Deerbourne Inn Dates: Charlotte O’Shay

Today I’m talking to Charlotte O’Shay author of four contemporary romances. She is a contributing author to the Deerbourne Inn series, and her book Forever in a Moment is now available. Check Charlotte’s Events section on her website charlotteoshayauthor.com for all of the stops on her blog tour for this release and her upcoming May 29 release Their No-Strings Affair.

What’s the first book you remember reading on your own as a child?

I was raised on Dr. Seuss. One of my first as a new reader was Green Eggs and Ham which is actually mentioned by my heroine in Forever in a Moment, Samantha who is known as Sam. It was read to her by her father. Fiction and life collide in so many ways!

What is your favorite place to write?

At my desk which is in a cozy corner of the family room. I’ve never tried writing in a coffee shop type place since I need relative quiet.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned on your writing journey so far?

I’ve learned two things that are related:

  1. Strive to stretch, grow and improve as a writer with every
  2. Once the book is out in the world, people may love it or hate it and strangely some people will love the exact thing others hate. No matter. It’s out of your control. Move on to the next and write the best book you can write. Because no one else can write the book you will write.

What do you do when you feel stuck?

I walk, mediate, sometimes I read or reread a book about process. I try to listen and be aware of life around me because the answer is there just waiting for me to notice it.

Please recommend a romance you recently read and enjoyed.

I am working my way through the Deerbourne Inn series. I love them all yet they are all so varied.

I recently read The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker. Wow does she have a way with words.

What was it that appealed to you about the Deerbourne Inn series?

I saw the series as a challenge. Could I write a good book at novella length? Could I write first person POV well? (that was a personal challenge) Could I give life to characters from the series bible and have them realistically interact with my created characters? Could I write a book in a rural setting? I hope I answered all of those in the affirmative.

What was the inspiration behind Forever in a Moment?

We were asked to set our story around a holiday. I chose the days leading up to New Year because I have always found New Year’s Eve and its celebrations have a lot of potential for awkward encounters but maybe also romance. I immediately thought of a fish out of water city woman stuck in small town Vermont for a holiday.

Tell us about Forever in a Moment in 150 words or less.

Here is the blurb:ForeverinaMoment_w13125_300 (2)

A stormy encounter…

Samantha DeMartino’s Christmas wedding is two weeks away when her fiancé calls the whole thing off. Word on the street: his cold feet are being heated by an old flame.

With her well-ordered world in complete disarray, Sam’s friends convince her to go on her honeymoon—alone. A week away from the city and her demanding corporate career at a charming Vermont inn, could be just what she needs to figure out next steps.

Between his twenty-four seven work schedule on his family’s dairy farm and teaching tourists to ski, Jed Armstrong’s too busy to think about how lonely he is…until Sam sings her way into his life during a Christmas snowstorm. Now he has to figure out a way to convince her to stay.

Can a vivacious city girl find forever with a reclusive farmer? Will her secret keep her from trying?

Do you have an extract you can share with us?

“Samantha.”

If his voice were angry or commanding I’d have kept going. But his voice is low and there’s an anguished, guttural quality to the way he says my name. And I won’t have it. I can’t have him thinking anything negative about me after I go.

When I turn, he takes a step toward me and I raise a hand. “Stop…I can’t think when you get too close.” My face heats as those damning words spill out and he chuckles, a genuine laugh and it’s the only one between us today.

“Glad I still amuse you.” I fold my arms across my chest.

“I feel the same way, Sam.”

“Jed, don’t make this tougher,” I say but he keeps speaking in that same harsh voice.

“When I’m near you everything fades away except the need to be closer. Close enough to watch your eyes cloud up when I’m about to kiss you, close enough to hear your breathing get ragged when my hands are on you.”

“Jed, we agreed…”

He shakes his head. “No, I gave in. Because you asked me to. If I had my way, I’d see you all day, every day and… sleep with you every night. I…”

“Stop,” I say. “This, us, whatever this is—can’t happen. I go back to New York in a couple of days.” “Sam, I…”

“No.” I slash my hand through the air. “I don’t know what’s happening to me.” I’m on edge, close to tears at the way I can’t control my response to him. And all my precious logic is eluding me.

He plows a hand through his hair then captures my gaze with his and I can’t look away.

“What’s happening is us. We’re happening. This is our beginning. You and me together. I’d started to think it would never happen. But it did. When I saw you that first night…I knew. And you did too.”

