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Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Reyes Family- A Series by Fiona McGier

My guest today if Fiona McGier who writes for Wings Press which is one of my publishers. Fiona, thank you so much for coming today. I'm having a lot of fun talking to authors whose work I haven't read yet. I'm going to bankrupt myself buying books! Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I have been happily married for the past 26 years, and we have 4 young adult children. I have full responsibility for my widowed mother who has Alzheimers, and count my lucky stars that she was so frugal, as she is now living in an assisted living place, since we don't even have a closet to spare around here! And on most weekdays, there isn't anyone home who could watch her, since all 4 of my kids have jobs and go to school (1 senior in hs, 3 sons in college), and I am on the call list for a local high school district as a substitute teacher. I am a certified English teacher who specialized in the teaching of writing, but alas I've found that districts want to hire teachers who are endorsed in reading, and who are 22 years old, and I'm not either! But the students in two schools started a Facebook fan club for me, so they helped me to overcome my fear of on-line chatting, since I joined it to see who was in it. They e-mail me for advice on their writing, and ask me about college choices and careers.

I started writing after my Dad passed away and I was scrambling to find a way to care for my Mom while trying to sell her house. I really needed to believe in happy endings, so one day I sat down at my laptop and started to let the stories out of my head. As a child I thought that everyone walked around with characters "talking" in their head, entertaining them with scenes. Now I'm glad to share those stories, and hope readers enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them. And my books always have happy endings, usually accompanied by a wedding.

It sounds to me like you have your hands full. Both my son and I have characters taling in our heads. We laugh about it from time to time. How did you celebrate when you received “the call”?

It's happened a few times...first I run around the house yelling, but frequently there's no one home to congratulate me. Of course, sometimes my kids have friends over, which led to one of my son's friends deciding that the tattooed biker on the cover of one of my books must be what my husband looks like! And my kids tease me about what I write. But 2 of them have read at least one of my books, and my daughter told me I write good stories, just with heroines too old for her. My son told me I write in a very literary style, and that I write "tasteful" sex scenes. But then, since I've never censored what they read, I have to wonder just WHAT he's read to compare it to!

You write erotic romance. What drew you to this genre? Do you write in any other genre?

At first I felt embarrassed about the fact that I write romance novels. Most people think of them as "cotton candy for the brain", or a very simple kind of entertainment. But I began to notice that most pop songs are about love stories, most movies and TV shows deal with love and romance, and I began to realize that since we all fall in love, and as humans we are all designed to seek a life-time partner, that what I write about is really the universal human condition: falling in love, getting married, and having children. I try not to write down to my readers, and sometimes will include research into something that one of the characters is involved with. For instance, in Analysis of Love, the 4th book in my Reyes Family Romances series, Catalina, the heroine, is pretending to need analysis by a very sexy doctor who uses Abraham Maslow's theories of self-actualization in his practice. So during the course of the book, the reader will learn what the 7 steps are to the process, and just why this is such an important and interesting concept to think about.

I have written a few short stories that are sci-fi romances, or sci-fi erotica. One of them is a free read on my website. But even when I'm imagining another world, or the future of this one, I guess my mind will always put a love story, with naughty elements, into the picture!

When you have a new book coming out, do you worry about reader reaction?

Not really. I just worry about if there will BE any readers! Actually I have a core group of friends who buy every book I have published. They encourage me with comments, and reviews, and tell me when I am doing something they approve of, or when I'm not. I have an aunt who reads everything also, and she told me that the most recent book, Love Therapy, was not only a great love story, but parts of it made her cry. I take that as a supreme compliment, that I could touch her emotionally like that. My ex-roommate from college just e-mailed me that she finished the book I published on Smashwords as a free read, and her comment was "Hot, hot, hot! When's the next one?" She reads them much faster than I can write them!

LOL. I worry if there will be readers too! Is there a particular author who has especially influenced your writing? If so who and how?

I really like the breezy, conversational style of Mary Janice Davidson's romances. I enjoy reading about insights into human nature and behavior in books by Desmond Morris. I enjoy Margaret Atwood's books, though her vision of the future is a bit too distopic for me at times. I always have at least 3-4 books going at any given point in time. They are at various places around the house, where-ever I might sit, but my tastes are really eclectic, so there's really no one influence.

I'd say I'm eclectic as well. I don't like to limit myself to just one genre. Would you share your links with us?

