Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sarah McNeal's Inspiration for 'The Violin'

Karen: Sarah McNeal is a multi-published author of heartfelt romance and historical time travels. Let's join Sarah as she takes us back to the 1920s and to John, the young man who inspired her to write The Violin


Behind The Scenes:  My Inspiration for The Violin by Sarah McNeal

Of all the books and short stories I have ever written, The Violin is the one book inspired by my own family.  I heard marvelous and exciting stories about my Uncle John from my dad from my earliest memory.  I sensed from Pop’s far away gaze and the way his voice wavered when he spoke of John that he idealized his brother and missed him even many years after John’s death.

John was the wild child, eager for adventure and the excitement that the 1920’s presented.  It was a time of great change and John wanted to experience all of it.  My grandfather and grandmother were practical teachers and insisted that all three of their sons go to college and earn a degree.  Not an easy accomplishment in a time when most people were either very poor or very rich.  John  had a talent for music and played the mandolin and violin.  In fact, I inherited his violin and still play it.  He managed to get a job with a traveling opera show out of New York City as a roadie and also played his violin.  He rode his Indian motorcycle all over the United States and Canada with the opera and, although he wasn’t the best of letter writers, he was a great photographer and sent home pictures from all the places he went.  In the fall and winter, he attended college and graduated with a degree in civil engineering just before his twenty-first birthday.

According to my dad, John was quite the ladies’ man with heart-stopping looks and easy charm.  Sadly, he never had the chance to work as a civil engineer, marry some sweet girl or have a family.  John went fly-fishing with some of his friends along Roaring Creek on a sunny May morning.  His friends moved forward around the bend in the river and after some time noticed that John hadn’t joined them.  When they went back to look for him, they found him face down in the water.  He had drowned.  The newspaper clippings I found in my grandfather’s trunk declared it an accident but none of the papers said what happened.  I offered an explanation for his death in The Violin, but in truth, no one really knew the cause.

After my dad died, I was determined to write John’s story but I wanted to give him a life filled with all the wonderful things he missed.  I wrote The Violin and dedicated it to my dad who loved and missed John until the day he died.  I used real places including the description of my grandfather’s house, the graveyard next to it and the picnic grounds and church just up the hill.  Pop told me so much about the things young people did for entertainment and what everyday life was like in 1927 that I almost felt as if I had been there.  I also learned some wonderful nuggets of information from an elderly woman who knew my father and his brother John when she was growing up.  I loved her stories and they gave me a good female perspective of those days like the flour sacks women used to make dresses and other clothing and accessories. I learned about the first Indian motorcycles from a male nurse who was a motorcycle enthusiast that worked with me in the ER.  Genevieve is completely fictional, but I hope I made her the perfect woman for John.  From a lonely existence in the twenty-first century, Genevieve travels through time to find her one true love.


THE VIOLIN
By Sarah McNeal
Publishing by Rebecca Vickery
Revised edition published December 4, 2011

Loneliness...Mystery...A step through time
BLURB:
Genevieve dreams of him almost every night and has for most of her lonely life. Intrigued, she buys his violin and finds the remnants of his life and the mystery of his death in 1927 revealed within its case. Intrigued, she makes a decision, one that will change her life forever.
Is there a way to change the past and save this man who haunts her heart?

EXCERPT:
Genevieve began to loosen her grip a little as she grew calmer. A little burn of fear still scorched her stomach, though. "Does this thing have brakes?" she called out the question.

"You'll be glad to know there's two. I have one in my right hand and the other is located under my right foot. You couldn't be any safer." His voice rose above the engine noise. "Isn't this the greatest?" He was obviously enjoying himself.

Genevieve wasn't so sure it was the greatest thing, riding wildly down a dirt road on a motorcycle. In her real life, she would never take such a crazy chance. But there is one thing that makes this dangerous and impulsive antic worthwhile. She got to hold John close to her until she could hear his heartbeat and the vibration of his voice through his jacket on her cheek. The time she spent with John was worth all the heartache that would come later.