“No.” My denial is swift. “No. I didn’t. It’s not that simple. We hardly know each other…” I lift my chin in spite of the flush I know covers my cheeks. But it’s true, isn’t it? We don’t know each other. I surprise myself when a tear trickles down my cheek and I swipe it fast.

Buy Links

Charlotte O’Shay Social Media Links

 

Our Five Favourite Summer Reads

I read many fabulous books this quarter, but my five favourites are:

 DILF by Amy Andrews (contemporary)

DILF‘Serious DILF alert.’ Those are the words that warn Stefanie that her younger brother’s best friend Owen has grown up and graduated as a doctor. He’s about to start work at St Bart’s General Hospital, and she had promised her brother he could stay with her until he found his own place. But… that was when she still thought he was a skinny teenager with acne rather than the hottest doctor in town. The chemistry between them is off the charts but there are a zillion reasons why having sex with Owen is a bad idea. For starters, there’s the age. Owen doesn’t see it as a problem. He’s always had a thing for Stefanie even if she didn’t notice him before. Stefanie is ready to settle down and have babies. She reckons Owen still has to date a thousand nurses. Can he change her mind and get her to give them a chance, first in the present and then in the future? Written with Amy Andrew’s trademark wit and wickedly sexy encounters, this is a delicious romp that will have you alternatively laughing out loud and fanning yourself.

Down and Dirty (Men of Haven) by Rhenna Morgan (contemporary)Men of Haven

I’ve been waiting a long time for Axel’s story, ever since I met him in book 1 of Men of
Haven alongside his brother by choice Jace. Rhenna Morgan doesn’t disappoint. His love interest, rock lead singer Elizabeth is his perfect foil, bringing out all of Axel’s protective instincts and allowing him to engage more fully with the music world he loves and turned his back on as a young man. Elizabeth is scared of being overwhelmed. She’s been down that path once before. Axel, with his dark desires and ferocious intelligence is surprising hesitant when it comes to pursuing Elizabeth, needing a good push from his family. I adored this series and hope to see all the characters pop up again in future series from Ms Morgan.

Devil’s Daughter (The Ravenels) by Lisa Kleypas (Victorian)

Devil's DaughterThe Ravenels and the second generation of wallflowers just can’t seem to keep their hands off each while declaring they just won’t suit. This leads Sebastian, former wicked Lord St Vincent and now meddling Duke of Kingston, to pull strings in order to ensure his beloved daughter Phoebe gets her happily ever after second time around. Phoebe doesn’t want to like West Ravenel. He’s the boy who bullied her poor dead husband at school. But, her father likes him, her son adores him, and even her brother thinks men can change. West doesn’t think he’s good enough for Phoebe. Will all Sebastian’s meddling come to naught or will passion overcome Phoebe’s scruples long enough to allow her to seduce West? Lisa Kleypas once again delivers a witty, intelligent romance with a cast of memorable characters.

On Bended Knee (The Wicked Worthingtons) by Celeste Bradley (Regency)On Bended Knee

I had the great good fortune to meet Celeste Bradley as part of the Australian Romance Readers Association (ARRA) book signing tour of Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. She is charming with a dry sense of humour that resonates through her books. If you haven’t met the quirky Worthingtons, make a date in your diary to do so. You won’t regret it. Lysander Worthington is back from the war in Spain, carrying a terrible secret that haunts him day and night. In search of his brother, he accidentally takes on a fight with a male pig who is not to be outdone on his own territory, thus introducing himself as a patient to Gemma Oakes, doctor’s widow. Gemma feels responsible for her hamlet in Yorkshire and continues to provide medical services. She accompanied her husband to the war, knows the horrors that Lysander faced, and is determined to rescue him from himself. However, he couldn’t fall in love with a patient – that would be unethical. Except no one on her side or Lysander’s agrees. Can Lysander face the horrors of his past? Will his secrets drive Gemma away? Only by confessing, can he find out. Celeste Bradley writes with compassion, humour and an understanding of human foibles. This is a delightful, amusing and heart-warming romance.

