Slips of Yew by Carol Shay Hornung: A Dez Duchiene Mystery

Please welcome to the blog Carol Shay Hornung, as she shares a bit about herself and the first in a series of mysteries with Dez Duschiene and his new husband, Stevie.

Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, Dez Duchiene is a hospitality professional who dabbles in politics and moves to New York City where he marries architect Stevie Langford and lives happily until a detective knocks on his door, asking about the death of a prominent conservative politician.
 

Whitney Travers was a former boss and friend, and despite their differing political views, Dez feels compelled to figure out who killed him, despite his husband’s objections. Wisconsin is trying to pass a religious freedom bill that would curtail gay rights, and Stevie is uncomfortable every minute they stay after attending the funeral.  


Coming of age during the Act 10 protests that rocked the city in 2011, Dez feels like he’s in a familiar fight, one the liberals lost all those years ago. He walks a diplomatic line between the conservatives and liberals to collect information – but can he solve the mystery and save his marriage before it’s too late?
 
Kindle and Paperback are available on Amazon.
 

 

Hello, Carol! Welcome to my blog and thank you for answering my nosy, I mean discerning, questions!  First, please tell us a little about yourself and the kinds of stories you like to write. Would you say there is an underlying theme behind your stories?

Carol Shay Hornung – I’m a behind-the-scenes media specialist by day – I’ve worked in radio and print advertising for … many years. I went to Ripon College and was delighted to be a part of a co-ed fraternity that condemned hazing and embraced inclusion. As a result, my stories tend to have strong bonds between friends – found family – rather than traditional family structures.

What part of the world do you call home? Can you tell us a little about where you grew up and where you live now?

Born in Chicago, but I’ve called Madison, Wisconsin home for most of my life. Four amazing lakes, miles of biking trails, and an inclusive, liberal brand of thinking that I find I can’t live without.  

How long have you been writing? Did you write as a child or is it something you developed a passion for later in life?

I’ve been a writer since I was twelve, when a movie I loved ended “badly” and I felt the need to rewrite the ending! I’m always happiest when I’m working on a project and for the last few years I’ve always had something to work on – few dry spells!

How would you characterize your stories? As romance, erotica, or something entirely different?

I write mainstream/mystery/LGBTQ/Lit … I don’t really fall in a specific category. I want to take LGBTQ characters away from the supporting roles and make them heroes, the driving forces behind the books, and there’s always a basic mystery to solve. On a mainstream level, things that happen in one book follow through to the next, an overall story arc. I have a love/hate relationship with lit – I want to employ the same craft techniques of theme and symbolism and character development, but I want to avoid the sadness, angst, and unlikeable heroes that often come along with lit. Good stuff that’s fun, with a dash of glitter. That’s my category.

Do you have a favorite character that you’ve created? Why does this character resonate with you?

OMG. There is no one quite like Dez Duchiene. He came out of nowhere and absolutely insisted on running his first story through NaNo (National Novel Writing Month, held each November) in three weeks, then demanded a second book in December. I’ve found a voice through him that fits my heart and soul. I’ve always been drawn to writing male characters, but my critique group would say “Oh, a guy wouldn’t say/do that.” So I’d work on strong female characters. “Oh, she’s not emotional enough.” Dez came along – male presenting, with a gender neutral first name, and a husband (which fits my orientation. Stevie is damn fine) – and I’m suddenly able to do whatever I want with him since he is absolutely not constricted by pre-established gender norms. He’s smart, considerate, snarky, sometimes selfish, extroverted (I’m not), and hates Broadway musicals … and I love him.

How often does your real life experience figure into your story telling? Do you base characters or stories on your actual experiences?

Real life always factors into my stories. Each book in the Dez Duchiene series takes place in a specific city – the first is Madison, the second will be Nashville, TN, and I’m able to work in real locations to make the setting vivid. Plot-wise, I deal with real issues. In Slips of Yew, Stevie is uncomfortable in Wisconsin because he sees it as a red state and feels threatened and unwelcome by the politics. A friend of mine did, in fact say that he didn’t want to visit Wisconsin for those reasons. I also explore the psychology of conservatives and liberals interacting which has become more and more of a challenge these days. And going back to hating musicals … that came from my stylist who just groaned when I told him I was going to New York City and he said “I don’t do the Broadway thing.” What a great characteristic to help smash stereotypes! (Personally, I love musicals. But Dez doesn’t need to know that).

Editing: love it or hate it?

I delight in editing. I stress over getting the initial story written. I’m a mostly-pantser in that when I get an idea, I’ll write the first draft as simply and quickly as I can to lock down the basic story – in a way, I write a wordy outline with scenes and character development! Then I go back and flesh out the details and descriptions, enhance the subplots and make sure everything weaves together nicely. Finally, I go through and line edit the book in the extreme – I search for all those annoying crutch words and actions (look, shrug, sigh, turn, etc.) and replace them with meaningful actions and/or internalization. A few more read-throughs to make sure it’s smooth and logical (had a character put on shoes three times in one scene – that needed help!) and get it ready to be published.

Do you miss your characters when you come to the end of their story? Do you find ways to write sequels for them or do you become entranced with a new set?

My first two books Asperger Sunset, and Ghost of Heffron College, were stand-alone books. I had little sparks of ideas for possible sequels but nothing grabbed me. I was done. The Dez Duchiene mysteries are designed to be a series, and the characters grow and change as the books progress through time. In the first book Dez and Stevie are newlyweds, by the fifth book they are approaching middle age and all the experiences that come with that. I had books 1 and 2 written, with a solid idea for book 3 and my husband and I were on vacation in downtown Chicago. We were walking along Lake Michigan and he points and says “this is where the body washes up.” By the time we reached Buckingham Fountain, I had dozens of ideas racing through my head and had to frantically type it all into my phone so I wouldn’t forget any of it! Each book is a stand-alone mystery but they will be in a specific order, with events that happen in one book informing the events in the next. I love these characters and am perfectly content to write these stories as long as I can. It’s nice knowing I don’t have to say goodbye. I would definitely miss them.

In addition to Slips of Yew, I’ve published a paranormal mystery, The Ghost of Heffron College, and a more traditional mystery with a protagonist with autism, Asperger Sunset. All three books can be ordered through your favorite local bookstore or ordered from Amazon. You can find out more on my Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Carol-Shay-Hornung/e/B00DV3VZJS/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/CarolShayHornung

Blog: https://carolshayhornung.wordpress.com/

 There you have it, everyone! I can’t wait to check out Slips of Yew–I adore mysteries and I want to meet Dez for myself! Thanks for sharing with us, Carol!

Bishop’s Gambit on Sale for a Limited Time! #MFRWHooks #MFRWAuthor

I participated in a TON of events and book fairs for Valentine’s Day this year, and as such, Bishop’s Gambit has been on sale for just 99 cents! But all good things come to a close, and the discount ends March 14th!

 

So grab your copy at this great price now! And come see what people are saying about this second installment in the award-winning Redclaw Origins Series! 

Click on the PLAY button if the video doesn’t auto-start!

 

 

This is post is part of the BookHooks blog hop so check out the other great stories available on the list!

