Happy Thanksgiving #Thanksgiving #HappyThanksgiving #TurkeyDay

Thanksgiving should be every day
Instead of once a year.
Give thanks each day, give thanks each night,
To Christ who is so dear.

Give thanks each day, give thanks each night,
For all the Lord has done.
He’ll help us fight our battles
Until the victory’s won.

Give thanks unto the Savior,
His joyous praises sing;
In the ears of every Christian
Let the name of Jesus ring.

Give thanks to Him each morning,
Give thanks at noon and night.
Ask Him for daily blessings,
And stand up for the right.

Let each day be Thanksgiving,
For the blessings from above,
For guidance and protection
And His eternal love.

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Happy Halloween #Halloween #AllHallowsEve #HappyHalloween #TrickorTreating

On one mystic magic night,
Jack O Lanterns glowing bright,
kids with bags of candy sweet,
roam door to door and street to street,
all dressed up for trick or treat!

Wizards with wands, pirates with hooks,
monsters and clowns with spooky looks,

Kings and queens with capes and crowns,
a princess in her royal gown,

Witches with warts and fairies with wings
movies stars with sparkling rings,

Vampires with fangs that bite,
ghost that boo all dressed in white.

Imaginations taken flight,
on that one mystic magic night.

Oh, the fun of Halloween,
be young or old or in between! ~Unknown Author

From our house to yours, I hope you have a safe and happy Halloween!

Rest of the Year Break #writing #amwriting #amwritingromance #romance #historicalromance

Peace out, blog world!

Okay, okay, maybe that was a bit too . . . harsh, full of excitement, eager . . .

I really didn’t mean to sound like any of those. Perhaps, it’s the sense of the earth finally giving out on me that has brought panic to my voice. Who know. Bottom line, even if I did know, it wouldn’t change what I’m about to announce.

I know that some of you were expecting another series on The Best of Both Worlds: Being a Hybrid Author. For those who are disappointed, I’m sorry. I truly am. I had high hopes for the series. Big dreams that I have to crush with a large hammer then watch them shatter into a thousand pieces.

Okay, now maybe that was a little too dramatic.

It’s early and I need another cup of tea.

Anyway, back to my announcement. As the title has suggested, I am taking a rest of the year break. I do have a couple of blog hop posts and some holiday cheer to end 2018; however, aside from those, this post is it for me until the new year. I have a nearly finished manuscript that agents are waiting on and I need time to get it done for them. In other words, I’m stretched thin, people. Wafer-ice thin and it’s cracking all around me.

I hope that you all have a great rest of the year. Happy Halloween, Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

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Spooktacular Giveaway Blog Hop #bloghop #giveaway #romance #historicalromance

Welcome to my stop on the “Spooktacular Giveaway Blog Hop” hosted by Bookhounds!

So what do I have for you on my stop on the hop? A $10 Amazon Gift Card plus an eBook copy of my novel, A Road Paved in Copper! To enter, click on “Enter Giveaway”

Men. Either they want to kill her or they want to love her.

From the dirt and grime of her gold mines in Nevada to the fanciest hotel rooms on the on the streets of San Francisco, Ava De La Vega lives exactly how she desires: enjoying herself while she spends her money on fire wines, decadent meals, and the company of attractive young men that she tosses away by morning. She loves only three things—gold, silver, and the ever sought-after copper.

An ex-miner from the snowy Klondike, Craig Harrison isn’t looking for work–especially one that could get him killed. However, after Ava offers him a job in her mines, he finds that he just can’t say no to her.

When attacks by claim jumpers become a deadly problem rather than just an annoyance, Ava’s fight to protect what is hers becomes more than she bargained for, and one that could cost her, not only her land, but the life of the man who she’s starting to fall for.

Can they survive? Or will they lose everything, including each other?

AMAZON     |     BARNES & NOBLES     |     GOODREADS

Don’t forget to hop off to other stops on this hop! Good luck and Have Fun!

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60.
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Writing Historical Novels, Part Eight: Rules – Personal Beliefs and Authenticity #historicalromance #romance

 When I first became obsessed with Outlander, I went online to read some of the reviews on the books. Why, I don’t know, but curiosity always drives me.

Perhaps, it’s because I like to see that no matter how much of a blockbuster a book is, it will still have a broad range of reviews from the five-star to even the one star.

Oh yes, even books that are LOVED by millions and millions of people, are still hated by some. Psst, which is why you shouldn’t put too much stock in a one star review on your own novel.

But back to the point, while I knew that Outlander would probably have some bad reviews on how much history was written between the pages, I have to say I was a bit surprised at the reason why. It wasn’t because readers felt it too long and boring (even if there were several that stated such), but it was because . . . the author stuck to historical accuracy when it came to the relationship—and proper submissiveness—between Jamie and Claire as husband and wife.

