Thursday, 31 July 2014

A Pirate's Life For Me…By Lisa A. Olech

All this month we’ve been talking about history over here at Tempting Romance. It’s been fascinating, but I’ll admit History was never my best subject in school. Then why oh why would I ever take on the daunting task of writing a historical? Because I LOVE pirates!!
Wait. What? Pirates? But, Lisa…you write fun, sexy CONTEMPORARIES. I know, I know, but I’ve also dipped my pen into the wonderful world of swash buckling! Perhaps one day soon, they’ll find a home with a publishing house (fingers crossed) and I’ll get to share my pirate captains with you, but for now they’re all mine!

I learned so much while researching my pirates. First of all, I learned that I loved research. It helped me not only add those golden tidbits of information to my novels, it also helped me slip my feet into the shoes of my characters—or should that be bucket-topped boots! It made me appreciate the days before things like Google and Wikipedia when authors needed to dig through dusty libraries to find their golden bits of knowledge. I can’t imagine gathering all that research without the phenomenon of the World Wide Web.
I have to admit, that I’m somewhat of a backwards researcher, however. I’ll write a scene that I love, and THEN worry about how to make it possible in 1683. For instance, I decided one of my ships should shoot red smoke out of their cannons. Great scene, but was it possible? Google cannons, Google fireworks, Google red smoke….Ta Da!! There’s a small area of Scotland that contains a mineral that when burned produces red smoke! Because of this, even their tartans are red. Who knew?! NOW, I have a Scottish pirate, who’s in charge of the gunnery, who carries with him the ‘secret’ of the red smoke! I did the research happy dance for that one!
Another backward moment was when I included a deaf character on one of my ships. I needed a way to communicate with him, but had sign language been developed by the late 1600’s? Again, Google is my friend. I researched sign language and found that the Spanish were one of the first to employ this form of communication. In 1620, Juan Pablo Bonet published Reducción de las letras y arte para enseñar a hablar a los mudos (‘Reduction of letters and art for teaching mute people to speak’) in Madrid. It was considered the first modern book on speech therapy for deaf children through the use of manual signs and alphabet.  SOOO, I had my pirates capture a Spanish merchant ship with copy of this book aboard! Yet another happy dance!
Did you know that pirates were the first to employ what we now think of as insurance? If you were injured in battle, you were paid extra compensation. They would actually pay you for losing a leg, or an eye, or a hand. Right hands and legs earned more than left, fyi. Who knew?! Also, if you were injured, you earned lifetime status on the crew. They took care of you. If you died in battle, they took care of your wife and children. Their entire structure was based on democracy with each member having an equal say in the decisions. Captains were voted in. Again, who knew?! Of course, they were also savage, ruthless and bloodthirsty, and there were some that were certifiably insane, but I used those for my villains!! Can I get an Aaaarrrrgh?!
Until Lisa’s pirate novels find a proper dock where they can drop anchor, you can still enjoy reading her funny, sexy contemporaries. Check out the first book in her Stoddard School of Art series. PICTURE ME NAKED is available now through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and her publisher The Wild Rose Press.  Announcing the release of book two – ROCK SOLID! Coming soon!!
Thank you Google Images

Monday, 28 July 2014

The History of Us...

Ancient History. An easy enough term to say, but is anything really in our past? I don't believe so. Learn history or it's doomed to repeat itself. Yet do we ever learn? Two world wars and the constant turmoil in the Middle East, Serbia, Croatia, etc. would say no. But this isn't a political rant. It's about the past.