I'd love to! My website is: The first page is a blog, and there are pages for each of my books that have been published, with excerpts and links to reviews. There is also the free short story I alluded to, as well as a contact page for anyone who might like to chat with me.

I have an author page on Goodreads:

Prescription For Love, a free download is at:

Please share an excerpt with us. Don’t forget to include a buy link.

My books are all available at and, as well as other sites. But for the best pricing, please visit my publisher's site:

My books are all available as downloads and paperbacks, with the sole exception that Smashwords doesn't offer the paperback option. So I had to send a manuscript copy of that book to my aunt who doesn't own a computer! But as a loyal reader as well as my aunt, she's worth the postage! ;-D


Miguel’s first love, his high school sweetheart, was the woman he wanted to marry…because they belonged together. But she had a different kind of future in mind and left for college, leaving him and his broken heart behind. 20 years later he saw her at their high school reunion. Will he walk away this time? Or is it still meant to be? And what will his family think?

After he got another drink, a double this time, Miguel looked around the room for Alicia. At first he didn’t see her anywhere; then a crowd of men laughed, and a few of them moved around, and he caught a glimpse of her, standing in the middle of the group, laughing. She had taken off her jacket, so that now she was wearing only an olive green spaghetti-strapped dress, made of some sort of silky fabric that shimmered when she moved.

It was obvious from the simple lines of the dress that she also took very good care of herself, since she was only slightly curvier than she had been twenty years ago. And the simple gold necklace that she wore around her neck drew attention to her neck and shoulders, which had always been some of her most attractive features. Of course, her cleavage was also eye-catching, especially since the style of the dress did not allow for her to be wearing a bra, and her nipples poked ever so slightly into the fabric.

Miguel felt his mouth go dry…he licked his lips and took another gulp from his drink.

“No!” He sternly told himself, “I will not make this easy for her, not this time…not ever again!”

A little later, after Miguel and Alicia have "reconnected", he calls her cell phone from his apartment.

“Are you already on your way back here?”

Alicia nodded.

“Um hum,” she said as she turned on her car, and checked her mirrors to begin driving. “I’m pulling out of the lot now. Why? Do you want me to pick up the pizza on the way home?”

Miguel smiled almost audibly into the phone.

“No, I’d rather order it later, after we have had a chance to be naked for a while, if you get my meaning.”

Alicia giggled.

“You bad boy! You are distracting me in a major way while I am trying to drive!”

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Today's special guest is Tricia Schneider. Patricia, welcome to my blog. Thank you so much for stopping by.

Could you tell us a little bit about you?

Thanks for having me here, Elaine! I’m a mother with two small children and another on the way. They keep me extremely busy but I manage to get writing done during naptimes and after bedtime. Before I had kids, I worked for 12 years at a Waldenbooks store. I was the resident ‘romance expert’ and also the Assistant Manager for 6 years. Working at a bookstore is perfect for an avid reader, although your paycheck tends to go right back into the business.

I bet they do! I'm a sucker for a book store. How long did you write before you got published?

I’ve been writing as long as I could pick up a pencil. I didn’t consider serious publication until my late teens, however. And for a number of years I studied the writing craft and wrote more than I submitted. It wasn’t until my first son was born that I decided to pursue that dream with more determination. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do this and I want my children to know that dreams really can come true.

I've said the same thing many times. What is your favorite genre? Why?

I’ve always been an avid romance reader, something I picked up from my mother since my memories of her were always with her nose in a romance novel. It was only natural for me to start writing romance. I’ve also held a fascination for all things paranormal since I was very young and I love history, so my writing reflects that, as well. Historical paranormal romance is where I fit best.

That sounds good to me! What are you working on now?

Currently I have 2 projects I’m working on. First, I’m working on the sequel for my debut, The Witch and the Wolf. And I’m in the process of re-writing parts of my full-length novel, With My Last Breath, which won third place in the Haunted Hearts contest in 2008. Both, of course, are paranormal romances.

What advice would you give aspiring writers?

Never give up. I’ve been told those three precious words for as long as I’ve been studying this craft. It’s great advice for anyone who has a passion to pursue something. Write, write, and write some more and never give up. The more you write, the better you get at writing.

Once more you've given advice that I've also given. Would you share your links with us?

I have a website where you can find me I’m also frequently at Facebook and GoodReads and will gladly chat with anyone who’d like to join me there.

We’d love to read an excerpt. Don’t forget to give us a buy link.