BUY LINKS: (Available in E-Book and Paperback)
Smashwords:
Amazon.com
Rebecca Vickery Publishing
Create Space :
Also available at Barns and Noble and all other online bookstores.

Where you can find me:
Sarah’s Provocative Ponderings: (first Thursday of every month)
Twitter:
My Amazon Author’s Page:

Monday, May 28, 2012

Alana Lorens Used to Dodge Bullets!


Karen: Alana Lorens is also known as Barabara Mountjoy. She used to dodge bullets for living. No, she's not in witness protection. She's a multi-published author. She now lets her hero and heroines take the heat. 

**She's on tour and is giving away prizes to FOUR lucky people. Find out how you can be a winner!   

Alana Lorens: Because if I Don't Do It, They'll Have No One at All
A bullet hole sits square in the middle of the front window of my office. In the past, there have been bullet holes in my car. I’ve received scary phone calls, had threats shouted in my face in the courthouse halls, and every once in awhile, just know from the look in someone’s eye that they were about to snap. Sometimes when you do divorce work, it feels like your whole day is navigating a mine field.
I’ve practiced law for over twenty-five years now, and all of it in the field of family law. Of all the fields out there, it’s probably one of the most highly emotions. Of course it is. People at this time are losing their families, their belongings, their promises that were made years before. Why wouldn’t they be torn up? 
When people are losing everything, they can come to a place where they feel they have nothing left to lose.
We’ve seen examples of this in the headlines—parents kill their children, they kill their spouses or partners, they kill themselves. They even blame others for their troubles—including the layers and judges, sometimes. After all, if it weren’t for those people, their loved one couldn’t make a divorce happen, right? It can be quite dangerous—lawyers in the domestic field and criminal law practice are the ones most often killed during the course of a case. 
But you do the work because the clients need you. Sometimes, if they don’t have you, they have no one at all.
All these things have caused me some sleepless nights, but never caused me to give it up. I encourage others to volunteer all the time--be a victim witness coordinator, be a lay counselor, just answer the domestic violence shelter Hotline one night a month. Everyone can make a difference.
I hope I’ve carried this dogged determination over to my heroine, Suzanne Taylor, who very much finds herself in the same kind of spots. She’s lost a client to a murderous husband before, so when Maddie Morgan, the wife of a well-connected city councilman, comes to her for help, revealing a long history of abuse, Suzanne takes on her case in a heartbeat.
The councilman goes after Suzanne with threats and worse.  She can handle the threats to herself without much worry, and even when he goes after her new beau, police lieutenant Nick Sansone, she stumbles a little, wanting to do what’s right for everyone.
But when the desperate councilman goes after her children, that act brings out the mama grizzly we hear so much about. It’s his last mistake. And that’s the way it should be.
***The book is dedicated to the many nameless volunteers, law enforcement personnel and pro bono attorneys who wore endless hours to help survivors of domestic violence, without whom many more of these victims might never fight their way back into the light. Its a cause that's close to my heart, and that's why I had to write about it.
For more information, visit http://alanalorens.com or the Wild Rose Press at: http://www.thewildrosepress.com/   
 About the Author:
Alana Lorens (aka Barbara Mountjoy) has been a published writer for over 35 years, including seven years as a reporter and editor at the South Dade News Leader in Homestead, Florida. Her list of publications includes the non-fiction book101 Little Instructions for Surviving Your Divorce, published by Impact Publishers in 1999, stories in A Cup of Comfort for Divorced Women, in December 2008, and A Cup of Comfort for Adoptive Parents, in June 2009. Her Clan Elves of the Bitterroot series (as Lyndi Alexander) is available from Dragonfly Publishing; THE ELF QUEEN in 2010 and THE ELF CHILD in March 2011, with THE ELF MAGE coming out in early 2012.
Her newest release (as Alana Lorens) is SECRETS IN THE SAND, in the Crimson Rose line from The Wild Rose Press. She also takes care of a husband and a bunch of kids and blogs on a variety of subjects, including autism, science fiction and life at Awalkabout.
DUAL BOOK/BLOG TOUR!!  CONVICTION OF THE HEART (release date June 8, 2012)  And SECOND CHANCES (release date July 2012)
The first and Second books of the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyer Series!
Come by the following blogs or live booksignings( see them all at http://alanalorens.com) and leave a comment to be entered in a drawing—at the end of the tour, Alana will give away one ebook copy of each book and one paperback copy of each book—Four lucky winners!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday: Storm Riders #1