I don't write historical romance and never will. I don't think I could pull it off. I do enjoy them selectively from time to time, but it's definitely not my favorite sub-genre. Not that I don't enjoy history. I do. I love traveling to sites that had big impacts and a history. My hands-down top choices are houses that have dark or fascinating histories. Brumder Manson, Winchester Estate, Myrtle Plantation. In fact, these inspired my new trilogy, Phantoms, that's coming out in 2015 with Entangled, which is about a team of ghost hunters. Their job is to travel to these supposedly haunted locations and investigate. Of course, they fall in love along the way. In doing a series like this, I had to delve into the location's history and pull out what made it the way it is. The sites actually became a secondary character all their own, even having mysteries to solve to give them their HEA too. It took an obscene amount of research on region, housing styles, periods and haunting types (not to mention paranormal investigative equipment) to make a realistic story for the readers. History was the story in these books. The love story between the heroine and hero was just playing into history's hands.

In saying that, I think the most important part of a book is the characters' past. What happened to them to make them who they are? What experiences shaped them and adds to conflict even now? It gives the book depth. Meaning. Without it, they're just people passing through our lives. No investment. A good author will give you the deets and background, without dumping it on you, and leave you breathless to know how it turns out. And it's not easy to do, from a writer's standpoint. My upcoming 2015 Covington Cove series with Berkley is a good example. In book one, Return to Me, the hero and heroine knew each other as teenagers and fell in love. A twist of fate split them, but now they're reunited and steeped in regret. It was important to blend then and now to give the reader tidbits of what happened to have the conflict jive. Aye. In book two, the hero has a laundry list of mistakes which shaped how he views everything from a sense of home to the act of love. The heroine has been invisible her whole life until meeting him. It became an interesting clash of past and present to relay to the reader why they are the way they are and builds on the momentum for conflict.

So let's throw it back to you. Do you read historical romance, and if so, why? How do you feel about contemporary romance character' past and how they turn out? What are some of your favs on the subject?
Kelly Moran is an author of quirky & heartfelt romance. She is the winner of the 2013 Catherine Award and a Finalist in the 2014 Award of Excellence, both through RWA. She is an avid book whore, caffeine junkie, and chocoholic. Recent titles include: The Dysfunctional Test, The Drake House, and Summer's Road. Look for her new book, Return to Me, to hit shelves in March 2015. Find her on FacebookTwitterPinterest, or her Website.  She resides in Wisconsin with her family.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Saturday Promo - Susanne Matthews…

1.     What was your favorite subject in school and why?

I had two, and I’d be hard pressed to tell you which one was on top. It was so bad that when I went to university, I did a double major—English and history, with a concentration in Ancient Civilizations. I loved reading and writing, and I was in Heaven when I got to do both. Reading and studying the history and mythology of Ancient Civilizations like the Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks piqued my interest early on. The book I remember most was The Eagle of the Ninth, a novel set in Britain during the Roman conquest, which we studied in grade nine.  It dealt with the battle with the Celts and Hadrian’s Wall. Our teacher followed it with Shakespeare’s, Julius Caesar and the Lost Horizon, dealing with the mythical land of Shangri-La in the Tibetan Mountains. I was hooked.

2.     Do you prefer a man in a tuxedo, uniform, jeans and flannel or Speedos?

I think one of the things I miss the most today, thanks to the more relaxed atmosphere prevalent all over, is the ability to really get dressed up to go out for the evening. Unlike Hollywood where you see all the glamorous tuxedos and gowns at events like the Oscars, in my hometown dress-up is a button down shirt and khakis. I really miss seeing men in tuxedos, but it doesn’t have to be a tux—a good suit with a shirt and tie does it for me every time or a white dinner jacket a la James Bond. I’m even partial to navy blazers and gray flannels.  Of course, a man in a well-pressed dress uniform—especially those navy whites is pretty darn nice too. As far as speedos go, it really depends on the man. Some guys who wear those should be considered eye pollution.

3.     When you get really angry, is it like a slow quiet burn, a raging tornado or methodical methods of revenge? 

I’m the slow burn type who builds up to the methodical plotting or f revenge, but I never act on it—at least not in reality. I usually figure out an insidious way to make the person suffer in one of my stories until I have my emotions under control. I’m queen of the silent treatment, so if I’m angry, stay away and let me cool down. Presents and kind gestures go a long way towards soothing my ruffled feathers.