You can find The Witch and the Wolf at The Wild Rose Press

There were several moments Jeremy North suspected he suffered hallucinations. Most of those times had been when he had first begun to change into the beast during the full moon. And now, as he answered the knocking he had at first imagined to be the pounding in his skull, he wondered if the brandy he had been drinking this evening was perhaps tainted. He could not quite believe his eyes.

A woman stood on his doorstep, covered in a layer of snow, her bright blue eyes silently pleading to him just before her eyelids fluttered closed, and she crumpled at his feet. He managed to set the candle down safely on a table in time to catch her before she cracked her head on the stone beneath her. He lifted her effortlessly into his arms, brought her into the house, slamming the door closed with his foot. He hurried into the library with his unexpected guest. North had returned earlier seeking the warm oblivion of yet another glass of brandy. He grimaced at the memory of countless other sleep-deprived nights spent in much the same way. Sans an unconscious woman, however.

He placed the bundled woman onto the sofa, ignoring the fact that the snow was bound to create a water stain on the fabric once it melted. He leaned over her, pushing the curly brown strands of wet hair off her face and checked to see if she still breathed. Satisfied when he felt her breath on his hand, he went back to the corridor.

“Amery!” He roared.

Turning back to the woman on his sofa, he again felt the necessity to blink his eyes, wondering if they played a trick with his senses. He lit more candles to brighten the room and added more wood to the fire. Then he walked back to the woman and knelt at her side. He found her hand dangling over the edge of the sofa and took it gently in his, the digits frozen stiff. He inhaled a gasp. He cupped both of his hands instinctively around hers, hoping to lend her his warmth.

He heard the shuffle from the hallway and Amery’s muttering, then a noisy yawn.

“Bloody hell! What is this?” Amery bellowed from the doorway.

North ignored the query. “We need blankets,” he said, instead. “She’s frozen through.”

Amery nodded and left.

A muffled groan from behind drew his attention, and he turned to see the woman’s eyelids flutter open. He inhaled sharply as her bright blue gaze fell upon him.

She studied him for a moment.

And then, she smiled.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Characteristics of the 1940's Home

More info on the 1940's...

During the 1940's homes became more luxurious. Here's a list of things that you could expect to find in a 1940's home. A lot of them are standard today. The picture shows an original wallpaper design from the 1940's.

1.The use of wallpaper became more popular.

2.An increasing number of homeowners picked carpet for the homes, probably to help insulate the home.

3.Hardwood floors were still the norm.

4.They used asphalt for kitchen tiles and/or roofing.

5.Bathroom fixtures were made of chrome.

6.New houses often included hot water heaters.

7.Barbecue patios were popular.

8.Heating systems with thermostat controlled heating were installed in new homes.

9.Red brick was a popular siding.

9.Kitchen cupboards were considered a luxury.

10.Architects’ new floor plans often included double garages.

11.Multiple unit homes increased in popularity.

12.Room size increased.

13.Furniture was plusher. Chair and foot rest sets were very popular. They were made with spring seats, rounded cushions, and/or heart shaped backs.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Looking for Jimmy Stewart

Welcome to the blog! Today's guest is Jeane Daly whose first book Looking for Jimmy Stewart was released this spring. Jeane, thanks for coming.

Thank you Elaine for inviting me to your blog site.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Did you always want to be a writer?

I wrote mostly for my own enjoyment. Poetry, short stories for my little ones. An avid reader myself, who enjoyed a good romance story; I started dissecting some author’s stories and tried my hand at writing contemporary romance.

I know exactly what you mean. I've done a little dissecting in my day too. For anyone not familiar with your work, what genres do you write in? Have you ever considered other genres?

I write contemporary romance. My first book Looking for Jimmy Stewart was released this March.

What do you think makes a book a page turner?

A page turner, or a book you hate to put down, consist of a good storyline, interesting characters you can relate to, and the magic of a good story teller.

That's a great answer. What advice would you give aspiring writers?

No matter the genre, join a group; like Romance Writers of America, or Partners in Crime. Groups are wonderful, helpful and a good opportunity to meet other writers of the same genre.

What are your future goals as a writer?

Basically, to keep on writing. I’m working on a new book now and hope to be finished in the fall.

Good luck with the new book. And now we'd love to read an excerpt from Looking for Jimmy Stewart.


