Archive for November 2015 | Monthly archive page
LeeAnn: I am slowly making my way through what I’ve already written. It’s slow progress due to other commitments within Lachesis Publishing Inc. I should be done soon and getting some new writing done. This exercise in discovering my book brought to mind some great advice I got from a quote from one of today’s top selling authors of all times – Nora Roberts. “You fix anything but a blank page.” At the time I didn’t think much of it, but in days like these ones it makes complete sense. You’ll have good days when your writing is amazing and bad days when your writing is crap. Here’s hoping for more amazing days than crappy ones
Jojo: It’s been a stressful few weeks for many reasons, and what I’ve learned is that I need to set smaller writing goals that are doable for me while working on the big goal of writing “the book”. I just read how Toni Morrison would get up at 4 am and work on Beloved before she went to work. I get up really early too, but I spend that time working on Lachesis stuff. LOL. So I need to carve out a “routine” for my own writing. I’m figuring it out. In addition to thinking time. Thinking time about my characters and my story is important.
At the end of the day the process of writing is the joy. I have to remember that.
Peace and creativity to all.
Jojo and LeeAnn.
In:Author Research and Travel, authors, Fantasy/Adventure, Historical Paranormal, Lachesis Author Guest Blog, Lachesis authors, Lachesis Blog, new adult, paranormal, Supernatural, Time Travel, Time Travel Paranormal
I really enjoy giving talks to students. I’ve been invited into scores of high schools because my three published books have been accepted for the New South Wales Premier’s Reading Challenge (PRC). This is a popular initiative in Australian States, where students sign up each year to read a certain number of books and receive certificates if they attain set goals. Their teachers question them before they submit their claim for a certificate, to make sure they have actually done the reading. The books, for the New South Wales Challenge, are set out in lists for each age group but it is not easy for an author to have a book accepted by the PRC committee. It cannot be self-published and must adhere to their standards of language, content and things like that. It also must be well written.
So, very early in my writing career, I made the conscious decision that I would write for teens and early twenty year olds (even though I have had ‘fanmail’ from youngsters up to eighty years of age). I didn’t read when I was younger. There were no books in my house. My parent were members of the local library but the few times I was taken there I had to sit on a hard wooden bench and not say a word. I’m so happy that things have changed and modern libraries encourage young readers and invite authors like me to give talks to the young readers’ groups.
But I’m getting off my original subject, which is the joys of giving talks to young writers. I always discuss the students’ needs with their teacher and tailor my talk to suit their requirements, but if I have a free hand, I like to talk about writing historical adventure stories.
I tell them that it is possible to gloss over facts and use generalities, and you could still tell an exciting tale, but if you want to sound professional and take your reader into the past with you, beware. You have to do a lot of research. If you get one thing wrong, there are re-enactment groups out there who look upon the past with almost religious zeal. Write anything wrong and they will want to crucify you!
So where are these pitfalls? The first is to think that something very normal to us today was always like that. Take sitting down to a meal. You might think a family in medieval times would have plates, knives, forks and spoons on the table. Wrong. Most peasants carried a knife at their belt at all times. They might need to cut honeysuckle vine to make rope or peel bark from a willow tree to crush to make a pain killer. So they would not need a knife supplied at meal times. And forks were not used in Europe until the eighteenth century. In England, the Royal Navy would not let sailors use forks even into the eighteen hundreds; they said it was effeminate!
And plates weren’t used either. At a noble family’s table, four day old rye bread would be cut by the panter. No, not the bloke who had trouble breathing. French was the main language used in England for about three hundred years after the Norman invasion, and the French for bread is pain. So this servant’s job was to cut pieces of stale bread so the noble family and their guests could use them as plates. The higher you were up the social ladder, the more ‘trenchers’ (from the French tranchier – to cut) you were given. So the Lord didn’t have to have his desserts on the piece of bread now soaked in cold, greasy gravy but the knight might have to.
