Sunday, December 25, 2016
I’m so happy to welcome my good friend, Jana Richards. She writes warm, witty, romantic comedy.
RW: Would you like to write a different genre or sub-genre than you do now?
JR: I would love to write a mystery series. I have a vague idea about what I want to write; it would be set just after WWII, and my hero would be a returning veteran with baggage and secrets. I just haven’t figured out what they are yet! But whatever I write, I’m pretty sure there would be some element of romance in it.
RW: Tell us about the scariest thing that ever happened to you.
JR: Getting attacked by a dog was probably the scariest thing that’s happened to me. I was walking my dog, and a bulldog that had escaped from his yard started following us. Then he started jumping up on me and biting. I got six stitches in my foot (I was wearing sandals) and puncture bites all up my left arm. Not fun. It took me quite a while to work up the courage to walk my dog on my own again.
RW: Wow! That would be scary. At least your own dog kept you from developing a fear of all dogs.
RW: Generally, how long does it take you to write a book?
JR: Way too long! In truth, it’s totally variable. I’ve written some books/novellas in a matter of few weeks. Something about those books made the writing flow easily — Yay! Others take months. And still others, years. When that happens, it means that I’m stuck on some element, or maybe something about the writing or the research scares me and makes me put it on the back burner. I’ve got one book on the back burner right now that I wish I could bring to a boil!
RW: I think we all know that feeling!
RW: Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you just go with the flow?
JR: I do my best to write every day. Sometimes it’s a blog, or an interview rather than a work-in-progress, but it’s still writing. If you’re going to be a professional writer you can’t go with the flow. You have to treat your writing like the business it is. You couldn’t run a regular business by showing up when you felt like it; you’d soon be out of business. Writing is no different. You have to show up every day and do the work.
RW: How do you come up with story ideas?
JR: Story ideas come from everywhere; TV shows, newspaper articles, even songs. The trick is to sift through all those ideas and pick one that will work. It needs to have an interesting conflict and a meaty plot. Sometimes I think I have a great story idea, only to discover half-way through the writing that the conflict I thought so clever isn’t strong enough to sustain the book. I hate when that happens! Fortunately, it happens a lot less often now than when I first started writing.
RW: What can we expect from you in the future?
JR: In the next couple of years, I hope to have lots of new books available for readers. I currently have six books in various stages of “not quite done”, and once I finish them, look out!
RW: If I were a first time reader of your books, which one would you recommend I start with and why?
JR: I’d say start with Her Best Man. It’s a light-hearted, fun contemporary and the first book in my Left at the Altar series. Though HBM (and the other two books in the series) has a lot of humor, it also has tug-at-your-heart moments. Each of the three books opens with someone being jilted at the altar.
RW: What are the elements of a great romance for you?
JR: Great characters that I can cheer for/fall in love with, a strong conflict that makes me wonder how these two are ever going to get together, and an interesting plot with lots of things for the characters to do.
RW: Satin sheets or Egyptian cotton?
JR: Definitely Egyptian cotton. I love the warmth and softness. I don’t like feeling like I’m going to slide out of bed!
RW: Hunky heroes or average Joe?
JR: Both! Especially when that average Joe steps out of his ordinary world and does something above average.
RW: What do you hope readers take with them after reading your work?
JR: First of all, I hope readers will be entertained. I hope the characters and their story stay with them long after they finish my book(s). And I hope they learn a little something about trusting in love.
RW: Those are all the questions I have for you today. Thanks so much for visiting my blog.
Her Best Man
Sarah Stevens experiences a bride’s worst nightmare; being dumped at the altar. When she goes on the Caribbean cruise meant to be her honeymoon in order to lick her wounds, she discovers her ex-fiancé has sent his brother, Will Marshall, the former best man, on the cruise as well. Everyone on board thinks they’re newlyweds, and Sarah is too embarrassed to set them straight. How is she supposed to share a tiny cabin with a man she barely knows? How is she supposed to pretend that she and Will are on their honeymoon? Even worse, how can she keep from falling in love with him? Sarah discovers the best man for her really is the best man.
When Jana Richards read her first romance novel, she immediately knew two things: she had to commit the stories running through her head to paper, and they had to end with a happily ever after. She also knew she’d found what she was meant to do. Since then she’s never met a romance genre she didn’t like. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance set in World War Two, in lengths ranging from short story to full length novel. Just for fun, she throws in generous helpings of humor, and the occasional dash of the paranormal. Her paranormal romantic suspense “Seeing Things” was a 2008 EPPIE finalist.