Hello Everyone! Happy Sunday! Come on by my website (Karen's Shenanigans)
Today I thought I'd share a snippet from my western/steampunk tale: STORM RIDERS.
http://www.kmnbooks.com/?p=5605

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memorial Weekend Adventure

Danger and Sacrifice... Fate brings to most unlikely souls together.  It's Fate's prerogative after all.


SATURDAY, SUNDAY, AND MONDAY...
Destiny's Prerogative IS FREE!
THAT'S RIGHT. Absolutely no strings attached. Please Enjoy!! Amazon
 
Of course, likes, tags and sharing on Facebook are always appreciated!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

COUNTRY GAL AMBER LEIGH WILLIAMS AND HER RODEO HUNKS


KAREN: COUNTRY GAL AMBER LEIGH WILLIAMS WILL KEEP YOU COMING BACK TO WAYBACK TEXAS JUST TO GET A GLIMPSE OF THOSE HUNKY COWBOYS. I LOVED AMBER'S WESTERN SERIES. EACH STORY IS FULL OF WITTY CONVERSATION, PASSION AND OF COURSE, SIZZLING ROMANCE. 
LET'S GIVE AMBER A WARM WELCOME!  
AMBER: While doing some spring cleaning this week (to make way for our new family addition coming in November!!!), I uncovered a Vogue magazine from seven years ago that changed my life! Okay, I won’t go that far. It would be more accurate to say it changed my writing life...in a big way. And while today I gladly threw away a whole roomful of clutter, including much of my Vogue collection, I couldn’t seem to part ways with this. Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes. Most writers and other artists are big believers in this. I’m no exception. Through the inspiration I found in the article contained in this October issue, I found my writing niche – contemporary western romance!
The article delved deep into the backstory of the cover actress – her country roots and how a large part of her longed to return to them. It spanned ten pages, complete with beautiful photographs done by Mario Testino of the actress on a ranch with several yummy-looking cowboys. It was the longing she spoke of, however, that really set my pen to paper. I’m a country girl; I grew up in rural Alabama. Too much time in the city makes me itch. I know all-too-well what it’s like to have a large part of your heart long for simpler roots and a more rural setting. Amidst of this connection between the cover actress and myself, the heroine of my first western romance was born. The backdrop of western romance and the ranching life of rural West Texas seemed the most natural place against which to tell her story. Wayback, Texas is the environment from which America’s Sweetheart, Stella Ridge, grew up and from which she ran away to become an actress at a tender age. Despite the hard knocks life has dealt her father and brothers as time has passed, she has never returned…until now. The reason? Her life in the fast lane has come to a screeching halt – in the form of a horrific car accident. For the first time in her life, she feels an overwhelming desire to return to her roots – those of a rancher’s daughter far away from the bright lights and intrusion of Hollywood. She finds out, unfortunately, that not everything is simple in Wayback, least of all her staggering pull toward silent cowboy and champion bull rider, Judd Black….
Blackest Heart sparked off a trilogy. Stella’s story was followed closely by those of her two elder brothers, Casey (in Bluest Heart), and Keefe (in Bet it on my Heart). I loved telling these three stories so much, I’m returning to the western world later this summer with a new trilogy set in the Dakotas! Since its release, Blackest Heart has placed 1st in the More Than Magic Contest’s novella category. It is also featured in the western romance trade paperback anthology, The Way Back Home. All three western romance titles are available for your reading pleasure now at The Wild RosePress
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amber Leigh Williams is a multi-published romance author, former Secretary of the Gulf Coast Chapter of RWA, and represented by the D4EO Literary Agency. She writes romance of all genres but loves contemporary romance and western romance more than any other sub-genre. Amber and her husband currently reside on the beautiful Gulf Coast with their three labs. You can find out more about her books and writing life at her website: www.amberleighwilliams.com!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Stephanie Burkhart's Ingredients for an Intriguing Fantasy!

