Writer Wednesday: Meet Sandy Loyd!

sandyloydWelcome to Writer Wednesday. We’re so glad you’ve taken a little time out of your day to meet our latest featured author, Sandy Loyd.

Sandy is a romance author who writes in several different subgenres (contemporary, romantic suspense, historical and time travel), bringing us “romance with a twist.” Gotta love that!

So gather up that leftover Halloween candy and chow down on some chocolate as you get to know Sandy a bit better! And once you’ve cleaned your fingers, I hope you’ll leave Sandy a note in the comments!

Passports to world travelWhat inspires you to write?

I’m inspired by life. By what I see around me and what I’ve learned through my experiences. I love to travel, especially to other countries, which always inspires me and gets the creative juices flowing.

People everywhere are essentially the same. Most care about what’s important in their lives, such as family, job security and having a home and enough to eat. What makes a foreign city interesting are the added challenges being in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar customs. I see a story in almost any setting.

Gate to ancient medina of Fez, Morocco
Gate to ancient medina of Fez, Morocco

Sitting on a train in a French city while people watching or being led through a Moroccan medina with a tour group, I create stories in my mind. Going through the Medina in Fez was an incredible experience. It’s totally different from anything in the US. It’s a city within a city located within a few square miles. It would be like going into a mega mall that also had food and housing in the 18th century. There are narrow passages that led to everything one might need to live – clothing, jewelry, furniture, food (from slaughtered chickens and pigs to fish, from spices, fruits and vegetables to rices and pastas). The mega structure had homes above the shops. I can’t remember how many lived within the medina, but we needed a guide to keep from getting lost. It took most of the day to tour the narrow passages crowded with Moroccans. Even animals like burros were a common sighting.

I ask myself what would happen if… Someone got lost while someone was chasing them? Why the chase and what would I do? From there a story is born. You get the idea. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to write all of the books that I’ve thought of, so I just come up with an outline and put it in a ‘New Stories’ folder.

 Heart shaped book pagesWhat is your favorite type of romance and why?

My favorite romance genre is Romantic Suspense/Mystery. I love twists and turns.

One of my favorite TV shows is NCIS. They always have some great twists, plus the characters are what make the show. I love the way they have all arced since its inception. They face danger, but they have a lot of fun while they do it.

Those are the kind of books I like. Great characters who face danger, but have a great time while doing it. I’m not into gore and darkness. I see that every day on TV. When I read for pleasure, I want more than just a romance. I want something fun and entertaining to lead me on a twisting adventure.

shannaWhat is your favorite romance novel of all time and why?

My favorite romance of all time is Kathleen Woodiwiss’s Shanna.

The book was an epic adventure with the ultimate hero – Ruark Deveraux Beauchamp. The author revolutionized romance with her first novel, and Shanna took it to new heights. I was hooked from the first chapter. I loved the mystery/suspense element woven into the plot as well as the island setting. Ruark went to great lengths to prove his love and commitment. It was one of the most romantic books I’ve ever read.

lowcountryA Bit About A Lowcountry Christmas Miracle:

Considering the bad blood between father and son, it will take a miracle to get Cade Duval to return to the Lowcountry for Christmas. Lacey Barnes has loved Cade since…forever…and feels up to the task of making sure it happens. Unfortunately, Cade’s in a relationship and Lacey would never poach. Success means her heart will be broken all over again. 

Yet, miracles have a way of happening at Christmastime. Like the miracle of finding true love and the miracle of family coming together. But the most wonderful miracle of all is the miracle of forgiveness.

Find A Lowcountry Christmas Miracle here:

Amazon | Nook | iBooks | Kobo 

Vintage TypewriterA Bit About Sandy:

Sandy Loyd has worked and lived in some fabulous places in the US, including Northern California and South Florida. She now resides in Kentucky and writes full time.

