Monday, January 16, 2017

The Saboteur By Susan Page Davis ends January 20th



Please Welcome Susan to my blog. Susan is giving away a copy of her book, The Saboteur. Leave a comment telling Susan why this book sounds good to you for a chance to win. Don't forget to leave your email address. And as always let us know if you are a Feed Burner follower for an extra entry. Good luck!
 
The Saboteur
By Susan Page Davis


I’ve written a lot of historical novels lately, and several cozy mysteries, but romantic suspense was always a favorite of mine, both for reading and writing. It’s been a few years since I put out a contemporary romantic suspense book, and I decided it was high time. This was so much fun, I hope to be publishing a whole new series in the genre soon.
Here, for your enjoyment, is the first page of The Saboteur:


Debra Griffin turned her face into the breeze as she pumped gas into the tank of her forest green Sentra. Pale green leaves were just unfurling on the big maple tree at the edge of the parking lot. Another fleeting Maine summer was on the way. The sun warmed her skin, and she wrinkled her nose as the gas fumes rose around her.
Behind her, the door to the convenience store closed, and she turned her head slightly. A young man hurried toward the Jeep Cherokee parked on the other side of the pumps. He pulled off a knit cap, and she thought he was overdressed for the warm spring day. His tousled brown hair eclipsed the goatee he was growing. He glanced toward her, and their eyes met for an instant. Debra turned away, not liking his sharp expression.
The Jeep started, and he pulled out of the lot onto the main road through town, driving swiftly away to the south. Massachusetts license plate, Debra noted. That figured. An early tourist. They always thought it was chilly.
She replaced the hose in its niche on the pump. Every week when she was at home, she bought gas at Farnham’s. The small general store had somehow survived on the edge of the city of Rushton, catering to people who had lived in the area for many years. Debra entered the little emporium, which sold everything from stovepipe to cappuccino, and was surprised that Belinda was not behind the counter.
She stood for a moment uncertainly, perusing the displays of small items on the counter. Lollipops, fudge, “penny candy” that sold for a dime, Maine key rings, Slim Jims, and bookmarks. Behind the counter was a lottery ticket dispenser and a rack of cigarette cartons. No other customers were in the store.
Debra turned around and called heartily, “Hey, B’linda! Where are you?”
“Back here!” came her friend’s voice, from the office at the back corner of the store. Debra walked swiftly through the aisles of Band-aids and tube socks.
“It was a guy in a black Jeep,” Belinda said as Debra entered the tiny office.
Belinda put her hand over the telephone receiver. “Sorry, Deb, we’ve been robbed.”
 


Debra Griffin takes a job at the local police station as secretary to the detective sergeant, Michael Van Sant. Michael is trying to learn who wants to sabotage his unit, and Debra is soon caught up in his hush-hush investigation—while she tries not to fall head over heels for her boss. But danger is nearer than she thinks. When she confronts the saboteur, Mike and his detectives race against the clock. But is one of the men he trusted trying to get Debra out of the way and bring them down?







ABOUT SUSAN: Susan Page Davis is the author of more than 60 novels and novellas in the historical romance, mystery, and suspense genres. She is the mother of six and grandmother of ten. A Maine native, she now lives in western Kentucky with her husband Jim. Visit her website at: www.susanpagedavis.com.
Find Susan at:


Twitter: @SusanPageDavis

Buy kindle: http://amzn.to/2iuHyy8

Monday, January 9, 2017

My Enemy, My Heart by Laurie Alice Eakes ends January 16th



Please welcome my good friend a wonderful author, Laurie Alice Eakes. Laurie Alice shares an inspiring post with us this week. Read on down to see how to enter into the giveaway of her new release, My Enemy, My Heart.

In Spite of or Because of?

Often we are told to never give up our dreams. We are told this so often it has become a cliché and therefore rather meaningless, the sort of comment at which we roll our eyes. At the same time, human nature is such we all hope and pray that, if we hold onto our dreams, they will come true in spite of circumstances more than due to whatever we try. In the end, these past ten years in the publishing business have taught me that dreams come true in spite of and because of life circumstances.

Nearly eleven years ago now, my husband was in law school, as well as working. That meant he was gone about sixteen hours a day. Because I had lost my job a few months before, I was alone most of those hours, so I dove into my writing head-first. I had sold one book and rather wanted to sell more. Unfortunately, the muse just wasn’t speaking to me to write what I knew the market wanted. I felt so stressed over this that I decided to write something I wanted to write and not worry about the market. In short, I wanted to regain my love of putting words together to form a story.

