Writer Wednesday (er, Thursday): Meet Donna Dalton!

Sometimes life gets in the way, and yesterday was one of those days. My apologies to all my #WriterWednesday fans and especially to Donna Dalton, our featured author today and a fellow Virginia Romance Writers friend.

But we can celebrate a wonderful author like Donna any day of the week, right?

Donna writes novels that romance America’s past. Her newest, Magic In Her Eyes, is a historical romance with paranormal elements – right up my alley. And it debuts TOMORROW. Woot!

So settle in to learn more about Donna and her work. You’ll be glad you did – and I hope you leave greetings in the comments.


What inspires you to write?

I love the art of storytelling…the weaving of words into fascinating tales that keep readers coming back for more.

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

I have always enjoyed historical romances. I love reading about the past and how the people of yesteryear lived and loved. It’s almost like reading a fantasy, except it’s real. Very fascinating.


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

While researching extra-ordinary abilities for my Gifted Series, I discovered a resource on seeing auras that surround people, plants, and buildings. It said you could teach yourself to see those auras. So, I gave it a try. Not happening. My brain was too busy to slow down and focus. Guess I’ll just leave the aura seeing to my characters.

Name two things people don’t know about you:

First thing people may not know about me is that I love animals. All types. I have had countless pets over the years, dogs, cats, a horse, birds, hamsters, gerbils, and even a black and white rat named Fred. He knew lots of tricks and loved riding on my shoulder. Another thing I love is horseback riding. I enjoy long rides through the woods. The peacefulness and fresh air is quite relaxing.

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

I would recommend Joanna Bourne. She writes historicals that are packed with action and adventure and always include a strong bold heroine. Her style of writing engages the reader from the start, using simple words that deliver powerful hits.

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

I wish I had known that the rough draft is just that…rough. Each sentence does not have to be polished to perfection before moving on. I spent far too much effort on scenes that eventually ended up getting cut. A waste of time. So now, my first draft is just me telling myself the story, no polish, no editing.

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

My favorite novel of all time is Flowers From The Storm by Laura Kinsale. I love stories where the heroine heals a tortured hero. Laura’s writing is exceptional. She paints such vivid pictures with her words. This book is definitely a keeper.


A Bit About Magic In Her Eyes:

Meredith Talbot has a secret. In fact, she has nine secrets – her own and those of the eight orphans at Seaton House, a home for children. Each of them has a special talent that if exposed would get them labeled as witches. It is her responsibility to protect the children and their secrets and keep them safe from persecution. Marauding Indians force them into a nearby fort where their safety is threatened by fanatical townspeople and a captivating army officer who try to unmask the children’s extraordinary abilities.

Lieutenant Preston Booth has one goal – to serve and protect his country. The military is the only life he has ever known. It’s the only life he wants. When a child is abducted and Preston goes after the culprit, Meredith has a vision of what will happen to him.

Does she risk everything by exposing her gift? Or keep her secret and risk losing him forever?

Find Magic In Her Eyes here:

The Wild Rose Press – http://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/5081-magic-in-her-eyes.html

Amazon Kindle: http://a.co/gTC5ehR


A Bit About Donna:

Donna lives in central Virginia with her husband, two sons, and a grandson. An avid reader of historical romances, Donna uses the rich history of the “Old Dominion” State for many of her story settings. She enjoys reading stories where characters overcome life’s challenges, where family is everything, and the power of love helps them to succeed.

Want to connect further with Donna? Find her here:

Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Website  |  GoodReads

Thanks so much for joining us, Donna! It was a pleasure to have you here. 

Writer Wednesday: Meet Laurie Benson, Historical Romance Author!

Welcome back to Writer Wednesday! We were on hiatus last week while I launched my own Regency, The Demon Duke, but I’m thrilled to be back, especially since I get to present historical romance author Laurie Benson to you!

Laurie and I met on social media (she posts wonderful information on her blog), and we share a love of the Regency period, so I’m excited to have her here today to tell us a bit about herself and her newest release, The Unexpected Countess.

