Friday, September 26, 2014

Nancy Lee Badger Presents Author Catherine Kean

Author Catherine Kean stopped by to share what she's been up to, and what we can expect from her in the near future. Take it away, Catherine!

I’ve often been asked why I write historical romances. To me, writing stories set in the Middle Ages is the perfect career. Many of my life experiences have woven together to create a richly-hued background that I draw upon when crafting my novels. I also rely on that favorite question of all writers: “What if...?”

In my childhood, I loved to read. Often, when I finished a book, I’d wonder what would have happened if the ending had gone differently. My imagination loved to ponder that “what if?” In my teens, my British father took me to England during summer vacations, and we visited castles, museums filled with centuries-old artifacts, historic houses, Roman baths, and the famous standing stones at Stonehenge and Avebury. Every site had a fascinating story to tell.

After I completed a B.A. in English and History (Double Major, first class), I spent a year in London, England studying with Sotheby’s auctioneers. Part of the course included visits to private collections and museums. To me, history was no longer just a textbook timeline of facts. It became tangible, poignant even, represented by everyday objects used by men, women, and children centuries ago. In the oak trestle table that had once been in a manor hall, I saw the scratches left by bowls, mugs, and eating utensils. The silver goblet, gleaming in the museum case, had once held French wine sipped by a nobleman. The jeweled cloak pins lined up on display had held ladies’ garments closed against the biting cold—because in medieval times, catching a chill could be deadly.

Being familiar with items used centuries ago isn’t enough, though, to create compelling stories. That’s why, whenever I start a new book, I contemplate the characters themselves—their heartfelt dreams, deepest desires, and emotional conflicts—and ask, “What if…?”

For my latest release, A Knight to Remember, one of seven novellas in the Enchanted by an Emerald anthology, I wanted to write a reunion story. What if my heroine had fallen in love years ago but the relationship didn’t work out because her young lover had other responsibilities? What if, in the time they’d been apart, they’d both changed enough that there was a second chance at true love?

My imagination seized the idea and ran with it.

On her way to the local market, widowed Lady Aislinn Locksmeade spies a naked, unconscious man lying in the forest.  He’s been beaten and left for dead.  He also resembles Hugh Brigonne, the skilled young archer she loved when she was fifteen, but who left her for the big city of London and a promising career in the king’s guard.

Is the wounded man Hugh, twelve years older, or not?  He could be a wanted criminal. Determined to know the truth, Aislinn takes him to her castle to be cared for until his identity is known.  Not willing to risk her safety or that of her servants, Aislinn has him tied to the bed, intending to release him if he is indeed Hugh.  However, when he wakes, he has no memory of the attack or what happened to him.

He’s a charmer, though, just like Hugh. He’s right handed, like Hugh. And in his determination to get free from his bonds, he shows the strength of character that was so compelling in her young archer.

Another trip to the market is the catalyst that unlocks the man’s memories. He is indeed Hugh, and lord of a rich estate. He was on his way to visit Aislinn, and there’s far more behind his attack than a robbery. With Aislinn’s help, he captures the thugs responsible and at last, is able to tell her what’s in his heart. It’s a wonderful second chance at true love, and this time, “what if…?” ends up being forever.
Here’s the back blurb for A Knight to Remember:
When widowed Lady Aislinn Locksmeade finds a naked, unconscious man in the forest, she wonders if he’s Hugh Brigonne, her first and only true love. When he wakes, he can’t remember who he is or what happened to him. Does she dare to love the roguish stranger, or is there far more danger than risking her heart?