As a former sales rep for a major manufacturer, she’s traveled extensively throughout the US, and has a million stored memories to draw from for her stories. She spent her single years in San Francisco and considers that city one of America’s treasures, comparable to no other city in the world. The books in her California Series, starting with Winter Interlude, are all set in the Bay Area.

 Sandy is now an empty nester who has written almost two dozen novels. She strives to come up with fun characters—people you would love to call friends. We all know friends have their baggage and when we discover what makes them tick, we come to love them even more.

Whether she’s writing historical, time travel, romantic suspense, or contemporary romance, Sandy always tries to weave a warm love story into her work, while providing enough twists and turns to entertain any reader.

Want to connect further with Sandy? Find her here:

Facebook | Twitter | Website  

Thanks so much for joining us, Sandy! 

Writer Wednesday: Meet Tina Glasneck

tinagWelcome to Writer Wednesday! I’ve got a special treat for you today: Tina Glasneck, writer of mysteries, New Adult paranormal & fantasy romance!

Tina and I met via the Virginia Romance Writers and bonded over discussions of children versus writing time, etc. She’s so fun, so smart, and I don’t know how she does it, since she not only balances family with writing, but also has an amazing blog, Celebrate With A Book, through which she connects us with lots of authors from a wide variety of genres.

But today she’s not talking about them, she’s talking about herself and her latest release, romantic fantasy A Dragon’s Destiny! She’s giving us an in-depth view of understanding the role of Medieval Magic when creating A Dragon’s Destiny. Enjoy, and leave some love in the comments!

embraceName one interesting thing you learned in researching/writing your last book?

Research is quite important, even if one is writing romantic fantasy. A lover of learning, I wanted to make sure that my story, A Dragon’s Destiny, had those small details right, and then be able to take artistic license with it. I’ve always loved Medieval history and this was my chance to dive in and research all that my heart desired.

In my latest book, a fantasy romance, A Dragon’s Destiny, a woman, who feels like she is cursed, discovers that she is a dragon. She is then tossed back in time to the year 1520, and in this parallel world society is on the brink of war. The king is required to quash the paganism in his country. This is done at the hands of the Black Knight, who acts as the king’s executioner.

Medieval ancient illuminated manuscript with gregorian chant musicAs a theologian by training, I find history quite intriguing. For A Dragon’s Destiny, in order to get a lot of the historical facts regarding medieval history correct, I audited a class through the University of Barcelona (online through Coursera) called Magic in the Middle Ages. It speaks about the progression of magic being considered natural and good to our later understanding of it being considered evil, demonic and therefore requiring extinguishing. It explains how the Inquisition was used to eradicate old customs, or paganism.

What I had to take into consideration when creating my tale is that the Spanish Inquisition began in 1231, and by the end of the 14th century magic had been criminalized. It can even be argued that this criminalization gave rise to the crime of witchcraft (which in turn later affected Salem and modern-day America — in that the Wiccan religion was not recognized until 1980s).

Medieval inquisitor in the hood on the inquisitors tools background.Medieval history, also Church history, offers an abundance of fodder. For example, in the 14th century, pastoral visitations existed, whereby a bishop, or their envoy, would travel to the different localities and inquire as to that of its inhabitants and its ties to the church, i.e, did the locals still follow the rules, and more specifically if any among them were superstitious, or rather if any of the locals were known to participate in magic (or follow that of the pagan rituals). Those locals were then often blamed for bad things that occurred in the village, and subsequently brought to trial (ecclesiastical trial if the charges had to do with heresy), or trial by mob mentality (if related to secular laws, and therefore not under the authority of the Inquisitors), which seems to have resembled more of our obsession with reality TV.  Those who were considered guilty of heresy often found themselves at the stake.

onlygirlBy the 16th century and the Protestant Reformation (which began in 1517),  the crime of witchcraft had been on the books for almost 100 years. But the Inquisition would rage on until 1908, with the last registered execution held in 1826.

I placed my characters in such a world, where political intrigue abounds, true magic is in the air, and combine it with Norse mythology, and a great romance.

