Book Spotlight, New Release, Romance, Scifi

Scifi Romance Spotlight: Blue Vision (Marie Lavender)

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Had enough of current affairs? Run away on a romantic winter vacation with your brand-new book boyfriend of another color! One-click Blue Vision, the new scifi romance by Marie Lavender and step into the snowy woods of Montana – and the extraordinary eyes of Colin Fielding. You’re welcome.

Brooke Sanders just wants to get away from her life for awhile. A remote cabin in Montana fits the bill. She doesn’t expect to encounter a mysterious stranger with unusual blue eyes, or events that cannot be explained…

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Colin Fielding is on a mission – scout a planet and return home to Endhivar. Simple really. What he doesn’t anticipate is that fate has a pretty twisted sense of humor. Suddenly, this human calls to him, every part of him, like the call of a true mate, and he can’t deny the connection as he gets closer to her.

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Little do they know, someone is out to do them harm, as well as the world Brooke holds so dear. Can they stop what’s coming before it’s too late? Or will the universe lose a perfect gem?

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Genre:  Science Fiction Romance

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30652915-blue-vision

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Author Bio

Bestselling multi-genre author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 21 other books. March 2016 Empress of the Universe title – winner of the “Broken Heart” themed contest and the “I Love You” themed contest on Poetry Universe. SECOND CHANCE HEART and A LITTLE MAGICK placed in the TOP 10 on the 2015 P&E Readers’ Poll. Nominated in the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards for Winter 2015. Poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. The Versatile Blogger Award for 2015. Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013 and 2014. Top 10 Authors on AuthorsDB.com. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for over twenty years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 22 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, fantasy, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. She has also contributed to several anthologies. Her current series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Magick Series, The Code of Endhivar Series and The Blood at First Sight Series.

Author Links

http://marielavender.com/
Blogs: http://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/
http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/
http://marielavender.blogspot.com/
Graphic design company: http://www.ambrosiainnovations.com/
https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58
https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender
https://twitter.com/marielavender1
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MarieLavender/posts
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/marie-lavender/27/187/10a
Amazon author page: Author.to/MarieLavender
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6938764.Marie_Lavender
http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/1578-marie-lavender
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http://manicreaders.com/marielavender/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJu8HjRVYCFOqcIoX6ZxdqQ/videos

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Cover Art, LGBT, Romance

Cover Reveal: Gaga for the Geek (Belinda Y. Hughes)

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I am pleased to reveal the cover for Gaga for the Geek, a lesbian romance. The cover artist is Marie Lavender of Ambrosia Innovations.

 

Back in June, I had the idea to do a geek romance and polled my readers. The title Gaga for the Geek was the winner. At the time, Marie was launching Ambrosia Innovations and offered to do the cover. Being a successful romance author herself, I knew she understood my needs, so I agreed to give her a try.

 

She sent me several stock images until we found two that worked. At every stage of the process, Marie was professional and customer service oriented. She listened carefully to my requests and did her best to fulfill them. Once we agreed on the couple images, she added the background and titles. The results speak for themselves.

 

And she surprised me with the red velvet stage drapes and spotlight effects, which I absolutely adore!

 

Click here to check out Marie Lavender’s gallery of gorgeous stock covers and learn more about her custom covers at Ambrosia Innovations.

 

So tell us in the comments below – what do you think of this cover?

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Book Reviews, magic, Paranormal, Romance

Paranormal Romance Review: Magick and Moonlight (Marie Lavender)

If you liked Practical Magic with Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman, one-click Magick & Moonlight by Marie Lavender. Both Jessie and Ethan are hiding in small-town Oregon from something in the past. Can they resolve their mutual reservations about magick and learn to live – and love – again?

Small businesswoman Jessie was taught the ways of Wicca by her beloved late grandmother. While privately practicing the rituals of her faith in the forest, she is interrupted by a strange man. Is he worth the risk of her heart, her career and her life?

Ethan is a former cop laying low in a secluded cabin while seeking new direction in his life. Romance is the furthest thing from his mind when he chances upon a woman in the woods. Is their love real or is he simply spellbound?

View the Magick & Moonlight trailer: Click here.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

“A spell?”  His eyes flew to the black cauldron.  He remembered the strange chanting he’d heard before.  “You’re practicing witchcraft?  That’s a new one.”

“Wicca, actually, is a religion based on the elements of nature.  It’s a way to harmonize with our environment.”

“Is that right?”

“Yes.”

Unnerved again by her naked body as well as her suggestion, he shrugged out of his barn coat and approached her.  He draped it around her shoulders and buttoned it over her, aware that he might as well be caressing her, he was so close to her.  He realized that his coat was touching her luscious, naked body, her most secret spots.  The thought made him clench his fists.  “Can I give you a ride back home?  My truck is nearby.”

A long silence fell.  Her gaze on his, it seemed to take her awhile to decide if she could trust him.  “All right.” She dropped the knife she held.

Inwardly relieved, he sighed.  “We need to put the

fire out,” he pointed out.

He took a stick and nudged the cauldron enough so that it spilled its contents onto the fire.  A puff of smoke filled the air, causing them both to cough at the whiff of herbs and something else that smelled burnt.  He began to doubt if she was really a witch after all.  It was likely she was dabbling in the arts because she was bored.  When she gasped, he turned, alarmed.  “What is it?”

She pointed to the mess he’d created with the broth and the campfire.  “I wouldn’t have done that if I were you.”

“Oh?  Why not?”

She opened her mouth as if to explain, then suddenly closed it.  “Never mind.”

“Fine, then.  Let’s get out of here.”  With a hand against the small of her back, he nudged her gently toward the path he’d taken to find her campfire.  “So, how long have you been dabbling in—”

“In what?  Magick?”

He wondered if her contrariness was borne out of the urge to make him more uncomfortable about the subject than he already was.  “Yes.”

“All of my life.”

He raised his eyebrows.  This woman was getting more interesting by the moment.  And for all he knew, she might be crazy.  “I see.”

“I doubt it.”

Not only was she sexy as hell, she was feisty.  He fought down the response of his libido to that deadly combination.  Perhaps she was a witch.  She would be nearly impossible to forget now that he’d met her.  “Maybe you could tell me your name?”

“You can call me Jessie.”

He grinned.  At least now he could put a name with a face.  Or a body.  “Well, nice to meet you, Jessie.  I’m Ethan Hamilton.”

“Good to meet you too.  What are you doing out here though?”

“I have a cabin not too far from here.  I was by the shore when I saw the light from the campfire.”

“Oh.  Sorry for disturbing your peace.”

“Believe me.  It was no bother.”  At least not if he didn’t want to sleep tonight.  His body was as hard as a rock, clenched in anticipation of what he could share with this woman if she let him.  And that wasn’t likely, considering her reception of him.  “We’ll reach the truck soon, I promise.  You’ll be home in no time.”

“Thanks.”

“No problem.”  He cleared his throat.  “Is there a reason I found you naked out there?  I mean, you lost your clothes somehow, right?”

The secret smile she gave him made his throat feel dry.  “Do you want me to lie?”

“Of course not.”

“The ritual was best practiced in the nude.  Skyclad rituals are very common, you know.  The Goddess tells us, ‘You shall be free from all slavery, and as a sign that you be truly free, you shall be naked in your rights.’”

He lifted a brow.  “Even if that were the case, you didn’t walk there naked, did you?”

“Didn’t I?”

Maybe she was crazy after all.