Take it away, Laurie!

What inspires you to write?

I write romances set in the early 19th century and draw most of my writing inspiration from history. I read a lot of non-fiction books and sometimes when I discover a particularly intriguing snippet of history, my mind will play the “what if” game with the facts I uncover. While I was thinking up story ideas for my latest book, An Unexpected Countess, I had read about the theft of the French crown jewels during the French Revolution and learned that there was no trace of most of them during the Regency era. I kept thinking about where they were and who had them. The plot for An Unexpected Countess was built around those musings and it became a treasure hunt romance where my hero and heroine are both after the same piece of the missing French crown jewels.

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

Aside from the theft of the jewels, one fun thing I discovered while doing research for An Unexpected Countess was that in the late eighteenth century, people were fascinated by electricity. Friction machines were developed to generate mild electric shock and used to amuse spectators at public exhibitions. During the Regency era, these Electrifying Machines became hugely popular and eventually cheap enough to find their way into the homes of the gentry. Using an Electrifying Machine became an unusual way to entertain both the male and female guests during an evening at home. Just imagine going to your friend’s house for dinner and then receiving a mild shock of electricity afterwards.

Name two things people don’t know about you.

The first is that my favorite trope to write and read is enemies-to-lovers. I love the verbal sparring that happens in those books. And the second thing people don’t know about me is that my all-time favorite snack is trail mix with some kind of chocolate in it. I’m an avid hiker, and can work through problems and find my calm place while I walk for miles through the woods. I always have trail mix with me on hikes and I think I associate eating it with feeling calm. Just writing this has made me want to grab some.

What are you currently writing?

I’m in the process of writing my next three-book series for my publisher which is set in Regency era England and revolves around the life and loves of three sisters. So far, the first two books are marriages of convenience. I’ve still have yet to determine the romantic fate of the youngest sister.

A Bit About An Unexpected Countess

The Earl of Hartwick delights in scandalizing Society with his behavior. But it’s his turn to be scandalized when, leaving a liaison, he bumps into Miss Sarah Forrester—in the rain, at night, on a rooftop!

Sarah is hunting for a diamond, and the last thing she needs is the infuriating Hart distracting her. But he’s looking for the jewel, too! They may be rivals, but the sparks between them are uncontrollable. And soon Sarah finds herself longing for another treasure—becoming Hart’s American countess!

Scoop Up An Unexpected Countess here:

Amazon: getBook.at/UnexpectedAmzUni
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2kjGkIM
iBooks: http://apple.co/2jUPGHq
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2jUOFiK

A Bit About Laurie:

Laurie Benson is an award-winning historical romance author who writes books about men in boots and the women who fall for them. She began her writing career as an advertising copywriter, where she learned more than you could ever want to know about hot dogs and credit score reports. When she isn’t at her laptop avoiding laundry, Laurie can be found browsing antique shops, going on ridiculously long hikes, or sitting in her car on the school pickup line. She lives with her husband and two sons in a house filled with testosterone—even her bunny is a boy. Laurie is represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan of Handspun Literary Agency.

Want to connect further with Laurie? Find her here:

Website: http://lauriebenson.net/
Historical Blog (The Cozy Drawing Room): https://thecozydrawingroom.com/
Twitter: @lauriebwrites
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaurieBensonAuthor

Thank you so much for joining us today, Laurie! It was fabulous to have you here. 

Writer Wednesday: Madelyn Hill on Writing a Series

Welcome to Writer Wednesday! So great to have you here for the weekly scoop on a fellow author.

This week, I’m proud to host Madelyn Hill, who writes historical romance with heart, courage, and Highlanders. She’s mixing it up today by giving us her insights on writing a series – and a handy list of mistakes to avoid! Personally, I’m thrilled to have this as I wrestle with plans for my own two series.

So grab your favorite drink and take a sip or two as you read about the rewards and challenges of writing a romance series, and learn a little about Madelyn’s latest release, Highland Faith.

