Thursday, November 20, 2014

An Extraordinary Hero

Can six little geese create a Christmas miracle?

     Seven years ago Monica Stevens left her home town with no intention of returning. Her inability to conceive a child not only devastated her fifteen-year marriage, it made her doubt her appeal as a woman. When her mother has to undergo surgery, she reluctantly agrees to come back and run the Mother Goose Daycare.
     Luke Donovan is struggling to balance his career with his duties as a single father to six adopted children. The death of his wife has thrown the adoption of their two youngest sons into limbo. He is further stymied by a dogmatic social worker who questions whether a single parent can adequately care for so many children.
     Initially brought together by the children, Monica and Luke quickly surrender to their growing passion. But when she learns about the threatened adoption, Monica wonders if Luke's interest in her is only as a mother to his children. Is history about to repeat itself, or will a Christmas miracle finally give Monica the family she's always dreamed of having?

Today's post is bittersweet. We feature one of the first authors we contracted during our tenure with the Wild Rose Press—and is the last story we edited before leaving to tackle new and exciting options. Brenda and I go back to the day when I jumped across a table in a pitch session and begged her to submit her story to the fledgling Last Rose of Summer line. So . . .drum roll please. . . Wild Women Authors proudly presents author Brenda Gayle and hero extraordinaire, Luke Donovan, from Six Geese for Monica, the Last Rose offering for the Twelve Brides of Christmas series out of the Wild Rose Press.
Tell us a bit about yourself, Luke. Where are you from? That’s a tough one. I’ve spent most of my life traveling the world with non-government organizations, helping to build schools and communities in less developed countries. It was only about six years ago, with the adoption of my first child that I traded in my nomadic lifestyle to raise a family in Havenport, NY. It’s the first time in years I’ve thought of any “place” as home.
What is Six Geese for Monica all about? On its surface, the story seems to be about Monica finally getting the family she’s always wanted. But I think it’s also about me learning what’s really important in life and opening up my heart again. I hate to think where I’d be if I hadn’t met her.
Which is why we consider this man 'extraordinary'! So . . . what did you think the first time you saw Monica Stevens? I thought she was a whack-job, insisting that I owed her $270 because I was a few minutes late picking up my kids from her mother’s daycare center. I couldn’t imagine this tyrant in any kind of nurturing role, certainly not as a caregiver to my six kids while her mother recovered from surgery in the hospital.
Uh huh. And your second thought? Confusion, pure and simple. When she was around the kids she was a different person—firm, but warm. And they loved her! By the time I left the daycare center that first evening, I found myself wanting her to like me. It was very unsettling.
She must be something. Did you think it was love at first sight? Absolutely not. In fact, it wasn’t until Monica almost died that I finally acknowledged I loved her. I guess I can be a little dense sometimes.
What do you like most about her? Besides the fact she’s sexy as hell? (She’s going to be angry at me for saying that, but it’s true.) Actually, what is most remarkable about Monica is her inner strength. She agreed to come home to run the Mother Goose Daycare while her mother underwent surgery even though she knew being back in Havenport would bring up all sorts of painful memories. She was my rock when we didn’t know if Devon and Derrick, two of my kids, would be taken away from us. Despite everything she’s been through, she is loving and kind, and has a heart that knows no bounds.
That is so sweet and describes the perfect heroine. How would you describe her? Did I tell you how sexy she is? Especially when she pulls out her old 80s high school clothes and starts dancing around the house. Man, those shoulder pads, tight stirrup pants, and neon striped leg warmers are hot! Oh boy, I’m going to be in big trouble when I get home.
Hah! Serves you right. How would she describe you? I think she thinks I’m a good dad, probably a bit too focused on my career. Probably a bit dense in the love department. No, definitely dense in the love department. Fortunately she didn’t give up on me.
What made you choose architecture as a profession? It was a way to make a difference in the world. I wanted to help people less fortunate and building schools and buildings is all fine, but unless you can do so in a way that is environmentally sustainable, and takes into account the limitations of the communities you’re working in, it’s not going to be helpful in the long run. Being able to offer the skills of a professional architect seemed to be the best way I could help.
What is your biggest fear? Being a bad dad.