I try to make my talk as amusing or gruesome as possible, so I like to quote from The Boke of Karuying (The Book of Carving) by Wynkyn de Worde. In the section on good manners, he talks about table manners. It is not polite, he says, to spit on the tablecloth or over it. Also he suggests not to blow your nose on it, either, which, of course, you might never have thought of. He discourages spitting a long way but says the polite thing to do is cover your mouth with your hand and spit on the floor near your chair. With many noblemen having at least fifty people to each meal, I wouldn’t like to be the servant who had to wash the floor after each meal.
And the choice of words used in your historical novel is important. If a person is speaking in the fourteenth century, he wouldn’t use modern expressions. There are also many words that just weren’t invented then. The word POSH comes from the letters chalked on luggage of wealthy people travelling to India in the days of the Raj. The cabins on the port side of the boat would be shady therefore cooler going to India and the starboard ones cooler coming back. So the mnemonic POSH, for Port out, Starboard home, was used. Flash in the pan, going off ‘half cock’ were expressions based on the use of the musket, a weapon not invented until after the period of my books. But a ‘cock up’ did happen in those days. An arrow usually has three feathers, with one of them sticking straight out of the shaft (the cock feather) and the others at an angle to the nock (the notch for the bow string). If you shoot the arrow with the cock feather on the side of the bow, it will send the arrow off course, thereby causing a ‘cock up’.
There are so many more aspects of medieval life that differ from today. The food they ate and the fact that most of them drank beer all the time. Students are usually amazed to find out that part of a servant’s wage was ‘small beer’ and a page boy would receive half the beer ration given to an adult. Then there are the clothes they wore. Kids like to hear how King Edward III ordered his soldiers to pad their codpieces when fighting the French, to look more manly. I like to take along a chain mail joupon and helmet and invite students to put them on, so they could feel the weight and try to imagine what it would be like to fight a battle dressed in armor.
And when I’m visiting England, I visit as many castles and stately homes as possible. Actually seeing the rooms used by nobility and the things they used in daily life is very interesting to me. Unfortunately I’ve never found a medieval hut still preserved, with the artifacts of the poorer people, but I read as many contemporary books and documents as I can find and search for paintings of the period. As I tell the students I talk to, it took days to clean a lamb’s skin and stretch it out on tenter hooks to make parchment. Each skin would make about eight pages which would be scored with feint lines using a pen knife; the tool used to sharpen the goose feather used to write with. And the best ink was made by finding oak apples with wasp holes in them. These would be crushed with a copper oxide and thickened with gum Arabic for the best writing consistency. So, having gone to all this trouble to make the materials, very few authors would waste their time writing about common people, who couldn’t read anyway. So I put a lot of work into making my writing as close to the real life of those days as possible. I hope my readers enjoy the results of my labors because I’ve really enjoyed doing it.
Richard Blackburn has written a three-book YA time travel/adventure series for Lachesis Publishing, called Guardians of the Gate, featuring a university student who travels back to Medieval England only to discover she has some amazing powers she never knew she had. Book 1 Dawn of the Sentinel and Book 2, Return of the Sentinel, are out now. Book 3: The Gatekeeper Rises will be out in 2016. You can get both books for only .99 cents right here at Lachesis Publishing during our Black Friday/Cyber Monday ebook sale!
In:Black Friday Deals, Black Friday E-Book Sale, Black Friday EBook Sale, Black Friday Sale, Black Friday Specials, blog post, e-book sale, From the Editor's Desk, Lachesis authors, Lachesis Blog, Lachesis Publishing Inc.
Oh. Yes. We. Are. We’re having an AWESOME Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sale. It starts TODAY and runs until next WEDNESDAY. 7 DAYS OF GREAT DEALS. All of our ebooks are ONLY .99 cents. Except the free ebooks. They are still free.
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Here in the Unites States we will be celebrating Thanksgiving at the end of the week and that has me thinking about blessings. Religious or not, we all have them. A person, a place, a moment in time – a gift – that when we recognize it we realize how lucky we are to own it.