KAREN: Stephanie Burkhart pens tales for Desert Breeze Publishing, 4RV Publishing and Publishing with Rebecca J. Vickery. Whether your reading fancy is contemporary, paranormal or a fantasy, her tales are sure to keep the readers intrigued. Stephanie is here today to give us a sneak peek of her new release, THE GREEN ROSE and how this magical fantasy became the story it is today.


THE STORY BEHIND THE SCENES: THE GREEN ROSE by Stephanie Burkhart

Ingredients for a Fantasy

1 pinch of honey
1 silver spoon
a bouquet of flowers, preferably green roses
a couple of swords and dragons
and a healthy imagination.

Mix well, and don't forget the magic to hold it all together and you've got: The Green Rose.  J

My latest release is "The Green Rose," a fantasy romance, but the inspiration for this story came from a very simple writing prompt.

One place that I enjoy hanging out and that has really helped me grow as a writer is http://www.writing.com.  I've been a member since 2004 and a Moderator since 2007. It's a wonderful source of information for new and aspiring writers. In fact, I'm one of the editors on the Romance/Love Newsletter.  You can find my "port" at: http://www.writing.com/main/portfolio/view/sgcardin

On occasion, I like to participate in the contests offered at Writing.com. I was cruising the contest list in 2008 when I found one that intrigued me. The prompt was simple: write a story about a flower, a spoon, and honey.

I knew right away I wanted to write a fantasy story with those ingredients. Magic would be the "egg" that held the story together. I wrote a 1,000 word story where the hero, Ivánstan, approaches three witches to ask them for the green rose. Before they give it to him, he has to solve a riddle. Can Ivánstan outwit the witches?

The short story was well received on writing.com, earning a 10K Awardicon. It was such fun to write, I knew I wanted to expand on it. In 2010, I approached Gail Delaney at Desert Breeze and showed her the story. She offered it a contract.

The last couple of ingredients fell into place with "Game of Thrones." Last year HBO released season one and I fell in love with the visual presentation of the series. (and Daenerys' dragons!) Now that I had the visual setting for "The Green Rose," I was ready to write Ivánstan's story.

REVIEWS FOR THE GREEN ROSE:

5 Stars, Scorching Book Reviews
I don't read much romantic fantasy, but this was so well structured and so lovely, I could not put it down.

Stephenia Mcgee, Author "A Legacy of Lies"
Stephanie Burkhart weaves a delightful blend of action, intrigue and adventure into her fantasy romance, The Green Rose.

Regina Andrews, Author of "Destiny's Designs"
"The Green Rose" reaches the reader on an emotional level that rings very true and very sincere.

BLURB:
Eight hundred years ago on the continent of Gaia, war rocked the countries of N'Gasse, Tapin, Daháka, and Ravenrock. The fearsome wyldebeasts of the black east threatened to destroy the known world. King Xeres of Daháka gathered the most powerful magicians of Gaia along with Queen Rhysia of N'Gasse, King Erik of Ravenrock, and Nyla, the High Priestess of Tapin at Komodo Field.

Daháka brought pollen taken from the bees of the Tagrassé Forest. N'Gasse brought sap from the old mahogany trees. Tapin presented dust from falcon eggs. Ravenrock offered a rose. Together, they forged the indestructible green rose, a harbinger of powerful magic.

Using the green rose, the nobles and peoples of Gaia fought the wyldebeasts, led by the dark wizard, Augustin. Once the evil threat was defeated, the Eastern Wall was built along Ravenrock's borders to keep the foul wyldebeasts out of Gaia. Ravenrock was given the responsibility of guarding the 50,000 kilometer granite barrier.

King Xeres feared those who harbored evil in their hearts would seek the green rose. He tasked three witches to guard the flower and sent them into the heart of Tagrassé Forest.

