Today we welcome back, author, Hattie Mae.
If you want someone to tell you the unabridged truth, ask a child. It has always amazed me at their ability to tell it like they see it.
Somewhere along the way to adulthood we lose that, of course we learn to be tactful. The definition is: If you are tactful, you have a knack for saying the right thing at the right time.
Now I will admit that I consider myself mostly tactful but that definition is hard to live up to. Sometimes a white lie is less hurtful.
But back to my topic children. Out of all the comments I get from readers about my stories, my favorites are the ones about the children I write into all of my books. They are as much a part of my story line as the hero and heroine. Their voice just comes so freely and the things they will say. Who will disagree with a child when she says that man is a monster? Or who’s heart won’t break when a child asks why someone doesn’t love her enough to stay. We all know children that would say some of the same things, perhaps your own children have said something similar or you did as a child.
In their little ways of play or questions we see a glimpse of the adult they might become. If we could just keep them as free to believe in the good and the unconditional love they give.
My youngest granddaughter, age 4, asked me this morning. “Where do grandmothers come from?” My answer, “we are born just like you and a long time ago I was once a baby, and then a little girl much like you.” She continued the conversation like she’d been thinking of this all night. “And now you’re old?” My answer, “yes, I guess so.” And then the question that got me most: “Why is your skin so wiggly? The skin on your arms?”
“Because of all the hugs grandmothers give,” was my answer, but the words hung in my throat.
In my latest book SWEET TEA AND MAYHAW PIE one of the characters is Faye, a single mother with two children. This is one of the moments that I thought showed how children can play a big part in a story line:
Faye slid her arm around Sunny and felt her small daughter tremble. Hatred like she’d never felt began to build inside. Swallowing the lump in her throat, she stared at Preston. Her eyes pleading for help. How could she have allowed this to happen? To her own child? Faye shivered as her eyes focused on the art frames that hung above the table. Sunny’s drawing of a monster.
“I know how grown up you are Sunny, because you took care of yourself tonight,” Preston said.
“And Will. I took care of Will, too,” Sunny said proudly as she sniffed.
Sunny, age 6 comes away a heroine. When she didn’t know how to tell her mother about the man, she drew a picture to show her mother his true self.
So do you like children as characters in books?
Nestled between the Atchafalaya Basin and Sugar Island, a little off the beaten path few strangers wander by, but every now and then something exciting happens to the people of Bon Amie.
Arthur St. Giles died a lonely old man, still carrying the love of his sweet Charlotta. Kept from marriage because of his love’s lack of dowry, he sets up the St. Giles Trust for the women of Bon Amie. Now a hundred years later the St. Giles Trust is as much a part of Bon Amie as mayhaw pie served on a sweltering summer night.
Babette St. Giles, a romantic at heart, has sworn off relationships. She’s never had a successful one, what with her mother’s words ringing in her ears reminding her she’d never know for sure if a man loved her for her or for her daddy’s money. Bound by family tradition, she is the keeper of the trust. However, Babette finds out that if no one in town marries by the year’s end, the dowry will revert to the state.
Babette decides to hurry things along and try her hand at matchmaking for three of her closest friends. Fay is a single mother and is always looking for the right man to take care of her, but has a history of choosing the wrong man. MaryJoe, a middle-aged new friend who traded a life of her own to be the only caregiver to her ailing parents, now finds herself facing a lonely future. And Reine, a childhood friend, has just returned to Bon Amie in search of answers about the death of her mother and the truth of her childhood.
But three months is not very long to set up a successful match. Especially when she doesn’t want her friends to know precisely what she’s up to.
In the end, one friend will elope, nullifying the dowry; one will find true love but needs to wait for marriage; one will decide that she is enough without the love of a man; and one will unexpectedly find love even though she hadn’t been looking for it. But what they all find is a friendship that now binds them forever and is worth more than any dowry.