“I didn’t walk at all.”

He thought she might be saying that she was transported by magic.  Yep, she was batty as hell.  He was so not touching that one.  He cleared his throat again.

A sharp cry startled him and instinctively, he reached forward and grabbed her when she started to fall. Unfortunately, she ended up right in his arms.

Or maybe it was fortunate after all.  With her luscious lips so close, he could almost taste her.  And her scent…dear God, she was intoxicating, like a mixture of night air and jasmine.  “You all right?” he managed.

She nodded.  “My foot caught on a rock, I think.”

“Is it bleeding?”

“My foot or the rock?”  Her cheek dimpled.

He laughed.  “Your foot, of course.”

“No, I don’t think so.  It’s all right.”

“Good.”  He realized his mistake immediately.  Some strange instinct caused him to keep her close.  Stepping back would be a crime and she was seductive.  Knowing she was naked underneath his coat didn’t help anything.  She was way too accessible.  Heedless of the costs, he plunged a hand into the soft waves of her dark hair and lowered his mouth to hers.

She tasted like wine, potent and sweet.  He explored her mouth slowly, allowing her the chance to pull away or slap him.  He knew he’d deserve it.  He’d never stolen a kiss before, and he couldn’t think why he’d done it now.  But, she tasted delicious.  And her body felt so good against his.  He groaned and drew her closer.  When she moaned in return, he kissed her deeply and moved a hand down her back.  His hands wanted to roam further, but he held himself in check.  If he was a real gentleman, he’d pull away now.  Reluctantly, he did.

He drew back and tried to get his libido back under control.  “Ah…sorry.  I wasn’t thinking.”  He swept a hand through his hair.

He thought she looked just as shaken.  But she smiled a little.  “It’s okay.  No harm done, right?”

This is my first read of Magick & Moonlight. It’s the third book I’ve read by Marie Lavender, the others being Second Chance Heart and Blue Vision, which I also enjoyed. Lavender takes a hapless couple in a rural setting, stirs in some well-researched and rich details and sprinkles them with her gifts for romance, storytelling and language. The result is a delicious love story that will leave you satisfied, yet coming back for more of Marie Lavender’s works.

Buy Magick & Moonlight by Marie Lavender at Amazon or Solstice:

Universal Amazon:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00IRKN5P2

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Publisher:  http://solsticepublishing.com/magick-moonlight/

Reviewer Bio

Belinda Y. Hughes is an author, blogger, editor, proofreader, reviewer and unit study developer. Her vegetarian cookbook, Confessions of a Red Hot Veggie Lover 2, and lesbian romance, Blues in the Night, are available on Amazon. Her latest project, Unit Study: DERELICT by LJ Cohen, is available at Apple (iBooks), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Inktera and Kobo.

DISCLOSURE: I paid for this book out of my own pocket.

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Character Reviews, Romance

CHARACTER INTERVIEW: Second Chance Heart (Marie Lavender)

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Today I’m interviewing Dana Nelson, redhead heroine of Second Chance Heart, the new romance short story by award-winning, best-selling author Marie Lavender. Welcome, Dana. Let’s begin with the blurb, to give readers a chance to understand what’s going on.

(Readers, please note that I have not yet read the whole story, only the blurb and excerpt. However, I did research book reviews and an author interview from Google page one results to prepare for this, my first-ever character interview.)

BYH: So Dana, tell us a little about yourself. Like me, you’re a blue-eyed, freckled redhead. What do you do? Are you self- or other-employed? Home or office? How do you take your coffee? What car and devices are you traveling with? How much do you travel? Do you have any pets? If so, do they work with you? Do they travel with you at all? What’s your housekeeping style? How easy would it be to fit a partner into your present lifestyle?

DN:  Whoa…all right, I’ll tackle one question at a time. I specialize in criminal law, and work in Charlotte. However, I usually represent the victims of heinous acts, not the criminals. I work pro bono, if necessary, to get the job done. And I love coffee! Back on the farm, it was the only thing that kept me going, having to get up at the crack of dawn every day. I take it straight black with a hint of sugar. Since my time in the city, though, I have to admit, I’ve warmed up to the idea of cappucinos and frilly beverages like that. I travel now and then for my job. As an attorney, my job can take me into a lot of different places. I own a red Chevy Cruze, and I can’t leave town without my laptop and my iPhone. No, I don’t have any pets right now, but we had a lot of animals on the farm. I miss my mare, Serenity. I am a pretty organized person so my house is spotless. I guess having a romantic partner would work all right, though I’m not exactly looking for anything serious.

BLURB:

After a wild storm forces her to take shelter in a small town inn, Dana Nelson thinks that all she has to worry about is a brief stay before she heads back to the city. She gets far more than she bargained for…

The last thing she expects is to run into an old flame, and even worse, the man who broke her heart twelve years ago. She’s sure that the only thing remaining between them is a strong attraction for another.

She can’t be more wrong…

The more time she spends with Vince Reynolds, the more she begins to believe she can trust him again. But, can she put her faith in the one man who captivates her, body and soul, or are some wounds too deep to heal?

BYH: So you’re safely checked in and in comes your old flame, Vince Reynolds. Tell us about him, then and now. What are your likes and dislikes about him?

DN:  Vince is…complicated. And I don’t mean that he is just because he came from a rough background. He rose above all that, and turned into a great guy. He was always loyal, and a bit overprotective when we were kids. And still, he had these moments when he was incredibly impulsive. It was a dangerous combination for a girl with stars in her eyes, for sure. Unfortunately, that didn’t translate into happily ever after. His dark eyes were the worst, though. They still are. I can’t close my eyes without seeing them in my dreams.

BYH: Your story is the same as my grandmother’s and many others: childhood friends become sweethearts, then the guy cheats and crushes her heart. What were your dreams back then? What did you do when those plans changed? How did you pick yourself up off the floor and move on? How long did that take?

DN:  I imagined myself as Vincent’s wife. Well, after we got involved romantically. Even though I had ambitions to study law, I thought that our careers would fit well, that we could create a life together. I was wrong about a lot of things. When he cheated, I was broken at first, but I wouldn’t let him destroy the rest of me. I ran from Hertford and never looked back. I tried to make a life for myself in Charlotte. I guess I’m still working on that…

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Let’s enjoy the most generous excerpt of this story that I’ve seen, courtesy of the author, Marie Lavender.

EXCERPT:

The rain seemed like it would never stop, pounding incessantly upon the roof, mocking her. The storm refused to let up. Dana Nelson cursed her circumstances. Just over five hours on her trip back home, she couldn’t see the road well in the onslaught of the rain and was forced to pull into Banner Elk Inn, an establishment off Highway 194. Many others had had the same idea.

It was supposed to be a simple business trip to Lexington. Instead, she was stranded there at the inn, which, according to the proprietor, was named after the town, sitting in the lounge with the last person she ever thought she’d see again. Her ex.

The silence was deafening as they measured one another, and then glanced away as if afraid to get caught. Dana clenched her jaw on the rise of anger. How dare he invade her trip like this? Everything had been fine until they’d stumbled into each other in the hallway. She had already settled in, and he’d just come in the door.

Water droplets dotted his face and he was fairly soaked everywhere else. She remembered those eyes too well. Dark, mysterious eyes to drown in. And, of course, Vince Reynolds still had the muscled physique that would make any woman sigh with longing. He wasn’t just a jock. He had a hard intelligence to him, partly born of the street smarts he’d learned at his father’s side. The rest was from his schooling. But, she also remembered the pain, the heartache he’d left her with. The betrayal. Those feelings came rushing back along with her fury.