In her life away from writing, Jana is an accountant/admin assistant, a mother to two grown daughters, and a wife to her husband, Warren. She enjoys golf, yoga, movies, concerts, travel, and reading, not necessarily in that order. She and her husband live in Winnipeg, Canada, with their pug/terrier cross, Lou, and several unnamed goldfish. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.janarichards.com
Sarah felt her positive resolve slip a little. She stared at the ring, uncertain why she still wore it. Did she miss Brad that much, or was it the idea of being married she missed?
“Thank you,” she said simply, hoping Josie would drop the subject. Apparently, that was too much to hope for.
“Why is it you and Will don’t wear wedding bands?”
“Josie, that’s really none of our business,” Ted rebuked gently. He took his bride’s hand and planted a tender kiss on each of her fingers. “We talked about this, sweetie. Boundaries, remember?”
Ted’s love for Josie shone in his eyes, despite her lack of tact. He knew all her foibles, weaknesses, and plain old stupidities, and he still loved her. Sarah wondered why someone couldn’t love her like that. She stared at her engagement ring and thought of the day Brad had given it to her. She’d been so happy and so hopeful of a wonderful future. But now all her plans and dreams were gone, her hopes of having a family of her own dashed. How could he have done that to her?
The sob seemed to come from the pit of her stomach, working its way up her body until it just burst uncontrollably out of her mouth. She covered her mouth with her hand, shocked by the emotion as well as by the tears flooding out of her eyes. To her surprise, she found herself being drawn into Will’s embrace. She sniffled against his shirt, embarrassing herself further by getting his shoulder wet.
“It’s okay, Sarah,” he whispered. In a louder voice she heard him speak to the rest of the group who had stopped in mid-chew to stare at her.
“Sarah’s had a very difficult couple of weeks,” he began. This was it, she thought. This was where she got outed as a fake bride. She sucked in a breath. If he told the truth would he go to jail? Would she?
“We don’t have any rings because a few days before the wedding the jewelry store where we purchased our rings burned to the ground. Our rings were lost and Sarah was devastated. As you can see, she’s still emotional about it.”
Sarah sniffed against Will’s shoulder. What?
“Oh Sarah, how awful for you!” Josie said.
“But that’s not everything,” Will continued, his voice taking on a serious note. Sarah stopped sniveling to listen to what he’d say next. “The wedding dress she’d ordered was lost in transit. She had to wear a dress off the rack.”
Josie took in a sharp breath. “No!”
“But the last straw came when a pipe broke at the hall where our reception was going to be held and the place was flooded. We had to cancel.”
Again, more ohhs and ahhs sounded around the table. Where did he come up with these crazy stories?
Beatrice chuckled. “I’ve heard some wedding disaster stories, but yours take the cake. Don’t worry, Sarah. Someday you’ll look back and laugh, I promise.”
Gladys raised her glass. “Here’s to Sarah and Will. May their marriage be luckier than their wedding.”
Everyone raised his or her glass in a toast. As Sarah wiped her eyes, Will made a toast of his own. “To Sarah. Nothing but blue skies from now on.” He took a drink from his glass, his blue eyes full of compassion, with a hint of humor twinkling under the surface.
Sarah picked up her wineglass. How had he done that? She knew Will’s stories were more about saving his butt than protecting her from humiliation, but still, she’d rather be thought of as the girl whose wedding blew up then the girl who got dumped at the altar. For that she was grateful.
And how had he made her feel so safe and comforted in his arms? She shivered a little, remembering the gentle touch of his hand sliding up and down her back. For that she was less grateful. She was confused enough already about her feelings.
Sarah reluctantly tipped her glass to Will. “To blue skies.”
Author Website: http://www.janarichards.com
Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/janarichards
Sunday, December 18, 2016
Welcome Angela Raines, author of The Gift of Forgiveness.
RW: Who are your favorite authors?
AR: I love so many I would be answering from now until, but I do love Mark Twain, Gwen Bristow, Tennyson, Herman Hesse, and Ferlinghetti to name a few old ones.
RW: Why did you decide to write?
AR: I’d always told stories—mostly as an actor/performer, and it seemed a natural thing to do.
RW: What kind of research do you do for a book?