The Jaunty Quills are excited to welcome historical author Victoria Roberts to the blog today. She’s the author of the new release, My Highland Spy. RT BookReviews said, “Roberts’ newest features a surprise-laden, quick-paced plot, replete with unconventional and fiercely independent characters. Her lyrical prose grabs readers’ attention, and the high level of emotional tension simply adds to the depth of the story. This book begs to be read and reread.”
Keep reading to find out how to win your copy of My Highland Spy.
Shana: Welcome, Victoria! Tell us about My Highland Spy.
Victoria: First, thank you for having me today at The Jaunty Quills. This is my first visit and I hope not the last. *waves from western PA*
My Highland Spy is the first book in my new Highland Spies series. The series is about four English sisters in the Scottish Highlands. The oldest sister is a spy for the Crown sent to the Highlands to discover machinations against the realm.
Shana: Tell us about your hero, Laird Ruairi Sutherland. First of all, how do you pronounce his first name? Secondly, is he as sexy as he sounds?
Victoria: The name is pronounced ROOR-ee, and yes, he’s as sexy as he sounds. I think it’s hard to resist a man in a kilt, eh? Ruairi would do anything for his clan, especially his son. And let’s just say he’s not very happy when the English show up on his doorstep.
Shana: Those Sassencahs! Who would be happy? (Can you tell I’ve been watching Outlander?)
I love spy books, and your heroine Ravenna Walsingham is a spy for the Crown. What’s she trying to discover?
Victoria: When Ruairi refuses to send his only son to the Lowlands to learn English, King James sends Ravenna to Ruairi’s home in the Highlands. Ravenna masquerades as a governess and her mission is to discover whether or not Ruairi and other Highland lairds conspire to raise arms against the Crown. Ravenna’s not thrilled to be that far away from her sisters for so long and she’s even more flustered by the fact that Ruairi is not the man she expected him to be.
Shana: Tell us what drew you to Scotland. Other than kilted men, that is
Victoria: I was drawn to Scotland the moment I read my first Scottish historical romance. The book was one of Hannah Howell’s Murray brothers. After that, I read every Scottish historical romance I could get my hands on. I fell in love with the genre, and I fell in love with Scotland.
Shana: Do you have a day job? I know from our conversations at conference you have two children and a husband. How do you manage to write and do everything else?
Victoria: Yes, I haven’t quit the day job. I work as a Business Analyst. My job allows me to work from home so I write before and after work and in between family functions. At times, it’s a wee bit hectic in the Roberts’ household to say the least.
Shana: Finally, tell us what you have coming next.
Victoria: I’m working on a Scottish historical anthology will bestselling authors Willa Blair, Eliza Knight, Vonda Sinclair and Terry Spear. Readers can look for Kissing the Highlander Valentine’s Day 2015.
Thank you so much for having me today, Shana. It’s been great fun.
Readers, now it’s your turn. What’s so sexy about Scotland? One reader who comments will win a copy of My Highland Spy.
“An exciting Highland tale of intrigue, betrayal, and love.”
—Hannah Howell, New York Times bestselling author of Highland Master
“Roberts’ newest features a surprise-laden, quick-paced plot, replete with unconventional and fiercely independent characters. Her lyrical prose grabs readers’ attention, and the high level of emotional tension simply adds to the depth of the story. This book begs to be read and reread.”
—RT Book Reviews
This Highland Laird won’t bow to the Crown
Laird Ruairi Sutherland refuses to send his only son away to be educated by the English. And he most definitely will not appear in Edinburgh to pay homage to a liege who has no respect for Scotland. So he does what any laird would do-he lies to the king. The last thing Ruairi expects is a beautiful English governess to appear on his doorstep.
But this lady spy might make him…
Lady Ravenna Walsingham is a seasoned spy who is sent to the savage Highlands to uncover a nefarious plot against the Crown. Playing the part of an English governess—a job easier said than done—she infiltrates the home of Laird Sutherland, a suspected conspirator.
