Friday, October 24, 2014

It’s All About the Cover! by Sherry Ewing


Nancy: Now that I have started to create my own book covers, Sherry Ewing's article is timely, and I thank her for stopping by! 
Sherry: What is it about the cover of a novel that resonates with a reader enough that they’ll take the next step to see if they’re interested in the actual story? Every author wants their cover to stand out in an endless sea of books available on the internet or a book store. The path to getting there is a tough one.
As an Indie author, I have the luxury of complete control over what my cover’s look like. That’s probably a good thing, since I’ve learned that I’ve become a bit of a control freak during the whole process of launching my debut novel. But let me also tell you, self-publishing is a lot of work and the only person I can rely on to get the job done is me. Is it worth it? My answer is yes!
When the storyline for If My Heart Could See You started to pop into my head, there was really only one choice I saw for my cover. John Waterhouse’s Lamia squeals romance no matter that the story behind the actual painting is horrific. It’s Greek Mythology, so probably enough said there. Because this painting was in the public domain, I was able to use it. Typing that line was far easier than developing an actual cover that would work. I am a writer, not a cover designer, and trying to fumble my way around Photoshop was exhausting to the point that I threw up my hands in frustration numerous times. No matter how many instances I yelled “I’m giving up and chucking the whole idea,” I continued coming back to try again. Apparently, I was on a mission.
This wasn’t just about slapping my name, title and tagline onto the cover and calling it good. This was about making it look professional. I also had to do some editing to remove the snake skin the knight was stepping on. It was also wrapped around the heroine’s leg and bottom of the picture. In the amount of time it took me to finally get it good enough that I was happy with it, I could have written at least three more books. I swore I’d never do another cover again and leave it to the professionals. Now, I’m trying to design the back of my next release. I knew I’d eat those words.
Was it worth it? You tell me. I still remember waking up that Saturday morning in July just two days after my paperback was released. Prior to that, the eBook was bringing in a few sales that totaled maybe fifty. I thought, “How nice is that? All my friends and family are buying my eBook.” Reaching for my phone that morning, I opened the sales dashboard and rubbed my eyes. I must have refreshed that page at least three times before putting on my glasses thinking something was broken at Amazon. But no…I had 70 sales and it was only 8:00 in the morning! I ended that day with 137 Kindle downloads that put me #3 on Amazon’s top ten bestseller list among several others. Oh happy days!
Perhaps my patience and persistence paid off after all. There’s only one reason I believe my book hit those bestseller charts in the first place. I blame it all on my cover. Three to five seconds…that’s it. It’s all the time an author has to grab a reader’s attention enough that they’ll click on your tiny thumbnail on their computer or walk across that bookstore and grab your book. You had better make that cover a good one. 
Three things readers might not know about me:
1) I had seven years of piano lessons when I was growing up. It’s one of the regrets I have that I didn’t keep up with it because I was pretty good.
2) An introvert at heart, I feel out of place in large crowds where I don’t know a lot of people, if anyone at all.
3) I love the ocean but don’t want to swim in it. Give me the sandy stretch of beach and I’ll walk for hours.
Book Blurb for If My Heart Could See You:
When you’re enemies, does love have a fighting chance?

For Amiria of Berwyck, defeat does not come easily as she watches her home and clan being ripped asunder. When the very enemy who has laid siege to her home demands her fealty, she will do whatever it takes to protect her people including a hastily concocted ruse that quickly begins to unravel. All too soon, she starts to question whether she can forgive herself for betraying those she has sworn to protect.

Dristan of Blackmore, champion knight of King Henry II, has a reputation to uphold as the Devil’s Dragon. After his invading army conquers Berwyck castle, he sets out to manage the newly claimed estate by training its knights in the art of proper defense. At first, everything appears as it should be, or is it? Betrayed by those he believed he could trust, he must first set aside his anger before he can make room in his heart for love.
Together they are tied by an unspoken bond. As they begin to rebuild the land and unite their people, forces beyond their control attempt to tear apart their fragile truce and only time will tell if love will forever bring them together.
Excerpt:

