Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Writers Wednesday: Linda Carroll-Bradd Shares Holiday Recipe

We have a terrific surprise today. Linda Carroll-Bradd is sharing a great recipe favored by the heroine in her latest Western THE RING THAT BINDS. Celia Innes loves to make special holiday dishes for her daughter, Keena. Here's Linda to tells us about her book AND give us the recipe.

Christmas  Treats on a Shoestring Budget
By Linda Carroll-Bradd

A single mother widow in 1886 Aspen needs an economical way to provide Christmas for herself and her young daughter. In western historical The Ring That Binds, Celina Innes is a seamstress with her own shop but is always thinking of ways to stretch her time so she can do more for little Keena. Uppermost in her mind is the need to square the debts her late husband incurred at the mercantile before he ran off to the silver mines and was killed. The end is almost in sight but her daughter is growing and that means a new coat and new boots will be needed soon. Being the sole provider is a heavy burden but Celina is a determined woman. Using scraps of fabric and trim remaining from her dressmaking projects, she crafts handmade holiday decorations and enlists Mikel Toussaint’s help in selling them in his general store.
Because mothers love to treat their children, especially at Christmas time, Celina provides sweets created from basic ingredients at hand in her kitchen. Possibilities might be gingerbread, Irish soda bread cookies, or molasses pie. Here’s a quick and easy recipe:
Molasses Pie
1-1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons butter
4 eggs
2 tablespoons flour
2/3 cup sugar    
Bring molasses and butter to a boil in a saucepan. Beat the eggs until light and fluffy. Mix the flour and sugar with eggs and add to molasses mixture. Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until set.
Widow Celina Innes, a dress shop owner in the small 1886 mining town of Aspen, Colorado, struggles to run her shop and live down her late husband’s bad choices for the sake of her four-year old daughter, Keena. She made the mistake of following after one man’s dream of striking it rich and has sworn not to do it again. 

Co-owner of Toussaint’s General Store, Mikel, watches this proud woman run a successful business but wishes he could make her life a little easier. He has to be contented by slipping treats to the child in hopes of pleasing her mama. 

When illness strikes the child, Celina turns to Mikel for help and they work together all night to get past the crisis, deepening their friendship. But when the crisis is over, Mikel disappears from Aspen and Celina learns he is seeking to increase his stores. How could she have been so wrong about the man? 

Can a woman sworn to put down roots and a man looking for more riches find happiness?

Buy links:

Places to find Linda:
Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/lcarrollbradd  @lcarrollbradd
Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1806413.Linda_Carroll_Bradd
As a young girl, Linda was often found lying on her bed reading about fascinating characters having exciting adventures in places far away and in other time periods. In later years, she read and then started writing romances and achieved her first publication--a confession story. Married with 4 adult children and 2 granddaughters, Linda now writes heartwarming contemporary and historical stories with a touch of humor from her home in the southern California mountains.

Winner of Tara's Book


Thursday, December 12, 2013

BOOK GIVEAWAY/ Tara Kingston Celebrates "Secrets, Spies & Sweet Little Lies" With a Giveaway

BOOK GIVEAWAY. Today, we have a special treat. The talented Tara Kingston is here with a special peek at her latest historical. And she'll award a copy to one lucky commenter.

I’m so glad to see you, Tara! I was lucky enough to have read the story, and I love it. Cole is a delicious hero who’s met his match in the fiery, determined Emma.

Would you tell us more about it?

My new release is a historical romance set during the Civil War, Secrets, Spies & Sweet Little Lies. The story revolves around a Union spy who’s tasked with intercepting a senator’s daughter before she can rendezvous with the scoundrel she intends to marry. Here’s a little about Secrets, Spies & Sweet Little Lies:

A heart's destiny cannot be denied when a daring Union spy abducts a beautiful runaway bride he suspects of being a traitor.

Emma Davenport was a model senator’s daughter: prim, proper, but hell-bent on escaping the dreaded fate of spinsterhood that awaited her under wartime Washington’s all-too watchful eye. She was going to be a bride, and no one was going to stop her. Not even the daring renegade who steals her from a train transporting her to a forbidden marriage. Her heart tells her this mysterious captor is a dangerous man, but the undeniable attraction he wields is a more potent threat than any weapon.

Major Cole Travis is a highly trained secret agent, as skilled with deception as he is with a gun. Keeping a beautiful traitor from her rendezvous with a treacherous scoundrel shouldn’t be a challenge for the battle-seasoned spy—but he’s not the only one after his tempting prisoner. Emma Davenport must be kept out of enemy hands at all costs. Drawn to this woman whose innocent allure may be just another weapon in her arsenal, Major Travis risks his neck to shield her. Soon, however, protecting her from his own heart’s desire becomes another story entirely.

It certainly does. The sparks fly when these two are together. I hated to see their story end, but very happy to learn this is the first in a series, SECRETS AND SPIES! Tell us about the next one.

I’m very excited by the upcoming release of Pistols, Parasols & Passionate Little Lies, the second in my Secrets & Spies series. In this story, Steve Dunham, a secret agent we first met in Secrets, Spies & Sweet Little Lies, falls in love with the beautiful petticoat spy who recruits him for a very dangerous mission. Of course, the road to true love is filled with danger and conflict, but I promise a delicious happily-ever-after.

I’m really excited about the heroine in this book. Amanda’s a part of a spy ring operating out of Richmond, run by a cagy spymaster widely known as Crazy Betsy. The female spies in the story were inspired by Elizabeth Van Lew, also known as Crazy Bet, a devoted abolitionist before the war who used her eccentric persona to hide in plain sight during her efforts as a Union spy in the heart of the Confederacy. Amanda’s not a heroine who waits to be rescued. She’s strong and capable, and finds the love of her life in Steve’s arms.

And I can promise readers they’ll love this one as much as Cole and Emma’s story. Speaking of Cole and Emma, who would you cast to play them in an adaptation of your story?

In Secrets, Spies & Sweet Little Lies, I would cast Jake Gyllenhaal and Rachel McAdams, while I can really see Charlie Hunnam in the role of Steve and Emma Stone as Amanda in Pistols, Parasols & Passionate Little Lies.

I admit—I had to look up Charlie Hunnam. *Hanging my head.* But after doing so, I’ll admit it’s a great choice.

You spend so much time writing, Tara. What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?

Oh, I have more than one…chocolate, to be sure. Romantic comedies that critics savage are another guilty pleasure of mine, and watching my favorite movies to the point where they’ve become comfort food. Romancing the Stone comes to mind.

If you could bring a fictional hero to life, which one would it be? Heathcliff? Mr. Darcy? Mr. Rochester? Tarzan? Captain Mal? One of your own heroes?

Captain Mal - I adore his rakish air, quick wit, and the fact he looks just like Nathan Fillion. Oh, and Indiana Jones. Harrison Ford - that hat…that chest…that cute little scar on his chin. Yep, I’d have to be greedy and have both of them.

What’s one thing about you that would surprise readers?

I am a huge fan of Mel Brooks and have seen Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein so many times, I can recite dialogue.

Oh, yes. Especially Young Frankenstein. There are so many wonderful lines. Loved Gene Wilder in that part! It’s on a lot of Best Comedies lists.

 If you could bring a historical figure to life, who would it be?

Mary Todd Lincoln - I’d love to talk to her about her relationship with Lincoln and life through the First Lady’s eyes.

Interesting choice. What’s your favorite quotation?
“Well-behaved woman seldom make history.” Lauren Ulrich.

You’ve landed in Oz…who would you rather meet: Dorothy, the Wicked Witch, or Oz?

The Wicked Witch…I can totally relate to the Wicked Witch’s quest for justice. After all, Dorothy dropped a house on her sister and absconded with shoes that had been in the family for ages. Wicked is in the eyes of the beholder.

Which would you rather possess: flying monkeys or Toto?

Flying monkeys…they’re very handy for running errands.

What’s your all-time favorite movie?

The Wizard of Oz…you’re not surprised, are you?

Totally! Well, then, which fictional character do you most identify with?

This isn’t going to sound very much like a romantic writer, but I’ve got to be honest: Lucy Van Pelt from Charlie Brown. My hubby and I are the answer to the question: What if Charlie Brown and Lucy got married?

Do you follow sports? Favorite teams?

I love football. I’m Steelers by marriage. J

When you’re not writing, where are you most likely to be found?

Outside - hiking, biking, or just hanging out.

If you could wake up stranded on a desert island with one celebrity hunk (actor, athlete, musician, etc.), who would it be? Why?
Russell Crowe…seriously, why wouldn’t I want to be on a desert island with Russell Crowe?

I’ve loved having you here today, Tara, and I hope you’ll come back again to talk more about Pistols and Parasols.  Steve and Amanda definitely deserved their very own column LOL. 

But for now, give us a glimpse of Cole and Emma's intrigue.
Love to. Here's a little teaser from Secrets, Spies & Sweet Little Lies-- in this scene, runaway bride Emma has fled her home in Washington, on her way to a rendezvous with the man she intends to marry against her father's wishes. In this scene, Emma gets her first look at the man who will soon become her hero. So, what's your first impression of Cole?

Here's the snippet:

Someone had her in his sights.

Had she been followed?

If her father had sent some lap dog to fetch her--Mr. Tucker, his ever-agreeing assistant, most likely--the beleaguered fop could tuck his tail between his legs and head home. Papa had plenty of people to order about. She’d no longer be one of them.

Drat it all, she’d simply have to confront him.

She turned on her heel. A stranger met her gaze.

Definitely not Mr. Tucker.

Long, lean, and scowling, the man eyed her with an intensity that coiled heat in her belly and threatened to strip her bare. His lips curved into a trace of an arrogant smile as if challenging her to look away.

He wore a crudely tailored shirt, unbuttoned at the throat, revealing a vee of sun-bronzed skin feathered with dark hair. Deeper in hue than the neatly-clipped strands on his head, would the curls feel silky or crisp to the touch?

She blinked away the scandalous thought. Still, her mouth went dry.

His sinewy muscles strained against the cambric of his shirt. Sunlight glinted off the manacles on his wrists.

He was a prisoner, flanked by two towering Union soldiers. Sparing one of the guards a glance brimming with defiance, he turned back to Emma. The sweep of his appreciative gaze trailed from her demure hat to the hem of her sky-blue traveling skirt. His expression penetrated her.

She felt exposed, vulnerable.


Where can everyone find you?

Readers can learn more about my books, contests, and upcoming releases by connecting online:
Email:  authortarakingston@gmail.com
Buy links

Secrets, Spies & Sweet Little Lies is currently available exclusively for Kindle. Here’s a link:  Secrets, Spies & Sweet Little Lies on Kindle

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Writers Wednesday: Callie Hutton's Christmas Regency On Sale Now!

Hi Everyone. Help me welcome Callie Hutton, whose book, MISS MERRY'S CHRISTMAS, is currently on sale for .99 cents. It's a bargain AND a Regency. That's a terrific Christmas present. Would you please tell us a little about the story, Callie?

The Duke of Penrose is not happy with Miss Meredith Chambers, the American governess his new wards have arrived with. He quickly replaces her, happy to have his unwanted attraction to the unsuitable woman behind him. Until his mother hires her as a companion.

Of course! He's not going to escape that easily! Would you share an excerpt?

Lips twitching, but maintaining his austere demeanor, the butler opened a large wooden door with elaborate carvings, and sniffed before announcing, “Lady Charlotte Spencer, Lady Clare Spencer, and Miss Meredith Chambers.”

The girls clung harder, making it practically impossible for Merry to enter the room. She dragged one limb, then the other, until she reached the massive oak desk. Breathless from her effort, she looked up into the most arresting brown eyes, with specks of gold, she’d ever seen. Above the eyes, sharp black eyebrows rose almost to the hairline of wavy black hair. Below the eyes an aristocratic nose led to sensual lips drawn into a tight line.

“Your Grace.” She puffed and attempted a clumsy curtsy.

The only sound in the room was the soft click of the door as the butler exited. Merry waited patiently to be invited to sit. Instead, the brown eyes kept staring at her, then leisurely slid their way down her person, and obviously from the additional tightening of his full sensual lips, finding her wanting.
Eventually, a long-fingered hand flicked in the direction of one of the two leather chairs in front of his desk. “Sit.”

Merry sat abruptly, feeling like a dog panting in front of its master. The two girls ended up on their knees on the floor, still buried in her skirts.

“Is there something wrong with the young ladies?” The deep voice rolled over her, setting her heart to pounding.

Merry grasped the girls’ arms and attempted to pull them to their feet. They held tighter. “No, Your Grace. They’re merely a bit anxious.”


How was it possible to put so much disapproval into one word?

After a moment, he settled back in his chair, his fingers clutching a quill pen he tapped on the desk. “I trust you had a pleasant journey?”

With all the liquid in her mouth dried up, she merely nodded.

“I understand from my solicitors you’ve had sole charge of the girls since their parents passed away a month ago?”

“Yes, Your Grace.” Good. She was finally able to pry her mouth open.

“And you cannot control your charges enough to insist they sit as proper ladies?”

Heat rose to Merry’s face and anger washed through her. The arrogant arse! “They’re confused and a bit distressed.” She bent and whispered furiously to the girls. “Please get up, His Grace is not happy.”

“No.” Two voices piped up, muffled in her skirts.

She smiled slightly at the duke and shrugged. If possible his eyebrows rose further, disappearing underneath the wave that rested against his forehead.

“It appears to me, Miss Chambers, that Lady Charlotte and Lady Clare have arrived here just in time.” He pushed his chair back and stood. “I arranged for a governess to train them in proper behavior. She will instruct the girls in the skills necessary for a lady.” He waved his hand. “Sewing, French, watercolors, and so forth.”

Merry stared at him, her jaw slack. Well over six feet, David, Duke of Penrose, was a sight to behold. Every inch the lord of the manor, his coat fit him as if it had been painted on. His white-on-white waistcoat hugged his impressive body above well-fitting tan breeches tucked into black Hessian boots. A snow white, intricately tied cravat was a stark contrast to his lightly tanned skin.

Lord Penrose rested one hip on the edge of the desk, peering down at her, his foot swinging back and forth. “I shall allow a bit of transition time for the young ladies. You may stay on for a week or two. Then I will see you receive a generous stipend to tide you over until you can secure another position.”

Two blonde heads popped up from behind Merry’s skirts. “No!”

Sounds delightful, Callie. I can't wait to read it. What’s your next project?

I just finished the final edits for THE DUKE'S QUANDARY, the second book in my Marriage Mart Mayhem regency series for Entangled. It will be released in March. The first book in that series is THE ELUSIVE WIFE.

I'm looking forward to that next one. The series is delightful. What one tip would you offer writers?

Read, read,  read. Write, write, write, Every day. Don’t write ‘when you have time,’ set a schedule for yourself and stick to it. Also, read books on the craft of writing, but even more importantly, read books in your genre to see how other authors are putting together their stories, their character arcs, how they handle conflict, etc.

How do your stories ‘come to you’ at first--through characters, setting, story line?

I would say story line and setting come first. Then I pick the characters that would fit that story. Sometimes if I have a particular character personality in mind, I’ll form the story around him/her. That’s what happened with THE DUKE'S QUANDARY. My heroine is a clumsy scientist who has no desire to have a Season in London, but when she’s forced to do that, trouble follows. When I thought of that character, the story sort of unfolded.

Do you have challenges with finding writing time?

Never. I consider writing my ‘job’ that I go to every day for 5-6 hours. Even when I was still working (I write full time now), I made sure my schedule for work didn’t interfere with my writing.

Very smart. If we want to write, we have to take it and ourselves seriously.  How did you get into writing?

I’ve been making up stories since elementary school, and writing gave me a way to turn off the voices in my head. After having a number of articles and interviews published in newspapers and magazines, I took on what I’d always dreamed of. Writing that book. I currently have a number of both historical and contemporary romance books published.

I currently live in Oklahoma with my husband and adult children who move in and out with alarming regularity. Add three rescue dogs and the household is complete—and full. I enjoy hearing from my readers, and would love to have you visit me on Facebook.
Very best of luck with this latest release, Callie. I'm now off to get it! Thanks so much for visiting. I hope you’ll come back again. Now---Where can we find you online?

Here's the link to my Author page where all my books are listed: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B006O2IF2I

My website:  www.calliehutton.com