Saturday, November 21, 2015

Interviewing Kayelle Allen! #MFRWauthors

I'm very pleased to welcome Kayelle Allen to my blog. Kayelle is the founder of Marketing for Romance Writers, a Yahoo group dedicated to helping romance authors navigate the sometimes confusing world of book marketing. Kayelle is always willing to share her expertise with those of us not quite as savvy as she is. I've had the opportunity to guest on her blog Romance Lives Forever a few times, and it's a real treat to be able to invite her to hang out here on Journeys with Jana. Without further ado, please welcome Kayelle Allen!

What genre have you never written that you’d like to write?

Time travel. I think it would be fun to create a story based on traveling through time, but have never come up with a good enough plot to support one. Maybe some day. I've written scifi, scifi romance, non-fiction, contemporary holiday romances, and short works. So adding a new genre is something I'd like to try.

Did you always want to be a writer?

Yes. I wrote since I could make whole sentences. I finished my first novel at 18. Parts of it are in my Tarthian Empire series, but otherwise, it will never see the light of day. It was 400 pages of rambling. I am laser focused now.

Do you have any words of advice to beginning writers?

Don't quit. Don't let anyone steal your dream. Go for it. No one can write your story but you. There is a lot more advice I could give, but here's a place where you can get that just by asking a question. Marketing for Romance Writers

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I'm a plotser. I plot thoroughly, and then let the characters take over once I know the basics and the bones.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I make a promise to every reader. I will give them a great roller coaster ride of a story that brings excitement, fun, and takes them in directions they didn't expect.

Do you write in the same place every day or do you like to change it up?

I write at my desk, but I come up with story ideas and scenes everywhere. I always carry something to write with or to record with.

What’s one thing that your readers would be surprised to learn about you?

I am terrified of heights. I let very little stop me, however, and try to overcome my fears. But I acknowledge that one, because it's so strong. I'm also afraid of water and can't swim, but on vacation last week, I rode the ferry twice across the bay in San Francisco. If I want to do something, I will find a way to do it.

Tell us a bit about you. Where do you live, and how long have you been writing?

I live in the metro Atlanta area. I've been here since 1987. I have been published since 2004 but I've written all my life.

What genre is your favorite to read?

Regency romance and also highlander stories. I love them even though I would never write historical. I don't have the research background for it, and that would be important for me. I prefer to write contemporary and scifi.

Share a photo of your writing space, your pet, a favorite book, or something else that’s important to you.

This shows my con-wall -- with badges from various conventions I've attended. I want to redo this because they are getting out of hand, but it has a lot of my goodies and also gifts from fans and other writers. The doll is my muse. His name is Pietas, after one of my major characters. It was handmade for me.

What are two (or more) of your all-time favorite books in any genre?

Two fave books are The Persian Boy by Mary Renault, and Teot's War by Heather Gladney. I have re-read both of these multiple times. I am a huge fan of both authors. One is historical (ancient Greek) and the other is fantasy.

What do you like best about your hero in A Romance for Christmas?

Scott is a cop who walks a beat downtown in a small city. He's a widower with a 4-year-old daughter who is getting by with help from his parents. When he hears about the heroine's misfortune, he jumps into action to help her. He's honorable, and is careful not to take advantage of her.

What do you like best about your heroine in  A Romance for Christmas?

Over the last year, Dara has lost everything but her daughter. Her husband died, she had to sell everything of value in order to survive, and although things are looking up, it's Christmas and she has next to nothing to give. She's at the bottom, with no way to go but up. Although she's tired and depressed, she has never given up.

How do you choose the names and physical characteristics of your characters? Do you base them on real people?

I did for this book. I prepared a giveaway for everyone that shows just where the names came from. Download Peek Inside A Romance for Christmas and find out.

How can readers reach you or find you online?






Tell us a little about your current work in progress.

I'm currently working on a scifi book called Bringer of Chaos, about Pietas. He's the villain of my Tarthian Empire series, but he is redeemable. Some day maybe I'll write his forever-love story.

What’s your tagline? Why did you choose it?

My tagline is Unstoppable heroes, Uncompromising love, Unforgettable passion. I chose it because it best illustrated my various genres. However, I also use "When you're immortal, Romance Lives Forever." That is because my immortal characters are such a huge part of my writing.

If I was a first time reader of your books, which one would you recommend I start with and why?

I'd suggest you grab Bro, the Story Behind the Antonello Brothers. It's a free book available on my website. It will give you a great peek at my style, and intro major characters in my Tarthian Empire series. To get a copy, go to


Kayelle Allen is a best-selling, award-winning author. Her unstoppable heroes and heroines include contemporary every day folk, role-playing immortal gamers, futuristic covert agents, and warriors who purr.

Here's blurb and excerpt for A Romance for Christmas:

It's Christmas Eve, and the end of a year in which everything Dara loves was lost. Everything but her little girl and a fierce determination to survive. When a cop brings Christmas to her door, he brings another gift she never expected to get.

Publisher: Romance Lives Forever Books
Genre: Sweet contemporary romance, holiday romance
Heat Rating: Sweet

"Mommy?" Christine's young voice broke in on her thoughts.

Dara put down the romance she'd been re-reading, the favorite she'd had since she was sixteen. She'd sold all her others at a yard sale the previous week. "What is it, sweetie?"

"Why don't we has a real tree for Chribmas?"

"Why don't we 'have'," she corrected. "Come sit by me." Dara patted the couch and tucked her chenille robe closer around her.

One arm around Matilda, her cloth doll, Christine climbed up and cuddled.