Book Blurb for The Captain’s Promise

Etienne Blouin left Danielle de Cherbourg in tears, promising to return; he didn’t. Ten years later, Etienne learns she’s been widowed and left almost penniless. Now a wealthy ship’s captain, he offers to help her, but the only reply he gets is from her aunt telling him to leave Danielle alone. Convinced she’s in trouble, he determines to rescue her whether she likes it or not, even if it means losing her love.
Danielle is shocked to learn that her companion is going to the colonies, while she is to marry a cruel and powerful man as repayment of her husband’s gambling debts.  Despondent, she sees no way out of the horrendous situation. When her carriage is waylaid and she’s kidnapped, she fears the worse.
 Etienne has enemies who don’t want La Belle Rose to make port. Can he outfox them to save his ship and the woman he loves?

Buy Links for The Captain’s Promise

Excerpt from The Captain’s Promise

“My father’s purchased a commission for me, and I leave for Marseilles in the morning to join my regiment. There’s been some trouble in the East, and we’re being dispatched to take care of it. I don’t know when we’ll be back—perhaps a year, maybe more.”
She looked at him as if he’d struck her, all color seeping from her cheeks. Her titian hair framed the alabaster oval of her face, engraving it on his memory.
“No, Etienne, no,” she cried jumping up, wringing her hands in agitation. “You can’t do this! Tell me you’re playing a prank on me like you used to do. Why do you have to join the army?  Why go fight the Turks?  What about all the plans we made?” she wailed through her sobs. “You’ll be killed. How will I go on without you? You’re everything to me.”
He stood and reached for her, taking her into his arms, holding her as the sobs racked her body. The words were the sweetest he’d ever heard, and yet, they opened a gaping wound in his heart which might never heal.  “Mon amie, you’re speaking nonsense, and you know it,” he whispered into her hair. He held her close, at first tenderly, and then with the desperation of a man holding the woman he wants and needs, but knows he can never have.
“Elle, you know all the grand plans we discussed were just impossible dreams. We’re adults now, not children.  Look at you. You’re the daughter of a count. I’m the third son of a minor noble—I’ve no title, no fortune, and now I’m a soldier. A lieutenant isn’t always in the midst of the battle. I’ll be safe enough. I’ve no intention of finding myself in an infidel’s prison or an early grave.”  He felt her tremble at his words. 
“Promise me you’ll come back to me, Etienne; you’re a man of your word. If you say that you’ll come back, then I know I can hold you to your promise.” The tears flowed freely down her cheeks, and her body shuddered with her sobs.
“I promise I’ll come back,” he said, knowing that it could be many years before he could do so, and thinking of the promise he’d given her father moments earlier. Was he doomed to betray his words to them both? 
Someday she’d forgive him, and in time, she’d forget him, but he’d never forget her. She’d haunt him for the rest of his life, and this promise, one he might never be able to keep, would damn him to the fires of everlasting Hell.

Author links:
Follow Susanne on her:  Website    Blog    Facebook page    Twitter @jandsmatt

Amazon author page    and    Goodreads author page


Monday, 21 July 2014

My history by JM Stewart

Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m not very inspired by this month’s topic. I hated history. lol Though I do loving read it. In fact, up until I started writing, historical romances were all I read. I had a monthly subscription to Harlequin’s historical romances, and I devoured all four every month and eagerly waited for the next month’s shipment.

And I did have that one Civil War class my senior year of high school. My teacher was a total geek, but managed to make that class fun. Out of what was a horrible year for me, that class is one I’ll never forget. I can’t even remember her name, but I have to give her kudos. She instilled a love of the era for me. I used to adore Civil War romances.

So I got to thinking and thought I’d talk about my own history, though I see that idea’s already been taken. So, I’m not being very original, but it’s a topic I don’t discuss much. Because you can’t live in the past, and with PTSD, I’ve done way too much of that.