Wait, what?

Several years ago I wrote a blog on readers complaining that a historical author was being, well, historical. How dare we!

You can read the blog HERE.

The jest of the blog is this, though, people acted differently in the past, whether you like it or not. They did. Period. It’s our past. It’s our history. Does it make it right? No. I never said that. However, it being wrong, doesn’t erase the fact that it happened.

I refuse to get political on this post, so for those wanting to debate on the atrocities of history and how we should not teach certain events in school or remove any offending monument from the earth, you can just keep on scrolling. Don’t even both commenting. That is not the purpose nor is this the space to climb up on your soapbox and vent.

So where am I going with this if it’s not just that?

Writing historical novels takes a level of responsibility to maintain historical accuracy whether you believe in what people did back then or not. Sure, you can take a slight liberty here and there, say for example of having a woman character perhaps act in a matter that could have been rather brazen for that time period. However, to white-wash history for your own beliefs . . .

I have to ask why even write historical novels?

Authenticity
  • Characters need to act and talk authentically to the era
  • Don change character behavior for the sake of political correctness in another era
  • They can have different thoughts and opinions on controversal matters, but don’t make them too modern
Personal Beliefs
  • Just because you don’t believe people should have done certain things doesn’t mean your characters shouldn’t too.
  • Don’t white wash history
  • Don’t use your novel to push your political agenda – it’s fiction, and people read as way to escape what’s going on in the real world

 

Be sure to check out the other parts of this series:

What is the difference?

Elements to Historical Fiction and Historical Romance

Rules for Historical Fiction and Historical Romance

  • Research, Research, Research
  • Fact vs Fiction
  • Personal Beliefs & Authenticity
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Writing Historical Novels, Part Seven: Rules – Fact vs Fiction #historicalromance #historical #writing #amwriting

Ask any reader or Google the question:

“How important is historical accuracy in a novel?”

and for the most part you will get the answer of “very”.

It’s true that there are some who believe that authors aren’t teachers. That it’s not our job to educate readers on events or time periods. However, you have to still argue that with why even write historical novels if you are going to take liberties with fact? Isn’t that the point of writing (and reading) historical novels? To travel back in time? Of course, with this I know that authors can’t be 100% accurate all the time. But, I do think that we should try to be mindful of our writing.

Word of caution when choosing to fiddle with historical face. While Hollywood can get away with messing up facts in order to create good fiction, writers and authors have to tread a little bit more carefully when blurring the lines. Movies like Braveheart are praised (even if mocked for its historical inaccuracies), but had it been a novel? That author would have probably been strung up by his/her toes.

Mess with history as a director? Brilliant!
Mess with history as a writer/author? Grab the pitchforks!

Sure you can mess with some details when creating your fiction; however, you have to keep it within reason. For example, changing the dates of a war? Okay. Changing who won the war? Yikes. No, just no. *Of course, this rule doesn’t apply if you are writing an alternate historical novel.

Depending on the era of your novel, you should also be mindful of bringing in real-life people. Messing around with characteristics and behaviors can be tricky if there are living relatives and descendents who will take offense to how their ancestors are portrayed.

Be sure to check out the other parts of this series:

What is the difference?

Elements to Historical Fiction and Historical Romance

Rules for Historical Fiction and Historical Romance

 

Want free access to updates, sales, exclusive excerpts and short stories, plus awesome book suggestions? Subscribe to my NEWSLETTER today!

Writing Historical Novels, Part Six: Rules – Research, Research, Research #writing #amwriting #historicalromance

Aside from finding your perfect time period and creating your perfect plot and characters, research is perhaps the most important rule to writing historical novels.

Why?

Because you will never be able to draw your readers into a different time period if you don’t know what you’re talking about!

So how do you know what you’re talking about? Research.

Ah yes, the good old days of school are back! Well, maybe not quite, but I have to say that sometimes you might feel that way. Research will become either your best friend or your worst enemy. While it’s often fun to dive into piles and piles of research (I mean, isn’t your love of history the reason you picked the historical genre?), sometimes the overwhelming pressure of getting it right, or not finding what you are looking for, can be frustrating. Make sure that when you are considering which time period to write in, you are picking an era you are interested in. This will help keep you sane while you’re digging for details.

So what are all the research avenues you can take?
  • Non-Fiction books
  • Internet search – Websites, Articles, and Photographs
  • Museums (extra if you are allowed to talk to a curator)
  • Old newspaper clippings you can find from local news outlets or online
  • Specialty books
  • Traveling to destinations

 

Be sure to check out the other parts of this series:

What is the difference?

