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    Did writing about Cora Kelly, Aiyana and Elijah require a lot of research into birth mothers and adoption? 

    Definitely! The story was actually inspired by a friend of mine, who has finally found her birthday mother (my friend is nearly 60) after a closed adoption at birth. Her story has been exciting, frustrating, heart-wrenching, just like Cora’s. She shared it with me as she was going through it. That’s what made me want to write about a woman who was also looking for her mother. Also, I did a lot of research online.

    What is your favorite part about writing Contemporary Romance books?

    I love the emotional honesty. They are stories that are so easy to identify with because the characters are often facing problems any one of us could face.

    Do you have any traditions you enjoy during early Spring?

    My birthday is in the spring (and everyone else’s in the family, besides my oldest daughter, is in the fall, all bunched together). I make my birthday last the whole month of May! Ha! (My family has often remarked on this.)

    When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

    I caught my daycare provider drugging my children with cough syrup and Tylenol to get them to sleep all day while I worked as a loan officer. Once I realized what was going on, I quit my job to stay home with them myself. Problem was…I wasn’t working because I wanted to. I still needed to contribute financially. I had three of my five kids then, and I had no idea how I was going to help earn a living while taking care of them at the same time, but my sister sent me KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR. It was a wonderful book, one that really swept me away. When I finished it, I remember thinking, “I wonder if I could write a book.” I started OF NOBLE BIRTH the next day and have never looked back.

    How long does it take you to write a book?

    I have deadlines every four months. If I was really pressed, I could probably do one in three, but not book after book.

    How do you choose your characters’ names?

    I’m always on the hunt for new character names. I listen when I meet people, pick up on certain names my children mention or other people mention around me. I’ve even gone online and looked up lists of the most popular names in America. My former assistant gave me a character naming book which has been helpful, too!

    How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite?

    I’ve written 61 so far. I have quite a few favorites—usually for different reasons—but if I had to pick only one, I’d have to say THIS HEART OF MINE. That book is really emotional for me, and yet it just poured out. It’s the easiest book I’ve ever written.

    What book are you reading right now?

    Sandra Brown’s STING. I have an online book group in which I select a fellow author to highlight in the months when I don’t have a release of my own. I’ll be going to Arlington, TX to interview Sandra live next week! I can’t wait. I love her work!

    What are your current projects?

    I’m currently finishing the fourth book in my Silver Springs series (comes out in November). Then I’ll be starting the third book in my Evelyn Talbot series, which is geared more toward suspense than straight contemporary romance.

    What advice do you have for writers?

    I can boil it down to just one word. Believe. It’s that simple. If you truly believe in yourself and your talent, you will be motivated to actually sit down and write the book instead of only dreaming about it. You will be driven to seek out any help you may need (research or craft-related) to make it the best you can create. You will follow through with marketing ideas until you sell it (or self-publish it), and you won’t give up if you don’t immediately reach your goals. Belief drives the entire engine—especially through the rough spots. 


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    Was it different to write about a K-9 in the plot vs people?

    Writing stories with dogs is both a challenge and a delight. I love dogs and find them fascinating creatures. Dogs have their own personality, just like people. Making them a character in the story without overshadowing the humans can be tricky. I like to show the bond between humans and canines, especially the special relationship of a K-9 dog and the police handler. They must rely on each other, trust each other and constantly train in order for the working relationship to function properly.

    How do you choose your characters’ names?

    Sometimes the names come to me easily while other times I have to search for the right name depending on the characters personality, background and temperament. I have a reference book titled Names Through the Ages that I use quite often when looking for a name. I like to know where the name originated and the meaning of the name. I try to incorporate something in the characters to reflect the meaning or origin of the name.

    Do you have any traditions you enjoy during Spring?

    Here in Oregon we have The Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest during the spring months. It’s a wonderful sight to see the fields of colorful tulips swaying in the gentle breeze or sunlight reflecting off raindrops. The festival is a family affair with a children’s play area, hay wagon rides through the fields, and local food vendors providing delicious fare. Even dogs are welcome. It’s a wonderful place to create family memories. http://www.woodenshoe.com

    When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

    I’ve been making up stories for as long as I can remember. I would act out my stories for my grandparents when I was a kid. In junior high I had an English teacher who really sparked my interest in one day becoming an author. He made believe that my stories were worth telling. In college, my creative writing professor also encouraged me to pursue writing. However, fear kept me from taking the leap of faith for many years but I’m so glad I finally gathered enough courage to try.

    How long does it take you to write a book?

    I like to have 3 to 4 months to complete a book. Sometimes it takes longer or shorter depending on my deadlines and what is going on in my personal life.

    What makes writing in the contemporary romance genre unique?

