Today, I’m interviewing Peggy Jaeger, a fellow author from The Wild Rose Press, and really sweet human being. She’s releasing a new title, Passion’s Palette, which sounds wonderful.

Tell us a little about yourself, perhaps something not many people know.

While I come across as assertive (some would say aggressive at times), I am in reality very introverted and shy. I’m always nervous I am going to the say the wrong thing to someone unintentionally, or hurt someone’s feelings unknowingly. Because of this I have a huge personal space bubble around me and I don’t let very many people passt it.

What is your book about?

Passion’s Palette is the 5th book in my MacQuire Women series and tells the love story of artist Serena MacQuire and veterinarian Seamus Cleary. This is actually the second prequel I’ve written in the series. The first book to be published was the story of Serena’s niece Tiffany (SKATER’S WALTZ) then the next two were about Serena’s twins Moira (THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME) and Padric ( FIRST IMPRESSIONS.) After those three were written, I really wanted to explore the two mothers of all these people. I wrote Carly, Serena’s older sisters’ story, first ( THE VOICES OF ANGELS) and then I knew Serena needed to share her own love story with the romance reading world.

What inspired you to write this book?

Part of that question I’ve just answered, but the rest of the reason is that I wanted to show how losing people you love – and not only people! – doesn’t have to close off your heart to ever finding love again. My grandmother was only 33 when she lost my grandfather. She had three little girls to raise and was left penniless. This was in the 1930’s before welfare and government assistance for children and mothers. My grandmother never married again, and never engaged in any kind of romantic relationship, even when her daughters where grown and out on their own. She simply closed her heart to ever finding love again, and that just made me so sad for her. So I wrote a tragic past for Serena along the same vein, and had her closing her heart to ever being able to love a man again without being fearful she’d lose him. Seamus Cleary is the man to break that wall down and claim her heart, thereby freeing her from a lifetime of loneliness.

What is your writing style?

Before I tell you I have to tell you that, as a nurse, I have a scientific background and I use that knowledge base to guide me through life, decisions and problems. What that means is that I look at a problem from every angle, figure out where I want to go in solving that problem, and then think of events that would deviate me from solving it. So, that’s a longwinded way of saying I am a plotter first, last, always. Before I ever type Chapter One on my laptop, I know every single facet of my H/H’s lives. I do a full story bible, write my GMC ( Goal, motivation, Conflict) out on a dry erase board for clarity, and then troll the internet and magazines for images of what I think my H/H look like. I make Pinterest boards for my books in progress, and I do vision boards for each story so I can visually refer to them during the day when I write. All this planning takes anywhere from 2-3 weeks, so when I actually start to write, I know where I am going, and when and how I am going to get to the end. I have a minimum daily ( 5 days a week) writing goal of 2500 words, but most days I exceed that, which is why I can churn out an 80,000 word first draft in about 6-8 weeks.

What advice would you give a writer just starting out? Share 3 pearls of wisdom.

A. First and foremost, write the story of your heart-do not write for what’s trending at the moment. Fads change. Today’s vampire love story will morph into something new in a heartbeat. If you’ve got a story about a newly divorced 45 year old with three kids and she needs to move to Antarctica to survive – then write that story and make it the best story you can. B. Try to write every day. I heard Nora Roberts once say writing is like exercising a muscle. If you don’t use the muscle, it weakens and atrophies. I think this is the same for writing. Even if you don’t work on your current story every day, post something you’ve written on your website, or a diary, or write a piece for another writers’ blog. Just utilize those writing muscles so they keep strong and toned. C. Go to a romance writing conference like RWA or RT, or any of the dozens of writing chapters around the country and soak up as much knowledge as you can. While there do not be afraid to ask questions of other writers – even the really famous ones! Believe me, they are willing to talk to you. They remember what it was like to be a fledgling, unpublished writer and I’m sure they wished they had asked questions of their idols that they didn’t take the opportunity to.

Blurb:

Talented and witty portrait artist Serena MacQuire is successful in everything but love. Her gift for capturing people on canvas is rivaled only by her fiery and legendary temper. A tragedy from the past keeps her heart securely locked away, preventing any man from getting close enough to claim it.

But Seamus Cleary isn’t just any man. After he left his professional football career to become a veterinarian, his bitter wife ended their marriage. Now, as he starts his life over in a new town, love is the last thing he’s looking for. The more he tends to Serena’s horses, though, the more he realizes her own heart needs tender care and healing as well.

Will he be the man who finally unlocks and claims her heart?

Excerpt:

With a hip resting against the tabletop, he browsed through her paints and brushes, lifting one color pot, then another. “So. You’re an artist.”

She nodded.

“What do you paint?”

As he opened and closed the pots, Serena observed his hands, silently assessing the length and width of his fingers. Her mind registered the dexterous movements of each action, the deliberate, studied way his hands performed each task.

“Portraits, mostly.”

His eyebrows rose. “This is pretty big equipment for a portrait. Where do your pictures hang? In castles?”

“Three do,” she told him, charmed when his neck reddened. “But this stuff will be for a mural I’ve been commissioned to do for a hospital.”

His eyebrows lifted. “Impressive. You must be good.”