Of Sunlight and Stardust by Christina Lee and Riley Hart (contemporary dual timeline gay romance)

Tanner Rowe is livinOf Sunlight and Stardustg in the house he bought for his dead wife because that is what she wanted of him. Cole Lachlan has been released from prison and is looking for work, finding out the hard way that no one wants to give an ex-con a chance. He’s camping on Tanner’s property when they meet. Tanner, realising Cole is down on his luck, asks him to help rebuild the burnt barn. Cole knows he is gay but makes no move on Tanner. Tanner is initially confused by his feelings for Cole but comes to understand and accept them for what they are. Their story is eerily similar to that of two boys who lived and worked on the property fifty years ago in less enlightened times that ended in tragedy with Tanner’s dead wife mirroring the role of the girl who tried to help them. As Tanner and Cole seek to uncover what happened to the boys, the relationship grows. The question is, has the town grown enough to appreciate the value Tanner and Cole can add to the community, or will prejudice and fear of Cole’s past isolate and endanger the men? Of Sunlight and Stardust is the most beautiful, sensitive and heart-warming romance I read this past year, demonstrating the range and fluidity of human sexuality that psychologists now acknowledge. Contemporary romance at its finest.

The above are all five star romance reads. If you’re looking for something different, why not see what the other members of The Writers’ Dozen have been reading?

Angella Whitton

Rae Cairns

Pamela Cook

Michelle Barraclough

Virtual Book Tour – Lion Dancing for Love

Fabulous roses Jean Grant and Peggy Jaeger helped me celebrate a publication day for Lion Dancing with Love, in Australian and America. If you’d like to read the posts, you can click on their names for the link. I’m now on tour for the month with Goddess Fish who have put together a fabulous lineup for me. I’d love to see you pop by and say hi if you have the time.

Please note the schedule is US Eastern Standard Time, starting very early in the morning! Thank you to all my hosts – I do hope you are all making use of your schedule buttons!

Here is my schedule:

April 1: Romance Novel Giveaways

April 2: Christine Young

April 3: Straight From the Library

April 4: Edgar’s Books

April 5: The Reading Addict

April 8: T’s Stuff

April 9: Romantic Reviews

April 10: Candrel’s Crafts, Cooks, and Characters

April 11: Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books!

April 12: Fabulous and Brunette

April 15: BooksChatter

April 16: Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews

April 17: Renee Wildes Weblog

April 18: All the Ups and Downs

April 19: Readeropolis

April 22: Joanne Guidoccio

April 22: Read Your Writes Book Reviews

April 23: Long and Short Reviews

April 24: Kimber Li

April 25: Locks, Hooks and Books

April 26: Viviana MacKade

I’ll update daily with the topic of discussion.

Deerbourne Inn Dates

Never ask a question you’re not prepared to answer. Right? In honor of the release of Lion Dancing for Love, my second contemporary romance, and a novella in the Deerbourne Inn series, here are my answers to the Deerbourne Inn author Q&A.

What’s the first book you remember reading on your own as a child, or your favorite childhood read?Dick&Jane

The first book I remember reading was a school reader about Dick and Jane and their dog Spot. Books have improved for first graders since then! The books whose titles I can actually remember were by Enid Blyton. The Magic Faraway Treewas a favorite, as was Five On A Treasure Island. I still have my copy of the latter on the top shelf of the bookcase.

What’s your favorite place to write?

I have a little red desk which is only big enough for my laptop. I like to sit downstairs in the TV room with my doggies and the family while I write.

What’s the most important lesson you have learned on your writing journey so far?

You can always do better. If you have time for one more revision, do it!

What do you do when you feel stuck?

I listen to my characters. They know what they want to do. Sometimes, they just want to sit and gossip over a really boring cup of coffee, and I have to cut the scene later, but it gets me going.

Writers are readers too. Please recommend a romance you recently read and enjoyed.

I just finished reading Down & Dirty, the final book in Rhenna Morgan’s Men of Haven series. I’ve been waiting for what seems like forever for Axel’s story and he didn’t disappoint.

What was it that appealed to you about the Deerbourne Inn series?

I liked the collaborative nature of the project. The idea of putting my characters into someone else’s world was intriguing and challenging.

What was the inspiration behind Lion Dancing for Love?

It’s partly a fish out of water story. I wanted to find out what would happen if I put a city girl into a small town. I also wanted to put together two people from different backgrounds and see what triumphed, the differences or the similarities.

Tell us about Lion Dancing for Lovein 100 words or less.

LionDancingforLoveLicking her wounds after a bad relationship, San Diego accountant Caitlyn Summers travels to Willow Springs to help her friend gear up for the annual Maple Sugar Ball. She isn’t planning on staying long, but one encounter with the delicious Corey Duncan has her re-evaluating her plans.

Corey swore off love when his wife Annie died from breast cancer. Caitlyn is too young, too citified, and vibrates with a passion and energy that will upend the safe, comfortable rhythm of his life.

