betrayal?
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Praise for Highland Ruse:
“Fans of swashbuckling, high-drama adventure and romance are sure to revel in the second entry in the Mercenary Maidens series. With an empowered heroine and tormented hero, a high degree of sensuality and a fast-moving plot, readers are sure to be satisfied from beginning to end. The added mystery and contemporary theme of addiction enhance the story so it truly resonates with readers.” – RT Reviews
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Free Preview of Ch1: http://www.madelinemartin.com/2017/11/highland-ruse-preview-of-chapter-1/
Google Play: http://hyperurl.co/hrgp
BN Paperback: http://hyperurl.co/hrbnpb
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Madeline Martin is a USA TODAY Bestselling author of Scottish set historical romance with tons of page-turning action and tough heroines. She lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her two daughters (AKA OldestMinion and YoungestMinion) and Mr. Awesome.
Come visit with me on Collette Cameron's blog today! I have an interview up along with some fun info on Highland Escape. I think the word 'GIVEAWAY' is involved! :-)
MJ Compton Bio
MJ Compton grew up near Cardiff, New York, a place best known for its giant, which turned out to be a fiction so incredible, PT Barnum himself borrowed it. That’s a tough act to follow, but MJ tried—by composing her own stories.
Although her 30-year career in local television included such highlights as being bitten by a lion, preempting a US President for a college basketball game, giving a three-time world champion boxer a few black eyes, a mention in the Drudge Report, and meeting her husband, MJ’s urge to create her own stories never went away.
MJ still lives in upstate New York with her husband. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and Central New York Romance Writers. Music and cooking are two of her passions, and she enjoys baseball and college basketball, but she’s primarily focused on wine . . . and writing.
THE DELTA (AND RELUCTANT) HERO
By MJ Compton
Fleshing out Stoker Smith, hero of my new release, AND JERICHO BURNED, was a bit of a challenge. You see, he’s a werewolf. And werewolves, as opposed to the general population, are very alpha. Stoker is intimidating, dominating, and confident: all signs of alpha maleness. And yet, he’s not an alpha male. At least, not in his pack. He’s delta. A real middle of the pack kind of guy.
He has no desire to lead anything, mostly because leading would involve thinking and making decisions, and he has many more important things to do than clutter his brain with details other people are more qualified to ponder. Mostly he likes to compose music. He co-writes most of the songs performed by Toke Lobo & The Pack, the country band his pack alpha started. When he meets Lucy Callahan, heroine of the book, even making music takes a backseat to wanting to take her home and start making babies with her. His ultimate bliss is within reach--except for one or two things.
First of all, there’s Lucy. Lucy thinks. She plots and strategizes, and even failure doesn’t stop her from doing it again. Stoker knows he should be flattered when the pack alphas listen to her, because that’s an honor, but he and Lucy are delta. Deltas don’t think. His mate needs to learn that.
Then there’s her sister, Michelle, who is now part of his family. He promised Lucy he’d get Michelle away from that heavily-armed religious cult she joined. The pack alphas don’t want to hear that, so he has to deal with it himself. And while he’s capable, he’d much rather be led.
Except when someone hurts Lucy. Revenge is his and his alone. And that’s what makes it a romance.
Website & Blog www.comptonplations.com
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/MJ-Compton/e/B00J9DFFIG/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
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First let me say, Wow! What a cover!
OK, now that that's out of the way, let me introduce my guest author.
Marilyn Baxter is a long-time friend and fellow author. Her latest book, Direct Deposit, a contemporary romance, just released in January.
So, Marilyn, it’s great to have you here today. Could you please tell us a bit about yourself?
MB: I’m a Southern girl who has lived all over the South in addition to living in Germany for four years. I’m a mom and a grandmother, and as much as I love my sons, being a Grammy is THE best gig in the world! After years of shopping in the boys department, now I get to shop in the pink section! It’s been such fun to have granddaughters. I also work as an administrative assistant for a family law firm. I think it’s ironic my heroine is an attorney who specializes in family law, and I wrote this book years before I had any up close and personal experience with family law. The Universe has a real sense of humor!
