Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Ginny McBlain: BEAR HUGS and Secondary Characters

I'm pleased to have Ginny McBlain visiting on my blog today. I first met Ginny in 2008 in Portland, Oregon at the EPIC Conference. It was a pleasure meeting her then, and it's a pleasure having her on my blog for the first time. Please welcome Ginny McBlain!

I’ve written books with casts of interesting secondary characters, such as Bear Hugs, a March 16, 2018 release and Solemn Vows, coming in August 2018, which has very few. Both books have been updated from the original and are to be republished by Uncial Press.

Secondary characters are fun to write. These folks give the author the opportunity to create vivid players in a supporting role. They may have colorful characteristics to contrast with those of a protagonist. They may add comic relief when the tension is too much or they can be a sounding board for one of the protagonists. The author can use a secondary character to help a main character see through his/her own blind spots, and one may be used to clarify the best characteristics of the hero, heroine or both. Or perhaps such a character will point out that no one is perfect no matter how hard one might try. And they can play a major role in a sub plot. There must be other reasons to people a book that I’ve overlooked.

As an example, take the five main secondary characters in my romance, Bear Hugs, which stars Hunter Blackwell, an actor who plays Bidwell Bear, a children’s TV character and budding singing star, and Paige Holbrook, ex-wife of a football star. One of my all-time favorites is Palmer May, Hunter’s publicity agent. He’s overweight, bald and given to wearing very loud polyester sport jackets which exceeds his girth. To cover his chrome dome, he has grown his graying fringe and sideburns very long. He French braids both over his pate and pulls the back into a pony tail tied with Rick Rack. He is colorful, as is Monica deWitt, the producer of The Bidwell Bear Show. She smokes, and wears unflattering skimpy clothes. Palmer is opportunistic and a tad shady. Monica is possessive, demanding, and obnoxious, a total opposite of Paige. These characters bring out the best in Hunter. Through them we learn his values and some of his motivations. Hopefully, the reader will want to wring both their necks at times.

Bonnie Blalock is Paige’s friend. Bonnie’s a protective, blunt-spoken woman. She is Paige’s sounding board and helps Paige see through her blind spots. Paige’s self-centered father, Will Montgomery, recent widower, is used to being waited on hand and foot. Today’s women will have a hard time relating to his chauvinist attitude. These two provide the means for Hunter to see what make Paige tick.

Last, but certainly not least, is Jamie, Paige’s young son. He’s in a coma, and compels Paige to contact Bidwell Bear, the child’s favorite TV character, at the beginning of the of the story. Jamie, a typical rowdy four-year-old boy, supplies pathos and comic relief.

By contrast, Solemn Vows is short on secondary characters. I didn’t realize the lack would make writing the story difficult. Three young children were not enough to carry the full load of the role of lesser players. Nor were the three off-scene characters, discussed but not present. Two were dead and one missing. Quinn and Meredith, our hero and heroine, are newlyweds. He inherits three pre-school age children five days after their marriage. There’s no one for either to talk to but each other. Like most people, there are times when a person needs an outside opinion. Meredith desperately needs a friend with whom to vent. I had to come up with a way to throw in a secondary character to fill the role. My solution was a single scene, in which a walk-on character in the form of a kindly stranger becomes her sounding board.

I vowed never again to write myself into that particular box. The lesson was clear, secondary characters are vital to telling a good story. The number and how they are used depend on the plot, length of the book and the development of the protagonists.

Think about whether or not you agree with my assessment of secondary characters the next time you read a book and let me know what I might add. Contact me through my web site, ginnymcblain.com

Blurb, Bear Hugs:

Paige Holbrook needs help to bring her son out of a coma. In desperation, she turns to Bidwell Bear, young Jamie's TV idol.

From the first meeting between Paige and Hunter Blackwell, the man inside the Bidwell costume, each experiences an attraction neither can ignore. But Hunter is about to realize his life-long dream--to be a singing star.

Glitz and glamour aren't Paige's thing, not after what she's been through with her star quarterback, playboy ex-husband.

Is Hunter's love worth the glare of the spotlight?

Pre-Order Buy Link for Bear Hugs: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079J6CYDV

Author Bio:

Ginny McBlain is a pioneer in the field of electronic publishing. Her first e-book, Heart Broken, Heart Whole, was released in 1996. Both Bear Hugs and Faith, Hope and Charity were finalists in the EPPIE contest. Solemn Vows was nominated for the Frankfurt Award. She has served in writing organizations in many capacities, including two terms as President of the Romance Authors of the Heartland, from 1995-97, a foundering mother and first President of EPIC (1998-1999), the Electronically Published Internet Connection (now EPIC, the Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition) and the first EPIC conference chair.

