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Friday, November 27, 2009

And Last But Not Least...

Welcome to the final week of my Wings month. Yes, I know it lasted for six weeks, but who's counting? Remember to leave a comment for one of the authors so that your name will be entered in a drawing for a free book. Check back next week to see if you're the lucky winner. Today let's welcome the fabulous Barbara Edwards. Barbara, thanks for coming.

Thank you, Elaine for asking me to be your guest.

1. Tell us a little bit about you so we can get acquainted. What three words do you think best describe you as a human being?
Only three? I’m caring, neat and loving.
Also I’m a native New Englander and graduated from the University of Hartford with a Master’s degree in Public Administration. I’m fascinated by the past so naturally turned to writing historical romance. My dark stories evolve from nightmares. The romance comes from my belief in people’s basic goodness and longing for love.
I’m a past president of the Central Florida Romance Writers and a member of Romance Writers of America. I founded the Charter Oak Romance Writers, a Chapter of Romance Writers of America, along with several close friends.
I’m married to a retired Police Sergeant.
Most of my exercise is when my Belgian Shepherd demands a walk.

2. When did you know that you wanted to be an author? How did it come about?
I have always wanted to write. I think my biggest inspiration was my father. He would read to us every night from the classics. Only one chapter no matter how much we begged. I still remember Robinson Caruso, Tarzan, Tom Sawyer, and Huckleberry Finn with pleasure.

3. How long did it take you to get published?
Not long after I became serious about my work, but ten years in the real world.

4. How would you define your writing?
Dark and complicated. I can’t write ‘short’ or with a single plot line.

5. Are there any authors who’ve influenced you in your work?
Jayne Anne Krentz and Nora Roberts are my heroes. I want to grow up to be just like them.

6. What are your future goals for your writing?
I think I’ve found my niche. Although I love writing historical romance, I’ve found paranormals are close to my heart. I have several more planned and started to follow Ancient Awakening.

7. Besides your writing, what things are you passionate about?
I have two antique roses and am looking to collect more to put in my cottage garden of perennials. My husband and I also do Civil War reenacting and are looking forward to the 150th anniversary cycle.

8. Tell us what you’re working on now.
A sequel to Another Love and the second book in my Rhodes end series, tentatively titled Ancient Blood. It picks up where Ancient Awakening ends and continues with a new love story involving a werewolf.

9. What’s the name of your Wings release?
I currently have three books with WingsEpress.
Another Love is a historical romance set in New England in 1892.

Another Love
Some promises are made to be broken.
Caught in a web of political intrigue, graft and threats to a beloved child, Meg Warren and Drew Larkin hunt the men threatening the downfall of President Cleveland and the economic fabric of America. From a poor farm to the ostentatious world of New York’s elite, they sift lies, discover trust and an attraction they cannot resist. The last thing they expect to find is a love worth more than gold.
"Quote." – Pat Potter, award winning author calls Another Love…“A real page turner with wonderful characters and a unique plot. You can’t miss with this one.”
Review from Romantic Times Magazine **** 1/2 (four and one-half stars)

Meg quivered like a trapped bird in his arms. Her slender bones were as fragile and delicate as the lace edging her collar. Alarm widened her eyes.

"How can you prove your innocence? I can think of a way.”

His mouth locked over hers, smothering her protest. His tongue probed the seam between her lips and she moved head back. He instantly slipped his hand to the back of her head to hold her still. His tongue coaxed.

Her thick hair loosened from its knot. The heavy length cascaded over her shoulders and down her back. Drew groaned when the silken tresses brushed his hands. His fingers twined in the softly scented curls. He tugged gently. Upon her gasp, his tongue surged between her lips.

Her hands stilled, then she caught his lower lip with her teeth and bit down, hard. She whirled away to face him from the other side of the small room. If he thought she looked regal before, now she looked magnificent. A Greek goddess, breasts uplifted with pride and rage, her hair flowing like dark water over her slim shoulders.

She pointed an accusing finger at him and he fully expected a bolt of lightening to char him to a cinder. "I will not prove anything by going to bed with you," she cried.

