Friday, February 26, 2016

Last Friday of the Month Recipe by Author Marianne Rice

Yummy! This sounds right up my alley.  
See what Marianne's family suggested for, dinner :)
These bars are perfect for Easter and spring.

Lemon Cheesecake with cherry sauce.

Hi L.A. Thanks for having me. You asked why I chose this recipe...well, I love to cook and bake and spend way too much time in the kitchen cooking and eating. It was hard for me to pick a recipe so I asked my family for their help. My husband said, “Steak on the grill, garlic rosemary potatoes, and those fancy green beans.” My nine-year-old son said, “That’s a tough one. Maybe turkey dinner or homemade mac and cheese or cake or one of those cookies you make.” Still not helpful, I tell them. I’m looking for a recipe.

Teenage Princess rattles off about ninety-two desserts, chicken pot pie and fried haddock. And Sports Girl, who also loves to bake, lists a zillion recipes and then asks if we can make lemon squares.

And it’s settled: Lemon squares with cherry topping (because I always have to jazz up my recipes). They make the perfect after school snack, compliment any dinner (even Easter, which is coming up) and they remind me of spring, which is right around the corner (wishful thinking).

Here’s the breakdown:
2 cups all-purpose flour                        1 ½ cups white sugar
½ cup powdered sugar                                   ¼ cup flour
1 cup butter, softened                         2 lemons, juiced
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

-Blend softened butter, 2 cups of flour and ½ cup flour. Press into the bottom of a 9x13 pan.
-Bake for 15-20 minutes.
-In another bowl, whisk together remaining 1 ½ cups sugar and ¼ cup flour. Whisk in the eggs and lemon juice. Pour over the baked crust.
-Bake for 20 minutes. The bars will firm up as they cool.
-When cool, sift powdered sugar on top and cut into bars.

This recipe can serve 24, or if you’re like my family, uh, five. Cut into giant squares or cute little nibbles. Whatever your fancy.

I’m addicted to toppings. I didn’t get a chance to make this yesterday, but my favorite way to dress up a lemon square is with cherry sauce. It’s super easy and you’ll be wondering why you don’t make this sauce more often (also delicious on cheesecake, ice cream, cottage cheese, or my favorite—straight from the spoon to my mouth.

Cherry Sauce:
-Bring 2 10-ounce bags frozen cherries, 2/3 cup sugar and 2/3 cup water to a boil.
-Blend ¼ cup water and 2 TBLSP cornstarch in a bowl and stir into the boiling cherry mixture. Return to boil until thickened to your liking.
-Remove from heat and add a few TBLSP lemon juice (to your liking) or 1 tsp almond extract (my favorite)

Short Book Blurb:
Rayne Wilde wants the husband, the house full of children and the white picket fence. Which is why she cannot sleep with Trent, the confirmed bachelor whom she’s befriended. As their relationship grows and secrets are revealed, the stakes get higher and the spark burns hotter. Can they handle the heat when life-changing secrets are laid bare or will one of them and run away from the life they’ve worked so hard to avoid?

Buy Links:

Marianne Rice writes contemporary romances set in small New England towns. Her heroes are big and strong, yet value family and humor, while her heroines are smart, sexy, sometimes a little bit sassy, and are often battling a strong internal conflict. Together, they deal with real life issues and always, always, find everlasting love. When she’s not writing, Marianne spends her time buying shoes, eating chocolate, chauffeuring her herd of children to their varying sporting events, and when there’s time, relaxing with fancy drinks and romance books. 

Find Marianne:

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Take Five and Meet Author Tracee Lydia Garner

Today we both get to meet Tracee Lydia Garner.  
I love finding new authors to bring you and new books to read.  

Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Tracee.  Tell us, what inspired you to write your book Anchored Hearts?

Thanks, L.A. I'm pleased to be here with you today. I actually wrote out of the dire need to explore and find “something else” in case my schooling didn’t work out. I was in college and it just wasn’t my thing. I prayed and asked for “something else” very specific I was, knowing that if academics didn’t pan out and I couldn’t make the grade, I needed something to fall back on. He supplied big time in the form a writing contest hosted by a large publisher. I saw it one day online (probably should have been studying something) and soon as I read the contest details, I knew it was for me. In short, I won the grand prize and the rest, they say, is history. I did finish school and writing helped me to bring up my grades in almost every subject. It was an awesome experience.