“I do so love a challenge,” he argued humorously.
“Do you?” she asked sarcastically. “And what, pray tell, do you achieve if you should know my name, my lord?”
Dristan looked on her with a slight smile set upon his handsome face. “Why I achieve the name of a beautiful woman I would like to know better.”
Amiria contemplated him again, wondering at his ploy. “And how know you I am beautiful with just one glimpse of my face?”
“Anyone with eyes in his head could tell, fair damsel, you are indeed a fine looking woman.”
“They say beauty is not everything, my lord Dristan. Perchance I have a shrewish nature, as I have been told such afore.”
“Somehow, I think not.”
“Do you?” she repeated the same words of but seconds ago.
He interrupted her. “Besides, ’tis not fair you should know who I am, but I am not granted the same.”
“Any and all would be a fool not to know the Devil’s Dragon of Blackmore now claims his lair in Berwyck Castle.”
“Then you have heard of me and my reputation has proceeded me,” he cajoled.
“Aye, my lord, I have indeed knowledge of you.”
“I see you do not fear me, as some do upon first encountering me. Why is that, I wonder, when you in truth do not know my nature?” he questioned honestly.
“I fear no man,” she answered, as she raised her head defiantly with a flip of her head, “or beast for that matter!”
Dristan threw his head back and laughed. It sounded pleasant to her ears. “Well said, damsel. Mayhap in you I have finally met my match! Still you have me at a loss, mistress, besides not giving me your name, that is.”

Buy Links:

AMAZON     iBOOKS      KOBO



What’s next for you?

Currently, I have the eBook for my historical time travel, For All of Ever, up for pre-order at the major retailers with a November 20th release date. It was a lot of fun to write, so much so, that I had to give Katherine and Riorden a second book called Only For You. I just finished the last round of
edits and hope to have it published by the beginning of 2015. I am currently finishing my work in progress entitled A Knight to Call My Own that continues the MacLaren saga with Lynet who is the youngest daughter from my debut historical If My Heart Could See You. I also plan to jump into the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) challenge in November as I have Aiden’s (Amiria’s twin) story taking shape inside my head. As you can see, my writing keeps me very busy and I still hold a day job too!

A little bit about the author:

Sherry Ewing is an Amazon Bestselling author who writes historical and time travel romances to awaken the soul one heart at a time. Her debut historical romance, If My Heart Could See You, hit Amazon’s top ten bestseller list for the eBook only two days after the paperback release. Always wanting to write a novel but busy raising her children, she finally took the plunge in 2008 and wrote her first Regency. She is a national and local member of Romance Writers of America since 2012. Her second book,
Author Sherry Ewing
For All of Ever, is available for pre-order and she is currently editing its sequel, Only For You. When Sherry is not busy writing, she can be found in the San Francisco area at her day job as an Information Technology Specialist.

You can find more information 
about Sherry Ewing and her book 
If My Heart Could See You at:








Sunday, October 19, 2014

No Saggy Middles, please!

When writing a novel, I worry about the dreaded 'saggy middle'. An exciting first chapter, pitfalls, cliffhangers, battle scenes, and a satisfying ending are easier to write than the middle of a book...but the story cannot bog down. Keeping the characters interesting is tough, so I like to peel back the layers, letting their feelings out. Here is an example taken from the middle of the book:

In this Scottish time travel romance, my heroine is a veterinarian. After a grueling day at her animal clinic, Jenny has arrived back at her apartment. One man, Rae Wilson who followed her back in time, accompanied her in order to protect her from evil forces, while the other-Gavin Sinclair, also from ancient Scotland-remained at home.


   Her apartment house never looked so good. As Jenny pulled into the lot near her building, relief and weariness overcame her. She was dog-tired. She laughed, because after all the dogs she handled today, no wonder her arms shook. Rae opened her car door, startling her. He held out his hand, and she grabbed it like a lifeline.
   “Thanks. After the day I’ve had, I need the lift.” Pulled to her feet, she sighed.
   “Then allow me.”
   Swept into his arms, she shrieked, laughing at the joke. She’d asked for it. “Do you plan to carry me all the way inside?”
   “Nay, he will set ye on yer feet this minute!” boomed a voice from the direction of her apartment door. Gavin stood with his fists on the hips of his low-riding jeans, his glare boring into her like a super-heated drill. His heaving chest, barely contained by the black tank top, outlined every sinewy muscle.
   “I said, set her down.”
   Gavin’s second warning was more of a throaty growl. A shiver raced along her spine, but Rae laughed, set Jenny on her feet, and kissed the tip of her nose. Gavin’s wordless growl was both terrifying, and romantic.