CMR: Tell us a bit about your newest book.
MB: Direct Deposit is about banks and withdrawals and deposits – but not the financial kind. The heroine is a widow who put off having children and decides she wants to use a sperm donor to have a child. The hero was her late husband’s business partner who made a promise to look in on his friend’s wife after his death to make sure no one took advantage of her and she didn’t do anything crazy in her grief. When he learns she wants to make a withdrawal from a sperm bank, he’s stunned. But what he does next … well, you’ll have to read the book to find out. ;-)
CMRL What was your inspiration for this story?
MB: One day this headline popped up in my news feed: Seeking Sperm, Not Sex, Online. I was intrigued and read more. The story told about women who were looking at online sperm banks rather than going to a doctor’s office.
CMR: That is certainly interesting. What kind of research did you do?
MB: I read the information on online sperm bank websites (and yes, there are a lot of them!) and also asked lots of questions of a writer friend who is an attorney. My biggest challenge was finding a situation where a pregnancy could legally put a woman’s job in jeopardy. My attorney friend came up with the solution. I have learned that people love to share information about their professions with you, and the online writing community is especially helpful. And in addition to my sperm bank and legal research, there was a research trip to Atlanta. Going to Tiffany’s was SUCH a hardship. NOT!
CMR: How did you decide on the setting? Have you ever been there?
MB: I wanted the story set in a large city and I’m familiar enough with Atlanta that I set it there. I’ve been to Atlanta on numerous occasions, but about a month after I finished this book, my sister and I met in Atlanta and went to all the places I’d used in the book. Her son had attended college at Georgia Tech, so she was a font of information on the city.
CMR: It sounds like you enjoyed researching your book. How long have you been writing?
MB: I’ve been writing for about ten years. I began writing for the confessions magazines and had success with that. But I longed to write stories where the characters had a happy ending, and in 2008 I finished my first full-length book, which is the one just released.
CMR: That is quite a varied career. What do you enjoy most about writing?
MB: Truthfully? Typing The End is my favorite part. It means I have planned, worked the plan and achieved it. Then I start all over again and work toward another end.
CMR: I know what you mean. The story itself is so much fun, but there is a great sense of accomplishment and resolution to write THE END. So, What draws you to contemporary genre?
MB: I like the here and now and characters who face today’s problems and issues. I sure have to do enough research to make sure my facts are correct, so I have a great deal of respect for historical writers such as you who have to not only craft a plot and create characters but set them in a different time and make sure you don’t have them make coffee in a Keurig and wear Crocs. ;-)
CMR: LOL! Exactly! Such a tricky minefield, sometimes to keep historical anachronisms at bay. What surprises did you uncover as these characters and story developed?
MB: My hero was a real bad boy in his youth and while he had become a responsible adult, he still had a smart mouth and a never-gonna-settle-down attitude. To watch him change from a guy whose girlfriends changed as often as the marquee on a movie theater to someone who took on responsibility was such fun.
CMR: Oh, that does sound like fun. And I simply love the interaction between Maddie and Jack! Before we get to the excerpt (which is completely awesome, btw) is there anything you’d like to add?
MB: Direct Deposit is available in digital format from all the major online retailers and will come out in print on demand shortly. This is the book of my heart, and I hope folks enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
CMR: I am sure we will. It just got bumped up on my TBR list!
Thanks so much for being here today! It has been such fun chatting with you. Best of luck with your books!
Family law attorney Maddie Prescott is driven to succeed. A pawn in her parents’ messy divorce, she devoted her career to representing children in court, and when her husband’s early death makes it seem like she can’t have it all, she’s ready to beat the odds by going to a sperm bank. One advantage to single parenthood is that her child will never be a pawn. That, and she’ll never have to deal with sarcastic ladies’ men or liars.