She lives in Nebraska in the heartland of the USA with her husband of almost 50 years, whom she met on an airplane at Omaha’s Eppley Airfield, during her days as an airline stewardess. Their son, daughter-in-law and the five grandchildren live close-by. Ginny spends her “spare” time attending her grandchildren’s school concerts and performances and is active in her church. She has a herd of dusty elephants on parade throughout her house. Display cases protect her collection of thimbles from eager little fingers. She loves to create her own recipes and to entertain, as well as decorate her home.

Ginny’s books are available from Uncial Press, www.uncialpress.com in a variety of electronic formats. Visit her web site, www.ginnymcblain.com

Friday, February 23, 2018

Judith B. Glad talks Secondary Characters

I'm thrilled to host Judith B. Glad today on my blog. Not only is Jude a talented writer, fabulous editor and smart businesswoman, she's an all-around great person. Jude was the first person to take a chance on my writing by publishing "Her Best Man". She edited all five of my books with her publishing company, UncialPress, and she's a joy to work with. Thanks for being here, Jude!   

I love secondary characters, for a lot of reasons. You know who they are: those folks who frequent the deli where the heroine works, the bar where the hero hangs out. Her granny, his uncle Charlie, the headmistress, the coachman. They are often more fun than heroes and heroines, at least to write about.

I'm not talking about a heroine's BFF. She's more of a supporting actor, because she has to be Heroine's confidante. Same goes for Hero's sidekick. They play important roles in romances, and in a lot of mysteries too. And definitely in westerns--remember "Gabby" Hayes?

Most secondary characters are not as big a part of a story as the BFF and the sidekick are, but they're a step above being "spear carriers in someone else's opera" (Isn't that a great description? I wish I knew who said it first). They don't have to have well-defined motivations or be so well described that a reader can easily visualize them, and they can get away with a lot. Without them, many stories would be pretty flat and uninteresting.

Creating secondary characters can be a challenge. They have to be fleshed out enough to be more than scenery, yet, there's always the risk of having them take over a story. That happened to me in one of my early contemporary romances. It was set in a small town and I had the best time making the bar owner, the city councilwoman, the money-hungry developer and a whole bunch of others into real live people. The only trouble was, by the time I was finished, they'd pretty much overwhelmed the story, because there were ninety-three of them (a publisher who rejected the story counted them) in a 260-page story. Oops!

I'm currently reading a mystery series that has a bit of that problem. The protagonist/investigator/sleuth is a remarkable fellow, and his primary sidekick has a fair share of intriguing foibles. The mysteries are satisfying. I haven't figured out an ending in advance so far. But after reading eight, I'm still trying to figure out some of the relationships among the same dozen or so quirky characters who pop up in every book, not to mention the twenty or thirty others who stroll across the stage now and then. But doggone! They are all so interesting, I just keep reading.

In my own "Behind the Ranges" series, I've tried to curb my enthusiasm for huge casts of secondary characters, but there are a few who keep popping up, either personally or in memory. Buffalo Jones, a cantankerous old fur trapper who only appeared in The Queen of Cherry Vale, gets remembered a lot. Japhet Breedlove never appears, because he was shot before Noble Savage began. Oh, my, but he was a nasty man, evil all through. Mrs. Petrie, the long-time cook in the Lachlan's big house in Boise City, even gets a romance, although it mostly takes place off-stage.

Once in a while secondary character speaks up and demands his or her own story. Or readers demand to know what's happened to this one or that. When I began writing The Queen of Cherry Vale, I never would've thought it would develop into a ten-book and one novella series. But there was this young kid who went off to find adventure, and an Indian woman who ran away, and...

And that's one reason I love secondary characters. You never know when they're going to stand up and say, "Tell my story. Please, tell my story."

* * * *

Commoner By Choice Blurb

The heyday of gold discoveries is over in Idaho Territory, but there are still fortunes to be found. Eliza Jane Dollarhide believes that one is buried somewhere near a tiny mining camp deep in the wilderness. Her guide is Micah King, young, widowed, highly recommended--and Black. Never having known a person of color, Eliza is at first apprehensive, but soon learns that Micah is both a gentleman and a superbly competent guide.

A good thing, too, for soon after they reach the isolated gold mining town of Yellowjacket, they realize they face deadly danger. Someone is after the papers Eliza came to retrieve, and will stop at nothing, not even wanton murder, to get them. Only one road leads out of Yellowjacket, so Micah guides Eliza along a dangerous trail through the wilderness, depending on dim memories of a long-ago journey through almost impenetrable mountains. As they travel, each learns to know the other, and soon love blooms between them.

Impossible love, for Eliza is white. So even if they survive their ordeal--and escape whoever is trying to kill them--sooner or later they will have to part.

Or will they? Surely there must be a way they can be together, be happy.

Commoner By Choice Excerpt

"Can you shoot?"

Eliza looked up from her plate. "Shoot? Of course not. All I know about guns is that they make loud noises and they kill people."

His eyes closed and his lips tightened.

She imagined him counting to ten and was conscious of a sense that she'd somehow failed a test. "That wasn't the right answer. What I should have said was that I've never had an opportunity to use a gun. Or a need."