He frowned, and his face was hard, unrelenting. He appeared a little older, his dark hair a tad longer. His manner was also more arrogant, much harder than she remembered.

They both exclaimed in the same breath, “What the hell are you doing here?”

And since that moment, after the civilized explanations and after he’d checked in, they’d been sitting in silence. It was unbearable, awkward. If it weren’t for the storm, she would have demanded that he find other accommodations. As it was, all the extra rooms and cottages were taken due to a wedding planned for the upcoming weekend. Before, Vince would have agreed to leave, been considerate of her feelings. But, he was hardly that man anymore. He’d changed, or maybe circumstances had changed him. Besides, she didn’t want him out in that storm any more than she wanted to be. That didn’t mean she cared or anything.

Dana couldn’t care less how he’d fared over the years. She just wanted the moment over so she could go back to her life. She had better options waiting for her back home, including the proposal that Finn Alexander had sprung on her before she left. She had yet to give him an answer, but she knew he was a good man. His compassionate responses to her ideas were evidence of that, and any woman would have accepted his proposal. Her hesitance had nothing to do with the emotional hang-ups of the past. She was just surprised, that’s all. Next time would be different.

She began to wonder what she would’ve said if Vince had ever asked her to marry him. It probably hadn’t even crossed his mind. When she’d been serious about him, she’d found him with another girl. So that was the end. She had shut him out of her life until now, though she had occasionally wondered if he’d regretted his actions. It didn’t matter. She was so over him. Besides, he was like a different person now, definitely someone she wanted nothing to do with.

“I’m going to bed,” she stated with finality as she rose from her chair.

“Fine,” he replied.

She went upstairs to her room, still unsettled, plagued by those dark eyes of his. As she was still in her business suit from the trip, she undressed quickly and donned a pale pink knit nightgown, yanking it over her subtle curves. She glanced around the bedroom. She’d been given the Peach Room, painted in its namesake. It gave off a Victorian appearance with a walnut bed covered in a fine white spread, which was quite soft to the fingertips. Nearby sat an antique desk for writing letters. A Baroque, gilded mirror was nailed against one wall, and she caught the light dusting of freckles upon her nose and cheekbones in the reflection there.

She released a breath, shaking her head at the way her heart raced. It was infuriating that the man still affected her. She’d thought Vince was out of her life for good. She slashed a brush through her thick, shoulder-length mane of flame red curls, and told herself to relax, that the past couldn’t hurt her anymore.

A soft knock could be heard then and with a frown, she went to the door.

Vince stood on the other side. His wavy, dark brown hair was ruffled, as if he’d mussed it with his hands, a habit of his she remembered quite well.

He sighed, didn’t speak for a moment. “I’m…so goddamned sorry, Dana.” His dark eyes were strangely haunted. “I’m sorry.”

She tried to block his view of her nightgown. “For what?”

“You know what for.”

Dana froze, her heart skipping a sick beat. He was apologizing now? After all this time? “It doesn’t matter now,” she said in a hoarse tone.

“The hell it doesn’t. You don’t think I know you, Dana? I know what it looks like when you’re hurt. And that look you gave me downstairs nearly killed me. Those blue eyes of yours always did.” He rubbed at his chest absently, and she looked at the movement like his hand was a foreign object.

She doubted part of what he said, and wondered if he was trying to appear more considerate. Why couldn’t he stay mean? She could hate him easier. “Fine. You said your piece. Now go away.”

She began to shut the door, but he blocked it with his hand. Even as she gasped, he shouldered his way inside and kicked the door closed. He reached for her when she would have backed away, his lips blocking her protests. It was a mistake, a total mistake, she thought in a stunned instant. But, the lure of his mouth was too strong, and she sank into his kiss anyway, whimpering as his tongue swirled over hers. His dark flavor was too enticing. Her breath caught up in her throat, and her body began to burn, to come alive. She remembered the passion between them very well. If she was totally honest with herself, it had been missing with Finn.

“You’re mine,” he muttered hoarsely against her mouth. “I should never have forgotten that.”

Caught between his body and the wall, she could hear the remorse in his tone, but her mind just seemed to stop working. None of it seemed to matter as he kissed the hell out of her. His heat was familiar, so welcome close to her body, and she curled up to it. His arms encircled her and there was a sense of safety, not danger. When his mouth moved over her throat, her eyes closed automatically. After a few moments, her thoughts began to coalesce into something a bit more logical. “This is wrong,” she whispered.

He grunted. “It feels right to me.”

“I won’t be your toy,” she complained, “or a way to pass the time on your vacation.”

“I don’t recall saying that at all.”

It took a moment to find the words. “Vince, I’m the one who’s not free this time.”

He lifted his head at last, his dark brown eyes searching hers. He released her, but rested his hands upon the wall on either side of her. His scent, a mixture of fresh rain and musk, teased at her senses. “Are you implying I wasn’t free when I was with you?”

She hadn’t considered that. “No, but it would make a lot more sense.”

His soft curse was hardly a surprise. She remembered that, too. “I made a terrible mistake, Dana. I know that now just as I knew it as soon as it happened.” He sighed. “The truth is you terrified me.”

“How?” she whispered, hating that she suddenly cared to know the details.

“Things were going well. We had outlined quite a future together, and I…I panicked. I wasn’t ready to get that serious.”

It took her a moment to reply as her emotions went careening into strange territory. She’d be a complete idiot to believe anything he said. “Oh.”

“I’m not explaining my actions away. What I did was inexcusable and I should have talked to you about my misgivings. It still happened. I am sorry, more than you can ever imagine, but it is in the past.” His eyes never left hers and she began to tremble. “Now, you said you aren’t free? You have a man at home?”

She nodded. “I do.” But, a small part of her wondered if Finn had only proposed to her because she claimed she didn’t want to move in with someone without it being serious. Would he have done that? She wasn’t sure. He didn’t seem like the kind of man to be so impulsive.

A flicker of pain crossed Vincent’s face. “Are you happy, Dana?” She hesitated for a moment longer than necessary and it must have shown because he smiled. “That’s rather telling, isn’t it?”

“It’s none of your business,” she snapped, raising her chin. “Don’t be a bastard. Do you want me to be miserable for the rest of my life? Would that assuage your guilt?”

He shook his head. “No, that’s not what I meant. You don’t understand, Dana. Whatever we went through, I do want you to be happy, to find what you’re looking for. If it’s not him, then you need to face it. If it isn’t me, that’s fine too.”

She didn’t like that he was interfering. “So, what was that kiss about?” she managed.

Vince lifted a shoulder. “I was testing myself.”

She cocked her head. “Testing me too, I’d guess.”

He didn’t seem to deny it as the seconds ticked past, the soft click of the nearby clock a mild annoyance.

She sighed. “Look, Vincent, I imagine there will always be a spark between us. But, I can’t exactly overlook what happened.”

He nodded. “I never expected you to.”

“Good, because I’m not sure I can ever forgive you. You broke my heart.” Dana’s voice cracked and tears pressed against the backs of her eyes. She hadn’t realized he still had the power to hurt her. Like he said, that was fairly telling. But, you didn’t exactly get over your first love, she reasoned. Or maybe she should have.