Matilda's going to need stuffing before long. Her head flopped forward, face against her flat chest. When did the lace on her dress get so ragged? Dara smoothed the doll's dress. "Remember when Daddy went home to heaven before Christmas last year?"

Christine knuckled her eyes and yawned. "I 'member."

"And then Mommy got hurt in the car accident and couldn't go to work?"

"Uh huh."

Dara took a deep breath. "Well, it meant there was no money for a real tree this year. But I'm sure Santa will still bring you presents." Gifts Dara bought by selling her entire collection of romance novels at a yard sale at her friend Sherilyn's house. "And we drew a tree, right?" She pointed at the crayon-bright drawing taped to the wall. Construction paper ornaments decorated each branch.

"But it doesn't smell like a Chribmas tree."

Dara hugged her. "I know, baby. I know."

"How will Santa leave his presents?" Christine pulled away and got on her knees. "He can't put them under the tree, Mommy."

"Oh, honey!" She ruffled her daughter's hair, swallowing the lump in her throat. "Santa will find a way." She leaned forward and kissed her little girl. "We should get you in bed so he can come. He can't leave presents while you're awake."

Buy links:

Barnes and Noble
CreateSpace (print)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Today's Spotlight is on Casi McLean!

Casi Mclean is in the spotlight today with a look at her Destiny series, and BENEATH THE LAKE from The Wild Rose Press. Take it away Casi!

Hey Jana. Thank you for spotlighting me on your blog today. I love the way you set up your site, a fun atmosphere with something new and different every day. Today I'd like to spotlight my books, my new release, Beneath The Lake, and my Destiny Series.

I designed my Destiny Series to give readers a taste of my writing with short reads that will hopefully leave them wanting more. The series includes five novelettes, short stories that capture the essence of my genre and style: romantic suspense or mysteries that are ethereal, supernatural, romantic, paranormal, and heartwarming all rolled into one series, and sprinkled with a touch of magic. My hope is when people read my shorts; they will be enticed into my novels.

 My Destiny Series includes the following five stories; each can be purchase separately, (most for only $0.99) or all together in one volume in the Destiny Series on this Amazon link.

Self-reliant Reagan Nichols is no stranger to challenges, but ever since twilight fell over Spirit Lake and that murky mist oozed inland, everything felt surreal. When she finds a little girl wandering through the eerie fog, Reagan vows to save the child's father from the bowels of a ghostly vessel adrift on the lake. Will the three survive a confrontation with pure evil in order to meet their Destiny?

Savanna Bradford's impulsive reaction to her boyfriend Ryan's proposal spirals her into a rendezvous with fate and a mystical gift that could alter her future. Will the timeless struggle between dreams and passion bait her into repeating history, or will a simple gift from her bizarre encounter steer Savannah toward her true destiny before it's too late?

Sabrina Wentworth's bewildering gift swept her into the sensuous arms of a dream lover. Every night, sometime after midnight, she slips into an illusory world drenched in passion. But the sands of time run out tonight. Can Brie find the key to her fantasy world before the reality of her ex boyfriend's deadly plot plays through or will she be destined to death after midnight?

Prominent heart surgeon, Sierra Norton, performs minor miracles on a daily basis, but never in her wildest dreams did she imagine she would live one. When lightning strikes her flight the aircraft plunges, swirls through turbulence, and catapults Sierra into a treacherous past––the attack on Pearl Harbor. In a whirlwind blur, Sierra's courage, skill, and passion challenges her sanity. Can the convergence of three strong women reset history to fulfill her destiny?

The Pegasus Chronicle: When New York Time's best selling author, Katlyn Harris, discovers a timeworn painting in the attic of the isolated home she mysteriously inherits, she feels a surge of déjà vu that spins her into a mysterious fantasy. Can dreams pierce the realm of reality or is Katlyn's mystic connection to the antique painting the fulfillment of a promise torn from the pages of history?

If your readers aren't quite convinced yet, perhaps the trailer for my new release will entice them further:

A ghost town submerged beneath Atlanta's famous man-made Lake Lanier reportedly lures victims to a watery grave. But when Lacey Montgomery's car spins out of control and hurtles into the depths of the icy, black water, she awakens in the arms of a handsome stranger, in a place she’s never heard of––
 34 years before she was born.

When the 2012 lawyer tangles with the 1949 hunk, fire and ice swirl into a stream of sweltering desire. Bobby Reynolds is smitten the moment the storm-ravaged woman opens her eyes. Learning the truth about her origins does nothing to stop the passion from taking root in his heart, and leaves him torn between finding a way to help Lacey return to 2012 or convincing her stay with him.

The desperation to find her way home dissolves as Lacey falls in love with a town destined to be erased from the face of the Earth, and the man who vows to protect it. Will the couple discover the key to the mysterious portal before time rips them apart? Or will their star-crossed spirits wander forever through a ghost town buried beneath the lake?