"And I hope you never do have the need. But you should know what do to if it ever happens. We haven't ammunition to spare, but I want you to know how to load and aim. Jocky, can you handle the mules alone this morning?"

"Sure, Micah." His plate empty, Jocky set it aside and refilled his coffee cup. "When I'm done, can you show me how to use the gold pan?"

Of all the-- Eliza glared at both men. They were here to find Mr. Harris's papers, not to play gold miner. And why the sudden need for her to learn to shoot? That's why she'd hired a guide, wasn't it? To protect her?

She used the last fragment of biscuit to wipe the bacon grease off her plate. The first morning on the trail, she'd found it revolting even to think of eating grease. Now she rather enjoyed the flavor. Seeing that they had no butter or jam, it made an excellent spread. But she was getting tired of bacon and biscuits every morning. Some porridge would taste good, even without cream.

They went to the cleared area in front of the mine for her shooting lesson. When she gingerly took Micah's rifle in her hands, she was surprised at the weight of it.

He pointed out the various parts. "Stock, hammer, trigger, magazine, sight..."

She understood only about half of what he said, but she decided she really didn't need to know what all the pieces were, just how to load it and shoot it. The first was relatively simple, and on her third try she managed to insert all fifteen of the bullets--Micah called them "cartridges"--without dropping any. She held it out to him.

"Careful where you point it," he said as the barrel swung in his direction.

"Oh! I'm sorry." She let the barrel drop, until it pointed straight down.

"Best way, until you're sure of yourself, is to unload before handing it over."

Since she was reasonably certain she'd never be that sure of herself, she unloaded the rifle in silence. Remembering his earlier advice, she checked twice to make sure it had no bullets left in it.

"Now, show me how you'd shoot that white rock up there."

"The one we--"

"Yep. Pretend it's a bear and you're hungry for meat."

She raised the rifle and aimed. To her complete chagrin, the barrel wavered and dipped. Even if she knew how to aim it properly, she was certain she'd never manage to shoot that "bear."

He stepped up behind and reached around her, moving her hands on the stock and the barrel, showing her how to nestle the stock into her shoulder. The warmth of him against her back, the faint-pepperminty smell of him, and the low rumble of his deep voice distracted her, until she all but forgot what she was about.

"Try again."

"Hmm?" Try what again, she wondered. "Oh! Yes, of course." She raised the barrel of the rifle and pointed it in the general direction of the white rock. The end of it still drew circles, but they were smaller and more round. She pulled the trigger anyway. If this were real, maybe she'd scare the bear to death.

"Now what do you do?" His breath was warm against her ear.

She wanted to lean back into his embrace. To set the fool rifle aside and turn to face him. She wanted to know what it felt like to be kissed.

"I-I have to cock it, don't I?"

"That's right." He released her and stepped back.

She wanted to follow him. Instead she worked the lever that was supposed to eject the empty shell and push a new bullet into the...the chamber?

"He's mad now. Comin' right at you. What are you going to do?"

She turned around and handed him his rifle. "Here, you take it. I'm going to run."

Buy Links:

Amazon     Kobo

Author Bio:

As a child Judith B. Glad spent many Saturday afternoons at the movies, mostly watching double feature western shoot-em-ups with an elderly aunt. Couple that with having lived most of her life within 25 miles of the Oregon Trail and it's no wonder she's always been fascinated with the Old West.

She married young and had four children, became a bookkeeper, learned accounting, and eventually went back to school to become a botanist, but she always dreamed of telling stories about people who lived in, passed through or settled the Old West. In the meantime, she was fortunate enough to have a job that took her far afield, away from cities and into the back country of most of the western United States. Some of those wild places whispered to her of the people who might have lived there. One long wet winter she decided it was time to put some of those stories down on paper.

The result--so far--includes the ten books and one novella in Judith's "Behind the Ranges" series. She is currently working on another novella in the series, and hasn't come close to running out of people whose stories are worth telling. You can learn more about the series, as well as Judith's other books and shorter stories at www.judithbglad.com.

Social Media links:

Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/judewritesromance
Blog - http://judithbglad.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Beverley Oakley: The Accidental Elopement #NewRelease

The Accidental Elopement Scandalous Miss Brightwell Series (Book 4) By Beverley Oakley

Beverley is giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate to on lucky winner. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other stops on the tour. You may find those locations here

About the Book: A seven-year secret. A tragic misunderstanding. Can love outwit fate in this twisted tale of misadventure and thwarted dreams?