“I deserve that. I really do.” He eased back, and then swept a hand through his hair. She watched as he dug in his pocket, brought out a wallet and unearthed a crisp, white business card. He handed it over to her. “Look, my life is different now. Whether you believe me or not, I’m not that idiot who would throw everything away anymore. I still care about you, Dana, and I always will, though I know you probably think I’m lying. I’m not. Why would I need to? We’ve always had honesty between us. Christ, I still remember you in pigtails at eleven years old.”

He sighed. “Now, I’m leaving in the morning, but if you ever want to talk, I’m here. I’m not asking to get back together with you; that’s far too much to demand of you. I know I hurt you and I deserve any punishment you see fit. But, I am asking you to consider me being your friend. You look like you could use one right now.” He caressed her cheek with a fingertip. “Take care of yourself, kid. Goodnight.”

“Night,” she murmured, blinking in confusion as he left the room. She softly shut the door behind him, then locked it for good measure. Kid. He’d always called her ‘kid’ when they were younger because she was two years his junior, and it was a running joke between them. That he’d remembered that fact perplexed her. But then, they’d had a long history together. Twenty years would do that, though. They were friends as children first before they’d begun to explore the growing attraction between them. They’d played together on the wide open spaces of her family’s Hertford farm in North Carolina. She still recalled swinging on the tire strapped to the tree, which her Daddy had rigged up, and Vince pushing the swing for her. She often reminisced about those innocent days, when they’d explore the woods and creeks together nearby, and walked close to the river on the edge of town. Because she remembered so much, it wasn’t likely he’d forget everything about her either.

She’d tried to put it all behind her. She’d moved away, dated other men, even found Finn. Yet, how could one simple kiss bring it all to the surface again? It had been twelve years since she’d seen him last. The betrayal went deep, though. He’d betrayed more than her trust; he’d done more than hurt her as a lover. He’d killed their connection, their friendship as well. She wondered if he realized that too.

Dana imagined she would never know, and she shouldn’t even worry about it. She grasped his card, about to crumble it and toss it in the nearby trash can. Then a weird urge made her sweep her thumb across the white cardstock and inspect the gold lettering. He was a financial consultant now. Funny, she’d always imagined him at a job more exciting in the end, though he was always good with numbers. Perhaps he had changed, even matured in a way. It didn’t matter in any case. She was just going to move on. Still, something compelled her to slip the card into her purse.

As she went to bed a half hour later, her night was restless. Flashbacks from the past danced on the edge of her consciousness and namely, she remembered the passion she’d had for Vince. Since then, no one had managed to tap into it or bring her to life in bed. She had thought it was about emotional hang-ups, but what if there were just a few people in the world capable of being that kind of fit for her? Even more terrifying, what if only one man would do the trick? One man she really shouldn’t be thinking about. With a groan, she knew she needed to forget Vince…

BYH: Ah, so now there’s an offer on the table from a guy named Finn. That complicates things. How long have you and Finn been an item? You’re concerned that his proposal is more about moving in together and less about love. How do you figure that?

DN:  I guess I thought Finn understood that I wasn’t looking for anything serious. I’m loyal to Finn, of course. We enjoy each other and talk a lot. But, beyond that, I don’t know that I’m ready for anything else. He didn’t really pop the question until after I refused to move in with him. That’s what made me wonder.

BYH: Now you find yourself back in Vince’s arms after twelve years. How does it compare to before? There’s a whole lot of pain in the past. How are you dealing with that? How’s forgiveness looking? Is he truly worthy? What’s he doing to earn it?

DN:  I think we both have a lot of work through. I don’t know that I’m ready to trust him yet. A few stolen kisses here and there can’t spell out a future. There has to be more than that. I think I need to figure things out on my own first. I know, in some ways, I do want to trust him again, but I can’t go through that heartbreak again. I was convinced Vincent was my soul mate. Now? I don’t know if a soul mate even exists.

BYH: What does the future look like from where you’re sitting now?

DN:  Uncertain, for sure. I think that’s why I’ve spent so much time away from home. But, I think I’ll figure it out eventually.

BYH: Tell us about your relationship with your author, Marie Lavender. How did you meet? How exactly do you work together? How do you and her three cats get along? What do you do while she takes a break? Describe a work session with her from your perspective. What do you like/dislike about her writing space(s)?

DN:  Marie has been toying with the opening of my story for years. It was only this year when she decided to posit the idea of regret and forgiveness, and if a happy ending was even possible with that kind of premise. I met Marie a long time ago, but this year I guess I finally let her know the deep, dark secrets of my life. It has been a professional relationship that works fairly well. I love her cats! But, then I love all animals. Well…truthfully, her cat Emma has quite an ego so we don’t always get along. LOL. I go to my job while Marie is not writing. And when we reconvene for coffee, or tea in her case, she is like a reporter, asking questions even I don’t feel comfortable answering. As for her writing spaces, some are very nice. But, her desk? Eek! She is messy! However, her method of organization seems to work for her, so who am I to judge?

BYH: How do you feel about the length of your story?

DN:  I think it works for me. The thing is, most readers know that stories don’t end with books. They continue on in a reader’s imagination, and that’s what Marie was going for.

BYH: Who would you cast as yourself and Vince on the big screen?

DN:  I’m not sure, but Marie has her own ideas. She’s thinking Deborah Ann Woll for me, and Taylor Kinney for Vince. I guess that could work. The man certainly has that ruggedly handsome look, and that grin which makes a woman forget what she’s thinking. Vincent always did that to me.

BYH: Any final thoughts?

DN: Read the book and see for yourself! No, I’m kidding, but I’m sure you’ll find out more in the story…;)

Thank you for joining us to chat with Dana Nelson, heroine of Second Chance Heart, the new romance short story by award-winning, best-selling author Marie Lavender. Thank you for stopping by and sharing with us, Dana. And thanks also to author Marie Lavender for the incredibly generous excerpt.

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Purchase Links

 

Amazon Universal link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B01593TDO6

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/576453

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/second-chance-heart-marie-lavender/1122651302

Kobo:  https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/second-chance-heart

 

Book trailer:  https://youtu.be/UKYOeFqw5lQ

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Author Bio

 

Bestselling multi-genre author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 21 other books. Nominated in the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards for Winter 2015. Poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013 and 2014. Top 10 Authors on AuthorsDB.com. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

 

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for over twenty years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 22 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, fantasy, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. Her current series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Magick Series and The Blood at First Sight Series.

 

A list of her books and pen names are as follows:

 

Marie Lavender: Upon Your Return; Magick & Moonlight; Upon Your Honor; Second Nature; “Lovers Like Us” (featured poem from the book anthology, Poets & Writers in Action); A Little Magick; Second Chance Heart

 

Erica Sutherhome: Hard to Get; Memories; A Hint of Scandal; Without You; Strange Heat; Terror in the Night;Haunted; Pursuit; Perfect Game; A Touch of Dawn; Ransom; Leather and Lace

 

Kathryn Layne: A Misplaced Life

 

Heather Crouse: Express Café and Other Ramblings; Ramblings, Musings and Other Things; Soulful Ramblings and Other Worldly Things

 

Author Links

 

http://marielavender.com/

http://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/

http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/

http://marielavender.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58

https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender

https://twitter.com/marielavender1

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MarieLavender/posts

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/marie-lavender/27/187/10a

http://amazon.com/author/marielavender

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6938764.Marie_Lavender

http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/1578-marie-lavender

http://www.pw.org/content/marie_lavender

http://manicreaders.com/marielavender/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJu8HjRVYCFOqcIoX6ZxdqQ/videos

 

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Guest Posts, Uncategorized, Writing Technique

Guest Post: Why Research Is Important and How to Do It (Marie Lavender)

Impreial Federation c maps bpl org

Image credit http://maps.bpl.org

When my friend Belinda suggested the topic of how to do your homework when writing historical romances, I thought I’d take it a step further since I have done all kinds of research in my writing career.  Research is a dual-edged sword.  It can be a total blast if you’re into learning about new things.  On the other hand, it can be a real pain when it’s difficult to find the right information.  No matter what stage of writing you’re at, you will, at some point, need to look something up.