Annie’s Heart is a historical romance set in Kansas, 1872
Blurb: Only two coins and a gold pendant heart separate widowed Annie Moss from disaster. The fields need to be plowed, the barn repaired and food stored for the winter, but she is alone and afraid. Her dream of a home for her children hangs from the promise of a wandering man to keep moving on, a man she has no reason to trust.
Trace Randolph has lost everything except his honor, so when a desperate Annie saves his life he knows he must pay his debt, even if it means marrying her. The only promise he makes is to leave before the winter snows. A promise he finds impossible to keep.
"... Barbara Edwards creates a romance that proves life is about surviving disaster. Growing back stronger, and most of all, the courage to love." **** (four stars), Gerry Benninger, Romantic Times Magazine
Available at http://www.wings-press/Bookstore/Annie’s%Heart.html
Rachel’s Rescue is a romantic suspense
Blurb: Rachel Winslow lost everything in the Sudan desert. She defies everyone to return and find the truth, betting her survival on a dream.
Jake Spenser’s years as an agent are over, but he teaches desert survival to others. He’s vowed never to return to Ankria, but when his nephew is missing, he must use Rachel to find him.
Through danger and betrayal, Jake and Rachel find a dream can come true.

10. Would you share all of your links with us so we can keep up with you?
My website is
I have other excerpts and buy links for all my books as well.

Thanks for sharing with us, Barbara. I love reenactments myself, but roses are beyond me. Good luck with your writing.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

On Thanksgiving Day

On Thanksgiving Day I wish for you:

that your turkey is juicy and your cranberry sauce tart; your mashed potatoes are creamy without any lumps, and your dessert melts in your mouth without sticking on your hips; that you enjoy the Macy's parade, and when you read the paper you find great Black Friday sales. But most of all, I hope you make warm and beautiful memories that will fill your heart with joy every single year when the holidays roll around. Have a great Thanksgiving Day.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Issues, Issues, Issues

His issues

The people at The Welcome Inn have issues, big issues. Take Buck Abercrombie for example. Buck’s the head of a successful construction company, people in the community respect him, and many of his dreams for the future are coming true. So, what could possibly be wrong in his life?

For starters his attraction to The Welcome Inn’s manager, Julianna Martin. After his marriage failed, Buck’s leery of women. He fights the attraction with everything he’s got, but it gets harder every day.

Across the courtyard Buck saw the door of Julianna’s apartment swing open. Julianna stood in the door to say goodbye to her boyfriend. Buck’s heart skipped a beat or two. She wore a green satin kimono that revealed some beautiful, womanly curves and some very shapely legs. Her glorious hair looked charmingly disarranged, and Buck wondered if it would feel as silky as it looked. He imagined running his hands through those beautiful, rich curls and wondered how it would feel to taste those pretty, pouting lips.

With chagrin he realized that the rest of the crew stood there watching him watch Julianna. “Get back to work,” he snarled, ashamed of his momentary weakness.
He saw a few smothered grins, but the men did as he said. Nobody felt brave enough to defy his order.

Buck’s brother Travis also causes him a headache. Travis got into trouble awhile ago when he tried to blackmail the mayor. Imagine Buck’s surprise when Travis ends up on his door begging for a job.

“Travis isn’t giving you any trouble, is he?” Buck asked.

“No, I don’t even see him very much.”

Julianna hated to be nosy, but like everyone else in Martin’s Crossing she felt curious about the Abercrombies. Eighteen months ago Travis ran Abercrombie Construction while Buck worked in Alaska. Desperate to close a deal, Travis had tried to blackmail the mayor to gain his cooperation. The mayor had refused to play ball, and Travis had made good on his threats. At the last minute the mayor’s marriage and career had been saved when Travis’s cohort confessed the scheme and proved the mayor innocent of any type of wrongdoing.

Buck had left Alaska to run the company founded by their father, and Travis had only stayed out of jail by a miracle. He was, however, a pariah in h is own town.

“Where did Travis work before you hired him?” Julianna asked.

“He didn’t have a job. He’s been living off his savings, and when that finally ran out he started looking for work, but nobody would hire him. He has to eat, so I took him on.”

“Is he doing a good job?”

“Strangely enough, he is. I’ve given him the dirtiest, hardest work we have, and he hasn’t complained. He does it right too.”

“Maybe he learned his lesson.”

“Maybe, but he still has a lot to prove to me.”

Her issues.

Buck isn’t the only one with issues. Julianna Martin The Inn’s manager has a few issues of her own.

“Melanie, why does Julianna dislike Buck so much? He’s nuts about her.”

“Oh, that’s Mrs. Martin’s fault.”

“Julianna’s mother?”

Melanie nodded. “When Julianna was just a little girl her father ran out on them, and Mrs. Martin had a real hard time. She filled Julianna’s head with all sorts of nonsense.”

“I can just imagine what,” Travis muttered.

“Oh, yeah. She thinks men are all immoral jerks who’d like nothing better than to take advantage of a woman. She encouraged Julianna to be independent so she wouldn’t need a man to support her, and Julianna followed her advice. She worked hard and turned the Inn into a moneymaker, and then Buck came along and bought it and started giving her orders. She automatically resented him even though she was attracted to him.”