That story, something that had rattled around my head for a long time, so long I had done the research and developed the characters, poured from my brain, to my fingertips, and onto the page. I wrote over four hundred pages worth of story in about five weeks. Hey, it was winter in Washington, DC, and I wasn’t working. Not much else to do.
This was the story of an American woman raised aboard a merchantman owned and captained by her father, who ends up a noncombatant prisoner of war during the War of 1812. She is an American in England when the two countries were engaged in hostilities—shooting hostilities. While learning to be a proper English lady, though she failed at becoming a proper American lady, she plots to free her crew, what she views as her family, from an English prisoner of war facility. While she learns of love and the joy of being a true part of a kind, giving family, she must make choices that could destroy everything she has come to hold dear, especially her husband in a marriage that isn’t convenient at all.

But that story sat on my computer until I got a new computer and transferred it to that one, then another new one and then another new one. . . because I had nowhere to market that story. At the same time, I loved it. I didn’t want to let it go. It continued to haunt me until I decided I would indie publish it.

Except I sold it to Waterfall Press, or rather, my agent did.

In November, 2016, I saw a dream come true—that Deirdre’s story, My Enemy, My Heart, was released in not only paperback and digital versions, but also another dream of mine—audio. Not only that, but the sequel, my master’s degree in writing thesis novel, will be published in June of this year.

Despite the publishing world more often than not being capricious and volatile, I sold these two books of my heart. At the same time, if I had not continued to work on them, rewriting them and improving them, my agent never would have found an editor who wanted to buy them, as they would not have been good enough.

Yes, dreams come true, and that does not happen by accident.



My Enemy, My Heart
Epigraph

The sea has always been Deirdre MacKenzie’s home, and the crew of her father’s Baltimore clipper
is the only family she loves. She’s happier wearing breeches and climbing the rigging of the Maid of Alexandria than donning a dress and learning to curtsey. But, when the War of 1812 erupts, the ship is captured by a British privateer . With her father, the captain, dead, Deirdre sees her crew herded into the hold as prisoners-of-war. Their fate is the notorious Dartmoor prison in England. Her fate as a noncombatant prisoner is uncertain, but the one thing she knows—she must find a way to free her crew.

 Kieran  Ashford has caused his family one too many scandals. On his way to exile in America, he is waylaid by the declaration of war and a chance to turn privateer and make his own fortune. But he regrets his actions as soon as the rich prize is secured. Kieran figures his best chance at redeeming himself in the eyes of his family is to offer Deidre the protection of his name in marriage. He has no idea that secrets from his parents’ past and Deirdre’s determination to free her crew are on a disastrous collision course.

 Love and loyalty clash, as Kieran begins to win Deirdre’s heart despite her plot to betray him and his family.  While Kieran works to mend the relationship with his family, he begins to love his bride in spite of what lies between them.

About Laurie Alice Eakes:


“Eakes has a charming way of making her novels come to life without being over the top,” writes Romantic times of bestselling, award-winning author Laurie Alice Eakes. Since she lay in bed as a child telling herself stories, she has fulfilled her dream of becoming a published author, with more than two dozen books in print and several award wins and nominations to her credit, including winning the National Readers Choice Award for Best Regency and being chosen as a 2016 RITA® finalist in the inspirational category.
 
She has recently relocated to a cold climate because she is weird enough to like snow and icy lake water. When she isn’t basking in the glory of being cold, she likes to read, visit museums, and take long walks, preferably with her husband, though the cats make her feel guilty every time she leaves the house.

You can read more about Eakes and her books, as well as contact her, through her Web Site:

GIVEAWAY:
Laurie Alice is giving away a copy of her new release, My Enemy, My Heart. To enter answer the question, Have you ever seen a dream come true because you persevered?   Or ask Laurie Alice a question about her writing or her books. Be sure to leave your email address and don't forget to let me know you are a Feedburner follower for a second entry. And if you share this post let me know and I'll give an extra entry for sharing on FB and/or Twitter.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

5 Questions with Author Jocelyn Green PLUS Giveaway



Jocelyn Green’s new novel The Mark of the King released Jan. 3 from Bethany House Publishers! 


Here’s the blurb:


After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict.
When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne's brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on?
With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king's mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption.
Read an excerpt of the novel here.