Corey has to choose between playing it safe and taking a risk on love. Caitlyn needs to find the patience to let Corey lead. If not, the Maple Sugar Ball might end in a sticky mess, instead of a slow dance with the man who has captured her heart.

Do you have an extract you can share with us?

“You don’t have to be good at it. You have to be able to follow and count to three.”

She put her hands on her hips. It was his turn to raise a brow. “I can follow—if I choose to.”

He chuckled. “Such sass. Prove it.”

He held out his left hand, and she moved forward and placed her right inside it. He twined their fingers and pulled her into position. A heady combination of scents rose from her, vanilla and pheromones and something uniquely Caitlin. Her skin was slick against his. “Rest your head against my chest,” he murmured.

“I don’t recall that as an official position.”

“It’s the one I favor. Stand on my feet. That’s it.” He adjusted her arm, so she had a good hold around his neck and drew her even closer. “Step with your right foot first…back across, together. Forward, across, together. Back, across, together. Forward, across, together.”

Halfway through the song, he let her feet slip to the ground. At the end he kept a firm grip on her waist while he hit replay, then led her through a series of fast twirls, their bodies so close they were almost one. When the song ended, they collapsed in a heap against the wall. She was giggling.

“What?”

“I get why it was considered scandalous when it was first introduced.”

He smiled and tipped her chin toward him with a finger. “It’s only scandalous if you do it properly.” He brushed his lips softly across hers, then claimed her mouth as she breathed into him.

Buy links

DeerbourneInnSeries

You can find me online here on my blog or Facebook page and on TwitterInstagram,  GoodReadsBookbub and Amazon.

 

Cheers to Caitlin and Cory

Happy publication day to Caitlin and Corey, whose story Lion Dancing for Love is out in the wild today. I really fell in love with these two characters. It’s a case of opposites attract – or is it? On the outside, they look very different. Caitlin is a sassy city gal from a multicultural background in her 30s. Corey is a third generation small town Vermont store owner in his 40s and a man of few words. On the inside they’re both hurting, Caitlin from rejection and Corey from the death of his first wife. Fate and their friends seem to think they’re destined to heal each other, but will they listen?

Buy links:LionDancingforLove

Amazon US

Amazon Australia

Amazon UK

iTunes

Kobo

Google Play

If you’d like to read more about the goings-on in Willow Springs, you can check out the Deerbourne Inn series here. There are seven books to date, across multiple genres, covering Deerbourne Inn’s past, its present and its paranormal inhabitants.

screen-shot-2019-03-27-at-1.49.10-pm.png

 

A Romantic Rendezvous 2019

On Sunday, I participated in the Sydney leg of the Australian Romance Readers Association’s (ARRA) Romantic Rendezvous 2019. They’ve arranged signings in Brisbane (23 March), Sydney (24 March), Melbourne (30 March) and Perth (31 March), headlined by international bestselling authors Celeste Bradley (historical romance) and Keri Arthur (urban fantasy/paranormal). I shared a table and a giveaway with witty Monique McDonell (chick lit/rom-com) which was heaps of fun. It was a wonderful day catching up with old friends and meeting new readers.

Left: with authors Michelle Montebello (romantic suspense/historical) and Monique McDonell. Right: with our giveaway winner, reader Tracey Anderson.

 

With two of my taller colleagues. Left: fabulous Regency Goddess Celeste Bradley. I will be eternally grateful to ARRA for introducing me to her witty, quirky, feel-good historical romances. Right: Shannon Curtis, author of romantic suspense and contemporary and paranormal romance.

Clockwise: Cathryn Hein (rural romance) and Jodi Perry (contemporary romance/ women’s fiction; with Bronwyn Parry (romantic suspense/historical); with rom-com author Penelope Janu; and with Jodi – she had the best banner!

If you’re in Melbourne or Sydney, you can still catch up with Celeste Bradley and Keri Arthur as well as a host of other fabulous Australian romance authors. Find out more here.

Deerbourne Inn Dates: Jean Grant

Today I’m talking to Jean M. Grantauthor of three romances and one Women’s Fiction (set to release in April). She is a contributing author to the Deerbourne Inn series, and perf5.000x8.000.inddher book Soul of the Storm is available today.

What’s the first book you remember reading on your own as a child, or your favourite childhood read?

Oh, good question. I am sure I did read books earlier than this, but I distinctly remember the thrillers by R.L. Stine in my tweens. I also remember Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. Sweet Valley Twins. Judy Blume’s 1980s classics. Am I dating myself here…? I guess I can’t remember the wee early ones. If I was to pick my current favourites that my kids used to read, I would pick all of Mo Willems books. Love them.