Their issues

Someone is stalking Julianna. She doesn’t know why, and neither does Buck, but he makes it his mission to watch out for her.

She wasn’t alone in the bedroom. She saw a shadowy figure silhouetted against the drapes and supposed he must have made a noise that wakened her.

She broke into a cold sweat. Should she scream or pretend to be asleep? She quickly made her decision as the dark figure approached the bed. “Buck, help me,” she screamed.

She had hoped that the noise would frighten the attacker away, but instead he crossed the room in two big strides and grabbed her. Julianna struggled mightily, but the bed covers hampered her, and the intruder was a strong man.

His hand clamped over her mouth, and when she refused to stop struggling, he drew back his fist and hit her solidly on the cheek. Momentarily stunned, Julianna relaxed into the bed. The attacker ripped the covers off and dragged her from her bed. Seconds later her limp body hit the floor with a thud as the intruder turned to face an enraged Buck Abercrombie. Buck’s fist smashed into the man’s face twice, and he lay still.

“Julianna! Are you okay?”

Of course dodging bad guys can lead to complications.

Julianna slid gingerly under the covers and Buck reached for the lamp. He plunged the room into darkness, and both he and Julianna lay tensely in the bed. Both were careful not to touch the other.

Eventually, Julianna turned on her side and spread out, assuming her favorite sleeping position. Buck’s legs were in the way so she gave an impatient kick to scoot him over.

“Stop kicking me,” Buck protested. “You’ve got most of the space anyway.”

“I do not.”

“Yeah, you do. I’m barely hanging on over here.”

Julianna sat up and reached across Buck to measure the space. “You have all kinds of room left.”

“I don’t,” Buck argued. “If I turned over I’d fall off the bed.”


A short silence fell on the room.

“I can’t sleep on this side of the bed,” Buck complained. “You’ll have to change with me.”

“I like this side. I’m not going to move.”

Buck turned over heavily, causing the bed to rock and shake.

“Be still,” Julianna smartly commanded. “How can I sleep if you keep bouncing me around?”

A minute or so passed, and Buck turned over again, bumping Julianna with his knees. Nerves on edge, Julianna kicked him again. This time he kicked her back.

War broke out with a flurry of shoving, kicking, and struggling that ended with Buck on the side of the bed that he favored with Julianna molded to his side. She shoved against the bed with her feet in an effort to root him off the edge, but Buck held fast.

The Welcome Inn is now available at or Please leave a comment to be entered in the drawing for a copy of The Welcome Inn.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mystery Anyone?

1.Hi, Donna, thanks for stopping by. I know your new book which was just released is book number 3 in your mystery series. What can you tell us about the series?

Thanks for letting me visit, Elaine. The "Fiddling With Murder" series is set in the Missouri Ozarks. Constancy Grace Stafford, who was abandoned by her young mother and brought up by her great-grandmother, is an old-fashioned girl. By profession, she's a kindergarten teacher. She's always had a problem with being a bit clumsy, but falling over a body begins the worst trip she ever took.

2.Obviously you like mysteries. Which other genres appeal to you?

I enjoy some fantasy, specifically touches of fantasy interacting with the real world. I have two stand-alone books in print, which are a product of that interest. On the Wings site, one is labeled paranormal romance, the other fantasy romance. The romance is family-rated, and both could also be classified as mysteries. I call them my "fairy-tale mysteries".

3.Were you inspired by other authors? If so, who?

I'm not sure I would say I've been inspired by other authors--except in general ways. I've always loved to read, always loved mysteries and fairy tales. I don't consciously try to imitate any particular author or style, but each book I read teaches me something else about writing.

4.When writing a new book how do you decide on the theme, genre or topic?

I write in the genres I most enjoy reading. Topics can come from anywhere. In Fiddler's Lament, the Missouri caves, the village where I was born (which is now nearly a ghost town), and a long-deserted resort along an abandoned rail line all came together to provide setting. Out of that the story grew. I seem to have one main theme running through all my books, but I didn't realize it until I had written several. It wasn't a conscious decision. My books tend to grow like pearls. Some little seed gets planted in my brain and things begin to grow around it. It's not an easy or comfortable process, but hopefully it produces something worthwhile in the end.

5.What do you think is the hardest part of writing?

Getting a complete first draft written. I've never been able to outline in advance, no matter how many times or how many different methods I've tried. I wish I could. Getting from the beginning to the end is like walking into a difficult maze--lots of dead ends and backtracking before I get out the other side. Then there's the marketing, but that's another story.

