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In Praise of Dead Authors

June 28, 2022 by in category Quarter Days by Alina K. Field, Writing tagged as ,

The Regency Romances of M.C. Beaton

Welcome to my June 2022 Quarter Days’ blog.

A couple of months ago I discovered a new-to-me Regency romance author, M.C. Beaton, in a roundabout way.

My sister and I were discussing what we liked and disliked about the cozy mystery series Agatha Raisin set in the modern-day Cotswolds, and, since the books are almost always better, I bought the first book in the series, The Quiche of Death. Surprisingly, the film version followed the plot almost to a tee.

It must have been karma or those pesky algorithms when shortly after, my daily Bookkbub deal included a Regency romance by M.C. Beaton.

M.C. Beaton

If you’re a long-time Regency reader you might know of her books written under her maiden name, Marion Chesney. She was incredibly prolific. In addition to her ninety-nine Regency-set romances and romantic suspense stories, and the Agatha Raisin mysteries, she’s the author of the Hamish Macbeth Mystery Series, and the Edwardian Murder Mysteries featuring Lady Rose Summer.

Did I say she was amazingly prolific? Some scoff at self-publishing authors “churning out” books, but plenty of pulp fiction authors in the golden age of traditional publishing were writing and publishing lots and lots of stories and books. 

How many ways can you tell a Regency romance?

I’ve read and enjoyed several of her Regencies because I love her voice, her cheeky sense of humor, and her daringly outlandish plots. Characters of all ages find love in her stories.

The Eighth Duke of Hamilton and his duchess

In The School for Manners series, a pair of eccentric middle-aged spinsters, poor, but “high ton,” take in unruly young ladies and launch them into society in madcap fashion. In the series A House for the Season, an odd set of servants blackmailed into servitude by a corrupt property manager, deal with even odder tenants every season.

In The Regency Intrigue Series, heroines take on mystery and murder. One of Beaton’s most daring heroes in this series is the ghost of a Georgian duke who is able to materialize every night.

Immortality in the Pages

It’s pretty wonderful that even after an author passes on, the stories are there to entertain future generations.

Do you have a favorite author who’s no longer with us? Please share in the comments!

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Tracy Reed has a NEW RELEASE and FREEBIE!

June 20, 2022 by in category Pink Pad by Tracy Reed, Spotlight, Writing tagged as , ,

Tracy Reed has a NEW RELEASE and FREEBIE!

THE GOOD GIRL Part Five

Gabriella’s decision to become romantically involved with her Billionaire boss, shoots her up the corporate ladder and gives her the happy ending all women wish for. There’s just one problem, she doesn’t want the fantasy.

Excerpt:

GABRIELLA

The problem was simple. I was being thrust into a life I wasn’t sure I could or wanted to handle. It’s one thing to date or be married to a rich guy. But this is different. Phillippe and his family weren’t just rich, they were part of the secret rich. They were the kind of people who build hospitals, community centers, sponsor the arts, fund research, influence politicians…elect politicians.

When things began to get serious, he told me there were things he couldn’t tell me. I just had no idea, they included so many zeroes. I’m not stupid or naive. I knew Phillippe was well off, but this is way beyond my imagination. It’s also a world I’m not sure I want to live in. Sometimes love and great sex aren’t enough to build a marriage on.

PHILLIPPE

I wasn’t used to these feelings. In a matter of months Gabriella had infected my blood stream. I wasn’t the same. I wasn’t a cocky arrogant boorish man. It’s like that man died the moment I laid eyes on the petite curvy ball of love, I was privileged and honored to call my wife.

I thought about going over to the manor, but I didn’t want to face Mere. I was ashamed to tell her, I messed up things and may have lost the love of my life. The other reason I didn’t want to go there was my grandfather. If he were there I don’t think I’d…in my current state, I couldn’t be sure I wouldn’t do him physical harm.

He was the reason I was in this mess. If it hadn’t been for him insisting I get married and me being so stubborn, I never would have gotten involved with Gabriella. Now because of his interference, I may have lost the only woman I will ever love.