    Writing the contemporary story requires a delicate balance of grounding the reader in the world of today yet not dating the book so that readers who find the book a few years later don’t feel like the story is outdated.

    How many books have you written?

    I’ve written over forty books in the span of fourteen years. Do you have a favorite? My second book, A Sheltering Love for Love Inspired, will always hold a special place in my heart. It was a Romance Writers of America RITA finalist and the heroine in this story is closer to who I am than most of my other stories.

    What book are you reading right now?

    I’m reading a Harlequin Romantic Suspense by one of my favorite authors. Operation Alpha by Justine Davis, is book eight in the Cutter’s Code series. Cutter is an uncannily brilliant dog who not only knows when someone is in trouble, but he plays matchmaker amid well-done suspense plots. I’ve enjoyed all the books in the series and have read every book Justine Davis has written.

    What are your current projects?

    I’m working on a couple of stories right now. Book 1 of the 2018 K-9 continuity series for Love Inspired Suspense. This series will be set on a fictional Air Force base and feature Military Working Dogs. I also just turned in the proposal for book 1 of my own new series for Love Inspired Suspense.

    What advice do you have for writers?

    Keep writing through the ups and downs of life. Be flexible, teachable and believe in your work.


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  • 04/25/17--09:07: Q&A with Sharla Lovelace
  • Describe yourself in five words or less.

    1. Snarky (Might be kind of scary that this was the first one that came to mind.)

    2. Introverted

    3. Sneaky

    4. People-watcher (notice how I hyphenated to get an extra word? Yeah, see #3)

    5. Dog-lover (it worked last time

    Can you tell us a little about your book?

    It’s about lying! LOL. Truly, it’s about when all your little white lies catch up to you, and what the hell do you do then? You make up a gargantuan sized one to cover them, and then hope it doesn’t swallow you whole. Unless it’s in the form of a hot sexy get-under-your-skin man….then by all means swallow!  (I did not just say that.)

    Lanie and Nick’s story was honestly one of my favorite books to write—EVER. It was so much fun, and such a runaway train ride with no hands! I loved literally watching them fall for each other, I loved Lanie’s spunk! I loved every second of it, and it birthed the town of Charmed, so I hope you will love it as much as I do.

    If you had a theme song, what would it be?

    I Hope You Dance

    Name one thing you won’t leave home without.

    My phone and a hair tie on my wrist. (That’s 2. Damn I have trouble following rules.)

    What types of scenes are your most favorite to write?

    I adore writing intense scenes with either sexy-smexy chemistry burning up the page or fast snappy dialogue. Sex scenes before the sex…with the tease and the tension and the snarky back and forth talking…I love that.  Also fights are a blast with all that emotion churning around. Dialogue is always the most fun. I groan to write description…

    Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

    Everyone says this, but seriously, never give up. I met Sandra Brown at a writer’s conference, and she was behind a table signing for a line of hundreds, and when I got up there I said “Everyone in this line wants to be you one day.” She looked at me and said, “You’re here. You’re already halfway there. Don’t ever stop learning and don’t ever stop writing. You’ll get here. One day, maybe I’ll be in your line.” I never forgot that. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing by any means, but my first book was published almost exactly 5 years ago, and now A CHARMED LITTLE LIE is my 10th published book, and I’ve just finished writing my 12th.  Don’t give up on your dream. Also, remember that you write about life, and to do that you have to live. There are times (deadline evil times) that you have to stay in a cave and pound out words, but outside of that, find a balance and enjoy your life. It will show in your writing when you do…and when you don’t. If you write romance, kiss your husband every day. And if you are writing about hot sex and he is one of your readers, you’d better be prepared to give up the goods. Saying you aren’t in the mood after penning being banged against a wall—doesn’t cut it honey. ;)

    Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

    I wouldn’t be here without you, and I love and adore you so much for taking the time to buy my books and give my stories a try. And when you email or message me to tell me about it…oh my God you just don’t know the rainbows and unicorns that fill me up. Nothing is more important in this job than readers. When I make you happy…when I make you laugh or cry or feel something that you are moved enough to tell me about…my God, ice cream isn’t even as good as that. It’s close. But not quite. ;)


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  • 04/29/17--14:11: Q&A with Faye Hall
  • As an author of historical fiction, history can be so interpretive. How do you stay authentic while trying to create a story that a reader can find interesting. Where do you draw your inspiration? 

    I do get a lot of inspiration from stories of my own grandparents and such as they were first settlers in the towns my stories are set in.  I'm also very lucky as the actual history of Northern Queensland is quite fascinating too.  It's in my nature to think of the real stories of hardship and struggle and think 'But what if this happened?' and that's probably the biggest asset in writing the kind of stories that I do.

    What time in history would you consider your favorite? Your least?