An excerpt from A Knight to Remember © Catherine Kean:

, she’d said. Yet, he was tied to the bed.
Was she a friend? Or was she his enemy?
He must keep her talking, charm her, and find out for certain.
“Where is here?” He tried again to turn his head to see the rest of the chamber. Stabbing pain raced through his skull, and he stilled, closing his eyes against a violent wave of dizziness and nausea.
“You are at Pendersley Keep,” she said. “Please, do not try to move. You have a bad head wound.”
“So I gathered.” He groaned, hating to sound weak, but the pain was almost unbearable. “What happened to me?”
“You do not remember?”
A plea wove through her words, as if she hoped he did know what had befallen him. He fought the agony in his skull and struggled to recall even one small detail.
His mind was as blank as an unmarked wax tablet.
He was about to shake his head, but at the last moment recalled ’twould not be a good idea. “Nay, I do not remember,” he said, disappointment heavy in his voice.
“Try,” she urged. Again, a plea. Now, it shone in her eyes.
Eyes that beautiful he’d never forget.
“I have,” he ground out. “My mind is…” He tried to lift his right hand to gesture, but remembered again that he was restrained. His frustration merged into a flare of anger. “While I may not have my memories, I do know that friends do not tie each other to a bed.”
A flush stained her cheeks. “True, but—”
“Unless, of course, ’tis some wicked form of seduction—”
What? Nay—”
“—and in that case,” he said with a grin, “you have me completely at your mercy, love.”

Where to buy Enchanted by an Emerald Anthology Print edition: HERE

What’s next for Catherine?
I’m currently working on a medieval Christmas novella, to be released in late November or December. It’s a reunion story as well, and I’m having a lot of fun with my heroine. J  After that, I am planning to finish A Knight’s Seduction, the fifth and final novel in my Knight’s Series. I’m receiving a lot of email from readers who are impatient to read that book. I just wish I could write faster (or in my sleep).

Author Bio
Award-winning author Catherine Kean’s love of history began with visits to England during summer vacations, when she was in her early teens. Her British father took her to crumbling medieval castles, dusty museums filled with fascinating artifacts, and historic churches, and her love of the awe-inspiring past stuck with her as she completed a B.A. (Double Major, First Class) in English and History. She went on to complete a year-long Post Graduate course with Sotheby’s auctioneers in London, England, and worked for several years in Canada as an antiques and fine art appraiser.

After she married a tall, handsome, and charming Brit and moved to Florida, she started writing novels, her lifelong dream. She wrote her first medieval romance, A Knight’s Vengeance, while her baby daughter was napping. Catherine’s books were originally published in paperback and several were released in Czech, German, and Thai foreign editions. She has won numerous awards for her stories, including the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Her novels also finaled in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards and the National Readers’ Choice Awards.

When not working on her next book, Catherine enjoys cooking, baking, browsing antique shops, shopping with her daughter, and gardening. She lives in Florida with her husband, teenage daughter, and two spoiled rescue cats. Links:



WIN! an eBook copy of Catherine's 
Medieval Rogues boxed set
(Kindle, Nook, or Kobo version)  

And the Winner is: KIMI C!

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Behind the Scenes of J.Hughey’s Eruption

J. Hughey is here today to share her New Adult contemporary romance, Eruption: Yellowblown™ Book One, hot off the presses on September 13! She picked this release date because that’s the date the fictional eruption of the Yellowstone volcano begins in her book.


How about if the Yellowstone volcano erupts for the first time in 630,000 years, spewing a continuous load of ash (crap) all over North America? Think that’ll put a kink in my bicycle chain?

Make that kinks, plural, because here’s a scientific fact I’ll bet you didn’t know. Nothing ruins the perfect semester like a super caldera. Now that I’ve made you smarter today, maybe you can tell me how to keep my life cruising in the right direction—no to Mom, yes to roomie, double yes to Hotness!—during a global disaster?

My lame name is Violet and, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m not hanging from the side of a cinder cone on the last page of this trauma, but there’s definitely more to come. Unless, of course, humans become extinct and then there’s not. Duh.

Eruption is book one in the Yellowblown™ Series.