Elements to Historical Fiction and Historical Romance

Rules for Historical Fiction and Historical Romance

Want free access to updates, sales, exclusive excerpts and short stories, plus awesome book suggestions? Subscribe to my NEWSLETTER today!

Writing Historical Novels, Part Five: Elements – Plot and Setting: Time and Place #historical

Why do readers read Historical Romance and Historical Fiction?

When asked this question, the overwhelming answer is always ‘to bring the past to life’ and it’s our job as the author to do just that.

Nothing will pull a reader out of a historical novel faster than something or someone out of place. Whether it’s for the time period or the setting itself.

If done correctly, not only could you transport your reader into the past, but your setting and plot could become characters themselves.

So aside from props and attire, what will your setting will include?
  • Time period and Regionally correct Housing and Architecture

You wouldn’t want a 1860s Colonial Plantation mansion in the middle of 1930s New York, nor would you want a 1840s New York Brownstone in the middle of Alabama. Different eras had different architecture trends as well as different parts of the country even in that same year. Research, once again, is key to getting it right.

  • Entertainment – Time period theatrical Plays, Night Clubs, Sports, Operas, etc.

Want to give your story a little bit of historical detail? If sending your characters out on a night on the town, research particular plays or operas that were playing in that year in the city the novel is set in.

I remember in my novel, As the Liquor Flows, while at a party, Vincent Giovanni lied to one of his party guests about where he met Evelyn. The play I referenced as well as the city he mentioned was actually a real play that was showing in that city in 1929.

Will your readers know this? More than likely, no. But it’s still an amazing and interesting detail that you can use as promotion. Whether you write a blog post about it or share it in an exclusive way for your reader group or release party. Never underestimate the power of giving a reader an interesting story or tidbit of information they might not know anything about. They are historical novel readers, after all.

  • Restaurants – Use real life sites if you can and research pictures to accurately describe

Just as with your entertainment, using restaurants that  existed during your story is another great way to not only bring the past to life, but use as promotion.

In my novel, A Road Paved in Copper, I have my character visit a restaurant called The Cliff House. Not only was the restaurant really in business, but the history behind the place is practically a story itself. Of which made for interesting exposition that only made the place come more alive in the novel. Also, in existence back in 1903, the Silver Queen Hotel in Virginia City and Wyatt’s Saloon in Tonopah.

Thanks to internet, I was also able to view pictures of what the inside looked like in 1903, and I used those pictures to help me describe the place.

  • Landscape and the world around your characters

A quote that has stuck with me ever since I read it was by Harry Sidebottom, author of Warrior of Rome Series: “The past is another country, they not only do things differently there, they think about things differently.”

The landscape around your world should fit with it’s own time period.

  • And don’t forget about Sounds, Smells, and Tastes!

Sure, using the sense of sight is always the first one to go to when writing. But in your quest for words on a page, don’t forget the other four senses. Sometimes, they can have a more powerful impact than just what your character is seeing.

Be sure to check out the other parts of this series:

What is the difference?

Elements to Historical Fiction and Historical Romance

Rules for Historical Fiction and Historical Romance

Want free access to updates, sales, exclusive excerpts and short stories, plus awesome book suggestions? Subscribe to my NEWSLETTER today!

Writing Historical Novels, Part Four: Elements – Props and Attire #historicalromance #writing #amwriting

When I talk about proper props and attire, I’m not saying that you need to describe every single detail about what your characters are wearing or using throughout the whole novel. That would be telling, not showing, not to mention unbelievably boring for your readers and could possibly make them want to throw your book across the room.

However, with that said, peppering in tidbits of information regarding props and attire, now that is a whole other story, and one that will surely keep them drawn into the time period and sucked in your novel.

Since it’s essential that the reader is enveloped into a time period of the past, then of course, props and attire will play a role. You don’t want one of your characters listening to a radio in a book that is set before radios were invented. And you don’t want to have a female character in pants before it was socially accepted that women wear pants. Once again, this is where your mortal enemy best friend ‘research’ comes out to play.

Do’s of Establishing Props and Attire
  • DO pepper in details here and there to keep your reader in the time period
  • DO use research and pictures to help you describe certain fashion trends
  • DO make sure items your characters use were invented before your time period (i.e. kitchen appliances, beauty products, household appliances, etc.)
Don’ts of Props and Attire
  • DON’T bog your story down with too many details.
  • DON’T forget to make sure certain materials were used in the time period

Be sure to check out the other parts of this series:

What is the difference?

Elements to Historical Fiction and Historical Romance

Rules for Historical Fiction and Historical Romance

Want free access to updates, sales, exclusive excerpts and short stories, plus awesome book suggestions? Subscribe to my NEWSLETTER today!

