Today I’m welcoming Alanna Lucas, the author of Face to Face! I’m sharing the book cover first because, ooh!
A masquerade, a chance meeting, and a kidnapping: Little did Miss Penelope Ashurst realize that breaking the rules would result in the adventure—and love—of a lifetime.
One night. That’s all Miss Penelope Ashurst wants away from the strict decorum of Regency society. Donning a mask and attending a forbidden masquerade, she meets the man of her dreams. Then, before she discovers his identity, she is kidnapped.
From their first encounter, his goddess in a golden mask stirs a deep and different longing within Ranulph, the Earl of Monfort. When she disappears, he vows he will find her no matter the cost.
Soon it’s a race against time, and the kidnappers are just the start. Penelope and Ranulph’s very lives are in jeopardy. Before the end, everything will be stripped away, and Penelope and Ranulph will be more than just face-to-face. But this is true love, and nothing will stop it.
OOH! I so gotta read this one!
CA: Welcome to the blog, Alanna! First off – what can I get you? Coffee, soda, beer, wine, or a mixed cocktail?
AL: Nice to be here, Christine! I’ll have a coffee with cream, please.
CA: Coming right up. (passes coffee to Alanna) Let’s get cozy, shall we? So. What drew you to writing?
AL: I have always had stories in my head, and since it was getting rather crowded in there, I decided to write them down.
CA: Hm. Interesting. So, what genre do you write in, and why?
AL: I write historical romance. I love to research and learn about other time periods. It seemed only natural to write what I love.
CA: Very true. So how did you start this particular book – with a title first, a character first, or a situation first?
AL: Okay, this is quite a story. While at the 2013 California Dreamin’ conference, I learned that Boroughs Publishing Group was hosting the ‘What’s in a Name’ novella contest. I thought about entering, but did not have a novella completed (or even started), and I was leaving the country to visit family. A month later, I still did not have anything written down (but had had a wonderful time visiting my family) and the deadline was five weeks away.
One day, while listening to Face to Face by Siouxsie and the Banshees, inspiration struck. I sat down and just wrote. It was unlike any other project I had tackled previously. I finished the novella and a two paragraph synopsis with a couple of days to spare – talk about cutting it close!
CA: Wow! Sometimes, though, that’s the best way to get things done. Good for you. So, what do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have a Day Job?
AL: I love to spend time with my family, go for long walks, and read. Oh, and I homeschool my two kids.
CA: Some would argue that homeschooling is definitely a Day Job, though with perks! Good for you. Now, name three things your fans would be surprised to learn about you.
AL: I love to drive and did a lap on the Nurburgring in Germany.
I have a bright lime green vacuum and I am not afraid to use it (I find vacuuming relaxing).
We don’t have cable in my house.
CA: LOL on the vacuuming – wanna come relax at my house? Bring your vacuum? Nevermind – I’ve got two minions who do that for me. Oh, and I’m right there with you on the no-cable thing. So, next question. Where would you live, if you could live anywhere in the world?
AL: The Netherlands. I have family there and miss them so much!
CA: Oh, I LOVE the Netherlands! That’s it, we’ve gotta be sisters or something. Sigh. Name 3 simple joys in your life.
AL: Spending time with family, playing games with my kids, and going for walks.
CA: Ah. Lovely. Now, if you could have dinner with any person, living or dead or fictional, who would it be and where would you go to eat?
AL: Not that he would want to spend hours relaxing over a meal when there was much to be done, but I would enjoy having dinner with Michelangelo. I know a great restaurant in Rome called Hostaria Costanza.
CA: You never know – he might need a break! Great choice, hon. Another question: If you could give just one piece of advice to a writer just starting out, what would it be?
AL: Join a writers group like RWA.
CA: Is there anything else you’d like to talk about?
AL: Thank you for having me today, the coffee was great, but I’ve gotta dash – it’s time to get back to writing.
CA: Thank YOU for being here! Folks, following is the excerpt…
FACE TO FACE excerpt
Her body quivered when the damp air penetrated through her coat and costume. Crossing her arms across her body, she exhaled with frustration. “Where is she?”
No sooner had the words brushed past her lips then an apparition came rushing through the fog. “Ohhh…,” she was just about to scream when the figure draped in white emerged. It wasn’t until Penelope saw the tall staff that she recognized her friend. “Where have you been?” She hissed at Judy. “I was just about to give up.”
“I had to wait for the house to quiet.” Judy took Penelope’s arm and tugged her into the thickening haze. Once clear of the house, walking toward their destination, Judy explained, “I think my brother may suspect what we are about this evening. We have to make sure we stay clear of him. He is dressed like a pirate.”