 


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February is for Lovers: Valentine’s Day Book Fair and Winter Games Reader Challenge

Oh my!

February is a CRAZY month for romance authors because there are so many parties, special events, and book deals to be had! I may have gone a bit overboard this year, promising to take part it too many events all coinciding together, but YOU are the winner here!

From Feb 14-21 you can take part in the Valentine’s Day Book Boyfriend Bonanza–all books listed are less than $2!

BOOK BOYFRIEND VALENTINE’S DAY BONANZA
BOOKFAIR AND GIVEAWAY
ENTER FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN!
Check out these hotties and super fun reads all for under $1.99 … social distancing this
Valentine’s Day couldn’t be hotter!

 

Prizes include a Kindle Fire HD and an ebook prize pack of more than twenty romance novels, including award winners and bestsellers! All you have to do is follow me and these other awesome writers on social media. The more authors your follow and like, the more times you’re entered to win.

 

To celebrate having Bishop’s Gambit nominated in the 2020 Paranormal Romance Guild’s Reviewer’s Choice Awards and to participate in these fests, Bishop’s Gambit is only 99 cents on Amazon for a limited time!

And it’s not too late to sign up for the Winter Games Reader Challenge–the clock started today, but you can catch up! What are you waiting for?

If you love to read, Winter Games is for YOU! A one month reader Challenge with parties, prizes, signed print books, and what you love best––FREE BOOKS.

PLUS, you’ll meet some amazing authors and party with them in a live Q & A!

WE promise to give you an amazing experience.

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Sign Up Now––It’s FREE!

Join Winter Games on the official sign up form today and be ready for an amazing ride! Simply Click on the picture for the Reader Sign-Up Form…

 

 

 

READERS––Sign up for your chance to win $200.00 in our 2021 WINTER GAMES READER CHALLENGE!

A Switch In Time copy

To participate as a Winter Games Reader, you MUST fill out the Official Sign up Form.

So Click Here NOW

Bishop’s Gambit is up for an award and YOU’RE the Winner! #MFRWHooks #MFRWAuthor

 

Goodness, what is it about the month of February! So much love in the air, right?

Bishop’s Gambit is up for an award in the 2020 Paranormal Romance Guild’s Reviewers Choice Awards in the Romance/Paranormal/Fantasy/Vampires & Shifters category and the competition is FIERCE. Voting closes Feb 12th, so you should check out the list of fantastic nominees! You’re sure to see your favorites there!

To celebrate, Bishop’s Gambit is currently on sale (Amazon only) for 99 cents for a limited time! Been waiting to try out one of my books? Here’s your chance to grab a story Kirkus Reviews describes as “thoroughly entertaining and witty, with a nicely judged mix of genres.” Bishop’s Gambit has also been named a Top Pick by The Romance Reviews and was given a 4.5 rating by InD’Tale Magazine.

The year is 1955. Rebel without a Cause and The Seven Year Itch are playing in the  movie theaters. The Chevy Bel Air is the most popular car in America. Gas is 25 cents a gallon and you can get a hotel room for $4 bucks. This flirty, fun series takes us back to the beginning and shows us how Redclaw Security got started.

They’re back and the fun–and trouble–is just beginning! Join Bishop and Knight as they must pose as a married couple to root out the strange disturbances occurring in an upscale suburban neighborhood! 

This post is part of a blog hop, so be sure to check out the other posts in the hop! Link below.

 

 

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February is Romance Reader’s Month: Deals, Parties, and Specials!

Love is in the air come February!

Magazines write (frequently incorrect) posts detailing the fascination and appeal of love stories. Jewelry stores and dating apps bombard you with ads.

And romance writers gear up for all kinds of celebrations–which usually means great deals for the romance reader! That’s YOU.

First up in my news: Bishop’s Gambit is up for an award in the 2020 Paranormal Romance Guild’s Reviewers Choice Awards! You can only vote once so I recommend you screen the list of candidates carefully before choosing–there may be more of your favorite books on the list than you realize! Bishop’s Gambit is in the Romance/Paranormal/Fantasy/Vampires & Shifters category, and let me tell you, the competition is FIERCE! I would really appreciate your support if you would consider voting for me. But be sure to scan the list of ALL the nominees before you make your final choice!

Next up: Feb 8 through 14th, I’ll be a participating author in the Fall in Love with a Book Fair taking place on Facebook! It’s like the Scholastic Book Fair day at school, only online in the comfort of your own home! Meet the authors, participate in games, win prizes, and find some terrific new-to-you books to read! It’s going to be great fun–join us!

Click on the button for the moving graphics!

And then starting Feb 14 through March 14, I’ll be a participating author in the Winter Games Reader Challenge on Facebook!

If you love to read, Winter Games is for YOU! A one month reader Challenge with parties, prizes, signed print books, and what you love best––FREE BOOKS.

PLUS, you’ll meet some amazing authors and party with them in a live Q & A!

WE promises to give you an amazing experience.

To participate as a Winter Games Reader, you MUST fill out the Official Sign up Form.

So Click Here NOW!

What does this mean for you as a romance reader? Lots of deals, specials, and parties! To celebrate the nomination and as part of the participation in these various fests, Bishop’s Gambit has been reduced to 99 cents for a limited time. So be sure to grab this story at the special price before it goes back up again! It’s a hot deal for the cold month of February!

I’m going to be running some games and offering prizes in the various fests I’m participating in, so you should join in the fun and get in on all the specials!  C’mon! Valentine’s Day is like Christmas for Romance Readers!

Wait, wait! I almost forgot! Ghost of a Chance is a Toasty Read Pick in the N.N. Light’s Book Heaven Giveaway! So head on over and read a snippet of Ghost before you enter the giveaway: all 12 of the books featured in the Toasty Reads Event!

I’m sure I’ve left something out, but if I have, you can be sure I’ll post about it! 🙂

 

 

Bishop Takes Knight Named a Finalist in the 2020 N.N. Light Book Awards!

Last night I did something highly unusual for me: I didn’t open up my laptop at all. I checked a few things on my cell phone, but I don’t have access to all my email accounts there, so it wasn’t until this morning that I realized I’d left the laptop in the car overnight during subfreezing temperatures.

When I realized my mistake, I brought my poor laptop inside and let it come to room temperature before turning it on. Which is why I didn’t find out until JUST NOW that Bishop Takes Knight has been named a finalist in the 2020 N.N. Light Book Awards!

This is me, putting my hands over my face to hide my emotions right now because even though 2020 has been an incredibly difficult year for us all, Bishop Takes Knight has consistently been a bright spot in it for me. Thank you, N.N. Light, for such a terrific honor.

Want a little sneak peek at Bishop Takes Knight? Check out this amazing book trailer my husband made for me. He doesn’t know it, but he’s been drafted to do all my book trailers from now on!

 

Bishop’s Gambit Named a Top Pick by The Romance Reviews! #MFRWauthor #MFRWHooks #giveaway

I’m delighted to announce that Bishop’s Gambit (Redclaw Origins Book 2) has been named a Top Pick by The Romance Reviews! You should have seen my face when I read the review! I can’t tell you how much this means to me. I had so much fun writing this story and can’t wait to bring you the next installment, Bishop’s Endgame, planned for the fall of 2021.

