Friday, June 1, 2018

A New Kindle Rafflecopter!

Here's another chance to win a Kindle Fire or an Amazon Gift Card! It's easy to enter, so click on the Rafflecopter!

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Friday, January 12, 2018

Character Interview with Mary Patterson Thornburg

Mary Patterson Thornburg makes a return visit to Journeys with Jana. She's here with an interview with one of her favorite characters from her novel The Kura. Please welcome Mary Patterson Thornburg!

Character interview – "Pei Kala" (a secondary character in The Kura), interviewed by the book's author

Thornburg: Good morning! I'm so glad you agreed to this interview – please, sit down. Will you have a cup of tea?

Pei Kala: I'd love some tea, thank you! This'll be fun. I've never been interviewed before.

T: Well, don't be nervous. You'll do fine. To begin with, I'm not sure how to address you. Would "Madam MP" be correct, or would you prefer "Lady Pei"?

PK: (Laughs) Oh, please, just "Kala." My husband's the Member of Parliament, not me. And if you make this formal I'll be tongue-tied!

T: All right – Kala it is, then. Now, our readers would like to know something about your childhood, where you grew up.

PK:  I was born with Stone Village – one of the traveling villages in the west of Bandor. My brother, Shan, and I are twins, and our mother died when we were babies, in an accident. Our father was a lot older than her, and he'd been head of the village council for a long time. But we grew up just like all the village children, except Shan didn't take special training in any of the crafts. He knew he was going to be a kura – a physician – from when he was only about seven, so he studied with our kura. We both went to regular school with her. And we both took out 'lanu flocks to graze, of course, starting about that age.

T: Were you trained in a craft?

PK: Not a craft, but in planting and harvesting. I've always loved plants and flowers. It was lucky, because now I'm doing a lot of gardening for my clients around the city. And for us, too – my husband and me – and for some of our friends.

T: How did you and your husband meet? Did you know each other as children?

PK: Oh, no. Actually, Bela Ru is from your world here – Underland we call it – although I tend to forget that most of the time, and I think he does too. We met seven years ago, two years before the Bandor revolution, when he was seventeen and I was almost sixteen. His sister, Alyssha, was already my friend, and she introduced us. We declared our bond – got married, I mean – a half-year later, at the Midwinter festival. We stayed with the village then until Bela Ru rejoined the Magh Ladar, and after the revolution we moved to the city. Bela Ru helped write the new constitution, and he was elected to Parliament the year after that.

T: So, let me see… that means he was elected when he was just twenty years old? That's quite unusual, isn't it?

PK: He was the youngest MP, yes. But several members were in their twenties, and now there are two younger than Bela Ru. We're a young country. We need new ideas, and the courage and passion and commitment – and, yes, the energy, of young people. We are all learning how to make our country work.

T: Kala, if you could have a wish come true – a personal wish – what would it be?

PK: (with a mischievous smile) You are the author, and you're granting me a wish? May I have two wishes, then?

T: Well… we'll see.

PK: Ok√©, here are my wishes. First, I wish for my dear friend Alyssha, and my dear brother Shan, to be happy. Together… or not. But both happy. And second, I wish for a baby. Bela Ru and I so want to have a baby.

Blurb, The Kura:

Six years ago, two men chased Alyssha Dodson into a dark room under a bridge in her Indiana city, and she found herself in another universe. After three months she came back. She promised her father she'd stay in his world. But what she'd left behind was a place she couldn't forget, dreams she couldn't escape. And a piece of her heart.

Now, when a man dies in a hit-and-run accident, leaving her a strange, double-faced coin and a message she doesn't understand, she'll have to break that promise.


Alyssha wasn't tired, but it seemed like a good place to stop for a few minutes. She left the road and sat down in a patch of shade. Taking out an orange, she peeled it carefully and ate it, stuffing the peel back into her pack. Her fingers were sticky now and she was thirsty, but she wanted a drink from this stream, not from her bottle of Granville water. She walked into the grove, toward the sound of the stream.