 

Writing Historical Novels, Part Three: Elements: Characteristics,Traits, and Behavior #historicalromance

Whether real or imagined, characters behave in keeping with the era they inhabit. That’s just one of the secrets to writing Historical novels that people will love to read. They don’t want to read about a man or a woman who acts as though it’s 2018 when the novel is set in 1800s. It just doesn’t work. Period.

As a Historical author, you must write your characters to fit into the attitudes, beliefs and expectations of their time period. It’s your job and your mission as writer is to reveal the people of the past, not the people of the future in the past. Well, unless you are writing a time travel. Then you would do just that. *wink wink*

So how do authors do that?

  • Show correct etiquette rules for each proper social caste

One of the best things you can do when starting a new novel set in another time period is start your research on how people acted with and toward one another. My first non-fiction purchase when I began The Woman on the Painted Horse, was a 1860 Etiquette Rules Handbook. Other books I have found helpful are the ‘Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life’ series. You can find them on Amazon. Above all, research! It will be your mortal enemy best friend!

  • However, let them push boundaries (within reason). While it was more behind closed doors than in public remember that people rebelled against social norms.

My character Ava De La Vega in A Road Paved in Copper is based after one of these women.

Her name was Ferminia Sarras, and she was a miner. A woman miner. A very rich woman miner because she knew how to mine better than most men. She also was a rather promiscuous woman and she spent her whole life not only mining, but traveling to San Francisco where she blow her fortune on fancy hotels, fine dining, and hoards of younger men.

For her time period, Ms. Sarras definitely did not fit the social standards for a woman. However, she was a real person. She lived and she lived her life the way she wanted.

To read more about her story, click HERE.

  • Dating, Courtship, and Marriage has evolved throughout the years. Make sure your historical couples follow the trends for their time period.

Romance in early 18th century was as different as the 19th century, which is even more different than the 20th century. What once began as an institution for social capital, decorum, and familial oversight, now revolves around love, trust, and the desire to spend the rest of your lives with another person. Again, this is where your research will become key.

  • Women committed crimes, not just men

History is chalked full of women criminals. Some stories are even worst than anything a man could do. Don’t believe me? Recently, I came across a dandy little tale about a woman in Edgefield, South Carolina named Rebecca ‘Becky’ Cotton Kennedy. In the late 1790s she went on to murder not one, not two, but three of her husbands rather brutally, too.

You can read about how she killed them, how she got away with it, and how she died HERE.

  • Women traveled to faraway destinations, working and fighting alongside their husbands

I remember the first time I had a reviewer give me a low star rating on my novel, In the Land of Gold, because “women didn’t do those things [trek up the Klondike to hunt for gold] back then.” My first reaction was that I laughed. My second was that I said aloud, “I guess this person has never heard of Klondike Kate or any of the other hundreds of real women who did trek up the Klondike. Some with their husbands and some alone.

To read about ‘Women of the Klondike’, click HERE.

Be sure to check out the other parts of this series:

What is the difference?

Elements to Historical Fiction and Historical Romance

Rules for Historical Fiction and Historical Romance

Want free access to updates, sales, exclusive excerpts and short stories, plus awesome book suggestions? Subscribe to my NEWSLETTER today!

Writing Historical Novels, Part Two: Elements – Elocution #writing #amwriting #historical

What is elocution?

The skill of clear and expressive speech, especially of distinct pronunciation and articulation. So, in other words, speech (Elocution is more of a “historical” word for it . . . see what I did there?).

Using proper dialect for the time period of your novel will either draw the reader into that era or it will cause them to throw your book across the room. In other words, sticking to proper dialect can either be what makes your historical novel soar or will be the nail in its coffin.

Yikes! Really? Yes, really. I’ve been on both sides of this coin and it’s not fun.

Two of my novels come to mind when I talk about era-specific dialect. My novel When the Black Roses Grow, set during the Salem Witch Trials, and As the Liquor Flows, set during the Great Depression.

Of course the latter was fun to write with all the slang. I mean, who doesn’t have fun reading or writing all the 1920s and 1930s slang words like gams, dough, trip for biscuits, togged to the bricks, and blow your wig.

To read about my favorites. Click HERE.

The Salem Witch Trial book was a whole other ball of wax. Puritans had a unique dialect that was difficult to say the least. One thing I’ve learned about readers with that novel is to follow your gut. When I was writing it, I tried to keep in as much old English as I could. I was told, however, that it was too much and it would annoy readers. So I took most of it out, peppering in only certain words or terms. That did not go well. Readers didn’t like the back and forth from old English to modern. Luckily, I was able to correct it completely. I hope that it helps readers have a more enjoyable experience.