Judy nodded her head. “Eye patch and all. He looks ridiculous.” Her high-pitched giggle caught the attention of a pair of young gentlemen on the opposite side of the street.
Penelope eyed Judy with alarm. “Shh. Do you want to be recognized?” Without further conversation, they scurried along toward their destination.
The thrill of adventure shot through Penelope at the realization of what they were about to do.
Alanna Lucas grew up in Southern California. From an early age, she took an interest in travel, incorporating those experiences into her writing. When she is not daydreaming of her next travel destination, Alanna can be found researching, spending time with family, or going for long walks. Alanna Lucas is a member of the Romance Writers of America, East Valley Authors, The Beau Monde, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers.
Find Alanna, and FACE TO FACE, here:
Thanks so much for stopping by! Every Wednesday I showcase an author. If you want to keep informed, click on the Subscribe button at the top right. See you soon!
Hi folks! I’m turning Writer Wednesday over to Emily Mims. Settle back and enjoy her fabulous story about her publishing journey, and how things have changed since she first began, over three decades ago.
Publishing, Then and Now – My Days with Candlelight Ecstasy Romance
It’s hard to imagine, as I think back on my days as a Candlelight Ecstasy romance writer, that it’s really been thirty-two years since I got that fateful phone call from senior editor Anne Gisonny that she wanted to buy my book ‘Portrait of my Love’ for the Candlelight Ecstasy line. In a romance world where the heroines were mostly virgins and the relationships mostly chaste, Candlelight was breaking ground with career women as heroines and (gasp!) full-blown love scenes before the commitment, and I was thrilled to be a part of that liberalization of the genre. I was fortunate to be able to write eighteen books for the line in a three and a half year period, in a publishing world that was vastly different from the world we write in today. I look back on those days with fond nostalgia and no little amusement as I think about how the writing and publishing process has been reinvented since those golden days so long ago.
I was first bitten by the writing bug when I tossed a poorly written romance across the floor and announced that I could do a better job. My husband promptly dared me to do so. I wrote up what was at that time the standard virgin-falls-in-love-with-older-guy story, had a friend type it up for me, and sent it to my favorite line, Candlelight. Lydia Paglio, an associate editor, wrote me a personal rejection letter but told me that my writing had promise. Cheeky little me called her up, and when she heard it was only my first attempt she laid out exactly what Candlelight was looking for and told me to write it for her. About that time my husband brought home an Atari 800 computer, which solved the typing problem, and I wrote up another story, the kind Lydia said she wanted, printed it out on a dot-matrix printer, and shipped the manuscript to New York. Lydia called me up with the changes she wanted, I made them and shipped another manuscript, and they bought the book. Since I was a classroom teacher and wanted to keep my identities separate, ‘Emily Elliott’ was born.
And so it went. I wrote the second on spec also, but by the time the third rolled around Lydia and Anne were willing to let me write three chapters and a synopsis (I am a plotter so this was fine by me) and then we went into the synopsis and made the changes in the story that they wanted before I did the writing. Eventually they trusted me enough to buy a book based on a brief synopsis, knowing I knew what constituted a good story, but we still went through the revision process involving multiple trips to the post office. And we worked entirely by telephone, which could be tough since I was at school during the day and was a time zone behind New York. If I was expecting a call from Lydia, I would have my husband pick up our sons from day care and hurry straight home, praying I didn’t catch traffic or have a last-minute faculty meeting to attend, to take the call before Lydia left for the day.
So when did I do my writing, if I already had a full-time job and two small children? The same as any other writer who works a day job-in the evening and on the weekend. I would get home with the boys, spend time with them and make dinner, and at seven I would hand the boys over to their good-natured and doting dad and hit the word processer while he did baths and bedtime. In those days I could rough-draft ten pages in three hours and if I had a book due I did this three to four nights a week and then took a night or two to revise and polish. And summers were a god-send. I could write during the daytime and just about double my productivity and still have time to take the boys to the swimming pool every day.
One of Emily’s Candlelight romances.