Now, hundreds of years later, the peace of Gaia is once again threatened.

Enjoy this excerpt:
"Ivánstan, look." Sonia pointed. In the distance, the river widened. A small island came into view. Several birch trees and bushes surrounded a sturdy looking brick house with a distended chimney.

"Ah, the witches. Draco, stay close. We don't want to upset them."

 "Aye."

"I sense an unusual warmth inviting us closer, perhaps?"

"I do as well. I believe it's an enchantment."

"Alerting the witches?"

"Aye." He paused. "Well done, by the way -- reaching out with your magical senses."

"I have a skilled teacher."

"Thank you, but I think you'll find the more you use magic, the more you grow comfortable with it."

The island grew closer, but Ivánstan couldn't find any activity with his eyesight. Where were the witches?

A small dock came into view on the northeast corner of the island. Ivánstan and Sonia guided their horses to a spot across from the island docks. He motioned to stop and dismounted. Sonia did the same.

"Draco, stay close to us. Don't approach the isle."
 "Aye."

His dragon landed next to Sonia.

"What now?" she asked.

"I'm not quite sure. How do we obtain the witches' attention?" He scrubbed his hand across the back of his neck.

He didn't have to ponder the question long. The ropes securing a boat to the dock began to unravel, and the small vessel journeyed across the water, coming to rest alongside the shore. Ivánstan glanced across the water toward the brick house. The chimney began puffing smoke, but he did not see any witches.

"I wonder why they stay in the house?" Sonia mused.

"Curious. Certainly the boat is an invitation to the island." Ivánstan led his horse to a nearby tree and Sonia did the same.

"Draco, stay here."

His dragon snorted.

"Hiro, I want you to stay as well and watch over the horses," said Sonia. The falcon flew off her shoulder and perched on a nearby tree limb.

"Are you ready?" he asked.
"Aye."

Ivánstan steeled his shoulders before stepping into the boat. He held out his hand to Sonia. Their eyes locked. The weight of the moment washed over him. He could not leave without the rose.

Sonia's grasp was firm, but the second she placed her foot on the wood, she flew backward and landed on the dirt. Quickly, she scampered to her feet.

Book Trailer:

The Green Rose is available as an ebook only.
BUY LINKS:

PUBLISHER'S SITE Desert Breeze Publishing


  


About the author: Stephanie is a member of Generation X, and was born in Manchester, New Hampshire. After graduating from Central High, the U.S. Army gave her a job. She spent eleven years in the military, seven stationed in Germany. After leaving the Army in 1997, she settled in California. 







FIND Stephanie Burkhart ON THE WEB AT:

WEBSITE:

TWITTER:

FACEBOOK:

GOOD READS:

YOU TUBE CHANNEL:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Something Old, Something Revised, Something Published!

THE CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. THE WINNER IS NANCY JARDINE. CONGRATULATIONS!
Karen: 

World traveler, Paula Martin is a multi-published author with Harlequin, Publishing with Rebecca J. Vickery and the Whiskey Creek Press. It's amazing how something long forgotten can become an intriguing story that must be told. Let's give Paula a warm welcome! 



***Paula's giving away an e-book(pdf or mobi for Kindle) copy of CHANGING THE FUTURE to one lucky commenter! Don't forget to leave your email so she may contact you if you should win! 


Paula Martin:
Never throw away an ‘old’ manuscript!

Four years ago, while on holiday in the USA, I happened to meet a Harlequin best-selling author who, on hearing that I’d had 3 books published by HQ in the 60’s and 70’s, encouraged me to start writing romances again.

When I got home, I found the box in which I’d dumped a pile of half-written stories 30+ years earlier when I was a divorced and single parent with two young daughters and a full-time teaching career, and simply didn’t have any time to devote to writing.

One novel was complete but was rejected by HQ in the 70’s. At that time they wanted brooding and domineering alpha-men as their heroes (preferably sheikhs, Greek billionaires or Italian counts), so my story of two teachers who meet again at a school, in North West England, a few years after an acrimonious break-up obviously didn’t fit their new formula.