Thanks Margaret for having me on your blog and allowing me to share how research is important when creating fiction.

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-3-27-27-pmA Bit About A Dragon’s Destiny

Curses are destined to be broken…

In this the first of the Dragons series, time travel and fantasy are weaved together in a fast-paced, funny yet emotional romance.

Jaz, a fish out of water in the real world, discovers that she is actually a dragon. She must seek her true destiny in another, parallel place.

There she discovers that Erich, the man she secretly lusts after in real time, is the Dark Knight. He’s ruthlessly extinguishing the ancient Norse religion in an emerging Christian world.

Is he the beloved Jaz is tasked to find in order to release her dragon heart?

Find A Dragon’s Destiny here: 

Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo | 24 Symbols | Indigo | Angus & Robertson

A Bit About Tina:
Book pages in the shape of a heart

Tina Glasneck enjoys creating stories, would love to live in a castle, and can’t imagine a world without books. She’s addicted to coffee; believes in destiny and can be often seen staring into the distance musing over one thing or another.

She just released the first book in her new Dragons series, called A Dragon’s Destiny, and is looking forward to seeing where time-travel and her love of history and fantasy will take her and her storytelling next.

Want to connect further with Tina? Find her here:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Thanks so much for joining us, Tina! It was a pleasure to have you – especially since you brought dragons. 🙂 

Writer Wednesday: Meet Tamara Shoemaker!

Tamara ShoemakerWelcome back to Writer Wednesday! It’s so good to see you all again. You’ve no idea how I treasure our Wednesday meetings, especially when I can bring you someone like Tamara Shoemaker!

Tamara and I are good friends in real life, which is awesome because she’s pretty darn cool – and it shows how writing brings people together, since we met in our local critique group. Wahoo!

Tamara’s got not one, but TWO YA fantasy series she’s penning. Today she’s here to tell us a bit about her and about The Guardian of the Vale, the third book in her Guardian of the Vale series – the series I’ve called The Last Airbender meets Harry Potter. Take it away, Tamara!

Love and journalTypically, in a romance (or in your case, a romantic fantasy), halfway through the story, you’ll have a pretty good idea of who is “supposed” to end up together. You buck this tradition for your Guardian of the Vale trilogy. Why?

Good question. If it helps, I’ll say it’s not my fault. 😉

When I wrote the outline for Mark of Four (the first book in the trilogy), the romantic leads were who I intended to put together by the end of book three. However, as the story progressed, so did the characters.

By the time I wrote Guardian of the Vale, I had created a monster–that is to say: this character that I had created was so very strong, he wouldn’t let me pigeonhole him into the nice, neat portion of the story I had intended for him, and he insisted on becoming the romantic lead.

As much as it messed up my outlines and plans, I kind of liked it. It’s so much easier to write a character who takes the initiative than one who melts like so much flaccid ink onto a page with nary a struggle to be seen. Such a character may moldable, but there’s no depth there.


janeyereWhat type of romance do you love most and why?

I feel very … torn about this question.

Undoubtedly, the type I love the most is the happily-ever-after type where character A meets character B, and, after finally conquering the “problem” that keeps A from B and B from A, they finally declare undying love for one another, and voila, kiss, wedding, the pitter-patter of tiny feet, followed by “The End.”

On the other hand, while I love those, the stories I remember the most–the ones that never leave my head and usually burrow deep into my heart are the ones that are bittersweet, where something of great importance is lost in the struggle for great gain:

  • Gone with the Wind (don’t get me started on how much I dislike the main female lead; why, oh why, do I remember this one so well?)
  • Jane Eyre (sure, they lived happily-ever-after, but only after he was blinded and maimed, and they spent a year and more apart while they learned equal shares of pain) 
  • Redeeming Love (a husband who loves his wife even through adultery and prostitution and any number of times she tries to leave him, and yet. And yet. Oh, that book makes me bawl my eyes out.)

I don’t know if there’s a way to say I love one kind of romance more than the other kind. They both affect me differently, though no less powerfully, I suppose, for those differences.

Continue reading Writer Wednesday: Meet Tamara Shoemaker!

Writer Wednesday: Meet J. Arlene Culiner!

jill-culiner2baWelcome to Writer Wednesday, that glorious day of the week where we shine the spotlight on a fellow author. We’re so glad you popped in to share it with us.

Today our mini interview features J. Arlene Culiner, author of quirky characters, great romance, and engaging stories! What’s better than that?

Enjoy getting to know J. Arlene and her writing better, and please, leave some love in the comments!

Creative WritingWhat inspires you to write?

I love stories. I love telling them, hearing them. I love being a fly on the wall and watching other people’s stories unfold. And I love thoughts that begin with, “What if…”

sunset in heart handsWhich type of romance do you love most, and why?

I love romances that are realistic with older characters. I also like rebellious heroes and heroines, the ones who don’t have big fortunes or flashy cars and designer clothes but do things they’re passionate about. And of course the romances I really appreciate have to be well written.

Gobekli Tepe (Pot-belly Hill) is an archaeological siteName one interesting thing you learned in researching/writing your last book:

I learned a lot about archaeology, of course, and I discovered that some very important sites are being deliberately destroyed, covered over by cement and buildings, all in the name of profit.

Name two things people don’t know about you:

I’ve crossed much of Europe on foot — most of the time on my own — and I worked as a translator in Turkey, just like the heroine of my latest release, The Turkish Affair.

Fireworks DisplayWhat one piece of advice do you wish you’d had when first starting out?

Know that writing and trying to find a publisher or an agent can be heartbreaking. Therefore, you have to take care of yourself, congratulating yourself when you’ve achieved a goal, no matter how small: meeting your word count goal; finishing a story; writing one scene beautifully; sending out queries. Give yourself presents, even little ones like a good cup of coffee and feel proud.

turkishaffairA Bit About The Turkish Affair

Danger at the ancient Hittite site of Karakuyu:

A top-notch Washington journalist before a liaison with the wrong man implicated her in scandal, Anne Pierson has been hiding in backwoods Turkey and working as a translator. She’s determined to keep her past a secret, to avoid personal relationships. But after meeting Renaud Townsend, her discreet little world is turned upside down.

Archaeologist Renaud Townsend is troubled by Anne Pierson’s refusal to talk about her past, but instinct tells him he can rely on her. Or is it only desire speaking? A lusty love affair for the duration of the summer dig is a very appealing idea.

When Anne’s bad reputation links her to stolen artifacts and murder, the budding romance with Renaud comes to a halt. If they learn to trust one another, her name can be cleared. But is there still enough intensity to give love a second chance?

Published by Crimson Romance

Find The Turkish Affair here:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo Books

TypewriterA Bit About J. Arlene:

Born in New York, raised in Toronto, J. Arlene Culiner has spent most of her life in England, Germany, Turkey, Greece, Hungary and the Sahara. She now resides in a 400-year-old former inn in a French village of no interest and, much to public dismay, protects all creatures, especially spiders and snakes. She works as an actress, a photographer, a contemporary artist, a musician, writes mysteries, history books and perfectly believable romances. Her heroines are funny and gutsy; her heroes, dashingly lovable; and all are (proudly) over the age of forty.

Want to connect further with J. Arlene?

Website | Anecdotes Blog | J. Arlene’s Blog | GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter

Thanks so much for being here today, J. Arlene – I’m glad you could be a part of Writer Wednesday

Writer Wednesday: Meet Courtney Hunt!

courtneyhuntWelcome back to Writer Wednesday, that delightful day of the week on which I get to share with y’all one of the many fabulous authors I’ve met in this writing journey.

This week, I’m pleased to have Courtney Hunt with us. Courtney is the author of smart and sexy romance (my favorite kind!), including, as she puts it, “smart, funny contemporary romances featuring strong heroines and the sexy heroes who steal their hearts.” Oh, yeah! Sign me up!

So grab that cup of tea and settle in for a minute to read a bit about Courtney and her latest work.

Creative Writing, Pencil on notebook with glowing light bulb

What inspires you to write?

Like many writers, I get my inspiration from anywhere and everywhere–a newspaper article, a snippet of dialogue overheard in the elevator, or an anecdote from a friend. I use Evernote to capture all my ideas until I’m ready to develop them. Right now, I have over 50 different series ideas so I’ll be busy for a bit:-) As for what gets me to write daily, if I don’t write my stories no one else will. My characters are counting on me.

Which type of romance do you love most, and why?

As a lifelong romance reader I love and read all kinds of romance. Any story that contains a happily ever after is fine with me. Some tropes I especially love include second chance, friends to lovers, fairy tale romance, and arranged marriage/marriage of convenience. 

Trunk Bay, St John, United States Virgin Islands.

Name one interesting thing you learned in researching/writing your last book:

When I was writing Coconut Iced Coffee, the August Cupid’s Coffeeshop release, I learned that the US Virgin Islands are considered national parks. Therefore, it’s illegal to take sand and shells home from the islands. As part of the plot, the heroine’s brother and cousin give her a mason jar to bring back sand and shells in. I ended up having her leave it on the island with the hero as a memento of their island fling.

Burning paperName two things people don’t know about you:

  1. Once, when helping my little sister do her homework, I set it on fire–accidentally, of course! The assignment was to create an ancient looking scroll. I thought I’d just burn the edges but that didn’t work out so well and the whole thing went up in flames. Of course, it was late the night before it was due and my sister had worked for days on it. Whoops. My mom wrote a note to the teacher and all was well but I’ve never been allowed to forget it.
  2. I also once won a Harry Potter trivia contest. My sister and I attended all the Harry Potter release parties together. At the one for Half-Blood Prince (the 6th book), the emcee kept trying to stump us with harder and harder questions, but we prevailed. The winning answer? Naming all Hermione Granger’s classes in 3rd year in alphabetical order 🙂

What fellow romance author do you recommend reading, and why?

There are so many amazing writers out there now, especially with the explosion of e-books and self-publishing. Right at the moment, I’m really enjoying reading Jill Shalvis, Marie Force, and Belle Andre. They have creative contemporary plots that I enjoy. 

Female legs jogging on a trailWhat one piece of advice do you wish you’d had when first starting out?

A writing career is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time to build up a backlist and that burnout is a very real risk. When I first started publishing, I would get up early and write before work and then write until the wee hours after getting my son down for the night. After I got pneumonia, I learned to be a bit more balanced. 

What’s your favorite romance novel of all time, and why?

I’ll pick a sentimental favorite here. Partners by Nora Roberts as it was the first romance I ever read. I snuck it out of my mother’s library bag. 


And now, a bit about the latest Cupid’s Coffeeshop, Apple Cider:

September means back-to-school along with crisp weather, ripe apples, and Apple Cider at Cupid’s Coffeeshop. 

Single mom Harper Wells has pined for gorgeous Cooper Mason, ever since he moved in next door two years ago. But the widower seemed focused on raising his only son. Neither single parent had any time for romance. 

As a fall friendship blossoms between them, can Harper and Cooper find their happily ever after right next door? 

Find Apple Cider on Amazon! https://www.amazon.com/Apple-Cider-Cupids-Coffeeshop-Book-ebook/dp/B01GTPSJ9I/

Red heart shapes on a handwritten old journal.

A Bit About Courtney:

Courtney Hunt is the author of the Cupid’s Coffeeshop series, the Always a Bridesmaid series, and the Kindle Scout winner, The Lost Art of Second Chances. An attorney by day, Courtney lives outside Washington, DC. with her husband and son. 

Want to connect further with Courtney? Find her here!

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon | Goodreads | Pinterest

Thanks so much for joining us today, Courtney! It was a pleasure to learn more about you.