My family is such a blessing, both the one I was born into and the one I have created. Blood or spirit, I realize I am surrounded by loving, caring, authentic individuals who make my life, both a free-flying joy and a grounded haven, – sanctuary and a touchstone from which I will never be disconnected no matter how far out I reach to find my dream. We toss each other skyward with hope and joy, and catch each other should the need arise. Always with love.
Then there is The Muse. Artists of all types know her. They have praised her, cursed her, sought her out when she abandoned them and embraced her on her return. Vigorously. With much song and dance.
And she deserves the attention because “a muse” is also a gift. A talent bestowed. A shining expression of you exploring the world, that speaks to that world with what seems divine intervention. Deny it vehemently if you must, but think of this: not every singer is Andrea Bocelli or Freddy Mercury or Donna Summer, not every musician Eric Clapton or Jimi Hendrix or Bonnie Raitt, not every author Stephen King or Nora Roberts or Tony Hillerman.
There are people who tell stories, and then there are storytellers. Through music or movement or word, they hit the right note, find the right phrase, or put forth the right visual. As an author, I embrace the word but count on the note and the visual to flesh out the story and reach the most people. I embrace The Muse in all her carnations, and thank the Universe and God and Creator for not only putting her in my path, but keeping her there because she’s my companion in crime. My shove when I need it, my path back to the stories when I lose my way in the busy-ness of life. She is the slap to the head that says, “Get back to it!”
So I give thanks for family and friends and life. But I also give thanks for the shove by The Muse. And the fact that The Muse is often tied to family and friends; their cheers push The Muse forward too. They all keep me moving forward and for that I am ever grateful.
What it’s About:
The Cluster is a vast alien machine that destroys starships indiscriminately in its quest for something or someone. Commander John Mark Ellis, disgraced and booted out of the service when he fails to save a merchant ship, believes the key to stopping the Cluster is communication. Clyde McClintlock believes the Cluster is God incarnate. G’Liat is an alien warrior whose own starship was destroyed by the Cluster. All together these three set out to solve the mystery of the Cluster before it finds the object of its quest.
Get CHILDREN OF THE OLD STARS right here at Lachesis Publishing for only .99 cents!
LeeAnn: I’ll be honest I’m finding it hard to make time to get back into my writing this past week. I have a very tight and busy schedule, like most of you. So when I challenged myself and Joanna I had to look hard at my schedule and see what I could give up in order to put writing back in. That’s how I figured that Sundays were my best writing days.
When I sat down last Sunday I found it harder than usual to get down to writing. My thought process was all over the place and I couldn’t really concentrate for long. Until then I hadn’t realized that the terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut had affected me. I don’t know why it would since I don’t have friends or relatives in either locations, but all the same it shook me up. I had to make a decision to either walking away from writing for the day (miss my challenge for a week) or force myself to write (probably have to rewrite everything next Sunday). I’m not one for procrastination and putting things off. I also hate not meeting any challenge I give myself. So I decided to do a little of both, I wrote for a little while longer but not as long as I have in the past.
Joanna: Sometimes things happen and you stumble and fall. And then you have to try again. I stumble a lot when it comes to working on my own projects. I know myself enough to understand that when I pile too much onto my plate I get sick. And this past week I’ve been battling a cold/ear/throat/bronchial infection. So I need to rest and re-focus my energy and then get back to shaping my idea.
Hopefully both LeeAnn and I will have better things to report next week.
Hopefully the world will also be a little more peaceful.
Until next time,
Jojo and LeeAnn.
In:authors, blog post, contemporary romance, Critique Groups, historical romance, Lachesis Author Guest Blog, Lachesis authors, Lachesis Blog, paranormal romance, regency historical romance, Regency Romance, romance fiction, romance hero, romance novels, Writer Critique Groups, writing craft, Writing Critique Groups, Writing good dialogue, writing inspiration
The good news is you joined a critique group. The bad news is you joined a critique group. Critique groups can help make your publishing dreams come true, or they can become your worst nightmare.
