Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cowboys & Christmas Blog Tour!

Shanna-Hatfield-Nov-Blog-Tour


Welcome to the

Cowboys & Christmas

Blog Tour!


A kickoff of two new holiday romances by Shanna Hatfield
and a fundraiser for the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund

Meet the Women of Hardman Holidays

Our interview today is with three characters from Shanna Hatfield’s historical holiday series, Hardman Holidays. Set in the western town of Hardman, Oregon, this series of sweet romances highlights determined women and the men who fall for them. Filly, Ginny, and Alex join us today to talk about life in Hardman in the 1890s.  

Welcome to you three lovely ladies. Tell us a little about how you each came to be in Hardman.
Filly: I grew up in Hardman, although most people thought I left when I was fourteen, because my father imprisoned me on our farm for the next thirteen years. Thanks to Luke, my husband, I got a second chance at life here in the community.
Ginny: Filly’s husband is also my brother and only sibling. Our parents brought us to Hardman when we were quite young. Luke loved it here, but my mother preferred our home in New York City. We returned there when I was fifteen. It broke my heart to leave.
Filly: (Grins at Ginny) That’s because you were daffy over Blake Stratton.
Alex: (Giggles) It appears the feeling was mutual since they’re married.
Ginny: (Huffs indignantly) It just took a while to admit our feelings. Anyway, I’m back in Hardman now and wouldn’t want to live any place else.
Alex: I had plans to pass through town on my way to California, but my wagon broke down a few miles north of Hardman.
Ginny: And a very handsome man came to her rescue.
Alex: I didn’t need rescued, although I concede Arlan is very handsome. And kind. And wonderful…

What does a typical day entail for each of you?
Filly: Luke and I live in the house his parents built on the edge of town when they first moved to Hardman. Our day begins early. I know I’m spoiled to live in a house with indoor plumbing and every modern convenience, but it requires diligent effort to keep up with everything. I spend a good part of my time cooking and cleaning.
Ginny: Don’t forget about hogging time with your baby. I’ve never seen two parents as piggy with their offspring as Luke and Filly.
Filly: (Laughs) I can’t help it if I rather cuddle her than clean up after your brother.
Alex: Maura is a sweetheart. I wouldn’t get anything done but hold her all day if that was an option.
Ginny: (Smiles coyly at Alex) Speaking of sweethearts, I saw Arlan walking you home from Granger House in the moonlight the other day. You two lovebirds didn’t seem aware of anyone else.
Alex: (Glares at Ginny) I believe we need to stick to the topic at hand.
Ginny: Fine. A typical day for me is avoiding Blake’s horses since they scare me, watching him carve wood in his workshop, or heading into town to write an article for the newspaper. I also like to draw and paint.
Alex: Ginny’s incredibly talented with her sketches. She’s even done a few for my students. Although I’m a prestidigitator by trade, I took a job as the schoolteacher to pay for the repairs to my broken wagon.  

What’s one thing people might not know about you?
Ginny: I’m a terrible cook and don’t have plans to change. I’d much rather paint or write or watch Blake.
Filly: (Rolls her eyes) And they somehow find their way to our table several times a week.
Ginny: A girl has to eat and you always make extra, when she can tear herself away from Maura or isn’t off gallivanting somewhere on her horse.
Filly: I love to ride horses. I wanted to run away and join a Wild West show as a young girl. Although I can still do a few tricks, Luke curtailed that particular activity when we found out I was expecting Maura.
Alex: Even though I’m a magician, I still like to watch other people perform illusions. Just last night, Blake and Luke made an entire pie disappear right before our eyes. (The girls all laugh.)  

What’s the most exciting thing going on in your town this Christmas?
(Filly and Ginny both look at Alex)
Filly: Alex and her magic wagon.
Ginny: Definitely Alex. She lives up to her title of Alex the Amazing.
Alex: (Blushes slightly) I’d say the most exciting thing happening in town is the Christmas Carnival. The children can hardly wait for it to arrive.  

Thank you for joining us. Any parting words for our readers?
Alex: If you enjoy sweet holiday romances set in the past, I hope you’ll consider reading our stories in The Christmas Bargain, The Christmas Token, and The Christmas Calamity.     
christmas bargain cover 
The Christmas Token Cover lr
The Christmas Calamity Cover
 

Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund®

Now through Dec. 24, Shanna will donate 10 percent of the net proceeds from all her book sales to the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund. JCCF logoThe JCCF is a non-profit organization that assists rodeo athletes who’ve sustained catastrophic injuries and are unable to work for an extended period.  