Redclaw Origins: The year is 1955. Rebel without a Cause and The Seven Year Itch are playing in the  movie theaters. The Chevy Bel Air is the most popular car in America. Gas is 25 cents a gallon and you can get a hotel room for $4 bucks. This flirty, fun series takes us back to the beginning and shows us how Redclaw Security got started.

Here’s a brief excerpt:

As I’d hoped, my shout caused the bathroom door to explode open as Knight burst out, his skin damp and a towel gathered around his waist.

Well, that wasn’t exactly what I’d hoped for, but the results were astonishing just the same. Momentarily stunned by the gleaming expanse of wet skin, as well as some rather impressive musculature for a scientist, I blanked for a second on the reason I’d called out in the first place.

But just for a second.

I snatched up Stirling’s flowers as the gunman transferred his aim from the dog to Knight. His finger was closing on the trigger when I hurled the vase.

 

To celebrate this news, I’m going to select a winner at random from one commenter to receive an audiobook of my steamy novella, Snowfall, set in the Redclaw universe and read by the dreamy Josh MacCrae. Giveaway closes 9 pm EST Dec 12. If you’re not chosen but you’d like to read Snowfall for free, just sign up for my newsletter! Snowfall is also available for sale on Amazon and as an audiobook (links here on my book page).

Let’s make this fun! What’s your favorite Christmas movie or special (or tradition, if you’re not into watching specials), and why? I watched Last Holiday the other day, and it is definitely a favorite. But around here, it’s not Christmas until we’ve watched the Muppet Christmas Carol!

This post is part of a book hop, so be sure to check out the other posts at the link below!

 

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Bring on the Holiday Stories: New Releases for the 2020 Season!

Anyone who knows me knows I am a complete sucker for holiday stories and movies. This year I feel the pull even harder than usual. I want those small town Christmas stories, complete with snow, second-chances, and happily ever afters. I want the Scrooge-like billionaire to find the true meaning of Christmas–and true love along the way. I want lovers to meet across the ages–at Regency house parties, Victorian gatherings, and through magical time-traveling events. I want heroines to throw caution to the winds to take a chance on life–and love. I want to see mysterious seniors offer excellent advice and give nudges for lovers to move in the right direction–closer to each other. I crave mad dashes through airports (something I don’t ever want in real life), crowds parting to reveal one’s true love after you thought you’d missed them, and unexpected proposals to the applause of the unplanned audience.

I suspect I’d pay for a holiday-themed streaming channel. I know I feel the urge to start reading and watching holiday entertainment with the first crunch of dead leaves underfoot in October until the daffodils bloom in March. But I’m also a believer in celebrating the holiday at hand before galloping off to the next one. So now that Thanksgiving is over here in the US, I feel completely justified in doing my annual seasonal new release showcase. Here, in no particular order, are a list of happy-making stories for you to check out this season with something for everyone, from sweet to spicy and everything in between.

Holiday anthologies are my personal catnip and The Heart of the Season: An ATA Anthology is full of heartwarming stories across genres about finding love and joy at this time of year. 

THE HEART OF THE SEASON is a jolt of joy you cannot wait to unwrap for the holidays. Let your heart be merry and bright as you dive into this multi-genre collection of short stories centered on the themes of love and joy during the holidays.

Explore a foreign café, wild mountain ranges, big city lights, and homey firesides. Keep turning the pages to read the stories of love, redemption, sacrifice, and kindness reminding you that THE HEART OF THE SEASON lives within us all!

Can a private investigator recover a family’s stolen gifts?

Could kittens help create a love connection?

Will a widow rekindle her love for the holidays and find romance once more?

Should a single mother give her daughter a Christmas during the apocalypse?

★   ★   ★

“Apocalyptic Christmas” by Courtney Konstantin

“Melt Into Me” by Allison K. Garcia

“Paul Dupré: A Cajun Country Christmas” by Karen Lopez

“Christmas Delivery” by M. T. Decker

“The Christmas Guest” by Lindsay Detwiler

“Last Wishes in Cowboy Country” by R. K. Fultz

“The Pilfered Presents” by Tom Fowler

“Christmas, Cocoa, and Keychains” by N. Terry

“The Smallest of Gifts” by K. McCoy

“Miracle Dawn” by Myria Wild

“Kindness and Fresh Snow” by Katrina Rosemond

Christmas Cookies at the Cat Café: a Furrever Friends Sweet Romance

by Kris Bock 

Christmas isn’t the same since Diane’s kids grew up and her husband died – so when her high school sweetheart comes back to town, maybe it’s time for some cozy new holiday traditions.

Diane had a great marriage and a wonderful life. Now she’s a widow at 53, and her grown children are encouraging her to slow down and do less – but she wants more. She starts planning for a new career by arranging a photo shoot at the cat café her daughters run. Unfortunately, the cats won’t cooperate.

Rick loved Diane in high school, but he chose to travel the world while she settled down with another man. Now he’s back for a visit, but he’s not planning to stay – even if Diane still tugs at him. He’ll help her get what she wants from life, and then he’ll say goodbye.

Rick temps Diane to quit her job, sell her house, and travel. But she can’t leave the people she loves so dearly, the family that might still need her just a little bit. Diane tempts Rick to end his wandering ways, but he can’t simply step into the hole left by her husband’s death. As the weeks pass from Thanksgiving to Christmas, the holiday season brings out complicated emotions.

Can Diane and Rick find a way to make a new life together while holding onto the best parts of the past? They’ll need more than attraction and affection. They might even need a Christmas miracle.

The Furrever Friends Sweet Romance series features the workers and customers at a small-town cat café, and the adorable cats and kittens looking for their forever homes. Each book is a complete story with a happy ending for one couple (and maybe more than one rescued cat). These sweet romances will leave you with the warm feeling of cuddling a purring cat.

Excerpt

The cat did not want to wear a hat.

“Come on, Miles, it’s for your own good,” Diane muttered. “I’m not trying to insult your feline dignity. I’m trying to find you a forever home. Wouldn’t that be nice?”

Once again, Diane got the cat settled on a table against the autumn backdrop. Miles seemed perfectly content to sit there and watch the proceedings. But as soon as Diane tried to put the sunflower hat on the cat’s head, he dropped and flailed as if touched by flaming thorns rather than soft felt. Miles wrestled with the hat as Diane rushed to wake up her cell phone. Maybe she could get something cute, with the cat chewing a sunflower petal.

Diane aimed the camera. The hat sailed to the floor.

Miles leapt off the table, streaked across the room, climbed one of the cat trees, and calmly perched on a platform staring out the window, pointedly ignoring her.

“That Cat in the Hat book is nonsense,” Diane said. “I used to get a diaper on a squirming baby in under a minute. You’d think I could get one cat to wear a lousy hat or at least pose nicely.”

Visit the Furrever Friends Sweet Romance series page on Amazon.

Price: $2.99 Free with KU.

Heat Level: sweet and clean

Kris Bock

Website

Amazon US page or Amazon UK page. (For other countries click here.)