If she doesn’t betray him first
Ravenna soon discovers that the only real threat Sutherland poses is to her heart. But will the proud Highland laird ever forgive her when he discovers the woman he loves in an English spy?
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1l4KJa5
Award-winning author Victoria Roberts writes Scottish historical romances about kilted heroes and warriors from the past. She was named by RT Book Reviews as “one of the most promising debut authors across the genres” and was also a 2013 RT Reviewers’ Choice award winner for X Marks the Scot.
Represented by Jill Marsal of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, Victoria is a member of Romance Writers of America® and several local chapters, as well as a contributing author to the online magazine Celtic Guide.
Victoria lives in western Pennsylvania with her husband of twenty one years and their two beautiful children—not to mention one spoiled dog. When she is not plotting her next Scottish adventure, she’s dragging her clan to every Scottish festival under the sun.
Thanks so much to my dear friend, Nancy Robards Thompson for inviting me to stop by today. I’m thrilled to be here again! And even more, I was recently delighted to be a part of an anthology with seven talented authors, including two of the fabulous members of the Jaunty Quills—Nancy, and the lovely Katherine Garbera.
More than once over the years, I’ve heard people say things like, ‘working with a group of women is way harder than working with men.’ The logic went that women engage in power struggles and can be too catty to get along. Ironically, it was one of my own gender spouting what I consider the rather sexist viewpoint. But I’m proud to say that I’ve now scaled that female-only wall with not a single scratch!
In all fairness, none of us actually populated a cube farm, gathered around a water cooler or stood on line at a copy machine. Not once. Rather, we created our stories in a twenty-first century version of an office—a virtual office. There were no power struggles, no cattiness. One person stepped in to take the lead and nudge all us as far as deadlines and the like. Another agreed to handle banking, and so on. We utilized a Yahoo group and email loops for communication, signed contracts in tandem, and delegated tasks during the few in-person meetings we were able to have. And in the end, I must say, I’m darn proud of the finished product, as well as the way we were able to work together.
In the course of the project, there wasn’t a single argument. Sure, there were differing opinions on cover concepts, marketing costs and strategies, small things. But overall, for seven women with strong opinions and voices, our visions were fairly uniform. We definitely agreed that we wanted to see a hot, bare-chested man on the cover! I mean, how can you go wrong with that? Although individually we each write varying heat levels, we easily settled on a PG-13 rating. Above all, we all wanted top quality stories.
We named ourselves the Jewel Box Authors. Collectively, we’ve written Enchanted by an Emerald, a box set that’s different from anything I’ve ever read. The set is a combination of seven distinct romance genres, and I’m very excited that the release date is approaching. I can’t wait to see how readers react to the anthology.
The idea started on the trip home from a writers’ conference, four of us in a car, a long stretch of highway ahead of us. Someone threw out an idea, then came the names of those we’d like to pull into the project with us. Despite the fact that we all wrote completely different types of books, we realized that we could start with one theme—a theme that we could weave through time and space.
And so it began. This kernel of an idea. We gave ourselves a year from concept to release, which was about how long it took. Using the concept of a magical emerald through seven stories, from medieval to World War II to New Adult and everything in between—that we all agreed upon. In retrospect, that was quite a feat. But we’re women, and despite having a rep that groups of us have a tough time working together, we did it, and we did it well.
What’s been your experience? Do you think women can work well together?
The Jewelbox Authors have some goodies to offer! I will give away a download of my novella in the collection, titled EMERALD INTRIGUE to one commenter. Nancy Robards Thompson is offering a Kindle copy of her Montana Born Fair novella BEAUTY AND THE COWBOY to another lucky winner. Caro Carson will mail a print copy of her current Harlequin Special Edition, NOT JUST A COWBOY, to one winner! T. Elliott Brown is giving away an e-copy of her book BOMBSHELLS to one winner! Catherine Kean is offering an eBook copy of her boxed set MEDIEVAL ROGUES to one winner. Katherine Garbera is giving away a book from her backlist to one winner. Mimi Wells is giving away a $5 gift card to one lucky winner.