The breeze shifted and she caught a whiff of something foul – a dead animal, and not a small one. A wave of nausea struck her. At the same time she felt the hair on the nape of her neck prickle, and the star stone, under her tunic, touched her with a sinister thrill. It was this, nothing else, that made her walk toward the stench.

Even before she saw it, she guessed what sort of dead animal it would be. She scanned the ground and soon spotted what she'd feared. The body was sprawled between two of the larger willows, partly hidden by a tangle of undergrowth. Insects buzzed over it; the grass around it trembled. Wishing she'd not stopped here at all, she moved closer, until she had no doubt that she was looking at a dead human being.

The body was clothed in stained fabric. Although she couldn't be sure, she thought it was a man. A large stone rested on his upper chest and another lay beside him. The face, she saw with relief, was turned away from her. His head lay toward the east, his face turned to the south. Suddenly Alyssha remembered something the old kura, Vinh Ke Saar, had said: South is the direction of deceit. Her amulet burned against her skin. Had the stone killed him, crushed him? It was large enough for that. How long ago? How long did it take to reduce a human body to this? More than a few days, she thought.

Suddenly the grove was full of shadows. She stepped backward, inch by inch, trying not to make a sound, as if she might disturb the dead. When the body was no longer visible, she turned and ran. She reached her backpack, slung it over her shoulders, and ran again, down the road, her breath tearing at her lungs.

Buy Links:

Amazon USA    Amazon Canada     Amazon UK

Author Bio:

Mary Patterson Thornburg was born in California and has lived in Washington State, Indiana, and Montana, where she currently resides with her husband, poet and fellow novelist Thomas Thornburg. She has published fiction, literary criticism, and poetry. Thornburg's short fiction has appeared in THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION, ZAHIR, and CICADA, among other magazines, and in several anthologies. Two of her stories received honorable mention in THE YEAR'S BEST FANTASY AND HORROR, and her young adult story "Niam's Tale," set in the world of THE KURA, and published in CICADA, won the 2011 Magazine Merit Honor Certificate from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

Social Media Links:




Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Lucy M. Loxley shares a favorite character

Today I'm welcoming Regency romance writer Lucy M. Loxley to my blog. Lucy has just released her first Regency, Her Humble Admirer. Here's Lucy to tell us a little about one of her favorite characters. Take it away, Lucy!

Introducing Sir James Dorchester!
By: Lucy M. Loxley

Introducing your hero is one of the pleasures of writing Romance. I find this particularly so in the case of a narrative where there will be a love triangle, as in my Regency novella, Her Humble Admirer.

While the following scene occurs in the first chapter, it is one of my utmost favorites. It began as a fan-fiction prompt for my Sunday-night writing group that soon turned into much more.

 “Sir James Dorchester,” York announced. 

“Just James?” She relaxed into the divan. 

“Well, isn’t that a fine welcome for a dear old friend?” But his voice smiled as he sank his lanky frame into the chair opposite. He nodded to York, who pulled the door closed behind him once more.

 “To what do I owe this mighty, mighty honor?” she teased, hearing the paper crinkle under her gathered skirts and trying not to move, lest he notice the hidden missive.

 “I’ve come to check on you.” 

“Check on me? Whatever for?” 

“With your bosom bow become Mrs. Morgan so lately, I figured you might be wanting for company. Isn’t Wednesday her call for tea?”

“Don’t remind me.” She allowed her disappointment to sound in her voice. 

“Dear friend, it is just as I thought.” He leaned forward and a strand of his dark hair fell across his high brow. “Our Livia is lonesome, and this incipient deluge is simply not helping.”

 Piqued, she sat straighter in her chair, “I most certainly am not lonesome. It’s this dreadful weather. That’s all it is.” 

“Oh, the rain. Just the rain, is it?” His green eyes sparkled. “Not even a wee bit…wanting for company, then?”

When I initially wrote this scene, there was a lot of exposition and descriptions of the grand home, some of which I kept, but what interested me most was what I love about Jane Austen novels: the witty repartee between old friends.

I recommend quickly flowing dialogue as in this scene which establishes Livia’s personality as well as her connection with James Dorchester.  As in real life, the friends jump lightly and with few if any transitions from one thought to the next.