Behind the scenes with the author:
Seems like a book about a volcanic eruption would be about dodging lava bombs, but this story takes a different path. What would happen in North America to the people who aren’t close enough to Yellowstone to be in immediate danger? Historically, Yellowstone eruptions are not small events. Make large portions of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana uninhabitable, then add a continuous load of the ash—ash carried east by weather and the jet stream, and also up into the higher layers of the atmosphere, and it isn’t too hard to imagine national upheaval followed by global impacts. Figuring this much out was fairly straightforward, especially since J. Hughey has a geology degree.
The hardest research challenges were in determining the impacts of the ash and creating a realistic timeline of how quickly these impacts would be felt.
The impacts weren’t what she expected. For example, she thought the ash would cause power grid problems because of its physical presence on lines and at power stations. That would happen, to some extent. The biggest power problem—the information that made her say wow!—is that a significant percentage of coal and other fossil fuels used in power production come out of Wyoming. If you haven’t looked at a map recently, Yellowstone lies at the northwest corner of that state. The parts not leveled by the eruption of the super caldera would probably be uninhabitable, or at the least, very difficult to work in with mechanical equipment because of continuous or intermittent heavy showers of ash, depending on weather patterns.
A domino effect widens the impact of power problems, including fuel supply (many natural gas compression stations depend on electricity, not to mention the gas stations we depend on for our cars), food storage and delivery, water systems, heating and cooling. These problems would be temporary, but probably represent months of difficulty for much of the U.S. population.
So, power outages are just one of the challenges the characters in Eruption have to face when Yellowstone becomes Yellowblown™. Though they live well east of the volcano, but the ash just keeps coming, and so will the books in this series.

EXCERPT (first day of class, before the eruption starts)
     I saw him holding Hoag Hall’s front door open for some girls who’d dressed for success the first day of class. My armpits got really sweaty, like they did every time I’d thought about him this summer, which had been pretty often.
Pathetic, since I’d intended to forget him after realizing his words in February had been kindness, not truth.
     Six months of rejection didn’t stop me from smoothing my hands down the legs of my shorts when Boone, irresistible as always in a dark green T-shirt with a little V at the neck and faded plaid shorts, walked in the classroom carrying a stack of stapled papers. My first syllabus of the year, no doubt. Why geology, why, why, why, with him as TA and Mom’s college degree in it? And why did I sit in the second row like a geek? No one sat in the front row so I was a total, total geek.
     With his papers delivered to the lecturer’s table up front, he walked directly to me, as if he’d known I was there. Like, maybe, he’d been watching for me like I’d been for him. My face felt hot as I sat up in my seat.
     “Hi Violet,” he said with the awesome smile that showed off his blunt jaw.
     “Hey,” I managed.
     “How was your summer?”
     “It sucked,” I blurted.
     He laughed, and I thought I heard some chick behind me sigh at the throaty sound.
     “Whoa,” he said. “There must be a story there.”
     “Not much of one. My mom. Remind me to never spend another summer at home,” I said, quickly rediscovering the easy banter that always made me want to spend more time with him.
     “Maybe I’ll do that.” His eyes flicked down the front of my sleeveless floral blouse, feminine and flowy over the form-fitting tank top beneath it. His glance wasn’t sex-predator freaky, but appreciative, like a guy checking out a girl he wants to know better.
     Dr. Potter cleared his throat. “Duty calls,” Boone said, turning away.
     “Doesn’t it always?”
     He stopped mid-stride to look over his shoulder at me, mouth lifted in a half smile. I’d struck the mark with my little barb, and I lifted my eyebrows to acknowledge the hit.
     When Boone handed out the syllabuses or syllabi—or whatever the plural form was—he made a point to give me the bottom one.
     A Western Case Copperheads football sticky note fluttered on it. Blocky handwriting, from a pen about to run out of ink said, “Pregame party on Saturday? Text me.” And his cell number.
     I tried to act like senior guys I’d been crushing on asked me out every day, while inside, July 4th fireworks zinged through me until my fingers went numb. With my best “whatever” expression, I fumbled to move the sticky from the first page to the fourth page of the syllabus (four pages!).
I hardly heard a word the prof said.

About The Author:
J. Hughey knows what a girl wants. Independence. One or two no-matter-what-happens friends. A smokin’ hot romance. A basic understanding of geological concepts. Huh? Okay, maybe not every girl is into geology, but J. Hughey is, and in the Yellowblown™ series she combines her passion for a timeless love story with her interest in geeky stuff to help Violet Perch get a life, despite an ongoing global catastrophe.

J. Hughey also writes historical romance as Jill Hughey. She lives in Pennsylvania with her technologically inclined husband and two teenaged sons, and works as a business administrator. The most interesting fact about her, other than the geology thing, is that she can sing really, really high. Like opera soprano high. And she likes iced coffee and wine. Favorite way to spend an afternoon is on the front porch moving the characters from her head into a story on her laptop.