You’re Invited to PARTY!

You’re invited to join in the online Cowboys & Christmas Facebook Party Thursday, Nov. 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (PST). Drop in anytime during those four hours to enter to win great prizes, chat with guest authors, and more! Here’s the link to the party: http://tinyurl.com/cowboychristmasparty The third book in the Hardman Holidays sweet Victorian romance series releases that day! The Christmas Calamity takes readers back to Hardman just in time for the holiday season. Preorders are available now for just $1.99 on Kindle. You can reserve your copy here: http://amzn.com/B00OGOO994 In addition, the first book in the Hardman Holidays series, The Christmas Bargain, will be available free that day, as well!

Prize Basket

Enter to Win Prizes!

To enter the drawing for an Amazon gift card, autographed books, chocolates, original western artwork, and more fun goodies, fill out this form. http://tinyurl.com/cowboychristmasprizes

About Shanna Hatfield

Shanna Hatfield 2 A hopeless romantic with a bit of sarcasm thrown in for good measure, Shanna Hatfield is a bestselling author of sweet romantic fiction written with a healthy dose of humor. In addition to blogging and eating too much chocolate, she is completely smitten with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller. Shanna creates character-driven romances with realistic heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.” She is a member of Western Writers of America, Women Writing the West, and Romance Writers of America.

Find Shanna’s books at: 

Shanna loves to hear from readers! Follow her online: 

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Newest Installment of Award-winning Tales of Goldstone Wood Series is Out!


For only $.99 you can own the newest novella in the award-winning Tales of Goldstone Wood, Goddess Tithe. Also, you can pick up the newest novel in the series, Golden Daughter, for $4.99.

Golden Daughter: Sairu vowed to protect her mistress from all harm. But when assassins and deadly phantoms set out to hunt down Lady Hariawan, can one young bodyguard protect against enemies she can neither see nor touch? With only a Faerie cat and a handsome slave to help her, Sairu's skills and loyalty will be tested to the limit.


Goddess Tithe: When a stowaway is discovered aboard the merchant ship Kulap Kanya, Munny, a cabin boy on his first voyage, knows what must be done. All stowaways are sacrificed to Risafeth, the evil goddess of the sea. But Captain Sunan vows instead to protect the stowaway . . . and a curse falls upon the ship.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Guest Post - Anon, Sir, Anon and the lovely Rachel Heffington

Today I am hosting the lovely Rachel Heffington, author of a great new mystery novel, Anon, Sir, Anon, which debuts today. Be sure to check it out on Amazon.


Back Cover Blurb: The 12:55 out of Darlington brought more than Orville Farnham's niece; murder was passenger.

In coming to Whistlecreig, Genevieve Langley expected to find an ailing uncle in need of gentle care. In reality, her charge is a cantankerous Shakespearean actor with a penchant for fencing and an affinity for placing impossible bets.When a body shows up in a field near Whistlecreig Manor and Vivi is the only one to recognize the victim, she is unceremoniously baptized into the art of crime-solving: a field in which first impressions are seldom lasting and personal interest knocks at the front door.Set against the russet backdrop of a Northamptonshire fog, Anon, Sir, Anon cuts a cozy path to a chilling crime.
Amazon
Giveaway: Cozy Quagmire Party Pack Enter to win a complete party in a box! The Cozy Quagmire Party Pack includes everything you’ll need to have an evening worthy of guests such as Vivi, Farnham, and Dr. Breen. Prize includes P.G. Tips (my favorite British black tea), a $5 Panera Bread gift-card for toasting-bread, a Yankee candle, matchbook, and a paperback copy of Anon, Sir, Anon.



So without further ado, Rachel Heffington:

Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote this post on The Inkpen Authoress. A year ago today, I was unpublished, planning to release my debut novel, Fly Away Home, around Valentine’s Day. Actually, I am not even certain I had decided that much. No, I hadn’t. I decided to shove off into the headwaters of Indie-Publishing between Christmas and New Years of 2013. Fly Away Home was ready as it would ever be, and simmered in my mind as I wrote my entry for Rooglewood Press’s Five Glass Slippers contest. As you know, I won a place in Five Glass Slippers. In the year since I wrote the following blog post, I have published my debut novel, been published in Five Glass Slippers, and am now pleased to present to you my second novel, Anon, Sir, Anon. I share last year’s post as proof that following your gut as a writer is the only way to go. May you be inspired to know your heart, your work, and where it ought to go from here.