Some critique groups have seen all their members published by the Big 5 NY publishers. Others have ended in cat fights. Even worse, some groups have harmed an aspiring author’s confidence and set their careers back.
No critique group is better than a bad critique group.
The Golden Rule is: Leave your ego home and take your manners with you.
The following are common sense suggestions for successful critique groups. The members must trust each other. Those critiquing must give honest reactions. Politely, of course. The writer must feel free to disregard those reactions.
Do not stay in a critique group that is not helping your writing improve. Do not stay in a critique group whose members are nasty and critical. If someone is not adhering to the agreed-upon rules, the person should be asked to leave the group.
The members must agree on practical items. How many times will they meet per month? Where will they meet? Will they bring pages or send electronically? How many pages will be critiqued?
Ideally, critique groups should have 4 or 5 members. The group needs a facilitator to keep the group on track. That means keeping the group working instead of socializing.
Do not expect all praise. The members should tell you what did and did not work for them. Members may offer suggestions and alternate views about something. That is their opinion.
There is no correct answer in writing. We only have what works and what doesn’t work. You take what you want and trash the rest.
This is a tough one. Only one person speaks at a time. No interruptions are allowed. When the member critiquing is finished, the next one speaks. Meanwhile, the writer is taking notes on what is said. That prevents the writer from debating or explaining.
Recently, I critiqued chapter one and a synopsis for Lachesis author Claire Gem. I’ve attached her blog on this experience. Every writer who puts her work out there for critiquing should have as good an experience as Claire Gem.
The following excerpt is from Claire Gem’s blog (Claire Gem aka Charlotte Daly – is also a Lachesis Publishing author. Her upcoming release with Lachesis is the contemporary romance “Memories of You”:
It’s really hard for writers to put our work out there, open it up to criticism from not only the public but also from fellow writers. .
Those criticisms you hear whizzing by your ears are not always projectiles of ill intent. Sometimes, they are sacred offerings. Nuggets of pure gold.
I had a 30-minute, private chat with best-selling historical romance author, Patricia Grasso, after our regional RWA meeting. This was a planned consultation following a sequence of emails. Basically, I asked for her help on my struggling work-in-progress. Pat was hesitant to share her “lots to say” about my synopsis and first chapter. She didn’t want me sad or angry. After assuring her I would be fine, she agreed to sit down with me after the meeting.
I went with some trepidation. As soon as we sat down, she said, “You can use all, some or none of my suggestions. The book is yours so you make the final call.”
Pat criticized my POV switches, highlighting the fact they were confusing to the reader. She suggested some major plot changes that I may or may not use. She pointed out chunks of backstory that need “to go.”
“You remember that fairy tale where the little kid drops bread crumbs to mark his trail in the forest?” she asked.
“Hansel and Gretel.” I said
“That’s how you add your backstory,” she said. “A few crumbs at a time.”
She questioned my heroe’s flaw. “Have you ever read a romance with a hero with this particular flaw?”
“Yes, I just finished a book by Lisa Kleypas and the hero had that flaw,” I replied.
Pat regarded me for a moment and then said, “You aren’t Lisa Kleypas ”.
What I had anticipated as critical stones thrown on my work-in-progress began to sparkle like gems. I realized this wasn’t an annihilation of my work. It was a diagnosis, by an experienced veteran of the romance genre, with a suggested plan of treatment.
“Here I love these lines,” she said, pointing to two sentences on the page. “You have a flair for comedy. You need to play these up.”
“I write contemporary romance with ghosts,” I said. “Where is there room for comedy?”
“There are no rules that say you can’t have humor in contemporary, even if there are ghosts.” Pat sat back in her chair, tapping the pages. “This is your strength, the part of your voice you need to emphasize. Play up your strengths, down play your weaknesses.”
Pat’s comment couldn’t have come at a better time. I almost heard the tumblers click into place inside my head. Breakthrough. . .
Patricia Grasso is the author of eighteen historical romances including the Douglas Series which follows the love stories of the amazing Douglas sisters (Angelica, Samantha and Victoria) in Regency London and the Lords of Stratford Series, Regency historical romances with a fairy-tale twist about the aristocratic families in Stratford-on-Avon.