I also interspersed body language for both characters. Within the first few pages, readers learn about James, his affection for his longtime friend, as well as the upcoming conflict: an out-of-town dandy and a secret admirer who has sent a letter that Livia doesn’t feel like sharing yet. So much so that she tries to hide the evidence, a defensive move that underscores the tension and excitement of this inciting incident.

Blurb, Her Humble Admirer:

Livia Hightower is more than a little intrigued when the morning mail brings a most unexpected delivery.

Dearest Livia,
The call of the nightingale is but a sorrowful, plaintive psalm
Next to the sterling hue of my lady’s eyes, gazing mine.
It is signed simply Your Humble Admirer.

Again and again similar notes arrive in the post. Could it be a beguiling coincidence that they coincide with the arrival in the neighborhood of handsome Mr. Framingham? Surely Livia's childhood friend, James, would never indulge in such romantic behavior, especially when he openly distrusts whoever is sending the tender missives.

With each new note, Livia becomes more convinced that her future lies with the sender. If only she could learn who he is...

Buy Link:

Author Bio:

Once upon a time, Lucy M. Loxley was an English major at a small liberal arts college. Her favorite classes were Brit Lit and Women Writers of the 18th and 19th Centuries, where she encountered Jane Austen and the Regency period and promptly fell in literary love at first read. Since then, she’s taught high school and college (writing and history classes), studied photography, and significantly expanded her book collection.  She lives in the Mid-Atlantic but dreams of a pilgrimage to Austen’s haunts one day soon. Her Humble Admirer is her first Regency.    

Friday, December 29, 2017

#NewRelease from Kayelle Allen

Kayelle Allen is my guest with her new release Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire. Kayelle does so much for fellow writers through Marketing for Romance Writers that I'm pleased to do a little something to promote her new book. Without further ado, here's Kayelle!

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

I'm a creature of habit. I use a desktop computer and rarely go elsewhere to write. However, I do sometimes pop over to Starbucks with my tablet for a change of pace.

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

Time travel. That fascinates me. I can't come up with a good paradox, but maybe someday.

What's your favorite time management tip?

Think through the process before you start a project. Will you need material to complete it? Gather that before you begin. Will someone else have to sign off on a portion? Be sure you know their schedule so you're not waiting for them. Do you have authority to close the project? If not, why not? By walking through the project before you start, it gives you a better idea what you'll need to do overall. Planning always saves time.

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

My bio mentions that I'm former US Navy, but it doesn't say that the military was how I met my husband. We were stationed in the same place and were in the same orientation class. He says he saw me and knew instantly I was the one. Love at first sight. We met in June and married in December. This year will be 44 years.

If writing is your first passion, what is your second?

Reading and movies. I inhale books. For the last year I've been reading suspense and thrillers both in book form and in movies.

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

Email! I spend way too much time there. It's organized to the nth degree, but it's still a time suck.

What genre is your favorite to read?

Suspense and thrillers. I also love good scifi and Regency romance, plus any book that has a cover with a guy in a kilt.

What do you like best about your hero Pietas in your Bringer of Chaos series?

Pietas is brutally honest. He will not lie. He'd rather you shot him in the head than tell a lie. That gets him into trouble but you always know where you stand with him.

What do you like best about your heroine?

Joss is patient and she's a guardian of sorts. Her telepathy is so acute she cannot "not" hear you thinking. Her personal ethics keep her from eavesdropping and she respects the privacy of others. Still, being in the situation she's in where she's with others 24/7 makes it very difficult for her to unwind. She likes to explore and find places where she can be far enough away to have some telepathic distance and not be bombarded with the thoughts of others.

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

My characters come into being in a sort of "big bang" -- suddenly there, all at once, backstory, name, description, everything. But as I start writing their story, I discover all sorts of tidbits and details. Before I started writing the first Bringer of Chaos book, I did not know how honest Pietas was. I only discovered that when I began his book. He's been in many other stories, and this trait never came up in his scenes.

How can readers reach you or find you online?