I’ve lived in quite a few places over the years. In fact, if you ask me where my hometown is, I have a hard time deciding which place to technically call “home.” We moved around a lot when I was little. I was born in New York City, New York. Most of my family was born and raised in Queens. I still have family in NYC, but slowly over the years, most of them have moved away. So most of the grandchildren were raised elsewhere. I have two cousins who were raised in New Jersey.

When I was around three, my parents moved to California. We lived in North Hollywood, in Los Angeles. I have memories of sitting at some outdoor tables at some eatery, staring at that huge sign. That’s my claim to fame. lol I remember my mother worked at a Taco Bell and I went to Oxnard Elementary school. I’m told though that around that time we also lived in North Carolina for a while, though I have no physical memory of it. I think I might have an aunt down there.

My parents' love story doesn’t have a happily-ever-after though. They got divorced when I was around six or so. Funny enough, they’d always remained friends. Despite that my father, who was a long haul trucker, met someone else during his travels (the women he eventually married), they never spoke ill of each other. They simply said they’d married too young.

We eventually moved up to Spokane, Washington. Up until recently, I might have told you that was my hometown, because it’s where I spent the most time growing up. I have the most memories there. Junior high, when boys became more than just an annoyance. High school, where I was a band fag (sorry, that’s what we called ourselves). I played the clarinet, third chair, thank you very much, in Lewis and Clark High School’s marching band. God, those uniforms were ugly. Our mascot was a tiger, so our colors were orange and black. Guess what color our uniforms were? Yup. Bright, pumpkin orange. This was also where I met my first love and got my first heartbreak. sigh Yeah, I wouldn’t be a teenager again if you paid me a million bucks. lol

When I was around 16, my mother and her bo split up. The reasons are ugly, and I won’t bring y’all down by reliving it. Let’s just say he believed in polygamy and I didn’t and leave it at that. Okay, pardon my y'all there. I've been editing Whatever It Takes, and the hero, Jackson, is from the south. His accent is in my head!

Eventually, though, we moved out to rural Pennsylvania to live with my grandparents. When they left Queens, my grandparents bought a little house in a small town just outside of Point Pleasant (another tiny, but scenic, little town). In fact, Point Pleasant was closer to our house than the post office for our town was, though for the life of me I can’t recall what our technical address was anymore. They lived on a little “bridge” between the Delaware River and the Delaware Canal.

There's a bit of history for ya. Apparently, the canal was used as a system for transporting goods up and down the east coast in the 1800's. Though nowadays it's just a pretty little walk and some beautiful waterfalls from the water overflowing the locks. In fact, we lived not far from Washington’s Crossing. If you’d like to see pictures of the area (and the canal), go here: . It’s really a very beautiful area.

Of all the places, I think that house on the canal is one I would have called home. I spent every summer there when I was little. I loved that house, though they’ve since sold it and both my grandparents are gone now. I still have some family in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, though. An aunt and her daughters.

Okay, this has nothing to do with history, but… today is the first day that Her Knight in Black Leather is on sale. From July 21-31, it’s only 99 cents. In fact, on my own blog today, I’ve posted an excerpt that was cut from the book during its many edits. You can read that here.

You can get your own copy here: Amazon /Barnes and Noble /Kobo

Joanne Stewart w/a JM Stewart
Author of, Risking It All, releasing Sept 16, and Whatever It Takes, releasing Dec 16
Website /Blog /Twitter /Facebook

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Saturday Promo - Please welcome, Peggy Bird...

Tell us about a romantic moment in your life.
Romantic moments were few and far between with my husband. A former Army officer, he didn’t do romance. When he brought home roses for Valentine’s Day, he’d come in grinning from ear to ear because he’d found a deal: “Look! A dozen red roses and they only cost $9.99! Isn’t that great?”
It took a long time for me to come to accept I’d never have love letters, spontaneous serenades or surprise romantic dinners for two in an exclusive hotel suite. When I did, I realized sometimes romance doesn’t present itself the way it does in the books I write.
Sometimes romance is making sure the oil is changed, the windshield wipers are fresh and the tires inflated properly before I go on a long business road trip. Or cutting down, dragging home and setting up a Christmas tree for me even though he’s Jewish. Or sitting through Chekov, Irish playwrights and Shakespeare even though he’d rather see X-Man. It’s all in how you look at it.