AR: I am always in the research section of the library. I’ve been researching women doctors in Colorado for over four years. It is a passion, and there were far more in Colorado between 1870 and 1900 than most people realize. Of course, when you look at what was happening during that time, you find all kinds of story ideas.
RW: Tell us about your latest book. What motivated the story? Where did the idea come from?
AR: My newest release came about when I did a “what if” as I was researching a murder trial in 1879. There was little said about the wife, and I wondered what would happen if her husband had been killed and she was left to fend for herself and her two children.
RW: Bubble baths or steamy showers? Ocean or mountains? Puppies or kittens? Chocolate or caramel?
AR: Bubble bath, Mountains by the Ocean, Kittens and Caramel
RW: A biography has been written about you. What do you think the title would be in six words or less?
AR: No One Told Her She Couldn’t.
RW: If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
AR: Funny thing is, I’d still like to live here in Colorado. It is like heaven to me.
RW: Colorado’s on my bucket list, but considering the many people who could live anywhere and have homes there, that makes sense. John Denver even changed his name to reflect his love of the state.
RW: What song would best describe your life?
AR: Ode to Joy
RW: What is your secret guilty pleasure?
AR: Hiking and taking photos.
RW: If you were stranded on a tropical island, who would it be with? You can choose any living, deceased or mythical figure.
AR: Robinson Caruso, because he’s been there and done that.
The Gift of Forgiveness
When Nettie Hascall’s husband, Jacob, is killed, she knows she must move away in order to make a new life for herself and her two children, Ila and Albert. But tragedy seems to follow the little family to Agate Gulch, and Nettie feels more and more as if she’s running from Fate. The memories of the evil that had almost befallen now-thirteen-year-old Ila resurface with cruel pranks…and then, the unthinkable happens—seven-year-old Albert is kidnapped. But why? And at what should be the most joyous time of the year, Christmas, the heartbreak is almost too much for Nettie to bear. She must find her son—no matter what.
John Flemming also is haunted by memories of things he did that he can never forget. Happiness will never be his, but he finds himself caring for Nettie and her children, and wanting to protect them all. When Albert goes missing, John knows he must break a vow to himself he made long ago—to lay down his guns forever. Now, he must take up his guns again to save Nettie’s young son—no matter the cost to himself. Going after Albert’s kidnappers spells the end of any relationship he might have hoped for with Nettie, but there is no other choice. Once he rescues the boy, he will move on…again?
Nettie and John have lost so much in their lives. Can a Christmas miracle bring them the love they both hope for? Can The Gift of Forgiveness spell a new beginning for two lonely people?
Angela Raines is the pen name for Doris McCraw. Originally from the mid-west, Doris now calls the Rocky Mountains her home. Doris is a writer, historian, actor, and teacher. An avid reader, Doris loves to spend time in archives looking for small, unknown pieces of history. Many times these pieces end up in her stories or poems.
Currently Doris is working in both the Medieval and Western Romance genre. Both have a wonderful history, much not commonly known which adds to the joy of telling these stories.
A photographer, Doris also writes haiku and combines them with her photography on her haiku blog: http://fivesevenfivepage.blogspot.com
“Jacob Hascall, I stood by you during the trial. I even went along when you made Ila leave out the real reason for the shooting, but that’s no reason to just give up. You still have a family.”
Nettie had been so tired of doing everything while Jacob sat around just staring at the walls. Even to herself, she had sounded shrewish—but she could only take so much. Yes, Jacob was justified in what he’d done. The jury had found him innocent, but the thought of killing the young man, despite what he had tried to do, seemed to take everything out of Jacob.
“Nettie, just leave me alone,” Jacob had growled, slamming the door as he left the kitchen. Later that day, his wagon, with its load going to Leadville, had gone off the edge of the road and down an embankment. Jacob had fallen to his death, his neck broken.
Months had gone by since that awful day, but tears flowed through her fingers today, just as they had almost two years ago. How many times had the scene played over and over in her head? Was there to be no end to it? Nettie remembered the last time she saw Jacob alive. Six months later, she, Ila, and Albert had moved to Agate Gulch. Slowly, she and the children were putting their lives back on track. Up here, they were far away from the notoriety of the trial, the threats and the stares of those who hadn’t understood.
Time to stop feeling sorry for myself and get something done. Nettie dried her tears.
Amazon Page: http://amzn.to/1I0YoeL