    My favorite is the era in which I write which is the 19th century.  To me it is the era of change and challenge.  My least favourite would have to be the present as I think we have lost quite a few old values and take too much for granted.

    What kind of research do you do and how long to you spend researching before starting a new novel? 

    I tend to do spot research throughout the writing process.  Google is a great help for that, but I also have some local history books that give me actual hotel names and so on.  Most intense research I usually do involves Aboriginal bush medicines as it's very important to me that I get that as accurate as possible.

    Much of your stories derive from your homeland during the 19th century. What makes it stand out? Any plans to explore further? 

    Yes my stories are set in Australia, in townships close to where I grew up actually.  I started writing them mainly because as a young reader I often wondered why I could never find novels set in my country.  One day I decided if I couldn't find them I would write them instead.  Australia has a very romantic and fascinating history, one that I think can challenge the standard settings for books like the US and UK.  At this stage I have no plans to explore further.  Maybe when I know Australian romances are a popular read then I might change.

    Your upcoming, Amorous Redemption will be out in May. Can you tell us about it?

    I wrote this story based on my own great grandparents lives.  The station mentioned in the book was actually owned by her family until a few years ago.  Here is the book blurb:- 

    Phoebe Porter had run away from her family…from her fiancé…from her life.

    Upon arriving in the dusty mining town of Ravenswood, Queensland, Australia, Phoebe was certain she was finally safe from all who wanted to rob her of everything she had…including her life.  That was until she felt herself being swept up in the strong arms of a stranger…a stranger she would soon be surrendering her body and heart too.

    This was to be the last job for bounty hunter, Duncan MacAllester.  All he had to do was retrieve Phoebe Porter from Ravenswood and return her to her home of Inkerman Downs Station and to the fiancé awaiting her.  If he could survive this last hunt for this woman then he would finally have the money he needed to reclaim his cattle station and retrieve his life.

    When Duncan pulled Phoebe safely from the midst of a bar brawl, never could he have imagined this would be the beginning of one of the most dangerous journeys he had ever made…or the most passionate.

    Together Duncan and Phoebe must face not only the unforgiving humidity of the North Queensland outback, but also the men that were sent after them to kill them both.

    When Phoebe is ripped from his grasp by the abusive hands of her fiancé, Duncan follows her back to her hometown knowing that he would do anything to protect this woman…even if it cost him his life.

    What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

    Don't take bad comments too much to heart or you'll likely give up.  You need tough skin in this business.  Learn from your mistakes - be it a book or a publisher.  And most importantly write the kind of book you want to read.


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    What made you decide to tackle the timely issues of terrorism, marathon bombings and social media?

    Four years ago, Marcia and I were in a hotel in Door County, Wisconsin, as we prepared for a library event.  We turned on the television and found that all the channels were broadcasting live from Boston, as a manhunt for the marathon bombers gripped the city.  I thought about how much the marathon is a part of the identity of Boston – and how that is true of the marathon in Duluth, too.  So I felt immediately that I needed to write a novel in which Jonathan Stride faced these complex issues.  In the time since then, we’ve continued to struggle with a self-perpetuating cycle of hatred, violence, and revenge, and I wanted to bring all these difficult topics together in the midst of a page-turning thriller.

    While researching these topics for Marathon, did you come across anything that surprised you?

    My research led me in directions that were both surprising and scary.  I found a lot about how pressure cooker bombs work.  Technology can be simple and yet enormously destructive.  I was also disturbed to discover the depth of the real-world security threats that all marathons face in the wake of Boston.  However, I found determination and faith, too.  Despite the increased security, the marathon in Duluth is still one of the most inspiring events you’ll ever witness.  I also talked to many Muslims whose love of the U.S. is undimmed by the angry rhetoric that is sometimes directed their way and who are horrified by the violence done in the name of their religion.

    Can you tell us more about the significance of the green park bench in many of your novels (including an appearance in Marathon!)

    The most ordinary places can have an almost sacred importance for us.  That’s true for Jonathan Stride and the green bench at the end of Park Point in Duluth.  It’s nothing special.  It has no great significance in the city.  But Stride has gone there at turning points in his life.  He went there to grieve the loss of his wife, Cindy.  He went there to deal with the future of his relationship with his new partner, Serena.  It’s a symbolic place for him.  I love the fact that readers have embraced it, too:  They will write and tell me they have to make a pilgrimage to “Stride’s bench” whenever they visit Duluth!

    In Marathon, social media almost acts as its own character.  Was this your intention?

    Yes, social media has upended how we deal with tragedies.  Misinformation spreads like wildfire, and it’s easy for false accusations to take on a life of their own.  It also means the police face additional pressure when responding to a crime because of the viral intensity of social media coverage.  I wanted to showcase some of the dangers of this trend – how social media threatens to compound the violence of a tragedy and divide people, rather than bring them together.