I realize I digress but wanted to encourage anyone on  a different journey but writing (or “something”)  is pulling at you and you need to detour to find out what “that” is!
Regarding Anchored Hearts, I love when the main characters know each other, they separate for whatever reason but find their way back to each other. Love and the familiar is exciting- so that’s the first thread. The second is that I always wanted to write a story about what happens when a child is left in your care and the parent, in this case, the mother calls and begs you to take care of the child? What do you do? Such is the case for Allontis Baxter, her life is turned upside down by secrets and she’s trying to juggle it all and still keep herself together.

What were your experiences as a child or adult that contributed to you becoming a writer?

Probably contributing to my writing, are that I’m super, overly analytical and descriptive. I have a mobility disability so more often than not, I’m telling someone how to best assist me and direct them to do my care. All those details aren’t lost on people -people are always saying wow, you really know how to give good instructions. This is likely because I want to get in my wheelchair in an upright position and not find my ass sprawled on the floor. I definitely use these details in my writing to really bring all those things running around in my head, to life.

What is most difficult for you to write?  Characters, conflict or emotions?  Why?

For me the endings are always difficult. I’m like a plane, circling the runway, but never putting the wheels down. This obviously makes landing impossible. I just kind of hover, and hover and hover some more. I seem to start off great, with a bang, everything comes into place quickly really in a few short months and I can usually type as fast as my brain thinks. I’m a fast typist. Then sometimes the endings can take forever to complete. I’ll think about it forever and then one day, it hits me, it seems to take forever, so sometimes now I just writing an ending, even if it’s bad and hope that in the bad part I will get to the real, good conclusion. One other possible contributor to this problem with endings is that I’m also a “pantser”. Know what that is? People who don’t take the time to plot their way in a story but write by “the seat of their pants.” Come to think of it, no wonder I can’t get off the plane, I’m not wearing any pants.

What is the first thing you do when you begin a new book?

When I start a new project…I THINK about the characters obsessively. I’m like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction just without the killer tendencies or anything awful like that.
I try to eat, sleep and breathe my characters. It's usually a feeling or a line from their mouth that I write down first. I often start with their feelings and the dialogue comes in spurts and from that line of dialogue I have to build the story up to meet what I wrote or write what comes after. 

Most pantsers aren’t linear writers. I write tidbits and eventually move, cut, paste things as the entire things come together. I also use a lot of placeholders. When things are coming, I’ll write - describe this more here- or -research this here-. Eavesdropping and people watching are often fun to me. The things people talk about. Wow! Talk louder, please. LOL :)

If you were a TV, film or book character, apart from one you've created, who would you be?  And why?

I’m in love with Superman. I’ve always identified with his goofiness and knowing there was something deeper. I think that as a person with a disability, my perceived limitations often speak, (erroneously) for me/about me, to others. We see with our eyes and I’ve always wanted people who judge on sight, to know that there is something so much deeper than what their eyes can behold. 

Superman is perceived often as an idiot, clumsy, super cute, am I, but still dismissed often as a total klutz. They have no idea he is the strongest man in the world. We as humans often do that, place limits on that first encounter.

Give us a brief summary of Anchored Hearts: Anchored Hearts is about a couple of different things, all central to my stories, love, the quest for truth, trust and overcoming adversity. Imagine running a successful center for abused and battered women and within the center, those women you are charged with caring for, one of them decides to leave their child behind. Said woman also calls you personally and begs you take the child, keep her safe and ensure her father doesn’t find her or you and the child could end up dead?

Allontis Baxter, director for the Anchored Empowerment Center, doesn’t know why she’d be thrust into such a dire situation but she is. She’s just trying to live her life and help the women find peace and create lives their own. 