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Author Bio: Kris Bock writes novels of romance, mystery, and suspense. Her Furrever Friends Sweet Romance series features the employees and customers at a cat café. Watch as they fall in love with each other and with shelter cats. The series begins with Coffee and Crushes at the Cat Café. Sign up for the Kris Bock newsletter and get Lions and Love at the Cat Café, a free sweet romance novella complete at 35 pages.

Kris also writes romantic suspense set in the Southwestern U.S. If you love Mary Stewart or Barbara Michaels, try Kris Bock’s stories of treasure hunting, archaeology, and intrigue in the Southwest.

Don’t Mess with Christmas (Dr. Brogan Corkie Matchmaking Doctor Book 4)

Author: Linda O’Connor

Sweet PG-13

Medical Humorous Contemporary Romance

Dr. Brogan Corkie is happily semi-retired from medicine and now has time for other hobbies. Her passion for food is second only to her skill at matchmaking!

Parker Roy grew up in the middle of four brothers and has lived with enough testosterone to last her a lifetime. She’s finally moved out and made a life of her own. Between putting the finishing touches on the set for Mapleton’s Christmas play, plowing snow, and transforming her hydroponic greenhouse into a Christmas wonderland, it’s ramping up to be a hectic season.

Dr. Julian Murphy, the only allergist in town, has his eye on the woman behind the set design of the holiday play. He’s volunteering backstage in the hope of getting to know her. There’s a bit of a snag when she’s referred to his clinic for a rash – doctors aren’t allowed to date their patients – but Dr. Brogan Corkie doesn’t see it as an insurmountable problem and steps in to give their romance a nudge. She’d better be right because, if not, it could seriously mess with Christmas.

The allergist or the rash– which itch does Parker want to scratch?

ASIN B08L1DHDMS

Buy Links:

E-book link:   https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08L1DHDMS

Paperback link:  https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Brogan-Corkie-Matchmaking-Doctor/dp/1988955165/

Bio

Award-winning author Linda O’Connor started writing romantic comedies when she needed a creative outlet other than subtly rearranging the displays at a local home décor store. Her books have enjoyed bestseller status. When not writing, she’s a physician at an Urgent Care Clinic. She shares her medical knowledge in fast-paced, well-written, sexy romances – with an unexpected twist. Her favourite prescription to write? Laugh every day. Love every minute.

Website https://www.lindaoconnor.net

Twitter https://twitter.com/LindaOConnor98

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LindaOConnorAuthor

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/795688.Linda_O_Connor

Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Linda-OConnor/e/B00S7CNLEA

Excerpt

“Pleased to meet you, Julian Murphy.” His hand was warm around hers, and when he moved his thumb in a subtle caress, a shiver went down her spine. “Julian Murphy,” she murmured. She tilted her head and narrowed her eyes at him. “Are you a doctor?”

Julian nodded. “I am.”

“An allergist at Gateway General?”

“Guilty.”

Parker pulled her hand back and put her hands on her hips. “I tried to get a referral to see you. You refused.”

His lips twitched. “Yes, that’s true.”

“Why? Dr. Corkie said she’d never seen it in all the years she’s practiced medicine.”

Julian put his hands in his pockets. “Well, there’s a rule against doctors dating patients. It’s ill-advised and frowned upon by the College of Physicians of Ontario.”

Parker scoffed. “Well, good for you. What does that have to do with me?”

“Parker, would you like to have dinner with me?”

Title: First Class Christmas

Author: Katy Eeten

Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance

Blurb:

When Mandy Brockman flies home from her friend’s destination wedding, her heart is on empty at the thought of spending Christmas alone. It doesn’t help that her ex is on the plane, seemingly unaffected by their breakup. But the kind-hearted man seated next to her seems to have it all together—and he’s handsome to boot. She knows her emotional healing won’t come in the form of another guy, but will the source of this man’s peace and joy help Mandy find the Christmas she’s looking for?

CJ Hawkins is captivated by the beautiful, feisty woman he meets on his flight. The only thing is, she’s fresh out of a relationship, and he has no interest in being anyone’s rebound. But the more he learns about Mandy, the more he’s drawn to her unique mixture of compassion and spunk.

Can he figure out how to make their relationship take off before this First Class Christmas is grounded forever?

Excerpt:

Once the bill was squared away, they stood to leave, retrieving their coats from the coat check on the way out. The thought of leaving CJ only to return to her lonely apartment brought the same sense of emptiness they’d been talking about earlier. She tried to shake it off. Out in the parking lot, he walked her to her car.

“I’d love to see you again, but I have plans tonight. Although…” his voice trailed off.

Mandy narrowed her eyes. What wasn’t he saying? “Although…?”

A small smile crept to his face. “You should totally come with.”

She was intrigued. “Where to?” They arrived at her car, and she turned to face him with her back against the driver’s side back door.

He waggled his eyebrows. “To fill that emptiness in your heart.”

She tilted her head, giving him a dubious look. “What makes you so sure?”

CJ placed one hand on the car behind her on her left, and then another on her right, pinning her in place between his arms. Their bodies were only inches away from each other. “Do you trust me?” She could hear the smile in his voice.

Taking a deep breath, Mandy kept her gaze on CJ’s. The truth was, she did. But that fact scared her a little. She pressed her lips together before responding. “Yes.”

He gave a flirty lift to his eyebrows. “Good.”

Author Bio:

Katy Eeten is married to a Pastor and is the mom of two boys, ages 12 and 9. She lives with her family in southeast Wisconsin, despite her dislike for cold weather. She works full time in corporate America, but her true passion is writing.

 

In addition to First Class Christmas, she has three other Christian Romances available on Amazon. When she’s not working or writing, she can be found taking walks or bike rides with her kids, baking goodies, playing the piano, or spending time with her family.

 

Buy Links:

Amazon = https://www.amazon.com/First-Class-Christmas-Holiday-Extravaganza-ebook/dp/B08KSJHMW4

B&N = https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/first-class-christmas-katy-eeten/1137850777?ean=9781522303251

Kobo = https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?query=First%20Class%20Christmas%20(Katy%20Eeten)&ac=1&acp=katy%20eeten&ac.title=First%20Class%20Christmas&ac.author=Katy%20Eeten

Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KatyEeten/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/KatyEeten

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/KatyEeten/

Website: https://katyeeten.wordpress.com/

 

SLEIGH BELLS RING by Jessica James

 

BLURB:

Best friends go their separate ways, only to end up on the same ranch at Christmas. A best friend, second chance, cowboy Christmas love story set on a ranch in Montana.

 

Returning to her family’s Montana ranch after a ten-year absence, Jordyn Dunaway pitches in to help her mother create the special holiday magic for which the exclusive ranch is renowned. But when she discovers that her best friend growing up—the man she has never forgotten—is employed as a ranch hand, the holiday season turns into something she never imagined.

Chad Devlin was falling into a deep abyss after being medically discharged from the military. When his old employer invited him back as a ranch hand, he found himself recovering both physically and mentally…that is until he was blindsided by the return of the ranch owner’s daughter.

