Many thanks to Bruce Hartman for tagging me for “The Next Big Thing Blog Hop.” This hop is a way for authors to connect with each other and their readers to share information about their present or upcoming projects. We answer the same questions and then tag other authors to do the same.
Bruce Hartman lives in Philadelphia. He has worked as a pianist, music teacher, bookseller and attorney and has been writing fiction for many years. His first novel, Perfectly Healthy Man Drops Dead, won the Salvo Press Mystery Novel Award and was published by Salvo Press in 2008. If all goes well, a steady stream of new books will be coming out over the next few years. The first of these, The Rules of Dreaming, will be published by Swallow Tail Press in May 2013.
And now for my first blog post...
What is the title of your book?
The title of my newest book is SPELLBOUND: HOT HIGHLANDS ROMANCE.
Whew! The sparks really fly between hero and heroine, a rugged clan warrior and a beautiful villager with the gift of the Sight. Details about its availability to come.
In the meantime, if you’d like to get a sense of my style, you can read TO TAME A ROGUE, available at http://www.amazon.com/To-Tame-a-Rogue-ebook/dp/B006BI1IME/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1368669279&sr=8-1&keywords=tame+a+rogue.
New York Times best-selling author Kat Martin says TO TAME A ROGUE is "Sizzling with sexual tension, filled with passion, an old-fashioned romance. Fast-paced and fun to read.”
Where did the idea come from for the book SPELLBOUND?
I’ve always wanted to escape to Scotland and experience the Highlands—a rugged, enchanting place with a fascinating history, ancient landscapes, shimmering lochs, magnificent glens and castles, and, of course, men in plaids. Did I mention men in plaids? So I set my romance there in the time period of the 1400s (sources say that's before men wore kilts, so that’s why I didn’t say “kilts”. It about “kilt” me not to write about men in kilts. But they are just as sexy in plaids.)
In historical romance, the setting is an important character that can add excitement, enchantment, danger, and challenge to the love story. Some of the castles in this region have histories dating back 1,000 years. Imagine the secrets held in those old, sweating stones, the stories that have played out in those keeps. In my tale, the youngest son of the clan MacAlister, Kade MacAlister, has to fight for everything—approval, respect, love. I paired him with a feisty village beauty with the power of the Sight who is fearful of her gifts, afraid to believe too strongly in things like love and happy endings. Until she meets Kade.
What genre does your book fall under?
Hot historical. Hot romance. Hot erotica. Did I mention it’s hot? Some of my favorite authors in this genre are Johanna Lindsey, Kat Martin, Samantha James, Emma Holly, and Lara Adrian (Tina St. John). I have a unique voice, but I learned from reading and enjoying these authors and was influenced by the wonderful way they wove their enchanting stories. SPELLBOUND: HOT HIGHLANDS ROMANCE is probably one of the more emotionally wrenching, sensual stories I’ve written. It also has a lick of the paranormal and some humor, because, let’s face it, we do silly, illogical things when we’re in love.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The book is set just two decades after Joan of the Arc was burned at the stake for “being” a witch. When Joan of Arc was burned at the stake, my character was just a little girl.
Under a 12-foot banner of lilies, with a sword at her waist that they say she never actually used, Joan of Arc led a bedraggled French army to victories over the English. She had visions and felt called to lead them. She was brave in following her visions. But people didn’t understand her. They feared what they did not understand. Joan of Arc defied limitations placed on a woman of the late Middle Ages and she was braver than many seasoned men-at-arms. As a little girl, my character Maighdlin can recall her father telling her about the bravery of Joan of Arc. But as a grown woman, Maighdlin still finds herself in a world where no one understands her gift. She herself does not understand her visions, and until she meets Kade, holds herself aloof from people, afraid to get too close to anyone for fear she will see their death in a dream. I think it’s interesting that Maighdlin can sometimes see spirits, and in fact, is the only one who can see the spirit of Kade’s brother, Niall. She's the one who must help Kade to forgive his brother so his brother’s spirit can find peace. Kade doesn’t want to believe his prisoner can see his brother’s spirit…until she provides irrefutable proof that she can (no spoilers here!). And what she tells Kade will shatter his world.
I like Kade and Maighdlin’s story because it focuses on mystery and love and things that can't be rationally explained. It’s a fast read, with lots of action and erotic scenes between a battle-hardened man who thinks he has lost almost all of what made him human and a woman who is finding her heart and letting herself love a man who is her sworn enemy. I hope when the book is available you’ll slip into the tumultuous, raw, magical world of Scotland in the 1400s and enjoy watching Kade and Maighdlin fall in love as much as I did when I was writing their sexy story.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I’d rather leave that to the readers’ fertile imaginations...though I will say my hero has midnight-black hair that you’d want to run your fingers through and intense hazel eyes, which of course, flash gold with emotion and dark desire.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Seeking revenge for the deaths of his brother and his wife-to-be, Kade MacAlister kidnaps his enemy’s daughter and forces her to marry him, planning to make her pay for her father’s sins by imprisoning her…but then Maighdlin begins to weave her spell over him and heal his wounded warrior’s heart...