To top off the secret of harboring a child until her mother can find safety from God knows where, Allontis’s old flame, restaurateur Cole Parker returns to town to see if second chances exist and is bent on rekindling a long lost love affair with Allontis. Allontis wants all of this and more, but the juggling act ensues, devastating secrets can harm fragile relationships and the entire thing could blow up in her face, leaving her fighting for her life, the child’s life and jeopardize her newfound love with Cole.


I am a Virginia native and the author of five books. I write contemporary
romantic suspense and sweet romance. Launching my career and sealing my love of writing, at 23, I won the BET First Time Writer’s Contest for my novella Family Affairs, which was published in the 2001 All That & Then Some anthology. 

My full-length novels include Come What May, The One Who Holds My Heart and Love Unchosen. My fifth novel, Anchored Hearts released last spring. Currently, I’m working on the sequel to Anchored Hearts, tentatively entitled A Warm Embrace (it’s about Cole’s brother) and my first nonfiction book about event planning. 

I teach an 8-week novel writing course, three times year at my alma mater and I work for a social services agency during the day. I was diagnosed at 2 years old with Muscular Dystrophy and have a used a wheelchair since elementary school.

Find Tracee:

Friday, February 19, 2016

Great Expectations Ain’t no Carnival Ride, Harry!

Here is the latest from Brad Leach, my new contributor.  We decided on the blog's name of Mental Can Openers & Writer's Hash.  Onward, Brad....

I had a friend of mine ask me what are my writing expectations?  An excerpt from the movie, Beat the Devil sums it up rather nicely:
Billy Dannreuther: I've got to have money. Doctor's orders are that I must have a lot of money, otherwise I become dull, listless and have trouble with my complexion. 
Gwendolyn Chelm: But you're not like that now, and you haven't any money.
Billy Dannreuther: It's my expectations that hold me together.

Isn’t that true for all of us?  Money really does help with our complexion.  (I bet you thought I was going to say, ‘expectations hold us together.’)  Now, if money does impact complexion, I expect my first writing efforts to supply a face somewhere south of Freddie Kruger.  My own personal rendition of Nightmare on ‘Dell’ Street.

Nobody who has looked seriously at freelance writing proceeds because of the fantastic money.  Making money as a writer is akin to buying a Lottery ticket - a few make wads of money, a few scrape by in grottos and attics, most pay more than they get.   Of course, I would like to make enough to augment a sub-poverty retirement in a dying Kansas town.  You know the kind of place.  They’re still hoping to pave the streets, empty houses are given away as raffle prizes and the mayor is some truck driver who frequents the Interstate diner.  We’ll see.

But beyond money, do expectations really hold us together?  Shakespeare said, “Expectation is the root of all heartache.”  I imagine he was a perfectionist.  I know for me, unrealistic expectations are a plague.  I catch a great phrase on paper, a great idea, and I see the next Tolkien or Harry Potter happening.  Then I write a page, read it and see it isn’t Harry Potter.  It’s not even Harry Potter’s shadow in a London fog. 

I slink away from the keyboard like Charlie Brown when he killed the little Christmas tree.  Someone shot my expectations.  Now heartache’s got the car keys - (gads, another Country and Western classic in the making!  Buck Owens slide over a stool.)  Then I crawl back to the screen for another try.  A great sentence pops out and I see visions of....  I’ve been on this ride so often, the carnival barker pays me. 

I’m slowly learning to leave expectations to God.  (I’m currently leaving the money issues to God as well, hoping He’ll run a cattle drive to Dodge, with some o’ His cows on them thar hills.  Yes, Dad’s up there with His streets of gold, and I’m a shovel-ready project!) 

I also try to find the fun in the story and not worry it’s not at the level of Tolkien.  Why, you’d have to bury my manuscript six feet down to reach his current level. (Rim shot please)  I remember that for 25 years, I ‘9 to 5'ed it, skipping most vacations.  Now, my whole writing career feels like a vacation.  Sure money’s uncertain.  But the only place I know where three meals and a roof are guaranteed is called prison.  Freedom includes freedom to fail. 