I thought about this story and, as I was still setting my sights on Harlequin, decided to re-locate the story in America. The heroine became a teacher at a college in Virginia, the hero was a celebrated volcano expert (instead of another teacher), and the heroine’s ‘best friend’ was a Senator. Okay, that seemed to work, so once I’d rewritten it, I sent it off to the HQ editor recommended by my new author friend. Five months later, she rejected it. That was a blow, but I decided to send it to Mills and Boon, the HQ associates here in the UK.

I knew it would probably be a long wait, so I started another novel (one from my box of started but never finished novels). This second one was accepted in May 2010 (by another publisher) but in August of the same year Mills and Boon rejected my first novel. By then I was well aware of some its weaknesses, particularly too many flashback scenes which slowed it down in the first few chapters.
So what now? Do I throw it back in the box? Or do I try yet another re-write? After completing my third novel, I turned my attention back to the first one. I moved the setting (again!) back to England, abandoned the ‘flashback’ scenes, added more scenes (and conflict) and researched volcanoes in Iceland instead of in Hawaii.

In the end, the final story of ‘Changing the Future’ is very different from the one I wrote back in the 70’s, and even from the re-write I did four year ago.

Maybe the moral of this story is: look at your ‘old’ stories, update them, re-set them (if you can), and play around with them until you eventually get the story you’re happy with.

Here’s the ‘blurb’ for ‘Changing the Future’:
Lisa Marshall is stunned when celebrated volcanologist Paul Hamilton comes back into her life at the college where she now teaches. Despite their acrimonious break-up several years earlier, they soon realise the magnetic attraction between them is stronger than ever. However, the past is still part of the present, not least when Paul discovers Lisa has a young son. They can’t change that past, but will it take a volcanic eruption to help them change the future?

Excerpt:
As she went into the large airy lobby, Fiona and Paul were crossing from the wide stairway towards the door. She couldn’t avoid them without doing yet another abrupt about-face. Every nerve inside her tightened.

“Hi, Lisa,” Fiona greeted her. “Had a good break?”

“Yes, thanks.” Her reply was as automatic as her casual smile. She tried not to look at Paul, but couldn’t stop herself. A sideways glance at his familiar face brought back far more memories than any two-dimensional picture on the television screen.

Five and a half years hadn’t diminished his good looks; on the contrary, they’d matured him, and lent strength and character to his handsome features. Thick light brown, wavy hair which used to feel silky to her touch. Stunning azure eyes she’d once been able to read like a book. High cheekbones, well defined jaw, beautifully-shaped mouth—No, she mustn’t think of his mouth or his kiss.

Fiona gave a smug smile. “I see you’ve recognised Paul Hamilton. He’ll be working in my department for a few weeks. Paul, this is Dr. Lisa Marshall, head of the TV Journalism Department.”

Lisa cursed inwardly, knowing the colour had flooded to her cheeks. She’d caught Paul’s initial stunned expression but now his face registered nothing as he held out his hand to her. His blue eyes were expressionless. “Hello, Lisa. It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? How are you?”

The feel of his firm hand around hers sent an unexpected, yet familiar, electric current arcing through her and she had to struggle to maintain her outward show of calmness. “I’m fine.” She was relieved her voice seemed to be coming out with no indication of her inner shakiness. “And you?”

“Yes, I’m good too.”

Fiona looked curiously at Paul. “Do you already know each other?”

He turned to her. “We met a few years ago, in London. Before I went to South America.”

Lisa stiffened. It was a reminder, maybe a deliberately cruel reminder, of everything that had gone wrong between them.

“Oh, I see,” Fiona replied. “So you’ll be able to reminisce about old times.”

“Oh, I doubt Lisa will want to do that.” Paul looked back at her again. “Will you, Lisa?”

She heard the razor’s edge in his voice and copied it. “I really don’t think there would be any point.”

Touché, she thought, as he tilted his head in what seemed to be a mocking acknowledgement.

He glanced at his watch and turned back to Fiona. “Shouldn’t we be going? The meeting’s at eleven, isn’t it?”