What’s your favourite place to write?

Desk, couch, coffee shop, under a blanket. I am versatile. I usually write on my laptop but when traveling I use a good old pen/pencil and notebook. I remember bringing a draft version of one my manuscripts (printed on paper) on a hike up a mountain a few years ago. We were staying in a hiker’s hut that night and besides taking in the gorgeous view, eating a scrumptious cooked meal, and playing cards, I wanted to get some work done. It was a peaceful setting to read and edit as the sunset (and rose) on top of a mountain.

What’s the most important lesson you have learned on your writing journey so far?

My motto is the 3 P’s: Patience, Perseverance, and Putting in the time. I’m working on getting thicker skin. Rejection is part of the journey, as are those 3 P’s. For some writers, “success” (or whatever we define as success) happens quickly, for some us it takes years. My advice: keep on keepin’ on and find some buddies to come along with you for the ride to cheer you on!

What do you do when you feel stuck?

I jump around in my manuscript if needed (though I am a plotter and I do a lot of character development up front), work on other projects (there are always other projects…), or focus on something else in my house/family/life that I need to work on. I’ve only been really blocked once, and it was a hard month, but I got back into the swing quickly! I tend to be spinning plates, so I am never bored and never not have something to do!

Writers are readers too. Please recommend a romance you recently read and enjoyed.

I’m enjoying the novella-length books in this series so far. Recently, I read one in the Candy Hearts series by CJ Fosdick called Hot Stuff. It’s more like a novelette. Short, about 50 pages. I read it in one sitting. Her voice and the polished writing just lured me in! In my TBR pile is another book (full novel) by her, The Accidental Wife. I can’t wait to read it.

What was it that appealed to you about the Deerbourne Inn series?

I live in New England so writing about a state near me (Vermont) was enticing, and I

sots vt and nz collage 1

Vermont New Zealand Collage

already had this “hiking/New Zealander/woman with a hurt past” idea percolating in my mind. I loved the idea of writing something shorter (novella, about 150 pages) and being part of a series with other authors.

What was the inspiration behind Soul of the Storm?

A bit of my own life, but it’s quite fictionalized. I lost my sister to an accident when she was young. I’ve been burned by an ex. I love to hike. I absolutely love New Zealand. And before I knew it, this idea came together.

 

Tell us about Soul of the Storm in 100 words or less.

Charlotte lost the thrill of conquering mountains five years ago when her sister disappeared on a hiking adventure without her. Charlotte heads for a vacation to Vermont but she’s still plagued with guilt and questions. Matiu is an outdoorsman and works multiple jobs to save for his dream of owning an outfitter in New Zealand. He’s restless and yearns for his Maori roots. Matiu and Charlotte form a bond through their shared love of the outdoors. But can Charlotte surmount her demons to assist Matiu on a mountain rescue when a late-season snowstorm hits? Can love help her heal?

Do you have an extract you can share with us?

She went to feel her ring on her finger with her thumb…but the ring wasn’t there. That old habit would not die even years later.

A dog bark intruded. The man crossed to the back door. “Reka, sweet girl, take your nap. Only a few hours here and then home, okay?” He spoke to her like a father to a toddler. The dog barked again. “A swim and walk this morning weren’t enough for you?”

He approached the dog, petted it, and whispered affections.

Charlotte made a soundless “Aww” and kept perusing.

The man returned, nearer. Residual sweat traced his brow. He pointed to a selection of books in the middle. “These are the best. Depends on what you’re looking for. Honest reviews or glorified fantasies?”

“Honest reviews, always.”

He stroked a hand through his neck-length black hair, the longer top layer falling over his forehead. He squatted and withdrew a few books from the lower shelf. “You could go with the popular or famous names, sure, but I like these authors.” He handed her one.

A book on South America sat in her hands. She muttered, “Thanks. Don’t need that one.”

“Oh, already been there, eh? All good, all good.” He took it and shoved it back on the shelf. “Where do your dreams lie then?”

She swallowed. No, I wasn’t there in that way. I was supposed to have been there. Five years ago. Instead she said, “Well, Vermont for now.”

“You’re in luck. I’m from Willow Springs.”