First of all, let me get the big question out of the way, the one I was arrogant enough to ask myself so many years ago.  This coming from someone who wasn’t a fan of history class, but loved reading historical romance.  Cue the irony.

“Why is research so important?”

Indeed!  Why should we go to all that trouble?  For a number of reasons, of course. I suppose we should do it to avoid appearing ignorant with regards to the topic we’re writing about.  You can’t know everything.  It doesn’t matter what your background is.  During the course of writing, while you’re planning a novel or even in the midst of writing a scene, you are going to (gasp!) come across something you need to research.  If you don’t realize it, then someone else is going to point it out.  Hopefully, it’s a critique partner, beta reader or editor.  God forbid it be a reader after you’ve published.  So, let’s just avoid that little trip into Humiliation Land, shall we?

Why else should you do it?  If you’re unsure at all about something you wrote, isn’t it better to check, just to be sure it’s right?  You can avoid a lot of headaches later.  For example, let’s say you wanted to set your story in a specific location.  Your character goes walking along and stumbles across a strangle-looking plant.  The next day he ends up with a bizarre rash.  Well, what was it?  Are you sure you want to call it (insert name of plant here), if it does exist?

 

Image credit judgmentalist

Image credit judgmentalist

 

“But, Marie, don’t I have creative license?”

  1. Yes and no.  It depends on the genre of your story.  Are you writing a fantasy?  Is your story contingent upon this bizarre species of plant no one has heard of?  Is there a science angle to your story?  Then maybe you can create a plant name!  Did you answer ‘no’ to the previous questions?  Maybe you should at least consider authenticity.  If the town/city does exist on a map, what is the likelihood that you’ll get a reader from that area who decides to read your book?  Do you want them leaving a review that says, ‘I am native to that area and I know it doesn’t grow there!’?  Do you really want to take that chance?  I don’t.  I know you probably think it’s trivial, but this is just an example off the top of my head.  What if the issue in question was more detailed than that?  At least consider finding out the right information.  Besides, you might learn something new in the process (Shock!).

“Marie, don’t you think you’re being a little harsh?”

Am I?  I’m just telling it like it is.  Look, this is kind of a universal thing for writers.  It’s one those “rules” we can’t skirt around in the industry.  Some publishers will even state it in their submission guidelines. They want something that has not only been edited enough, but has also been researched. For the most part, it’s just common sense.  Even if you don’t go for a traditional publisher, do you want readers avoiding your book because of all of the mistakes?

Well, I think I’ve made my point.  If I haven’t convinced you by now how important research is, then I guess I won’t, and you can look at one of my other articles about writing instead.  If, however, you’re still with me after that spiel, then I can tell you how you can go about this nutty thing called “research.”

Now is about the point in my writing project where I dread that word.  Research.  Why?  I enjoy the process.  I like learning new things.  I don’t mind exploring new places and figuring out what way the characters will do something.  It’s all part of the writing process, and I do love it.  It can appear overwhelming at first, though.  Just like with any problem in life, if you inflate it or lump a bunch of things together, it’s bound to make you crazy.  So, what is my solution?

Break it up.

That’s right.  Break it into tiny, manageable pieces.  Suddenly, what seemed impossible is something you can knock out in the span of twenty minutes to an hour, depending on what that small task is.

“How do I get there, though?  How do I break it up?”

Well, I approach it in one of two ways.  I am both a pantster and a plotter, so this is the point where I have to break down and plot.  I have to be stern and make myself do it.

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Image credit Marie Lavender

 

  • Write an outline for your story or novel, a detailed one. Be as detailed as you possibly can.  Sometimes I do a basic one, then go back and do a detailed outline after that.  This detailed outline should then give you an idea of what topics you need to start researching. Put them in the form of questions, if you have to.

 

“What did sailors wear during this time period?” or “What exactly does an accountant do other than the obvious?”

 

  • If you are a pantster (which isn’t unheard of, so just relax), you can also do research as you go along. Somewhere in the middle of a scene of chapter, your writer’s instinct is going to say, “But, I don’t know what that thing is called!  And how do I describe it?”  Don’t panic.  Take a break, save your work and do some research.  Find out the answer to that question or you’ll probably drive yourself crazy.

 

Some writers hate to interrupt their train of thought, so they make a note somewhere, sometimes directly in the text, to go back and research it later.  But, sometimes not knowing the answer effectively halts your creativity and you may be doing yourself a favor by looking for the answer, after all.  Once you come back to the story, you’ll not only have fresh eyes, you’ll be energized that you learned this tidbit of information.  It can be quite exciting!

Let’s see…  What haven’t we covered?  Ah, yes, the most essential question.

“How do I do research?  What techniques or resources can I use?”

All good questions.  Ultimately, you should go with what makes you comfortable.  Here are some options to help you get started.

  1. Some people prefer to go the traditional route and use libraries for information.  They are a good resource, and should not be overlooked.  You can look in books (fiction or non-fiction), newspapers or archives to find information.

Other books.

“Uh, what does that mean, Marie?”

Well, I have found a ton of resources on Amazon, just by looking up certain keywords.  Whether the books are about writing or they cover topics specific to your story, there are a lot of non-fiction books out there that can help.  Some writers will buy up a lot of them.  You wouldn’t believe how long my research Wishlist is.

“But, Marie, I am a starving artist.  I can’t afford a bunch of books all at once.”

Well, I understand.  I’ve been there.  And how would you know which one was the best book, even if you could afford one or two?  That would be a hard choice, and there’s a risk in any purchase.  Not to worry, though.  Libraries are free.  And here’s another option.

Use what’s at your fingertips.  You know that genre you’ve been reading, the thing you’ve been training yourself to write for a long time?  Read it!  Some of those books have great facts in them.  The author has done his research.  Should you take everything at face value?  No. Definitely double check things, but it’s not a bad place to get some random facts.  And don’t be afraid to get creative.  That actually leads me to my next point.

 

Image credit Mr.TinDC

Image credit Mr.TinDC

 

Unusual places.

“Huh?  Marie, are you smoking that funny stuff again?”

Nope!  Take an inventory of the weird, old books you have lying around.  The covers are worn, the pages are yellowed, and they probably smell old and musty.  Maybe you can glean something of interest there.  Don’t forget to check your relatives’ places too.  Call them up and ask if they have a box of old hand-me-down books they want to get rid of.

After my grandparents’ deaths, we went through the house.  Something began to bleed through my grief, however.  The writer, the constant observer in me, was awake.  I found it interesting, the kind of reading material my grandmother kept (she never parted with anything).  I mean, there were such a variety of topics.  And, if I ever wanted to know what a proper housewife in the 40s or 50s did to raise her family, keep her house clean and still entertain dinner guests, well, there was a book for it.  It just goes to show that you never know what you’ll find.

Did you just move into an old house?  Look in the attic.  Check the nooks and crannies.  There is a good chance you’ll find some interesting things.