“Yes, in the Old House. See you around, Lisa.”

“Yes.”

Without looking at Paul again, Lisa walked along the corridor to her room. She yanked open the door, sat down heavily at her desk and ran her fingers through her hair as she tried to sort out her confused emotions.

Why was she allowing him to have this effect on her? Their relationship was over, finished. Everything had ended the day she came back from Berlin. She shuddered, remembering the accusations, the anger, and then the agonising pain.

Hardly surprising that he’d said she wouldn’t want to reminisce about ‘old times’. She didn’t even want to be reminded, let alone talk about what had happened. It was bad enough to realise the very nearness of him had sent tremors quivering through her, just as it always had.

A door banging somewhere brought her back to the present. She had a class waiting in R106.

“To hell with you, Paul Hamilton,” she muttered as she stood up.

Available as e-book or paperback from http://rebeccajvickery.com, also on Amazon

About the Author:
Paula Martin lives near Manchester in North West England and has two daughters and two grandsons.

She had some early publishing success with four romance novels and several short stories, but then had a break from writing while she brought up a young family and also pursued her career as a history teacher for twenty-five years. She has recently returned to writing fiction, after retiring from teaching, and is thrilled to have found publishing success again with her contemporary romances.

Apart from writing, she enjoys visiting new places. She has travelled extensively in Britain and Ireland, mainland Europe, the Middle East, America and Canada. Her other interests include musical theatre and tracing her family history.

Links:
Other contemporary novels by Paula Martin available from http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com and from Amazon.

Monday, May 14, 2012

BRAINSTORMING WITH NANCY JARDINE


KAREN:  NANCY JARDINE's lovely Scotland countryside and her many travels have inspired her intriguing tales of both romance and mystery. Join us for a spot of tea as Nancy's brainstorming team takes us behind the scenes of her Aug. 3rd release, TAKE ME NOW!  

NANCY: Hi, Karen! Thanks for inviting me, here. I promised to write a blog today about behind the scenes of my soon to be released novel TAKE ME NOW (The Wild Rose Press release date 3rd Aug) so, I’m going to start with a big question. How was the novel conceived?  The answer to how TAKE ME NOW was conceived will now be revealed!

I hope you don’t mind that I’ve brought along a couple of friends. There’s a brainstorming session about to start, regarding TAKE ME NOW, that I can’t possibly miss. If you’re prepared to do a bit of eavesdropping, and you’ll maybe hear something spectacular!

(Cluster of people around a table. A is the Graphic Artist-paper and pencil at the ready, B is the Writer-laptop open, and C is the Moneyman/ Producer-fiddling with iphone.)

A: Okay, what about backdrops? 

B: (thinking slowly) A dinky little Scottish castle.

A: (lays pencil down) Not enough info. Scottish castles vary so much. Are we talking a ruin here? Or is it a neat little renovation?

B:  Yeah! It’s a contemporary romance so it’ll be a fabulous renovation. Originally a square keep that’s extended on two sides at ground floor levels to make a basic U-shape. Full luxury, no expense spared…that sort of thing.

A: Grey granite? Or red sandstone?

B: It’s on a small island, called Lanera, so it’s definitely granite. Built to withstand the rough weather off the west coast of Scotland…you know, all those battering Atlantic winds! It’s up on top of a cliff, surrounded by a high granite wall, with lots of foliage to hide it from sight from the water below.

C: (Looks up from screen) Is that the only location?

B: (ponders a little) No…Our main protagonists are going to travel a LOT!

C: (more interested now) So, how do you see that happening from a Scottish island? Are you meaning a ferry to the mainland?

B: (chuckles) Oh, no! Nothing as mundane as that! Our hero, let’s make him an injured hero-we’ll work out why later-has a neat little floatplane he normally plies back and forth to the mainland airport where he picks up his jet, to fly off on business.

C: (pulls up new page on iphone) How far does he travel by jet?

B: I’m thinking he’ll fly himself to European destinations in his own jet, but he’ll charter a larger jet to get him to the US, or anywhere further east than Europe.

