Saturday, July 31, 2010

Investment of the Heart

I won my choice of one of Linda LaRoque's novels. I must admit I chose Investment of the Heart because of the beautiful woman who is part of the golden warmth the cover exudes. Linda's other covers are just as beguiling.

Investment of the Heart, from Champagne Books, is set on a ranch in Texas and is about family, relationships, and choices as much as romance.

Hallie Barron first meets Simon Cole in a restaurant while waiting to meet the uncle of her daughter's fiance. Simon is the uncle. He has leaped to the judgment that Hallie's daughter, Elise, like her mother, is just a city girl who can't and won't cope with life as a rancher's wife. This marriage is as doomed as the disastrous one his brother made. When his brother died, Simon stepped in to help raise Justin and his much younger sister, Whitney.  Simon won't let a bad marriage happen to Justin, whose ranch is still in financial stress due to his mother's greed. He tells Hallie, "I might as well get right to the point. This is nothing personal, but I don’t want my nephew to marry your daughter.”  Oh dear! What mother is going to let a man with outright wrong opinions ruin her daughter's happiness? The lines are drawn. When Justin, with Simon's okay, invites Hallie and Elise to the ranch for a two-week visit, Simon plans a special welcome. 

Events and engagements are not as straight forward in this contemporary romance as you might expect. Hallie, a competent businesswoman in her own right, and a widow who misses the happiness she found in marriage to an exemplary man is full of other surprises. (The cover captures her essence perfectly.) Simon, of course, once he gets off his high horse and eats some humble pie, turns out to be a great guy who values his family's happiness over his own. Justin and Elise have a lot to learn about themselves and true romance, plus an evil woman causes much havoc. You'll have a hard time guessing which character rides to the rescue. This read is filled with interesting characters with depth, some moments of humor, some of the tear-jerking sadness, distress, and drama, plus a satisfying is-it-going-to-happen romance. So please pick up a copy. You won't be disappointed.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Crewkin Teaser

Lin Holmes of MuseItUp Publishing has spotlighted my new cover on her blog with a brief story teaser. Please go take a look and leave Lin a message! Thanks.
Lin Holme's Own Blog

Monday, July 19, 2010

Welcome Billie Williams!

**Update February 2014: It is with great sadness I report that Billie died this month.  She was a generous spirit who will be missed.**

I've known Billie since I became a Wings author six years ago. She now has thirteen books listed on her author's page! Amazing -- with more coming! Among authors she is a prize--generous, helpful and supportive to her fellow authors, besides being a prolific writer. She lives with her husband in Amberg, a small town in Northern Wisconsin, where Billie claims the winters are cold and long, but the people are warm and friendly. Her Maine Coon cat (love them), Lady Slipper, arrived the day she received her contract for The Pink Lady Slipper (for excerpt), her bed and breakfast mystery from Wings. The Pink Lady Slipper is set in Michigan, as are a few of her other books, which makes her feel like a neighbor to me -- well, if I take the Ludington ferry to Manitowoc and drove north for a couple hours, she is!

And because she feels like a neighbor, in addition to her contest (read offer below) I'm making an offer too! One download copy of any of Billie's books from Wings! Just leave a comment before July 30, and one lucky person's name will be drawn for the prize. So you have a couple chances to win something! Here is the link, again, to her author's page -- go peruse her titles. And mention the book title you'd like in your comment!

Billie is stopping at my rambles as part of her blog book tour to promote her new mystery Money Isn't Everything from Wings Press. (Read an excerpt.) She is a multi-published author with several publishers, plus an award-winning writer of articles, short stories, flash fiction, and poetry as well. Check out her blogs:  Printed Words and One Woman's Garden. (She gardens, too? No wonder I love this lady!) Plus she has another website for writers, Writing Wide, where you can find plenty of writing tips, tricks, and good reads. Okay, as if that weren't enough, she has a current novel in progress, Printed Words, serialized in her newsletter -- which you can sign for on her web page, just click on this blog's title line to go to her home page.

So, with her having written so many cozy mysteries, I asked Billie how she creates fresh characters and murder plots for each story. Does she have a process or keep a list of her characters and their traits? This is Billie's answer:

It really is amazing, at least to me, that my characters appear as flesh and blood humans when I'm writing their stories. When I begin, I usually have an idea of what my character might wish to accomplish, i.e., the plot of the story, so I go to my zodiac chart where I have a simple breakdown of character traits, likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, etc. and choose a sign that would have the characteristics and that would help me develop the character and premise I need to serve this story idea.

The good part of using this method is that I can then find an antagonist  or even a romantic interest that would be a worthy match/opponent. For instance a fire sign and a water sign would be very much antagonistic to each other. Also two of the same sign could be cause for a head on collision. Makes for some interesting scenarios that I may not have thought of otherwise.

I think it also helps me develop well-rounded, believable characters.. The story greatly influences the characters and vice-versa.  My latest book Cauldron is a suspense thriller -- some how I can't picture Mary March from Money Isn't Everything, playing the part needed for the protagonist in Cauldron. Mary March is an Aries/Ram, Tiffany Tarus from Cauldron is a --Taurus/Bull. Mary is assertive, fearless and courageous, likes nothing better than a challenge.  Where Tiffany is Calm and practical taking her time to make decisions, preferring the familiar.

I wrote a book on developing characters Characters In Search of an Author [ISBN 978-1-932794-15-1] specifically to help others develop characters - it  is full of all the things I use to develop my characters. I don't use every one of the charts or interviews etc. provided in this book every time, but if I get stuck it gives me a great boost in moving forward with the character.

The series I've been developing for the last 5 books have all been tied to the Zodiac, Thus the series is dubbed the Zodiac Sleuths. I hope to have a final book, once I've used all the signs of the Zodiac, that will bring all of these sleuths together  to work on a case together - I still have a ways to go before I get to that one. I am currently working on book number six July Heat, the name of the protagonist is Judy July aka Brianna Strong, she, of course, is a Cancer/Crab sign.

Thanks for inviting me to your blog and thanks to all your readers for participating. I hope they all win a prize. Billie

Billie's Contest
Each person who comments on blogs in Billie's Tour will have a chance to win either a 
* $100 note pad, a $100 pen, or a $100 bookmark magnet. (They all incorporate an image of the hundred dollar bill into their design) Pens Bookmarks Note Pads
* Everyone that comments should email Billie at for a chance at a bookmark with the cover of Money Isn’t Everything and one lucky winner will get an autographed poster of the cover of Money Isn’t Everything.
* Billie will draw one name from all the blog sites to get an autographed copy of the print version of Fin, Fur and Fatal another Mystery in the Zodiac Sleuths Series. (That is stateside – if the name drawn is overseas or Canada-- it will be a download version.)

There ya go folks! Please leave a comment!