Doing research for the books was a different proposition in my Candlelight days. There was no Google to consult, no mouse to push, no icons to click. We had to do it the hard way! But to me the hard way was also a lot of fun. Since I tend to spotlight men and women in various professions, I found individuals in those professions who would, over dinner in the restaurant of their choice, answer my myriad questions about what they did. Over the course of my career with Candlelight, I interviewed an MD, a Las Vegas blackjack dealer, a deputy sheriff, an Air Force pilot, an FBI agent who also took me on a tour of the San Antonio offices, an interior designer who took me on a tour of the Dallas Trade Mart and into a catalogue photo shoot, a policeman, a forensic chemist, a belly dancer, an accountant, a stockbroker, a Border patrol agent, a…well, you get the idea! And I also got to see some places and do some things I wouldn’t have otherwise, such as tour the Brooke Army Medical Center burn treatment ward and go up in a four seat Piper for a flight over the Hill Country. (Interestingly enough, I still use this approach even though I do have the Internet at my disposal. For my upcoming book ‘The Soap Maker’ I interviewed a Llano County deputy sheriff and went into the home of a soap maker and learned how to make a batch of scented soap.) I also did a lot of in-state traveling to research my settings. I would check out the area to make sure I had the geography and the feel of the town or city right and then we would have a fun family weekend together. I made it a point to have visited every setting I used in the books except for the settings in ‘Season of Enchantment’, which is set in California and Vietnam, and you better believe I carefully researched those settings, talking to people who had been or lived there, before I put a word on paper.
I could have and would have happily written books for Candlelight Ecstasy forever. Unfortunately, between Harlequin, Silhouette, Candlelight, and Loveswept there were over one hundred titles a month coming out, way too many for the market to support, and Candlelight sales fell to the point that Dell Publishing canceled the series, throwing seventy five writers out in the marketplace to find new publishers. I tried, of course, but six weeks later my husband lost his job, and although thankfully he found work quickly, he went from working a forty hour week to working sixty or more and someone had to tend to the boys. In addition, I took on an academic coaching position that pretty well ate up what little time I had left. So regretfully I put the writing career away for what I assumed would be forever and taught school and raised my children. Periodically I thought about writing again, but my friends who were still in the business were not at all encouraging-the romance market had experienced such a downturn they could barely sell a book. “Don’t bother, Emily,” one of them told me. “It isn’t fun anymore.” I listened to them-they did have a point-but I never really quit missing the writing.
Back Into the Fray
And then, several years ago, I had an experience similar to the one all those years ago. I picked up a few novels from an again busy romance aisle in the bookstore and read them, and again I had the sense that I could do better. But this time I didn’t want to write for a series and I wanted to write a longer, more complex story with the added element of suspense. So I asked myself what would be the most powerful motivating force that would bring together two people with seemingly nothing else in common and then I asked myself how I could get those two people together in a way that hadn’t been written before, and ‘Solomon’s Choice’ was born. The sailing was not quite as smooth this time-it took me a year and a half and countless revisions to find an agent with enough faith in the story to represent ‘Solomon’, and it took her awhile to find a publisher who liked the somewhat unusual premise enough to buy the book. But finally, in October 2013, Boroughs Publishing released ‘Solomon’s Choice’ and my career was reborn. And thankfully, I will not be a one-book wonder with ‘Solomon’s Choice’. I have since written two lunchbox romances for Boroughs, ‘After the Heartbreak’ and ‘A Gift of Trust’, and will have two more full-length novels, both sequels to ‘Solomon’, going live next year. And for a blast from the past, Boroughs is also going to re-issue three of my favorite Candlelight romances to a new generation of readers.
So just how different is writing today? Hugely different in some ways and not different at all in others. The technology makes a large difference, of course. I communicate with everyone totally by email. I do all my writing and revising at the computer-no printouts whatsoever, and I have yet to go to the post office. I do a lot of my research on the Internet. One personal difference is that I have retired from teaching and no longer have to hide my work behind a pen name. To me, however, the biggest difference is that today it is the author’s responsibility to reach out to the reading community and find her readers. We can no longer hide behind a label and expect the readers to buy our book based on a logo-our readers have to want to read our books, and to make our readers aware of our books we have to be out there making our presence known in the social media world. And of course the stories themselves are different, reflecting the changes in society in the last thirty years. Single parenthood is common and not a cause for shame. Women in high-powered or dangerous careers are a story line staple. Recreational sex on the part of the heroine is not particularly frowned upon and Erotica has become an accepted presence in the market. Addiction, abuse, PTSD, war injuries, flawed heroes and flawed heroines-no longer shied away from by authors, publishers, or readers. And on the other side of the spectrum, in a world of fantasy unimagined thirty years ago, vampires and werewolves and shape shifters, oh my! The paranormal world-what a fun addition to the genre!
But not everything has changed. The crafting of an interesting, compelling, believable story is the same as it ever was. The creation of appealing heroes and heroines who reach out to the readers is as important as ever. The need to draw in the reader and make her care about these people and what happens to them is still paramount. In other words, in spite of the changes that the publishing industry and the romance genre has seen since my days with Candlelight, it is still my job to tell a good story.