Jack Worth promised to look out for his dying best friend’s wife: a small repayment for someone who once helped an irredeemable bad boy find the path to happiness. So, while Maddie Prescott’s baby plans are questionable, duty and loyalty prompt Jack first to volunteer as the sperm donor…and then to propose a marriage of convenience. And the more he gets to know her, the more this onetime player will see that Maddie is the woman of his dreams, and that the child they will make deserves to be from a direct deposit.
It’s time to move on, Jack,” she told him. “And I think it’s time we stopped these monthly pity parties. We struggle to carry on polite conversation. I choke on every bite of food. You sit there feeling sorry for me. I’ve made some decisions in the last few weeks that will move my life in a new direction. I only hope you’re able to do the same.”
“Is that what the sperm canister is all about?”
Water spewed everywhere.
“How...” Her cheeks burned from embarrassment.
“The letter behind your phone. You aren’t seriously considering going to a sperm bank are you?”
Maddie pushed away from the table and picked up her plate, heading toward the kitchen. “And if I am, what makes it your business?” Chagrin replaced the previous awkwardness.
Jack followed, juggling his plate in one hand as he nudged open the door to the kitchen with his elbow.
“What the hell are you thinking? You’re going to get yourself knocked up by some total stranger so you can play Mommy?” He took her plate and scraped it into the sink.
“No one is knocking me up as you so charmingly put it.” She crossed her arms and leaned against the counter. “The procedure is done in an office by a doctor and—”
“I know how the hell it’s done.”
“Oh? I wasn’t aware The Playboy Channel televised medical documentaries.”
“I watch The Learning Channel, too. Surprised?” He loaded the dishwasher while she looked on in amazement. “What? I’m housebroken. I’m not Emeril, but I cook a mean meatloaf and mashed potatoes.” He squirted dish gel in the dispenser. “From scratch,” he added.
“Quite honestly, nothing about you would surprise me, Jack. What did surprise me was my husband being in business with you. You were as different as… as…”
“Champagne and beer?” he suggested as he rinsed the sink. “Caviar and hot dogs? You and me?”
“You got that right.” Maddie lifted her chin defiantly.
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11/21/2014 13 Comments
Today I have author Carole Ann Moleti here to talk about her book, The Widow's Walk, and offer a book giveaway!
Hi, Carole! It’s great to have you here today. And welcome to Soul Mate Publishing.
Thanks, Cathy. I'm so happy to be involved with such a dynamic and diverse group of authors. And friendly ones, too. And I'd like to invite both my new and old readers to leave a comment or ask a question. I'll pick a winner at random and send them a copy of The Widow's Walk.
How long have you been writing?
I've been writing bad poetry and political rants for as long as I can recall. During my early academic days, I was so bored with scholarly writing I didn't want to write a shopping list. But I never lost my love of reading—especially romance, fantasy, and science fiction. But I still write op-ed, opinion pieces, personal essays—and I 've written two memoirs, one about my professional life and the other about being a mom.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
In 2005, I had this very odd experience. After watching a film that glorified violence against women, I decided I was going to write a novel to put things right. Got to Chapter 7 before I realized I had no clue what I was doing. So I started taking classes and networking with other authors. I still take writing classes and am continually learning new skills and techniques. I am inspired by everyday life, and no matter how much I swear I'm not going to do it, I find myself writing fiction and non fiction with parallel themes simultaneously. It's a way to cope with the craziness of life.
What draws you to the paranormal romance genre?
Living in New York City is a paranormal or otherworldly experience. I mean, where else can I go that sometimes makes me feel like Mos Isly Cantina from Star Wars? The subway experience has inspired more than one zombie story. I wrote an entire urban fantasy novel about the neighborhood in which I work. One day, driving to the day job, this guy was walking alongside the Cross Bronx Expressway stark naked and at full attention, if you know what I mean. Other than a few honks, no one but the cops stopped.
My grandmother used to give me all the bodice ripper romance novels she'd read. And I was a Catholic schoolgirl so I devoured them. I'm also a scientist, a biologist, so I love the speculative genres. I remember reading The Andromeda Strain and The Arm of the Starfish when I was very young. So, put it all together so you get a lot of medical stuff, mixed in with romance and urban fantasy—and always a political statement in there somewhere. My heroines are feisty. Cross genre on a New York City high.