Writing one book is hard. A fabulous idea pops into your head and you begin to plot or just write (if you are a pantser like me). And you continue writing, editing, researching—and then at some point in the book, (the middle for me!) you lose sight of the end, the goals and motivation of the characters and the conflict. You question yourself – is my conflict strong enough? Do the characters make sense, have chemistry? Have I just wasted hours and hours writing this drivel? But when that book is one of a series, you have just complicated your work exponentially.

Writing a series takes much more planning, plot development, and creation of characters who can carry a series. For my Wild Thistle Trilogy, the story starts with a prologue from the three heroines’ childhood. The reader has a glimpse of the personalities and responsibilities that will befall our heroines at a young age. Especially when their dying father utters the words, “Remember, through Hope, Faith, and Honor, ye can rule.” Each heroine leads one of the books in the trilogy and the reader understands how each character interprets and executes their father’s dying pledge.

TypewriterKeeping the facts and history straight throughout three books is not a task for the weary. I created several notes and as things changed through the editing process, I had to ensure I made those same changes to the other books. Also, as a writer, sometimes our muse likes to take a u-turn or detour. This can be problematic with a series because you have already established specific norms in the preceding books.

Some things to keep in mind when writing a series (adapted from NowNovel – How to write a series: 8 novice mistakes to avoid)

  • Don’t choose a story concept that can’t stretch across multiple books – could I have added another sister or brother? Sure, but then the father’s pledge would have been ridiculously long and the symbol of three was important to my trilogy.
  • Don’t keep your series going if you’ve run out of ideas – there are many series out there that are on the twentieth or more book in the series. With a talented author, this is great. But, sometimes things begin to repeat themselves and this bores the reader.
  • Don’t forget to plan ahead and know where your series might end – with a trilogy, it was easy, I knew the story had to end at three books.
  • Don’t ignore the passage of time in your series – I found that I had trouble with this. I needed to have time pass and keep the flow and pace of the story steady. Luckily I had a wonderful editor who pointed this out to me.
  • Don’t be inconsistent with your series’ details – my desk is littered with post-it notes and I put notes at the beginning of each manuscript so I can quickly look at details. Readers will notice any inconsistency.
  • Don’t be so consistent that there’s no intrigue and change – this is so true. You do not want to bore the reader. My heroines are all strong in their own way and each have different goals, motivation, and conflict even though they all wish to fulfill their father’s dying pledge.
  • Don’t abandon important multi-novel plot arcs – with a trilogy this wasn’t difficult to remember, but when you think of series such as the Stephanie Plum series, there are continuing plot arcs such as her relationship with her family and love interest that co-exist with the mystery. They make the character who she is and it needs to continue in each story.
  • Don’t make your fictional world too limited – if you do, you will limit the realistic length you can continue your series.

A Bit About Highland Faith

Huntress Lady Faith MacAlister seeks adventure. Her father’s dying pledge tethers her to Wild Thistle Keep, thwarting her desire to explore the world beyond the palisade. Solace is found while hunting and providing sustenance for her clan. When snatched from the safety of MacAlister lands by a rogue bent on securing a ransom, she finds the adventure of her life.

Disgraced Captain Graeme Ross travels the high seas in search of bounty to sell in order to secure lands seized by the Crown. He longs to regain his honor in his father’s eyes and continually risks his life on the high seas. Lacking enough funds, Graeme and his crew follow Lady Faith MacAlister as she hunts. Out of need and desire, he kidnaps her. The lady captivates him for the moment he laid eyes upon her. Bold and spirited, she fights him. When he negotiates a ransom, deception tears the burgeoning romance apart.

Now, Lady Faith and Captain Ross seek to settle those differences hindering their union, despite the stretch of land and sea—and angry Highlanders standing between them.

Find Highland Faith here!: 


A Bit About Madelyn:

Madelyn Hill has always loved the written word. From the time she could read and all through her school years, she’d sneak books into her textbooks during school. And she devoured books daily. At the age of 10 she proclaimed she wanted to be a writer. After being a “closet” writer for several years, she sent her manuscripts out there and is now published with Soul Mate Publishing. And she couldn’t be happier! A resident of Western New York, she moved from one Rochester to another Rochester to be with the love of her life. They now have 3 children and keep busy cooking, watching their children’s sporting events, and of course reading!