    What will you be doing to celebrate the release of Marathon? (tours/signings etc?)

    I’ll be all over the country!  I’ve got events scheduled in Duluth and the Twin Cities and in areas like Denver, Houston, Phoenix, St. Louis, and Vero Beach.  I hope readers will come out and talk to me.  You can find a full list of event dates, times, and locations at my website, bfreemanbooks.com.  If you can’t make it to an event, be sure and post about MARATHON on my Facebook page at facebook.com/bfreemanfans.


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    What inspired you to be a writer?

    I’ve always loved being creative, which led me to spending ten years as an advertising copywriter. The ad business can be pretty regulated. It’s commonplace for a project to look night and day from where it began, after the client has his/her way with it. Writing a novel was a bit of a creative release, where I could write for myself. Until, of course, my editor entered the process, haha, but we shared a very similar vision for the book.

    If you could collaborate with any author past or present, who would it be?

    This is really hard. There are many authors who would be amazing, but honestly, I’d love to write a book with my critique partner, Carolyn Menke, at some point in time. She’d probably know what I’m thinking before I think it ☺


    If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

    Anything written by Ruta Sepetys. Her books ooze emotion.

    When people talk about the infamous duo Bonnie & Clyde, we seldom hear much about Bonnie. Your upcoming debut, Becoming Bonnie, tells us the untold story about her. Tell us about it.

    Becoming Bonnie is the story of how Bonnie becomes the Bonnie of Bonnie and Clyde. The novel begins with her as Bonnelyn, a fictional name I dreamed up to depict her as a wholesome, church-going gal. By the novel’s end, she’s Bonnie, half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo.

    That transformation is the crux of the story, taking a young girl who was promised the American dream but who was instead given the Great Depression. The circumstances, hurdles, and obstacles she faces all lead to the pinnacle moment where she falls for a convicted felon—and turns to crime herself.

    Interestingly enough, this story isn’t the one I first sought to tell. Driven by my desire to write the story of an iconic figure, I first began writing my own version of Bonnie and Clyde’s 1930s crime spree. I quickly put on the brakes, realizing I first needed readers to understand who Bonnie really was. What made her tick? What was her background? Why was she so loyal to Clyde Barrow? So I put what I’d written aside, hoping to one day use it in a sequel, and started over, going back five years to tell Bonnie Parker’s origin story, which also allowed me to drop Bonnie into a 1920s speakeasy in the middle of a foxtrot. Now that was a good time.

    It’s always great to find authors that feature strong female characters. Your debut, as well as your upcoming children books, will emphasize that. Is that something intended? If not, how do you feel about the importance of strong female characters represented in a
    story?

    My forthcoming middle grade nonfiction series, Brave Like Me, will feature women who, at a young age, accomplished daring feats of perseverance and bravery. I’m kicking off the series with two books, one about Bethany Hamilton and the second about Malala Yousafzai. It’s actually because of Becoming Bonnie that I was considered for this series, which was a dream project between my agent and an editor at Scholastic. When they were trying to think of an author who could tackle the project, my name came up because of Bonnie’s biographical (yet fictional) story. I jumped at the chance to depict these strong female characters.

    Are you currently working on anything that you can share?

    Yes! Though Becoming Bonnie is a complete story, I’m excited to be working on follow-up, Being Bonnie, which picks up where Becoming Bonnie leaves off, focusing heavily on Bonnie and Clyde’s crime spree.

    What advice can you give to someone who wants to become a writer?

    Read, a lot! Other historical fiction novelists often inspire me.

    About Becoming Bonnie:

    From debut historical novelist Jenni L. Walsh comes the untold story of how wholesome Bonnelyn Parker became half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo.

    he summer of 1927 might be the height of the Roaring Twenties, but Bonnelyn Parker is more likely to belt out a church hymn than sling drinks at an illicit juice joint. She’s a sharp girl with plans to overcome her family's poverty, provide for herself, and maybe someday marry her boyfriend, Roy Thornton. But when Roy springs a proposal on her and financial woes jeopardize her ambitions, Bonnelyn finds salvation in an unlikely place: Dallas's newest speakeasy, Doc's.

    Living the life of a moll at night, Bonnie remains a wholesome girl by day, engaged to Roy, attending school and working toward a steady future. When Roy discovers her secret life, and embraces it—perhaps too much, especially when it comes to booze and gambling—Bonnie tries to make the pieces fit. Maybe she can have it all: the American Dream, the husband, and the intoxicating allure of jazz music. What she doesn't know is that her life—like her country—is headed for a crash.

    She’s about to meet Clyde Barrow.

    Few details are known about Bonnie's life prior to meeting her infamous partner. In Becoming Bonnie, Jenni L. Walsh shows a young woman promised the American dream and given the Great Depression, and offers a compelling account of why she fell so hard for a convicted felon—and turned to crime herself.