Bottom line, even if someone tells you that a certain dialect my annoy readers, chances are it probably won’t. But what will annoy them is dialogue that isn’t in time with the period. Best advice I could give, stick to the time period. Even if you think it’s a bit much.

Are there do’s and don’ts to elocution?

Do’s of Elocution
  • DO dip into period dialect with slang words or period phrases to keep the readers enjoyment. This will take research!

Word of Caution about Slang ~ For words that are common, but have a different meaning or for words that you may think might be confusing, you might want to give a little one line after to help explain the meaning.

Example: In my novel, The Woman on the Painted Horse, a young many calls my character “a foolish cherry.” Now, in 1860, to call a woman a ‘cherry’ was utterly derogatory. However, I knew that my readers might now know this. So I added a couple of words after as a way to show that it was a bad thing.

  • DO check on the meanings of words as some definitions may have changed.
  • DO use profanity at your discretion, but also DON’T overuse it. Don’t be a “Deadwood”.

Wait, what’s a Deadwood?

Well, I’ll tell you. Who here remembers that HBO TV show Deadwood? Amazing show filled with great actors—especially, Ian McShane. While the reviews for the show were good and production for multiple seasons were promising, it was also no secret that there was a particular controversy surrounding it that is thought to have cost the show its renewal. For HBO that’s a shock, too. What was the controversy? The overuse of profanity.

Don’ts of Elocution
  • DON’T use cumbersome or words that are difficult to understand for the sake of appearances.
  • DON’T weigh down the novel with too much History, whether it’s events or dialect, or historical detail.
  • DON’T use modern words such as “okay” or phrases with modern slang.

Remember, the ultimate goal is to draw your reader into the book and transport them into another time or era. When done right, you’ll have an amazing book that people will flock to! Got a question about dialogue and elocution for your historical novel? Feel free to email me or comment below.

Be sure to check out the other parts of this series:

What is the difference?

Elements to Historical Fiction and Historical Romance

Rules for Historical Fiction and Historical Romance

Want free access to updates, sales, exclusive excerpts and short stories, plus awesome book suggestions? Subscribe to my NEWSLETTER today!

Writing Historical Novels, Part One: What is the Difference? #historical #amwriting #writing

In gearing up for my lectures in the 2019 Oklahoma Writers Federation Conference, I’ve decided to take the rest of the year to dedicate this blog to the two topics I plan to speak on.

One of them is the “Elements and Rules of Writing Historical Novels” and the other one is “The Best of Both Worlds: Being a Hybrid Author.”

That’s right! For the next 20 weeks I will dive into the not only the world of writing Historical novels, but also in what it’s like being a hybrid author. I hope to provide a ton of information for you, so be sure to check back every week for the next installment.

Now *clasps hands together* what is the first series I will share?

“Elements & Rules of Historical Novels”

Why does one read Historical novels? More often than not it’s because they enjoy a book that brings the past to life, and as authors of Historical novels it’s our job to do just that. From the first word to the last word, we should strive to teleport our readers to another time and place, and when such is done with an amazing story, it can be one heck of a ride.

Historical novels draw readers into another time. A time in our history that people may have forgotten about. A time when life was vastly different from how it is now. A time when people perhaps didn’t have electricity, fought in wars for their country, panned for gold, lived among Dukes and Duchesses, battled rival clans for Highland lands, or explored a new frontier either on foot or with Viking long ships.

I’ve heard talk over the years that Historical novels just aren’t popular, and that it’s an overlooked genre. I’m here to say that is not the case. Historical novels are popular and they do have a place in the book world.

So, for this first part in the series, I’m going to talk about the different sub genres of Historical novels.

What is the difference between the sub genres of Historical novels?

  • Historical Romance (HR) is a romance novel that the storyline focuses on the developing relationship between the two main characters—if the romance is taken out, there is no more story—and it ends with a happy/joyful union, or a “Happily Ever After” (HEA) between the two.
  • Historical fiction (HF) is a story that takes place in a historical setting with historical events. The story is more about the effects of that setting and events on the characters. There might be a romance that occurs in the story, but it’s a subplot.
  • Historical Fantasy is the same as Historical Fiction or Historical Romance, but has fantasy or paranormal elements to it such as characters that are vampires, witches and wizards, werewolves, fairies, dragons, or any other mythical creatures. These stories still are set on Earth in our own real time periods.
  • Alternate Historical novels consist of stories in which one or more historical events occur differently. These stories usually contain “what if” scenarios at crucial points in history and present outcomes other than those in the historical record. The stories are conjectural, but are sometimes based on fact.
  • Historical Mysteries Historical are mysteries or “historical whodunits” are set by their authors in the distant past, with a plot that which involves the solving of a mystery or crime (usually murder).