What drew you to tell the story of The Mark of the King?
First of all, the history was both fascinating and new to me. There are many excellent books set in the British colonies, but the French colony of Louisiana seems to be much lesser known. The years of forced immigration, whereby Paris cleaned out its prisons to populate a floundering wilderness, was just too rife with story potential to ignore. It’s a story of incredible hardship and courage, fear and hope, judgment and redemption. It also offered an opportunity to unlock a slice of American history most of us know little about, which appeals to me a great deal.  


What is the “mark of the king”?
The mark of the king, as referenced in the title, has two meanings. The first is very literal. It’s the fleur-de-lys symbol of the French monarchy that was branded on certain criminals during the time the novel takes place, to permanently mark them with judgment. In the novel, this mark plays a big role. But there is a spiritual layer to the phrase, as well. As believers, we serve a higher King than any authority here on earth. Our lives are marked by His grace, no matter how scarred we may have been by judgment from others—whether that judgment was deserved or not. God’s grace covers all of it. Grace covers all of us.


What was your favorite part of the process when it came to writing this novel?
Research breakthroughs literally make me shout for joy. For instance, my French sister-in-law translated a document I found in New Orleans for me, giving me a critical piece of the puzzle. Another challenge I ran into was just understanding the topography of the region. Visiting New Orleans still left me with questions as to what my characters would have encountered, geographically, in the year 1720. When I found an article online that hinted at the information I was looking for, I emailed the author, a professor at Loyola University. I jumped up and down when he wrote me back, with a goldmine of details! We ended up exchanging about six emails, question and answer style. With his help, I finally got a handle on the lay of the land between New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain in the 1720s, with all its sand ridges, bayous, swamps, marches, including types of trees and vegetation that grew in each region. Being able to paint the scenes with accurate details is really important to me, so this was definitely a research highlight!


Did anything surprise you during your research?
Oh, plenty. The biggie, and one that readers will see depicted in the novel, was a mass wedding ceremony in Paris, in September 1719, between 184 female convicts and the same number of male convicts who had only just met. I was also shocked to discover that of the seven thousand Europeans who entered the Lower Mississippi Valley between 1717 and 1721, at least half of them either perished or abandoned the colony before 1726. Other surprising things I learned:
·       Early eighteenth-century French midwifes regularly gave birthing mothers plenty of wine to relax them during labor, and performed bloodletting to supposedly ease the delivery.
·       In Louisiana, European settlers learned from the natives to use bear grease as mosquito repellant.
·       Since I have a pug in the story, I researched the breed to make sure they were around in the early 1700s. Along the way, I learned some fun and fascinating things that didn’t fit into the novel at all, but surprised and delighted me, as a former pug owner myself. For example, before her marriage to Napoleon Bonaparte, Joséphine had her pug Fortune carry concealed messages to her family while she was confined at Les Carmes prison, it having alone been given visiting rights. In nineteenth century England, Queen Victoria bred pugs named Olga, Pedro, Minka, Fatima and Venus, and she helped establish the National Kennel Club. Here’s my favorite though: in seventeenth-century Italy, pugs rode up front on private carriages, dressed in jackets and pantaloons that matched those of the coachman. Ha!


Which character do you most closely identify with in The Mark of the King, and why?
The world Julianne Chevalier inhabits—Paris, then New Orleans in the 1720s—is vastly different from the world I live in. But of all the characters in the novel, I relate to her the most. I share her strong desire to find purpose and use one’s skills and gifts wherever life leads. I also identify with her devotion to her brother and the pain of separation from him, since I greatly missed my own brother when he was a missionary—in France, in fact, where he met his beautiful wife, who grew up outside of Paris! On an even more personal level, my former tendency to withdraw from community when experiencing pain is represented in Julianne’s character, as well. I once learned the hard way that isolation breeds depression. So even though Julianne and I share very few circumstances in common, these deeper parallels are quite timeless.

 
Give-away!
To celebrate the release, Jocelyn is offering a French-New Orleans themed give-away over at her blog. Enter the drawing by hopping over here and following the directions at the end of her blog post.



Bio:
Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the award-winning author of numerous fiction and nonfiction books, including Wedded to War, a Christy Award finalist in 2013, and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, which she coauthored with bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman. She loves Mexican food, Broadway musicals, Toblerone chocolate bars, the color red, and reading on her patio. Jocelyn lives with her husband and two children in Iowa. Visit her at www.jocelyngreen.com