The rocky relationship of the former best friends takes a back seat as the future of the family-owned ranch is threatened. If Jordyn and Chad don’t put their painful pasts behind them, they might lose the ranch they both call home. Can misunderstandings, mistrust, and lost years be forgotten when the magic of Christmas is in the air?

Find out with the help of beautiful mountain vistas, warm Western hospitality, and the magical meaning of a special sleigh bell that ties both Jordyn and Chad to the past—and the future.

 

SPECIAL NOTE: Author Jessica James has partnered with the family-owned business Magical Bells to offer a 20 percent discount off their beautiful sleigh bells. No need for a coupon, the total will be fixed on checkout with this link: https://magicalbells.com/discount/SleighBellsRing

 

EXCERPT:

 

Chad Devlin leaned one broad shoulder against the porch post of the bunkhouse as a limousine pulled through the elegant arched gateway. “Another guest just arrived for the Christmas gala,” he said to no one in particular.

“Another city slicker you mean.” The man standing beside him sent a slug of tobacco onto the dirt near the steps as the car drove slowly up the gravel driveway to the main house about a hundred yards away.

Chad lifted the hat off his brow and scowled at the brown smudge on the ground, but didn’t say anything. Judd had been warned by Mrs. Dunaway about spitting anywhere he pleased, any number of times. It wasn’t exactly the type of thing that wealthy folks wanted to see when they were getting away from it all on this high-priced luxury ranch in the middle-of-nowhere, Montana. And it wasn’t behavior that one would expect from a man who was in charge of dozens of ranch hands.

With his eyes glued on the woman getting out of the car, Chad took a step forward, causing the coffee in his mug to slurp over the top. “Is that Jordyn Dunaway?”

Judd let out a whistle as the long-legged blonde accepted the suitcase handed to her by the driver. “I’ve only seen pictures.” Judd leaned forward and squinted as if to lessen the distance between them. “You know her?”

Chad grew silent and merely shrugged, angry that he’d expressed any emotion and let down his guard. He hadn’t seen Jordyn Dunaway since she’d left for a job in New York City more than a decade ago. Was that really her? Had she really come back home after all this time?

The woman paused on the porch and swept the golden tumble of hair off her shoulders, an action that flaunted a regal confidence and stately poise. Chad mumbled under his breath as another splash of hot coffee breached the top of the trembling mug, burning his hand.

Trying to slow the pace of his heart, Chad looked away and took a deep breath. Would Jordyn remember their last night together? Would she even remember him after traveling around the world and being away from the ranch for so long?

His gaze went back to the main house, but the door had already closed behind her.

Squeezing his temples, Chad tried to stop the memories. He even closed his eyes in a futile attempt to block the images that were branded in his mind as the best—and the worst—moments of his life.

 

LINKS:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08GPPRQQR

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1040135?ref=jessicajames

Apple: https://books.apple.com/us/book/sleigh-bells-ring-a-magical-cowboy-christmas-romance/id1529351162?uo=4&mt=11&at=1010lv47

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/sleigh-bells-ring-a-magical-cowboy-christmas-romance

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Jessica_James_Sleigh_Bells_Ring?id=H5j5DwAAQBAJ

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sleigh-bells-ring-jessica-james/1137551912?ean=2940162758273

All Retailers: https://books2read.com/u/bxnyPl

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55152871-sleigh-bells-ring

 

Jessica James Bio:

Jessica James is an award-winning author of patriotic suspense, historical fiction, and heartwarming Southern small town fiction. She is a four-time winner of the John Esten Cooke Award for Fiction, and has won more than a dozen other literary awards. She writes inspirational novels with emotional plots, fascinating characters, unforeseen twists, and touches of heart-warming romance. Her books are available in hundreds of libraries including Harvard and the U.S. Naval Academy.

 

 

CONNECT WITH JESSICA:

Newsletter Signup: https://www.subscribepage.com/jessicajamesnews

 Website: https://www.jessicajamesbooks.com

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BookBub : https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jessica-james

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorjessicajames/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/586216.Jessica_James

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RomanticHistoricalFiction

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/southernromance/

 

 Harmony’s Embrace

Series: Deerbourne Inn

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Release Date: November 16th, 2020

ASIN: B08L73TB9C

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Length: 40k

Heat Rating: 3 Flames

Blurb

Divorced dad Birley Haynes is too busy raising his children and running his family’s music academy to start a relationship. Then Harmony Holdich, his high school sweetheart, returns home to Willow Springs, Vermont for Christmas and falls into his bed. She brings light and fun back into his life, but he can’t brush aside the threatening incidents around his workplace.

Harmony hadn’t expected a complication like Birley, especially so soon after the death of her unfaithful husband. With her life a mess, she plans to move across the country and start over. All she can offer him is a fling, but her heart yearns for more.

When the threats rise, how will Birley keep his children safe and convince Harmony to give love another chance?

 

Reuniting with the man who broke her heart has never felt so right.

 

Excerpt

Dear God. His heart slammed harder. He’d died and gone to Heaven.

Harmony stretched her arms above her head and danced in the middle of the living room. Her hips pulsated with the beat of the music. Twisty locks of her hair bounced around her shoulders. She winked, then glided her hands across her breasts and stomach, daring his gaze to follow.

Birley licked his lips. The organ pressing against his zipper throbbed. Sweat slicked his nape. He dropped his scarf beside her purse, jacket, and beanie on the coffee table.

“Dance with me?”

Her husky entreaty ricocheted through him like a ping-pong ball. How could he deny her? He gripped her waist. She slid her arms around him. They swayed, their bodies a scant inch apart. She nuzzled his neck, her breath fanning his skin. His hair prickled. The air crackled around them. He shuddered and held her tighter.

“I’ve missed this.”

His chest heaved. He struggled to fill his lungs with air. “Dancing?”

“Dancing with you.” Harmony stroked his clean-shaven jaw. “I’m sorry things didn’t work out with you and Susannah, but I wouldn’t trade this moment for anything.”

Oh, God. He kissed her and swept his tongue past her parting lips. Delicious. The taste of chocolate and wine clung to her breath. He nibbled and licked the smooth slope of her neck.

“Birley, yes.” She ducked her head and claimed his mouth with hers. Then she feathered kisses across his face. “I need your hands, your mouth, your scent all over me. Take me, Birley. Hard, soft, I don’t care.”

Fuck. Her breathy plea wrapped around his heart and shot blood to his groin. She eased back, drawing him with her. The wall halted her retreat, and he trapped her between it and his body. Their tongues dueled and teeth clanked. Heat sizzled through his veins and pulsed through every organ. Her body writhed against his. Was she trying to drive him mad? He snapped open the fasteners of her pants and slid his finger beneath the waistband of her insulated leggings. Silk brushed his skin, then he slipped into her warmth.