In:Author Research and Travel, authors, bestselling author, Bestselling Authors, Bestselling Authors Q and A, blogging, historical romance, Lachesis Blog, Promoting Your Book, promoting your books, Publishing industry, Q and A Bestselling Authors, regency historical romance, Regency Romance, romance fiction, romance hero, romance novels
Today we have the wonderful treat of chatting with the delightful USA Today Bestselling Regency Historical Author Sally MacKenzie.
Sally MacKenzie writes funny, sexy romances set in her favorite time period (other than the present): Regency England. Her novella, The Duchess of Love, was a 2013 RITA® finalist, and two of her books–The Naked King and Bedding Lord Ned–made ALA Booklist’s (American Library
Association) top ten romances for their respective years. Many of her books are available in audio format, and her stories have been translated into Czech, French, Indonesian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish.
Sally graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Notre Dame in the first class of women. She’s a Cornell Law School dropout, former federal regulation writer, recovering parent volunteer, mother of four grown sons, and middle-of-the-lane Masters swimmer. She loves to travel, especially to England to research historic sites and hike through–and frequently get lost in–the English countryside.
A native of Washington, D. C., she lives with her husband in suburban Maryland, not far from her childhood home.
What was your first book that hit a bestseller list? What was the list, where did the book rank when it first hit, and how high did your book get? Did you think it would make the list? Were you surprised?
The Naked Earl, my third book, squeaked onto the USA Today list for one week, and, no, I wasn’t surprised—but only because I was so naive back then and completely clueless about bestseller lists!
When something awesome happens in your career how do you celebrate?
I grin and do a little happy dance. I might tell a writer friend. Then I try to settle back to work.
I have a husband and four (now grown) sons. There’s no squeeing in my house. It’s pretty much, that’s nice, but what are we doing about dinner? (Though my husband did bring home champagne when I sold my first book.)
Tell us why you write historical romance and specifically Regency.
That’s where my imagination goes to play.
It’s all Georgette Heyer’s fault, actually. Many consider her the mother of the Regency genre, and if you love Regencies and don’t know her work, you must go immediately to check her out. I’ll wait, lol.
I first encountered Georgette when I was about eleven or twelve and a friendly neighborhood librarian introduced me to her books. I was hooked. Her stories are so witty and charming—though she keeps the bedroom door firmly shut. In my dreams, my books read like a Georgette Heyer—with (at least some) sex.
When I finished my first book, The Naked Duke, I followed conventional wisdom and immediately started a second book—a science fiction romance! So if I weren’t writing Regencies, I’d still avoid the present, but I’d move forward, not backward in time.
I only made it to chapter five of the scifi manuscript before The Naked Duke sold and I anchored myself firmly in the past, but the science fiction story was very different from my Regencies. It was more plot driven—and it wasn’t funny.
I have to say my most successful promotion wasn’t for a new release. Early on in my Naked Nobility series, I had large buttons made that said “I’m a Naked reader.” They were very fun and popular. I’m not certain that they persuaded anyone to buy my books, but they did help my series stick in people’s minds. The Naked King, the last book in that series, came out in 2011 (though the novellas were re-released as separate e-books in 2013), but even now when I introduce myself at events, if my name doesn’t ring a bell, I tell the person I’m the Naked writer and that causes the lightbulb of recognition to go off.
I’m always looking to make that magic again, but I’ve never hit on anything quite so catchy. My current giveaway is a small excerpt booklet I hand readers so they can sample my story and decide if it’s something they might enjoy. Then they can go to my website to read a bit more—and click on one of the purchase links to get the book, if they so desire.
I think it’s very hard to make a direct connection between promotional efforts and book sales.
You’re a USA Today bestselling author–what are three key ways that you think an author can invest in his/her career in order to expand his or her audience?
First, write the best book you can. Second, write the next book and try to make it even better. Third, write an even better book.