Allowing a smidgeon of playfulness to creep into her voice, Serena gave him a shrug that rivaled his own. “Better than some. Not as good as others.”

He returned her smile with one of his own.

Serena’s heart giddyapped.

Buy Links:

Amazon | The Wild Rose Press

Author Bio:

Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them.

Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, Peggy brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she has created the families she wanted as that lonely child.

Tying into her love of families, her children’s book, THE KINDNESS TALES, was illustrated by her artist mother-in-law.

Peggy holds a master’s degree in Nursing Administration and first found publication with several articles she authored on Alzheimer’s Disease during her time running an Alzheimer’s in-patient care unit during the 1990s.

In 2013, she placed first in two categories in the Dixie Kane Memorial Contest: Single Title Contemporary Romance and Short/Long Contemporary Romance.

In 2017 she came in 3rd in the New England Reader’s Choice contest for A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS and is a finalist in the 2017 STILETTO contest for the same title.

A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.

Social Media:

Website | Twitter | Amazon | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads | Instagram

Thanks so much to Peggy for sharing her new release and letting us get to know her better!

Today, this super-smart scientist/writer/daydreamer extraordinaire is joining us to answer some questions about herself, her writing, and how to succeed as a writer. She’s also brought her book, A Hundred Kisses, and a killer excerpt.

What made you want to become a writer?

I am a daydreamer. I love art. I love words. I love to lose myself in the beautiful – be it another world or nature and art. My first role model was my mom, who would spend hours at her easel drawing and painting. She also incorporated poetry into her art. My elementary school art teacher was also an inspiration. As much as I loved to draw, I found myself pulled to the art of stories. It began as girlish fictional stories and teenager angst-heartbreak-filled poetry. This morphed into my love or romance in college. Even as I took a career path in science, the desire to write remained steadfast. And here I am.

What are your books about?

I like happy endings. Up until last year, I only wrote historical romance. I dabbled in a time-travel book (that one’s on hold). My next project is the prequel to A Hundred Kisses. However, people remark that you should “write what you know,” so I jumped genres completely for my latest manuscript (in the submission process), which is a contemporary mainstream women’s fiction novel inspired by personal experiences. I’ve also been working on getting some children’s picture books out there (with an autistic main character; again writing from life experiences). I also write for travel magazines. Perhaps I have too many ideas! But I’m enjoying dipping my fishing poles in a variety of pools.

What have you put most of your effort into regarding writing?

Aside from the actual writing itself… the things that have taken more time and effort include research, editing, learning the business, and honing my craft/skills. While writing the first few books (my “practice novels”), I spent much of my time learning the process, understanding the craft. There is no shortage of writer’s resource books on my shelf; some I still return to with each manuscript. Research is also par for the course, and I enjoy what I learn along the way, even if it doesn’t make it into the book. Learning the business is worth the time investment, too. That comes with plenty of networking and reading. Editing – the bane of most writers’ existence – is a necessary evil. And now, the next chapter in my writing journey has opened: marketing and promoting my book!

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

It depends on the book [wink, wink]. My historicals are completely fictional (although real history is packed in there). Of course , here is a little of the writer in all her characters.  Two very minor characters in A Hundred Kisses, Peter and Sham, are actually named from a town (Petersham) I drove through one day. My contemporary books tend to have more real-life inspirations. People I know. Family members. People who have wronged me or a loved one. Yup. No one is safe! I will say that I do love my secondary characters. On the querying road, I’ve had some agents say that they detract from the central story (of hero/heroine), where others have enjoyed their presence. I lean toward the later. In fact, the secondary characters quite often become leads in a future novel idea. I feel that a well-rounded cast brings life to a story.

What advice would you give a writer just starting out. Share three pearls of wisdom.

My three P’s:

  1. Patience. There is a lot of waiting in writing. It all works out on its own timeline, not ours. What to do while waiting (impatiently)? Write something else. Read. Research. Network. Do something to kill the time while you wait.
  2. Perseverance. Never, ever give up. No matter how many rejections or no’s you get, don’t give up if it’s your dream. I wrote 3 novels before the fourth one finally made it. It took me 19 years. Granted, there was some stopping and starting in there for jobs and early childrearing years, so it took a while. Rejections can hurt. Use them for good. How can you take that rejection and spin it to help you? (e.g. agent/editor/fellow author feedback on your writing/characters/plot – use that in the next manuscript or revise with that feedback in mind – that’s exactly how A Hundred Kisses came to be! I took the advice from an agent and ran with it.)
  3. Put in the time. This ties into #1. It takes time. There is no magic formula for writing success. I am still at the beginning of my publication journey. I put plenty of time into learning, honing, understanding. I am still journeying and learning. Like any career, it takes some time before you can truly blossom to your full potential. So this also ties into #2. Don’t give up.