Time Travel, Romantic Suspense, Mystery

Below I've included the opening excerpt:

Lake Lanier, Georgia—June 2011
A final thud hurled him backward, flailing through brush and thickets like a rag doll. Grasping at anything to break momentum, Rob’s hand clung to a branch wedged into the face of the precipice. Spiny splinters sliced his skin. Blood oozed and trickled into his palms, and one by one, his fingers slowly slipped.
A sharp crack echoed through the silence of the ravine as the bough succumbed to his weight. He plummeted into free-fall. Clenching his eyes, he drew in a deep breath, terrified of the pain, the mauling that waited on the jagged rocks below.
When icy water broke his fall, the chill kept him from losing consciousness. He spun, straining to see, but darkness enveloped him. Soggy clothing pulled him deeper—deeper into the murky, fathomless depths. He wrestled to squirm free from the waterlogged jacket dragging him down to a watery grave, watched the coat disappear into black obscurity. Panic gripped his stomach, or was it death that snaked around his chest, squeezing, squeezing, squeezing the air, the life from his body? Lack of oxygen burned his lungs, beckoning surrender, and a shard of rage pierced his gut as reality set in. He lunged upward with one last thrust and burst from the water’s deadly grip, gasping for air. A gurgling howl spewed from the depths of his soul and echoed into silence.
Sunlight shimmered across a smooth, indigo lake, but aside from the slight ripples of his own paddling, nothing but stillness surrounded him. He floated toward the shore, sucking deep breaths into his lungs until the pummeling in his chest subsided. When he reached the water’s edge, he hoisted his body onto the soft red clay and collapsed while the sun’s warmth drained the tension from his body.
No one knew he had survived. The rules had shifted. Now he could reinvent himself, become a stealth predator. His target: Lacey Madison Montgomery.

Thank you for the opportunity to spotlight my books. I welcome any questions or comments your readers may have.
Wishing you a peaceful Thanksgiving and happy holidays,
Beneath The Lake is available in print & e-book on:
Amazon &

Destiny Series and all five shorts are available on Amazon.

Find me:
Twitter: @casimclean
Facebook: Casi McLean
FB Author Page: Casi McLean-Author
Goodreads: Casi McLean
Amazon Author Page: Casi McLean

Monday, November 16, 2015

Louise Lyndon joins me for an interview!

It's Monday but I'm pretending it's Interview Friday. I'm thrilled to have Louise Lyndon join me today to talk about writing and her newest release. Help me welcome Louise to my blog!

Why did you choose this genre?

The genre, medieval, chose me! Or, at the very least, the characters chose it for me. Of Love and Betrayal is the follow up to Of Love and Vengeance, and when I started off writing Vengeance I had the character of Aymon in my head and I saw him as a big, muscled dude (a warrior) wielding a sword. So, he picked the genre for me!

What was the most difficult thing about writing this book?

There is a lot of torture in this book – you don’t actually see any of it, but it’s mentioned. While I enjoyed reading about medieval torture (yes, I’m odd like that) I found it hard to inflict what I’d learned on to my character. She’s real to me!

Do you work on more than one book at a time?

I would love to be able to do this, but I just can’t, especially if I’m writing different time periods. I find I can only work on one project at a time or else I get confused and I lose my focus. However, that doesn’t stop me from planning other stories in my head while I’m working on something else!

When were you first published and how did that happen? Was it a long or short journey?

For a long while I called myself a writer but I hadn’t written anything for years. So, I felt like a bit of a fraud. Then, I turned the big four oh (40) and I thought to myself that I had to pull my finger out and take this writing thing seriously. I entered a competition, The Crested Butte Sandy Writing Contest, and won. The judge requested the manuscript and I happily sent it off. And then heard nothing after the acknowledgement email. So, I decided I would send it off to other publishers, and that’s what I did. By the time I turned 41 I was published. By the time I turned 42 I had sold my second novel. If the pattern continues I should be selling my next novel in the coming months!

I know how you felt. When I turned 45 I said I wasn't getting younger, and if I was going to get published, I had to get serious. How did you get started writing romance?

I remember picking up my first romance, I think it was a Mills and Boon book, I can’t remember the title, when I was about fifteen. And I was hooked. I remember I would go to Target and buy all the titles available and consume them in a matter of days. Then, I moved on to single titles (stand alones) and devoured them. I knew I always wanted to write romance – because who wouldn’t want to? Two people meet, they shouldn’t/can’t be together, they overcome internal/external conflict, -the journey to the happily ever after is the best part – for a reader and a writer.

Do you write in the same place every day or do you like to change it up?

I’m a creature of habit. And I’m still trying to decide if that is a good or bad thing! I don’t have a dedicated writing space. I usually sit crossed legged on the couch, with my laptop propped on a pillow!

Do you have another occupation, other than writer? If so, what is it? Does it help you with your writing?

Yes, I have a day job. I work at a regulatory agency. And does it help with my writing? Only when I find myself in very long meetings and my mind wanders to my characters and what they might be up to! Plus, it pays the bills until I can make enough money from writing!

Paying the bills is important, Louise! If you could get rid of something in your life that would give you more writing time, what would it be? 

The day job! But only if I was able to make the same (preferably more) money each month from writing. I enjoy my day job, but I love writing. I often think that my job is such a waste of time and that I could be at home writing for 8 hours a day.

Name two authors we might find you reading when taking a break from your own writing.

Diana Gabaldon and Jodi Piccoult. 

What are two (or more) of your all-time favorite books in any genre?

The Hungry Little Caterpillar.
April Fools Day (written by Australian author, Bryce Courtney)
The Time Traveler’s Wife.

What do you like best about your hero Troy de Gysborne from OF LOVE AND BETRAYAL? 

He has a strong moral code and he lives by that. 

What do you like best about your heroine Aveline de Bondevill from OF LOVE AND BETRAL

She doesn’t need a man to protect her, and she’s vocal about that. She’s intelligent and resourceful.

Tell us a little about your current work in progress.

It’s a contemporary romance. It has suspense. Murder. Danger. A hunky hero and a kick butt heroine!

A contemporary! That's great! What’s your tagline for OF LOVE AND BETRAYAL? 

She’s wanted for murder. He’s the man to save her.

If I was a first time reader of your books, which one would you recommend I start with and why?