Jack flattened his hands on the wall, one on each side of her head, leaned in and smiled down at her. “This may sound strange, but the last part of this evening was the most enjoyable.” His mouth, soft and warm, caught hers in an all too brief sweet kiss. Nothing passionate about it, but it reached every part of her body like an explosion.

Swimming through a haze of feelings and mixed emotions, she pushed him away. “Why did you do that?” She struggled to catch her breath.

“I hadn’t planned on kissing you. It just happened.” He turned and opened the door.
She thought of Kimmie. “Let’s pretend it never happened, okay? I just want us to be friends, nothing more.”

“Friends it is. And I’m sorry if I made you feel uncomfortable.

She smiled, hoping she’d made herself clear. “Have a nice flight.”

Visit my web site and

You can find Looking for Jimmy Stewart at these sites., or ewingspress. Com

Your book sounds great, Jeane. Come back and see us again soon.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Renting To Own by Linda Rettstatt

Today's guest is Linda Rettstatt. Linda, thank you so much for coming.

Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I grew up in the small town of Brownsville, Pennsylvania, but I now reside in Mississippi. I've worked as a semi-professional musician, amateur nature photographer, retail sales clerk, clerical office staff (where I acquired my highly-developed keyboard skills ), a case manager/social worker, and a psychotherapist. Whew, no wonder I'm tired! But all of these experiences have given me useful information for my books. I wanted to write from time I was a teenager, but didn't have the encouragement or self-confidence at that time to pursue a writing career. I started writing seriously about eight years ago. I now have eight novels published (with three different publishers) and a ninth scheduled for release in November. I have a day job in social services four days a week (to pay the bills), but I enjoy that three-day weekend for writing. I love to travel when I have the chance. Two of my guilty pleasures are dark chocolate and playing penny slot machines. Last summer I took the leap and adopted a cat who now has me fully trained to attend to her every need and whim.

Ha, ha. I'm trained too. We have three cats. How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?
There is probably a lot more of me in my books than I would like to admit. My friends will often tell me parts of a book are autobiographical. I tend to write stories that are heavily character-driven, and I'm sure my work as a psychotherapist helps me get inside the characters head and emotions. I don't hold to the notion of only 'writing what you know'. But I don't think any of us can divorce ourselves from our personality, our past, our dreams for the future, or our quirks. So I'm sure I appear regularly in all of my books in one form or another.

Most people think authors live glamorous lives. (We wish!) Describe a typical writing day for us.
On the days that I work my social service job, I don't get home until after 5:30, so I don't get a lot done those days. I generally try to critique or work on marketing and promotion in the evenings. Sometimes I'll go over a chapter or scene I'm trying to sharpen up. But Friday through Sunday is writing time. I tend to sleep a little later those days and work into the wee hours of the next morning. I'm a pantser, so I can write straight through for up twelve or thirteen hours with few breaks. I get absorbed in my story and in my characters and can forget to eat (but not as often as I need to) and become a bit of a hermit. I have to remind myself to take breaks and socialize. I usually have two or three works in progress running at the same time. If I hit a sticking point on one, rather than get frustrated, I just switch gears and write something else for a while.

You're a girl after my own heart! We have some of the same characteristics except I never forget to eat. When writing a new book, how do you decide on a theme, genre, or topic?
I primarily write women's fiction, though my stories almost all have a romance subplot, some stronger than others. My theme is generally within the women's fiction realm—female character is faced with some challenge, obstacle, loss, or opportunity and has to overcome blocks to achieve her goal. My characters are mostly women who find the inner strength they need to pursue some goal or dream as yet unrealized. Most of my characters have been middle-aged, though the character in my latest book, Renting To Own, is a twenty-three-year-old single mother.

That sounds good to me. If you could meet two authors, who would you pick and why?
Lisa Scottoline because I think she's brilliant at crafting characters who draw you into their world and at developing stories with tension that makes you want to stay up all night and read. She also seems like both a nice person and someone with a hilarious sense of humor. I think she'd be fun. I'd also like to meet Kris Radish because she has such deep insight into the psyche and emotions of women. Her characters are so well-drawn and the predicaments she puts them in so creative, yet believable. And she'd know how to order a good bottle of wine for us to share while we chat. (I'm terrible at choosing wine, and not much of a drinker. She could have most of it.)

Would you share your links with us?
My web address is:
My blog address is:

We’d love to read an excerpt from one of your books. Don’t forget to leave us a buy link.
I'd love to share this excerpt from my latest release from Class Act Books – Renting To Own.