Author bio:

Jean is a scientist, part-time education director, and a mom. She currently resides in Massachusetts and draws from her interests in history, science, the outdoors, and her family for inspiration. She enjoys writing non-fiction articles for family-oriented and travel magazines, and aspires to write children’s books while continuing to write novels. In 2008, she visited the land of her daydreams, Scotland, and it was nothing short of breathtaking. Jean enjoys tending to her flower gardens, tackling the biggest mountains in New England with her husband, and playing with her sons, while daydreaming about the next hero to write about…

Website: http://www.jeanmgrant.com

Twitter: @JeanGrant05

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

Buy Links

Amazon | The Wild Rose Press: E-book or Paperback

Blurb

1296

Two wedding nights. Two dead husbands.

Deirdre MacCoinneach wishes to understand her unusual ability to sense others’ lifeblood energies…and vows to discover if her gift killed the men she married. Her father’s search for a new and unsuspecting suitor for Deirdre becomes complicated when rumors of witchcraft abound.

Under the façade of a trader, Alasdair Montgomerie travels to Uist with pivotal information for a Claimant seeking the Scottish throne. A ruthless baron hunts him and a dark past haunts him, leaving little room for alliances with a Highland laird or his tempting daughter.

Awestruck when she realizes that her unlikely travel companion is the man from her visions, a man whose thickly veiled emotions are buried beneath his burning lifeblood, Deirdre wonders if he, too, will die in her bed if she follows her father’s orders. Amidst magic, superstition, and ghosts of the past, Alasdair and Deirdre find themselves falling together in a web of secrets and the curse of a hundred kisses…

Excerpt

She sensed no colors in the murky, lifeless water, and it was freeing. All breath escaped her. Muted visions passed before her eyes—her mother, her father, Gordon, and Cortland. Just a moment longer, she thought…

Suddenly, a burst of warm light invaded her thoughts as air filled her lungs. Red-hot hands burned her shoulders and ripped her from her icy grave. She breathed life into her body. She coughed, gagging on the change.

Muffled words yelled at her.

Oh, God, so hot. His fingers were like hot pokers. Her head pounded as she slowly returned to the present. Heat radiated from her rescuer. Somebody had pulled her from the water.

“Wh—?”

“Hush, lass. You nearly drowned.”

His voice was as soothing as a warm cup of goat’s milk on a winter’s day. A red-hot glow emanated from his body. Never before had she felt such a strong lifeblood, and it nearly burned her. She struggled in his arms to get free. She blinked, only seeing a blurry form before her. “Release me!”

She splashed and wriggled, and he did as told. She clambered to the shoreline. Numb and shaken, she began to dress. It wasn’t easy as she fumbled with slick fingers to put dry clothes over wet skin. She instantly regretted her naked swim. She pulled on her long-sleeved white chemise first.

She faced the forest, away from her rescuer. He quietly splashed to shore. His lifeblood burned into her back. He wasn’t far behind, but he stopped. She refused to look at him until she was fully clothed, not out of embarrassment of her nudity, but for what had just happened. He released a groan and mumbled under his breath about wet boots. His voice was not one of her father’s soldiers.

When she put the last garment on, her brown wool work kirtle, she squeezed out her sopping hair and swept her hands through the knotty mess. She fastened her belt and tied the lacings up the front of the kirtle. Blood returned to her fingertips, and she regained her composure. Belated awareness struck her, and she leaned down and searched through her bag for her dagger. She spun around.

She gasped as she saw the man sitting on the stone-covered shoreline, his wet boots off. Confusion and the hint of a scowl filled his strong-featured face. She staggered back, caught her heel on a stone, and fell, dropping the dagger. Dirt and pebbles stuck to her wet hands and feet, and she instinctively scrambled away from him.

His glower, iridescent dark blue eyes, and disheveled black hair were not unfamiliar. Staring at her was the man she had seen in her dream—it was the man from the wood.

Welcome Darlene Fredette, who’s here to answer some questions about her favorite books, characters, and her writing process. Also, take note: there will be a giveaway for visitors who leave a comment on any stop during the tour, and additional giveaways for visitors who leave a comment on her blog.

Are you working on another book?

I am nearing the end of the third story in my Redford Falls series. This one may be my favourite, however the fourth book is plotting out be a favourite, too!

If you could spend time a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

Definitely Candi from One Sweet Christmas. Candi owns a chocolate shop in Redford Falls. I’d get to visit my favourite fictional town, and snack on some of Candi’s delicious chocolate creations.

What are your books about?

Romance and happy-ever-after. I enjoy writing stories that pull at the reader’s heart and creating a plot that’s a page-turner.

What is your writing style?

I’m a slow writer. The story is in my head, but doesn’t flow from my fingertips as easily. Before I start a new story, I have it plotted from beginning to end with a few details to pop up during the actual writing phase. I use a notebook for each story with character names and details. When writing a series, you must keep track of details in past books so that moving forward your information is spot-on. I’m never alone when I write as my Yellow Lab is always lying at my feet. I prefer silence when I write because if a good song comes on the radio I tend to sing more than write, lol. I don’t set word or page count because it’s too depressing when you don’t reach that goal. Daily life always gets in the way, so I write when I can and hopefully a lot of words fall onto the page to make up for the day I don’t get to write.

What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?