Romance Lives Forever Reader Group
Amazon Author page

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

Romance Lives Forever. I'm married to THE most romantic man in the world. He tells me he loves me every single day. If you put work into your marriage you can have a romance that lasts. It also fits with my characters. After all, if you're immortal, romance lives forever.

Do you have an event coming up you'd like to tell us about?

I'm currently doing a cover reveal tour for Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire. The book will release on December 29, 2017.

Tell us about your current release.

When the immortal Pietas is marooned on a barren world with no food and few survival tools, he knows it could be worse. He could be alone. But that's the problem. He's not.
Half a million of his people sleep in cryostasis, trapped inside their pods and it's up to Pietas to save them. He can't release one at a time. It's all or nothing. He's facing over five hundred thousand hungry, thirsty, homeless, immortals all looking to him for answers. Talk about being forged in fire!
It's not all bad. The beautiful telepathic warrior he's loved for lifetimes is at his side. He's bonded with a sentient panther. He hates humans but the one dumped on this planet with him has become a trusted friend.

But before Pietas can build shelter, figure out how to grow food, or set up a government, he must take back command from a ruthless enemy he's fought for centuries. His brutal, merciless father.
Immortals may heal, but a wound of the heart lasts forever...

Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire has no profanity or explicit content, but lots of angst, a little humor, some sweet romance, and a ton of betrayal with plenty of vengeance. Oh, and let's not forget--one ginormous black "kitty".

Is there anything we haven't covered here that you'd like to tell readers?

I created a downloadable coloring book with images of Pietas and other characters from the series. Also... dragons!


In this scene from Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire, we get a peek at the weird weather on this world. It's not like Earth's. It's dangerous to be out in a storm. When a mini-tornado wreaks havoc, Pietas finds himself in an awkward situation.

The sky turned tornado-green. A few fat drops of rain slid down Pietas's neck, leaving a cold trail in the heat. A few others smacked his hair and face. These scouts warned of the threatening army advancing. Higher up, ominous thunderclouds glowed a menacing pink and orange.

They picked up the pace. In the distance, the oncoming storm blackened the sky. The wind whistled, calling its dogs to hunt.

Icy fingers dragged down his spine. Pietas swallowed, fighting back bile.

The hill they'd crested led down to a jagged claw-rip of darkness, a slash in the velvet forest forming a lightless, foreboding tunnel. The coffin-shaped slice emptied into an abyss of shadow, swallowing every indication of depth and life.

Despite knowing he needed to hurry, Pietas slowed his step, dragging his bare feet through straw-colored grass. Turning in a slow circle, he held out his arms as high as he could and lifted his face to the cloud-covered sun, a child wanting one more minute outdoors before bedtime. He cherished the open air and light, unwilling to relinquish the beauty of his freedom.

"Pietas!" Joss called to him. She'd gotten far ahead. "Come on!"

He started toward her. The forest maw ratcheted open. An unhinged jaw of a snake. An uneven patch of ground beneath a foot cost him his balance. Pietas stumbled, tripped, and threw out his hands to break his fall. He landed on hands and knees and then sat, cross-legged. His scraped palms stung and bled. A potent swear word flew to mind, but he denied it voice.

His sister slowed as she passed, but didn't speak. If an Ultra did not ask for help, none was offered.
The twins, however, tasked with guarding the party, did stop. Aid was their duty.

"Guys." Six stooped next to him. "You go ahead. I'll stay with Pi."

Pietas flicked his fingers. Without a response, the twins joined Dessy.

Joss looked up and around at the sky. "Pietas, I'll wait for you."

"No, go ahead. The rain's almost here. I'll join you under the trees."

When she had gone, he examined his palms. The injury had healed.

"How's the ankle?"

"Fine, ghost." He wiped off his hands.

His friend studied him, glanced toward the forest. "Gotcha." He stood.

When Pietas shifted to rise, Six offered a hand.

"Thanks, but I can manage." He stood and brushed himself off.

The wind picked that moment to set a dust devil whirling into the sand and dried grasses around them. It flew up, stinging exposed skin.

Six covered his eyes. "Oh, man!"

Pietas shielded his own. The whirlwind ripped the cloth tie holding back his hair and whipped strands into his face. He tried facing into the wind, but the circular current spun the tresses back into his eyes. As fast as it had risen, the wind subsided.

Full of static electricity from the wind and storm, his long hair settled over his shoulders and adhered to his neck.

Six dug into his pockets. "I have another strip." They had torn several from a ragged shirt. Six wore the biggest piece around his neck. He set down his pack and opened it.

"Six," Pietas hissed. He did not turn his head, but looked toward the others. "Leave it!"

The ghost glanced up at him, then the immortals, waiting ahead. "You want the women messing with your hair? Is that it?"

He closed his eyes, counting to ten. To a hundred would not erase this embarrassment. "No." When he beheld Six, the man had the discourtesy to smirk. "Don't look at me in that tone of voice."

Free on Kindle Unlimited

Author Bio:

Kayelle Allen writes Sci Fi with misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr. She's a US Navy veteran and has been married so long she's tenured.

Join the Romance Lives Forever Reader Group. Download four free books and get news about books coming soon. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

#AuthorInterview with Leslie Scott

Debut author Leslie Scott is my guest today, and she's sitting down for an interview. Leslie's first book, THE FINISH LINE, has just released from The Wild Rose Press. It's a new adult novel about two young people who are meant to be, despite the trauma in their lives. Please welcome Leslie Scott!

Why did you choose this genre?

You know, I felt a very strange kinship with the New Adult Romance novels I’ve read over the past few years. I can still vividly recall the excitement and promise of that phase of my life. Writing characters who are smart and strong, but still learning how to really live is evocative and challenging. I love it.

What do you want readers to come away with after they read THE FINISH LINE?

I want them to come away happy and fulfilled, as if they’ve made a family of new friends in Arkadia and went on a journey with them.

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

Paranormal. I’m super excited for some things I have in the works, but I really love Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. The idea of writing in a world I created with all my own rules sends my mind racing in all sorts of directions.

When were you first published and how did that happen? 

Was it a long or short journey? The Finish Line is my first submitted and first published novel. I had given myself five years to get published or find an agent. Not sure what was at the other end of that ultimatum, but five years none the less. A year after completing my first polished manuscript I signed my contract with The Wild Rose Press. It’s been a whirlwind journey for sure, one I am incredibly thankful for.

If writing is your first passion, what is your second?

My son and his education. Several years ago we had to pull him out of public school. He’s a gifted child and has a difficult time conforming to the setting and structure within a modern public school. He flourished once we removed him from that setting and teaching (or chauffeuring him between other teachers) is now my other full time job.

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?

We currently have four cats and three dogs. I’m probably a cat person, but my son’s Boston Terrier is pretty darn cute (and googly eyed). We have rescued all of our pets and my ten-year-old son takes pride in being able to rescue kittens and find new homes for them (with the help of an awesome, local non-profit).

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

This is so funny, because as a child I either wanted to be a teacher or a writer. Now, it just so happens, I’m both. I can’t think of any other things in the world I’d want to do.  I’m happy and grateful to do what I love every day and I hope that all of you enjoy my writing as much as I enjoyed doing it!

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

Okay so, I could write a list of authors and books I loved, then break it down by genre, and so forth and so on. To be a writer one must be a reader. However, I’m going to swing for the fences here. I’m not particularly a Sci-Fi fan, but, if you ever get a chance to read John Scalzi’s The Old Man’s War… do it. I fell in love with the entire series, but that first novel? Is just insane and amazing. I read it in four hours, straight through, without stopping.

What do you like best about your hero from THE FINISH LINE?

I like that Jordan made a family for himself. That even after all the bad things in his life, he found good in Arkadia. He loves, and loves big.

What do you like best about your heroine from THE FINISH LINE? 

Her loyalty. There are just certain things that Raelynn would never consider doing. Ever. Including betraying those she loves. That, to me, is commendable and makes me root for her.