Lily took Chelsea's hand and Rick moved to the other side of the child. Chelsea reached up and took hold of his hand. He didn't seem to mind. The three of them walked hand in hand down the block for ice cream, just like any family. The scene brought a lump to Lily's throat. It had been hard raising a child alone. She was often concerned about the effect it had on Chelsea, not having a father or a grandfather in her life. Rick cannot be Chelsea's father figure. Get that out of your head. Though it is time I dove back into the dating pool and found a suitable candidate. The last thought made her shudder.

Chelsea kept busy with a huge banana split made with fudge swirl ice cream that was sure to destroy any plans of dinner. But it allowed Rick to explain the realty business to Lily and outline her job duties—something that probably should have occurred that morning.

She set down her spoon. "I know I got off to a rough start today with phone messages, but I really am competent and a fast learner."

"I believe you. It takes time. I should have oriented you before throwing you to the wolves. So, tell me about yourself."

Lily gulped a mouthful of ice cream, giving herself a brain freeze headache. She squinted one eye. "Myself?"

"Yes. Where'd you grow up? What about family? Why are you winking at me?"

"Brain freeze." She fluttered her eyelid a few times and pressed her fingertips above her right eyebrow. "I grew up in Lakewood, near Cleveland. My mom died when I was seven. That left my dad to raise me and my older brother."

Rick shook his head. "Wow. That must've been tough, being so young and without a mother, and the only girl in the house."

"My Aunt Natalie, my mother's younger sister, helped us out. But she got married when I was ten. She and her husband moved to California, then to England. My dad didn't cope with things very well, so I kind of raised myself."

She watched his eyes move from hers to glance at Chelsea, and back again. The question hung between them.

"First and only boyfriend. He got college, and I got… I'm not complaining." She ran her fingers lovingly through Chelsea's curls. "She's a blessing."

Chelsea looked up, ice cream covering most of her face. "Me?"

"Yes, you," Lily said, taking a napkin and wiping the child's face. She looked back at Rick. "We've managed fine. It's been hard at times. My high school English teacher took me in. She probably saved my life and Chelsea's."

"My Auntie Helen's coming to stay with us for the summer," Chelsea announced.

"Well, I'll have to meet Auntie Helen some time." He glanced at his watch. "I'd better get you back to the office. Don't want to be charged for overtime. You all finished, kiddo?"

Chelsea nodded, wiping her mouth and dropping the napkin into the empty plastic boat-shaped bowl. "Thanks."

"You're very welcome." He cleared the table, then held the door while they exited. He reached for one of Chelsea's hands as if he'd done that very thing every day of her life.

Lily's chest tightened and she cleared her throat. "You're good with kids. You have any?"

"Me? No. Oh, no. I'm not the family type. I have nieces and nephews, though."

"Did you always live here in Leesport?"

"Yep. Born and raised. A small-town boy. My grandfather started Gardner Realty before my father was born. He passed it on to my dad and, now that Dad's retired and he and Mom are living the good life in Florida, it's all mine."

"Did you ever want to do something else?"

"Nope. Well, I played football in high school, but I wasn't that good, just big. I guess because I grew up around the real estate business, I love it. I'm a natural born salesman, so I've been told."

Lily made note of his self-proclamation. What might he try to sell her on?

Buy Link:

Linda, thanks for stopping by. I enjoyed your excerpt and look forward to reading your book.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

See How They Die By Mary Alice Pritchard

Hello, and welcome to my blog. Today's special guest is Mary Alice Pritchard who kindly agreed to do an interview for me.

1.Mary Alice, thanks for coming. Tell us a little bit about you.

I’m 47 years old and divorced. I have seven feline muses who enjoy tormenting me while I write. I’m a nurse and have been writing professionally for nearly seven years now. I love to read nearly as much as I love to write. I also enjoy gardening and travel.

2.Wow, we have a lot in common. I have three feline muses, read constantly, enjoy gardening, and love to travel. How long does it take you to write a book?

Usually about three to four months depending on length and if anything is going on in my life to take me away from writing. I have been known to write one in a little over a month but it was rough.

3.Do you always write romantic suspense? Have you ever tried a different genre?

I write paranormal romantic suspense and erotica. I love romantic suspense and decided to twist it a bit and add the paranormal. I write under a different name for my erotica though ;-)

4.I don't do erotica, but my book The Welcome Inn is romantic suspense. Do you think movies, radio, and TV influence your writing? If so, how?