Remember what Groucho Marx once said, “You’re never too old to fail.”  Well, move over New York!  If I can stumble there, I can stumble anywhere.  It’s all up to me.  That’s what the big gal in the harbor carries her torch for.  And if the books don’t pay, I might even condescend to be mayor of a dying town in Kansas.  I like truck stop food.

MORE OF BRAD'S BLURB: The Dragon’s Mist Chronicles: The Last Ride in the Moonlight:

First part can be found here

Fortunately Riddley can leave his troubles behind and take up a new home and career at Dragon’s Mist, an enclave of magic-wielding chandlers. He just needs a few sponsors. And they want a few simple tasks performed for the good of the castle. But fish wives say, "Simple is found in the hungry dragon’s eyes."

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Take Five and Meet Matt Kramer & His NEW Nonfiction Book: The Perfectionist’s Guide To Public Speaking: How To Crush Fear, Ignite Confidence And Silence Your Inner Critic

Today I bring you Matt Kramer, whom I met while working with the coolest software on the planet, Video CoPilot (which I'll be talking about in another post.)  When Matt told me he'd just released his non-fiction book, we all had to know about this one. 
Welcome,  Matt.

Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Matt. Tell us, what inspired you to write your book The Perfectionist’s Guide To Public Speaking: How To Crush Fear, Ignite Confidence And Silence Your Inner Critic

Hey, LA!  Thanks for inviting me to your blog. I wrote the book because I came up against the single greatest obstacle in my life—being vulnerable in front of people. Public speaking. I hate making mistakes. I had always been a perfectionist, so making mistakes was unacceptable. How did I cope, then? Easy, I avoided situations where I’d be susceptible to making them. I played it safe and stayed within my comfort zone as much as I could. Basically, I only did things I knew I could do, rather than taking on new challenges to grow.

I cared what others thought, too. Sure, I never admitted that to anyone, but inside I knew it to be true. I think most of us do. It’s normal.

I wanted to change, though. “Why not public speaking?” I thought. And so I gave it a try. What I found out was extreme pain! I struggled for over 7 months with my nerves...and especially my internal critic. Shouldn’t it get easier with experience? I thought that’s all it would take to overcome the fear of public speaking. Not for me. I was getting experience left and right and the weirdest thing was happening. The nervousness and anxiety were actually getting worse!

The reason? My internal critic. He kept beating me up after every speaking opportunity. If I mispronounced a word, there he was to let me know. Forget to say something? He’d surely pay me a visit. Nothing was ever good enough. What this was doing was reinforcing to myself that I sucked. And without having made any progress, I began to feel hopeless.

I remember this one day when suddenly my mind had given up. I had a speaking class to go to and my lazy brain was really pushing me to stay home instead of going and drowning in nervousness yet again. Strangely, it had convinced me subconsciously. I fully intended to “skip” it. When my conscious mind caught wind of this, it told me what I already knew. That I was never going to go back if I skipped out on this one. So I went.

When I finally broke through and gained control over this tremendous fear, I knew I had to get it down on paper to help people who were going through this very same pain. And here we are.

What people helped you the most in getting this book published?

There are quite a few.

My dad who also volunteered to be my editor (he writes and edits for bass fishing publications).

My friends Remi and Suzanne. We formed a book club and during the process and we would set weekly goals and hold ourselves accountable. We gave each other plenty of encouragement, too.

I encountered supportive friends along the way, many of them from unexpected places. As in, I didn’t meet them until during the book writing journey. Others that played a role were the friends I met from my Toastmasters club--the place where I met “public speaking.”

Are you planning on writing other stories, books?  If so what kind?  

I think so. I don’t know when, but I continue to write on my blog weekly. Gotta stay warmed up, right?

I’m really passionate about helping people overcome the fear of public speaking. So that’s likely what I’d write about. Non-fiction is my preference although I admire fiction writers and their ability to create entire worlds out of thin air (and surely laced with a little personal experience).  

Where would you have someone start looking for help with the crisis you've faced?
My book! :)

And if not my book, within yourself. Figure out what real reasons are behind your fears. It’s ultimately about rearranging your mental focus. Oh yeah, you’ll need to get out and get that wretched experience as well. Sorry. There’s no getting around it.