Eruption is available on Amazon for 99 cents until September 27, when the price will go up to $2.99. Grab it now...HERE  

To find out more about J. Hughey visit
Twitter: @jillhughey
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Friday, September 19, 2014

Scottish Myths in the Landscape

I am on the road volunteering at the New Hampshire Highland Games and Festival in Lincoln, NH. This Scottish gathering of the clans and athletic competition is an annual trek, yet Scotland is in the news:

Scotland is a lovely country. The hills, moors, and deep-water lochs are beautiful, but unexplained observations such as thunder, lightning, and the movement of planets, are the basis of many Scottish folktales. These word-of-mouth explanations have changed with the frequency of their telling which is why one myth could have many different descriptions or endings.

Fairies, brownies, and Scottish bogles are believed to live across the land.The distinctive features of Scottish folklore are filled with the characteristics of Scotland’s varied scenery. Serene mountain lochs, tiny creeks, the harsh splendor of the mountains, and the solitude of the moor. These are all reflected in their folk tales and myths. 

I simply think the land is beautiful and whether their people
gain independence from Great Britain September 18th or not, it is a world apart. Slainte!

Nancy Lee

Friday, September 12, 2014

Nancy Lee Badger Presents Lynette Sofras: What's in a Name?

Author Lynette Sofras stopped by to talk about her book, The Nightclub, and to answer the question... What’s In a Name?

You would think that a writer would have a good enough imagination not to be phased when it comes to finding a title for her magnum opus.  Sadly, not in my case.  When it comes to ideas for stories, it’s standing room only inside my brain, but finding titles for those stories is an entirely different…well, story.

A title needs to stand out, to grab the attention of potential agents, publishers and readers.  It needs to inform, intrigue and entice and most of all, it needs to be relevant.  It shouldn’t be boring, mustn’t sound pretentious and shouldn’t be instantly forgettable. So, we’re not asking much of it, are we?  Is it any wonder that I develop something akin to stage fright when I have to come with a title?

I indulged in a little moan about this on Twitter.  No one seemed to be able to offer me the magic solution, sadly.  One tweep said he had the reverse problem, plenty of titles, no story ideas.  After reflection that did make me feel slightly better, though it didn’t solve my problem.

I mean, take my first novel: ‘The Apple Tree’.   I still cringe at just how unimaginative that title sounds.  One sensitive soul asked me what the relevance of the title was and appeared underwhelmed to hear that the heroine had an old apple tree in her garden that she felt represented her childhood triumphs and achievements.  In fact the tree is only a minor presence in the story, a silent witness to the dramatic traumas the heroine undergoes as an adult.

And that was only the first one.  Eight stories later and I still struggle to find the perfect title for each one.  My favourite creation is 'Killing Jenna Crane', which from the title, people automatically assume is a murder-mystery.  Not so; it's far more of a psychological or romantic thriller.  My second favourite is 'Unworkers'—not even a proper word, I know, except in my mind it is, and it stuck because it was my working title for so many years.  It's meaning is explained in the second chapter.  My latest novel is 'The Nightclub'—and guess what—it's actually about a nightclub, no confusion there, but is it interesting?

I would love to hear what titles intrigued readers to 'look inside' or pick a specific book off the shelf; and I'd equally like to know how other authors decide on their winning titles.

The Nightclub Blurb:
Trying to make a living for her teenage sister and herself, naïve Laura Hamilton accepts a job offer as a hostess at an infamous nightclub. As she struggles to survive in a world of sex, drugs and corruption, she certainly doesn't expect to find her own knight in shining armour in the club's owner, Julian. But will he really save her from a future as a fallen woman? And is he involved in the criminal organisation that threatens not only her sister's life, but will change her own fate forever?