“Hi, I’m a Traveling Bard.”


There is nothing more terrifying to me as a writer than saying something is finished. Because just as soon as I say that, I keep thinking of ways I can improve the draft, changes I could have made, things I should have done. I finished editing The Windy Side of Care today and even now (literally right now) I can't help opening the document back up and scrolling through with a cagey eye, wondering if it's really good enough. I dislike word-count limits and I struggled to keep the story within the wraps of only 20,000 words. I did it, but when I got the feedback from my beta-readers, I had to go back and fix pacing. Do you know how hard that is when you have a word-limit? It was like the finest stitchery, easing paragraphs off the start of the story to allow for breathing-space at the back of it. Now I'm much more satisfied with the pacing, but it was hard there for a while, cutting scenes of masterful dialog. (Yes, I caved and saved a complete draft of the first take so that all those conversations can exist in their own dimension forever an' ever amen.) 19,989 words. That's what the current count is, and though I will probably permit myself one more scroll-through before actually sending the manuscript into ANNE ELISABETH STENGL, I really am finished.
It's terrifying.
I shared this sentiment on Facebook and a wise acquaintance of mine said she had felt similarly recently until she stopped to ask herself, "Am I doing this to win or am I doing it for the joy of writing?" And just as soon as I read Emma's words, I realized that I wrote The Windy Side of Care out of the sheer fun of it. Personally, I think it's a lovely, rollicking retelling of Cinderella, full of unexpected twists and allusions. Even though Anne Elisabeth mentioned in one of her recent blog posts that she has had dozens of stories pouring in and can even tote up a pretty good list of who she thinks the winners will be (and my story hasn't even been sent in so that's a little disheartening), even though she might not even like my story or give it a second glance...why did I write it? I wrote it because I love Alis.




I wrote it because I love Auguste.




I wrote it because I adored the hijinks, the tongue-in-cheek, the sparring of this retelling. I wrote it strictly to please myself, and really this is where your professional platform starts to be defined:
Who do you write to please? How far are you willing to go to please them?
I have come to terms with the fact that I'm probably not the best choice for next World-Wide Best-Selling Author. Why? Because I write what it is on my heart to write. I'm not the girl who a publisher can label as "Our Next Beverly Lewis" and depend upon to write historical romance for the rest of my career. I am very comfortable in my style, voice, books and I know that Rachel Heffington probably isn't going to appeal to everyone. I don't hope for widespread fame, but for respectable recognition. Am I writing for everyone or am I okay to sing my tales to a heroic and devoted few? Some people would call my admission professional suicide. Doesn't EVERYONE aspire to be the next Novelist Everyone Loves? Well of course that'd be nice, but for me it is a clear case of exchanging the natural for the unnatural or, in simple terms, writing in my true voice or posing as someone else. I can ghost-write in pretty nearly any style--Dickens, Wodehouse, Austen, Freitag--and maybe I could spend my whole career doing that and being successful. But for me it isn't about winning, about being the best, about becoming the author everyone aspires to be like. For me it's mostly about the pleasure of creating a thing and watching other people delight in it, however few they might be. I have always felt a connection to how the Lord felt in Genesis:
"THEN GOD SAID, 'LET THE WATERS UNDER THE HEAVENS BE GATHERED TOGETHER INTO ONE PLACE, AND LET THE DRY LAND APPEAR'; AND IT WAS SO. AND GOD CALLED THE DRY LAND EARTH AND THE GATHERING TOGETHER OF THE WATERS HE CALLED SEAS. AND GOD SAW THAT IS WAS GOOD." -GENESIS 1:9-10
I can relate to that quiet sense of "I like this" and the satisfaction and joy that floods the soul over having made a good thing - a thing that points back to you as its creator and stayed true to your nature after you called it into being. Of course God's joy over His creation is far greater than mine in my stories could ever be, but it's a shade of the same thing. And if I decided to worry about Winning and Being the Best, I'd lose all joy in my creations because they'd go contrary to my nature. Some people were made for writing what's popular. The strength of some is the fact that they entrench themselves in one spot and build fortifications and ramparts and seize the playing field. Me? I'm a bit of a wandering soul. I like to ply my trade in many places in many times in many ways. So maybe I won't go down in legends, but I know I'll bring joy to anyone who sits by my fire to hear a merry tale.