You could start with either Of Love and Vengeance, or, Of Love and Betrayal. They’re both written as stand alones while being part of the series. However, Betrayal is written some 50 years after the ending of the first book and features the grandson of the hero and heroine from the first book. So, if you want to read the story that started it all, I’d start with Of Love and Vengeance, and then read Of Love and Betrayal.

Tell us about your current and latest releases.

My current release is called – Of Love and Vengeance and is the story that started it all! Here’s the blurb…

Forced to marry Lord Aymon to ensure her young nephews survival, English Lady Laila vows undying hatred for the Norman she holds responsible for the deaths of so many innocents. Discovering Aymon has committed an act of treason gives her the chance to seek vengeance he deserves.  But can Laila let Aymon die at the hands of the king once she learns the truth?

A hardened Norman warrior, Lord Aymon has lived through atrocities no man ever should. With the invasion of England over, all he wants is a quiet life and a wife who will give him heirs and obey his every command. Instead, he finds himself wed to feisty and outspoken Laila. But when she learns the truth of his treasonous act, can Aymon count on her to keep his secret?

The blurb for my new release:

Aveline de Bondeville is on the run. Determined to keep out of the hands of the cruel Raimbaut de Blois she will do whatever it takes to stay alive. And so when she finds herself in the company of Troy de Gysborne she must quickly decide if she can trust him. But can she confess to murder knowing it would mean her certain death?

Troy de Gysborne did the unthinkable; he tore the bonds of brotherhood and left a path of destruction in his wake. And now Troy must face those he betrayed, including the father who long ago renounced him. But to confess to the crime he committed will cost him everything. Including Aveline. But can he remain silent if it means losing the woman he loves?

Aveline’s scream burned her throat; she tasted blood. Eudes staggered forward, his eyes wide. He looked at her as he fell to his knees and then slumped forward. Bright red blood rushed from his wound and pooled on the ground. She looked at Raimbaut.

“This time you shall not escape.”

She picked up her skirts and ran headlong into the forest and did not slow her speed as branches slapped her in the face and tore at her arms. The ground beneath her feet was icy and uneven. She risked a glance over her shoulder and did not stop even though Raimbaut was nowhere to be seen. He may not have been behind her, but it did not mean he was not stalking her.

Sweat trickled down her face and burned her eyes. Her heart pumped, her lungs gasped for air. She came to a skidding stop and looked wildly around. Should she keep running straight, go left or right, or make her way back to Gysborne? She turned in a circle and shoved her hair from her eyes.

A twig snapped behind her. She stilled and held her breath. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a blur rush by. Was it an animal? Was it Raimbaut?

She ignored the pain in her chest and her sudden need to loosen her bladder. But she could not ignore her trembling. She clutched her arms to her chest. A sour taste flooded her mouth as she did not see how she would be lucky enough a second time to escape from Raimbaut.


Louise grew up in Victoria, Australia, before moving to England, where for sixteen years she soaked up the vibrancy of London and the medieval history of England. She has since returned to Australia and now lives in Melbourne.

In 2013, Louise won first prize in the historical romance category of the Crested Butte Sandy Writing Contest for her story, The Promise, which has since been retitled and is now known as, Of Love and Vengeance.

When not writing, Louise can be found covered in mud, crawling under barbed wire and hoisting herself over twelve foot walls!

How can readers reach you or find you online?

PINTEREST: llyndon3513


Amazon US:
Amazon UK:

Friday, November 13, 2015

Interview Friday with Marlow Kelly!

Marlow Kelly's latest novella, A WOMAN OF COURAGE, from her Honour, Love and Courage Series, releases today and she's here to tell us a little bit about it. Take it away Marlow! 

Where did you get the idea for your new novella? 

I got the idea for A Woman of Courage from reading Thomas Cahill’s How the Irish Saved Civilization. Although the book itself is about the fall of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Irish literature, it was my first introduction into the culture of early medieval Ireland. A country that was literate, with a unique society that didn’t view women in the same way as the rest of medieval Europe. I was fascinated by what, for me, was a new version of the country I visited in my teenage years and it was one I was determined to explore.

What genre have you never written that you’d like to write?

I’m only published in historical romance, but would love to write in romantic suspense, or maybe a murder mystery with a romantic twist.

Do you work on more than one book at a time?

Generally, no. I like to finish the first draft of a project before I start on the next. However, I will take a month plotting, planning and researching the next project and then go back and do a second draft of the first one. I do three drafts of each work-in-progress and I like to have a month between each so I can look at it with fresh eyes.

Do you have any words of advice to beginning writers? 

I have two pieces of advice. The first is to realize that you need to learn. Writing, for me at least, is about learning. You have to learn about grammar, editing, plotting, and then once you’re published you need to learn about promoting.

The second is to read everything you write aloud. You will be amazed at the amount of mistakes you find in your own work when you do this one simple step.

Tell us a bit about you. Where do you live, and how long have you been writing?

I live in Northern Alberta, Canada. I’ve been writing for about seven years. I have always had characters and stories roaming around in my head. One day I woke up and realized if I didn’t write them down soon it would never happen.

If money were not an object, where would you most like to live? 

I love where I live right now. It’s beautiful here in Alberta, Canada. But if money were no object I would have another house in Ireland, probably in Kildare because I have family there.

What did you want to be (occupation-wise) when you were a child? 

When I was a child I wanted to be a carpenter and make beautiful furniture. Then my father told me that girls couldn’t be carpenters. (I’m showing my age here.) I was devastated. In my early thirties I finally got a job making beautiful wood furniture, and although I enjoyed the experience, I never did become a carpenter.

Name three authors we might find you reading when taking a break from your own writing.

Carla Neggers
Julie Garwood
Linda Howard

What do you like best about your hero in A WOMAN OF COURAGE? 