Release Day for My Dark Highlander is right around the corner.

Here is the Book Blurb:

Stranded in 1603 Scotland, veterinarian Jenny Morgan is eager to get home to New England. Hiding her ability to read auras, a powerful witch comes to her aid. All Jenny will miss is the man who stole her heart, one dark night. 

Laird Gavin Sinclair has a missing brother, a murderous father, and a dark-eyed beauty on his mind. When Jenny returns to a dangerous future, he sets aside his obligations and searches for her at the New England Highland Games. Jealousy and lust ravage his dark soul, until he and Jenny fight evil together. 


Hope you are looking forward to this book's release as much as I am!
Nancy Lee

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Cat Made Me Do It by Christina Westcott


Nancy: Christina stopped by to talk about two loves we have in common: Writing romance...and CATS! Take it away, Christina!

Since the long ago day I discovered Space Cat Meets Mars in my local library, I’ve loved science fiction and fantasy. So I guess it was natural that when I tried my hand at writing, I’d choose space opera. My stories were always less about the technology and more about the people, how they interacted and cared about each other—even if some of them were aliens. Sure, there was adventure and danger, but my characters were often motivated by the emotions they felt for each other. They wanted to save the universe, but more importantly they needed first to save each other, because they were in love. I labored for years, receiving many letters from editors. You know the ones—“We liked this, but…” Eventually I found some success in writing magazine articles, but fiction remained my elusive first love.

Once again, a cat stepped in to show the way. In my local Barnes & Noble, while perusing the science fiction section, I came across a book with a cat on the cover. I decided to take a chance on it. It had cats in it; that alone was worth the price. It turned out to be the first science fiction romance I’d ever seen. The echoes to my own stories were astounding and heartening. Not only did it have adventure, space battles (and of course cats) but it had love. And (gasp) sex scenes, right there on the page—actually no, they were usually in bed.

I was hooked.

Now my long literary pregnancy is over and those chance encounters with cats have led to the release of my first SFR (Sci-Fi Romance) this month, A Hero For The Empire. Are there cats in it, you ask? Bet your whiskers.

BLURB:
Cybernetically augmented Kimber FitzWarren has been given the task of locating a missing military icon, Arianne Ransahov, but the only person with a clue to the woman’s whereabouts is mercenary, Wolf Youngblood. The Empire just attempted to assassinate him because of this knowledge, so when Fitz shows up in his bedroom at 0-dark-30, he’s less than happy to see her. She explains she isn’t there to kill him, but to plead for his help. Help he’s reluctant to give—until another assassin comes after both of them.

The two set off on their quest along with Fitz’s sentient starship, Lizzy, and Wolf’s telepathic cat, Jumper—who’s a cross between Chewbacca and Garfield. The action is non-stop, with our heroes escaping one Imperial trap only to face another danger, then another. But there is enough time for the pair to fall in love. Hero for the Empire is good, old-fashioned space opera in the style of Star Wars, Firefly or this summer’s blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy.

I’ve always thought that when man went to space, cats would follow him. Their lithe bodies are built for flying in zero gravity and their paws grip with the tenacity of Velcro. Now if we can just figure out what to do about that pesky cat litter in zero gee…

Cat have always gone adventuring with mankind, accompanying us on voyages of discovery, riding on merchant vessels and have even following us to war. There’s the story of Oscar, the German cat who was aboard the battleship Bismarck when it was sunk in 1941. He was rescued by a British ship, which was itself sunk four months later. Only to be rescue again and—you guessed it—sunk again before the year was out. Eventually, his name was changed to Unsinkable Sam and he was retired to an old sailors home in England.

In that tradition, the cats in my imaginary worlds, ride aboard starships to protect their crew from frainies, a particularly nasty mind parasite. Fearless space cat, Jumper, does battle with The Enemy to save the hero and heroine.