 

Add to Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55691564-harmony-s-embrace

Check it out on BookBubhttps://www.bookbub.com/books/harmony-s-embrace-deerbourne-inn-by-amber-daulton

 

Purchase Links

 

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Harmonys-Embrace-Deerbourne-Amber-Daulton-ebook/dp/B08L73TB9C/

Barnes and Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/harmonys-embrace-amber-daulton/1137951572

Apple/iBooks – https://books.apple.com/us/book/harmonys-embrace/id1539081673

Kobo –  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/harmony-s-embrace

Google Play – https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=1M8HEAAAQBAJ

Universal link – https://books2read.com/u/bPX6kR

 

Now Taking Sign Ups for my Newsletter, Amber Daulton Romance

 

https://emailoctopus.com/lists/9d60a166-f2ea-11ea-a3d0-06b4694bee2a/forms/subscribe

About the Author

 

Amber Daulton is the author of the romantic-suspense series Arresting Onyx and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through The Wild Rose Press, Books to Go Now, and Daulton Publishing, and are available in ebook, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats.

She lives in North Carolina with her husband and demanding cats.

 

Social Media Links

 

Website – https://amberdaulton.wordpress.com/

Facebook Author Page – https://www.facebook.com/amber.daulton.author

Twitter – https://twitter.com/AmberDaulton1

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Pinterest – https://pinterest.com/amberdaulton5/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6624921.Amber_Daulton

Amazon Author Page – https://amzn.to/14JoZff

Book Bub – https://www.bookbub.com/authors/amber-daulton

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/amberdaultonauthor1/

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/pub/amber-daulton/87/538/368

The Wild Rose Press – https://www.thewildrosepress.com/authors/amber-daulton

The Last Christmas by Seelie Kay

Release Date: December 11, 2020

Publisher: Extasy Books

Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Romance, three flames

Why did you write “The Last Christmas?” 

My father is 94-years-old and as you might expect, has had a number of serious medical, age-related events. Each time, we were told to prepare for his death. Each time, he survived. The fact was, my Dad wasn’t ready to die. And his children and his grandchildren weren’t ready to let him go either. So I started thinking about terminal diagnoses and how they are really a best guess, not a guarantee. That, of course, led to thoughts how a terminal diagnosis often causes people to give up and prematurely mourn the death of the person who is ill. I wondered how that impacted the outcome. And because I was preparing to write a holiday book, I also started thinking about the power of family, and how, time after time, families are capable of creating miracles.

That led me to “The Last Christmas.” Christmas truly is a time for miracles, and thought it important that everyone be able to experience one through the tale of the Wright Family. 

Blurb:

When the doctors say there’s no hope, Santa begs to differ. After all, he claims, miracles are love combined with action to get the desired result. And at Christmas time, everyone deserves a miracle!

David Wright is dying from cancer. He is not expected to see another Christmas. At least that’s what the medical professionals say. Fortunately, Santa begs to differ. After all, modern medicine is nothing more than a best guess. Santa believes anything is possible until you give up. When Santa tells David’s wife, Joan, that heaven is full and she has to keep her husband alive, she is beside herself. She has no medical skills. How can she save anyone’s life? Set your skepticism aside as Santa embraces a family already mourning their father’s terminal diagnosis and teaches them that a Christmas miracle doesn’t always require heavenly intervention. Sometimes, all it takes is a family with enough love to create their own. As Santa says, a true miracle is when love combines with action to get the desired results. And only humans are capable of that. Will Santa’s words fall on deaf ears? Or will Team Wright find a way to save their father’s life?

Excerpt:

 It’s not about you, it’s about him, Joan,” a grumbly voice said. “You’re looking at this all wrong.”

Joan turned so fast she almost lost her balance. She glared at the old man who had spoken. He was around seventy, with ruddy cheeks and twinkling blue eyes. And thick white hair. Lots of white hair. Flowing over his shoulders, winding up in a very lush beard. On top of his head was perched a brightly colored red knit hat. She frowned. “Wait a minute. You’re Santa Claus. Without the red suit, but clearly, you’re him. I’d know you anywhere.”

The man bowed and with a smile, said, “At your service.” He gestured toward a park across the street. “Let’s take a walk.”

“Oh, no. I’m not going anywhere with you.” Joan shook her head. “I didn’t mean you actually were Santa Claus. Everyone knows he doesn’t exist. I just meant you looked like him. You’re just a man who looks like him. I don’t know you. Why would I…” She glared at him. “You’re not even wearing a red suit. And since when has Santa taken up armchair psychiatry?”  She ran a hand through her blonde hair. “I must be hallucinating.” Despite her objections, she followed him across the street.

Santa laughed. “My dear, I have been dispensing advice since I was old enough to talk and make people listen. God chose my role a long time ago and I have gotten very good at it.” He looked toward the heavens. “Sorry, old boy. Still working on that humility!” He chuckled. “Man never stops reminding me.” He smiled at Joan. “Do you sense any ill-intentions from me? Of course not. I’m Santa. All I want to do is talk.”

Joan reached out and touched his shoulder.

He laughed again. A laugh that came directly from his belly. “Yes, I’m real. Well, as real as a centuries-old spirit gets. I even eat all those cookies children leave me each year. And let me tell you, that’s a heavenly feat.” Again, he looked skyward. “Yes, sir, I am well aware that borders on gluttony. A sin. You know darn well it has nothing to do with gluttony and everything to do with the magic of Christmas, an affirmation that Santa is real. I do it for the children.” He smiled at Joan. “Sometimes, He gets a little overbearing with his angels.”

He smirked. “Even God has his faults. He is by no means perfect.” A strong wind swirled through the plaza, nearly catching his knitted cap. He clapped his hand on his head to hold it down. He whispered, “And he doesn’t take criticism too well, either.”

Joan stared at the man. Surely, she was losing it. Santa a spirit, an angel? He and God didn’t even travel in the same circles. She shook her head, trying to make the hallucination go away.

Santa sighed. “I know, I know. You’ve been taught that I’m not real. That I’m a myth. That’s a rumor started by Satan himself, the old devil. He can’t stand the fact that people embrace the goodness in the world. And that I spread good cheer. He would much rather unleash a plague and make people miserable. He hates Christmas. He hates that the birth of Christ is celebrated, and his birth, well, is not. He really can’t stand the fact that love binds people so tightly during the holidays.” Santa shook his fist toward the ground. “The fool pouts all through the holidays.” He then sat up straight and gazed at Joan. “Christmas is really about love, you know. All kinds of love. The type of love he’ll never have. Love of family, love of children, love of—”

“What the heck do you want?” Joan blurted. “People are starting to stare.”

Buy links: 

“The Last Christmas” is scheduled for release in December 11, 2020and will be available from all major booksellers, including–

Extasy BooksPreorder Link Available November 27, 2020

 About Seelie Kay: 

Seelie Kay is a nom de plume for a writer, editor, and author with more than 30 years of experience in law, journalism, marketing, and public relations. When she writes about love and lust in the legal world, something kinky is bound to happen!  In possession of a wicked pen and an overly inquisitive mind, Ms. Kay is the author of 18 works of fiction, including the Kinky Briefs series, the Feisty Lawyers series, The Garage Dweller, A Touchdown to Remember, The President’s Wife, The White House Wedding, and The President’s Daughter. 

When not spinning her kinky tales, Ms. Kay ghostwrites nonfiction for lawyers and other professionals. She resides in a bucolic exurb outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she shares a home with her son and enjoys opera, gourmet cooking, organic gardening, and an occasional bottle of red wine.