How do you relax? Dancing. We do a lot of dancing at our house.
Sigh. Our kind of man. Who is your favorite fictional character and why?
Dr. Doolittle. I think I have a lot in common with him. He traveled the world and learned to talk to the animals so he could help them. While I haven’t learned how to talk to animals, I have learned a lot about the various cultures with which I’ve worked. Also, his menagerie reminds me of my rambunctious kids at home.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Patience is a skill not an inheritable trait. Unfortunately, it’s a skill I haven’t yet mastered—just ask Monica.
What fun; we didn't quite expect Luke to be so . . . deep. Now it's Brenda's turn at bat. What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer and why? I love really sappy romances where you think everything is lost and then suddenly the couple gets a second chance. The 1959 movie, Gidget, with Sandra Dee and James Darren is one of my all-time favorites. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve seen it. I still feel a thrill when Gidget grudgingly agrees to go on a date with the son of her father’s friend and discovers it’s Moondoggie, and they get a second chance at love.
Gidget. Now there's a blast from the past. Who knew. What real thing/event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? Many of my books deal with the concept of what constitutes “family”—what you’re born into or what you create for yourself. It’s also a question faced by the hundreds of thousands of infertile couples around the world—one my husband and I also wrestled with. Technology can only do so much. But miracles do happen; I am proof. And so this Christmas, I was happy to be able to give Monica a second chance to be a mother.
Would you do that in your next story? I’m not sure I would necessarily deal with the subject of infertility in my next book, but I do think the concept of family will be prominent. It seems to be a theme I can’t get away from.
Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them; what influenced your decision to submit to them? Six Geese for Monica is my sixth publication with The Wild Rose Press. Before I published, I had heard a lot of good things about this fairly new (at the time) publisher and so I signed up to pitch my first book to one of its editors at the New Jersey Romance Writers conference. The response of the editor (you!) was so fantastic I knew I would do whatever it took to publish with that house. For my first five books, I worked with Maggie Johnson, another wonderful editor, but I jumped at the chance to be part of the Twelve Brides of Christmas series because
1) I loved the concept of brides, Christmas, and incorporating one of the famous “12 gifts” and
2) I really wanted to work with you, the editor to whom I first pitched.
Aww, Thanks. Tell us about the project[s] you're working on now. I’ve been asked to write a short contemporary romance for an anthology that is being published to support women’s cancer research. I’m really excited to be part of this worthwhile project.
What's up next for you? More writing, more publishing (I hope). I think my stories are expanding from pure contemporary romances into what is often referred to as “women’s fiction.” I like writing about older heroines (probably because I identify more closely with them), and these women tend to have a much broader range of life experiences.
Brenda brought along an excerpt from this terrific story. . .
“Gotta love the Internet. There’s a music stream for every situation.” He took a step toward her and held out his hand. “Wanna dance?”
Monica allowed the music to move through her as she and Luke danced through Culture Club, Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical,” and Hall and Oates’ “Maneater.” She hadn’t heard this music in years and it brought back feelings of being young and free, and a sense of the wild abandon she’d experienced on the high school dance floor.
The mood shifted as the attic filled with the first strains of “Sailing” by Christopher Cross. That, too, brought back high school memories of those awkward moments when you didn’t know if the boy you were dancing with was willing to slow dance with you or if he was going to abandon you on the dance floor.
Luke didn’t hesitate. He wrapped both arms around her waist as if it was the most natural thing in the world. She reached up to encircle his neck, and rested her head against his chest. She could hear his heart beating, steady and firm. He was steady and firm. He smelled wonderful, a mixture of his woodsy aftershave with the softly sweet scent of the soap used by both him and his children.
He was a good dancer, his moves confident and clear. It was obviously something he’d done a lot of. Jeff hadn’t liked to dance—typical jock—and she’d missed it during their time together—and after. How long since she’d been held on a dance floor? Or not on the dance floor, for that matter?
A good dancer. A good husband. A good father. Why couldn’t she have met Luke, or someone like him, twenty years ago?