Earl Quamby’s niece, Katherine, and Jack, a foundling home lad adopted by a local family, have been loyal friends for as long as they can remember. As Jack is about to leave England to make his fortune and Katherine is being courted by two eligible suitors, they unexpectedly realise their friendship has blossomed into passionate love. A love, they are warned, that has no future. Despite a brave attempt to defy the forces keeping them apart, tragedy results and the pair is separated. When chance throws them together seven years later, Katherine, newly widowed, is being pressured into a marriage not of her choosing to avoid scandal and Jack feels he must honour his pledge to the worthy Odette whom he met in India and whose father is dying. Katherine knows that revealing a long-held secret may win Jack to her but she also knows conflicting obligations from past and present may tear him apart. Can master matchmakers, Fanny, Antoinette and Bertram Brightwell, outwit fate in its latest attempt to keep these star-crossed lovers apart and deliver them the happiness they deserve? This is Book 4 in the Scandalous Miss Brightwell series but it can be read as a stand-alone. Amazon Buy Link

Order The Accidental Elopement now for the special price of $2.99 and you'll get an ecopy of Scandalous: Three Daring Charades in the Pursuit of Love. Just send a screen shot of proof of purchase to beverley (at) eikli.com and she'll send you the link for your free book.  Amazon Buy Link

Excerpt:  In this excerpt, Katherine is hiding in a dark corridor to avoid dancing with someone she has no wish to see during her first ball as a newly arrived London debutante. She then receives a rude shock!

No one had thought to light a candle sconce and this second corridor turning she’d taken was as black as a dungeon. Katherine couldn’t even see her hand but she wasn’t frightened of the dark.

No, Katherine was not fainthearted.

Yet she did squeal when, taking another step, her progress was impeded by a very large object and, with no warning at all, she found herself flying through the air, landing with a painful jarring of her wrists upon the cold, hard flagstones.

“Good Lord!” came a disembodied young male voice in the dark before a groping hand located a piece of Katherine – namely a hank of hair – which caused her to shriek even louder when it was quite unnecessarily tugged. Whether this was to establish who or what she was, she had no idea – and perhaps neither did the tugger for immediately a profound apology was issued before the groping hand was operating with complete abandon in the dark.

This time it found Katherine’s breast just as the voice said in tones of utter mortification, “Forgive me! Are you hurt? Here, let me help you. That’s what I was trying to do, I promise. I didn’t realise you were on the ground? Take my hand. Really, I can’t apologise enough.”

Katherine had made one unsuccessful attempt to stand but it was a struggle in her flounced skirt and multiple corded petticoats. She swatted away the supposedly helping hand and hissed something unintelligible – somehow unladylike language seemed less of an offence when she couldn’t see to whom she was speaking.

But when the disembodied groping hand entered her orbit once more – in fact, brushing the bare flash above her garter and getting in a good squeeze of her thigh flesh, her temper which had never been one of her strong points, snapped and she lashed out with a sharp slice through the inky air.

A loud yelp made her realise she’d perhaps been a little peremptory and certainly too violent in this unladylike action and even though she felt disinclined to apologise she did say, ungraciously, “I’m sorry I hit you but a lady can only take so much of all this groping in the dark. I mean…what were you doing?”

“I could ask you the same thing,” came the response, now at ear level. In fact, she could feel the soft whisper of breath against her cheek which made her step back, saying, “I asked first.”

“I was chasing a cat. Bending down in fact. And then something crashed into me. Or on top of me.”

“That was me.”

“Yes, of course it was you. There’s no one else here, is there?”

Katherine bridled at his tone. She was unused to being spoken to as if she were at fault when, in this case, she most certainly wasn’t. “I think that’s a very rude response,” she told him. “Just as it was very thoughtless of you to crouch down where anybody could simply trip over you.”

“Anybody – or rather, anybody else – would be carrying a candle. I think I have every reason to be deeply suspicious of the motives of anyone who is not.”

“Well, you don’t have a candle. And I would suspect the truth of anyone hiding away in the dark, claiming they were crouching over an imaginary cat,” huffed Katherine. “In fact, I’d wager there was no cat here at all. I would have heard it. No, you were sneaking away from something, weren’t you?”

“And if I was, what business of yours? Whoever you are.”

Katherine could not imagine the audacity. “You certainly are no gentleman to speak to a lady in that fashion.”

“Since that lady hasn’t bothered to declare herself, I think I could be forgiven.”

“A gentleman would have declared himself first,” Katherine said hotly. “What were you sidling away from? There’s a noisy ball going on in the next room. If you were a gentleman, wouldn’t you be gallantly asking the ladies to dance instead of hiding in the dark? Perhaps there’s someone you’re afraid of seeing? A lady who has expectations of you behaving towards her as a gentleman.” Katherine said this triumphantly before elaborating on her theme. “My guess is that you’ve given some poor young lady the idea that you’ll dance with her all night and now you’ve changed your mind and are sneaking away.”

“Since you put forward the idea, I’d suggest the reason you’re here is exactly the same. You’re trying to sneak away from a gentleman to whom you’ve already promised two dances. Meanwhile he, poor fellow, is searching for you vainly in the ballroom while you’re here making a mockery of him.”