NEW RELEASE

Buy from Amazon
Buy from Apple Books
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Kobo

Download FREEBIE: The Good Girl Part One at www.readtracyreed.com

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How I learned to stop worrying and love TikTok… my 5 tips by Jina Bacarr

June 11, 2022 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, TikTok, Writing tagged as , ,

Do you TikTok?

Love it or hate it?

What to post? Dancing to retro music in your PJs?

Reading from your book while trying to looking into your cell camera?

Show your face or not?

Just when we authors felt comfortable Tweeting and Facebooking, now we’re TikToking.

Sort of.

It’s the Wild West in TikTok-land and it’s difficult to know what works and what doesn’t. For example, I posted a vampire short story about speed dating a sexy vampire with sound effects, action, romance, humor… it only got 12 views…

Sometimes I talk into camera about my books, but I haven’t mastered ‘page flipping’ the book, holding the camera, and saying anything remotely intelligent at the same time. I’m still sweating it, but I haven’t given up.

When I post beautiful cakes that I find in my local markets, I get hits. Over 700 on this one:

I even did an April Fools’ joke — a video about my ‘next’ book ‘LuLu goes to Paris’ about a little turtle’s journey…

Here’s my latest TikTok video where I show off my ‘cake skills’ — sort of, the vanilla buttercream icing melted — and talked abut my two Paris WW2 books. So far I have. ZERO views. (it can take HOURS for the TikTok algorithm to put your video in the queue… whom to show it to… where (country)… and a million other reasons. I don’t use the music you can add… I prefer to talk about what my books. If anyone has any comments about using the music tracks, I’m all ears (no pun intended but I couldn’t help it — it’s 3 am as I write this). UPDATE: 19 hours later, I have 335 views.

@jinabacarrauthor

tempting goodies while I wait for edits on my next Paris WW2 novel #booktok @boldwoodbooks #writingcommunity #book #historicalfiction

♬ original sound – Jina Bacarr

In the end, be yourself. If you love hamming it up in bunny slippers and Disney Princess PJs, go for it. Everybody knows we authors are ‘different’, so show the audience that part of you.

—————————–

5 tips:

post often

post short clips

be real and be quirky if that fits you

talk about your books… short and I mean short excerpts, lines, etc. Provocative, intrigue the viewer to want to know more…

use ‘author’ in your name so viewers know you write books. Mine is: https://www.tiktok.com/@jinabacarrauthor

I discovered these 5 tips by joining https://www.facebook.com/groups/tiktokforauthors — a fabulous group of TikTokAuthors on Facebook.

I’ve also just applied to join author Fiona Lucas’s new FB TikTok group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/tiktok4authors

That’s it for the moment… If you have any tips or TikTok stories you want to share, please do in the comments.

Most of all, have fun!!

Jina

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Linda O. Johnston–Mysteries, Romantic Suspense and so much more!

May 24, 2022 by in category Jann says . . ., Writing tagged as ,

Linda O. Johnston, a former lawyer who is now a full-time writer, will have published 57 books as of May 2022, including mysteries and romantic suspense novels.  Her new mystery series is Alaska Untamed, starting with Bear Witness, for Crooked Lane, under her first pseudonym: Lark O. Jensen. She also has a new Harlequin Romantic Suspense story being published in May, Guardian K-9 on Call. Most of Linda’s current stories involve dogs.!

Today’s interview is with multi-talented, multi-published author Linda O. Johnston. Let’s see what’s been happening in her life lately.

Jann:  I know you published several short stories before your first novel was published—A Glimpse of Forever. Do you remember what it was like to receive the phone call from the publisher?

Linda: Heaven! I’d been writing for a while and was hoping to eventually get a novel published. I loved time travel romance, and that’s what I’d written. And to learn it was actually going to be published? Wow!

Jann: Your career has blossomed. Forty-five plus novels later that include mysteries, romance, romantic suspense and paranormal romance. One thing they all have in common is animals. Is there a reason your books always include animals?