Name two romances you’ve read more than once.
I’ve read “Gone With the Wind” and “Doctor Zhivago” a half dozen times and seen the movies even more times. I’ve read all of Bella Andre’s Sullivan series more than once. And I’ve read my own books more times than I care to count.

If you had your choice between diamond earrings, a strand of pearls or a gold navel ring, which would you prefer?
Definitely a string of pearls. But then, my given name, Margaret, means pearl. So what’s the surprise?

Blurb for “Sparked Again”
Some fussy artist is making Shannon Morgan’s job with the city of Vancouver, Washington, harder than it should be. She’s organizing the huge annual Independence Day celebration, and he’s being impossible. But then, he’s like a couple other men she’s known - her mostly absent father and her disappearing ex-boyfriend, for example.
All Leo Wilson wants is an okay for his plans to install glass fireworks at Fort Vancouver on the Fourth of July. With thousands of people there to see his work, it could be his big career break. If the crabby bureaucrat will get him the permits he needs.
When Leo confronts the cause of his trouble in person, he’s surprised to find a beautiful young woman. Shannon is equally surprised at meeting a sweet, sexy man. Dinner, a movie, and a few torrid kisses take it from spark to flame.
But then the father she’s always wanted as part of her life reappears, accompanied by her ex-boyfriend. Shannon has to decide how far she’s willing to go to have her father around. And find out why he’s with her ex.
If she makes the right decisions, she and Leo will privately create fireworks that rival the pyrotechnics that light up the sky on July Fourth.

Excerpt from “Sparked By Love”
A beautiful golden retriever pushed between (Shannon and Leo. Leo said,) “Oh, and this is ... ”
“Walter,” (Shannon) finished. She knelt, put the bottle on the floor and put out her hands, palm up, so he could sniff them. “Hi, boy. Aren’t you pretty?” Stroking down his sides, she continued making friendly noises as the dog licked first her hands, then her face, his tail wagging and brushing against Leo’s legs.
“I don’t believe it,” Leo said. “He’s usually shy with strangers until he’s been around them for a while. But he obviously has good taste in who he warms up to so fast.”
“He recognizes a dog lover when he smells one.” She stood up, bottle in hand, and headed for the kitchen. Walter followed her without waiting for a signal from his owner.
“Hey, Walter. Remember me? The guy who pays your vet bills?” Leo said as he trailed after his dog.
“He must know I have a treat for him,” Shannon said as she pulled a biscuit from a paper bag and fed it to him. “There’s this great bakery in downtown, Bleu Door. They make wonderful bread and bake dog biscuits, too. I got some for him when I got bread for our dinner.”
“He’ll never go home with me now.”

“I doubt he’s so fickle.” Shannon opened the refrigerator door and brought out a beer.
“He follows his stomach.” Leo took the beer, shook his head at the proffered glass, and twisted off the cap. “Actually, so do I. And something smells good in here.”

“It’s cioppino.” A panicky feeling swept over her. “Oh, my God, I never thought to ask. You’re not allergic to shellfish, are you? Or are you vegan? Gluten sensitive? Anti- GMO?” She took a breath and was about to say, “Lactose intolerant?” when he interrupted.
“No. No. No and no. Do you quiz all your dinner guests this way?”
“Only the ones from Portland.” She gave him a smile she hoped was innocent looking, even if the remark wasn’t.
“Well, us guys from Troutdale aren’t so fussy. You can stop looking like you’re about to have a panic attack.” His smile in return wasn’t at all innocent, which made her quite happy.
Links for Peggy Bird