Bad reviews hurt. Thank goodness, I haven’t received a review where a reader trashed my book. I’ve had a few moderate reviews where maybe the reader was expecting or wanting more. The reality is, every reader likes different genres and different writing styles, and they may have a particular expectation that’s not in your story. As an author you have to ignore the negative and focus on the good, because there’s nothing better than getting a review where the reader loved your story!

Book

Return to beautiful Redford Falls: a woman who knows what she wants and a man who knows what he needs.

Winter’s Kiss
By Darlene Fredette

Title: Winter’s Kiss
Release Date: January 15, 2017
Publisher: Escape Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: Sweet (PG)
Keywords: sweet, romance, winter, snow, family.
Average Page Count: 112

Nothing thaws the chill faster than a warm winter kiss.

 

She’s been on a flight from hell for over eight hours, lost four hours of daylight, and arrived in temperatures twenty degrees lower than accustomed to. Disliking winter for a reason she refuses to discuss, Danielle Lerato would rather be anywhere than in Redford Falls. She needs to get the job done and return home before getting caught up in the small town’s charm…and the arms of the handsome, brown-eyed restaurant owner.

Andrew Haley’s first encounter with the buttery blonde didn’t go so well, and he well-remembers the chill of the glass of water she dumped over his head. Now, two years later, a raging storm drops Danielle back into his life. She’s determined to leave, but he’ll do whatever it takes to convince her to fall in love with Redford Falls…and him.

Excerpt

Danielle probably looked a hideous mess. Her hair had come loose from the clip on the top of her head. Sleep masked her eyes. She wanted nothing more than to wash her face and sterilize her hands from the airborne germs she encountered on the plane. “I’ve been on the flight from hell for over eight hours. I’ve lost four hours of daylight, and the temperature here is twenty degrees lower than where I live.” She pulled the straps of her leather jacket tight around her waist. “I have to rent a car and drive two hours to a small town where, if I blink I’ll miss it.” She waved a pointed finger in the air for dramatic effect. “I’d rather be anywhere but here.”

Bio

Darlene resides on the East Coast of Canada with her husband, daughter, and Yellow Lab. When not working on her next book, she enjoys spending time with her family. An avid reader since childhood, Darlene loves to develop the many stories swimming in her head. She writes heartwarming contemporary romances with a focus on plot-driven page-turners.

Contact Links

Web: http://darlenefredette.blogspot.com/

Blog: http://findingthewritewords.blogspot.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DarleneLF

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/DarleneFredette/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/DarleneLF

Purchase Links

http://www.escapepublishing.com.au/product/9781489236159

On my Escape page, click on the ‘BUY EBOOK’ button to find purchase links to Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and more!

http://www.millsandboon.com.au/product/9781489236159

Today we have Marin McGinnis on the blog with us. I’m a day late with this and I apologize profusely, but I had a family emergency yesterday. On to the questions!

Interview

Tell us a little about yourself, perhaps something people might not know.

I live in the town I grew up in, although I did take a few detours along the way. To this day, many of my friends from high school call me Marv. We had a frequent substitute teacher who could never figure out how to pronounce my first name—she insisted on calling me Marvin, no matter how often I corrected her.

Are you working on another book?

I am working on two others at the moment. They are set in England in the 1850s, both romances, but they explore my interest in mystery and suspense. Following that, I have a cozy mystery series trundling around my brain that I can’t wait to get to.

Have you written any other books that are not published?

Who hasn’t? :) I have three—a mystery I started about 30 years ago was atrocious, a romance that I learned to write with, and the third is a romance I will finish one day, but I lost confidence in it when an agent blithely told me it’d never sell. The mystery will remain firmly under the bed, but the other two may see the light of day at some point—after massive rewrites.

What is your writing style? Pantser or Plotter? Pen and paper or computer? Do you write Alone or in public? Music or silence? Goals of certain # of words a week or when inspiration strikes

I am a curious hybrid of plotter and pantser (I like to call it Plantser), and the formula for which side is stronger is different for each book. I write on my laptop (and occasionally on my iPad), and I do my best writing when I’m in public, at a coffee shop or waiting for my kid at hockey practice. I’m experimenting with writing to music, but unless I’m in the right mood I find it distracting. I did NaNoWriMo this year, and the only day I didn’t write was Election Day. I am trying to keep up the habit of writing every day, even if it’s just a few words.

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

They are purely imaginary, but I can’t help but think of people I know and experiences I’ve had as I write, so I imagine a tiny bit of real people sneaks its way into my characters. I think I’ll probably work that substitute teacher into a book one day, though. ;)

Do consider yourself to be a successful writer? If so, why? If not, what would make you successful?

If the goal is to write and publish a book, sure, I’m successful several times over. If it’s to make enough money writing to give up the day job, then no, not even close. Some days I feel more successful than others, and it’s not necessarily that my situation changes—it’s usually how I feel about what I’m doing, whether it be plotting, writing, editing, or marketing. My son told me today that he didn’t think he did well on a test in school. When I asked why, he said he just didn’t feel confident while he was taking it. Attitude, as they say, is everything, and when I feel successful, I usually am. I just don’t always feel that way. :)

Book

After four unsuccessful London seasons, Lady Julia Tenwick despairs of ever making a love match. With spinsterhood looming on the horizon, she and a friend set sail for America on one last adventure. When her travels take her to northern Maine, Julia meets a reclusive but handsome artist, whose rudeness masks a broken heart Julia feels compelled to mend.