If that last line doesn't move you, nothing will. Thank you, Brenda. Much much luck in your future. You'll do great.
Kat and Veronica

Monday, November 10, 2014

Let's Talk With a Darling Woman

This week, Wild Women Authors welcomes author Andrea Downing and Emily Darling, heroine from Dearest Darling, a new release out of the Love Letters series for the Wild Rose Press' historical romance line. Welcome Andrea and Emily who is up first. May I first say thank you so much for having me here today; I appreciate the opportunity to talk about, you know, my ‘story.’
And we are just as pleased to have you. Tell us a bit about yourself, Emily. Where are you from? New York, New York—originally. Now I live in Wyoming.
Tell us a bit about Dearest Darling. I was living with my brother—as his housekeeper, actually—under his thumb, to put it bluntly, because I was penniless. So, when this beautifully written love letter arrived along with a packet of tickets meant for someone else—and, of course, I couldn’t read the address due to the rain smudges, so there was no way of sending them on—well, you’ll understand that I just had to take those tickets and use them. I mean, what would be the purpose of returning the tickets to the sender or trying to find this woman for whom they were meant? It was destined to happen! Honest…
A clever plot ploy to work with the premise for the Love Letters series. Tell us about Daniel Saunders, the hero of this delightful story. What did you think the first time you saw him? You might say I was in a state of confusion. First of all, I was thoroughly exhausted from that long trip from New York to Wyoming—first the lengthy train journey and then that horrid stagecoach up from Cheyenne. Daniel wasn’t expecting me, so he was pretty disgruntled, and he had just come in from the ranch so was smelly and filthy. It wasn’t a good first impression at all!
Not the most sterling beginning to any relationship. Your second thought? Oh, dear; do I have to say in public? I mean, I had read his beautiful love letter to Ethel Darton and it went straight to my heart. Then, when Daniel managed to tidy himself up a bit and stood there with the light in the window, it just gave me palpitations.
Very nice description! Did you think it was love at first sight? Uh, well, it was more love at first read, I guess!
Good one. What do you like most about him? He’s exceedingly kind and considerate. I mean, he could have left me there in Jackson when I got off the stage, but he knew I didn’t have 2 bits to my name. And before you get any thoughts on that, let me add he behaved like a perfect gentleman. Unfortunately… Well, for a while…
Another zinger. How would you describe Daniel? He has lovely eyes that seem to look right through you, thick brownish hair you just want to reach up and run your fingers in, and he’s tall and well built, though a bit slender with it. I mean, I’m not very good at this sort of thing, but he certainly appeals to me.
Wow. How would he describe you? I guess he’d say I was petite and blonde?
What made you choose housekeeping as a career? Sweet ladies, I didn’t have a choice! If you’re a well bred young woman in the 1890s, you’re expected to marry, and that’s about the sum of it. Housekeeping for my brother was about all I could do.
That's the first time either Kat or I has ever been called sweet—and with our employment history, we've been called a lot of things. Thank you, Emily. What is your biggest fear? Being sent back to New York, of course!
Enough to send chills up one's spine. So, how do you relax? I guess reading and sewing. Now I’ve learned how to ride, I love that, but at the moment Daniel doesn’t permit me.
Good feed in for our next question: Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Difficult question, that. I love a number of books, but mostly I’m thinking I hated The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Hmm. Interesting response. One to ponder for future use. Thanks for that one, also. Last one: What is the best piece of advice you ever received? I guess it’s “In this world, you never know who’s telling the truth.”
This has been terrific. Let's talk with Andrea for a moment. What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer and why? I grew up on a diet of television westerns, but the one that stands out the most to me is The Virginian; I loved the book by Owen Wister, upon which the television series was based, and always dreamt of getting to Wyoming and being a cowgirl. I imagine I’ve transferred that dream and that love to my writing now.
Isn't that a blast from the past. The Virginian. Takes us back. What real thing or event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? The event that originally sparked the idea for the book, and became the setting, was my visit to the Cunningham Cabin in Grand Teton National Park. You stand there in this desolate spot with broad prairie meeting the base of the mountains, and not a lot else, and you just wonder what it must have been like to live there in the 1800s without all our modern conveniences and communications. It had to make for a certain kind of hero, someone who would live that way, but knew he had to deal with his loneliness.
Awesome response. Would you do that—use a real place or event—in your next story? Places I visit always impact in some way upon the stories I write; I think it’s unavoidable as an author.
Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them? The Wild Rose Press has won the Preditors and Editors Best Publisher for, I think, 6 years running now, so it’s difficult not to have heard of them. They were the first small publisher I considered, and I feel lucky they’ve taken me on.
Tell us about the submission process ie how long from date of query to date of release. There are clear instructions on the web site for submitting but now I just submit directly to my editor. Query to release times vary depending on the material, book length, time of year etc. Dearest Darling came out pretty quick; my next book, Dances of the Heart has been a helluva lot longer, but that’s a full length novel.
What project[s] are you working on now? Ssshhhhh…I’m very secretive about that sort of thing but let me say it takes place in two different times.
What's up next for you? As I write this, I’m out in Wyoming and will be heading back to NYC for the winter in a few days. But wherever I am, I’m trying to fill those blank white pages!
Ladies, thanks so much for having the two of us here today. I believe Emily needs to get back to the ranch…
Andrea, and Emily, thank you so much for spending time with us this week. It's been a pleasure!
Kat and Veronica