Connell has made mistakes in the past. He divorced Fianna at his father’s urging. He knows and accepts responsibility for his actions and wants to make it right and win her back.

What do you like best about your heroine?

Fianna Byrne is a strong leader who puts her clan’s needs ahead of her own. She is logical, decisive and brave.

She has suffered a great deal of loss. Her father and second husband died of fever. Then the Vikings attacked, defeating her people and destroying her home. She accepts responsibility for the defeat and at the same time wants to do her best for her people even if it means losing her last chance to find happiness.

How do you choose the names and physical characteristics of your characters? Do you base them on real people?

I don’t base my characters on real people, not intentionally anyway. They come to me fully formed with their physical characteristics and names. As I write their story I discover them, who they are, what incidents have formed them into the people they are. That’s part of the joy of writing.

How can readers reach you or find you online?





Tell us a little about your current work in progress. 

I’m working on a romantic suspense set in present day Montana, entitled Sun Seeker. I entered the first three chapters in the Pages From the Heart Contest and won first place. I’m very excited about this and as I write these words I can’t believe it’s real. I keep expecting to get an email telling me there’s been some mistake and they sent the congratulation email to the wrong author.

That's fantastic, Marlow! Congratulations and all the best with Sun Seeker. Do you have an event coming up you’d like to tell us about?

Today is the release of the third and final novella in the Honour, Love and Courage series. My publisher, The Wild Rose Press will have A Woman of Courage on for half price for the first three days. It’s a great opportunity to pick up a copy.

Tell us about your current release, A WOMAN OF COURAGE.

When an injured Fianna Byrne turns up at Connell O’Neill’s gate twelve years after their separation he knows this could be his last chance to find happiness with the woman he loves.

False accusations against Fianna had strained relations between their clans and forced Connell, under Irish law, to divorce her. Their disastrous three-month relationship left Fianna pregnant and heartbroken. She has avoided Duncarraig and her ex-husband ever since.

But with her home obliterated by the Vikings, Fianna must face her past in order to save her son, and prove once and for all she is a woman of courage.


Connell held Fianna’s hand as he led her inside. Was this really happening or was it a dream? He had to turn around and check. He had imagined this moment for the last twelve years. His attraction to her was more than physical. He enjoyed her fire, and her spirit. She lived by her own moral code and did not bend to the will of others without reason. These were the characteristics his father had abhorred, but then, Seamus had enjoyed weak women. Pretty, mindless things he could hang on his arm.

Had his father been threatened by Fianna’s strength? After she was gone, Connell had come to realize her depth of character made her special. She had been his confidante, lover, and friend. Her intelligence did not overwhelm his intellect, as his father had suggested, but enhanced it. For those brief months he enjoyed her counsel, and had missed it every day since.

He glanced at her again. Even with everything that had happened this night she had the bearing of a queen, an indomitable woman who could never be conquered.

Buy Links:

The Wild Rose Press                     Amazon

B & N                                            All Romance Ebooks

Author Bio:

After being thrown out of England for refusing to drink tea, Marlow Kelly made her way to Canada where she found love, a home and a pug named Max. She also discovered her love of storytelling. Encouraged by her husband, children and let’s not forget Max, she started putting her ideas to paper. Her need to write about strong women in crisis drives her stories and her curiosity regarding the lives and loves of historical figures are the inspiration for her characters. You can visit Marlow at

Friday, November 6, 2015

Get to Know Historical Writer Marin McGinnis

Historical writer Marin McGinnis is with me today to talk about her writing process and her latest release. Welcome Marin!

Where did you get the idea for your new novel?

The hero in Secret Promise is the long lost brother of the heroine in my first book, Stirring Up the Viscount, so I knew well before I sat down it that he would be the central character and that he would come back to England after seven years abroad. I didn’t know exactly what had happened to him until I started to do some research into the American Civil War.

Why did you choose this genre?

I write historical romance because not only do I love to read it, I love to do the research which is required to make the story credible. I love losing myself in what was in many ways a simpler time, before cell phones and copy machines, airplanes and cars, when correspondence took more than 20 seconds to get to someone, and manners were everything.

What was the most difficult thing about writing this book?

The most difficult thing about writing this book was the middle, but then that’s true for every book I write. No matter how sure I am that the story is supposed to go a certain way, I manage to veer of course somewhere around 30,000 words, and it takes a supreme effort to get back on track.

What genre have you never written that you’d like to write?

I love to read paranormal romance, and young adult paranormal. I would love to write something like that, but I haven’t been struck with the right idea yet. Maybe one day!

Did you always want to be a writer?

Nope. I first started dabbling in my 20s, but really didn’t start writing in earnest until my 40s.

Do you work on more than one book at a time?

I do! I have three books going at the moment. I do try to stick with one at least through the middle, but when I get stuck, it’s nice to have something else to work on.

How many books do you have under the proverbial bed? Will they ever see the light of day?

Just one. It was the first one I ever wrote. I still love the idea of it, so may rewrite it one day, but in its current incarnation it will forever stay under the bed.

Do you write in the same place every day or do you like to change it up?

I write in all kinds of places. I am, oddly, most productive in hockey rinks, while my son is practicing.

Tell us a bit about you. Where do you live, and how long have you been writing?

I live in an eastern suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. I’ve been writing in earnest for 7-8 years.

Do you have another occupation, other than writer? If so, what is it? Does it help you with your writing?

I am a lawyer in real life. It doesn’t help me one bit, except perhaps as far as funding my writing goes!

If you could get rid of something in your life that would give you more writing time, what would it be?