"Later, maybe," Julian said, turning to a different monitor and scanning the row of girls seated on a gold-coloured banquette.  "Just look at those girls.  What kind of a life is it for them?  They look hungry."
"They'll get fed, don't you worry," Mel said, deliberately misunderstanding.  "Most of them have regulars, and they all thrive on uncertainty.  It keeps them in their place, docile, charming—better than Viagra."
Julian watched as a dark, slightly-built waiter with a camp walk paraded in front of the row of women before pausing in front of one of them.  He beckoned with his finger and she rose obediently, following the waiter around the perimeter of the room.  Julian peered at the screen.  "Who is she?"
Mel glanced at the bank of monitors.  "I forget her name; someone Petra brought in for a trial.  I doubt she'll cut it though, too prim and proper.  I'll get rid of her at the end of the week.  Mind you, some of the punters seem to like her.  Old Ken Featherstone's been in three times this week asking for her."
Julian continued to watch, frowning in concentration, as the waiter led the woman to the restaurant area and presented her to a table of what appeared to be semi-drunk businessmen.  Two other hostesses were already at the table, sipping champagne.  He liked the calm, dignified way she walked, not like a model on a catwalk compelling all eyes to look at her, but like someone careful not to encroach on another person's space.  She appeared shy, but determined and that struck a chord with him.  He could see why Mel wasn't impressed.  She was the sort of girl Guy would have liked. 
     He watched the other hostesses eyeing the new girl with barely-concealed hostility.  They looked hard-faced in comparison, mean and hungry, evidently resenting the younger, prettier woman. 

For further details and excerpts of Lynette's titles, readers can go to the author's WEBSITE 
Or to purchase The Nightclub at AMAZON    

Author Bio:
A former teacher, Lynette gave up her career in education a few years ago in order to focus on her writing and thus fulfil her childhood dream.  She writes contemporary women's fiction, often involving romance with suspense or a supernatural twist.  She claims 'Killing Jenna Crane', a romantic thriller and 'Unworkers' a modern ghost story/women's fiction are her personal favourites to date.  Her latest release 'The Nightclub' is a romance packed with suspense. 

Lynette currently lives in an early Victorian cottage in a picturesque Surrey village.  When she's not reading or writing, she enjoys catching up with friends, the theatre and cinema and occasionally trying to tame her out-of-control garden and the
family's eccentric cat.

Lynette's Blog 
Follow her on Twitter 
Find her on Facebook or Goodreads 

 Make her day!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Nancy Lee Badger Presents Angela Quarles

Angela has published a book I have waited for, for some time. She had mentioned it on various writer loops, and I could not help but fall in love with the title, Must Love Breeches. Take it away, Angela!

I know a common question writers are asked is: Where do you get your ideas? So I thought I’d share how my time travel romance Must Love Breeches came into being.

The original germ for this story was wondering who would be cool to meet if I went back in time. I’d originally conceived going back to Jane Austen’s era, but that idea has been well-trodden. But I knew I’d like to go back to around that time, so I kept noodling around for historical figures in that era that the heroine might meet. When I came across Ada Lovelace, I had my answer. Born Augusta Ada Byron, she was the only legitimate daughter of the famous poet and bad boy Lord Byron and his wife, Annabella Milbanke. What a tumultuous and intriguing marriage that was! I had a hard time reining in Lady Byron in this story, as my interpretation of her personality is not favorable, and she was just oh-so annoying to me. I had many more scenes with her, as she lent herself easily to being an antagonist, but this novel isn’t supposed to be a rant about her and they were cut.

At first I toyed with the idea of having the heroine be a love interest for Charles Babbage, and that the heroine would then be the reason (inspiration) for him completing the Analytical Engine. But I was fleshing out this story in October for NaNoWriMo, and I knew that in order for him to be the hero, much more research into his life and personality would have to happen than I had time for before the competition started, so he was dropped as the hero (poor Charles). I’m glad I made that decision! Babbage does appear in one scene though, so there’s that. Ada, however, remained as a main secondary character and I had a lot of fun researching her and her accomplishments.

The title took me until the third draft or so, however. It started out as A Heart for Every Fate, which was a line from a poem by Lord Byron, but it didn’t fit the story’s tone. Then it became To Our Future, but that suffered from the same problem. I work in a bookstore and was making up puns off of titles in the store, and Must Love Dogs had me think of Must Love Breeches and I knew I had my title.