So how did you get started in the Historical genre and which is your favorite era to write?

I’ve always joked that when I started writing, the genre picked me, I didn’t pick the genre. With my love of history, of course, the question of what I would write was answered within a second of sitting down to my computer and starting. I’d love to say I have a favorite time period, but honestly, I don’t. I write about so many because so many interest me. With the amount of research that goes into my novels, I have to pick time periods that I enjoy reading about. That’s why I have so many.

While my titles, The Woman on the Painted Horse, In the Land of Gold, As the Liquor Flows, and A Road Paved in Copper are Historical Romance, my title When the Black Roses Grow could actually be considered as Historical Fantasy or even Historical Romance with Paranormal Elements. My publisher has set it as a Historical Romance, though. My current work-in-progress, Through the Eyes of a Captive is a Historical Romance, however, it boarders Historical Fiction. If I took out the romance, I could still have a story. It would change the plot, but it “could” work. With that said, I plan on keeping it a Historical Romance.

Be sure to check out the other parts of this series:

Elements to Historical Fiction and Historical Romance

Rules for Historical Fiction and Historical Romance

Want free access to updates, sales, exclusive excerpts and short stories, plus awesome book suggestions? Subscribe to my NEWSLETTER today!

Welcome Leigh! #suspense #romance #amreading #amreadingromance

Leigh Fleming creates unique characters facing life’s challenges but who are always rewarded with their happy ending. Stay Hidden, the first in her Hidden series, won the Lone Star Writing Contest for romantic suspense in 2017.

A member of Romance Writers of America and the Washington Romance Writers chapter, Leigh lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia, with her husband, Patrick, and her deaf French bulldog, Napoleon, and is mom to adult children, Tom and Liza. When she’s not writing in her windowless office, she enjoys reading, traveling, scrapbooking, and spending time with friends.

For more information, visit her WEBSITE.

For FBI agent Derek Bronson, Riley Smith isn’t the girl of his dreams. She’s better. Until she’s the prime suspect in his father’s murder.

Riley Smith has something her abusive ex-boyfriend thinks belongs to him. Her. If she doesn’t keep moving, he’ll beat her all the way back to the life she ran away from two years ago. But the picturesque town of Highland Springs, West Virginia, has started to feel like home. She’s gotten a good job. Made a few friends. Ones who don’t know the Riley she once was.

FBI agent Derek Bronson is hunting the man who killed his father in a bank robbery spree, although his week of passion with Riley Smith is sure as hell making it hard to concentrate. Until a convenience store surveillance photo identifies her as an accomplice.

Riley’s only option is to help flush out the men behind the crime, exposing a past she had hoped would Stay Hidden. But the situation is far worse than she ever dreamed. Now she and Derek must fight to stay alive.

It was him. She would recognize that voice anywhere. How had he found her? She had been so careful this time—kept a low profile, changed her long hair to blond, only paid in cash, replaced her track phone every couple of months. How had he traced her to Highland Springs?

Riley couldn’t wait another second. He could be out of that truck and tackling her to the ground in a flash. She ran the final few yards to her porch. Her hand shook so violently, she couldn’t get her key in the lock. With another look over her shoulder, she nearly lost her breath when the driver leaned his head out the window as he drew alongside the curb. His dark, wavy bangs flopped over his forehead, looking so much like—

“Excuse me.”

Stars danced in front of her face.

“Hey, can you tell me how to get to College Avenue?”

She blinked a few times as the keys clattered in her hand. Her vision cleared, and this time when she cast a look over her shoulder, she didn’t see a memory, but a dark-haired teenager who looked nothing like him.

“I’m sorry, Miss? I can’t find College Avenue.”

He didn’t even sound like him.

“Oh, um, okay.” Her mouth was so dry, she could barely speak. “It’s um . . .” Her arm felt weighted down as she pointed up the street. “It’s two more blocks that way.”

“Great. Thanks. Sorry to bother you.”

Riley sagged against the screen door as the old pickup pulled away. She trudged to the edge of her porch, sank onto the top step, and dropped her head into quivering hands. Another false alarm. Her mind, yet again, playing tricks on her. When would she stop seeing his face, hearing his voice? Not until he slipped up and was thrown in jail. Until then, she would keep facing the fear she’d had since leaving Kentucky. She’d keep feeling it—and she’d keep running.

Welcome Erin! #contemporary #romance #amreading #amreadingromance

Award winning author, Erin Bevan writes small town Americana romances straight from the heart.

Born and raised in rural South Arkansas, she uses her past experiences to enrich her stories while infusing the right amount of heartache and humor to see her readers through until the end.