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

Raelynn’s name just came to me, no real reasoning behind it. I loved the way it sounded and went from there. Jordan’s, though, has a story. I knew he was going to be my first romance hero and I wanted his name to mean something to me. So, about halfway through the writing process I changed his name. Two of my very first celebrity crushes were Jordan Knight from NKOTB and Christian Slater. So, Jordan Slater for the win.  Jordan needed to be larger than life, his physical characteristics spawned from that need. Raelynn, however, came from a cashier at a gas station. I don’t know why, but I took one look at her and thought “that’s what Raelynn looks like” and there you have it.

How can readers reach you or find you online?

They can find me at my website:, on Twitter @leslieSwrites, and on Facebook

Tell us a little about your current work in progress. 

In The Finish Line you meet a host of characters from the Arkadia, Texas racing scene. Including Raelynn’s little sister, Breanna. She’s sassy, brassy, and well… she’s a novel unto herself. Thus, I’m working on Book Three of the Arkadia Fast Series. Hot Lap (Book 2, Hadley’s novel) should release sometime next spring.

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

Romance with a shot of Nitrous. I chose is since, ya know, racing and all.

Thank you, Jana for hosting me today. I really appreciate it and I’ve had a wonderful time answering your questions. I hope your readers have had as much time reading them!


Another night at the races is more than burnt rubber with a hit of nitrous. For one young woman, it's navigating trauma, love, and loss in the stifling Texas heat under the watchful gaze of her brother’s best friend and reigning King of the Streets, Jordan Slater. Home in Arkadia again, Raelynn Casey starts to heal from a terrible incident at college. She finds love in Jordan, a member of her brother’s circle of racing buddies. When another in the racing circle, the guy who took her to her high school prom, exposes his feelings for Raelynn, tragedy erupts like a tank of race fuel. Guilt, remorse, and pain must be overcome before Raelynn and Jordan can race to The Finish Line.

Author Bio:

Leslie Scott thrives in the middle of chaos. Not because she home schools her son and rides herd over the family's zoo of indoor pets or listens to her soul mate wax poetically about all things car and related. Oh, no. That's nothing. The real chaos is the characters in her mind, elbowing and tripping each other to get to the front of the line so they can be the next romantic couple in one of her stories. Her family is her passion. Writing romance is her dream.

Buy Links:

Another night at the street races is more than burnt rubber and a hit of nitrous. For Raelynn, it's a chance to be near Jordan and his own brand of danger. Amazon:

For Raelynn, it’s always been Jordan Slater. Now, she just has to convince him that he’s worthy.  Barnes and Noble:

The Wild Rose Press:


He turned away from me and watched the approaching truck stop several hundred feet from our
hiding spot. The silence seemed to stretch on forever. Again, he said a lot without saying a thing and it made me nervous as hell. I couldn’t handle that sort of silence.

“I’m not going to pretend like it didn’t happen, Jordan.” Because it had happened. It had happened and I’d been left reeling from it. When he’d followed up kissing me stupid in his driveway after my graduation with verbally shooting me down hard, I’d been left with all sorts of unsettled emotions.
“For a while, I thought you’d broken my heart.”

“I never meant to.” I barely heard his words over the roar of the small truck Hunter raced as he fired it up.

As much as I’d wanted to hurt him after that, as many nights as I’d spent awake in my dorm room
wishing I could make him feel what I felt, I never could have. Not then and not now. I loved him too much for that. I always would.

“You didn’t,” I assured him quietly. The smell of melted rubber from Hunter’s burnout assaulted us. “I had to learn what being broken really felt like to know it.”

He turned toward me, his face and eyes softening in a way very few people had seen or would ever see.

My knees went weak.


I held a hand out to stop him. This line of conversation wasn’t what I wanted out of us right then.
I wanted us back to an ease I could navigate with far more clarity. “Life is about learning. Besides, Hunter East taught me more than you ever could have.”

The concern vanished from his face and was replaced with a contorted expression of annoyance.

“Jesus, Rae.”

The smug smile on my face was as genuine as they came. I was proud, in a pesky girl sort of way.

“There are things I could have taught you, Hunter East never would have dreamed of,” he growled.