Buy links

Buy links for Soul of the Storm:

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ iTunes ~ Kobo ~ GooglePlay

You can also pre-order for my April 17th release, Will Rise from Ashes:

Amazon

Where can readers find you online?J Grant JPEG square

 

Website~ Twitter  ~ FacebookGoodreads~

Bookbub~ Amazon Author Page~

The Wild Rose Press

 

Read about more Deerbourne Inn titles:

 

Deerbourne Inn Dates

Today I’m talking to Amber Daulton, author of 20 books in the genres of romantic suspense and romance, including one cookbook. She is a contributing author to the Deerbourne Inn series, and her book Lyrical Embraceis available now.

What’s the first book you remember reading on your own as a child, or your favourite childhood read?

I was a big fan of Sweet Valley High back in the day. I just couldn’t get enough of Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield!

What’s your favourite location to write about?

I love writing high-concept stories where I have to do a lot of describing, but I also like writing simple hometown stories too. I enjoy research, so my stories are often set in real cities, but it’s easier to write about a small fictional town than a big fictional city.

What’s the most important lesson you have learned on your writing journey so far?

Just keep trying even when you’re feeling bad about yourself and the quality of your work. No one is perfect. Don’t rush a project; give it the love and attention it needs to be the best it can be. You as the writer, the book itself, and the readers deserve it.

What do you do when you feel stuck?

When I cannot concentrate or when everything I’m writing sounds wrong, I take time off to read in the genre I’m trying to write in. If I’m writing a romantic suspense, for example, I have to read RS books and nothing else. Usually, after a few weeks, my creative muse starts flowing, and I can finally get back to work!

Writers are readers too. Please recommend a romance you recently read and enjoyed.

A few months ago, I was reading Jayne Ann Krentz’s Arcaneseries. I’ve also recently read Bec McMaster’s London Steampunkbooks.

What was it that appealed to you about the Deerbourne Inn series?

What first drew me to writing for the series was that it was a “small town” series. I’ve Lyrical Embracebeen writing mostly big stories with lots of action lately, so I was thrilled to write something on a more low-key scale. While there are hot 3-flame sex scenes in Lyrical Embrace, the story is both sweet and exciting.

What was the inspiration behind Lyrical Embrace?

When plotting this story, I first pictured a young woman running away from the big city to escape her abusive boyfriend. I mostly write romantic suspense, so this idea worked. My heroine, Erica, was in a bad relationship and finally found the courage to break free. Even though she found help, a new love, and a chance for a better future, the past was still looming over her. I think a lot of readers can sympathize with such a situation, especially those who have experienced abuse and neglect from someone claiming to love them.

I also love stories about music and rock stars, but I don’t like the cheating and drugs that go along with the lifestyle. I haven’t published a story featuring a musician yet, so I figured I should get on the ball and do it. My hero, Dylan, has retired from the New York music scene, and he now teaches kids how to play instruments. He’s gotten his life back together after all the drama of being a semi-star, and he’s enjoying the simpler life. He and Erica have an instant connection.

Tell us about Lyrical Embracein 100 words or less.

Out-of-work violinist Erica Timberly decides enough is enough. She leaves her abusive boyfriend and flees the big city, but then her car breaks down in the middle of the night. Though wary of men, she accepts help from Dylan Haynes, a stranger driving by on the road, and soon recognizes him as the sexy former drummer of her favorite indie rock band.

Music teacher Dylan Haynes knows Erica is in trouble, and her black eye is only the first clue. The stubborn yet vulnerable woman needs a friend, but he’s determined to give her everything she deserves.

Do you have an extract you can share with us?

Dylan deepened the kiss and lightly tugged on her bottom lip. Tears streaked his flushed cheeks as he smiled at her. “I’m so grateful I found you, baby. I heard you screaming. When I saw that bastard press a gun to your head, my heart nearly exploded. I thought I might lose you. I promise you, Erica, I will never control you as Phil did. You will always have the ability to choose. I just want to make you happy.”

She gripped his hand and brushed her lips across his calloused knuckles. “I know. You do make me happy. You took a bullet for me.” A sob constricted her throat, but she pushed it down.

A blast of noise rent the air. Fireworks filled the sky, visible in the alley from the narrow stretch of space between the buildings.

Erica loved the bright colors and designs, but hardly cared about watching the spectacle. She dropped her gaze back to Dylan.

A grin spread across his face. “It’s been one wild Fourth of July. Why don’t we do something more low-key next year? How about no guns and crazy exes? Just us, the creek, and a bottle of wine. Clothing optional.”

She laughed softly, amazed he could make light of the situation. “That sounds perfect. Absolutely perfect.”

Buy links

Where can readers find you online?