ENCHANTED BY AN EMERALD will be available in EBook and print on September 8.
One enchanted emerald…seven couples in need of its magic to find true love. Follow the magic jewel through time and distance…
Will a medieval Lady risk her heart for the battered knight she believes to be her first and only love?
Can a twenty-first century policewoman find her future after she falls into the arms of an eighteenth century pirate?
A World War II soldier’s luck is in the hands of a beautiful French woman, but is she friend or foe?
A business owner with a tragic past is forced to lean on her neighbor to protect her and the valuable jewel she’s discovered, but can she open her heart before it’s too late?
A woman in an unhappy marriage leaves New York behind to rebuild her life on Iris Island, Florida, but can she find strength in her mother’s wisdom and a special gem to build a future and take a second chance at love?
Can a dark-headed mystery man and one magical stone help a down-on-her-luck young woman discover what Fortune has in store for her?
A jewel collector’s plans to thwart her father by stealing a famous emerald might be derailed by the man who wants to throw her in jail—unless the enchanted jewel has another destiny for the lovers.
Wynter Daniels lives in Central Florida with her family. After careers in marketing and the salon industry, Wynter’s wicked prose begged to be set free. She has authored more than two dozen books in several genres including contemporary romance, romantic suspense and paranormal romance. You can find her on the web at WynterDaniels.com and on Facebook
Thank you so much for having me back on Jaunty Quills – I love visiting with everyone here. One of my favorite things about creating a new book or series is coming up with names for the main characters. To me, it’s a chance to dust off all those potential baby names I loved but never used and to match up the personality of the hero or heroine with the perfect name.
What I don’t love is naming secondary characters. I have this bad habit of accidentally choosing familiar or famous names for the people who populate my books. Let’s see, his last name will be Daniels. I’ll call him Jack. Yes, Jack Daniels, that’s original. Or maybe the town gossip is named Betty. How about Betty Crocker? Or Betty White? So creative.
It may not be that extreme, but it’s close.
In my current release, A KISS ON CRIMSON RANCH, the hero is an ex-bull rider with a career-ending injury. When it came time to mention his accident, I wanted the bull to have a name. We had just spent a week with friends at a Minnesota lake and one of the huge inner tubes was called ‘Big Mable’. My daughter dared me to let her best friend’s dad pull me around the lake on the tube (note to self: never take a dare from a blood-thirsty 8 year old). She convinced my husband to take out a second boat to create extra wake behind my boat. If you haven’t tubed for a while–in my case close to thirty years–the wake makes it extra bumpy and sends the tube flying. I ended up bruised and sore and wondering whether the ride was worth the ‘cool mom’ points I got in the process. But there was no question what I was naming the bull: Big Mabel (I changed the spelling just a touch).
We went back to Minnesota this year and I made sure that my co-rider for the tube was 6 years old. He demanded slow and smooth and, not surprisingly, we didn’t fall off once.
What do you think about character names? Do they help you understand the hero and heroine better? Do you notice if the name is familiar or one you don’t love? Do you have an all-time favorite romance character name? Leave a comment below and I’ll draw two winners to receive a copy of A KISS ON CRIMSON RANCH.
Michelle Major grew up in Ohio but dreamed of living in the mountains. Soon after graduating with a degree in Journalism, she pointed her car west and settled in Colorado. Her life and house are filled with one great husband, two beautiful kids, a few furry pets and several well-behaved reptiles. She’s grateful to have found her passion writing stories with happy endings. Michelle loves to hear from her readers. Visit her on her website or find her on Facebook and Twitter.
Welcome Marissa Clarke, my good friend and author of the new release Sleeping with the Boss.
The meet-cute is exactly what it sounds like.
Definition: A scene in which future romantic partners first meet in unusual and often comic circumstances.