I know that probably sounds like I’m evading the question, but I really believe writing the best book you can is the only way to further your career. It’s the only part of the puzzle we as writers can control.
It’s nice if you can write many good books quickly—the more you have out there, the better your chance of developing a readership. But life is a matter of balance and each writer has his/her own process and pace. I’m pretty much a one book a year writer and I’m okay with that. It’s also not a bad idea to write books in a series, if that appeals to you, and to stay in the same subgenre. I think my career would be very different if I’d finished that science fiction romance and chosen to write in both the historical and science fiction romance subgenres. Certainly it can be done—and if that’s the way your muse rolls, then that’s the path you should take. It just might be harder—or at least, looking back, I think it would have been harder for me—to develop a career writing in two subgenres. I’d definitely need to write faster!
It also has to be said that, sadly, writing a wonderful book is not a guarantee of commercial success. There are a lot of moving parts when a book goes to market. And this business is fundamentally one of taste. What one person loves another person will hate or just find boring. For example, I loathe Gone with the Wind. (Was that an inhalation of horror I heard?) Clearly, GWTW is beloved by many. I’m just not one of them. So you might write a perfectly delightful book that only delights five people.
As to what to do after you’ve written the best books you can? I think it depends on your subgenre and your strengths and preferences. If you want to be published traditionally, finding an agent who’s a good match is a smart step. If you’ve decided to publish independently, then you need to be sure you understand all the pieces of that process—formatting, cover design, editing, marketing, etc. You probably need to do some promotion in either case, but what works for Author A might not work for you—or it might work this week but not next week. My rule on promotion is to do the things I find fun and not worry too much about the rest.
Finally, if you write romance—or perhaps even if you write any form of commercial fiction—I highly recommend joining the Romance Writers of America. The organization offers a lot of support and education, and you’re likely to find your “tribe” there—people who really get what you’re doing.
I know you love to travel–have you ever encountered any place or person on your journeys that you had to absolutely include in one of your books? Tell us about that.
Yes! Both a place and a “person” from my travels inspired my current Spinster House series.
The place: In 2013, when I was on the hunt for a new series idea, my husband and I traveled around Devon, England. In Exmouth, we came upon a quaint little house, A La Ronde. A La Ronde belonged to a pair of intrepid spinsters, Jane and Mary Parminter, and was passed down through Mary’s will to other spinsters in the family. The house itself isn’t in my series—it’s the idea of a house for spinsters that became an important part of my series concept. (The house itself is quite inspiring, but it’s too unique for my purposes.)
The “person”: Later on we stayed at The White Hart Hotel in Moretonhampstead. There we met Poppy, a calico cat that hung out in the lobby. One night I made the mistake of sitting in Poppy’s chair (when she wasn’t in it, of course). She gave me quite a look when she arrived to find her
place occupied, but was too well bred to take issue with me. She made such an impression, she became a rather important character in the series.
Here’s a picture of Poppy and her chair. (left)
What is one thing you absolutely LOVE about being an author and one thing that makes you BONKERS?
The writing. Really. I love it and I hate it at the same time. I get great satisfaction when I can make a character and a scene come to life, but it is SO hard.
Another thing I love—I became an author later in life having spent years concentrating on raising my four sons. So I love the opportunities I’ve had to make so many new friends—both writers and readers. I feel my world is ever expanding.
Another thing that drives me a little crazy, if not bonkers—Once a book goes out into the world, it’s on its own. Like my kids, actually. I’ve done the best I can, and now I have to let go and let them make their own way in the world. I keep from going absolutely bonkers by not asking my sons (the youngest is 26) questions I might not want to hear the answers to. And, in a similar fashion, I very rarely read reviews or look at my Amazon or other sales rankings.
All I can control is the writing, so I try not to waste precious mental energy on the rest. (Not that I always manage that, of course.)
Not every book can be a bestseller. Heck, some only sell a handful of copies. Tell us about one book (or author) that you’ve read recently that is a true gem waiting to be discovered.