Actually, no. Other authors and books influence me though. I read something and I start to thinking, what if?

5.That's generally the way I get my inspiration too. Can you tell us about your path to publication. Any sprints or stumbles?

I started out with a new small publisher with a book I proposed. They closed their doors and I sold the first book I’d ever written to another e-publisher. Sadly, they went under as well. Now I’m with The Wild Rose Press, Dark Castle Lords and Siren publishing and love them. I have a total of four books and three short stories out so far with another book in edits.

6.Could you share your links with us?

My web page is
My blog is:

7.We’d love to read an excerpt from one of your books. Be sure to include a buy link.

Most dreams don’t come true but Rhiannon knows her nightmares do. They haunt her until it’s too late for the victims. Rhi can’t hide anymore when the latest victims are found close by. Determined to help the local sheriff stop a madman before he kills again, Rhi has to set aside her own fears placing her trust and just maybe her life into the hands of another lost soul.

See How They Die by Mary Alice Pritchard
The Dark Castle Lords
Buy It Now At Dark Castle Lords

“Look, I’m not going to Casper with you. I’ll email you every single detail from the dreams as soon as I can write them down.” Rhi waited, but all he did was smile and shake his head. “Then you’re going to have to arrest me.” She schooled her face to hide the panic that washed over her and jerked the two ends of the towel tighter across her legs.

“Can’t,” was all he said. His eyes never left her, kicking her anxiety level up a notch or two.

“What do you mean you can’t? Can’t what?” Rhi had a bad feeling she wasn’t going to like this answer.

“I’m not an officer of any type of law, so I can’t arrest you.” His dark eyes still held their promise of danger, his face void of any expression. Finally, he moved off the bed, stretching to his full height before slowly approaching her.
Rhi’s breath caught in her throat as she watched him draw nearer. Caught in the chair with a towel barely covering her, she had nowhere to run. Her only choice would be to drop the towel and break for the door, but she wouldn’t even consider that option. When he leaned over her, snagging her panties with two fingers from the back of the chair, she sank deeper. His face never registered the first hint of emotion, but his eyes grew impossibly darker as he slowly lowered the silky scrap of cloth into her lap.

“You’re going to Casper.” He caught her eyes with his and she couldn’t look away no matter how much she tried. “Unless you’d rather stay here with me as your roommate.” Leaning forward, he placed a hand on both arms of the chair, smiling with that predator smile, more teeth than lips.

It wasn’t a particularly friendly smile, but one holding the promise of something deliciously wicked. Rhi nervously moistened her lips, still unable to tear her eyes from his, and tried to keep from sinking any deeper into the chair.

“At least in Casper you’ll have a room all to yourself.”

Dear God, she groaned to herself. That smile was a dangerous thing. When it wasn’t all teeth, being dangerous, it turned his dark eyes into fiery pits promising every exquisite torture a woman’s body could ever crave. Everything inside her wanted to find out what just one of those delicious tortures would feel like, but she knew better. The crackling energy around him seemed alive with a mind of its own, telling her even though a taste would be worth it, she’d likely get burned in the end.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cosmetics and Regency Ladies by Guest Blogger Amy Corwin

You're going to like this author, folks. Join me in welcoming Amy Corwin to the blog. Amy, I love this!

If you’re like me, you’re always fascinated by potions, lotions and cosmetics. Maybe it’s the idea that you can stave off the effects of time and find that perfect solution that will let you—finally—catch the attention of that guy you’ve been lusting after. Maybe it’s just the fun of pampering yourself for a few minutes out of your busy life.

In any case, this idea is not new. Throughout history, women (and men) have created cosmetics to smooth their skin and make them attractive to the ones they desire.
So it’s not surprising to discover that Sarah Sanderson, the heroine of the historical romance, The Bricklayer’s Helper, is desperate to find that elixir that will dissolve years of sun damage and make her beautiful. However, Sarah is not your typical Regency lady, and a good face cream is more of a necessity than a luxury. She’s lived a hard life as a bricklayer’s helper for more than a dozen years, and it has left the inevitable marks on her face and hands.

You see the character of Sarah is based upon a real Regency woman who, after being orphaned at an early age, decided it was better to live as a man and find honest work then live on the streets as a prostitute-one of the few jobs open to females alone in the world. So like that brave woman, Sarah labors hard outdoors for thirteen years until the person who murdered her family discovers her identity.