Still haunted by the betrayal and death of his pregnant wife two years before, Geoffrey Jordan is determined never to risk his heart again. Certainly not with the gorgeous and impetuous aristocrat who intrudes upon his small-town solitude, and is far too similar to his late wife to tempt him to take another chance on love.

But when Julia and Geoffrey find themselves united in a reckless plan to save Julia’s friend from ruin, they discover that temptation is impossible to resist.

Excerpt

Cranberry Cove reminded Julia of home, her family’s estate in Durham, where ton rules were abandoned in favor of lazy days riding, reading, caring for her pets, or playing the piano. It occurred to her that she had not played in weeks. Her fingers itched to touch a keyboard, and she flexed her hands inside her calfskin gloves. She vowed to play soon. She thought she had seen a harpsichord in the drawing room of Maria’s enormous house.

Reaching the end of the little lane on which Maria lived, she took a right onto Main Street. It consisted of several houses similar to the one in which she was staying, so she turned left onto Maple Street, which was much more interesting. There was a green grocer, a bookseller, a milliner, a tailor, a blacksmith—everything one could want in a village. The streets were clean—much cleaner than London—and the air was crisp and fresh, even if it smelled ever so slightly of fish.

Julia was staring into the newspaper office—a badly written but oddly gripping tale about missing lobster traps was plastered to the window—when she was nearly knocked off her feet.

“Oh, I beg your pardon!” She managed to right herself, wondering why she should be the one to apologize. She looked up into the hooded eyes of Geoffrey Jordan, who held a book in one hand. “Mr. Jordan!”

“Lady Julia.” He reached out to steady her, the touch of his hand on her arm causing a charge to shoot up her spine. “Please forgive me. Are you hurt?”

“Are you in the habit of running over tourists on your streets?” She freed her arm, flustered by her own reaction, and busied herself with adjusting her hat. When she regarded Mr. Jordan again, he was smirking.

“No, just the ones who stop in the middle of the street,” he said.

Julia opened her mouth to retort, but he held up a finger to silence her. “Nevertheless, I am sorry. I wasn’t paying attention. And the scintillating prose of our local newspaper could halt anyone in her tracks.”

She laughed. “It is not The Times, to be sure.”

His lips quirked up at the tips in something approaching a smile. Julia thought she hadn’t seen him do that before and found it oddly entrancing. “Where are you headed, Lady Julia?”

She forced herself to look away from his lips. “Um. Nowhere in particular. I was in need of a walk after luncheon, so I thought I would explore a bit.”

“The Universalist church, just around the corner, is particularly beautiful, and you will need to sample lobster from the establishment run by the Maclays, on the pier. It will melt in your mouth.”

The way he looked at her as he made the remark made her own mouth dry. Her cheeks burned.

“Um. Yes. That sounds lovely.” She gazed down at her feet until she collected herself. Raising her head, she found herself caught in his sights. She swallowed nervously. “Well, if you’ll excuse me, Mr. Jordan, I really must get back. Constance will be wondering where I’ve got to.” She brushed past him, her shoulder tingling at the contact with his arm.

“Lady Julia?” His tone was vaguely amused.

She stopped and turned to face him. “Yes, Mr. Jordan?”

His thin lips turned up at the corners again, and he pointed behind him. “I believe your house is that way.”

“Oh. Yes. Of course.” She willed herself not to stumble as she passed him, at least not until she’d cleared the corner.

Buy Links

The Wild Rose PressAmazonBarnes & NobleiTunesKobo, and Bookstrand

Social Media

Website: http://marinmcginnis.com

Blog: http://marinmcginnis.com/blog

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarinMcGinnis  (@MarinMcGinnis)

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/12256384.Marin_McGinnis

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00S03YY60

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/marinmcginnis/

Bio

A northeast Ohio native, Marin McGinnis has been a voracious reader ever since she could make sense of words on the page. She’s dabbled with writing for a long time, but didn’t start writing in earnest until she discovered historical romance about a decade ago. Marin has three historical romance titles published with The Wild Rose Press, and is a member of RWA and its Northeast Ohio, Hearts Through History, and Kiss of Death chapters. She will serve as President of the Northeast Ohio RWA chapter in 2017. Marin lives in a drafty 100 year old house with her husband, son, and two standard poodles named Larry and Sneaky Pete.

Today, I’m interviewing Ripley Proserpina and she’s answered some juicy questions for us about her and her book.

Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read?

My most recent book is Finding Honor. It’s a story about a girl, Nora, who has never been able to count on anyone but herself. She does the best she can, getting by day-to-day, working as a housekeeper, substitute teacher, and at a deli. While substitute teaching, a horrible event occurs and she comes face-to-face death. Suddenly, she realizes, “Crap. I’m going to die and what have I done with my life?” It’s definitely a come-to-Jesus moment, but she’s left even more disappointed in herself because after surviving, all she wants to do is crawl into a hole and hide.