EXCERPT:
   Now The Enemy had come aboard this ship and wanted to kill his person. That would not be tolerated.
   Five fuzzy globs of light drifted out of the common room. Jumper saw them as dirty gray spheroids of wiggling tentacles tipped with organs to locate the thoughts of their prey. His green eyes narrowed, a hunter’s growl rumbling in his throat.
   The powerful muscles of his hind legs hurled him among them, claws slashing, jaws crushing. He hit the deck and rebounded, tumbling and slaughtering until only one remained. It flashed away and down the stairs to engineering. Jumper spit out the foulness of his last kill and soared after it.
   He grabbed the handrail on the stairs, slowing his forward momentum and peered down into the room. A glowing ball of frainies a meter across churned in mid-air. Was it a trap? He’d heard stories of cats swarmed by The Enemy and killed, but were they true? Or only cautionary tales to keep high-spirited kittens in check?
   The puff of fur on his behind twitched as he tried to lash his non-existent tail. Jumper leapt, screaming his battle cry. He was a Gold Dragon and this was, as the mercenaries liked to say, a target rich environment.

BIO:
As long as she can remember, Christina Westcott has had imaginary people living in her head. Cyborgs, mercenaries, wizards, dragons and cats. Lots of cats—shape-shifting cats, talking cats and telepathic cats. After continual nagging from this bizarre cast of characters, Chris decided to turn them loose on the world in her science fiction and fantasy stories. She’s been an incorrigible collector of not only books and cats, but of experiences, riding in rodeos, driving racecars and flying airplanes. All good experience for becoming a writer.

She lives in sunny Southwest Florida where she delights in telling all her friends “up north” the local temperature in the middle of January and she proudly wears the moniker Crazy Cat Lady. She’s currently at work on the second book in the Dragon’s Bidding series, Cypher, where we learn what happened the day after the first book ended.

You can catch her on her website at christinawestcottauthor.com or on
facebook.com/chriswestcott33.

Buy A Hero for the Empire at:
Amazon  

Barnes &Noble     


  

Friday, October 10, 2014

Nancy Lee Badger Interviews Caryn Moya Block

Today I’m interviewing Caryn Moya Block. Her latest book, Beta’s Mate, is a paranormal romance and was released on October 6th, 2014.

Please tell my readers a little bit about your brand new book.
Beta’s Mate is the eighth book in the Siberian Volkov Romance Series. It follows directly after Wolfe’s Mate and features Granger, the Beta of the Quebec Pack, and his newly turned mate, Brenda Ross. This book was fun to write because it was different from the others in the series. This is the first time where the female character was the Alpha and the male is Beta. But don’t let that fool you, Granger could be an Alpha if he wanted, he just doesn’t want to. Normally my stories center on the Alpha males who can be very domineering. Instead we meet Brenda, a woman who is independent and courageous. She won’t be fooled by anyone and her only fault is that she doesn’t trust in love.

Describe the genre of this particular title, and is the only genre you write in?
All of my series are in the paranormal variety. I write the Shadow Walker Tribe Romances, which feature Native Americans who can walk into a different dimension. The Witch Guardians Romance, which feature the witch kind of Great Britain, discovered in my lycan story “My Magic Mate” and of course my wolf shifter series, The Siberian Volkov Pack Romances. When asked why I write paranormal, I would say it’s because my life is paranormal. I saw my first ghost at three years old and my life has been filled with happenings out of the norm. Why Romance? Because of the happy endings. I think our world is filled with depressing truths. You can see them every night when you turn on the news. So happy endings are important to me and I think the world needs more of them.

Why have you become a published author?
I’ve dreamed of being an author since I was in middle school. I loved to read and still do, voraciously. In high school I wrote for the school newspaper and wrote short stories for school projects. I wrote my first novel during this time, it was a Sci-Fi adventure. After college, I got married and traveled the world, while my husband served in the Air Force. I continued to write, but just for me. After becoming ill and having to quit my job to recover, I decided that it was finally time to accomplish my dream. It took me two years of writing, taking classes, and studying marketing to make my dream come true.   