Would you share some Words of inspiration that you've used to help you through each day?

Oh heck yeah, I would love to.

Here goes: One step at a time. And make sure you take the steps.

Take a book for example. It’s not a BOOK that you’re writing. It’s a load of small passages that happen to get along with one another. They came at different times. Some of your book parties were off the hook! Some had poor attendance. What I mean by that is, some days you wrote a lot. The ideas were flowing. Others maybe you wrote 100 words. I consider these equals in the grand scheme.  

What glues everything together is that other thing I mentioned “And make sure you take the steps…”
You must form habits in life. Good habits take you in the direction you want to go. The habit of action or the habit of writing. Even the habit of taking time off for yourself to recharge.

Finally, allow yourself to make mistakes. No matter what, look to encourage yourself in any experience (especially the bad ones).
Give us a brief summary of The Perfectionist’s Guide To Public Speaking: How To Crush Fear, Ignite Confidence And Silence Your Inner Critic

The goal of the book is to help people overcome the fear of public speaking. Also, since it is a “guide,” I go over the fundamentals of public speaking, how to construct a message or speech, and practice methods for improving your skills.

On top of that, here are the points I also want the reader to take home:

  • To learn at your own pace. One step at a time!
  • To be yourself
  • To not beat yourself up and allow yourself room for mistakes
  • To not worry about what others think about you
 That’s it…    

Buy Links:

Matt Kramer once despised fear. The intense fear of public speaking nearly crippled his hope, but overcoming it has changed his life. Matt’s passion is simple: To help others overcome their fear of public speaking so they can use the confidence to pursue their dreams. You can check out his blog here.

Social Media Links: 
Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn

Monday, February 15, 2016

Author Spotlight Featuring Judith Keim's New Release ~ Sassy Saturdays

Today I have the privilege of introducing you to Judith Keim. 
I love finding new-authors-to-me and bringing them to you.  
Enjoy meeting Judith and reading about her series.

Hi LA, thanks for having me today. I love to write stories about strong women facing challenges and finding love and happiness along the way. Readers are responding with enthusiasm for my series on The Hartwell Women, along with my books Breakfast at the Beach House Hotel, Fat Fridays and Sassy Saturdays.

FAT FRIDAYS is the story of five women who meet for lunch on Fridays—no calories counted. But their fun, friendly gatherings take a dark turn when one of the women shares shocking news that puts them all in jeopardy and each woman has strong reasons to believe she might be in danger. Facing an uncertain future, the women support one another through surprising situations as they search for the love and happiness each deserves. 

I especially love writing about a group of women because friendships among women is an important part of life. Readers wanted more about these women, so SASSY SATURDAYS came out at the end of January.

Who knew a pregnant torch singer would be in such demand?

Tiffany Wright waited behind the velvet stage curtain, hoping she could get in a couple more Saturday night performances before her baby girl arrived. Then she could get on with her life, away from the druggie who’d once been the sweet young guy she’d married. 

The chatter of customers, the clinking sound of glasses and the growing sense of anticipation from the crowd increased her usual pre-performance jitters. She was lucky to have the job. The Glass Slipper was a newly-opened, upscale lounge in the town of Williston, Georgia, outside of Atlanta.

Tiffany’s thoughts drifted to Beau. From a wealthy, well-known family, his childhood had been anything but normal. He’d been spoiled, then reprimanded unreasonably for not behaving the way his parents thought suitable for someone of his background. He’d once told her it made him angry that he could never satisfy his parents. When they continued to eat away at the very same self-confidence she encouraged in him, his frustration grew. Then, when things began to fall apart for him at work, he started using drugs. His anger at her and everyone exploded. At that point, Tiffany decided she wasn’t going to be the one he abused.
She drew a troubled breath. She’d never have had the courage to leave Beau if it hadn’t been for the women in the Fat Fridays group. They met every Friday for lunch—no calories counted, and though they were of different ages and backgrounds, they’d become best friends. Their  friendship meant so much more to her than having fun lunches. It gave them all the opportunity to support each other as they faced their individual problems. 