Here I’m going to have to reveal a deep dark secret: I don’t read much fiction anymore. It’s sad and I do mean to work on it. As it is, with writing and life, I only seem to have time to read the newspapers. We get The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, and I usually read—or skim—them cover to cover. Tuesday is my favorite day—that’s when both papers have their health/science sections. And I love spending Saturday and/or Sunday morning going through the weekend papers. Mr. M. sprawls on one couch and I sprawl on the other and we drink coffee and read interesting tidbits to each other. (Mr. M used to work all the time, and our weekends were taken up with kid events—sports and scouts and whatnot—so maybe that’s why I value our “coffee hour” so much.)
I’ve also got a huge collection of research books begging to be read. When we go to England, research books are my souvenirs. Mr. M has to constantly remind me that whatever I buy, I have to bring home in my suitcase.
What is the coolest/nicest thing a fan/reader has done for you or said to you?
Simply telling me that he/she’s enjoyed one of my books. (I especially like hearing it made him/her laugh out loud.) I’m amazed and delighted every single time I hear that.
Writing is such a crazy, solitary endeavor. My creative process is slow and painful and messy and insane, full of despair and self-doubt. (I’ve just finished edits, so I’m still recovering from that burst of creative frenzy.) It always feels like a miracle when I manage to get 90,000 odd words together into a coherent (I hope) story. And it’s equally miraculous that those words can entertain and amuse someone I’ve never met.
Tell us about your latest release. And what do you have coming down the road?
I’m in the middle of my Spinster House series.. The prequel novella, In the Spinster’s Bed, came out this summer followed in late August/early September by the first book, What to Do with a Duke. I’ve just finished the copy edits for the second book, How to Manage a Marquess. It’s a May 2016 release. Now I’m turning my attention to the third book, When to Engage an Earl, which I assume will be out sometime in 2017.
Here’s the back cover copy forWhat to Do with a Duke:
Welcome to the charming, fatefully named village of Loves Bridge, where a woman destined for spinsterhood can live a life of her own choosing—or fall unexpectedly, madly in love . . .
Miss Isabelle Catherine Hutting would rather be lounging in the library than circling the ballroom in search of a husband any day. So when Cat hears that the town’s infamous Spinster House is open for a new resident, she jumps at the chance to put all this marriage business behind her. But first she must make arrangements with her prospective landlord, Marcus, the Duke of Hart—the most handsome man she’s ever seen, and the only man who’s ever impressed her in the least.
With her wit, independent spirit, and not least of all her beauty, Marcus can’t help but be stirred by Cat. It’s terribly unfortunate he’s not looking to marry, given the centuries-old curse that left his family with the Spinster House to begin with: No duke shall live to see his heir’s birth. But is there a chance the curse could be broken—in true fairy-tale fashion—by an act of true love? The race to Happily Ever After is about to begin. . .
BONUS QUESTION:What was the last laugh-out-loud-fall-off-your-chair funny thing that happened to you?
I can’t think of something quite that funny, but I do have something to offer that was mildly amusing.
We live across the street from a park with a man-made pond. The pond’s main purpose is to help manage storm water runoff, but it—and the park—are also great critter habitats. There are deer (lots and lots of deer), groundhogs, foxes, rabbits, turtles, snakes, various sorts of toads, and who knows what else. It’s not unusual for me to find a bit of wildlife in my yard. I’ve had deer sampling my shrubbery, a fox having a screaming match with a cat at 2 am, and a turtle laying her eggs in my lawn. But except for the occasional cricket or spider—or, once, a gigantic praying mantis—the critters usually stay outside.
Now here I should confess that I’m never going to win a good housekeeping award. There might not be any real animals in my house, but there’s a healthy colony of dust bunnies living under my bed, and a few can be found in other places throughout the house. Occasionally I’ll vacuum them up, but in general we co-exist.
One day I was on my way downstairs when I saw a dust bunny in the foyer hop. I blinked, not believing my eyes, but . . . it hopped again!