What is your writing routine like?
My writing routine varies time wise. My favorite time to write is early in the morning or late at night. Both times I am usually upstairs in my bedroom lying in bed. I try and do something for my writing career every day. If I’m not working on a manuscript, I am writing blog posts, or making book trailers. I do try to add to my manuscript daily, but if the words aren’t flowing, I normally put it aside and do something else. Being an independent author means there’s always something needing to be done. J

Having achieved your goal to be a published author, what is the most rewarding thing?
I love to interact with my fans. I love getting letters from them and talking to them on Facebook. I love their suggestions and comments on story ideas. I continue to write because they continue to ask me for new stories.   

Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract?  
If this is really your dream, then you have to work at it every day. You have to write, study writing to get better at your craft, and learn the business of writing. Keep at it, don’t give up, and don’t let anyone tell you to stop. Making your dream come true will take hard work, but it’s worth it.

Please Share three fun facts about you that most people don’t know. 
1) I am a Reiki Master.
2) I have gone Ghost Hunting in Gettysburg, PA
3) I am an identical twin. (My sister died at birth)

What’s next for you?
The Gift of My Mate” will be coming out in November for Christmas. This story will also take place in the Quebec Pack.

BOOK BLURB:
Beta’s Mate
Book Eight of the Siberian Volkov Pack Romance Series

Brenda Scott, while being cured of cancer, had her world turned upside down when she shifted into a wolf. Now, living in Quebec with her new lycan pack, she wonders if her dream of joining a special operations unit is forever out of reach. Then there is the quiet man who watches her with the yellow eyes of a wolf wanting his mate. Will she be able to adapt to her new wild urgings?

Granger Thibault wants his mate more than anything in the world. But he knows that if he pushes her, she will fight back. Once a soldier, and the Alpha female’s lycan sister, Brenda is a force to be reckoned with. Can Granger find a way around Brenda’s hard shell to the soft woman waiting to be loved? 
Excerpt:
Chapter One

   She ran headlong into the wind, tail streaming behind. Muscles bunched. She leapt over a downed tree. She sprang away, a wolfy grin on her face. Her heart pounded. The raw cold filled her lungs. Claws dug into the earth. Leaves crunched. She ran faster. Her vision narrowed as the edges blurred. She was stronger, faster, more. She was Lycan.
   Running full speed in her wolf form, Brenda Scott appeared a blur to the human eye. Not that there were any humans out here on this side of the mountain, at least not yet.
   The first snow had left a light dusting of white crystals on the ground. The next snow would cover the mountain. When that happened, skiers would flock to the resort on the other side of the peak. It wouldn’t be safe to run like this. Even with no trespassing signs to keep the humans away, she had been warned they always seemed to end up on the wrong side of the mountain. She’d worry about that later. Today, she could run.
   Brenda was surprised how much she liked her new lycan status. Shifting into her wolf form gave her a sense of coming home. Home to something wild that lived as one with all of nature. She heard better, saw in the dark, and smelled scents from the ski resort on the other side of the mountain. But most of all, the cancer that tried to steal her life was gone. Cured completely as if it never existed. That was the greatest gift of becoming a lycan.
   Brenda growled low, remembering how angry she had been, at first. Resentful that the group, Doctors for a Better Humanity, had used her as a science experiment. Now, the wind whispered secrets in her ear. She paused. Sniffing the air, she caught his scent, woodlands with a hint of musk. He was coming. The man who would be her lycan mate. Her wolf spirit gave a happy little wiggle, while the human woman inside sighed. She wanted to see him, needed to see him. Too bad Brenda couldn’t let herself give in to that need.
   She slowed her pace when she saw the cliff face ahead.  Lowering her shaggy head, she shrugged her way out of the doggy backpack around her muscular neck. Calling the shift to her, she pictured herself in her human form. Light brown hair, gray eyes and pale skin, the long limbs of her runner’s body. She closed her eyes as white lights appeared to swirl around her. Bones broke and reformed, canine toes lengthened into fingers as her nails flattened and thinned. Her face rounded and the hair that covered her body sunk into her skin. Her tail receded. It was finished in an instant. The pain caused by the change only a wisp of a memory. She was human once again.
   Naked, she grabbed the pack and donned the Lycra suit and special climbing shoes inside. She fitted the backpack on her shoulders, and taking a deep breath, reached for the first toehold of rock. Her focus narrowed as she shut out everything except the cliff face before her and the next handhold. In minutes she was nearing the top of the outcropping. As she reached to pull herself up onto the ledge, she saw the yellow eyes of the wolf waiting for her.
   Brenda sighed, she should have known he would find her. The huge beast moved backwards out of her way as she scrambled to swing her legs onto the shelf. Brenda turned and sat, her legs crossed, facing the east and the early morning sun, refusing to speak and shatter the peace that she acquired through her physical activity. She listened as birds called to each other from the trees, squirrels chattered as they gathered their autumn harvest, and one lone hawk screamed a greeting as he soared on an updraft of air.
   The huge silver and gray wolf sat beside her. She could feel his heat merging with hers. Her wolf spirit sighed in contentment from his nearness. Brenda closed her eyes, holding in the urge to wrap her arms around his shaggy form.
   He didn’t speak or put his thoughts into her mind with his telepathy, he just sat next to her. The sounds of nature surrounded and cocooned them. They could be the only two lycans in the world, even though she knew that wasn’t true.
   Her skin itched and her wolf spirit whined. The need to touch him overpowered her good sense. She slipped an arm around his body and leaned her head against him. She couldn’t resist her desire to be close to him, touch him, and it angered and confused her. The lycan mating bond demanded that she submit to this man hiding in a wolf’s body.
   He never asked. He just watched her, always near. His beautiful light amber eyes following her, caressing her from across the room. Granger Thibault, Beta of the Quebec pack, drove her mad.
   She fought her attraction, battled her need to be near him. It was too much, too soon after being turned into a lycan. But as time progressed she had to admit she liked him. He had a ready smile and a quick wit. He could defuse a situation between two aggressive lycans quicker than a lightning strike. He tempered the Alpha’s forceful personality with a quick joke, taking the bite out of commands that should be requests, and leaving both parties’ dignities intact, often at the sacrifice of his own. He amazed her.