to learn more about Andrea Downing and to purchase her book[s], go to:


Monday, November 3, 2014

Doing Battle . . . for Love

"If love isn't worth fighting for, what is?"
     Love Howard has more than a knack for matchmaking. Born from a forbidden passion and a twelve-hundred-year-old promise, she and her sisters can literally see true love. And while Love has no problem bringing other couples together, her own romantic life could use a little help.
     Danton DeAngelo has always been well grounded in reality. So it throws him for no small loop when the woman he’s fallen for believes that she’s been reincarnated eleven times and can actually see true love.
     Now Danton is faced with the biggest decision of his life. Accept Love for who she really is, or walk away from her forever.

Fresh off a major blog tour, Wild Women Authors is pleased to welcome first time author Angela Hayes and Love Howard from Love's Battle, a recent release out of the Wild Rose Press. First up is Love.
Where are you from? All over. Each life I have lived in various places. In this one, as Love Howard, I am from Maryland.
Tell us a bit about Love's Battle. It is pretty much my current life story and tells of how my sisters and I were conceived and a bit of how we lived our ten previous lives. Most importantly, it tells of how Danton DeAngelo and I came to be.
What did you think the first time you saw Danton? I thought he was perfect! It was the second and third thoughts that gave me trouble.
Un huh, it's those killer second and thirds that can spell doom. It was?
Literally, “Not now!” was screaming inside my brain. It was quickly followed up by how unfair it was that he and I had to meet under such circumstances and how those circumstances certainly put us at immediate odds. For those who haven’t read my story, I’ll just leave it at that, I don’t want to spoil the surprise of my not so favorable first impression.
Did you think it was love at first sight? I absolutely without hesitation knew Danton was my particular soul mate in this life. It’s one of the perks of being able to see true love and what a beautiful sight it is. Danton, on the other hand, was the one who needed convincing.
What do you like most about him? What I like most is his unwavering commitment. Once he makes up his mind about something, he sees it through. That’s why I am so looking forward to seeing him again our next life and am so humbled by the pledge he made.
How would you describe him? Stubborn because it takes him a while to come around, but once he does there’s no going back. Giving because he’s got such a big heart, it makes me fall in love with him again and again. And grounded. Danton keeps me tethered when I need it most and is always there, waiting on me when I need a safe place to land.
How would he describe you? I would hope with beautiful flowery words that would turn my heart to mush. But I’m afraid it would be more likely to make me blush. Something along the lines of flighty, impulsive, shoe-holic. Really, you have to see my collection—and aren’t these studded Louboutin’s just delicious? They make me think of candy dots.
If you say so. Personally, we go for clogs, a throwback to our long ago days in the OR. But we digress. What made you choose working with arts and antiquities as a profession? Arts and Antiquites has been a long simmering idea between my sisters and I. It was never right in our previous lives to consider opening a museum of this magnitude, but with all the modern advanced and truly open minded way of thinking the 21st century brings, it really was a no brainer.
What is your biggest fear? That’s a great question. In many of my past lives, fear was a way of life. It was so thick in the air at times you felt as if it would choke you. My sisters and I have lived through wars and plagues, but nothing amounts to the fear of rejection that grips you when you are facing the most important person in your world and have to confess that you were conceived thanks to the magic of a banshee and are reincarnated to bring lovers together. Imagine facing the ledge of a cliff and knowing at any moment the person behind you could push you off at any moment. That might would come close to describing what it feels like.
Oh my. That's a challenge. So . . . how do you relax? Relaxing, what is that?! My brain is constantly running, running, searching for new ideas, but I do find peace when I sit down at my harp and lose myself in the beautiful sounds of music.