Ms. Kay is an MS warrior and ruthlessly battles the disease on a daily basis. Her message to those diagnosed with MS:  Never give up. You define MS, it does not define you! 

Author links: 

Website:  https://www.seeliekay.com

Blog:  https://www.seeliekay.blogspot.com

Twitter: @SeelieKay https://twitter.com/SeelieKay

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/seelie.kay.77

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/seeliekay51/

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Seelie-Kay/e/B074RDRWNZ/

The Holiday Mermaid

A Sea of Love story in the Desire Me Again romance anthology by BVS

Fantasy Romance

9,000 words

#paranormalromance #romance #RomanceReaders #RomanceNovel #RomanceBooks #romancenovels #fantasy #lovestory #Magic #mermaids #Christmas #bvsbooks #PNR #AmReading #books #Book #Yule #ebooks #Kindle

 

Love comes in many shapes

 

Blurb

The hopeless romantic believes that a soulmate exists for each of us. That there is one person who makes us feel how good it is to love them. For some couples, things trigger them to push that love away. They find out too late they’ve lost true-love. Sometimes genuine love deserves a second-chance at the happy ending that eluded them the first time.

Desire Me Again is an eclectic assortment of short stories exploring a second-chance at love. The collection is as diverse as the authors who wrote them. Here’s a chance to read the work of talented writers you may not have read before. Within these pages, there are blends of tender, often moving and thought-provoking stories.

The Holiday Mermaid, a seasonal fantasy romance by Alice Renaud: Adam fell for surfer girl Rowena the second he saw her. But just as their summer fling was becoming serious, she left him without any explanation. Now, with Christmas just a few days away, she’s back… and Adam discovers that she’s a shape-shifting mermaid, from a Clan that hates humans. Can he love her as she is? Can she brave her family to be with Adam for good, not just for Christmas?

Buy Links

https://amzn.to/34NstC7

 

Bio

Alice lives in London, UK, with her husband and son. By day she’s a compliance manager for a pharmaceutical company. By night she writes fantasy romance about shape shifting mermen, water monsters and time-travelling witches. Her first book, “A Merman’s Choice,” was published in January 2019 by Black Velvet Seductions. It is the first book in the Sea of Love fantasy romance trilogy, inspired by the landscapes and legends of Brittany and Wales. The second book, “Music for a Merman,” and the third, “Mermaids Marry in Green,” are out now. Alice has also contributed short stories to the BVS anthologies “Mystic Desire” and “Desire Me Again,” both available now. Alice loves reading and writing stories, and sharing them with anyone who’s interested! 

 

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AliceRenaudAuthorRomance/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/alicerauthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18670218.Alice_Renaud

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/alice-renaud

Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Alice-Renaud/e/B07L52P17B

Website: https://nomadauthors.com/alicerenaud/alicebooks.html

 

 Yuletide with the Rookie by Fran Thomas

The course of true love never did run smooth.

Baseball rookie Brett Hoak is spending the off-season teaching kids to ice skate. The knockout big sis of one of his pupils is a bonus.

Leeanne Corey was sure teaching was her best career path. Now, she’s having second thoughts.

When Brett shares a secret and needs Leeanne’s help, she can’t refuse. But losing her heart to a jock again isn’t in her plans.

MY BOOK was NOMINATED AS ROMANCE NOVEL OF 2019 BY READERS CHOICE.

SECRET DESIRES is now on sale at Audible.com and on iTunes. Now, you can listen to Margo’s story and cheer her on as you commute to work or sit back and adjust your headsets at home. It is also available on B&N.com and Amazon.com –eBook and paper.

                                                            SECRET DESIRES

ISBN: 978-0-9984099-1-7

                        Nothing in Margo Simmons’s life comes easy. She can’t claim the inheritance on a condo apartment her uncle has left to her until she is gainfully employed in a job for a year. She meets the man of her dreams but anguishes over a loving relationship because he is still emotionally tied to his deceased wife. With great difficulty, she becomes the guardian to a recently orphaned child she had been tutoring.   Margo evolves from an insecure, newbie elementary teacher into a woman determined to fulfill the secret desires locked in her heart. My story speaks to anyone who has suffered a loss and had to start over.

J.L. Regen’s book was inspired by a real life story of lovers who join hearts against many odds. She lives in the New York metropolitan area, is a published photojournalist, has short suspense stories online, and has taught English as a Second Language to students around the globe. This is her first contemporary romance. She has also published three nonfiction books and is crafting a historical suspense set in World War II.

Contact: J. L. Regen

 Writerjr1044@gmail.com

Website: www.Joansbookshelf.com

JOIN MY MAILING LIST: FOR UPDATES ON FUTURE SUSPENSE TITLES, LEAVE YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION ON MY WEBSITE.

Cover by Karen Phillips who resides in California and has a diversified list of clients.

  1. L. is available for interviews and book readings/signings in your area.

Shadowboxing by Anne Barwell

I’m so excited to have Anne Barwell here with me today to discuss the re-release of her WWII romance, Shadowboxing. As you know, I’m a huge fan of stories written in that time period and I deeply appreciate the research that goes into making history come alive for the reader. I can also appreciate the desire to set your story in a time that may create additional obstacles to the characters that might not exist today–or at least, don’t exist to the same degree. Anne has done the kind of research that I find exciting, and I love hearing about the source materials she drew on to bring this series to life! Please welcome Anne Barwell!

Thank you for hosting me. I’m excited to be re-releasing the first in my WWII Echoes Rising series.

When I original wrote Shadowboxing, I wanted to read an historical which was an action drama with gay characters. I couldn’t find one—although that isn’t a problem now, so I wrote one.  I also wanted to write a story that had at its heart a romance between two men during a time where, if their relationship were discovered, they risked severe repercussions, even death. I also wanted to explore characters who needed to do some serious soul searching in order to break free of expectations of not only themselves but their society.

I’d always loved stories about WWII, and so the idea for the Echoes Rising series was born.  People meet during wars who wouldn’t usually, as is the case of Kristopher and Michel, the main characters in the series.  Kristopher is a German physicist, and Michel a French farmer.  The Allied team sent to retrieve the plans for the project Kristopher is working are not only a mix of nationalities but have very different backgrounds.  While Matt is American, he’s also spent time in Germany before the war.  Ken is American but he’s also hiding part of his heritage, and Liang is British Chinese.

This mix is very deliberate as I wanted different perspectives to the story.  War is not just about the battles fought, but the people affected by them. I don’t believe that wars are really won  as each country involved loses loved ones, and is damaged to the extent that the consequences are felt for generations to come.

I also knew in writing a historical I had a lot of research ahead of me. This wasn’t a one book project but a series of three books. I need to plot out all three books as, although each book is written so it stands alone, the series is really one story split into three. I figured it was better to write three smaller books than one enormous tome, as those can be rather off-putting for readers as well as writers.  Each part of the story splits nicely with location too so it works out well.  Shadowboxing is set in Berlin, Winter Duet is a road trip across wartime Germany, and Comes a Horseman takes place in France.