 

Image credit umjanedoan

Image credit umjanedoan

 

And don’t discount using physical items in your research.  Pay attention to the texture.  What does it make you feel?  What comes to mind when you look at a Victrola?  Or a mid-20th Century vinyl record player?  Do you have memories tied to music?  Use life as your research.  How you feel about something can be translated into how the character might have felt in a certain time period, or even in the present.  As Frank pulled the wallet from his pocket, the smell of new leather permeated his senses.  He recalled the reins on his favorite horse Thunder, back on the old farm, the smell of fresh hay in his nostrils as he brushed the stallion.  That leads me to my next topic.

  1. Both old pictures and new photos can be used for research. In my historical research, I often use this technique to get a sense of place for that time period.  I use my impressions.  I try to imagine how it was and I paint the picture.  You can do the same with contemporary locations.  Of course, some writers travel and that’s useful.  If you can’t travel to the location in which your novel is set, use photos to put yourself there.  Found the place in a National Geographic article?  Great.  Use those pictures well.  Give your impressions.  Feel the dust in the air and the smells around you.  Imagine it and picture it the way the photographer did.  Sometimes you can find photos on Wikipedia or Chamber of Commerce sites, even on official regional tourist sites, Lonely Planet, and travel blogs.  Don’t dismiss points of interest, like restaurants and other businesses, and events and Off the Beaten Path sections on travel booking sites.  They ground a reader in a time and place.

Writing about a hotel?  Use the ‘photos’ or ‘gallery’ section of their website.  It’s even better if they have a 360 degree view option.  This gives a basis to start from.  Remember:  creative license can be used, but you want some of it to be authentic.  Did you create the hotel in your mind?  Even the name?  Great!  But if you don’t know much about hotels, you’ll still want to do a little research.  Who knows?  By doing that, you could make that imaginary hotel come alive with certain amenities and sensory details.  I use Google Images a lot.  Don’t know anything about evening gowns?  Get inspired!  Look at pictures, tons of them.  Find out what color and type you want.  You can do the same with cars.  I just love looking at pictures.

Remember:  detail is everything.  It’s not just a tree.  What kind of tree is it?  An elm?  A maple?  How are the leaves shaped?  What color and texture are they in the season your scene takes place in?  Describe it to the reader and make it real.  Those details will really help and pictures will, too.  Of course, nothing is a substitute for the real thing.  If you can touch it, smell it and taste it, that’s even better.  And your readers will experience it with you.

 

Image credit ladyb

Image credit ladyb

 

The internet.

Ah, the big topic.  Yeah, the internet is overrun with quite a bit of unnecessary stuff these days.  However, there are still some good sources.  Wikipedia is a good source in many aspects, but you may want to back up some of the information by using additional sources.  Can’t travel to the location you’re writing about?  Don’t hesitate to use Expedia or whatever the latest travel site is to check out places to stay.

  1. Maps are your go-to resource for a location. You will need to know the layout of a city, so that natives to the area don’t give you the eyebrow.  You also might want to pay attention to the culture, sayings or customs used there, but that’s not exactly related to maps, is it?

“Marie, you’re bouncing around again.”

Sorry!  I got excited.  So, maps are a wonderful resource.  Google Maps, in particular, has been my friend for a long time.

“Why?  There are other resources.”

For the street view, of course!  Nothing gives me a better idea of the layout of a town or city block than looking at ‘street view.’  It’s almost like being right there.  This tool has saved me in a lot of situations.  Recently, I did a lot of research on Baltimore for a work in progress, and that really came in handy.  However, if you’re doing historical fiction, you may need to find old maps.  Why?  Because some town names have changed.  So have entry points.  It’s not going to make sense if a lot has changed in the area.

If I am doing historical research, I try to keep everything period specific, even down to the year, if I can.  You may wonder why.  When I wrote Upon Your Honor, my latest release, it was the difference of a year.  Fencing was outlawed in New Orleans in 1890, but the book was set in 1891.  In short, I had to make careful use of this fact in order to make it seem authentic, another reason why research can pay off.  Also, during edits with my publisher, my editor pointed out a minor flaw in one location.  So, I ended up changing that.

Did she notice anything else?  No, because I did my research.  Editors won’t catch everything, however, and you can sure as hell make their jobs easier by doing yours.

Where was I?  Oh, yes.  Other sites to use.  It really depends on what you’re researching.  My advice with historical fiction is to stick to historical sources.  Old newspaper clippings, even ads, are very helpful.  Make sure it’s from the area where your book is set.

 

Full Moon c Andy Rogers

 

Sometimes a basic internet search can unearth the best possible sources.  In everything you choose, be as authentic as possible and evaluate your sources.  If you see the same fact mentioned in various locations, it is most likely true.  I used this technique with Magick & Moonlight when I researched the Wiccan religion.  As with any kind of research, you can’t be 100% accurate, but you can do your best.

“Okay, Marie.  But, what do I do if I have trouble finding a specific thing?”

If you have exhausted all of your options, my advice is to go straight to the source.  Can’t find out how a police procedure works?  Contact your local police department and see if they will let you talk to someone.  Want to know how criminal investigation works?  Maybe they’ll let you pick the brain of a detective.  If your subject is related to history and you still can’t find what you’re looking for, there is one other option.  There are history forums in which history experts will try to help you.  Granted they are usually for students struggling with a class, but I don’t see why they wouldn’t be willing to help you with your research.

“Where do I put everything, Marie?”

Make a file and put it all in one place.  I use OneNote.  It’s a fantastic little tool to organize everything.  If you want, you can even go old school, as I used to do, and keep it all in a physical file folder, as well as various notebooks.  Whatever keeps you organized.  Who knows?  You may want to back to that research for another book.  It’s likely you’ll still have a lot of information stored that you didn’t get to use.

If you’re still here, clearly you see the value of research.  The fact that you bothered to do your research at all tells the publisher and your reader that you not only care about the story and the characters, but you also care how it’s received.  And if someone mentions how well-researched your book is, you can only thank yourself for all the hard work you put into it.

Curious about some of my research on various projects?  Here are some related articles I’ve written.  I hope I’ve helped you here today.  Good luck on your projects, and happy researching!

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***Be sure to visit Marie’s Writing Process Blog Tour post and this May 2014 interview,

featuring three excerpts from Upon Your Honor.***

 

AUTHOR BIO

Bestselling author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 18 other books. Finalist and Runner-up in the MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013 and 2014. Top 50 Authors on AuthorsDB.com. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for over twenty years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. In college, she published two works in a university publication, and was a copy editor on the staff of an online student journal. Marie has published nineteen books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. Feel free to visit her website at http://marielavender.webs.com/ for further information about her work and her life. She is also on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

A list of her books and pen names:

Marie Lavender: Upon Your Return; Magick & Moonlight; Upon Your Honor

Erica Sutherhome: Hard to Get; Memories; A Hint of Scandal; Without You; Strange Heat; Terror in the Night; Haunted; Pursuit; Perfect Game; A Touch of Dawn; Ransom; Leather and Lace

Kathryn Layne: A Misplaced Life

Heather Crouse: Express Café and Other Ramblings; Ramblings, Musings and Other Things; Soulful Ramblings and Other Worldly Things

 Upon Your Honor

Please connect with Marie on your favorite social media channels. Thanks again for joining us, Marie Lavender, to discuss the whys and hows of research for writers. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