“He can do that all by himself,” Katherine sniffed. “But I never promised him anything and I never will.”

“Ha! I was right.” The voice sounded very pleased with itself. “Well, I feel sorry for this fellow without even seeing what you look like, miss. Poor fellow!”

“Poor fellow, indeed. George can pine til the cows come home. I’d even suffer talking to you than have to spend another five minutes with his sweating hands squeezing mine and his moon eyes boring into me…and his horrible, putrid breath choking me and his—”

“Poor George! I was just starting to feel sorry for him until you described the exact George I, too, am so at pains to avoid tonight.” The voice became more confidential and the mood relaxed. Katherine crossed her arms and waited for him to speak again for she was rather interested in his George and then quite amused when the voice began to describe the very George against whom she railed.

“Well, you have described my cousin to a very fine point,” she laughed. “And if you are as well acquainted with him as you seem to be, then you obviously know exactly why I am here in the dark.” There was a small silence. And then, “Your cousin?”

“In my family there are two Georges: Young George who is the son of my aunt and her husband, Lord Quamby, and Odious George who is his uncle, George Bramley.”

“Then we’re talking about the same George!” The voice sounded stunned. A quick gasp from both of them was followed up by a delighted cry in unison.



Interview with author Beverley Oakley

Jana: Was there anything unusual, any anecdote about this book you’d like to share?

Beverley: I guess I was surprised to find that a major theme in this story was bullying. On the face of it, The Accidental Elopement is a traditional Regency and the previous book in the series has a number of reviews likening it to a Jane Austen style romance.

But when bullying and its long-term consequences dictated so many events in the story, I went back and strengthened key scenes.

To explain, when my hero and heroine are seven years old, they are bullied by the seven-year-old son of an earl. At this age, they’re smarter than he – and he realizes it. So he uses his money and power, 10 years later and then another seven years after that, to get his revenge. Yet his greatest desire throughout has been to gain the love and acceptance of his young playmates.

Hand in hand with the bullying theme is redemption, so I found a nice ending to tie in the two. It wasn’t what I’d expected to write.

Jana: Do you have any unusual writing habits?

Beverley: I can’t work without a deadline. When I wrote for traditional publishers, deadlines were part of my contract. Now, I have to set my own deadline. It’s why I was up at 4.30am today to finish the formatting of a book that needed to be uploaded by 11am today – or I’d be locked out of doing pre-orders with Amazon for a year and lose all the revenue from the pre-orders already in the system. That’s a pretty good incentive if you’re a writer who depends on writing income to pay the bills. 

Jana: What do you want readers to come away with after they read The Accidental Elopement?

Beverley: I’d like the reviews to be in line with the reviews I had for the previous book, Devil’s Run: that it “brings out the quirkiness of country gentry and difficulties facing women of the times” or is a “very intriguing Austen-esque novel with well developed characters and story line.”

This Scandalous Miss Brightwell series is what I call my “Jane Austen meets Fanny Hill” series. Only the first in the series – Rake’s Honour - bears any resemblance to author John Cleland’s Fanny Hill, though. That’s because when I start writing a heroine, she takes control and I can’t help her character. Rake’s Honour details the adventures of a young lady who is a major risk-taker and very naughty. The second – Rogue’s Kiss – had a very proper heroine with many reviewers likening it to a roller-coaster “French Farce” when everything that could go wrong, does. The last two books, Devil’s Run and The Accidental Elopement are slightly more serious in tone.

I’m going to put them into a box set to appeal to readers who like to read very different types of stories one after the other.

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

Beverley: I’m about to publish my first Africa-set romantic suspense. Diamond Mountain is in final edits and it features a bush pilot hero in the African mountain kingdom of Lesotho in the early 1960s caught up in an illegal diamond buying scheme as he battles to save the honour of the beautiful district commissioner’s daughter. (My father was a District Commissioner in Lesotho in the early 1960s who prosecuted illegal diamond buying (IDB) and I married a handsome Norwegian bush pilot I met in Botswana before we moved to Australia so I have the research pretty much in hand, despite the fact it’s a new genre.)

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

Beverley: Usually, yes. Sometimes I’ll write 1000 words each of two different books to “further” them towards the end, but then I might have to concentrate on the final edits of one to get it ready to publish.

Jana: Do you have any words of advice to beginning writers?

Beverley: Never give up because you never know if success is around the next corner.

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

Beverley: I live in a country town north of Melbourne, Australia opposite a huge Gothic insane asylum and I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember.

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

Beverley: My husband.

Jana: How do you think your life experiences have prepared you for writing?

Beverley: After I met my husband in Botswana, we lived in 12 countries so romance writing was an important outlet for me.

Jana: Do you have any pets? 

Beverley: I have a gorgeous Rhodesian Ridgeback called Mombo named after the luxury safari lodge in the Okavango, Botswana, which I was managing when I met my husband.

Jana: What genre is your favorite to read?