With the perfect blend of sweet to steamy, Erin Bevan has something for every romance reader. Erin loves to hear from her readers at erinbevanwrites@gmail.com

For more information, you can visit her WEBSITE

Recently divorced and down on her luck, Lesley DeLoach is determined to make a new life for herself. When she inherits her great aunt’s estate, Rosalyn Manor, her future seems to be heading in the right direction—until she sees the home’s crumbling skeleton.

Widower John Hambrice is barely keeping his construction company afloat and his children fed, so when he’s offered a job restoring the Rosalyn Manor he can’t turn it down. But the big city client with the high falutin’ lifestyle reminds him too much of the last time he was burned by big money.

As the summer temperatures rise, so does their attraction. He learns there’s more to the city girl than he expected, while she learns the country boy’s gruff exterior hides a heart of gold.

But each has lost so much in love already . . . is the chance of another broken heart worth the risk?

John Hambrice sat in a stiff, beige hospital chair next to his wife’s bed. The chair he’d come to know as the seat of angst had a permanent indention of his ass. Every day for the past two months, he’d planted his body right between Sandra and the large wall-to-wall window covered with the most sterile blinds he’d ever seen.

The humdrum sound of machines buzzing and beeping all around him had become a sort of music, a bittersweet symphony, letting him know she was still alive, leaving him another moment to kiss her, hold her, and let her know he loved her.

He turned his head toward the window as sunlight dared to peek through the crevices of the blinds, causing a reflective glow against the floor. Pretty soon, just like every morning for the past eight weeks, the sunlight would creep oh-so-slowly up the pale green wall—a paint color that was supposed to help soothe, a nurse had once told him.

What a crock.

Paint couldn’t soothe a man’s heart as it shattered bit by bit while he watched his wife’s soul leave her body a little every day. A paint color couldn’t grow her hair back, find the cure for cancer, or even help her keep food down one meal at a time, one day at a time.

No.

Paint didn’t soothe. That was just some lie the home improvement stores told their customers. He should know. He was, after all, a contractor.

Yet, out of everything he had constructed and rebuilt to its former glory, the one thing he couldn’t repair was Sandra’s body. A husband was supposed to protect his wife, his family…and he was failing her. Failing them all.

Welcome Linda! #romance #amreading #amreadingromance

I have been in love with the past for as long as I can remember. Anything with a history, whether shabby or majestic, recent or ancient, instantly draws me in. I suppose it comes from being part of a large extended family that spanned several generations. Long summer afternoons on my grandmother’s porch or winter evenings gathered around her fireplace were filled with stories both entertaining and poignant. Of course being set in the American South, those stories were also peopled by some very interesting characters, some of whom have found their way into my work.

As for my venture in writing, it has allowed me to reinvent myself. We humans are truly multifaceted creatures, but unfortunately we tend to sort and categorize each other into neat, easily understood packages that rarely reveal the whole person. Perhaps you, too, want to step out of the box in which you find yourself. I encourage you to look at the possibilities and imagine. Be filled with childlike wonder in your mental wanderings. Envision what might be, not simply what is. Let us never forget, all good fiction begins when someone says to her or himself, “Let’s pretend.”

I reside in the Houston area with one sweet husband and one adorable German Shorthaired Pointer who is quite certain she’s a little girl.

For more information on Linda and her titles, visit her WEBSITE

“History is filled with the sound of silken slippers going downstairs and wooden shoes coming up.” ~Voltaire

Sometimes our biggest debts have nothing to do with money.

When seventeen-year-old Sam Ackerman witnesses a mob hit, he is hustled out of New York under the protection of Moshe Toblinsky, A.K.A., the mob’s bookkeeper. Arriving in Miami with no money, no friends, and no place to hide, Sam’s only choice is to do as the gangster demands. Forced into bootlegging, Sam’s misery is compounded when he falls in love. Amazingly, the beautiful, devout Rebecca wants only him, but he cannot give her the life she deserves. When Prohibition ends, Sam begs the mobster to set him free. The price? A debt, as Toblinsky puts it, of friendship. A debt that will one day come due.

Present Day. History of American Crime professor Liz Reams has it all – early success, a tantalizing lead on new info about Moshe Toblinsky, and a wonderful man to love. Life is perfect. So what’s keeping her from accepting her guy’s marriage proposals? Confronting a long-standing personal debt sets her on a journey of self-discovery. While she delves ever deeper into Sam’s and Toblinsky’s relationship, her understanding of her own relationships increases as well, but the revelations come at a price. The emotional and physical dangers of her dual journeys may prove too big to handle.