Linda: I include animals as much as possible because I love them, especially dogs. I’ve had dogs most of my life, and my favorites are Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. But to include any kind of dogs or other animals in my stories is really important to me. It’s fun that my new mystery Bear Witness, my first Alaska Untamed mystery, is about Stacie Calder, a naturalist who gives tours in Alaska and points out all sorts of fun wildlife to tourists.

And by the way, Bear Witness and Guardian K-9 On Call, which you mention in the next question, are my 56th and 57th traditionally published novels!

Jann: In August 2021 Harlequin Romantic Suspense published Her Undercover Refuge, the first book in your Shelter of Secrets series. Guardian K-9 on Call, Book Two released on April 26th. What obstacles did you set for your main characters, K-9 Police Officer Maisie Murran and veterinarian Kyle Kornel to overcome? Do they find their HEA?

Linda: In Guardian K-9 On Call, K-9 Police Officer Maisie Murran believes that Dr. Kyle Kornel, a veterinarian who works for the highly secret Chance Animal Shelter, is being framed for murder. Can she help clear him–or is her belief in him based unwisely on her attraction to him?

Kyle has argued with an owner of a local pet shop who is skirting the law regarding which dogs can be sold in the store. When she is found murdered, he becomes the primary suspect.  And then there are the dogs in question, who need to be saved.

While doing their respective jobs, Maisie and Kyle work together in all aspects of the case. Closely together. And… well, it is a Harlequin Romantic Suspense book, so I’ll let you guess whether they achieve their HEA!

Jann: Will there be a book 3 in this series?

Linda: Yes, there are likely to be at least three more.

Jann: I see you have another mystery series—Alaska Untamed Mystery. Congratulations!!!  The books will be published under your first pseudonym, Lark O. Jensen. What inspired you to create this new series?

Linda: Thank you!

I was on an Alaskan cruise a few years ago, before Covid, and had a particularly enjoyable time on a tour boat on the waters outside Juneau. The people who were actually providing the tour were wonderful, and my writer’s mind, always active, started wondering what it would be like to have a mystery series set in a similar situation. I even started asking some of the boat personnel questions. But no, we didn’t find any bodies onboard or otherwise.

Jann: How did you come up with the name Lark O. Jensen?

 Linda: I was asked to take on a pseudonym, though it was fine to let the world know it was me. I pondered all sorts of names, some nothing like my own, but decided to choose something that was at least somewhat familiar. And Lark O. Jensen has at least some similarities to Linda O. Johnston.

Jann: May 10th, Bear Witness, the first book in the series made its debut. Who is the main character and what challenges will this character have to face?

 Linda: Stacie Calder is a born naturalist who has come to Alaska because of the wonderful wildlife there. During the seasons where the weather will allow it, she gives tours on a tour boat in the waters off Juneau, and she brings here wonderful husky Sasha along. She has to put up with some somewhat nasty passengers who come along to research what happens on the boat because they want to start competing companies. One day, one of them disappears—and Sasha’s wonderful sense of smell discovers his body the next day on the shore of an inlet they visited. The authorities determine he was murdered, and Stacie has to get involved with figuring out who the killer is because some of her favorite people, including the captain of her boat, and even herself, are considered suspects.

Jann: You have several other mystery series including Barkery & Biscuits and the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries. What’s happening with them?

 Linda: At the moment, nothing is happening with the Barkery & Biscuits or Superstition Mysteries. But the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries are available in e-book form, and the spinoff Pet Rescue Mysteries will soon be available as audio books.

Jann: Do you find yourself returning to certain themes in your stories? What? Why?

Linda: As mentioned before, I like to include animals, particularly dogs. They speak to me, and not only in barks! I consider people who enjoy pets more likeable and think my readers may, too.

Jann: What kind of writer are you? A page a day or a burst writer?

Linda: It varies these days. I mostly write five pages or more a day when I’m in writing mode, which tends to be most of the time—or at least whenever possible. But I’m always thinking and planning and making notes.