Unexpectedly, she meets a young man who wants to help her, and then another young man, and another, and another, and yes, another. All of them speak to her heart in ways no one ever has, and because love is the last thing on her mind, this strange, unique relationship, takes her completely by surprise.

The book is a romance, but at its heart is this girl who has to learn to stand up for herself, flip the rest of the world the bird, and listen to her heart. Her past hasn’t broken her, but it’s squashed her, making her doubt her instincts and intelligence. With the help of these guys, who also have dark pasts and experiences to overcome, she starts to trust herself again.

Which brings up the major twist in my story. It’s “reverse harem.” For those who aren’t familiar with reverse harem, it’s the “I’ll take both!” answer to the love triangle (or in this case, love pentagon). Reverse harem doesn’t necessarily mean the girl ends up with all the boys (though I am a fan of happy endings, and things working out as they should), but she is the sun around which the guys revolve.

Think: Leia, Luke, Hans, Chewy, Yoda, and Obi-Wan. Or Hermione, Ron, Harry, Neville, and Dumbledore. There’s one strong, central, female character. (I get these aren’t romances, and I’m ignoring how Luke is the main character in Star Wars, and it’s Harry Potter, not Hermione Granger and the Sorcerer’s Stone, but bear with me).

I love the theme of this story. I’m all about empowering women in stories.

What would the main character in your book have to say about you?

Nora would probably say I’m a sucker. She tells me what she wants to do, I let her do it. Even when she wants to do something I never intended her to do. To be fair though, I let her guys do the same thing; I’m an equal opportunity push-over.

Then she’d probably point out how I’m a sucker in real life as well— using the giant German Shepherd at my feet (husband begged), and third cat (my little boy liked how he sneezed) as examples.

I’m sure she’d have a sarcastic comment about all my complaining about the New England cold, but she’d admit the winters are a small price to pay for beautiful summers.

Finally, I think she’d mention that I manage to write Nutella into every book.This wouldn’t be a complaint. We both love it.

I’m such a sucker for animals and Nutella, too! What book that you have read has most influenced your life?

Emily of New Moon, by LM Montgomery. I was a lot like Emily growing up: dark, temperamental. I wanted to be a writer as soon as I could read, and wrote poems, stories, and a ton of Newsies fan fictions.

Emily has a teacher, a grouchy, mean teacher, and she shows him her poems and he goes through them: “Horrible, horrible, trash…” He makes fun of the parts she loved, but finds one line and says, “Well done.”

She’s ready to give up writing, but he tells her, “One good line out of fifty? Keep writing. This line shows promise.”

I think everyone who writes goes back to pieces they’ve written and think, “This is the worst thing ever. What am I doing?” But this line is always in the back of my mind. I don’t know if I would have kept writing if I hadn’t read Emily. There’s something about reading a book when you’re a child; the words get under your skin, stay with you in a different way. You believe the things you read without cynicism.

Sorry, I can’t help but wax poetic about LM Montgomery.

That’s so inspiring and so true of writing. We do have to learn to accept the bad writing as part of the process.

If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

I would spend the day with Matisse, one of Nora’s guys. I don’t really know what Matisse does during the day. He has a motorcycle, speaks French, stays up all night, and can somehow find information about people no one else can. He’s not a spy, but he’s definitely mysterious, and I’m suspicious of him.

My plan is to follow him around: “Go about your business, Tisse. I’ll just observe from here. Ignore the notebook.”

We would also go for a ride on his motorcycle. I might make him read me poetry. He’d do it, too. I think I could wheedle him into it; he has such a lovely voice.

You have to love a man who rides a motorcycle. Are you working on another book?

I’m just finishing up the second book in Nora’s series, The Searchers. The first book, Finding Honor, comes out in December, her novella, Finding Nora, comes out at the end of December, and the second, full-length book, Finding Ryan, is about the first guy she meets and falls in love with; the one who introduces her to all the other guys. It’s been a really fun book to write, because I get to learn how the guys met each other and became friends, but I also get to delve into Ryan’s past, and see how it shapes his relationship with Nora.

About Finding Honor

Finding Honor
The Searchers, book1
By Ripley Proserpina
 
Genre: New Adult, Reverse Harem

Releases on December 6, 2017

Blurb:

Love finds her in her darkest hours…

Nora Leslie’s twenty-year existence revolved around one thing—survival. A split second decision under a hail of gunfire saves the lives of her students and alters her own forever.  

When she wakes in the hospital, Nora finds herself a suspect in the worst tragedy to ever strike her small college town. Thrust into the spotlight as the villain, instead of the hero, she is in desperate need of allies

A chance meeting introduces her to Ryan Valore, a young law student searching to outrun the guilt of his past. With the world turned against her, Nora accepts his aid, and the help of his roommates, a group of guys with pasts as dark as her own. For them, Nora is everything they never believed they deserved.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N8XMGIR
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1175136000
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/finding-honor-1
 

About the Author

 
Ripley Proserpina spends her days huddled near a fire in the frozen northern wilds of Vermont. She lives with her family, two magnificent cats, and a dog who aspires to cat-hood. She is the author of the Reverse Harem series, The Searchers, and “Missing Linc” from the paranormal series, The Aegeans in the upcoming horror romance anthology, Bloody Kisses. Follow her on Facebook or sign up for her newsletter at www.ripleyproserpina.com.