Tiffany took a peek at them sitting in the audience, waiting for the show to begin. Loyal as always, they were gathered at one of the round tables, and they were laughing--probably over one of Betsy Wilson’s silly sayings. 
Filled with affection, Tiffany studied the group. Betsy was the oldest member and the one who’d brought them all together. Karen McEvoy, her partner, was a computer geek and sweet as pie, as Carol Ann would say in her southern drawl. Carol Ann Mobley was sipping a bright blue martini, their favorite drink at these gatherings. Two years older than Tiffany, she had a lot to learn about men. Beside her, still recovering from a tragic shooting, Grace Jamison sat with her arm in a cast and studied the empty stage. Tiffany’s gaze rested on Sukie Skidmore, her favorite. A new young grandmother in her mid-forties, Sukie was, in many ways, the leader of their group. She’d recently landed the hottest man in town, eight years her junior. Tiffany couldn’t help smiling at the whole romantic idea.


The Blurb:
Sassy Saturdays –The Fat Fridays Group – Book 2

Tiffany Wright begins her independent life supported by her friends in the Fat Fridays group. Singing at The Glass Slipper lounge on Saturday nights gives her the freedom to find herself and recover from a broken marriage to Beau, a man she still loves. With Beau’s unexpected death and the birth of their daughter, Tiffany is given a new purpose in life, a new reason to fight his family to protect his wishes and their baby girl. But Sassy Saturdays isn’t her story alone. 

The other women in the Fat Fridays group face new challenges and opportunities with mixed results as they support one another in the search for the happiness each deserves.
Judith Keim was born and raised in Elmira, New York, and now makes her home in Idaho with her husband and long-haired dachshund, Winston, and other members of her family. 

Growing up, books were always present - being read, ready to go back to the library or about to be discovered. Information from the books was shared in general conversation, giving all of us in the family a wealth of knowledge and a lot of imagination. Perhaps that is why I was drawn to the idea of writing stories early on. I particularly love to write novels about women who face unexpected challenges with strength and find love along the way. 

As J.S. Keim I write children's middle-grade stories. I love writing about kids who have interesting, fun, exciting experiences with creatures real and fantastical and with characters who learn to see the world in a different way. 

I have a story in Chicken Soup to Inspire a Woman's Soul and a story in Belle Book's Mossy Creek Series - A Summer in Mossy Creek. Some of my stories have finalled in RWA contests and three of my children's stories have been published in magazines - Highlights for Children, Jack and Jill and Children's Playmate.

I hope you enjoy my stories as much as I enjoy telling them!

Find Judith:

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Take Five and Meet Author Sandi Brackeen

Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Sandi.  Tell us, what inspired you to write your book Digging Up the Past?

Thanks for having me, LA. I heard about a contest to write a book about what would happen if magic returned to the earth.  I didn’t submit to the contest, but it provided me the seed of the idea for the Tales from Atlantis

What were your experiences as a child or adult that contributed to you becoming a writer?

I have always written.  I wrote bad poetry and rather strange philosophical musings about the nature of words, and I’ve always been an avid reader, and truthfully, I don’t know how not to write, although I get slow at turning things out sometimes because new things keep coming up within the work.
What is most difficult for you to write?  Characters, conflict, or emotions?  Why?

I think emotions are the most difficult to write because you have to explore not only the character’s emotions but your own as well to understand what the character is going through.

What is the first thing you do when you begin a new book?

Talk to my characters (develop their bios to see where they are going in their lives), and decide on a villain.

If you were a TV, film or book character, apart from one you've created, who would you be?  And why?

Probably River Tam from Firefly.  She’s badass.

Give us a brief summary of Digging Up the Past:

The Spade of Apocatequil can raise the dead and grant immortality—and it’s been stolen!

When supernatural agents Riley Perez and Jason, her partner at the clandestine government agency DUE, are given the task of tracking down the magical artifact, they discover that the culprit may be one of the workers at an archaeological dig at Shady Shores.