You can find me at Facebook of course, and at my Blog.
Wow, Emily! Thank you so much for stopping by. What a career, and how exciting that you’ve come back to writing. I’ve heard that once you start, it’s very difficult to stop and you are proof of that, my friend.
Folks, the links to each of Emily’s books are highlighted – check them out! And if you’re interested in her back titles, aside from the ones being reissued from Boroughs Publishing Group, a quick search will show you opportunities to purchase them through third parties.
AND…here’s a quick link to all three at Amazon. Click Here.
May your Wednesday be a happy one, filled with words and books and love and hugs.
The last three months, the hubby has been doing something a little different in our garden. I’ve wanted a raised bed garden for years, mainly because I knew I wouldn’t always be able to get down on my knees to plant. But also because our soil is almost pure clay, and difficult to get anything to grow lush and green and strong without overwatering. And in this time of drought in California, bigger water bills are NOT on the menu.
a 4’x8’x16″ dirt coffin
Above is the newest “dirt coffin” as the hubby likes to call it. This is #3. The soil is a mix of our own dirt (that had been amended in other planting beds), soil for raised beds, steer manure, and vermiculite. Since it gets so hot where we are, and our back yard gets the setting sun, he decided we should situate the planters near the shade of the oleander (above photo, to the right). This bed gets the most sunshine. Beyond the bed, that black thing is our composter. All our green food waste and our coffee grinds go into the composter.
Dirt Coffin #1, 4′ x 8′ x 16″. This has all veggies planted in it.
You can see the squash on the left – yeah, that didn’t work out too well, so we had to pull them out recently. The squash needed more light – they weren’t setting fruit, but they grew lush and big after being puny in the regular back yard. Hubby also built netting cages, to keep the birds and the grasshoppers from eating the tender lettuces. The left side of this planter faces north; all of the climbers should have been planted along that left side. Live and learn! We have several types of lettuce, spinach, bush beans, pole beans (at the back), and sugar snap peas growing in this bed.
We also have Malabar Red (or Asian) Spinach – yes, that’s spinach! It’s thicker, and has a completely different taste. Works great in salads, grows fast, and has pretty pink flowers.
Dirt Coffin No. 2 is our herb bed.
Here, we have a row of basil (that almost died before we transplanted it – we weren’t sure it would make it); in front of it, you can see the thyme. Behind it to the right, the first two squares are Mexican tarragon (which I LOVE!!!), the other two are Thai Basil. Behind them, the two middle squares at the far right is anise, and the two on either side is fennel.
Here, you can see curled parsley in front and Italian parsley behind. Marigolds tend to keep bugs away, so each bed has marigolds planted.
Here’s the parsley a month later – it’s gotten so big!
And look at the basil, also a month later! (In the background, the anise has been eaten. Sad face.)
This is the basil I picked last night in order to make pesto. 2.5 cups, put into 4 oz jars and stashed in the freezer. When I went outside this afternoon, the basil looks like I haven’t touched it. So I’m guessing more pesto will be made. If you’re local, you just might end up with a jar!
So what my hubby and I learned, is that where you plant, as well as what type of soil you plant in, is very important. We’re finally finding the right home for everything. Vegetables and herbs need the soil loose enough, so the roots can grow deep enough and the plants tall enough. If all we get is our fresh herbs and salad greens from these beds, we’ll both be very happy.
And here’s number 3, planted. The back row has broccoli (it’s supposed to get to 3′ high); the row in front of the broccoli has onions and garlic; the row in front of that has 2 kinds of kale and collard greens; the very front has spinach from seed and more collards, as well as the marigolds. You can see planter 2 in the background, beyond the hammock. Planter #4 has just been installed this weekend, where the blue water barrel sits. In front of the barrel is a “winter” tomato plant. (We’ve found the best, most exotic things to plant at a family-owned nursery not far from where I work. Really must get back there!)
Planter #4 will have potatoes in it, and not sure what else. Maybe cauliflower, and beets, when they come into the stores. Still keeping my eyes open.
So, this is where my hubby’s energies go when he’s not learning lines or songs or working in the tv/film industry. I dabble here…and I love it.
Happy Monday, my friends. May this transition time from one season to the next be good for you.
It’s here, it’s here! As the day moves along and more platforms go “live”, I’ll share here. WOO! Happy Book Birthday to me!
About the book:
After a whirlwind courtship, the Christmas season finds plain-Jane-with-a-secret Elle Houston engaged to one of the brightest stars in the Hollywood firmament–and falling for the personal chef at her ritzy, pre-wedding resort.