Jann: In your books, who is your favorite character and why?

Linda: I love all my protagonists, or I wouldn’t write about them. I really like my new mystery protagonist, Stacie Calder, because of her love of wildlife and willingness to devote her life to studying and teaching people about them. I sometimes wish I could go visit her in Alaska and take one of her tours!

But perhaps my favorite is Kendra, of my Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries. Kendra is a lawyer who lives in the Hollywood Hills with her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Lexie. At the time I wrote the Kendra stories, I was a practicing lawyer, and one of my Cavaliers was named Lexie—and I live in the Hollywood Hills. I’ve never run into dead bodies and had to solve murders, though—except those I write about.

Jann: Do you ever run out of ideas? If so, how did you get past that?

Linda: Never! I’m always thinking and plotting.

Linda, it’s been fun looking back at your career and seeing what it’s like now. Congratulations and good luck on the new series, Alaska Untamed Mystery!! Looking forward to reading another fabulous mystery series.

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Mothers and daughters… theme of my next Paris WW2 book and why I wrote it by Jina Bacarr

May 11, 2022 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, women's fiction, Writing tagged as , , , ,

On this Mother’s Day past, I was looking for a pretty graphic of flowers or chocolate or a cute puppy

to post but how to personalize it?

Hmm…

I ate all the chocolate during my marathon writing week finishing my manuscript.

I could buy red roses… or pink… I like yellow…. I couldn’t make up my mind.

And if I went puppy shopping, I’d come home with as many cute puppies as my arms could hold.

Back to square one… how to personalize Mother’s Day?

Especially since my next Boldwood Books novel is about Paris WW 2 is about mothers and daughters. How two daughters (Irish-American and German Jewish) — my heroines — and their relationships with their moms are affected by war.

A topic dear to my heart since I lost my mother many years ago. I had such a wonderful relationship with her. We were so close and, growing up, I adored her. When we lived in Kentucky, she was a model on live TV commercials and I used to race home from grade school to watch her on TV modeling fashion from a local dress shop.

I’ll never forget the day I was watching TV with my sitter and we were waiting to see my mom when we had a major thunderstorm. Powerful winds and a drenching downpour. I was around eleven when lightning struck the tall TV tower and it fell on the TV station… the television went black… pouring rain outside. Telephone lines down. Where was Mom? I panicked when she didn’t come home. My dad came rushing home from work to check on us… what, Mom isn’t here?

He grabbed me and we jammed to the TV station in our old blue Dodge, braving the pouring rain and deep puddles. When we got there, we saw….

Firetrucks… police cars… reporters.

Then someone said a woman had been killed when she was struck by falling debris.

I was a kid, but I never felt such panic cut through me, such anguish that something could happen to my beautiful mom. She was always there for me… we baked cookies together, sewed dresses together… I couldn’t grasp the idea of losing her. It pained me more than anything in my young life.

I turned to see my dad’s face so pale, his jaw clenched… he told me to wait with the police officer while he checked to see–

He left the words hanging…

It was the longest time in my life, waiting….

Then the news.

No, it wasn’t Mom. She came racing back with my father in tow, holding her tight around the waist. I ran into her arms and she hugged me tight… I could feel her trembling. She was wearing a red satin shirtwaist dress she was modeling that day and she was in the makeup room waiting for her cue when the tower fell. She was shaken up, but okay.

A woman who worked there lost her life that day and we cried and said prayers for her and her family. I never forgot it.

The pain and anguish of seeing how quickly you can lose someone so dear to you stayed with me. When I thought about what I wanted to write about for this next book. I decided to explore mothers and daughters during wartime… I begin my story back in 1934 when we meet my two heroines and their mothers and see their relationships grow over the years… the joys, frustrations… growing pains… then war is declared…

I hope you’ll come with me on my journey to publication of this unique World War 2 mothers and daughters story!

And for Mother’s Day?

I decided to post this short video of Mom and me when I was ten. Enjoy!!

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