Is it John Braden, the head archaeologist on-site, who was involved in the original discovery of the spade? Or is it Danny Roget, the anthropologist, who claims that there have been strange sightings? 

Riley and Jason’s hunt for the spade is endangered by a rash of sudden, unexplainable deaths of people involved in the dig. Together with Cameron Delaney, the intriguing alpha werewolf who runs Cerberus Security, the company in charge of protecting the archaeologists at the dig, Riley and Jason must find the spade before it can be used to destroy the world!

Buy Links: 

Sandi lives in Texas with three roommates, two Yellow Labs, a Shepherd/Border Collie mix, a Great Pyrenees, a Standard Poodle, and assorted other critters.  Most of the animals were rescues.  Sandi’s full-time job is as the Public Information Officer for the local Sheriff’s Office, and she teaches English part time at the local Community College. 
She says she has a couple of degrees from the University of North Texas lying around somewhere, and she’s been writing ever since she can remember.  Sandi took time off for work and school, and previously her writing has been more geared toward short stories and academic papers. 
Sandi publishes a newsletter and several articles a month in her current position, as well as teaching English at the local community college, but she has now added writing fiction and currently has several more books in the works.

Find Sandi:

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Author Spotlight Featuring Cynthia Woolf's Latest Release: Thorpe's Mail Order Bride

Cynthia is one of the most prolific writers I know personally and being asked to write as part of Debra Holland's launch team...well, you'll see below, 
but Cynthia is definitely a star on the rise.
Welcome back, Cynthia!

About six or seven months ago, I was asked to be part of the launch team of writers for Debra Holland’s Montana Sky Series of Kindle Worlds. It was a great honor for me to be asked as I love Debra’s books and her world. Now I also love to write mail-order bride books, so that is mostly what I write. Thorpe’s Mail-Order Bride started out with a different title and then it was pointed out that my main characters were not living up to that title. So I rethought about the book and what it was actually about and changed the name.

I’m a big fan of NCIS: New Orleans and I wanted a book that had some of that flavor in it. From that primordial soup came Helena Dubois the daughter of a madam. And not just any madam, but the most celebrated and famous madam in all of New Orleans.

So I had my heroine now she needed a hero. And I needed conflict in the story. What could be better than a man, John Thorpe, blacksmith in Morgan’s Crossing, in the Montana Territory, who wants a wife of good and moral character? What would happen when he finds that our heroine’s mother is a madam? Will he still believe our heroine is a moral person? Well of course not. What would the fun in that be?

I like to visit the places that I set my stories. It helps me to have the flavor of the countryside or city. I know what the place looks like and can use that information to impart descriptions and a feeling for the area and then I get more information about the people who lived there from books about that period in time for that area in this case the year was 1887.

With one of my series I placed it in Golden, Colorado, which is where I grew up. I worked in the Pioneer Museum and the Railroad Museum when I was a teenager and my mother was a librarian so I knew how to do research. It was fun to go back in time and see what my town was like in the 1860’s and 70’s.

“Helena, as I said my name is Robert Drummond and what I’m about to tell you will come as a shock. But your mother and I have talked and decided that it’s time that you know.”

He paused and took a deep breath.

“I’m your father.”

Father. All this time she’d longed for a father. Had missed out on things like the father-daughter dances that the other girls at her school had attended. If she’d been standing, Lena might have collapsed. As it was she simply tightened her hand on the padded chair arm and hoped the man couldn’t see her shake within the chair. “That can’t be. My mother would have told me if my father was alive.”

“I can understand your reluctance to believe me, but it is the truth. I should have let Mellisande accompany me. She wanted to, you know, but I wanted to tell you myself, vain person that I am.”

He turned his hat over and over on his lap.

“I thought sure you’d be happy about the news. Look, I’m a well-known business-man and couldn’t have my relationship with your mother known within certain circles. When you were two, we decided I should remarry and when you were six we sent you away to school to shield you from your mother’s business. One of your classmates, Eric Rappaport, is my stepson. Do you remember him?”

Lena’s breath caught in her throat at that news. She sat straighter, glad she was sitting on the chair. “That’s true,” she nodded. “I do remember Eric. He was totally obnoxious and mean to me the whole time we were at school together. Does he know about this, too? That you’re supposed to be my father.”