However, when she enlists the aid of an inquiry agent, William Trenchard, she soon finds herself in the awkward position of wishing to make herself more attractive to the man she’s trying very hard not to fall in love with.

So, what would she do?

Her first stop might be the ladies’ magazine, La Belle Assemblée. This wonderful periodical often had recipes in it for skin lotions and tinctures, as well as descriptions and pictures of the latest fashions. Herbals were also full of natural remedies. Some, like rose water, are still in use today by those who enjoy making their own beauty supplies.

The following is a recipe Sarah would definitely use to fade her unbecoming tan and make herself more beautiful to her handsome hero, William.

Crême de l’Enclos

Use this every morning and night to remove a tan.
Take half a pint of milk and mix with the juice of a lemon and a spoonful of white brandy. Boil and skim of all scum. When cool, it is ready to use.

I’ve been tempted to try that, myself, as gardening has created a few brown spots that I’d love to get rid of. Lemon juice as historically been used for fading spots and lightening hair, so it’s not surprising to find it used in this lovely Regency potion.

And now, here is an excerpt from Sarah and William’s story…

Book: The Bricklayer’s Helper
Published by: The Wild Rose Press
Publisher website:
Release date: Aug 6, 2010
Author: Amy Corwin
Author website:

In this scene, Sarah has pushed William a little too far and she’s about to get everything she deserves…and then some.

Excerpt from The Bricklayer’s Helper

“Get back into bed, or I’ll put you there.”

Her eyes turned silver as she studied him, her head cocked to one side. “If you think you can, I recommend you try."

“I don’t foresee any difficulties,” he said, striding toward her. After all the stabbing and head-bashing, he thought she’d have enough sense to stay abed.
Obviously, he was wrong.

He deliberately came to a stop mere inches from her, hoping to discomfort her at least half as much as she had discomforted him since their first meeting.
She stared at him, her chin thrust out at a mutinous angle. Although she blinked a few times, she didn’t back away.

He glowered.

Her eyes blinked more rapidly.

So he did the only thing he could think of that would put the fear of God into her soul.

He leaned nearer and kissed her.

Amy, thanks for coming. Your book sounds absolutely fabulous, and I think I'll try that potion myself. The stuff my dermatologist gave me didn't do much good to get rid of spots. If I have good luck I'll report back.

Thursday Thirteen: Have You Read These Books?

Here are 13 famous books of the 1940’s with the first seven being books that most experts agree defined the times.

1.The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer

2.Young Lions by Irwin Shaw

3.A Bell for Adano by John Hershey

4.The Human Comedy by William Saroyan (talked about prejudice in a World War II setting)

5.Black Boy by Richard Wright (Richard is my favorite male name. My hero in Return Engagement is named Richard.)

6.Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care by Dr. Spock (revolutionized child care)

7.The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

8.For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

9.The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

10.The Last Tycoon by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The last three are children’s books.

11.King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry

12.Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes

13.Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski

The only ones I’ve read are Strawberry girl, King of the Wind, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Lottery. I first read The Lottery when I was in college. I remember that it horrified me. It was written to show how nice, normal people could have allowed the Holocaust. It's a short story not a full length novel so if you'd like to read it go to

What about you? How many have you read? Do you think 1940's literature is similiar to our own?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Let's Talk With Gemini Judson, Return Engagement's Cover Artist

An author waits with great anticipation for the cover of his or her new book to arrive. When it does, you either run around making everybody look at it and admire it, or you cringe and wonder how you'll tell the cover artist that it wasn't what you had in mind. My very first cover had too much skin on it which gave a false impression of the book. My publisher understood my complaint and graciously fixed it.

I didn't have any problems with the cover for Return Engagement. The moment I opened the email to look at it I was blissfully happy. I didn't want a single thing changed. Gemini Judson who did the cover perfectly captured what I wanted to convey. I asked Gemini if she'd talk to us about her work today. So, here she is. Gemini, thanks for coming today.

1.Can you tell us a little bit about you?

I’m a mom with a soon to be teenage daughter. I have a fulltime job as a lab supervisor. When the house gets quiet in the evenings, I get out my laptop and dig into creative projects. I’ve always been artistic and painted portraits for a while. A few years a go I put down the brushes and picked up a digital drawing tablet. I love it.