    Buy on Amazon | Barnes and Noble

    About the Author

    Jenni L. Walsh spent her early years chasing around cats, dogs, and chickens in Philadelphia's countryside, before dividing time between a soccer field and a classroom at Villanova University. She put her marketing degree to good use as an advertising copywriter, zip-code hopping with her husband to DC, NYC, NJ, and not surprisingly, back to Philly. There, Jenni's passion for words continued, adding author to her resume. She now balances her laptop with a kid on each hip, and a four-legged child at her feet. Becoming Bonnie is her first novel.

    Please learn more about Jenni and her books at jennilwalsh.com.

    Connect: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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    Have you noticed the trend? Fairy tales retold. Yet another blockbuster comic remake. Well-loved franchises trotted out, either to success or despair—or both. Book covers featuring the same tropes, the same poses, and the same cover models.

    Retellings, always present and always a safe bet, are lately beyond pervasive. Be it book or movie, its seems a requirement: be tied-in, redone, revamped, or jumpstarted from extant material. Forgive my sounding like a crotchety old fart, but there are entirely too many reboots these days.

    Now, before you take me to task for a strange—even arsy—statement from an author who’s amidst publishing a series based on the legends of Robin Hood... well, let’s consider the whys. (And I do hope you’ll allow me a teensy pass in the fact that I first wrote ‘my’ Robin over 35 years ago.)

    One could argue everything is a reboot; after all, there are only so many plots/ narratives/ what-have-you within the realm of Story. Yet it follows, almost exponentially, (and yes, yours truly had a mathematician friend check me on this because, well, math) how an infinite number of ways exist in which that finite number of plots can be duplicated, mashed-up, and expounded upon. Especially considering that each artist has their own lens through which to consider the infinite.

    Which makes it rather incomprehensible that the same ol’-same ol’ keeps getting dragged out and flung about.  Yeah, I know. Sure things are the best of bets...

    But are they, really?

    Because when you take that risk and that 30-1 longshot comes in, it comes in big. And it’s usually something that everyone rolled their eyes about, and swore would never catch on. Something unique, even in the annals of So Many Plots.

    And often the enduring success of such a longshot comes down to two things: respect for the source, and voice.

    First, voice. Hidden voices in particular. These can inform the story: the PoV of an extraordinary character, the author’s own distinctive experience, loving and empathetic research; wherever and whatever the source, voice is what can render a story familiar and hum-drum... or startling and unique on an almost cellular level. In particular it’s the marginalised voice that can twist the tail of any trope, make it reveal things ancient and unseen. It can reveal neglected perspectives long untold. Or silenced.

    For example:

    Buy on Amazon | Barnes and Noble

    Buy on Amazon | Barnes and Noble

    Why does Cinderella stay in that abusive home? Historically she likely had little choice... but why make it a virtue that she smiles and takes it until some man rescues her? Maybe she’s decides to become an herbalist and specialise in mind-altering substances...

    Sherlock Holmes is a character straight from Victorian England... or is he? What if he was in the 21st century and a self-admitted high-functioning sociopath, with mobile phone at his hip and Watson blogging their adventures on social media?

    Why does Robin Hood stay in the forest with a bunch of rowdy men, yet swear by the Lady? Perhaps he’s a lover of men, personification of a woodland god, and devotee of an ancient goddess.

    (Yes, it’s a fair cop; that last one is my series. ;)  )

    And these are only a few examples from Western European legend. There’s also a wealth of underserved but vital cultures and perspectives that could crowd this page to bursting—yet are too often left unheard; dismissed, or painted with a perspective that doesn’t truly reflect their ways or beliefs.

    This brings us to respect. When reimagining an old warhorse of a legend, you owe it to Story to not only respect, but love its cultural legacy and its purpose. You have to question whether flipping it over and wringing it inside out is appropriate, and when you do reimagine it, the onus is on you to shape it to the best of your ability into a vital and valuable continuation. Because that Story has a voice, just as you do, and it matters. And trust me, not everyone will agree that you have been respectful even if you think you have. We all have our own voices and our own varied experience... but any time an author flings Story into the wind of readership—particularly a familiar, well-loved one, there are consequences fair and foul.

    Much easier—less risky—to just go ahead and rehash that skim-the-surface trope, right?

    But perhaps that is also disrespectful. Not only to the power of legend, which often must morph and grow—be heard—or diminish... but also to your own craft.

    No one said this was easy. To (very) roughly paraphrase Ursula K. LeGuin, we aren’t selling deodorant.