I have asked Angela to share 3 things readers might not know about her:
1)  I once tried learning Irish Gaelic! Whoah, was that a challenge! And that’s coming from someone who’d once learned Finnish, which is often touted as one of the more difficult languages. But yeah, Irish Gaelic was definitely much more difficult and I gave up after a bi

2)  In my twenties I directed a small local history museum outside of Atlanta.

3)  Patrick Henry, of “Give Me Liberty, Or Give Me Death” fame, is my 5th-great uncle (I’m descended from his sister)

She's finally met the man of her dreams. There's only one problem: he lives in a different century.

"A fresh, charming new voice" – New York Times bestselling author Tessa Dare


A mysterious artifact zaps Isabelle Rochon to pre-Victorian England, but before she understands the card case’s significance a thief steals it. Now she must find the artifact, navigate the pitfalls of a stiffly polite London, keep her time-traveling origins a secret, and resist her growing attraction to Lord Montagu, the Vicious Viscount so hot, he curls her toes.

To Lord Montagu nothing makes more sense than keeping his distance from the strange but lovely Colonial. However, when his scheme for revenge reaches a stalemate, he convinces Isabelle to masquerade as his fiancée. What he did not bargain on is being drawn to her intellectually as well as physically.

Lord Montagu’s now constant presence overthrows her equilibrium and her common sense. Isabelle thought all she wanted was to return home, but as passion flares between them, she must decide when her true home—as well as her heart—lies.

Excerpt from Must Love Breeches

A reenactment ball was the perfect setting for romance. Or not.
Isabelle Rochon fidgeted in her oddly-shaped-but-oh-so-accurate ball gown, surrounded by women who’d sacrificed historical authenticity for sex appeal. Red carpet ball gowns in the nineteenth century, really? Once again she was like the dorky kid participating in dress-up day at school when everyone else had magically decided it was lame.
“Gah. I feel like a green robot with strange battle armor.” Isabelle pointed to her dark green dress, the shoulders flaring out almost to a point, exaggerating their width. “What were the fashionistas in 1834 thinking?”
“I have no bloody idea.” Jocelyn squeezed the poof of fabric at her shoulder. “These huge-ass sleeves are ridiculous.”
“Ah, screw it, we’re having fun, right? I’m not going to self-sabotage the ball. Not after all the time I spent obsessing over my costume.”
“And obsessing over the etiquette rules.”
“That too.” Besides, how fun was it to learn Jocelyn shared her obsession with guys in period clothes and bodice-ripper romances?
Isabelle eyed a guy strolling past in tight-fitting, buff-colored pantaloons. She pitched her voice to be heard over the string quartet. “Hmm. How about the clothes on that daring derriere?”
Jocelyn sucked on her olive and plopped the empty stir stick into her martini. “Oh, yes. Definitely a breech-ripper.”
Isabelle choked on her Bellini, the champagne fizz tickling her throat and nose. This was the first opportunity they’d had to socialize outside work, so she treated this moment delicately, afraid to puncture the mood. No need to point out he sported pantaloons, not breeches.
She should ease up on the drink, though. She didn’t want to get plastered at the Thirty-fourth Annual Prancing Through History Reenactment Ball. Especially since her new colleagues would be around. And her boss. She needed to impress him.

How can my readers buy your book?  
Amazon (universal)    Kobo     ARe   

What’s next for you?
Now that I've embraced being an indie, I plan to indie publish my steampunk romance, Steam Me Up, Rawley, set in Mobile in 1890, in January/February of 2015. After that, it will be Book 2 in the Must Love series, which will be Must Love Chainmail, another time travel, this time set during Madog's rebellion in 1294 Wales. 

More about the author
Angela Quarles is a geek girl romance writer whose works includes Must Love Breeches, a time travel romance, and Beer & Groping in Las Vegas, a geek romantic comedy in novelette form. She has a B.A. in Anthropology and International Studies with a minor in German from Emory University, and a Masters in Heritage Preservation from Georgia State University. She currently resides in a historic house in the beautiful and quirky town of Mobile, AL.

You can find more information about
 Angela Quarles and her book, 
Must Love Breeches