Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Love and Romance... Novels

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

Today is all about celebrating love and romance and cherishing those you hold dear. What better way to do that than in a romance novel?

People read romances for different reasons: for great storylines, to live vicariously through the characters they care about, and to know that whatever obstacles these lovers face, they’ll overcome them together.

I write stories based around characters who find each other, fall deeply in love, and live happily ever after—but not without going through some emotional ups and downs. Although my characters love each other, everything isn’t always roses and sunshine. As they work through their challenges, they have to learn a few lessons about themselves, trust, honesty, or whatever their personal internal struggles are.

For example, Sherrie and Curtis, in my contemporary romance, Trust with Hearts, have to work through painful issues in their pasts before they can open up and learn to trust again. In my historical fantasy, A Most Intriguing Temptation, Elara and Dalton learn important lessons about temptation and fidelity. 

And in my gay romance, A Secret Match, Everett struggles to come to terms with his sexuality and be open about who he really is. These trials and emotional hardships are realistic challenges that people face in their lives. But once the characters have learned what they need to, they can live happily-ever-after.

But sometimes love can be a surprise. In some of my books, the characters aren’t looking for love—it’s the furthest thing from their minds—but there it is. One morning, Cassie, from Lies, Love & Redemption had a handsome stranger collapse in her arms and nearly die in her store. Sam turned out to be her strongest advocate—and soul mate. Brian was taking in the waves when he found his true love on a deserted beach in Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover. Although these types of relationships are uncommon, the characters focus on commitment and “being there” for the other person for the long haul, no matter what. And that’s important in “real life” too!

Many of my characters find true love when they are willing to open their hearts and risk sharing their deepest emotions, darkest secrets, and intimate desires—and then discover that the other person loves them even more for it. David and Jack from Four Days with Jack are an excellent example of how opening up and risking rejection can lead to true love. Claudette, from A Most Unfortunate Prince, has a checkered past and is hesitant to confess her secret to Allan, but when she does, she finds true acceptance.

One of the things I like about writing romances is that I can make life miserable for the main characters and keep readers wondering: How are they going to live happily-ever-after? How will they get past this? And in real-world situations couples may be thinking the same thing about the challenges in their lives.

In my books, I make sure the characters get on each other’s nerves, and I add lots of conflict (external and internal) to pull them apart. (Haven’t we all been there?) The conflict can be anything that will destroy their happy world: maybe he won’t compromise; his parents don’t approve because she’s from a different ethnic background; the hero finds out the heroine has a secret; the man he loves cheated on him (or so he thinks); his beloved princess was kidnapped; or a blackmailer wants her dead.

In The Viking’s Witch, Odaria is nearly burned at the stake and is rescued by Rothgar, a brutish Norseman she can’t stand. Over the course of the book they fall in love, but at the same time they bicker, keep secrets from each other, people are trying to kill them, and it seems that Rothgar has betrayed her to her sworn enemy. Yet, under all that conflict and heartache, their love is a constant, and they learn important lessons as they fight to stay together.

Whether you read historicals, fantasy, gay, paranormal, or contemporary romances (or a combination) you’re always guaranteed a great story, troubled characters you can’t help but root for, some steamy love scenes, and a happy-ever-after ending.

Because in the end, love conquers all, and that’s how it should be.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Whether you’re in a committed relationship or not, find someone you care about and tell him or her how much they mean to you! (And don’t forget to show your pets some extra love today, too!)

Until next time,


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Loving a Wild Stranger: A Q&A with the Author...

Hi everyone,

Today I’m sharing an excerpt from an interview with Gotta Write Network. I answer a few questions about my historical romance, Loving a Wild Stranger.

Q: In this historical, Kathleen Stanton flees her pampered life in Kingston, New York. Fate leaves her stranded in a small town in Michigan Territory. Why did she feel she had to leave her home? Was she looking for independence or freedom for what her family has planned for her?

A: Kathleen is running from an abusive fiancĂ© (although at first, readers aren’t sure why she’s running away). She’s an independent woman for the time period and never fit in with how she was “supposed to” behave. This caused a lot of problems between her and her parents. After witnessing something tragic, she finally saw the light and realized leaving was her only option.

Kathleen left home in a hurry, with no real destination, just “away”. As she traveled the country, she worked several jobs to earn stagecoach fare to keep running. When her money finally ran out, she ended up stranded in Michigan Territory.

Q: What solution does she arrive at to find escape from her past, shelter, food and safety?

A: In order to get herself out of a jam, Kathleen calls herself Michelle and impersonates a stranger’s mail order bride. The man, Luther, seems nice enough, and she tells herself that the arrangement is temporary until she can move on.

Q: What do Luther and Michelle have in common?

A: They’re both considered outsiders and are not accepted by their families. They had to fend for themselves at a young age and make their own way in life. This brings them closer together and they learn to rely on each other over the course of the novel.

As the story progresses, Kathleen learns a lot about herself, how to overcome the past, and how to live a completely different (rugged) life in the wilderness. Her eyes are opened to new cultures and she transforms herself into an entirely different person.

Q: What inspired you to write this novel?

A: The idea of a woman on the run impersonating a stranger’s wife came to me one day. I started thinking about possible plots and different characters. I wanted to tell a story about a young woman who struggles against her past, herself, and her surroundings, and still finds true happiness.

Q: How much research did you do about mail order brides before writing the book?

A: A lot! Believe it or not, mail order brides are not a thing of the past. A simple Internet search leads to dozens of sites for modern-day mail order brides from all over the world. In the 1800s, many of the brides were foreigners or widows. There wasn’t much of a screening process, so basically a man wasn’t sure who (or what) he’d be getting himself into—and neither did the wife. (Luther mentions this in passing in the book.) Michelle is young and pretty, and he considers her an excellent catch. Not all mail order bride situations had happy endings, however.

Q: What makes Loving a Wild Stranger different than the other historical romances you’ve written?

A: Loving a Wild Stranger is different for a few reasons. First, it has a very mild heat level. Most of my romances (historicals and contemporaries) are spicier, with more love scenes. It also takes place in a small cabin on a remote mountain and has a very woodsy feel. My other historicals are usually set in estate houses, castles, or other elegant settings. The characters are more down-to-earth and gritty, and I deal with several “not so nice” subjects not often found in a romance.

I’m happy to say the book has received several great reviews. 

Read more about this full-length romance novel and order your copy here:

Be sure to catch up on all of my romances on my website:

I have a page for my historical romances. Check it out here:

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Until next time!