    So. Instead of the same ol’, tired ol’, perhaps we, as readers and writers, need to stop hedging our bets. Go for those long shots: invest in different voices, disturbing voices, support viewpoints and characters foreign to our own perceptions. Walk away from surface-scratchy retellings that just repeat our own inner monologues and present scant motivation for us to think outside our own safe box. We must require—and provide—more rich investment of time and heart-space, more underserved viewpoints, more cultures we perhaps mightn’t easily comprehend. Perhaps one of the best ways to start this conversation is by allowing familiar characters to manoeuvre us unto unfamiliar territory.

    And, always, honour old friends whilst allowing them to transform into new ones we didn’t realise we had.

    It’s what I’ve done my best to accomplish with the Wode books. And let me put it out there, right now: I would love for you, dear readers and followers of What Is That Book About?, to provide me with some examples of extraordinary re-imaginings. Let’s compare lists.

    About the Book

    The Summer King has come to the Wode...

    Yet to which oath, head or heart, shall he hold?

    Once known as the Templar assassin Guy de Gisbourne, dispossessed noble Gamelyn Boundys has come to Sherwood Forest with conflicted oaths. One is of duty: demanding he tame the forest’s druidic secrets and bring them back to his Templar Masters. The other oath is of heat and heart: given to the outlaw Robyn Hood, avatar of the Horned Lord, and the Maiden Marion, embodiment of the Lady Huntress. The three of them—Summerlord, Winter King, and Maiden of the Spring—are bound by yet another promise, that of fate: to wield the covenant of the Shire Wode and the power of the Ceugant, the magical trine of all worlds. In this last, also, is Gamelyn conflicted; spectres of sacrifice and death haunt him.

    Uneasy oaths begin a collision course when not only Gamelyn, but Robyn and Marion are summoned to the siege of Nottingham by the Queen. Her promise is that Gamelyn will regain his noble family’s honour of Tickhill, and the outlaws of the Shire Wode will have a royal pardon.

    But King Richard has returned to England, and the price of his mercy might well be more than any of them can afford...

    About the Author

    J Tullos Hennig has always possessed inveterate fascination in the myths and histories of other worlds and times. Despite having maintained a few professions in this world—equestrian, dancer, teacher, artist—Jen has never successfully managed to not be a writer. Ever.

    Her most recent work is a darkly magical & award-winning historical fantasy series re-imagining the legends of Robin Hood, in which both pagan and queer viewpoints are given respectful voice.

    JTH Website Musings blog (You can subscribe to my newsletter at either the Musing blog or main site—you’ll receive the first and earliest notification on all updates and news, plus a gift: several short stories seldom seen in the wild.) Bookbub Goodreads The Wode Facebook Page JTH’s profile on Facebook Twitter: @JTullosHennig

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  • 05/15/17--04:22: Q&A with Maria K. Alexander
  • How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

    This is the third book in my award-winning Tangled Hearts series. Each book is a stand-alone story focusing on different members of the DiFrancesco family. I created the family when I wrote my very first book (the one under my bed ☺). The heroine from that unpublished book is best friends with Kate DiFrancesco, who is the spirited heroine from Untangle My Heart, the first book in the series. I like to think of the series as a nod to my Italian background. The stories are rich in tradition, many of which are part of my own Italian upbringing. Nick DiFrancesco, the hero from Awaken My Heart, is the oldest DiFrancesco and his story is my favorite to date. I’ve loved his character from the start and thoroughly enjoyed writing his happily-ever-after! Nick is recently divorced from a popular girl he dated on and off in high school. She was popular, shallow, obnoxious…basically everything Ashely (the heroine from Awaken) isn’t…which is why she’s perfect for Nick!

    Name three things on your desk right now.

    Coffee cup, to do list, The Pocket Book of Positives (we can all use a lift each day!)

    What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

    Reading, baking, Jazzercise, relaxing at the shore (beach), watching a movie with my family

    A la Twitter style, please describe your book in 140 characters or less.

    Can she right a wrong & chance losing her heart to the man she deceived? AWAKEN MY HEART #TBR #mustread http://bit.ly/2p55aLA

    What are you favorite types of stories to read?

    Reunion/second chance at love, friends to lovers

    What 5 things should readers know about you?

    I’m goal-oriented, driven, a perfectionist, think cake is an acceptable breakfast food, played the piano from 3rd to 12th grade.

    Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

    It’s a second-chance at love romance set in Philadelphia. Detective Nick DiFrancesco is down on his luck. His drug-trafficking case went cold, his kids blame him for his divorce, and he’s one step-away from moving in with his parents to save money. When he runs into Ashley O’Neil, a girl he had an affair with over fourteen years ago, he’s reminded of their steamy night together and wants to see her again. Little does he know she’s kept a secret from him—one that impacts him where it counts most…family. But when a lead in his case puts him in Ashley’s path, they’ll need to set aside their painful past in order to fight for justice and risk it all for love.