I'm going to send The Windy Side of Care into the Five Glass Slippers Contest and from there, que sera, sera. If she doesn't like it I might just do something with it myself. Lengthen that word-count, expand the plot, give you a mind-boggling Cinderella-twist and publish it myself. Either way I'll be pleased. What about you? Are you a traveling bard or an established baron?


Rachel Heffington is a novelist, a nanny, and a people-lover living in rural Virginia with her family and black cat, Cricket. Her first novel, Fly Away Home, was independently published in February of 2014, while her novella, The Windy Side of Care, was published by Rooglewood Press in the Five Glass Slippers anthology in June of 2014. Visit Rachel online at www.inkpenauthoress.blogspot.com

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Saturday Sample - The Sweetly Annoying Emil

In the interest of gaining a bit of feedback, I am sharing this bit of my weekly writing in Living Sacrifice for feedback.

1) What is your impression of Emil?
2) What do you think Zezilia thinks of him?
3) Where do you think this relationship is going to go?

Zezilia


A knock at the door interrupted my morning study time in the Revelation. I glanced at the morning sunlight outside my window. Airiana would be arriving for her lesson this morning, but it was still too early for her. Perhaps she needed to discuss something she read.

Whispering a quick apology to the Almighty, I rose and dressed. A second knock sounded, this one a bit more urgent. I hurried from my bedchamber to the front of the cottage.

“Is something wrong, Airi?” I asked as I opened the door only to look up into a face that was far too masculine to be my pretty student. “Emil?”

“Hi, beautiful.” He grinned and then winced when the skin pushed against the freshly stitched cut above his cheekbone.

“You should be in bed.”

“Nothing wrong with me aside from a few bruises. You saw to that.”

“You need rest.”

“I have had enough resting to not sleep for a month. What do you think I was doing while I was keeping away from those satoes?” He looked over my shoulder. “You going to ask me in?”

“No.” I grabbed my cloak from the hook just inside the doorway, stepped out onto the stoop, and pulled the door closed behind me. “Inviting a man inside would be completely inappropriate.” I thrust one arm beneath the cloak and struggled to slide the whole thing over my shoulders.

“Good point.” He lifted the cloak and draped it over my shoulders. “Hadrian would have my skin if I did anything unsuitable.”

“What are you doing here?” I swatted his hands away from the catch when he tried to close it beneath my chin.

“I am just trying to figure out how to say thank you to the woman who saved my life.”
I rolled my eyes and straightened to my full height. Unfortunately Hadrian’s brothers, including Emil, shared his trait of being abnormally tall. The thought of Hadrian sent a jolt of longing through me. I missed him.

“Waking her at an abnormally early hour is such a grand gesture.”

He laughed. “Are you always this pleasant in the morning?”

“Only when a patient of mine doesn’t follow orders.”

“Oh, so that is what made you grumpy. You worry about my health.” He softened the lines of his face, slipping into an obviously practiced look of innocence. “If you walk me back to my room, I will stay there like a good boy.”

“Can’t.” I pulled the heavy wool material closer about me as the wind picked up again.

“Nonsense.”

“Truth. My student is due here in an hour and I need to fix and eat a meal before then.”

He brightened. “I haven’t eaten breakfast. Perhaps—”

“No.”

He started to pout, but I looked away. “Go back to your room. I am sure the nurse on duty will bring you a hot breakfast to rival your wildest dreams.” Defenders tended to be admired by everyone, injured veterans were even more so among the young female nurses.

“But—”

I opened the door without turning around. Backing up, I slid halfway inside. “Now go before I summon someone.”

“Fine.” He stepped back. “Promise I will see you later today?”

“No promises.” I slipped inside the rest of the way inside and closed the door with a sharp click.


A half hour later, Airiana arrived. She breezed in the door with happy greeting and swept off her cloak. Joining me at the work table, she placed her books at her usual place and sat down. “There is a very handsome man sitting right outside your door.”

I lifted my attention from the passage I was reading on teaching mass moving. Her face glowed, but that could have been from the chill in the air. “Did he introduce himself?”

“Something about being a patient of yours and needing to have a promise before he left. I couldn’t make heads or tails of it, but he did look very chilled.”