MARIE LAVENDER LINKS

http://www.marielavender.webs.com/
http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/
http://marielavender.blogspot.com/
http://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/
https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58
https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender
https://www.facebook.com/UponYourHonor
https://twitter.com/marielavender1
https://plus.google.com/u/0/104926404745289477307/posts
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/marie-lavender/27/187/10a
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6938764.Marie_Lavender
http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/1578-marie-lavender
http://www.amazon.com/Marie-Lavender/e/B00C10Q94I/

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Author Interviews

Author Interview: Marie Lavender (Upon Your Honor)

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EXCERPT #1

Leaving had proven to be very difficult. Chloe had no allies in the house. All of the servants worked for Lamonte now, so she couldn’t enlist the help of any maids. Her own nursemaid, Veronica, had quickly become controlled by her fiancé after her father’s bout of pneumonia. He made it clear that it was better to be loyal to him than to Chloe. Therefore, when she began planning her escape, she did it alone. She had to wait until Veronica had gone to her own quarters and everyone else in the house was asleep as well. Of course, as she’d assumed, Lamonte would be preoccupied with his own pleasures and so he wouldn’t notice her leaving.

She gathered what she could and wrapped it in a makeshift sack that she slung over her shoulder on a pole. She had retrieved the items while observing the gardeners a few days before. That was also when she had discovered the extra men’s clothing lying about. They were clean and simple, but they would do. She hid everything under the bed so that a maid wouldn’t find them. She had left the house tonight and had taken one of the spare horses to the docks. Luckily, the boy who guarded the stable was asleep.

Chloe chose a ship called La Voyageur. It was large enough and it appeared to be a cargo ship of some kind, but she could not be sure. She figured she could hide easily enough among the shipments or pretend she was a sailor at least for a while until she could find a way off.

Now, on the ship, she tried to look busy or move out of the way of the sailors moving crates around. She ducked her head to avoid eye contact with any of the men. She feared that if enough attention was drawn to her, they would notice she was not who she claimed.

Chloe moved towards the back of the ship and went down the companionway below only to shrink back when a massive form came into view. His dark auburn hair was rakishly drawn in waves over his head and he had the darkest eyes she’d ever seen. Her heart raced, and her breath came in small gasps. Stunned, she tried to get control of herself, but she came to the realization that she wanted to drown in that gaze.

 

Today I’m interviewing Marie Lavender, about her new release, Upon Your Honor. We’re going to cruise back into the New York City and New Orleans of the late 1800s. Please be sure to check out Upon Your Return, another fine work in this historical romance series. Marie is a dear writing friend of mine from G+. She is also a prolific, best-selling and award-winning multi-genre author and blogger. I highly recommend subscribing to her writing blog and keeping up with her books, if you want to see how a professional author does her job, while carrying on a real life with a family and job outside the home. Welcome, Marie.

 

UPON YOUR HONOR

Please introduce us to your latest romance, Upon Your Honor. What inspired the concept for this particular book?

I guess you could say that one day the first scene of the first chapter came to me.  Chloe Waverly, in non-descript costume, goes aboard La Voyageur, the ship that was also mentioned in the previous book.  Suddenly, I knew that I wanted to write sequels to Upon Your Return.

How did you choose the period and location settings?   

I had to do some math to figure out what date I wanted it set in, a date that would coincide well with Chloe’s introduction into the series.  As for locations, I did some research to figure out possible routes the ship might take and I explored everything I could about the ports in that time period.

What gave rise to the characters? 

As aforementioned, Chloe’s character automatically came to me.  More of the facets of her personality and background came out as the book progressed.  I did have to explore Gabriel Hill, the hero, a little more.  He was introduced in the first book, as were other characters.  Some new characters came along in Upon Your Honor as well, and it was fun to create names for them and go into more detail about who they were.

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EXCERPT #2

She thought it was morning when she woke for the light streamed bright through the porthole, casting sunrays over the bed. She sighed and turned over only to squeal. Gabriel Hill was sitting beside her on the bed. “What are you doing? Are you mad?” For a moment, she was reminded of Lamonte and how he’d entered her bedchamber once or twice without permission. And she did not know this man. What if he was just as bad? Good Lord, he’d nearly seen her unclothed, hadn’t he? Of course, he had sworn it was platonic, but some men were prone to lying. Her heart raced erratically, and her cheeks grew warm under his steady gaze.

He chuckled. “No, chére. Just concerned about you.”

She took a deep breath. “Well, your concern could have knocked, you know.”

Gabriel laughed at her, amused for some reason. “Perhaps you’re right. It might be remiss of me, however, if you were lying here unconscious and no one knew.”

“And if I were not decent? How would you explain yourself?”

“The benefits would outweigh the consequences, of course.”

“Pardon me?”

His eyes narrowed. “Saving your life would be more important than your maiden’s sensibilities, I assure you.”

Chloe was miffed by his comments, but tried to calm down. He meant well, she supposed. “I am well enough. You may leave.”

He cocked his head, as if he didn’t think she had the authority to dismiss him. Well, she had usurped him. It was his cabin. But, it was hardly proper to allow him that kind of behavior.

“How can I be sure? Perhaps you are just saying that to be rid of me. Perhaps you are not well at all.”

She frowned. “I am not foolish either.”

“Did I say that? I am simply saying that you might be gravely injured, yet you wish to save me from the truth.”

“Don’t be daft. If I was truly unwell, you would know.” Was the temperature in the room warmer now? Perhaps she did have a fever after all.

“Would I? I’m not so sure, Chloe Waverly. You are a mysterious lady.”

Buy links:

http://www.amazon.com/Upon-Your-Honor-Marie-Lavender-ebook/dp/B00JTKTODG/
http://www.amazon.com/Upon-Your-Honor-Marie-Lavender/dp/1625260423/
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/upon-your-honor-marie-lavender/1119268362
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/430789
https://www.createspace.com/4762748
http://solsticepublishing.com/upon-your-honor/

 

 

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WRITING LIFE

Marie, how long have you been writing now?

I’ve been writing for over twenty years.  I started when I was nine years old.

What is your writing space like and how do you settle into it when you’re ready?

I try to get as comfortable I can, but it is not out of the ordinary for someone to find me sprawled across my bed or hunched over a notebook when I’m sitting somewhere.  When the moment comes, when I am in the “zone”, there’s no stopping it.

Why do you favor the romance genre?

I love “love”!  There is something completely appealing to me about romance.  I love watching the characters fall in love in books and movies.  As a child, I was fairly obsessed with it.  Even my childhood fantasies included princesses being whisked away by knights.  I think it’s even better to find out that it’s not all pretend, that there are actually good men out there, though they are hard to find.  I found one of them, and he has been very inspiring to me.  I wrote love stories way before I met him, but truly loving a man has helped me to understand romance better.

 

REAL LIFE

How do you juggle your outside job, home and family with your writing life?

Good question.  It is very hard to do.  Sometimes I feel like I’m going crazy.  I guess I just try to make time to get everything done.  If I know I can’t do a task right then because something else has taken priority, I write a note to myself as I reminder.  It is not out of ordinary for me to have post-its everywhere.  Also, if I am working on a writing project, I try to keep myself organized with major outlines or notes on what sections I need to work on next.  That tells me if I need to tackle research first or just start writing.  I do run three blogs, and I moderate different groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.  Would I like to write full-time?  Of course.  But, that’s not feasible right now so I just do what I can.  Sometimes tasks get put off until the next day, but as long as it’s not something with a deadline, you do what you have to do to get it all accomplished.  A virtual assistant would be nice though!  LOL.