The day job, absolutely. But that’s unlikely to happen until I retire.

Do you have any pets? Are you cat person or a dog person? Or are you into totally different pets, like goldfish? What do you like best about your pet?

I’m allergic to cats, so although I love them, I am a dog person. I’ve got two dogs—a standard poodle named Larry, and a part-Standard poodle, part-something-else named Sneaky Pete.

Tell us a little about your current work in progress.

My current WIP is a little different, set in England in 1851, in which an heiress advertises for a husband to save her estate.

How can readers reach you or find you online?

Website & blog:







Falsely imprisoned as a blockade-runner during the American Civil War, Edward Mason yearns to go home. But when after seven years he finally returns to England, the life he expected is gone. His parents are dead, his home destroyed, his father’s legacy stolen, and his girl—his girl is now the single mother of a child Edward never knew.

Abandoned by the man she loved and disowned by her family, Anna Templeton has learned to stand on her own two feet and make a home for her son. Now the successful owner of The Silver Gull tavern, she's not about to put their happiness in the hands of the one man who let her down so badly.

Edward is determined to regain Anna’s love and be a father to his son. But when a series of suspicious accidents threaten him and those he loves, he must stop the man responsible, or lose everything.


“Good day, sir. What can I get you? We have a very good cottage pie today.”

Edward frowned. “Aren’t you a bit young to be working in a public house?”

“Oh, I don’t work here,” the boy said. “Me mam’s the owner, and Molly didn’t come to work today.”


“The barmaid, of course.” His tone held a hint of derision, as if he thought Edward an idiot for failing to know who Molly was.

“Of course.” Edward was amused. “Well, then, I suppose I shall have the cottage pie, and an ale. And perhaps I could have a word with your mother, when she has a moment?”

“What do you want her for?” The boy’s eyes narrowed suspiciously.

“I used to live here, many years ago, and would like to speak to someone about…” Edward broke off as a woman emerged from the kitchen, carrying two plates piled with food. She had fiery red hair and a lithe figure, and moved easily through the tables. After setting one of the plates before a man sitting near the bar, she turned and scanned the room. Her gaze alit on the boy first, and she smiled. Then she spotted Edward. All color drained from her face, and the remaining plate slid from her hand, shattering on the stone floor.

“Mam!” The boy raced to the woman and clutched at her skirts, but Edward was unable to move.

“Anna,” he whispered.

Buy Links: 

The Wild Rose Press                                  Amazon

B & N                                                         Kobo

About the Author:

Clevelanders are tough, a bit cynical, and just a little crazy, and Marin McGinnis is no exception. When she's not chasing after big dogs or watching tweens skate around hockey rinks, she is immersing herself in romantic tales of years gone by. She lives in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, with her husband, son, and two standard poodles.

You can find her hanging out at, on her group blog at, on Twitter @MarinMcGinnis, Facebook at, Goodreads at, or Pinterest at

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Halloween Traditions - #SnarkologyHalloweenHop

If you're looking for the Snarkolology Halloween Hop, you've come to the right place. Make sure you enter the Rafflecopter contest below and comment here for a chance to win one of my books. Read on!

Ever wonder why we celebrate Halloween? Where did the tradition of carving pumpkins come from?

It all started long ago with the Celts. They lived in what is now the United Kingdom and western Europe. The Celts held a festival in the fall of the year to celebrate the end of summer. This festival was called Samhain. There seems to be a lot of different ways to pronounce Samhain - Sam-hane, Sow-in, sow-en, sow-an, soow-an, sow-ween. You pick your favorite pronunciation. 

The Celts believed that during Samhain, the line between this world and the next was at its very thinnest. Those who’d passed on could return, their souls often inhabiting the body of an animal, like a black cat. To this day, black cats are looked at with suspicion.

To celebrate the harvest, Celts would go door to door collecting food to give as an offering to the deities. Young Celts would collect wood and twigs from neighbors for the Samhain bonfires. Out of these traditions, the practice of trick or treating likely developed.

The Samhain bonfires were lit on the tops of hills. The Celts would take home embers of these fires in hollowed out gourds or turnips. But it was scary walking home on those dark fall nights. There could be a lot of evil spirits waiting to pounce on the innocent at this time of year. To frighten the evil spirits away, Celts carved scary faces into their gourds and pumpkins and wore costumes to fool the evil spirits. Hence the custom of wearing costumes began!

It’s amazing to me that these practices and old traditions are still with us today, and we still find joy in the celebration.

Nowhere is Halloween celebrated with more enthusiasm then in North America. Hallmark Cards reports that 65% of Americans will decorate their homes and offices for Halloween. Halloween is the holiday when the most candy is sold; it is second only to Christmas in total sales. North Americans spend over $20 million on Halloween candies yearly. Halloween is the third-largest party occasion next to Christmas and New Year's Eve, and the Number 1 season for selling humorous greeting cards. In North America, some 25 million cards are sold annually.

When I was a kid, we’d always have some kind of Halloween party at school. We’d get dressed up in our costumes and have a little parade around the school. I remember flimsy plastic costumes and terrible plastic masks that pinched my nose and were impossible to see out of. Then we usually had some treats, perhaps some candies or cake. It was always fun and a break from ordinary school work.

On Halloween night, the real fun started. My goal was always to hit every house in town (population 700), but I don’t think I ever achieved that feat. But my friends and I gave it a real good try. We’d come home with pillowcases full of candy and treats.

When I got older and couldn’t “treat” anymore, we turned to playing “tricks”. We’d throw eggs at houses (especially the houses of teachers), and wrap toilet paper in trees. I remember one year when somebody dragged hay bales into town and used them to block Main Street. Back in those days there were still some outhouses around, but most of them didn’t remain upright over Halloween! When I look back now, we were really bad!