I groaned. “I told him to go back to the healing wards.” Shoving away from the table, I stood to my feet.

“Be nice to him, Zez. He is awfully handsome despite the nasty bruises and that cut.” She opened her Code book and started reading with much more intensity than necessary.

“I am not interested in him.”

“I know.” She met my gaze with eyes that nearly danced with amusement. “But the Sept Son isn’t here. He would never know. Besides, he is—”

“Handsome, you said.” I frowned. “And you are married.”

“It hard not to notice things sometimes.”

I headed toward the door into the gardens.

Opening the door, I didn’t even wait for Emil to acknowledge me. “You need to leave.”

He did look cold huddled there. “I want a promise that I will see you later today.”

“I have a shift this afternoon. I check on all my patients then.”

“Promise.” He smiled slightly.

Despite it being all an act, he did have a way about him. “I will come and see you. Now go.”

He stood slowly and started off down the path. I waited until he turned the corner onto the main way before closing my door and returning to my lesson with Airiana.


~~~~~~~~~~

I hoped you enjoyed it. :) Hopefully I will have more for you next week.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Be Thou My Vision Blog Tour

I met Faith a few years ago though an online party and really liked her series concept of stories inspired by old hymns. Today I have the privilege of hosting her and her new release Be Thou My Vision on my blog. Please give Faith a warm welcome.

Day 12 of Faith Blum's Be Thou My Vision Blog Tour

Blog Tour Question #24: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
The Hymns of the West series is probably going to be different from any series you have ever read. The first book introduces most of the main characters, is a Young Adult adventure in 3rd person from different points of view (POV), and can be read as a standalone. The second book is a romance story in 1st person and needs to be read with book 3 to get the whole story. Book 3 is also a romance story, but is in 3rd person from an omniscient POV and introduces more new characters.

Book 4 is a mystery and I haven’t decided what person to write it in yet. Book five’s story idea might become a subplot in book 4 or might be an individual romance novel. Book six (or five) is a coming of age/new adult book about a young man’s life gone wrong. And book seven (or six), if I decide to write it, will be a coming of age novel.
I am curious to see what my readers think as I continue to write my unusual series.

Description of Be Thou My Vision (Hymns of the West Book 2): 

The church was empty when I dragged myself out of the pew and headed out the door. As I opened the door, the corner of my eye caught a flicker of movement which I chose to ignore. I walked down the steps and was nearly bowled over by two wild boys. With arms grown strong and quick from man-handling two brothers growing up, I grabbed the two boys before they had a chance to escape me.

Anna Stuart is comfortable with her life. She may be a 30 year old spinster, but she has her routine and enjoys taking care of her father and older brother. One letter shatters all her routines, comfort, and enjoyment. After learning of her brother’s death, Anna feels like her life will never be the same again.

Then she meets two motherless boys. Did God place them in her life to lead her to a new vision of life? Can she trust God to give her the desires of her heart before she even knows what they are?

About the Author

An avid reader, Faith Blum started writing at an early age. Whether it was a story about the camping trip that summer or a more creative story about fictional characters, she has always enjoyed writing. When not writing, Miss Blum enjoys reading, crafting, playing piano, moderating on the Holy Worlds Historical Fiction Forum and playing games with her family (canasta, anyone?).

As a history enthusiast who has been fascinated for years with the Old West, Faith has endeavored to create a clean, fun, and challenging Western story. Faith lives with her family on a hobby farm in the Northern Midwest, where she enjoys the many cats they have.

Join us tomorrow evening November 1st 7pm for the

Make sure to visit Faith Blum's Website

And follow her here:
Facebook * Twitter * Google Plus

And you can purchase the book here:

Be Thou My Vision (Hymns of the West Book 2)

Be sure to check out all the previous blog stops:
Day One     - 10/20  Prairie Dust Trail!
Day Two     - 10/21  Melanie Snitker
Day Three   - 10/22  Destiny of One
Day Four     - 10/23  Shanna Hatfield
Day Five     - 10/24  Jaye L. Knight
Day Six      - 10/25  Faith Blum
Day Seven  - 10/26  Kathryn Fogleman
Day Eight   - 10/27  Star Dust & Gravel
Day Nine    - 10/28  Keely Brooke Keith
Day Ten     - 10/29  E. Kaiser Writes
Day Eleven - 10/30  Elaine Cantrell
Day Twelve - 10/31  right here on Rachel Rossano's Words