 

Deerbourne Inn Dates

Today I’m talking to Linda Carroll-Braddauthor of 51 short stories, novellas and novels in contemporary and historical romance. She is a contributing author to the Deerbourne Inn series and her book Freedom’s Path was recently released.

What’s the first book you remember reading on your own as a child, or your favourite childhood read?

The Little Red Hen. My mom said I knew if she skipped any words or turned the page too soon. She says I was reading. Looking back, I’m wondering if I had just memorized it.

What’s your favourite place to write?

My computer desk is set in a corner of an office I share with my husband. Very functional with my research books in 2 bookshelves to my left. When I need a break, I go upstairs and write in a notebook on a couch with a view of nearby mountains.

What’s the most important lesson you have learned on your writing journey so far?

The story is often better in my head, and my job is to make it as close to that perfect story on the page.

What do you do when you feel stuck? 

I either pick up a romance to read or I switch to another aspect of the project. If I’m creating pages, then I go back and edit, or I think of an upcoming scene and write the description for the setting.

Writers are readers too. Please recommend a romance you recently read and enjoyed.

Starlight Bridge by Debbie Mason and Herons Landing by JoAnn Ross

What was it that appealed to you about the Deerbourne Inn series?

For the past several years, I’ve participated in several multi-author series, and I like the framework provided. In this series, the framework is the inn and the town. Because I chose to set my story before the Civil War, I had to envision what was already established in the series bible and scale it back more than one hundred fifty years.

What was the inspiration behind Freedom’s Path?

Years ago (before I started writing), quilting was my hobby, and recently, I read a book perf5.000x8.000.inddthat revealed how quilts were hung on fences or clotheslines to serve as signals to escaping slaves on the Underground Railroad. Of course, people were the ones to choose the quilt to hang, a fact which helped me form the heroine.

Tell us about Freedom’s Path in 100 words or less.

Working at the Deerbourne Inn provides Sidonie Demers the perfect cover for helping on the Underground Railroad. The quilt patterns she selects direct escaping slaves to the safest route. The cause is personal for octoroon Sidonie whose mother and grandmother escaped bondage years earlier. Army Corporal Colin Crawford arrives in Willow Springs, disguised as a salesman, to locate abolitionist activity. Raised anti-slavery, he’s conflicted about upholding the Fugitive Slave Act but believes in fulfilling his duty. The attraction is irresistible, but what happens when their true identities are revealed?

Do you have an extract you can share with us?

As he waited for Kevyn’s footsteps to fade, Colin finished his tart. His mind whirled with a topic that he worried might be too forward. After a swallow of coffee, he angled his head and met her gaze. “I saw how you broke that man’s hold. Smart move.”

Eyes wide, she gasped, rested a hand on the table edge, and crouched next to the end. “Oh, please don’t tell Missus Deerbourne that I stomped on a guest’s foot.” Her dark brows drew together. “I’m not sure she’d view my action in the same way you do.”

Her response rankled. Wasn’t the innkeeper concerned for the safety of her workers? He wished he could offer comfort by covering her hand with his. “Can you not carry a small knife in a pocket to protect yourself?”

A laugh escaped as she shook her head then gripped the band of her hat and pulled it lower on her forehead. “Not an appropriate accessory for someone in my position.”

Colin disliked the idea of her being vulnerable to a man’s mauling. “The foot stomp can take a man by surprise, but often not for long enough to effect an escape. Might I demonstrate another move that guarantees a longer distraction?” He sorted through the various moves involved in his ranger tactical training for the one most effective to someone her size. Leverage was what was needed to counter a larger foe.

“I am eager to learn.” She set the tray on the table. “What do I have to do?”

Bracing both hands on the table, he pushed himself to a stand and took a couple steps away from the bench. “Walk toward me like you’re about to grab my arms.”

A blush rose in her cheeks, and she averted her gaze. “Oh, I couldn’t, Mister Crawford.”

Her modesty produced a chuckle. “Miss Demers, don’t worry. You won’t hurt me. Remember, you’re learning a new skill.”

After a nod, she stepped forward with her arms outstretched and fingers spread wide. “Like this?”

“Keep walking.” He balanced his weight on the balls of his feet. When she came within reach, he grabbed the thumb of her left hand and bent it backward.

“Ow.” She contorted her body, back arching in the opposite direction.

He knew her movements were instinctual, with her body acting on reflex to reduce the pressure. “See how you moved to get away from the pain.” He released his hold with reluctance, because he’d enjoyed the slide of her soft palm in his.