I was home alone, so it fell to me to deal with whatever this thing was. I approached cautiously and peered down at it from a safe distance, ready to bolt if it looked threatening—and discovered one of the little neighborhood toads had found his way inside and gotten covered in dusty bunny fluff.
I have no idea how the toad got in, but I couldn’t let him stay. So I carefully swept and scooped him out the door and then got a glass of water to wash him off. He seemed a bit stunned, but when I checked later he was gone, none the worse for his experience, I hope.
Thanks so much for giving me a chance to stop by and visit!
Sally MacKenzie is a USA Today bestselling author. Her forthcoming book How to Manage a Marquis (Spinster House Series, Book #2) is set for release in April 2016. You can pre-order right now. Visit her online at her website, on Twitter @Sally_Mackenzie, or on her Sally MacKenzie Facebook fan page, www.facebook.com/sallymackenziebooks.
Today, I want to touch on my Lachesis upcoming release, “Backstage Pass”. It is the third installment of my erotica series, “Devon and Desiree”. I am sure you can surmise what the subject matter is from the title, but I will clarify with juicy details anyway.
I came-of-age in the ’80s. It was a decadent, wild and exciting time, especially for a rebellious teen-age girl like I was. I had an intense fascination with the heavy metal “hair bands” such as Motley Crue, Def Leppard, and Quiet Riot. I found the music to be passionate, loud and defiant, which is what being a teen is all about. The rockers were rebels, very cool and super sexy! As a teenage girl, I was in awe of their larger than life personas, especially when they performed on stage.
My friends and I used to attend heavy metal/hair band concerts, and we would often get invited backstage by the roadies and/or crew. (No! We did not give any sexual favors for our backstage passes! We just simply presented ourselves at the right place and the right time!)
My friend Rachel was in love with Angus Young of AC/DC and we got backstage and met him. My other friend Michelle was in love with Vince Neil of Motley Crue, and we got backstage and met him, Tommy Lee and Nikki Sixx. (They were all very cool, actually.)
It was a fun and crazy time. Everything was accessible, not so in today’s world.
My upcoming novella “Backstage Pass” was about MY crush, and meeting the object of MY teen-age fantasies. No names shall be mentioned! (You will just have to guess!)
“Backstage Pass” was inspired by actual events that really happened to me in the winter of 1985 when I was seventeen. As I stated before, I will not name names to protect the no-longer-innocent, but let me assure you it was a lovestruck teenage girl’s dream come true. How many girls get to meet, and make out with, their teen-age rock star crush?
Without giving too much of my story away, let me briefly recount the unbelievable and amazing events of that cold, January night at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, Tennessee. My crush was the lead guitarist of the band we were going to see. Their posters were plastered on my bedroom wall, my locker at school. I kept pictures of him in a keepsake box my night stand. (What can I say, I was a teenager in “love!)
My friend and I managed to get up to the front row. I tossed a teddy bear onto the stage and got his attention. I blew him a kiss, he gave me a “thumbs-up” gesture. To make a long and tantalizing story short, my friend and I got backstage passes and met him in the hospitality room.
He was friendly, down-to-earth and very, very cute! We chatted a few minutes, then went for a walk. We wound up making out in his dressing room!
I know what you all want to know! Did we do IT? Nah! I was from a very strict, religious family (most likely the reason for my rebellion) and losing my virginity to a rock star would have ruined my reputation at the conservative, Christian private high school my parents forced me to attend. However, it was one of the most exhilarating moments of my life, until then at least!
A few days later, I received an enormous bouquet of red roses with a card that said “To my favorite fan”. Did he send flowers to every girl he ever met? Who knows? But he certainly made ME feel special.
On a sad note, he and I met up a few years ago (we reconnected on Facebook). He’s become quite bitter in his “older age”. His band never scaled the heights of super-stardom, they were more a “one-hit-wonder” type. He also didn’t seem to remember me. I really didn’t expect him to, but it was sad to see what he’d become just the same. I will still cherish those memories, even if they have been somewhat tarnished.
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