Beverley: I read romance, thriller, mystery, literary, historical, memoir, time travel and biography, amongst other genres. I’m not so into science fiction or fantasy.

Jana: What do you like best about your hero in The Accidental Elopement?

Beverley: Jack believes he’s an orphan and he’s been brought up in the foundling home and workhouse until he was adopted by a wealthy family at seven but I love his code of honour. He’ll sacrifice anything to achieve what he believes is right. He’s also passionate, determined and kind.

Jana: What do you like best about your heroine in The Accidental Elopement?

Beverley: Katherine was a naughty child who is on the cusp of great possibilities when she makes a very terrible miscalculation. For seven years she suffers until her hero returns. What I like about her is that she’s learned a lot of life lessons and now, she, too, is driven to do what’s right and honourable, even if it means sacrificing her own happiness.

Jana: How can readers reach you or find you online?

Beverley: www.beverleyoakley.com and @BeverleyOakley

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

Beverley: Regency romance with scandal, mystery and intrigue. I chose it because some of my stories have all of those things, and some have only one.

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

Beverley: I’d start with Devil’s Run, the book prior to this. Then readers can decide if they want to jump back one book for French farce and a bit of humour in Rogue’s Kiss, or two back – Rake’s Honour - for sizzling sauciness. Or go a bit more poignant with a good dose of humour and read The Accidental Elopement.

Other Books In The Series:


Rake's Honour (Book 1)  Beautiful, impoverished Fanny Brightwell has a few scores to settle—and a heart to win—before she can secure the wealthy, aristocratic husband her ambitious mama demands. Pick up a free copy here!

Rogue's Kiss (Book 2) Would a potential suitor be bolder if he were told the lie that the maiden he desires has only six months to live? Amazon Buy Link

Devil's Run (Book 3) A rigged horse race - with a marriage and a lost child riding on the outcome. Amazon Buy Link

~*~*~*~*~ About the Author: 

Beverley Oakley was seventeen when she bundled up her first her 500+ page romance and sent it to a publisher. Unfortunately drowning her heroine on the last page was apparently not in line with the expectations of romance readers so Beverley became a journalist.

Twenty-six years later Beverley was delighted to receive her first publishing contract from Robert Hale (UK) for a romance in which she ensured her heroine was saved from drowning in the icy North Sea.

Since 2009 Beverley has written more than thirteen historical romances, mostly set in England during the early nineteenth century. Mystery, intrigue and adventure spill from their pages and if she can pull off a thrilling race to save someone’s honour – or a worthy damsel from the noose – it’s time to celebrate with a good single malt Scotch.

Beverley lives with her husband, two daughters and a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy the size of a pony opposite a picturesque nineteenth-century lunatic asylum. She also writes Africa-set adventure-filled romances tarring handsome bush pilot heroes, and historical romances with less steam and more sexual tension, as Beverley Eikli.

You can get in contact with Beverley at:

website | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter | Goodreads

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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Kindle Rafflecopter Giveaway!

It's time for another Kindle Rafflecopter Giveaway! Just enter the Rafflecopter below to win our great prizes. Best of luck!

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Friday, February 16, 2018

#NewRelease from Kay Harris: DON'T LET HIM GO

Wild Rose Press author Kay Harris is my guest today. Her multicultural contemporary romance, DON'T LET HIM GO, released on Valentine's Day, a very auspicious day to release if you're a romance novel. I'm intrigued that this book is written in first person. DON'T LET HIM GO is book one in Kay's "I Want Morrison" series. Please welcome Kay Harris!

Character Clothes 
Kay Harris

My new release “Don’t Let Him Go” is an opposites attract multicultural contemporary romance. When I wrote it I simply put the characters down on paper as they appeared to me. I didn’t analyze their clothing choices too closely. So it has been a fun exercise to explore the threads Jack and Candace are sporting.

Candace Gleason is a corporate lawyer. Driven and self-confident, her wardrobe reflects that. Jack is an activist who runs a non-profit advocacy organization and fights for the rights of the poor.

The first time Candace meets Jack is at his office. Her appearance makes her stand out from Jack and his employees.

Every pair of eyes in the place turned to me. I realized I was obvious. I wore a pale peach suit with matching heels. My medium-length hair was tied up tightly in a bun. And I carried a leather briefcase. The people around me had all dressed for work in jeans and T-shirts, though the girl in front of me at least wore a sundress. 

At work my clothing fit in, it was my color that usually stood out. Here, I matched about a third of the people in skin tone but none of them in any other way. And they noticed.

Jack’s clothing, on the other hand, fits into that environment perfectly and reflects Jack’s bohemian nature.

After a few beats of uncomfortable silence, one of them moved. He had been leaning over behind someone else, looking at the computer screen over her shoulder. But he stood and moseyed toward me, like he had all the time in the world. 