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  • 05/19/17--20:55: Q&A with Christie Barth
  • If you had a theme song, what would it be?

    “I’m in Love with a Wonderful Guy” from the musical South Pacific.

    Name one thing you won’t leave home without.

    Lipstick. Seriously. Even to go to the gym. Even when I used to leave at 5 a.m. to drive for 8 hours across the desert to get to college (while my BFF made fun of me all the way), I’d be fully made up. You never know who you might run into. Looking good makes me feel good. Oh, and the brighter color, the better!

    If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

    The Duchess of Cambridge. Because in actuality, I don’t want to have my most important contribution in life to be birthing an heir. But I do want to wear a tiara for a day and have someone at my beck and call. I think it’d be fabulous. Or at least, the clothes would be….

    A la Twitter style, please describe your book in 140 characters or less.

    Sexy. Sassy. Funny. Heartfelt. You'll fall in love with the characters while watching them do it. True love makes everything better.

    What types of scenes are your most favorite to write?

    I love, love, love the flirt scenes. If I could write a book that is 100% witty banter and zero drama, I’d be thrilled. Oh, wait. I also love bromance scenes. The depth of friendship (or, in my next series, Bad Boys Gone Good, actual brotherly love) that shines through ordinary exchanges can be so magical and heartwarming.

    Tell us all about your main characters—who are they? What makes them tick? Most importantly, what one thing would they need to have with them if stranded on a desert isle? ;)

     

    Summer lives in the moment – to a crazy extent. It’d be a spoiler to tell you why, but let’s just say she has a reason to appreciate every second more than the average person. She’d need to take an absolutely fabulous sun dress to the island. Riley is uber-careful, thanks to a horrific experience in high school with his best friends. He’s willing to try lots of things, from climbing glaciers to scuba-diving, but only after taking every possible precaution and calculating every possible bad outcome. So he’d probably take water purification tablets. Unless he knew that Summer would be on the island with him. Then he’d take condoms.

    Where did the inspiration for this book come from? Here’s the flat out truth – I was more than a little tipsy when the idea for my Naked Men series originated. I was at a wine tasting at Fleming’s Steakhouse (twenty-five wines in two hours – hence the tipsiness!). The idea of a series revolving around five guys who share a blog seemed like a winner. Okay, lots of hysterical things seemed like a winner that night, but this one really had legs. Like the wine (that’s a joke only for wine snobs, but I promise they’ll be ROFL over it). Obviously the guys all had to be different. I still have the paper with the original scribbled ideas: the jock, the jerk, the manwhore, the smooth talker, the big business tycoon. Then I drank more cabernet. You know – to celebrate having an awesome idea!

    So the next day – after much water was consumed – I had to figure out how to turn a fun idea into a book. Because five guys typing a blog post on their laptops is, in fact, not a viable idea. The incredibly talented Sue Grafton said, “Ideas are easy. It's the execution of ideas that really separates the sheep from the goats.” Now, I’m not sure what makes being a sheep that much better than a goat, seeing as how I could eat goat cheese all day long. But you get the point. The hard part is the execution.

    There had to be drama (don’t worry – there is lots of sex, too). So I turned the five guys into high school friends who survived a near-fatal accident. The three days they spent struggling to survive turned them into the men who became my heroes. It turned Riley Ness, the hero of Trying It All, into a safety-obsessed NTSB agent.

    Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

    They say ‘write what you know’. And I did that. I used to be an actress, and I wrote a backstage romance. I used to be a wedding planner, so I wrote a four book wedding planning series. But I’m on book #24 now – readers would be bored to tears if I kept writing only what I know.

    Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

    OMG, yes – you almost can’t shut me up when I get near an aspiring writer! Treat it like a job, not a hobby. You’ve had your entire life to write your first book – but your publisher may want your second book in only four months. You need to set that discipline now. Remember the old saying ‘dress for the job you want, not the job you have’? Well, write for the job you want. Write as though you already have three contracts. Set a daily or weekly word count and force yourself to stick to it. You can still have fun, but you need to take writing seriously to turn it into a career. If you watch Twitter and Facebook, most romance authors are writing 6-7 days a week. Despite illness, kid drama, broken air-conditioning, you name it. The words do not write themselves.

    Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

    My next release after Trying It All  is Bad For Her, book 1 in the Bad Boys Gone Good series.  Three big city, bad boy brothers hiding from their mobster pasts struggle to fit into a small town but danger follows, putting their new futures - and their new relationships - at risk. There is a lot of sexy fun to be had with WITSEC (not that the US Marshals service puts it that way) and fish out of water scenarios…not to mention the angst of lying to everyone you know about everything 24/7. That, um, complicates a burgeoning romantic relationship, I promise you!