December 19th, eveningElle Houston drew her feet up onto the couch and nervously watched her fiancé—her fiancé—finish packing in the hotel suite he called home. “Are you sure you want to get married?”Taylor Collins, Grade A movie star, stopped adding shirts to his suitcase, tipped his head to one side and smiled, that lopsided grin that caused female hearts to flutter worldwide. “Are you getting cold feet?”“No. Of course not.” She’d never thought she’d get a proposal, ever. Not saying yes to the guy who was People’s Sexiest Man Alive? She’d have to be brain-dead. “I’ve got the guy all the girls want, the guy paparazzi clamor over.” She nibbled her top lip, considering. “I guess I’m still just a bit stunned that you proposed.”
Happy Dancing here!!!
Find it at All Romance eBooks, Amazon, Smashwords
Update: For a few hours on Saturday morning, I made a list! #72 – not bad!!!
It didn’t last long, but it sure made my day.
Settle in and read about Goldie Alexander, an Aussie author of over 80 novels. Her adult romance is called Penelope’s Ghost, from Boroughs Publishing Group.
Haunted. Haunting. Redeemed.
When Lisa Harbinger takes a job as nanny to a prestigious Australian family, she gets more than she bargained for: two spoilt children, vengeful ghosts, a long-unsolved mystery and a blazing passion she and her enigmatic boss are unable to deny.
INTO THE MIST
Fleeing a humiliating end to a passionless marriage, Lisa Harbinger seeks refuge in a posh summer retreat on Australia’s lush South Coast. There she finds work as a nanny for two willful children on one prestigious estate. But behind Rangoon’s ivy and red brick walls lies a mystery: What really happened to the family’s beloved Penelope?
Even more mysterious is Richard Prescott. Cold and aloof by day, Lisa’s boss heats up her nights and awakens her soul. But to have a future they both must escape their pasts. Vengeful ghosts and a generations-old curse seek to bring ruin on Richard and his family. But if Lisa can find the answers, she—and her growing love—could be the one to set him free.
Penelope’s Ghost can be found here. OOH, sounds delish! Let’s hear a bit about Goldie herself before we find out about her YA novels.
Take it away, Goldie!
Author Goldie Alexander
“My parents migrated from Poland just before the 2nd World War. Born in Melbourne, my earliest memories are of a time when children were allowed to wander the streets without anyone worrying about them getting into trouble.
My first four Young Adult books were ‘Dolly Fiction’ novels published under the pseudonym of Gerri Lapin. My first book under my own name, “Mavis Road Medley” is a time travel fiction exploring the world of Princes Hill and my parents’ struggles to survive the Depression. Since then I have written more than 80 books, and many short stories and articles.
These days I work full time as a writer, teach creative writing and take seminars and workshops in Universities, TAFE colleges, clubs and schools. I also mentor emerging writers.
I’m very interested in the development of the ebook as ‘the book of the future’. I believe that hardcopies will inevitably disappear, except perhaps for the beautifully produced coffee table book, though I do lament their tactile appeal. But what I view as vitally important are words, stories, themes and ideas, no matter in which way they’re published. Some of my most recent books can be read in both hardcopy and ebooks.”
Here’s a bit about Goldie’s young adult books:
That Stranger Next Door In 1954, Melbourne is still reeling from WWII, the Cold War sees suspicions running high and the threat of communism and spies are imagined in every shadow. 15 year old Jewish Ruth is trying to navigate her own path, despite her strict upbringing and the past that haunts her family. A path that she wishes could include her first love, 17 year old Patrick. But the rich, Catholic boy is strictly off limits. When a mysterious woman moves in next door in the dead of night, Ruth becomes convinced that she is none other than Eva or Evdokia Petrov, a Soviet spy and wife of famous Russian defector, Vladimir Petrov. Available here.
In Hades 17 year-old Kai lives on the streets. The night Rod, his 12 year-old autistic brother, comes looking for him, the two steal, crash a car and die. Searching for Rod, Kai finds himself in Hades where he meets dead Bilby-G. As their adventures continue, these youngsters are magically transformed to what they were before Kai became a street-boy and Bilby G. became anorexic. In their efforts to find Rod, the youngsters come across some of the mythical characters as described by Kai’s Greek grandmother before she died: a multi-headed dog. A blind prophet. Twin whirlpools. Three goddesses. A dangerous sea-nymph. The powerful sea-god and his evil one-eyed son.
(This novel’s journey consisting of 47 poems that trace their journey through the underworld) is based on some of the mythical creatures from Homer’s “Odyssey.”
Thanks for stopping by, Goldie, and sharing your wonderful novels with us!
Find Goldie at her Website and her Blog.