Social Media links:
www.ripleyproserpina.com
@RipleyProserpin (twitter)
Ripley Proserpina (FB)

 

author-interview-msspencerPlease welcome author M.S. Spencer to the blog as I ask her a few questions about herself and her story, Whirlwind Romance.

Tell us a little about yourself? Perhaps something not many people know?

I’ve lived or traveled in five of the seven continents (Antarctica and Australia still on the bucket list), but the last thirty years were spent mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional committee staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, non-profit director, and parent. After way too many years in academia, I worked for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Department of the Interior, in both public and academic library systems, and at the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, Virginia. I hold a Bachelor’s degree from Vassar College, a diploma in Arabic Studies from the American University in Cairo, and Masters in both Anthropology and in Library Science from the University of Chicago. I co-chaired one of the largest used book sales in the country, which regularly netted $100,000 for student scholarships. We used to call it “Seven Days in May.”

Since 2009 I’ve published ten romantic suspense or murder mystery novels. I enjoy two fabulous grown children and an incredible granddaughter, and divide my time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.

Wow, that is an impressive history. And ten books in seven years? Color me flabbergasted.

Are you working on another book?

Yes, I sure am; in fact, two. One, which I just submitted, is entitled The Pit and the Passion: Murder at the Ghost Hotel. it takes place on the spot where John Ringling began building a luxurious hotel in the 1920s. Left to slowly disintegrate over the decades, it inevitably came to be called the Ghost Hotel It features an unexpected skeleton, a quirky romance between an arrogant though talented writer and a beautiful reporter, and a complicated set of clues that lead to a deadly secret long hidden by the most famous circus family in the world. You’ll like it.

The second, set on Amelia Island, Florida, is in the final drafts. It’s a murder mystery romance with a historical twist. As it turns out, Amelia Island (the only one of the Sea Islands in the state of Florida) has been held by at least eight different entities—from the French, to the Spanish, to a cabal of patriots planning to swipe Florida from Spain, to a Scots mercenary, a French pirate, and finally both Confederate and Union soldiers. In an odd turn of (fictional) events, many of the historical players figure in a contemporary plot that ends (as these things do) in murder and betrayal. But it’s really fun—trust me!

Sounds like I’d love them both. All that history is fascinating. 

Have you written any other books as yet unpublished?

I have one long children’s story that has been waiting for many years for the right publisher. It’s called Lila’s Island, and it’s an allegorical tale based on the story of Noah’s Ark in the book of Genesis. If you’ve ever wondered what happened to the dove that Noah released to see if the waters had ebbed, you’d like this story. Everyone who’s read it has loved it, but it doesn’t fit easily into any genre or category.

I hope you’re able to find this story a publishing home some day.

Do you have any hidden or uncommon talents?

Oh my, having had rather an eclectic career, I have assorted odd skills or bits thereof—I studied Arabic for almost 8 years but I can speak French. I’ve grown almost every herb, vegetable or fruit possible in Zone 7. One weird thing: strangers like to confide in me. I’ll be idly shopping or walking, and a person will come up to me and launch into their life story. I can spell almost every word you can throw at me. If I can sing, it’s WAY too hidden a talent.

Those are some pretty cool skills, but I love the strangers confiding in you one. I bet you get some great story fodder that way.

Who is the most famous person you’ve ever met?

Well, I worked on Capitol Hill for a few years and met many famous people—Senators, congressmen, Cabinet members, movie stars. I had my picture taken with the Secretary of the Interior…and Charlton Heston. I made a totally inappropriate joke to Paul Newman (a good sport) and cut in line in front of Bill O’Reilly. I have autographs from Sam Donaldson, James Carville, and the guy who drew the Road Runner cartoons. I shook hands with Prince Charles, President George W. Bush, and Luciano Pavarotti (my fingers still tingle). Bottom line is they were all pretty cool.

Okay, you’ve met so many famous people, you’re practically famous by association. Having just finished writing some stories set in the 1950s this year, I find Charlton Heston and Paul Newman most interesting.

Let’s find out a little more about M.S. Spencer’s current release, Whirlwind Romance:

perf5.000x8.000.inddPirates, Puritans, propaganda, and princes—pieces of the puzzle in the whirlwind romance between a beautiful jelly maker and a mysterious castaway.

Whirlwind Romance
Wild Rose Press, 8/17/2016, Champagne Rose imprint
Contemporary romance/Action Adventure; M/F; 2 flames
Ebook 89,905 words; Print: 358 p.

Blurb

In the aftermath of a hurricane, Lacey Delahaye finds herself marooned on an island on the Gulf coast of Florida with a mysterious man. They are immediately drawn to each other, but before Armand can confess his identity, they are kidnapped and taken to a tiny island in the western Caribbean. With the help of her son Crispin and a cadre of loyal followers, she and Armand must face down pirates, power-mad ideologues, and palace intrigue, if they are to restore the once idyllic tropical island to its former glory.