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  • 05/21/17--21:00: Q&A with Rachel Harris
  • Describe yourself in five words or less.

    Silly, hopeful, romantic, and loyal.

    What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

    When I’m not writing, I’m a homeschool mom (my main job and passion in life), so you can usually find me with a book in hand and cuddled with my children. Or in my SUV driving the streets of Houston to one of their extracurriculars and hoping like heck Google Maps knows where it’s going ;) Family time is very important to me and our days are hectic and full. If I’m not doing any of the above, I’ll be in drinking wine with my husband or in the bathtub reading a good romance (a yummy candle is a must!).

    A la Twitter style, please describe your book in 140 characters or less. 

    Love hides in the most surprising places: right under your nose, and sometimes, in the nanny's tour bus bunk #FallingForYourBestFriend #Oops

    What types of scenes are your most favorite to write? 

    I’ve recently discovered that I LOVE writing scenes where the heroine is slightly tipsy lol. It’s so much fun to see how my characters act, what they think, and definitely the things they say, where their guards are down and their confidence is high. Hilarious settings and situations are a definite plus! 

    How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?

    In some ways, I’ve always been a writer, but I never finished a story or ever considered it a potential career until about seven years ago. My husband bought me the Twilight books and I fell back in love with reading—and I read so much and talked my husband’s ear off so much that he suggested I try writing a book, too. It was summer break for our home school and my girls were very young, so I thought I’d give it a shot. I threw myself into research, studied my favorite books and read every blog post on writing from my favorite authors, and by August of 2010, I started what would later become The Fine Art of Pretending, one of my YA contemporary romances. I finished that by Thanksgiving, started My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by January, and that book released the following year. In 2012, my fabulous editor at Entangled suggested I try writing an adult romance for a new imprint that she was launching, and I’ve been having a blast writing both ever since.

    Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

    Every book I write has some borrowed real life experience, and every character I create has a piece of me. Hannah’s love of silly made-up songs is totally me (I even put in one of my children’s favorites about muffins in the book, ha!), and I used my own memories with my kids for all things nanny. But the biggest experience that I borrowed for the book is probably a particularly epic moment that happens after Deacon and Hannah’s first kiss! I won’t spoil anything by giving it away, but let’s just say what happens after that is a hodge-podge of TWO epic/embarrassing moments that happened in my own life. Hey, what good is it being an author if you can’t write-in your most mortifying moments to share with the world, right?? LOL


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    What is your favorite part about writing The Sheikh’s Bought Wife?

    I felt very fortunate with this particular story because it almost seemed to write itself.  Both characters came to me fully formed and were eager to tell their story.  I must add that this does not happen very often!

    What was challenging about writing this book?

    The challenging part was in making an outrageous and misogynistic hero come good at the end.  Also, it was crucial to the story that Jane really did fall in love with Zayed, because he is the kind of man she despises.  But then she gets to know him…

    How would you describe the relationship between Zayed and Jane?

    I would describe Zayed and Jane’s relationship as tempestuous.  He is a playboy and she is a prude.  He loves sex and she’s never had sex.  They are both distrustful around each other but then the layers begin to get peeled away and what you are left with is a red-hot love-affair which was never intended to happen.

    How did you come up with their names? Do they mean anything specific?

    Character names are very important to me and this book was no different in that respect.  One of the meanings of Zayed is “in abundance” and I thought that was very appropriate because he certainly has lots of things in abundance….sex appeal, money & land, for starters.  The one things he’s never had is love.

    Jane was chosen specifically because the heroine is plain – but of course, by the end of the book we discover that she is the most beautiful woman in the world in the eyes of her Sheikh!

    How long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

    I sometimes spend weeks mulling over an idea and once it has grown I try to add to it.  I go and watch films and read books and magazines. Whichever country I use (or invent) for the story, I then try to immerse myself in it.  Often, I use only a fraction of the things I’ve researched but the knowledge I’ve gained helps inform my writing.

    How long does it typically take for you to write a book?

    I write four books for Harlequin every year, for the best-selling Presents imprint.

    If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?

    I would be a potter!  I absolutely love working with clay.

    When did you first realize that you wanted to be writer?

    When I was about seven years old my teachers always used to read my stories out loud.  I discovered that writing was the thing I was best at – and, even better – I loved it.  I still do.

    What is your favorite thing about writing romance?

    I love creating characters and conflict and inventing a different world every time I write a book.  Bringing two warring lovers together for a dramatic and mutually satisfying ending to their story is a great feeling.  

    What book are you currently reading right now?

    I’m reading THIS MUST BE THE PLACE, by Maggie O’ Farrell – who is the most superb writer and comes from Ireland (where my mother was born).  I am also reading ITALIAN IN 30 DAYS, because I’m supposed to be learning the language at evening class.  I’m not very good but I try! 


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