So I’ve shared some of my juvenile delinquent Halloweens. What are your memories of Halloweens past? What about new traditions? What do you like to do for Halloween? Comment for a chance to win an ecopy of my romantic suspense SEEING THINGS. Make sure you leave your email address or I can't enter you in the contest! I'll pick a winner by November 2. Good luck!

When psychic Leah McKenna “sees” the abduction of a small boy, she knows she must help find him, no matter the danger to herself. David Logan, the boy’s uncle, doesn’t believe in psychic phenomenon. He believes Leah knows who kidnapped his nephew, and plans to stick close to her to discover the truth. As they search for Jeremy they uncover truths about themselves and the way they feel about each other. Can Leah convince him her visions, and her love for him, are real before time runs out for all of them?

Buy Links: Uncial Press | All Romance Ebooks | Amazon | B & N | Google Play | Kobo | Untreed Reads | Chapters/Indigo | iBooks

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Story Behind the Story with E. Ayers

Today is Amazing Stories Wednesday! Just in time for Halloween, I'm featuring E. Ayers today with her sensual romance A SKELETON AT HER DOOR. She's here to tell us the story behind the story, but first here's a blurb:

Trick or Treat! Angie Robertson opens her door and finds a six-foot tall skeleton on her doorstep. Is it a trick or a treat?

Angie thought the man at her door was her neighbor. Except he wasn’t. Dressed for a charity event Tom Meyer winds up on the wrong doorstep and this just might be the best thing that ever happened to him.

What if the skeleton was a really nice guy who’d been burned by enough women that he’s lost faith in ever finding someone who could be faithful?

A Skeleton at Her Door is a sensual romance. It’s about trusting, putting the past away, and finding love when it’s least expected. It’s also about blending two households, parenting, three children, and sneaking off for some adult time.

 Amazon International Buy Links.

Or read for FREE as a Kindle Unlimited 

Thank you, Jana, for inviting me to be on your blog today. We were chatting one night and wound up talking about the story behind the story. Well, there's a saying in this business to write what you know. So often small bits of real life seem to filter into my stories. I just finished a story that involves the hero and a motorcycle accident. My own niece suffered through a similar injury, so yes, these tidbits of real life make their way into the things that I write.

But the biggest story behind the story is… Let's just say, looking back at it… It's enough to make me laugh. And it's one of those moments frozen in my mind. In fact, my children don't even remember it. How could they forget? Let me transport you all back to when my girls were still young.

Halloween was approaching and the community where I lived was concerned about Halloween and the children running amuck through the neighborhood. So I did what any sane parent would do, I volunteered to organize the biggest block party for children. (Okay, ignore the sane part.) I commandeered the clubhouse and began to plan the best party I could for the children. Fortunately, a few other moms helped me.

But that left out the older kids whom really weren't into costume parades, musical chairs (pumpkin-style), etc. Plus we had a surplus of teens in the neighborhood, and by city rules, they were not allowed to trick or treat. So what would this older crowd really enjoy? How about a haunted woods? Oh yeah!

I had a handful of young men and some dads who stepped up and said they wanted to help. Suddenly I had men planning to run cables through the treetops and a zipline. What? A zipline! Oh yeah, easy. You're joking, right? Not!

Several folks were involved in a local theatre group so what I thought might be a lame attempt at scaring a few preteens and young teens became the most amazing haunted woods imaginable. (As many adults as teens attended that event.)

One of my neighbors dated a woman who did the makeup for that local theatre group and had done big theatre. She wanted to do the makeup. I wasn't turning that offer down!

So from 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM the little ones had all sorts of age appropriate games and fun. Then by 7:30, we switched over to an older crowd of children that didn't want to do the haunted woods. So they had pumpkin decorating contests, etc. We fed everyone, and that was one scary menu! And what we thought would only last until 9 PM went until almost 11 PM. If anyone wants details, just contact me. The whole thing was a huge success.

But prior to that night, our makeup artist wanted to do everyone's makeup because she wouldn't have much time to even think. Her answer was to do everyone ahead of time and set up trays with peeling skin and open wounds. As folks came in Halloween afternoon, she could add the right colors and amounts of makeup to that person's tray and do that face, quickly and efficiently.

Starting about two weeks ahead of time, my doorbell started to ring and I'd open my door to the most amazing faces. From witches to zombies, I thought I'd seen everything. This gal had quite a talent in creating some very scary, sometimes gory faces.

But one night, I opened my door to a skeleton. It was one of those unseasonable cold nights. The kind of night that you cross your fingers and hope that Halloween will be much nicer! Anyway, instead of someone in jeans with half his face falling off, I had the most amazing skeleton in costume. I yanked that man into my house so fast and closed the door to the freezing cold temperature.

The black and white outfit was unlike anything I'd ever seen. Probably ordered from one of those catalog stores that specialize in costumes. Skin tight, it looked like something an Olympic speed skater would wear. The only bit of flesh visible was the face and that was covered in white and black makeup. The man wearing it was of average height. And there was no question that he was a man - broad shoulders, small waist and hips, nicely ripped… He was hot! And being an old married lady with an almost teen and one slightly younger, I knew not to drool over my single male neighbor!
So what did I do? I called my daughters to come see this wonderful creature standing in my living room. My oldest was just shy of her thirteenth birthday by a few days. She came downstairs first, and with wide-eyes, she circled the young man. This was mom's reality check that my little girl was no longer a little innocent girl. It was the way she said, "Oh, yeah!"