Buy links

 Where can readers find you online?

Thank you for stopping by Linda. I love historical tidbits, and your one about the quilt is a gem.

Deerbourne Inn Dates

Today I’m talking to Julie Howard, author of three mysteries, Crime and ParadiseCrime Times Two, and recently Spirited Quest. She is a contributing author to the Deerbourne Inn series. Spirited Quest is available now.

What’s the first book you remember reading on your own as a child, or your favorite childhood read?

I started reading very early, at age three. My parents even started me in a private kindergarten a couple of weeks before I turned four because of this. I don’t remember what that first book would have been – most likely Dr. Seuss – but my favorite childhood read was My Friend Flicka.

I had a huge horse crush as a girl, and probably read Black Beautyfifty times. All through school, I was in the library every Saturday as soon as it opened and carried out an armload of books.

What’s your favorite place to write?

In cafes! I love the buzz of conversation around me as I write. I think this goes back to my days as a newspaper reporter and editor, working in a bustling newsroom where people moved about, TVs were on, and even arguments broke out. I can shut out almost any noise, but I find it difficult to write in complete silence.

What’s the most important lesson you have learned on your writing journey so far?

Never give up. And never give up on yourself. Writing and getting published isn’t easy. I have much more admiration of writers now that I’m published and understand a bit of what they’ve been through too. I don’t get discouraged easily and the early rejections didn’t stop me. In fact, they urged me on and prompted me to get better. Sort of like “Oh, you didn’t like this? Let me try again.”

What do you do when you feel stuck?

I’m a big believer in outlining my books and this helps enormously in not running into writer’s block. Every once in a while, however, I hit a spot where the plot just isn’t working, and I do get stuck. At that point, I move on to another scene later in the book. Usually, by the time I’m done with another scene, a resolution comes to me for the earlier scene I was stuck on. If not, I just keep moving forward. I never let myself stop writing.

Writers are readers too. Please recommend a romance you recently read and enjoyed.

I loved The Golem and the Jinii by Helene Wecker. This isn’t your ordinary romance since the characters aren’t human (and Golems aren’t technically alive) and it’s more a romance of the heart than the body. It’s a great story and so well-written. I’m anxiously awaiting the author’s next book.

What was it that appealed to you about the Deerbourne Inn series?SpiritedQuest_w13051_750

To be honest, I’m surprised I ended up writing for the Deerbourne Inn series at all. I didn’t know if I could write a good short mystery. But once I learned there was a ghost at the Deerbourne Inn, the plot came to me in a flash. All of a sudden I HAD to write the story. It was as though the ghost haunted me until I wrote about her. Now I’m hooked on writing shorter novels and would love to write more of them.

What was the inspiration behind Spirited Quest?

Since childhood, one of my favorite types of books to read has been magical realism. It was just a matter of time before I sat down to write a ghost story. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to write this one. I’ve always believed there was something behind the closet door and under the bed, but these days I’m not afraid of them.

Tell us about Spirited Quest in 100 words or less.

My main character, Paige Norman, believes in a tangible, explainable world. When her ghost-hunting niece comes for a visit, she tries not to scoff. But someone, or something, is stirring up trouble at the Deerbourne Inn and her niece, Jillian, is at the center of the mystery. Paige is certain the handsome Aussie photographer is behind unexplained disturbances. Meanwhile, Jillian gets to know the spirit of the Deerbourne, who foretells an encounter with “two men.” Then the pranks turn dangerous. Has her niece attracted a stalker or has she conjured up evil? Can the culprit be the man who has captured her heart?

Do you have an extract you can share with us?

He nodded a friendly greeting to her, his gaze grazing past to include others on the porch. “G’day, ma’am. G’day all.”

An Australian. Her heart skipped a beat. Oh, to be twenty-five, even thirty-five, again. His gaze settled on her niece, and as always happened to men where this girl was concerned, his jaw slackened, then tightened.

Next to her, Jillian grew still, lifting wide blue eyes to the newcomer. The moment passed. He was through the front door and into the lobby, and the door closed behind him.

“You’re in for some nice company this week,” Paige commented with a smile.

A frown flickered across her niece’s face. “I’ve seen him before.”

“You’ve met?”

“Not exactly. He appeared to me in a dream.” Jillian’s blue eyes were troubled as she gazed at the Inn’s front door. She lifted one hand and rubbed the back of her head, then gave a shiver. “There was blood and I was afraid.”

Buy links

Julie Howard pix.jpg

Where can readers find you online?