6.What’s the easiest part of writing?

Rewriting, revising, polishing. I love the moment when I first get to the end of a story. Then I can go back and tidy and polish. I can make sure everything is coherent and work on little details that hopefully will make the characters and settings come alive to readers.

7.Do your fans’ comments influence you? How?

I think all of us love to hear from anybody who reads our books. I'm a very shy person. Before I was published, I was too timid to contact authors to tell them I enjoyed their books. Now I see how much it can mean to writers to get that feedback. Hearing from my readers keeps the writing spark strong. I started a Facebook group for the series. Readers don't have to be my "friend" to join. They gave us some great input when Pat Evans and I were working on a cover for Lament. I won't write my books by taking opinion polls, but I do like to hear from readers, whether or not they like the books.

8.Could you tell us a little about your pathway to publication?

I have been a writer all my life, well, since I was six. They didn't have public kindergartens in our part of the Ozarks back in the 1950s. Just before I was ready to start first grade, my mother put a pencil into my hand and showed me how to write my name. From then on, I was fascinated by the idea that I could make marks on paper and other people could look at them and know what I meant. I didn't seriously begin to write long fiction until we moved to a place that gave me severe culture shock. I worked through it by writing, finished a couple of manuscripts and eventually decided maybe I should try to get them published. Those first two still haven't been published. They were learning exercises. My first publishable manuscript became a book in 2003. In 2005, I found Wings e-Press. They have been fantastic to work with, and I now have five books with them.

9.Could you share your links with us so we can find you on the web? Be sure to give a buy link for the new book.

I have a website and a blog. Information about the series and other books are at both places. Books are available at the Wings bookstore.

10.Okay, now for the good part. Would you share an excerpt with us, please?

[Constancy sees a photo in the local newspaper that reminds her of an old classmate.]
I hadn’t heard anything from or about Eeper for years. Not that I’d tried, but in a town the size of Fraserton any news about former residents spreads nearly as fast as news about current residents. Even if you don’t seek out gossip, you hear it sooner or later. I certainly hadn’t heard that Eeper was playing fiddle with Hillbilly Hoedown.

The man in the polka dot shirt and overalls sure looked like him. His hair partially hid his ears and a beard hid his chin. Even so, those features were distinctive. I’d always thought he looked like a young Abe Lincoln, although I never had dared say it to his face. He probably would have taken it as an insult. I wiped my damp eyes and squinted at the paper again, trying to make the slightly blurred picture more clear. It didn’t help a bit.

Well, I had my own personal music expert right here, and he had actually played with these people. “Danny?”

“The apple butter is every bit as good as the blackberry jelly,” he said, and put another piece of bread in the toaster.

“Danny, listen. When did Eeper start playing with Hillbilly Hoedown?”

He turned and looked at me. “Eeper?”

“His whole name is Edsel Elwood Elmer Powers.”

“Edsel-- Taken individually, they’re all fine names, but what kind of parent would hang the whole lot of them together on their darlin’ baby boy? And how do the names translate into Eeper?”

In my opinion, Danny, whose complete name was Brendan Conor Aengus Egan, didn’t have much room to complain, but that was beside the point. “I don’t know why his family named him that, but he was a physics whiz in high school so he signed his name as a capital E with a superscript three after it. It looked like E cubed, but he pronounced it ‘E to the third Power’, as in Powers, get it?”

Danny rolled his eyes. “Nobody could be bothered to say ‘E to the third power’ every time they yelled at him, so they shortened it to ‘Eeper’. Of course, his folks called him Ed, but he wasn’t going to take that from any of his schoolmates.”

“Edsel Elwood Elmer Powers,” Danny repeated, shaking his head. Then he gave me one of his best police interrogator looks. “Is this Eeper an old flame?”

“Nothing for you to worry about. I’ll admit I had a crush on him for about two days in second grade. That was only because he was new. After that he might have struck a few sparks, but they weren’t sparks of infatuation. He was in and out of school here. His family lived in Fraserton when we were in second and third grade, then they moved and were away for a long time. They were back here for our sophomore through senior years, but left again right after Eeper graduated. His dad was our preacher both times. I was halfway scared of Eeper, to tell you the truth. The kid was more than a little beyond weird both times.”

“In what way?”