He looked like a combination of an old-school hippie, a disillusioned GQ model, and a Greek god. He wore a pale-blue cotton button-down dress shirt just wrinkled enough to show he might take the care to pull it out of the dryer right away, but not care enough to iron. The rolled-up sleeves exposed his arms below the elbows and the unbuttoned collar allowed a peek at a sculpted chest. His jeans, despite being worn and tight at least didn’t possess any holes. To top it all off, a pair of sport sandals covered his feet.

Jack and Candace’s contrast in appearance is reflected in their personalities as well. Read “Don’t Let Him Go” today and find out how these two opposites find their way into each other’s arms.


The only thing worse than getting stuck with a bad client is falling in love with him. 

Candace Gleason passed the bar, landed a great job, and is making a killer salary--basically, all of her dreams are coming true. Until she’s assigned to keep the boss’s petulant son out of trouble.

Jack Morrison is the rebellious black sheep of a mighty real estate family. He runs a nonprofit whose mission is to save poor people from evil corporations, like the one his own family owns. He is obnoxious, ridiculously charming, and insanely hot. He is the bane of Candace’s very existence.

Sparks fly from the moment they meet.  Candace suddenly has more to worry about than keeping Jack out of jail. She has to keep him out of her heart.


I folded my arms across my chest and glared at Jack as he moseyed into the room. “You ambushed me.”

Jack came to a stop a few feet away and nodded. “I did.”

“That’s it?” I spread my arms out and leaned forward. My voice rose despite my effort to control it. “That’s all you have to say?”

“What do you want me to say? You’re smart. You can see what I did back there. I used you for my own gain.”

“You’re a prick!”

“I’m not surprised you feel that way. But I am sorry you had to get caught in the crossfire.” He moved to the couch and took a seat in the middle of it, purposefully giving me the high ground.
He slung his arms over the back of the couch casually, making him look like an arrogant ass. And that is exactly what I thought of him at that moment. So I called him on his supposed apology. “Are you?”

“Yes, I am. But you’re not innocent, Candie. You put yourself in this position by going to work for Morrison.”

“It’s Candace!” I shouted, on the edge of insanity.

He didn’t respond. He just looked at me with that infuriatingly handsome face and waited, an amused grin dancing on his face.

Buy Links:

AMAZON: http://amzn.to/2BoiLDO
B&N: http://bit.ly/2n6FeQX
AMAZON CA: http://amzn.to/2GadB20
AMAZON UK: http://amzn.to/2DwlHjL
AMAZON AU: http://amzn.to/2E2G1u8
THE WILD ROSE PRESS: http://bit.ly/2EQeBHj

Social Media Links: 

WEBSITE:  http://www.kayharrisauthor.com
BLOG:  https://www.kayharrisauthor.com/blog/
TWITTER:  https://twitter.com/KayHarrisAuthor
FACEBOOK:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKayHarris/
GOODREADS:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15060640.Kay_Harris
BOOKBUB: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/kay-harris

Author Bio:

Kay Harris has had a diverse career with jobs ranging from college professor to park ranger. Now she adds author to her repertoire. Kay writes romance novels that contain a little bit of sweet, a dash of sexy, a touch of heartbreak, and a whole lot of fun!

Kay grew up in the Midwest and has since lived all over the western United States including Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California. She loves to hike, is obsessed with museums, and enjoys taking her extremely tall and very handsome husband on adventures.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

CHILL OUT on sale!

Just in time for Valentine's Day, get my Valentine-themed novella CHILL OUT for 40% off the regular price! All the Candy Hearts Romances are on sale from The Wild Rose Press. Here's the blurb for CHILL OUT:
Renata Cabral needs to hide for the weekend. Her cousin’s Valentine’s Day wedding means she’ll face embarrassing questions from her large, extended family. Questions like “Why aren’t you married yet?”  Since the breakup of her last relationship, she’s not ready to answer that question. She invents a work-related excuse and escapes to a friend’s lakeside cottage.
Noah Brownlee has been hiding for two years. But now he’s ready to come home and mend his broken relationship with his brother. When a friend offers the use of his lakeside cottage, Noah arrives in the middle of a blizzard with his English Mastiff, only to find the place is already occupied. With her big brown eyes and quirky sense of humor, Renata stirs feelings he thought long dead. 
As the blizzard rages, the candy hearts predict love. Can Valentine’s Day work its magic between them?
Purchase at The Wild Rose Press at 40% off! 

More Good News! 

CHILL OUT and six other Candy Heart Romance novellas are together in a boxed set called "Be My Hero". Till February 15, 2018, "Be My Hero" is also on sale for 40% off.  For the low price of $3.59,
you get 7 fabulous Valentine stories!
Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Win with our Kindle Rafflecopter Giveaway!