Robert sat forward on his chair. “I’m afraid he does. He overheard me telling my wife, his mother, of your existence. I wanted to take care of you and did the best I could. Now, though, you’re of an age that you must marry and have children of your own. I’ve found a suitable man back in New York. One of my business partners actually. Your mother’s association to you will never be known.”

Anger gave Lena strength and she stood, back straight. She would not show any softness toward him, no matter how much she wanted to have a father. He could be a complete liar. But he wouldn’t have known those things about me if he wasn’t who he said he is. “You propose to tell me that you’re my father and I must marry someone you have chosen for me, all in few minutes. Are you out of your mind?”

“No. You are an adult now and need to take on adult responsibilities.”

She couldn’t believe his arrogance and she didn’t need a stranger’s help in securing a husband. She would remain calm, just like she did when the children she taught were getting rambunctious.

“I’ll pick my own husband.”

“Listen to me Helena—”

“My name is Lena and I refuse to be dictated to by a stranger. Please leave.” She pulled the cord for Thaddeus.

The library door opened and Thaddeus entered. He was not just a butler, but also her mother’s bodyguard. Lena had no fear when he was near. “You rang, Miss Lena?”
“Yes, Thaddeus. Please show out this gentleman.”

“I’ll leave now, Helena,” Robert donned his hat. “But I’ll be back in two weeks and I expect you to be ready to come with me to New York.

Lena DuBois never knew her father until he suddenly reappeared in her life to tell her he’s arranged for her to marry one of his business partners. Lena flees, deciding to become a mail-order bride, where at least she’s the one doing the choosing. Her future husband, John Thorpe, has requested a woman of good moral character which Lena considers herself to be. The problem is her mother is the most celebrated madam in all New Orleans. What will happen if he discovers her secret?

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Cynthia Woolf is the award-winning and best-selling author of nineteen historical western
romance books and two short stories with more books on the way. She was born in Denver, Colorado and raised in the mountains west of Golden. She spent her early years running wild around the mountain side with her friends.

Their closest neighbor was about one quarter of a mile away, so her little brother was her playmate and her best friend. That fierce friendship lasted until his death in 2006.

Cynthia loves writing and reading romance. Her first western romance Tame A Wild Heart, was inspired by the story her mother told her of meeting Cynthia’s father on a ranch in Creede, Colorado. Although Tame A Wild Heart takes place in Creede that is the only similarity between the stories. Her father was a cowboy not a bounty hunter and her mother was a nursemaid (called a nanny now) not the ranch owner.

Cynthia credits her wonderfully supportive husband Jim and the great friends she's made at CRW for saving her sanity and allowing her to explore her creativity.

Titles Available

GENEVIEVE: Bride of Nevada, American Mail-Order Brides Series
THE HUNTER BRIDE – Hope’s Crossing, Book 1
GIDEON – The Surprise Brides
MAIL ORDER OUTLAW – The Brides of Tombstone, Book 1
MAIL ORDER DOCTOR – The Brides of Tombstone, Book 2
MAIL ORDER BARON – The Brides of Tombstone, Book 3
NELLIE – The Brides of San Francisco 1
ANNIE – The Brides of San Francisco 2
CORA – The Brides of San Francisco 3
JAKE (Book 1, Destiny in Deadwood series)
LIAM (Book 2, Destiny in Deadwood series)
ZACH (Book 3, Destiny in Deadwood series)   
CAPITAL BRIDE (Book 1, Matchmaker & Co. series)
HEIRESS BRIDE (Book 2, Matchmaker & Co. series)
FIERY BRIDE (Book 3, Matchmaker & Co. series)
TAME A WILD HEART (Book 1, Tame series)
TAME A WILD WIND (Book 2, Tame series)
TAME A WILD BRIDE (Book 3, Tame series)
TAME A SUMMER HEART (short story, Tame series)
TAME A HONEYMOON HEART (novella, Tame series)

Find Cynthia:  Website | Newsletter