Do you have a dedicated time and place that you regularly set aside for your writing career?

Two or three locations stick out to me.  I write in a journal before I go to bed, I compose on my computer or I write in a notebook while sitting on the couch.  The couch is a really dangerous place because my cats get curious and want to sit on my papers.  LOL.  As for time of day, anytime I can is good.  Some of my best writing comes at night as I’m settling in bed, however.  I have to write to get my mind to shut off sometimes.  I also love to write outdoors when I can.

Emma the Instigator and Cutie Pie

Emma the Instigator and Cutie Pie

How do your cats relate to your writing activities?  Help you access your Muse?

Their names are Emma, Smokey, and Katerina (or Kit Kat for short). I have written about cats occasionally in my stories, but as for how they relate, I would say that they like to keep me from writing by being dramatic or causing trouble.  Emma likes to start fights with the others to draw me away from what I’m doing.  Or, she will climb in my lap and act her cutest, which sometimes tears me away from writing.  If I am really in the writing zone, I will sit her on a pillow next to me so that she feels comfortable being close to me, but won’t distract me too much. 

Do they help paper come out of the printer?  Play with discarded crumpled pages?

You asked about the printer; that’s funny.  Yes, Emma will sit on the printer and mess with the buttons.  There have been many times where she forces a print or copy of something.  If paper comes out, it usually scares her and she runs away.  Yes, they love discarded pages.  I have one cat who likes to bat paper balls around.  She also lays across my desk and takes up the space so I can’t use it. She also enjoys knocking my speakers over.

Keep you company once the house is quiet?

If the house is quiet though, they are very comforting.  Actually, I would have to say that a cat is a great companion.  When you don’t feel well, they want to be near you to make you feel better.  It is very calming to have a pet.

 

Magick and Moonlight

EXCERPT #3

Chloe was charmed further when Gabriel stopped her beneath a tree, bent to pluck a lavender flower and placed it into her rarely pinned up hair. “Thank you,” she murmured.

“How can anyone resist such a picture?” he said in accented English. There was a bright quality to his eyes that she wondered about, but he reached his hand out to her.

She took his offered hand. Her breath caught when he lifted her hand to his lips in the ancient gesture of respect. Even through the fine material of the glove, she could feel the brush of his lips over the surface of her hand. His eyes were trained on hers, and she could not look away. There was no denying the man had done it well. But, what was more compelling was the fact that his steady gaze made her want to press her lips to his. She briefly entertained it, despite the fact that it was so wrong of her. How much that would shock him. He was utterly proper most of the time. But, she sensed an untamed quality to Gabriel as well, that perhaps he was not driven by propriety always, that he might be compelled by something else at times.

She imagined leaning forward, raising her mouth in invitation, waiting for him to kiss her. Would he do that? She could not be sure. In her dreams he would lower his mouth to hers, move his lips moderately over hers until she opened to him. He would band his arm around her back to draw her closer, so close that she couldn’t remember who she was. There was only Gabriel.

Chloe leaned forward without meaning to, and Gabriel’s gaze dropped to her mouth. His eyes became very dark, and the rapid thud of her heart against her chest was unnerving. And it happened so swiftly she had no time to react. He drew her to him and set his lips to hers. On a confused breath, she opened her mouth. Their tongues danced gently. His kiss was so compelling and she blinked when he quickly drew away.

“Forgive me,” he whispered. “You did not ask.”

She opened her mouth to protest, then thought better of it. He had no idea how wanton her thoughts had been. Perhaps it was better not to voice it. She nodded. “No harm done. Shall we go to dinner?” she asked, noting that the park had grown a bit dark.

“Of course.” He led her back to the hansom cab, where he handed her in.

 

books

 

PUBLISHING PARTNERS

Who does your editing and cover art?  How did you find them?

With my self-published books, I did my own editing and cover art.  I purchased royalty-free images and gave credit to each photographer.  I used sites like Stock Xchng, Pixabay, Fotolia, MorgueFile, 123RF and others.  As for my traditional books, released through Solstice Publishing, the publisher hired editors and cover artists to handle the work.  Kayden McLeod did the cover art on Upon Your Return.  Select-o-Grafix did the cover for Magick & Moonlight.  Deborah Melanie was the cover artist for Upon Your Honor.  The editor for Upon Your Return was Shawna K. Williams; she also did the editing for the Discreet Gentleman series by Kris Tualla (I totally recommend that series if you love historical romance).  And my other editors were Cynthia Ley (for Magick & Moonlight) and Kathy Collier (for Upon Your Honor).  I also had numerous critique partners and beta readers for all three of those books; I found them on Yahoo! Groups, Facebook and LinkedIn.

 

Exactly how do you work with them to accomplish these optimum results?

In most cases, the results were achieved by suggestions.  With the manuscripts, the editors made suggestions and I corrected them.  If there were occasional typos, I fixed that.  If there was something that needed more description, I fixed that as well.  With the cover art, most of the covers came from a simple method.  I put out my initial thoughts of what I might like, the artist came up with something and I approved it based on what I knew the characters should look like or the theme I wanted to convey.

Do you have any favorite authors or fellow authors you look up to?

I have a lot of favorite authors:  Catherine Coulter, Nora Roberts, J.R. Ward, P.C. Cast, Kerrelyn Sparks, Chloe Neill and Kris Tualla.  The list goes on.  As for anyone I look up to, I admire any writer out there who has made it through the tough publishing journey and come out a success.  Some such writers I have met on my journey, just to name a few, are Linda Lee Williams, Aubrey Brown and CJ Heck.

What are you presently working on?

Right now, I am working on a paranormal romance about a woman who stumbles into the world of vampires.  In the process of falling for one of them, she learns more about herself.

 

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AUTHOR BIO

Bestselling author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 18 other books. Finalist and Runner-up in the MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013 and 2014. Top 50 Authors on AuthorsDB.com. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She
has been writing for over twenty years. She has more works in progress
than she can count on two hands. In college, she published two works in a
university publication, and was a copy editor on the staff of an online
student journal. Marie has published nineteen books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. Feel free to visit her website at http://marielavender.webs.com/ for further information about her work and her life. She is also on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

A list of her books and pen names:

Marie Lavender: Upon Your Return; Magick & Moonlight; Upon Your Honor

Erica Sutherhome: Hard to Get; Memories; A Hint of Scandal; Without You; Strange Heat; Terror in the Night; Haunted; Pursuit; Perfect Game; A Touch of Dawn; Ransom; Leather and Lace

Kathryn Layne: A Misplaced Life

Heather Crouse: Express Café and Other Ramblings; Ramblings, Musings and Other Things; Soulful Ramblings and Other Worldly Things

 

Please connect with Marie on your favorite social media channels. Thanks again for joining us, Marie Lavender, to discuss Upon Your Honor. We look forward to seeing you again when you get the chance.

MARIE LAVENDER LINKS

http://www.marielavender.webs.com/
http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/
http://marielavender.blogspot.com/
http://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/
https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58
https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender
https://www.facebook.com/UponYourHonor
https://twitter.com/marielavender1
https://plus.google.com/u/0/104926404745289477307/posts
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/marie-lavender/27/187/10a
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6938764.Marie_Lavender
http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/1578-marie-lavender
http://www.amazon.com/Marie-Lavender/e/B00C10Q94I/

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