I fussed and finally the younger of the two girls came partially down the stairs and sat on the step. She looked at the skeleton silently standing there and then at me. I said something inane such as, "Doesn't Mike look super?"

I'll be honest, I'd never even seen my young neighbor in a pair of swim trunks, and he usually dressed in suits for work. I knew he was part of the haunted woods, but not what. And I assumed that if he were stripped of that suit, he'd cut a fine figure. Never assume!

My little one frowned and said, "That's not Mike. Mike has blue eyes and this guy has brown."

"You're not Mike?"

The skeleton shook his head.

"Are you part of the haunted woods?"

Again the skeleton shook his head.

"You're not talking because of the makeup?"

The skeleton nodded.

"Do I know you?"

He shook his head.

Panic, like Nordic ice water, ran through my system "Would you like a piece of paper?"
Who did I let into my house? I never found out his name or anything about him. He wanted the townhouse one court over from mine.

It took several weeks before I discovered that the incredible skeleton was there to pick up the daughter who had returned from college and that there was a charity event that night. I figure someday someone will read this story and say, honey, remember that skeleton costume you wore the night… Okay, they will have a good laugh, but I dragged a complete stranger into my house!

A few years ago, I was chatting with my girls about past events and that one came up. They didn't remember it. How could they possibly forget? They did, but I never did.

That crazy moment in time became the first chapter in my book, A Skeleton at Her Door. What if a divorced man with teenage children was dressed for a charity event, showed up on the wrong doorstep, and what if a divorced woman who thought she was opening the door to her neighbor discovered she didn't know the skeleton? My muse took over, and I wrote the story.

Autumn is my favorite time of the year, and this is definitely an autumn romance. But tucked in the pages, are some serious issues that face many women today, and anyone who has ever been trapped in an abusive marriage will understand Angie. Plus there's a father of two teens who is trying hard to raise them by himself, and in these times, trying to keep a couple of teens walking the line, is no easy feat! Oh, and let's toss in some body image concerns. Who hasn't peered in the mirror and been concerned about the way they look? We're not eighteen anymore!


"Zach, Emily, I'm home." Tom called as he came through the door. Sounds of a video game came from the direction of his son's room. "Emily?" He knocked on his daughter's bedroom door.

"Come in."

He opened the door. Emily had smeared some purple goop on her face and her hair was piled high on her head." Get ready for bed."

She rolled her eyes.

"Is your homework done?"

She nodded without removing the phone from her ear.

"Field hockey tomorrow?"

Another nod.

"Am I picking you and Ashley up?"

She shook her head.

"Emily, please. I do need to talk to you for a few minutes. Meet me in the kitchen without the phone."
He knew it was a lonesome life, but he'd lived this way for a long time. Lonesome was better than being greeted by a wife who nagged about everything. Angie came to mind and he smiled. She seemed a lot like him. Her world was her daughter and she did everything to give the child a good life.

He sorted through the mail and trashed most of it. He opened the letter from the orthodontist and read through it quickly before tossing it. Braces were nothing new and Emily was to get a mouthful after Christmas. The other envelope was the renewal notice from his car insurance. He filed it. "Emily!"
A few minutes later, she appeared with a towel wrapped around her long hair and the purple mask was missing.

"I have a dinner date tomorrow night and you guys are going with me. I want you on your best behavior."

Emily rolled her eyes at her father. "From that charity auction?"

"No, but I met her that night when I went to Matt's." He grinned. "You did a super job with the makeup, but I wasn't sure if I'd ever get all of it off."

Emily laughed. "Yeah, you did look good. How'd you do at the Halloween auction?"

"They liked me." He grinned back.

"What did they pay for you?"

He chuckled. "Eight hundred." He rocked his hand in front of him. "I was middle of the road."
"Was she pretty?"

"Old enough to be my mother, but we had a nice evening."

"So where did you find this date?" She pulled the towel off her head and rubbed her wet hair with it.

"I thought Matt was in 128 B. Matt's in D. Angie and her daughter live in B."

"You went to the wrong house? How embarrassing! What did you do?"

"I motioned for a piece of paper and pen." He wasn't about to say more. "So Ashley's mom is picking you guys up from practice?" He watched his daughter nod. "Okay, I want you coming straight home so you can grab a shower. It's going to be casual."


"I was considering something a little nicer - a real restaurant."

"Jimmy's Joint? Then Zach and I can play games while you guys ogle each other."

"That's not a bad idea. We're not ogling, but it would give us a chance to talk. She's got a daughter a little younger than you."

Emily raised her eyebrows.

"I don't know. I think Lissy's about eight or nine."

"Whatever. We'll be nice to her."

"Give me a kiss and go to bed."

He watched as Emily walked towards her room. At least he had well-behaved kids who received good grades. Zach wasn't into team athletics, but he loved his skateboard, and he could play almost any instrument in the band. Emily loved field hockey. He was proud of them. They weren't perfect, but for growing up without a mother, they were doing well.

He cleaned up the mess they had left in the kitchen, and then went to the den to clean up behind them in there. Five glasses, two half-eaten bags of popcorn, another vampire book from the library, and four nail polish bottles, Zach's cell phone, and two skateboarding magazines, he collected the junk. He'd read that older children were supposed to be responsible for their rooms, and they were supposed to be given freedom and privacy within them. His compromise was that every two months the rooms had to be spit shined, and he inspected them. The rest of the time he left a basket outside their doors and would deposit their stray things into the appropriate basket. He emptied what he had picked up into their baskets and went back to the den to finish straightening up.

You can buy A SKELETON AT HER DOOR  at 

E. Ayers can be found on Twitter at or at her blog,