“In high school, we couldn’t decide if it was because he was a scientific genius, or because he was a first-class musician, or because he was in total rebellion against his family and all their most precious beliefs. He had loads of talent and intelligence, but it seemed like he enjoyed getting into trouble more than anything else in the world. One of our favorite games in high school was trying to guess what he would eventually make of himself. Some kids and a few teachers thought he would go on to win a Nobel Prize in physics or play at Carnegie Hall. Others were convinced that he wouldn’t get any farther than the county jail.”

“Interesting character.” Danny looked again at the paper, focused on the picture. “So where does your wild and weird Eeper fit into Hillbilly Hoedown?”

“Surely you met him when you played with them.”

“I met nobody by any of those names and the whole group seems to be in the photo,” Danny said. “Which one are you calling Eeper?”

“There. The fiddler.”

Danny looked downright shocked. “Woody Powell? A scientific genius? A rebel? Surely you can’t be serious.”

“Woody Powell, huh? Well, I’m not surprised he changed his name. I can’t vouch for his intelligence as Woody, but when I knew him as Eeper he was the smartest kid in high school. Back then he could have taught some of the science classes, especially physics. The teachers either loved him or hated him.”

“But, darlin’, Woody can’t even speak straight English.”

“Believe me, he can if he wants to. Or Eeper could. Back when I knew him, he could speak every kind of English from good standard American to British aristocrat snob, and three or four foreign languages to boot. What’s he doing now? Speaking Ozarks Hillbilly all the time?”

“That’s the whole of what I’ve heard out of him--when he opens his mouth at all.”
“He had a couple of Ozarks dialects down pat. One minute he would be speaking perfect grammar book English. The next minute you could mistake him for the mossiest old geezer from the deepest, darkest, most forgotten holler in the hills.”

“When Woody speaks, which isn’t often, mind, you’d think he had never in his life been more than six yards from his plumbing-challenged cabin in the woods. You’re telling me now that he could speak several different languages in high school?”

“He could. I don’t remember which ones, but he seemed equally fluent in all of them. I know he could talk to the French and Spanish teacher in either language. The Powers family did missionary work overseas during the years they were away. I suppose Eeper learned the languages then. He probably made it a point to learn all the nastiest words from every one of them just so he could embarrass his family.”

Danny kept staring at me as if he didn’t quite believe my story. “I’ve never heard Woody curse or mention anything the least bit off color, which is not something I can say of all the folk I know. Are you sure our Woody is your Eeper?”

Great excerpt, Donna. Readers remember to leave a comment for Donna so that your name will be entered in a drawing for a free copy of my Wings release The Welcome Inn.

Oh, if you were wondering why Donna had her picture made in front of a hearse, this is the vehicle that carried her mother-in-law to her final resting place.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Museums Can Be Murder

Last week we welcomed a professional clown who just happens to be an author. Today let's welcome a PhD who just happens to write mysteries. Leave a comment for Sarah and your name will be entered in a drawing for a free copy of my Wings novel The Welcome Inn. Okay, here's Sarah.

What if you had to move a large collection of heavy, awkward plaster casts of Roman emperors and Greek gods out of an old building and the only way was to lower them down through an elevator shaft? And someone cut a cable while you were doing it so that a statue crushed your museum director?

This is the premise behind The Fall of Augustus, my latest Lisa Donahue archaeological mystery. It’s set in a fourth floor attic museum very similar to one that I worked in for three years at the University of Illinois. The situation with moving the casts was based on facts; what happened inside the elevator shaft was not.

If a setting can be a character in a novel, then the former World Heritage Museum (now fictionally moved to Boston to protect the innocent) is a humdinger. It was a labyrinth, so crowded that student guards couldn’t see all corners of a gallery. Pigeons soared through broken windows and left their deposits on statues of Greek gods. Dismal enough during the day, it was positively creepy at night. I took my turn at closing the museum, giving my password (the name of a Greek goddess) to campus security, ignoring the shadows cast by suits of armor and the rustling of winged creatures (pigeons, or bats?), and racing down the back stairs before the alarm tripped. What a great place for a murder…

In the novel, storerooms in odd locations (on two different floors and in the basement) provide convenient hideaways for stolen artifacts and dead bodies. The odd layout of the building (one staircase that only goes to the second floor, two others that go to the fourth floor) makes it easy for villains to escape. Needless to say, this drives the police crazy.

The human characters in Fall are just as odd as the building—an Assistant Director with a clothes fetish, a janitor who likes mummies, and a Don Juan preparator who has a talent for making artifacts disappear. And most sinister of all, a new museum director who makes Lisa’s blood run cold. Murder by transport amphora, anyone?

The Fall of Augustus is Sarah Wisseman’s third mystery. It is available in trade paperback and ebook at Wings:

For more information, go to Sarah’s website: