Friday, February 8, 2013

For Love of Sarah

Today's special guest is Hazel Statham. Hazel began writing at the age of fifteen, finally committing to paper the stories she spun as a child. Writing has been her passion ever since, although marriage, motherhood, and career left time for little else. Once she retired, however, she was able to devote herself to writing full-time, publishing her first novel in 2007. A long time student of history, she writes mainly in the Regency and Georgian eras, though she has been known to dabble in the medieval as well. She lives in Staffordshire, England, with her husband, Terry, and their beloved yellow Labrador, Mollie.


How many times can a heart be broken?  How many times can love be denied?  Sarah and Alexander were destined for each other but after just four short weeks of marriage, their lives were torn asunder.
Alexander, Earl of Thorne thought he had found his ideal mate but, when Sarah absconded shortly after their marriage, his world came crashing down.  Now, five years later, he discovers her in a remote Yorkshire village.
Sarah had thought she was safe, but when, severely injured in a freak accident, her husband is thrust once more into her life, she fears her dark secrets and the fact she has a son, will become known. 
Despite her own desperate longings, she continually repudiates Alexander’s efforts of reconciliation. However, fate conspires against her, and when her home is made uninhabitable by floods, she and her young son are forced to accept his aid and return to her former home.
Discovery threatens and, despite her breaking heart, she plans to leave Alexander’s life.  What is this secret that makes it so imperative that she should abscond from him yet again?  Can two broken hearts cleave and emerge victorious or will life's cruel forces tear them apart forever?


Yorkshire, June, 1815

Why now? Dear God, why now? After almost five years of schooling his body and mind from wanting her, the mere sight of her slight form across the crowded marketplace had brought back all the old emotions he’d worked so desperately to subdue, and he reeled with the impact.
He’d thought the stance of the young woman was familiar, as he had on numerous occasions, only to be disappointed, but when she moved into full view by the bakery stall, he immediately realized that it truly was his wife. Sarah, his senses cried, sweet, faithless Sarah. They had been wed but four weeks when she disappeared from his home and life. To find her now in a remote Yorkshire village defied all sense.
His impulse was to confront her immediately, but as he moved to tether his horse to the rail outside the smithy, the blacksmith came out to take the beast from him.
“Lost his shoe, has he, sir?” the man asked, casting an appreciative eye over the large chestnut. “Fine animal, if I might say so…”
Thrusting the reins into the smithy’s hands, Alexander Markham, Earl of Thorne, snapped, “Left side, fore,” effectively cutting short the blacksmith’s appraisal of his mount, and, turning on his heel, left the man to stare after him as he made his way into the throng of people in the marketplace.
Despite his advantage of height, he could see no sign of his wife. She had moved from the stall—but to where? Becoming frustrated with the press of people that milled around him, he strode toward the centre where the ground rose to provide a vantage point, but to no avail. Sarah was nowhere in view, and he began to doubt his own perception.


Hazel will be awarding winner's choice of either a Cream Coin Freshwater Pearl necklace or a digital copy of DOMINIC or HIS SHADOWED HEART (international giveaway) to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a Choice of either Rhinestone Crystal Butterfly and Pearl earrings or a digital copy of DOMINIC or HIS SHADOWED HEART (international giveaway) to a randomly drawn host.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

Hazel loves to hear from her readers and promises to answer all mail.

Website address

Purchase links (available from all Amazon domains)




Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Making the Right Agent Say Yes

Today's special guest is Barbara Casey of the Barbara Casey Literary Agency. She will be featured at the next annual Book 'Em North Carolina Writers Conference and Book Fair, where she will participate in panel discussions about the future of the publishing industry, how to get published and how to assemble a winning team. She will be available to speak to authors and attendees one-on-one throughout the event as well. We hope you'll join us on February 23, 2013 at Robeson Community College in Lumberton, North Carolina.

In Barbara's own words:

Making the Right Agent Say, "Yes"

          In a perfect world, you'd send off one query, and the perfect agent would land right in front of your doorstep. In the real world however, you could be sending out query after query but not land the right person to represent you. Although finding an agent may seem like be a daunting task, with the right approach you too can enter the world of those authors who have it "just right."

          The image you make right from the very first word in your query takes you one step closer to signing the contract. If you project yourself as unprofessional, you could be the brightest, wittiest, most clever writer on the face of the planet, and yet not have an agent to represent your work. However, make a lasting impression with your query, and you'll soon be choosing among those who wish to be associated with you.

          The query is the first impression the agent has of you. It's the only way he/she has of knowing who you are and why he/she should represent, or even read, your work. If you fail to make an impression here, off you go to query someone else. Here are some do's and don'ts on querying an agent:

          - Don't send in a query letter with typos and grammatical mistakes. As a writer, you should know better. If your query is crying out with mistakes, no agent is going to even consider reading your manuscript.

          - Don't give the agent the impression that your book is a future best seller and he/she is blessed to be working with you. Strange as it may sound, many agents are approached by newcomers to the industry with the air of best-selling pros.

          - Lines like 'Please please please, take a look at my work' may sound cute to your grandma, but when approaching an agent, be strictly professional. No agent is going to be taken in by the begging routine, and you'll most likely never receive a reply.  I once received a query that had hand-drawn daisies around the margins.  The signature had a smiley face.  It did not leave me feeling warm and fuzzy. The point is, you want to appear professional—and adult.

          - Don't ramble on for pages and pages. If the agent can't even get through your query, your manuscript won't even be asked for. Be concise and to the point, mentioning relevant details of your work experience, your manuscript, and your writing credits.

          - The Mail Merge feature on your computer is a great resource, but don't write in the agent's name in pen after you've printed out the original form. That only goes to show that your query went out to a dozen other agents, and it's not going to make you any more likable.

          - Do mention your credentials and your experience. Without relevant knowledge as to your background, the agent is hardly going to be able to make a rational decision. Don't exaggerate. Sooner or later, the truth will be clear, and you'll be the one at loss.  Also, the key word here is “relevant.”  Even though it is nice that your poem won 1st place in Mrs. Holloway’s 3rd-grade class, it doesn’t really matter at this stage of your career.

          - Mention relevant details about your manuscript and why you're qualified to write it. If you have contacts in the field or have been published in magazines or journals relevant to the subject of your manuscript, state them.  I might add here, if you are not qualified in a particular area, but just want to write about it anyway, save yourself some time—don’t do it.  Save the nonfiction narrative on brain surgery for the brain surgeon.

          - Be original. Most agents get hundreds of queries each day. For them to take a second look at yours, you need more than plain facts. Don't just copy the sample query your writing group buddy sent you. Make your personality show through your writing.

          Agents are always on the lookout for good writers and good manuscripts. But unprofessionalism and carelessness send your query straight to the trash. So, while you have to be careful in choosing an agent, you also have to be very careful in portraying the right image.

I look forward to seeing you at Book ‘Em North Carolina in February.  Be sure to stop by my table to say hello.

Barbara Casey is President of the Barbara Casey Literary Agency and author of numerous articles, poems, and short stories, and eight award-winning novels.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Nashville Nights

Today's special guest is Cheryl Douglas. Cheryl began her professional career as a nutritionist, but her love of books started at an early age. She studied writing for many years before she decided to pursue her passion as a full-time career. After receiving constructive criticism from several well-known authors, Cheryl finally had the confidence to write her first romance novel.

The first book in the Nashville Nights series, Shameless, was a book that had been dwelling in Cheryl’s subconscious for years. For her, the surprise came when the manuscript began taking on a life of it’s own. Characters came to life, secondary characters became more prominent, outlines were forgotten, and a single title evolved into an eight book series, and another eight book spin-off series entitled Nashville Nights, Next Generation.

One word would aptly describe Cheryl: workaholic. She lives and breathes her writing, when she’s sleeping, watching TV, driving, reading… it’s always in the periphery of her mind. Her imagination rarely takes a holiday, even when she escapes to a sandy beach with her husband and son, she’s planning, plotting, outlining, and daydreaming.

Cheryl feels blessed to be able to get up every day and do something she loves. The thousands of fans who have embraced the Nashville Nights have made that possible. She writes for the readers who ask for more, she writes to satisfy the muse residing inside of her, but most of all, she writes because she couldn’t imagine doing anything else with her life. It took her thirty-seven years to decide what she wanted to be when she grew up, but now that she knows, she’s convinced she’s found her purpose.


Why did you choose Nashville as a backdrop in your books? What is it about that city that makes it an attractive backdrop?
Since Nashville is the country music mecca, it seemed like a natural choice for my first book, Shameless, about a country music superstar who is down on his luck. I didn’t intend for this book to be a series. It just evolved, but it quickly became obvious that the secondary characters would also be industry insiders, so it turns out Nashville was the perfect fit for a series with a strong country music influence.

Did you have any personal insight into the music industry for Trey Turner’s background?
I’ve been a country music fan for years so I’ve read plenty of books, interviews, and articles. I’ve also watched many TV programs and music videos. Based on that, I had a good understanding of country musicians, and I think many share common personality traits that I wanted my hero to possess. Country music is all about family, faith,  broken relationships, partying, working hard, overcoming struggles, and finding love. I wanted my series to incorporate all of those important elements, and I feel confident that I’ve achieved that objective.

Why write about two people possibly getting back together versus a new relationship? What is about Trey and Sierra’s relationship that makes their relationship so compelling?
I have to admit, I love to read a good first love story, but this is about so much more than that. This couple has faced unimaginable tragedy and Sierra dealt with it by pouring her energy into something productive while Trey couldn’t deal with it, so he became self-destructive. Five years passed, and he still couldn’t get over his loss. There was only one person who could help him put his life back together… Sierra. This book deals with raw human emotion. It addresses painful issues and readers have told me they were drawn in because of the obvious turmoil the characters were struggling to come to terms with.

Why did you choose the romance genre? Did you study other romance novelists or perform any research into the genre?
I’ve been reading romance novels for twenty years. I’ve read thousands of books and taken courses with several best-selling romance authors who helped me to hone my craft and develop confidence in my ability. I believe much of an author’s talent comes naturally, much like a musician or artist. But I also think it’s important to continue studying the genre, so you never stop learning and improving. I want every one of my books to be better than the last, so if a reader liked my first book, they can be sure they will like them all, because hopefully they will continue to get better with every passing year.

What are you working on now?
I’ve completed the Nashville Nights series, and I’m currently working on the nine book spin-off series, Nashville Nights Next Generation. I’ll be releasing the last book in this series in May 2013.

Trey Turner may be topping the country music charts, but his life has been going downhill since his wife left him five years ago. He's desperate to make amends for the mistakes he's made and convince Sierra their love deserves a second chance.

Sierra Brooks is happy for the first time since her divorce. She has a career she loves, and a man who loves her. Unfortunately, the man she intends to marry isn't the only one professing his love for her. He may be able to offer her safety and security, but will she decide to risk everything for another chance with the man who broke her heart?


Trey Turner tipped the plastic bottle and watched the little white pills scatter across the desktop. One would take the edge off; twenty would end it all. He considered his options. He wasn’t ready to give up; he couldn’t do that to his family.

He put one of the pills on his tongue and swallowed it with a mouthful of scotch as the phone rang. He knew it was the morning radio show calling to interview him. His manager, Luc Spencer, had arranged it and, despite his protests, Luc insisted it was necessary. The public was demanding answers; it was time to end the speculation.

He checked the call display and pushed the button to activate the call. “Hello.”

“Trey, Johnny Madson, KX790 in Nashville. How the hell are ya this mornin’, buddy?”

Trey rubbed his eyes, willing the pill to take effect. “I’m good.”

“We’re going live in three minutes. Stand by.”

Trey endured the longest three minutes of his life as he waited for the radio host to return. He glanced at the list of questions and answers his publicist, Avery, had provided. He’d been doing this long enough to know they always surprised you with questions they knew were off-limits. He hoped he was sharp enough to dodge the bullets this morning.

“Trey, we’re live. Our listeners are anxious to hear about what’s been happening with the king of country music. Where’ve you been, man?”

“I’ve been in the studio working on the next album.”

“That’s what we like to hear. Tell me, when do you plan to release it?”

“By early next year, I hope.”

“Can we assume you’re planning a world tour to promote the new album?”

In his current state of mind, just the thought of a tour was overwhelming, but he owed it to his fans and his label. “That’s the plan, Johnny.”

“Good stuff. I know your fans are looking forward to that. We get calls and emails about you every day. People want to know what you’ve been up to. They’re dying to know when the new album’s coming out.” He laughed. “The pressure’s on, man.”

“Yeah, I know. I plan to deliver the goods.” If only he could figure out how to break through the mother of all creative blocks and write a song he wouldn’t be embarrassed to attach his name to.

“So why did you decide to sign with a new record label, Trey?”

Because my old label was putting pressure on me to get off my ass and produce a record, he thought, considering the fall-out if he came clean. He was tempted to tell the truth and accept the ramifications. He was so tired of living a lie, pretending to be the man, the musician, everyone expected him to be.


Cheryl will be awarding: two(2) - $20 Amazon Gift Cards to randomly drawn commenters during the tour, and one(1) - $20 Gift Card to a randomly drawn host. Also, Cheryl will be awarding ten(10) trading card/cover flat packs to randomly drawn commenters during the tour (US/Canada), ten (10)digital books from the Nashville Nights series (winner's choice) to randomly drawn commenters during the tour and two(2) Swarovski crystal necklaces to randomly drawn commenters during the tour (US/Canada).

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

Amazon Buy Link for Shameless:

Barnes and Noble Buy Link for Shameless:

All Romance Ebooks Buy Link for Shameless:

Other Links



Monday, February 4, 2013

Wolf Sirens Series

Today's special guest is Tina Smith, an herbalist, dog lover, Piscean and mother with a fondness for strong female protagonists. A love of the fantasy genre and the deep exploration of dark and evocative subjects inspired Wolf Sirens Forbidden. The sequel Fever further unfolds the tale of the heroine femme fatal, on her journey in the underworld between the lands of myth and reality.


When did you first become interested in myths and legends?

When I was a kid I rewrote fairytales like Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs. I have a vivid imagination. Of course as a child of the 1980’s I grew up watching NeverEnding story and stuff by Jim Henson. My favourite fairytale was puss in boots, it was clever, I used to reread it the most. As I got older I realised I like paranormal more than fantasy. But I was a late bloomer as far as realising I was a writer.

What authors influenced your work?

Jack London, Maggie Stiefvater, Stephenie Meyer, and Jeffry Eugenides. The Virgin Suicides was really dreamy and just flowed, I aspire to write like that. In Fever (WS2) I channelled his style in way, while writing in third person about the past of the pack.  I loved twilight but I needed a female protagonist with more backbone, so I created Lila.

Which creatures are you drawn to the most - both good and evil - and why?

Werewolves because vampires seem so cold. Fae are pretty sexy too. But I love my wolves. Artemis was a really cool mythical Demi Goddess who also inspired my tale.

What are you working on next?

I am in the midst of editing WS3 Night Fall, more is revealed about Tisane and her character comes full circle. I have started on WS4 and the ideas are popping, be prepared for a big bang surprise to do with Cres, that blows everything else out of the water.
Come and chat with me on facebook!


Eternally Cursed to Love & Not Purely Desire… 

Temperatures rise as the flames of longing still burn in the thrilling sequel to Wolf Sirens Forbidden. The legend continues. Apollo, god of deadly plague, conspires to undo his sister’s legacy. The wolves exist between two worlds, one in the town another in the forest.

Prophecy says hunters and wolves are cursed to a mutual attraction. Increasingly, each successive slayer becomes more alluring to the wolf. The predestined enemies struggle, to both resist and contain their fierce rival in a conflict powerful enough to tear two worlds apart.

A shadow has fallen over the heart lands of myth and reality. The chosen is reborn broken-hearted, in the scorching embers of grief. Devastated, Lila trains tirelessly as the assassin. She must submit to deliver justice and protect the innocent of Shade.

But is it love or revenge which motivates her?

Will the huntress or her heart prevail? Breaking away from the call of destiny and fearing betrayal, Lila makes a desperate escape in search of her lost beloved. The intensity between two ancient enemies ignites. The history of the wolf pack is revealed as devotion and desire in the underworld reaches fever pitch.

If The Bite Doesn't Get You, Then the Fever Will


We all have a path to follow. When darkness falls in the town of Shade the trees are haunted by the unnerving cry of wolves. Myths about them have been told for centuries until one thing has bled into another. The elusive creatures which lurk in the valley are said to be created in revenge for the death of a goddess by the blood of a God, raining down upon the townsmen who murdered her. The truth lies somewhere in between.

The secret hidden behind the crystal eyes of the pack is as bright as day and dark as the shadow of night. Any human who is attacked by a wolf is ravaged by a venom passed down through the ages by a wolf’s kiss, that breaks the skin. Only those strong enough to sustain its fury survive. The reborn fever under the infection as it rapidly turns back the ravages of time, or ages the very young to their prime – to live evermore frozen in eternal youth.

The bitten burn a constant temperature, which heightens before they phase at will. Under the height of a full moon they are awakened and devoured by the fire within, forever unable to free themselves from its grasp. The infected metamorphose to resemble a wolf, which stalks the woods at night, giving rise to the legends.

They are cursed to live between two irreconcilable worlds, one enigmatic existence in the forest and another in the town among us. Werewolves are strong, forsaken to live perpetually as man and beast. Their kind never feel the cold and can heal fast but the chill of death can still strike them. Like all Demi Gods they are not immortal. The greatest rate of mortality amongst them is caused by the hunters – the chosen few, selected by the goddess to protect the town from the monsters - the wolves that had kept me close but refused to change me. I had a different path, not yet clear to me. I understand now why they didn’t make me one of them. I couldn’t ignore the calling of the crescent moon.


 “Rich, complex, and deeply fascinating. Smith’s creation stands apart from other books in the genre. Wolf Sirens has raised the bar for paranormal romance.”- Kevis Hendrickson, author of Rogue Hunter

"Smith weaves a thrilling and beautifully crafted tale that sinks its fangs in and refuses to let go."- Michael Alexander, author of The Vessel

“Fever does not disappoint! Tina Smith captures her readers on the first page and leads them on a fast-paced journey full of suspense and adventure as heroine, Lila, struggles towards the truth.” - Beverley Eikli, author of A Little Deception 


Tina will be awarding jewelry in theme of her books (wolf charms, charm bracelets etc), ThreeD book marks in shifter themes (Wolves, tigers, panthers etc) and Sun catchers (beaded glass and crystal) to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a free ebook version of each of her novels and a Sun catcher to a randomly drawn host. (this is an international giveaway)

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

Follow the author and buy the books:

Ebook Wolf Sirens Forbidden. Discover the Legend.By Tina Smith

The sequel Wolf Sirens Fever. Many are Born, Few are Reborn. By Tina Smith

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