May 18, 1926

105 South Street

New York City

Knocking – sharp, loud, rapid – echoed through the empty speakeasy. Sam froze, the notes of a tune stuck in the roof of his mouth. He glanced at the entrance and leaned the handle of his push broom against his shoulder. Puffs of dust settled on the floorboards around his feet while he remained motionless.

It was late, too late, to be admitting customers, even for the city’s illegal watering holes and gambling joints. Although a thick crossbar and several stout locks protected the heavy iron door, an uneasy feeling crawled down Sam’s spine. Growing tension over control of the Fulton Fish Market, in fact the entire South Street area, was making a lot of people jumpy, including him.

Several seconds passed without noise from the other side of the door. Sam let out his breath and laughed at himself. Working at the fish market in the afternoon then staying up half the night at the speakeasy didn’t leave much time for sleep. It kept him on edge. All the rumors and threats floating around these days weren’t helping either. Inclining his ear and hearing nothing, he relaxed and gave his broom a shove.

Bam, bam, bam.

Sam’s heart jumped into his throat.

“Open up, Monza. I know you’re in there.” The shout, colored by an Irish lilt, came from the second floor landing accompanied by renewed pounding. “I come to talk with ya. We need to settle this business. I got a proposition for ya.”

Sam’s breathing kicked up a notch as he looked over his shoulder toward the office. The boss didn’t like to be disturbed when he was meeting with his guys. The pounding from outside in the hall returned in earnest, but the office door remained fixed.

“You gonna open this damned door or do I break it down?” The doorknob rattled and jerked.

Behind Sam, the office door clicked open an inch. He watched in the mirror over the bar as the muzzle of a .38 Special emerged from the opening, its nickel-plated barrel glittering in the overhead lights. One of the gangsters stepped into the room, met Sam’s eye in the mirror, and jerked his head, then the room went dark. Sam dropped his broom and backed into an alcove next to the bar. The office door opened wider. Several shadows scurried across the floor. Metal locks and bolts snapped and clanked, then the entrance door swung inward.

Present

Fall Semester

Gainesville, Florida

 Crap. Not one blessed thing gained.

Liz bookmarked and closed the archival records web page she had paid a small fortune to access. Frustration knotted the muscles at the base of her skull. She stretched her back against the living room sofa and rolled her head and neck. Months of research and all she had to show for it was a regurgitation of everything everybody already knew. Maybe she was what she most feared – a one hit wonder destined to fade from her fifteen minutes of glory into ignominious mediocrity.

Jeez. How was that for a pretentious mouthful? Liz’s lips thinned into a smirk accompanied by a quiet snort. Well, at least she could still laugh at herself. Unfortunately, some people might not find her so amusing.

She glanced across the room at Hugh. Liz drummed her fingers against the edge of her computer. He would probably understand if she didn’t meet the deadline. Hugh was a good boss and a good… What? She never knew what to call the man she lived and worked with. Boyfriend sounded so lame, childish even. Boss tended to raise eyebrows. Fiancé would work if she had said yes to his most recent proposal.

Liz sucked the corner of her lower lip between her teeth. Of all the things she had ever thought herself to be, a commitment-phobe was not one of them. And now she was on the verge of disappointing him twice in one week. The new course she was designing could still be taught in the spring, but it would be incomplete as it stood now. She had incorporated a plethora of original details about Al Capone, et al., but new, riveting details on Moshe Toblinsky and the Jewish gangsters were proving elusive. As a consequence, Florida’s Underbelly, 1920-Present: the Mob in the Sunshine State would probably fail to accomplish what the dean expected despite its titillating title. What a depressing thought.

Buzzing against Liz’s thigh made her jump. She dug the phone out of her jeans pocket and looked at the caller ID. Her heart rate kicked up a notch. She slid her finger over the screen to take the call and listened to the monologue coming through the ether.

Liz tapped the end call icon, slumped a little lower into the sofa cushions, and sucked her lower lip between her teeth. Apparently, nothing was going to go right today.

Next to the living room window, Hugh lounged in an armchair with the latest historical monograph spread open on his lap, pretending he hadn’t listened to her side of the phone conversation. When she didn’t speak, he looked up from the book and raised his brows.

“Well?” His voice was kind but direct.

“Well what?”

“What was in that call to make you look so stormy?”

Liz sighed and crammed her phone into her jeans pocket. “Aunt Mildred says Daddy is going downhill faster than anyone thought possible, something Mom decided to keep from me. Yesterday, he wandered away from the house and was gone for hours. Mom was on the verge of calling the police when a neighbor brought him home. The neighbor stopped Daddy trying to board the ferry to Whidbey Island. He said he had to report for duty at the naval air station.” Liz hunched her shoulders and shook her head. “He retired from the Navy in 1995.”