Thursday, 17 July 2014

The Good Old Days… Ellen Butler

After reading Dixie Brown’s blog from Monday I began reminiscing about the things I miss from the
past or better known as “the good old days.” Those days when things were easy, before lawyers, criminals and terrorists made a mess of it. So, in carrying on with Dixie’s theme let’s reminisce
together. For instance remember when we were kids and there were no car seats, or you were out of them by the time you were 2 so you don’t actually remember being in a car seat. Now kids have to remain in their car seats until they’re practically tall enough to drive the car. Heck, when we were kids my parents would throw us in the back of the pick-up truck with the family dog and a lawn chair. If you were lucky you’d get a bungee cord to keep it from sliding around. But those days are ancient history now.

Remember the days of flying when security lines moved faster than beached whale speed? Those were the days, before you had to remove shoes and practically strip down to your underwear before being felt up by the TSA? History. Yes I'm speaking of the days of legroom and when actual food was served on flights lasting more than 1 hour, not just nuts or pretzels. All history. I read an article recently where a plane made an unexpected landing due to bad weather at its destination; the pilot was lauded for purchasing pizzas for the passengers who had to wait on the plane until it was cleared for take-off. Kudos to the pilot, but this wouldn’t have been a problem if airlines actually served food?

My final reminisce is the reason I no longer go into the city for the 4th of July to see the fireworks. See I live not far outside of our Nation’s Capital. And DC does know how put on a fabulous fireworks show. Back in the good old days it was easy to get downtown. The metro would put up big buckets at the gates and the trip cost $.50, you’d throw in your quarters and the crowd of thousands moved quickly to the trains. Gone are the days of “make it easy.” Now everyone must have a fair card. For the regular commuters, this is no problem – pop the card in, gates open, grab your card on the way through. But with the holiday, comes thousands of tourists, and there is a bit of a learning curve, creating lines queued all the way up the staircase and crowds around the limited fair machines. Unfortunately that’s just the start of the lines. Back in the old days once you arrived downtown, you could just wander to an open spot on the Mall or around the Washington monument, plop your stuff down, and wait for the show. Now there are temporary fences all the way around, everyone goes through checkpoints (more long lines), and everyone’s bags are searched. It’s almost as fun as a TSA pat down. I know we can blame terrorism for this joy and the security creates a “safe” environment, but I sure do miss the good old days.

What do you miss from the good old days? 

Now that I’m done dreaming of the good old days, I’m providing ya’ll something new. A short blurb from my newest release Heart of Design, and a Rafflecopter giveaway at the bottom for readers to enter. Don’t forget! 

Sophie Hartland has recently turned 30, and is five years out from a confidence crushing divorce. She’s sworn off men in favor of making her interior design business a success when her best friend introduces her to LA Heat’s hot, new star, Ian O’Connor. He’s one of Hollywood’s beautiful people, with an Irish accent that makes Sophie’s toes curl. Ian hires her to renovate his home, and at their second meeting he initiates a scorching kiss that knocks her socks off. Even though she would love to drop down and go for it on the funky kitchen floor, Sophie sticks to her guns and enforces her “no dating clients” rule.

The tabloids portray flirtations Ian as Hollywood’s latest playboy who has women falling at his feet, and Sophie refuses to be another notch on his bedpost. But Ian isn’t the type to take no for an answer, and he finds Sophie a refreshing change from the actress wannabes trying hop aboard his new gravy train of success. Using his charm, he tries to persuade Sophie to break the rules.

Can Sophie ignore her traitorous libido and hold Ian off for the next five or six weeks until the renovations are finished? Or will she cave in to his pull on her heartstrings, and end up doing the knicky-knacky on the new velvet sofa? More importantly, can she protect her heart in this game of wills?

Amazon                    Barnes & Noble

Ellen Butler is the author Poplar Place, and Second Chance Christmas, a USA Today Recommended Read. Excerpts and purchase links can be found at: 
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