Check out my BOOK TRAILER   

How can my readers buy your book? 

iBooks      Smashwords      

Barnes-and-Noble      Kobo     

Amazon       Amazon.co.UK     

MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Caryn Moya Block burst onto the paranormal romance scene with her debut e-book Alpha’s Mate in January of 2012, which won the “Global Ebook Award for 2012” in contemporary romance. She was also named one of the “Top 50 Indie Authors for April 2012” from E-Reader Reviews. A Siberian Werewolf in Paris was chosen as a finalist in the 2014 RomCon.com Readers’ Choice Awards in the paranormal category.

Caryn has continued to write, giving her readers three different series to choose from, The Shadow Walkers Romance Series, The Witch Guardian Romance Series, and the very popular, Siberian Volkov Pack Romance Series.

Caryn loves romantic movies and stories that end “Happily Ever After.” She is an avid reader and writer who lives in the Virginia Piedmont. Her pack consists of her husband of more than thirty years, two grown sons, a beautiful daughter-in-law, and granddaughter, as well as a cat, a turtle, and four Shetland sheepdogs. She suffers from “Multiple Sheltie Syndrome,” because one is never enough. After seeing her first ghost when she was three, she has been intrigued with the paranormal. She would love to hear from you at CarynMoyaBlock@gmail.com

You can find more information about Caryn Moya Block here:
WEBSITE and BLOG:  http://carynmoyablock.com/
Twitter     Facebook     
Goodreads       Amazon Author Page      
Google     You Tube     Tumbler 

Monday, October 6, 2014

2014 NH Highland Games Photos!

Please enjoy a few photos from my recent visit to the New Hampshire Highland Games & Festival, held every September at Loon Mountain Ski Area, in Lincoln, NH.*

Over cast, but the crowds started to arrive...

Dozens of Pipe & drum Bands entertained...

By Saturday, the cold weather did NOT keep the crowds away...

Hubby kept me warm while we volunteered beneath the Info tent
Many bands performed. Here is a short video I took...

To get on the mailing list so you do not miss NEXT year's games, please contact www.NHScot.org

*These games, and others I attend, are where I gather ideas for my books set at Highland Games



Nancy Lee


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:

Safe
, 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:


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