What was your inspiration for The Widow’s Walk?
As with most of my writing, ideas come to me at the oddest times. I was at our summer cottage in Upstate New York, pulling dustcovers off furniture and vacuuming up mouse poop and dead flies. All of a sudden, I decided to write a story about a woman finding a trunk of old clothes. Those two scenes were the beginning of the Unfinished Business Series. I wrote what was to become Breakwater Beach that Fourth of July weekend. Missed all the parties. My husband was so pissed off, but when you get that kind of inspiration you run with it. It had to be Victorian. I seriously think I lived a previous life back then—always fascinated with the clothing, the customs. I even have my dining room decorated with Victorian era antique furniture.
How did you decide on the setting? Have you been there?
I have been spending summers on Cape Cod all my life, and just love it there. Particularly Brewster, where the series is set. I grew up on the Bronx waterfront, which some people find hard to believe even exists, but it is so beautiful, with the East River framed by the Throggs Neck and Whitestone Bridges. My grandfather, uncles and father took me fishing and taught me how to swim and sail. So writing about beaches, and bridges, and boats and the beauty—and absolute fury --that the water can unleash during a storm is so natural. If you look really deeply into the male characters, you'll see a composite of my Dad, grandfather, and uncles who had such an influence on me and provided so much love, stability, and encouragement in what was a very turbulent time to be growing up female, and as The Bronx burned down around us.
Tell us how you arrived at Soul Mate Publishing.
I met Debby Gilbert at the Connecticut Romance Writers of America Chapter Fiction Fest. She loved the premise of The Widow's Walk and asked me to send it to her. I heard back in about a month that she wanted to publish it. I've been writing this series since that Fourth of July weekend in 2007, so I was thrilled.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
As I mentioned, the first part of the series was a novella called Breakwater Beach, published in Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts. I have novelized it, and hope it will be joining The Widow's Walk on the bookshelves next year. I have also outlined what will be the third book in the series, with a working title of Storm Watch. A hurricane on a scale between Sandy and Katrina is headed for the Cape—and the eye is going to pass right over Brewster and The Barrett Inn.
I've lived thorough many a hurricane and Nor'easter. In fact, I wrote the hospital scene in The Widow's Walk by the light of a battery powered lantern on my Alphasmart Neo after Hurricane Irene knocked our power out for a week back in 2011. I've also been working on an urban fantasy series called Boulevard of Bad Spells and Broken Dreams—about a witch who returns from exile in Puerto Rico to face her past and find the arsonists that murdered her family.
Thank you so much for being here today! It has been a lot of fun getting to know you. Best of luck with your new release!
Thanks for having me, Cathy. And don't forget about the giveaway, folks!
Mike and Liz Keeny are newlyweds, new parents, and the proprietors of the Barrett Inn, an 1875 Victorian on Cape Cod, which just happens to be haunted. By their own ghosts. The Inn had become an annex of Purgatory, putting Mike, Liz, and their infant son in danger. Selling the historic seaside bed and breakfast was the only answer, one that Liz and her own tortured specter refused to consider. Were they doomed to follow the same path that led to disaster in their previous lives? Was getting out, getting away, enough?
Silk rustled as she ran her hands over the dress. The lavender scent deepened as Elisabeth swirled around inside. Her mind went numb as the ghost took control. She slipped out of her clothes and stood naked in front of the mirror. She put up her hair, preening for her husband, before she stepped into the middle of the deep green skirts and pulled them up over her waist, slipped her arms into the sleeves, and twisted them behind her back to fasten the buttons. She used the buttonhook to do up the shoes, then peered out into the hallway.
Liz bundled the sweat suit into her arms, along with the soap and paper goods, and hurried to the attic door. It wasn't until she placed her hand on the banister and started up the steep staircase to the roof that Elisabeth's needling eased. Like an addict in the throes of withdrawal, just the promise of being up there, her spirit communing with the long lost sea captain, offered relief.
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Buy link: myBook.to/TWW
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