Want to connect further with Madelyn? Find her here:

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/authormadelynhill

Thanks so much for joining us, Madelyn – it was a delight to have you here! 

Writer Wednesday: Meet Clair Brett!

Welcome, welcome to the final Writer Wednesday of 2016! *sob* (But don’t worry, we’ve got plenty more amazing authors in store for you in 2017!)

Today I’m happy to bring you Clair Brett, historical romance author of “strong heroines and the Lords who want to tame them.” Who wouldn’t want to read that? My first love has always been historical romance. There’s just something about a man in – and out of – a cravat.

So sit back and relax and soak in this brief but informative interview with Clair as we learn more about her and her upcoming release, Dealing With the Viscount.

What inspires you to write?

As an only child, I was forever making up stories to keep my Barbies and me occupied, so it is natural for my brain to be churning story ideas, and I need to do something with them. Now, as the mother of two girls, I want to create strong heroines who don’t always need saving and Heroes who I feel are worthy of one of my daughters as an example of what is possible. If they wouldn’t be one of my Heroes, they are not worthy of my daughters.

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

I love a good historical romance. It sweeps me to a completely new world with different problems and obstacles, so I can fully get lost. I do have to admit if something gets blown up or there is a spy, I will fall in love with it even more. (I am a die-hard James Bond fan, so that is where that comes from).

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

Confessions of a Scoundrel by Karen Hawkins is one I go back to over and over again. It is just a fun story from beginning to end. Ms. Hawkins does a great job creating a strong heroine with a great backstory, but one who is vulnerable and thus susceptible to falling in love. The hero is thrown into a situation that at face value is one thing, but in reality is something very different, so he starts out the story back peddling and forever trying to keep up, but in the end is the hero we all want in our lives. It is the story that made me think, “maybe I could do that”. I even keep it on my research shelf in a special place.

Name two things people don’t know about you:

Hmm, I am really an open book, but readers wouldn’t know that I am adopted. It has been a large part of who I am as a person. I have a relationship with my natural parents and siblings and thanks to the adults in my life, it has been a wonderful experience giving me a lot of support when I needed it. I am an advocate for adoption when possible…

And my nickname as a child was Charlie, but many people in my small little home town still call me by that name. My dad used to call me Charlie Brown and it got shortened. I didn’t always like it, though.

A Bit About Dealing With The Viscount

After making a wager of marriage to settle her father’s gambling debts, Ella Bowen-Thorn Renwick escaped the husband she foolishly began to fall for and disappeared into the Scottish countryside carrying a secret. Four years later, and the owner of her own bakery, she is still not free of the demands of men when a violent and anonymous blackmailer threatens her, her livelihood…and her daughter. And then, there is him…

Viscount Renwick still mourns the wife he began to love before her untimely death–that is until he discovers her alive and well living in Scotland. Now, Devon’s face to face with the wife he thought he’d buried and the daughter he never knew existed. He’d like nothing more than to welcome Ella back into his arms, but mysterious and troubling incidents and a history with an unloving father have Ella trusting no one.

But, if Renwick convinces his wife he’s the husband she always dreamed of and the father their daughter deserves, will the scandalous secret the blackmailer is holding threaten their future together once more?

Find Dealing With the Viscount here: 

Amazon Kindle | Nook | Kobo | Apple

A Bit About Clair:

Dragon keeper and historical romance author, Clair Brett lives in New Hampshire with her hard-working husband and two teenaged daughters. Her office staff during the day consists of Cinta, a black cat and the matriarch of the fur babies; Mojo, a yellow kitten who spends his day holding Clair down in her seat to get her word count in; a boxer/beagle mix puppy named Willow who sleeps next to her chair to make it hard to do an Oreo run without doing a pee run as well; a hermit crab who keeps to himself; and a bearded dragon, who is kind of upper management.