2.What qualifications do you have to have to be a cover artist?

Good question…my degree is in biology! After my daughter was born, I adjusted my work responsibilities – less time in the field -- and started making educational exhibits. It was a baptism into Photoshop and I was hooked. I enrolled in a digital art certificate program and have been freelancing ever since. Until I started doing covers at Whiskey Creek Press, most of my projects were exhibits, brochures, and posters. I created a line of greeting cards but just never had the time to devote to marketing. When I became a published author (thank you Loose Id!) I began paying greater attention to covers. What I noticed is there are some true works of art out there on the cover of ebooks, and beyond. There are some duds too. My goal is to make each cover a small, traveling work of art.

3.You certainly achieved that objective with Return Engagement. How did you get started as a cover artist?

When I’m writing, I create covers for my manuscripts. It inspires me. When Whiskey Creek Press offered me a contract for Green Grass, I sent my cover as sort of a long shot. To make a long story short, they liked it and offered me others.

4.I'm not surprised. I've seen your other covers, and they're great too. Readers she sent me some covers to share with you, but yours truly is technologically challenged and couldn't get them to post. Gemini is sharing links with us later. You can use those to see her other work. Gemini, could you describe the process you go through when you create a cover?

The author’s suggestions and ideas are like gold. When I read the blurb and story summary, ideas pop into my head and I get sort of a color vision. For Return Engagement, I saw the colors of the sunset, and you indicated something about a carnival on the beach. The most difficult part is clicking through gigabytes of stock images to find something suitable!

5.You’re an author too. Talk about being versatile! Tell us about your writing.

I don’t know Elaine…would you consider writing a left-brain or right-brain activity? It seems when I am in cover art mode, and have several projects underway, I crave the time to write. Yet when I’ve spent a few days immersed in a manuscript, I need to step back and feed my inner artist. Maybe that sounds dumb. It could simply mean that I have the attention span of a ten-year-old

I have four books currently available in the contemporary sensual/erotic genre. I have a fifth coming out in September from Whiskey Creek Press Torrid. The manuscript I am working on presently (when I am not out scooping grain for my inner artist) is a contemporary suspense/romance – much less heat than my others. I’m excited about it, but it is spilling out slowly.

7.Give us your links so we can find you on the web.

Thanks Elaine, for having me! Great questions. Introspection is always good…
Gemini Judson

Don't forget to look at her other covers. They're good too. Return Engagement's cover is entered in a cover contest at I don't know if the August entries are up yet or not, but Gemini and I would appreciate it if you'd vote for Return Engagement.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Thursday Thirteen: How Far Would Your Money Go?

Everything is so expensive nowadays! I spent $200 at the grocery store last week and had to go back for a few things I forgot. I saw a purse I liked at a local department store, but I refuse to pay $375 for it. (Okay, maybe I’m cheap, but …) My husband gave me a purse for Mother’s Day so I did get a new one, but I assure you he didn’t pay an outrageous price for it. I know because he left the price tag on it.

I expect they complained about the price of things back in the 1940’s too, but from our point of view they have nothing to complain about. Check out these prices.

1. In 1940 a new house cost $3,920.00 and by 1949 was $7,450.00.

2. In 1940 a gallon of gas was 11 cents and by 1949 was 17 cents.

3. In 1940 the average income per year was $1,725.00 and by 1949 was $2,950.00.

4. In 1940 the average cost of new car was $850.00 and by 1949 was $1,420.00

5. In 1946 in New Jersey you could buy a maple high chair for $7.98.

6. Ground beef sold for 55 cents per pound in Pennsylvania in 1948.

7. In California in 1944 Campbells Tomato Soup cost 25 cents for 3 cans.

8. One Pennsylvania store sold sliced bacon for 59 cents per pound.

9. In New York you could buy ladies sandals for $6.95 in 1948. Try that today.

10. Need a manicure? Ladies manicure cost $1.00 in 1945 California.

11. Get a Record Player / Radio Combination for $59.00 in Ohio in 1946.

12. Sealey Mattresses cost $38.00.

13. Nylon Hose went for a whopping 20 cents.

The pictures are interesting. One of them is a 1940's ad for shoes, the other other is my granddaughter trying on new shoes. To me, the new shoes look as if they'd be right at home in the 1940's, but you may not think so.

Mary Ann, you're the winner of last Thursday's contest. I'll email you your prize later today.

Remember my new novel Return Engagement is now available at