Excerpt (PG): Slipping Briskly

The full moon shone through the window, illuminating Lacey’s nodding head. Armand touched her cheek. “I think it’s your bedtime.”Stung, she shot back, “I’m taking care of you, remember?”

Stung, she shot back, “I’m taking care of you, remember?”

He held up a hand. “Sorry! I’d forgotten.” After a moment, he asked, his tone diffident, “Can you help me up?”Lacey put an arm around his back and together they limped to Crispin’s room. She took his pants and shirt off and folded them neatly. As she turned to leave, he touched her arm. “Stay a minute?”

Lacey put an arm around his back and together they limped to Crispin’s room. She took his pants and shirt off and folded them neatly. As she turned to leave, he touched her arm. “Stay a minute?”How could she admit she had to get out of there quickly or she wouldn’t be able to go at all? His handsome face—the strong chin covered with stubble, the pearly teeth contrasting with his tan skin, not to mention the long, graceful fingers he held out to her—all conspired to lure her closer. Her heart led the way, propelling her to his side. She sat down. “What is it?”

How could she admit she had to get out of there quickly or she wouldn’t be able to go at all? His handsome face—the strong chin covered with stubble, the pearly teeth contrasting with his tan skin, not to mention the long, graceful fingers he held out to her—all conspired to lure her closer. Her heart led the way, propelling her to his side. She sat down. “What is it?”“Lacey…um.”

“Lacey…um.”Her body tensed as desire fought to get out, and she fought just as hard to keep it in. I have to go. I have to…go. “What?”

Her body tensed as desire fought to get out, and she fought just as hard to keep it in. I have to go. I have to…go.“What?”

“What?”His words came out in a rush. “Lacey, the other day—the first night—when you rescued me. When we…we…”

His words came out in a rush. “Lacey, the other day—the first night—when you rescued me. When we…we…”Don’t say it. Don’t say it. Christ.

Don’t say it. Don’t say it. Christ.“I…uh…want you to know I don’t do that on a regular basis.”

“I…uh…want you to know I don’t do that on a regular basis.”His air of shy ambivalence gave her courage. “I see. You don’t have sex on a regular basis?”

His air of shy ambivalence gave her courage. “I see. You don’t have sex on a regular basis?”“No, no, it’s not that.” He stopped, flustered. “Er, I mean… I don’t sleep with women indiscriminately.”

“No, no, it’s not that.” He stopped, flustered. “Er, I mean… I don’t sleep with women indiscriminately.”Should she let him off the hook? Nah. “But you do sleep with a lot of women?”

Should she let him off the hook? Nah. “But you do sleep with a lot of women?”“No! Lacey, you’re being difficult on purpose. I meant, that I didn’t mean to…you know. It just happened. Forgive me?”

“No! Lacey, you’re being difficult on purpose. I meant, that I didn’t mean to…you know. It just happened. Forgive me?”“I—”

“I—”Armand interrupted her. “Not that it wasn’t enjoyable.” He seemed distracted, running a finger down her arm. “Wonderful. Fantastic. Too short.” He peered at her. “Lacey, you must know how beautiful you are. You have

Armand interrupted her. “Not that it wasn’t enjoyable.” He seemed distracted, running a finger down her arm. “Wonderful. Fantastic. Too short.” He peered at her. “Lacey, you must know how beautiful you are. You have the most perfect cheekbones I’ve ever seen.”

“Cheekbones?” What the hell is he talking about?“I’m an amateur photographer. Those cheekbones could belong to a supermodel. Perfectly sculpted. And your nose…” He tapped the tip. “A little pixie nose. It even turns up slightly. Your long, fine hair is the russet-gold of burnished copper pots I once saw piled high in a shop on Martinique. Your eyes…” He closed his. “Your eyes are

“I’m an amateur photographer. Those cheekbones could belong to a supermodel. Perfectly sculpted. And your nose…” He tapped the tip. “A little pixie nose. It even turns up slightly. Your long, fine hair is the russet-gold of burnished copper pots I once saw piled high in a shop on Martinique. Your eyes…” He closed his. “Your eyes are the blue-green of a freshly mowed cricket field, of the emeralds that grow deep in the mountains, of the lagoon near my home on a blustery day.” He touched her hand. “Then there’s your body—as I remember it—a soft, comfortable, pillowy—”

“Hey!” Lacey shook her head to break the spell. “I think you’ve said enough. Get some sleep.”

She tried to rise, but he slipped his arms around her and drew her close. She wanted to struggle. She tried to struggle. It was no use. The long kiss filled her with a warmth that matched a fire on a cold night, a cup of cocoa, or a hot bath. When he lay back, the warmth turned to blazing passion. The power of it frightened her. I’ve got to go.

She ran out of the room before he could stop her.

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About the Author

m-s-spencer-author-3Although M. S. Spencer has lived or traveled in five of the seven continents, the last thirty years were spent mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director, and parent. After many years in academia, she worked for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Department of the Interior, in several library systems, both public and academic, and at the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, Virginia.

Ms. Spencer has published ten romantic suspense and murder mystery novels. She has two fabulous grown children and an incredible granddaughter. She divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.

Other Books by M. S. Spencer:

Coming 2017:

  • Lapses of Memory

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