C: (finger sliding across screen) What kind of businessman is he?

B: Let’s see…his main business is called Adrenalinn Adventures, dare-devil sporting pursuits-that sort of thing, all over the globe. On long-haul flights he works with his PA.

A: (pencil scribbling) So we need a PA for him?

B: (head nods) Hmmm…yeah, his new PA is going to be a lady of many talents. She’ll help run his office, and will do all the transporting to get him around…since he’s injured.

C: She’s just temporary then, till his injuries heal?

B: (mulls over slowly) Yeah! I’m thinking…she wants temporary, but he wants to keep her.

C: (expression wry) Is the tone of this novel serious?

B: (hearty laugh) No way! It’s a contemporary romance with a good dash of humor-since she’s a feisty lass, and won’t let him browbeat her.

C: Okay. So we’ve got our sort-of incapacitated alpha male. What’s his name?

B: His name is…Nairn Malcolm-a good sounding Scottish name.

A: (another face is drawn already, hair being added) And this feisty lass?

B: She’s called Aela Cameron.

C: That sounds Scottish, too. Is she a local girl?

B: (shakes head) No…She’ll be a Canadian, from Vancouver, with a Scottish background…on a temporary visit to rummage up relatives of her Scottish grandfather.   

A: Any other major settings needed?

B: (wide grins) Definitely. They nip back and forth to London. And…let’s see…Tallinn(Estonia), Barcelona, and Paris (the city of romance). But I’ll write in some little quirks along the way.

C: (Pulls up a world map) Are they flying anywhere else?

B: Oh, sure. He travels all the time so they’ll zip off to Oman, the Caribbean and they’ll end up in New York.

A: Is this a sweet little contemporary romance?

B: (head shakes) No way! The romance will be pretty hot, but I’ll add in danger along the way and…I’m thinking…also a little mystery to solve.

C: (points to laptop) Let’s put that together then. Someone makes a physical wreck out of Nairn. He hires Aela as temporary assistant/transporter. They find the perpetrator; and then what? Happy ever after?

B: That sounds PERFECT for the plot of TAKE ME NOW

Well, you know, Karen, that might sound like a plausible author brainstorming session, but sadly I’m not a plotter by nature and TAKE ME NOW wasn’t conceived like this! The basic idea for TAKE ME NOW was conceived after I took a trip in a floatplane with a family group when we went on a weekend jaunt up the West Coast of Scotland. We made the return travel in a seaplane to a small fishing port called Oban. We chartered a catamaran around the islands during the afternoon; had a special dinner in a spectacular fish restaurant; and stayed in local hotel overnight. From both the air (flying at low levels) and the sea, we saw many castles-some ruined, some inhabited, and some recently renovated. The whole event gave me the idea for TAKE ME NOW!

Thank you for having here today, Karen. 
Slainthe!


TAKE ME NOW will be published by The Wild Rose Press- release date: 3rd Aug 2012

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nancy Jardine used to be a teacher of 11-12year olds but pinged away the chalk to write full time. Her debut contemporary history/mystery novel was published in Aug 2011. Two more novels are due to be published during the summer of 2012.  A fourth novel, another contemporary history/mystery is under consideration. Still a bit drawn to novels for older children, the first in a planned series of time-travel novels for children 9-12yrs is completed. And, flitting around the genres, a family saga is the current work in progress.

Nancy lives in the picturesque castle country of Aberdeenshire, Scotland, with her wonderful husband who now does all the cooking…the menu far more exciting than it used to be! Ancestry research; doing fun things with her family; and working in her large garden, where she tends spectacular weeds, take up her week-when not writing or reading.

Links:
MONOGAMY TWIST by Nancy Jardine – a contemporary history/mystery is currently available from:

The Wild Rose Press link: http://bit.ly/wOpGbT Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/ynu0t0
Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/wwaGCv  Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/AuMbii
Book trailer MONOGAMY TWIST -  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJVzbrkJQzA

Nancy Jardine can be contacted at;
FaceBook, Goodreads and Amazon author pages.