I used a range of resources for my research. I work in a library—shelving in the 940.5 section is not a great idea as I get distracted by shiny things.  The library, and its databases, has been a fantastic resource for writing this series. Half the fun was finding the resources as they weren’t just in the history section, as I also needed travel books—for locations—and information about clothing and weapons.  Early on in the writing process for the story I found a book called The Bomb by Gerard DeGroot which was about the ‘life story of the Bomb’ and subtitled A History of Hell on Earth. I bought my own copy of it.

The Forgotten Voices series is also another invaluable resource as it relays personal accounts by both servicemen and women and civilians about what it was like to live through that time. The internet also provided a lot of interesting information although some things were next to impossible to find.  The specifics of German telephones was one of these.  Everything out there is about the US system at the time!  Luckily one of my beta readers is German and she has proved an invaluable source of information. She also checked facts on websites written in German and provided/suggested the German used in the story.

However, there is a flip side to the research.  While I try to ensure I’m as accurate as possible—within the constraints of telling a good story—history can also work for a story rather than against it. After all, there’s no need to find a way to blow something up when it’s already documented that the Allied forces dropped bombs in the area at that time.

I’m aiming to republish Winter Duet in January, and the conclusion to the series, Comes a Horseman, in March.

Shadowboxing

Echoes Rising Book 1

Complete their mission or lose everything.

Berlin, 1943

An encounter with an old friend leaves German physicist Dr Kristopher Lehrer with doubts about his work. But when he confronts his superior, everything goes horribly wrong. Suddenly Kristopher and Michel, a member of the Resistance, are on the run, hunted for treason and a murder they did not commit. If they’re caught, Kristopher’s knowledge could be used to build a terrible weapon that could win the war.

For the team sent by the Allies—led by Captain Bryant, Sergeant Lowe, and Dr Zhou—a simple mission escalates into a deadly game against the Gestapo, with Dr Lehrer as the ultimate prize. But in enemy territory, surviving and completing their mission will test their strengths and loyalties and prove more complex than they ever imagined.

Author’s note: This is the third edition of Shadowboxing. The first and second editions were released by another publishing house.  This story has been re-edited, and uses UK spelling to reflect its setting.

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08LCRT1ZZ

 

Excerpt:

This was his chance to put things right, to make sure the project did not go further. He hurriedly shoved the file back into the case and then froze. What exactly was he going to do? Only one complete copy existed as far as he knew, but he wasn’t certain if the Nazis were aware he was capable of replicating the information. He would have to destroy the file, then disappear.

That wasn’t going to be easy. The Nazis had spies everywhere, and he did not know anyone who would help him. He wouldn’t ask Clara, nor would he consider death as an option. He couldn’t do that to her, not after she’d spent so much of her energy taking care of him. Someone had to get the information about this device out to the rest of the world. He had helped to create it. He would make sure the project was only ever used for the benefit of all mankind, but where the hell was he supposed to find the people he needed to ensure that happened? How could he trust anyone now, let alone convince them to trust him?

Click

Kristopher turned. The office door was opening. In one fluid movement he gripped the briefcase firmly beneath one arm and bent to retrieve a piece of broken glass, holding the jagged edge in front of him in a feeble attempt to defend himself.

The newcomer took in the situation at a glance, one eyebrow raised in an unspoken question. His eyes flickered onto what had once been Kluge, then back to Kristopher, and finally came to rest on his precious cargo, the briefcase containing the culmination of a dream now better described as a never-ending nightmare.

Kristopher debated for all of a second the chances of his success if he tackled the man head-on, then decided against it. Apart from the extra height, Schmitz’s uniform probably disguised a well-developed physique. He also had the advantage of military training and the gun he held. Kristopher’s opponent possessed some degree of intelligence. That much was obvious by the inquiring look on his face and the way his eyes seemed to penetrate Kristopher’s, searching for an answer. For an instant, Kristopher was sure he glimpsed a depth to those eyes, and the man behind them. He edged back a step, taking comfort in the solidity of the desk digging into the small of his back, the sensation grounding him while he attempted to place the pieces of the puzzle together.

How much had Schmitz seen? His expression did not reveal anything.

If Kristopher surrendered now, everything would be over, and the Nazis would win. He wouldn’t give up, no matter what the odds. He gripped the glass fragment tightly, ignoring the sharp pain as the rough edges scratched against his palm, the red liquid seeping into his shirt cuff already stained with the blood he’d earlier unsuccessfully attempted to stanch. He took a step closer, trying to look menacing, fully aware that on a scale of one to ten he wasn’t achieving even a one.

They stood staring at each other, or rather Kristopher stood staring. Schmitz leaned back casually against the door without shifting his gaze. After a few moments with Kristopher’s ragged breathing the only audible sound in the room, the Obergefreiter pulled himself to attention and took a step forward. He lowered his gun and placed it in its holster before holding out his hand for Kristopher’s makeshift weapon.

“Herr Dr Lehrer,” he said softly, the tone of his voice low, an expression of disbelief fleeting over his features. “You’re one of the most brilliant minds in this institution, and yet this is the extent of your plan?”

Author Bio:

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand.  She shares her home with Kaylee: a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning.

In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.

She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes.  She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ.

Anne’s books have received honourable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards.  She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical.

 

Website & Blog—Drops of Ink: http://annebarwell.wordpress.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/anne.barwell.1

Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/annesbooksandbrews/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/annebarwell

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4862410.Anne_Barwell

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/anne-barwell

Queeromance Ink Author Page:                       

https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/anne-barwell/

Sign up for my newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/39edaba3e3ad/annebarwellauthor

 

 

 

Romancing the Runoff: How You Can Participate

I’m delighted to announce I’ll be participating in this fundraising auction for a great cause: Romancing the Runoff describes itself as Romance fans making HEAs for 2020. Romance authors raising funds to help support the Georgia Senate Runoffs by supporting Fair Fight, the New Georgia Project, and Black Voters Matter. Coordinated by @courtneymilan, @alyssacolelit, & @kitrocha (aka @mostlybree & @totallydonna). Inspired by Stacey Abrams.

 

 
Basically, this auction is designed to raise money for various voting organizations in Georgia in anticipation of the runoff elections that will be coming up in January 2021. You can donate to campaigns directly, as well as follow the Romancing the Runoff on Twitter and Instagram for sneak peeks into all the fabulous items and services up for auction. If you’re an author wishing to donate books and services, check out the link tree at the website above! The auction opens November 18, 2020 and promises to be AMAZING. Books and Zoom chats with your favorite authors. Critiques on your own writing from the best in the business. Annotated ARCs from the biggest names in romance. Swag and offerings too exciting for words. Have a character named after you in an upcoming book. I’ve seen an image of a fabulous red dress covered in little hearts that is to die for! Every time one of the pre-auction goals is reached, a special video is unlocked, so you definitely want to follow them on social media!
 
I’m offering Reader’s Choice signed print copies of either The Redclaw Security Series or the Redclaw Origins Series. That’s two books each autographed (with a little swag tossed in as well) by me! I hope you’ll join in the fun and help fund a worthy cause.
 
 
Because it’s high time we all got a little HEA, now isn’t it?