Here's your chance to win a Grand Prize of a  Kindle Fire or Echo Dot. Second prize is a $25 Amazon gift card and Third prize is a $15 Amazon gift card. Enter now. It's easy peasy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

LOVE IS LOVELIER with Donna Simonetta

I'm joined by fellow Wild Rose Press Author Donna Simonetta, who has a new contemporary release this week. LOVE IS LOVELIER is book two in Donna's Rivers Bend trilogy. She's here to talk about secondary characters, one of my favorite topics! Please welcome Donna Simonetta.

Every secondary character in a book is the lead character in their own story. I try to keep that thought in mind, and create well-rounded secondary characters in every book I write.  I also love to infuse my books with humor, and secondary characters are a great source for humor. They can also function as a sort of Greek chorus––helping the main characters find resolution.

In the case of a series, like my Rivers Bend trilogy, the secondary characters in one book LITERALLY become the main characters in the next. We first met Heather Braden, the female protagonist of Love is Lovelier in the first book in the series, A Sweeter Spot. We get to know a little bit about her sunny personality, and work at the Retreat. And get a glimpse of what’s to come in Love is Lovelier, when we see her reaction to the news that Mick Evans will be moving to Rivers Bend to become her boss. Spoiler alert––she is NOT happy:

Jeez! And Magda told him Chicago was cold! It had nothing on the icy glare his sister pierced Jeff with, as she sat on the opposite side of his desk from him. 

She spoke through tight lips, “It’s not enough that you’re bringing that cretin to work here—” 

Jeff held up his hands. “Hold on—Mick is not a cretin. He’s a good guy; I don’t know what you have against him, but unless he’s physically hurt you—in which case tell me, and I’ll kill him—I want you to cowboy up and get along with him here at work. He has a great head for business, and Cisco and I think he’ll be good for the Retreat. Which, need I remind you, benefits all of us.”

Heather crossed her legs and turned her head to glare at the wall. “He never physically hurt me—where do you get this stuff? I just don’t like him, and it will be uncomfortable for me to work with him. But, you’re the boss, right?” 

And throughout both of these books, we get to know the youngest Braden sibling, fun-loving, commitment-phobic, Jason––who is going to be the main character of the third book in the trilogy.  Here’s a glimpse at what his sister and mother have to say about him in Love is Lovelier, when he’s going out with a friend for a night on the town:

…Jason went with Chase.” She grinned at her mom. “I doubt he’ll be much help at the farm tomorrow.” 

Her mother laughed and turned to face Heather. She leaned her backside against the dresser. “We didn’t schedule any riding lessons tomorrow, for just that reason. Hank and I can take care of the animals without Jason for one day, but my charming son is in heavy demand as a riding teacher, and oddly all his students are single, young women.” 

Although, there are some indications in Love is Lovelier that Jason has met his match! We’ll find out when we read his story, in a book with the working title, What Was I Thinking.

I love the secondary characters in all of my books, but I have a real soft spot for the population of Rivers Bend. It may be a fictional town, but it’s real to me, and I wish I could go there someday. Since that’s impossible, I guess I’ll have to settle for visiting in the pages of the books.

Love is Lovelier Blurb:

Heather and Mick have a long history together, and Heather wants to leave it in the past where it belongs. Yet, here Mick is, very much in her present, thanks to her brother Jeff, who hired Mick to be her boss at the Retreat at Rivers Bend.

It wouldn’t be so bad, except Heather and Mick are still attracted to each other like metal to a magnet. Oh, and her brother is considering offering Mick a partnership in the Retreat, which by rights should be hers. And even if they act on their attraction, Heather is a small-town, country girl, and proud of it, whereas Mick can’t get far enough from his West Virginia coal-mining roots.

Will they be able to get a second chance at their first love and find their happy ending together in Rivers Bend?


“Stick close. I’ll get you out of here.”

He used his broad shoulders as a wedge to propel himself though the crowd; Heather scurried to keep up with him so she could take advantage of the gap he created, not wanting to be so close that she could feel the warmth of his body through his elegant suit, but because she needed somehow to beat this crush of people to the Retreat to make sure that everything was in place for the post-christening party she’d planned for Bethanne – only perfection would do for her BFF.

She watched Mick’s back as she stuck close to him; he looked so strong and fit – it was hard to imagine him the way he was ten years ago, when he’d suffered his NFL career-ending injury, but the same business acumen that kept him with the Portland Pintos organization back then was the reason Jeff and Cisco hired him at the Retreat.

He’d be good for business – she’d just have to keep chanting those words in her head like a mantra, or else she’d do one of two things she’d regret – kill Mick, or kiss him, and she’d gone the kissing route with him before. It did not end well. And tempting as the killing option was at the moment, it probably wouldn’t end any better.

Buy Links:


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Amazon UK:

Author Bio:

My career has been a winding road. I worked in the business world for years, got my MLS and worked in a school library, and am now living my dream as an author. I love to read and write contemporary and fantasy romance. I live in Maryland, with my husband, who is my real-life romance hero. We both enjoy traveling to visit our far-flung family and friends, and spending time on the beach with an umbrella drink and a good book.

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