In film, the meet-cute can be traced back to the 1920’s and was often a way to get a couple from different socio-economic backgrounds together. Today, that’s not as much of a consideration, but it’s a great device that not only adds immediate humor or awkwardness, it can act as a time machine to speed up the relationship. (Source: HollywoodLexicon.com)
I love meet-cutes. There are lots of great ones in movies and books, but my favorite meet-cute is my own when I met my now husband, Laine.
Once upon a time, long, long ago…
A friend begged me to go on a blind date because there was a guy she liked whose friend wanted to go hear the band they were planning on seeing, but he didn’t want to be a third wheel and needed a date.
Operative words: he needed a date.
Nope. Not doing it. I did not need a date. I had other things to do besides babysit some guy who couldn’t find a girl to go hear a band with him.
After lots of discussion, and perhaps some threats from my friend, I agreed, just to shut her up—but I wasn’t going to go along easily. I had never been on a blind date, and was certain it was a loser proposition before I even left to go pick my friend up to meet the guys. (I insisted on driving so I could make a quick escape.)
To make sure it was a short night, I threw on on a white polka dotted sundress with a sweetheart neckline, pulled my hair in a ponytail and wore no makeup at all—spot on for a Junior League luncheon and the worst possible choice for a nightclub. Perfect! This was going to be the shortest date in history.
When we pulled up in the parking lot to meet the guys, a hot man was leaning against the bumper of a car. He was exactly the kind of guy I found attractive—complete with a runner’s build and jeans faded in all the right places. I thought to myself what a shame it was I wasn’t meeting up with him instead of some dud who couldn’t find a date for himself.
You guessed it. That was my blind date.
My friend, dressed to the nines in a tight black dress and heels busted out laughing. I was mortified. I was decked out for a picnic, not a night on the town. I didn’t find it quite so amusing. Fortunately, my date did, and disclosed to me years later that the Pollyanna look followed by several embarrassing events that took place that night involving a new car with manual transmission I hadn’t mastered yet (imagine that horrifying grinding sound of a poorly executed gear shift) and a broken heel, were what had attracted him the most. Well, that and my sparkling personality and fine-tuned wit. Ha!
And to think, if I hadn’t been an unsuitably dressed klutz that night, we might not have celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary last week.
Definitely my favorite meet-cute.
There’s a meet-cute in my recent release, Sleeping with the Boss, in which the heroine spills her purse in the elevator, then rips the back seam of her skirt when she leans over to collect her things, giving the hero (a total stranger who turns out to be one of the owners of the company for which she’s temping) an eyeful of the results in the polished brass doors of the elevator. Embarrassing and awkward—well, for one of them at least.
I wonder why I related so well to the heroine… I can’t imagine.
Marissa is offering a Rafflecopter giveaway: Kindle Paperwhite + two $25 Amazon or B&N gift cards
Sleeping with the Boss
For the last five years, bookish Claire Maddox has been living for the dying. Now that her stint as caretaker is over, she’s off to see the world. She needs quick cash first, so a temp job at Anderson Auctions seems perfect, especially with the unexpected benefits, including the hottest man she’s ever laid eyes—or hands—on.
Former Marine William Anderson has been burned one time too many. His military training makes him the perfect man to flush out the spy undercutting his family business, but no amount of training can prepare him for the kind of undercover work he’ll have to do when the sexy new temp is implicated. Desire lands them in bed…but duty may cost him his heart.
Buy Links (only 99 cents for a limited time!):
Marissa Clarke lives in Texas, where everything is bigger, especially the mosquitoes.
When not writing, she wrangles her rowdy pack of three teens, husband, and a Cairn Terrier named Annabel, who rules the house (and Marissa’s heart) with an iron paw.
Marissa Clarke is a pseudonym. Her real name is Mary Lindsey and she also writes young adult novels for Penguin USA. www.marylindsey.com
She loves to connect with readers and can be found at www.marissaclarke.com and on Twitter at @MaryL_MarissaC
For updates and insider information on Marissa’s upcoming books, subscribe here: http://tinyurl.com/marissanews