If you want more….
As the younger son of a clan chief, Kade MacAlister has had to fight for everything. Respect. Approval. Love. To prove himself man and warrior and to win the reluctant hand of the woman he seeks to marry, he leaves Scotland to fight in Ireland for three years. When he returns, he finds his clan has just been attacked by the MacKinnons, with whom they’ve been at peace for four years, and his older brother and betrothed are dead. He discovers the hated chieftain Brodie MacKinnon has a daughter who possesses the Sight, Maighdlin, whom he hid away in a village years ago to protect. Kade finds the girl and kidnaps her. A bride was taken from him so he’ll take a new bride--his enemy’s daughter--and make her suffer for the rest of her days.
When their paths cross, Kade is determined to hate her with all of his being, but sparks fly, igniting an undeniable passion. Maighdlin has no idea how hot it’s going get in her new husband’s arms. But Kade and his new bride will be consumed by his thirst for revenge unless they can learn to forgive, and surrender to sensual fires and love.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Interesting question. And here's the round-about answer. About 10 years ago, I started to write historical romance. Then I got sidetracked and was called to write dark suspense. My first completed novel, DEAD ON, about a medical examiner being stalked through time, was film-optioned by Gold Circle Films (they produced My Big Fat Greek Wedding, White Noise). I wrote several more novels in different genres (dark suspense, award-winning Hurricane Katrina fiction, zombies) before I returned to my first love—historical romance. Last year I pulled one of those historical romances I'd written, TO TAME A ROGUE, out of a drawer and published it. It’s been one of my best-selling books in the US and internationally. This year I finished SPELLBOUND: HOT HIGHLANDS ROMANCE, which I'd also started years ago and stuck in a drawer. So when I got back to it, the story just flowed and it didn't take long to write. I enjoyed researching Scotland and life during the 1400s and escaping into that world. I hope my readers will too.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I think readers who like to lose themselves in a historical tale by Samantha James, Johanna Lindsey, Kat Martin or Tina St. John (Lara Adrian) will like SPELLBOUND: HOT HIGHLANDS ROMANCE. It's not as hard-core as Emma Holly's books but has some pretty hot erotica in it. I'll make an announcement when SPELLBOUND: HOT HIGHLANDS ROMANCE is going to be available.
In the meantime, why not escape to the heat of Louisiana and New Orleans in 1816 in my novel TO TAME A ROGUE, available at: http://www.amazon.com/To-Tame-a-Rogue-ebook/dp/B006BI1IME/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1368669279&sr=8-1&keywords=tame+a+rogue.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I’ve read a lot of books about Scotland but I wanted to experience it as characters in the 1400s might have experienced it. I wanted to create a strong heroine yet one who accepts her proclivity to be submissive to her lover’s desires. A character that would battle back against her circumstances and face her fears, someone who would surprise herself with her strength and her deep ability to forgive and to love, and to be loved. I was not, in any way, inspired by Haggis (which I've never eaten and I think is really gross, ha).
And now, tagging the following authors:
Melissa Groeling, the author of BEAUTY MARKS and TRAFFIC JAM has an explosive, addicting, powerful, quirky voice. She describes herself as “a fiery red-head who’s been writing for years and has no intention of stopping especially now that TRAFFIC JAM, my young-adult novel is available for the masses! So gear up, folks!
I’m a New York Giants fan but please don’t hold that against me! I have an on-going, intense love affair with dark chocolate and you should also know I’m just this side of crazy…which I think is normal for someone who writes. Right?”
It turns out that both Melissa and I graduated from Bloomsburg University. Go Huskies!
Sandra Carey Cody
Sandra Carey Cody writes cozies that are sweetly peppered with friendship and family themes but also manage to have a Mary Higgins Clark-feel. Her books have been described as "entertaining", "soothing", "strongly plotted", "well written", and "suspenseful."
Sandra Carey Cody was born and grew up in the Midwest (the St. Louis area). She attended Washington University, met the love of her life when she cut an algebra class to go ice skating, married him not too long after that, and has since lived in various cities in different parts of the country. Wherever she's gone, books have the bridge to her new community and new friends.
She is the author of the Jennie Connors mystery series. The most recent entry in the series is Left at Oz, a prequel to Put Out the Light, Consider the Lilly and By Whose Hand, all of which are currently available in book stores and libraries. The Jennie Connors books take place in a retirement community where the residents are mobile, alert, and just bored enough to welcome a little excitement in their lives. If this involves helping Activities Director Jennie solve the occasional murder ... well, that's a lot more fun than bingo. In addition, the books explore the challenges facing a young mother as she learns to balance independence with family and career responsibilities.
Love and Not Destroy is a traditional mystery set in a museum of tools and folk art in a small town near Philadelphia. Peace Morrow is a young woman trying to learn the identity of a homeless man murdered on museum grounds, a quest that quickly becomes entangled with her own search for family roots. It is available in print and as an ebook.