A former middle and high school English teacher, Clair has had a lifetime love affair with reading. Once she read Pride and Prejudice as an extra read in high school, she was hooked. Clair began pursuit of publication when she was a new mother in need of a hobby. Her oldest daughter will be graduating in 2017, so you do the math. Clair is a firm believer that a reader finds a piece of who they are or learns something about the world with every book they read. She wants her readers to be empowered and to have a refreshed belief in the goodness of people and the power of love after reading her work.

Want to Connect Further with Clair? Find Her Here:

Website |  Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Amazon Author Page | Pinterest

Thanks so much for joining us this holiday week, Clair! It was a pleasure to host you. 🙂 

Writer Wednesday: Meet Michele Stegman!

michelestegmanWelcome, welcome to #WriterWednesday, that wonderful day of the week in which I host a fellow author for a brief interview – the perfect bite-sized break to go along with that Kit Kat you’re thinking about (or is that just me?).

This week I’m honored to have Michele Stegman, author of warm, sensuous romance, with us. So I’ll duck out of the way while she tells us a bit about herself and her latest work…

Rich blue Lapis Lazuli spheres and rough from AfghanistanWhat inspires you to write?

Pure and simple, I love to tell stories.

At a party the other day, a friend complimented my necklace. Instead of just saying thank you, I started telling her about the lapis in it, how it came from the misty mountains of Afghanistan, and about Michelangelo grinding up lapis to make ultramarine blue, etc, until I suddenly realized I was telling my friends a lot more than they ever wanted to know about my necklace. They were fascinated, but still, I really need to confine my storytelling to my books!

Wythe Gardens at the George Wythe house in Colonial Williamsburg, VAWhich type of romance do you love most, and why?

Historical romance, of course! There is just something about the clothes and the horses and the heroes that attract me. When I visited Williamsburg, VA, they were making a film and I couldn’t take my eyes off the dashing man in 18th century clothes riding a horse.

I have always, even as a child, loved reading about history, learning how things were made, and how food was cooked and preserved. So now, I am a hand spinner and weaver and live in an 1840’s log cabin surrounded by antiques.

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

Please, please can I recommend more than one?

Jo Beverley is a real favorite of mine. Not only are her stories riveting, but her knowledge of history and of the English upper class is spot on.

Madeline Hunter is another I would recommend for historical accuracy. Sometimes I think she cheats and uses a time machine because her descriptions are so real. How could she know all this stuff unless she has been there?

And one more, Roberta Gellis, because I have learned so much history from her books. Yet she works it in without one boring sentence.

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

That would have to be Kathleen Woodiwiss’s A Rose in Winter. I like everything about that book, but maybe my main reason is that it is a “beauty and the beast” story, which was my all-time favorite fairy tale as a child.

conquest-cover-comp1A Bit About Conquest of the Heart:

In 1067 England, Madeline, a Norman, wants a big, brash, never-defeated-in-battle, Norman knight. What she gets, by order of the king, is a wiry Saxon who once studied for the priesthood instead of warfare. But is this gentle man she is falling in love with entangled in the rebellion now sweeping the land?

Ranulf wants to marry the girl next door. What he gets, by order of the king, is a lush, strong Norman woman who just might be a spy reporting his every move. He wants her in every way a man can possibly want a woman. But can he trust his heart to a woman might have been sent to root out the struggle for freedom his people are engaged in? How can the overcome the distrust they feel to find love?

Find Conquest of the Heart here:

Amazon (ebook) Amazon (paperback) | Barnes and Noble | Mythical Press (paperback) | Smashwords

Old LetterA Bit About Michele:

Michele Stegman has always loved history and majored in it in college. As a graduate student, she decided that history papers would be more fun to read if they were about people and their relationships. So she added some romance and started writing historical romance.

She lives with her husband, Ron, and two cats at the end of a dead-end road on 46 acres surrounded by wildlife.

Want to connect further with Michele? Find her on her website or on Facebook!

Thanks so much for being here, Michele! It was delightful to host you.