Who is your favorite fictional character? While I do love reading, having met so many wonderfully creative and inspiring characters in real life, it makes it hard to have a favorite fictional character.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? It comes courtesy of my mother Riona. It was the unrequited love between her and my father that lead her to make the promise that resulted in my initial conception. As we were growing up and she explained to my sisters and I what would be required of us. I once asked why she would make such a sacrifice and still continue to pine for him. She looked at me, violet colored eyes full of love and pain, and smiled. “Gra, if love isn’t worth fighting for, what is?”
What a way to end an interview with an intriguing heroine and an even more intriguing story!! Let's learn a bit about the creator of such characters and intricate back story. Angela, what movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer and why?
Anything and everything by Nora Roberts has had an impact on my career—or what will hopefully be one. In my opinion she sets the very highest bar which a romance writer can hope to achieve. Then, there’s the Twilight series and Harry Potter or even 50 Shades, which I haven’t read, but each has created such a frenzied and massive fan base that it's mind blowing. It makes me understand how a single idea can evolve beyond expectations and I have a daydreams that at least one of the books that I write will have the same reaction.
What real thing or event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? I spent the majority of my childhood living in Maryland and that more than anything influenced the books main location. The rest was places I hope to see one day.
Tell us a bit about your publisher. How did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them? I published my first book, Love’s Battle, with the Wild Rose Press. I found them on the Predators and Editors website (pred-ed.com) and the rest was really quick.
Tell us about the submission process ie how long from date of query to date of release? I submitted my query, heard back within 24 hours with a request for the full manuscript and waited 3 months to be told it was good, but not contract ready. After more edits, which it totally needed and took at least 6 months to complete, I waited less than 3 month to get the contract. Publication came a few months later. So from query in March of 2013 to publication in July of 2014.
What project[s] are you working on now? I am working on the second and third books featuring Love’s sisters as well as a few short stories featuring the couple the sisters bring together. There is also a paranormal series I’m continuing work on (the dreaded edits) and a mystery series in the think tank.
What's up next for you? The laundry. It’s always waiting in the wings. Oh, you mean writing wise… that would be meeting the visitors of your wonderful blog.
Very cool. We're sure they're anxious to meet you as well! Angela has brought along an excerpt from Love's Battle for additional enticement:
The hand Love pressed to her brow was visibly shaking. “There’s something I need to tell you. I just need you to keep an open mind.”
“What is it? Are you sick?” Danton asked.
“No, I’m not sick.” Her voice trembled on a forced laugh. “It’s something else. Something I‘ve been trying to prepare you for. This would be so much easier if you believed in magic. If you could believe that what I’m about to tell you is the honest truth.”
Turning, Love opened the iron chest, the hinges groaning with the effort as specks of rust littered the floor. From its depths she pulled out a clear plastic bag that she held tight to her chest, eyes closed, before handing it to a confused Danton.
“This is my tartan, my plaid. Before it faded and was dinner for the moths, it was once patterned in checks of green, gray, and brown. The purple and white stripes that ran through the hem identified the wearer as part of the royal family.” Love tapped the plastic, her finger pointing out where each color should be. “It was a gift from my father. The first and only time my sister’s and I met him, he was on his deathbed, we were eighteen. A week later our mother died in the same moment he drew his last breath.” Needing the extra air Love drew a breath of her own. “That day was the thirteenth of February, eight-hundred and fifty-eight AD. My father was Cinaed mac Alpin, crowned king of the Picts and Gaels. He was Scotland’s first king.”
“Eight- hundred and fifty-eight?” That couldn’t be right, she was only twenty-five. “Don’t you mean Nineteen-eighty-seven?”
“No. I was born for the first time in Scotland during the middle of the ninth century.”
To purchase Love's Battle, go to:
To learn more about Angela Hayes go to: