Friday, June 28, 2019

This week in The Loft: Author Helen Henderson

Joining me this week in The Loft is author Helen Henderson. The descendant of a coal miner's daughter and an aviation flight engineer, Helen credits her upbringing on a farm and her Gemini birth sign with enabling her to delve into all types of fiction, from westerns and science fiction to romantic fantasy. The prolific author has penned the Dragski Chronicles and Windmaster Novels, as well as many articles on local, American and military history, and antiques and collectibles. Helen believes her research and writing in multiple genres has provided her with special insight into fantasy worlds.


Author Helen Henderson

S:  Thanks for joining me in The Loft, Helen! 

Tell me, what inspires your flights of fantasy?

H:  Regardless of whether it was the stand-alone dark fantasy "Imprisoned in Stone" or one of the novels in the two romance fantasy series, the Dragshi Chronicles or the Windmaster Novels, each of the tales was captured while Celtic music played in the background. No single song provided inspiration, although I admit that I wore out my tape of "Ireland's Call," as performed by Celtic Thunder.  However, my formal answer is the piano solo played at the end of each episode of  "The Incredible Hulk." The haunting tones of the "Lonely Man Theme" have applied to a character, a fantasy setting, and even a scene of leave-taking on the eve of battle.

S:  Wow. That's so interesting. Creative minds are inspired by so many different things, but I think music plays a very important role for many.

Do you have an alternative occupation?

H:  (Smiles.)  I love the term "alternative occupation!" It is much more elegant than "day job" and also shows the emphasis of writing as an occupation. At the moment, although the work is unpaid, an activity that takes up most of my time is care giving for a family member. Before that task became full-time, I worked in several fields, including electronics, pharmaceuticals, finance, and insurance. My titles have varied from administrative assistant to departmental secretary, computer programmer to system analyst, and technical writer to marketing communications specialist.

S:  You've been a busy lady! 

What do you crave?

H:  Chocolate is always a must. Sometimes when you move to a different part of the country, as I did a few years ago, you find out that for whatever reason--maybe you live farther inland now--a food that was once readily available is now either exorbitantly expensive or not available at all. Which can lead to cravings. For example, I would love to be sitting on the waterfront watching the sunset while eating fried scallops from the local fishery. Unfortunately, there is no waterfront or fresh scallops where I'm now living. I'd also like a large chocolate √©clair from a New York City bakery.

S:  (Nods.) If anything, I think travel has increased my cravings for certain foods. Living in Wisconsin, I have plenty of access to beer, cheese, and brats, but I would kill for a bakery with genuine French pastries, or a place with Italian street food or Spanish tapas.

A genie grants you one wish. What is it?


H:  Some people would wish for long life, or happiness, or enough gold to fill a dozen vaults. However, in order to answer that question, I would need to know the rules. Can I benefit from the wish or does it have to help someone else? Is there something that I can't wish for or a time frame in which the wish has to be used? If there are no restrictions, my one wish is simple—to have an unlimited number of wishes.

S:  (Laughs.) Why not?

If there is such a thing as reincarnation, what would you like to return to earth as and why?

H:  In my younger days, I would have said a horse. Even now, equines, although of the magical kind, appear in each of my fantasy tales. The falaire, seidheirn, and seisag are loyal, honorable, and possess strength and intelligence beyond a true horse. If I couldn't be one of them, I'd at least want to be accepted as their rider and as such, a member of their herd. But that doesn't really answer your question because I couldn't be reincarnated as a mythical, magical creature. So, after having had one grace my home for over 15 years, I choose to live my next life as a cat. They bestow their loyalty and favors as they choose. They rule their human's heart. They can have a door opened for them or food placed in their dish with a simple meow. And if that doesn't work, they just yell louder or slam a door or dish.

S:  Yup, the life of a cat is to be envied!

Tell me about your book, "Windmaster Legend."

H:  It's about a forbidden love. An impossible quest. Threats to life and career. If love survives, there is one more challenge—the accusation of witchcraft. Here's the blurb--

Fate conspired to keep Iol and Pelra apart. Friendship is allowed between members of competing trading houses, but nothing more. He loves the sea and wants his own ship. She hates the deep blue and has worked too hard to allow her dreams to be sidetracked by the lure of magic. Despite a beautiful woman on his arm every night, Leod wanted the one he couldn’t have—Pelra. His kin on the ruling council did more than put him on the fast track to his own ship. It provided him the power to fulfill his desires, or to ruin those who refused him.

Exiled to distant posts, given impossible challenges, and subject to Leod’s machinations, Iol and Pelra only have the hope of a future together to sustain them. But can their love survive the accusation of witchcraft?



S:  That really sounds intriguing! 

Where can readers buy your book?

H:  The eBook can be purchased with one click at https://books2read.com/windmaster-legend/

It can also be purchased in print at--


S:  Helen, thanks so much for joining me today! If you would like to learn more about Helen and her books, visit-- 

Amazon Author Page:   https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001HPM2XK

Next week in The Loft:  Author Cynthianna Matthews!

Friday, June 21, 2019

This week in The Loft: Author Addison Brae!

Joining me today in The Loft is author Addison Brae. Addison began writing as a child, recording her thoughts in diaries and letters, and creating short stories. Now, by day she's a public relations and marketing consultant, by night she writes romantic suspense. When not writing, Addison travels the world, collects interesting cocktail recipes, and hosts parties. She lives in Dallas, Texas with her artistic other half and their cat, Lucy.


Author Addison Brae

S:  Addison, thanks so much for joining me today!

Tell me, where do you do you best thinking?

A:  I can immerse myself into a character or storyline by writing where the scene takes place. Since Becker Circle is about a part-time bartender, most of it takes place in bars. I wrote much of the manuscript observing bartenders as they worked and interacted with customers. I also enjoy writing on our rooftop deck overlooking the beautiful Dallas skyline. There’s one place I don’t do my best thinking, though—at my desk on my work computer.

S:   (Smiles.) I owned a tavern for years. I can see where that might inspire you. Lots of characters and so much drama!

Complete this sentence:  Writing is. . .”

A:  Writing is cheaper than therapy, and a lot more effective!

S:  That is so true. My family says that the only time I am calm is when I am writing.

Do you have an alternative occupation?

A:  Absolutely! Unfortunately writing novels won’t pay for the shoes, vintage clothes, and travel I enjoy, so I’m a public relations and marketing consultant by day. I advise on strategy and write articles, video scripts, news releases, and web content for corporate clients. With fiction, it’s freeing to create my own stories and characters without having to get a zillion approvals.

S:  (Laughs.) I ghostwrite for corporations and professionals, I know exactly what you're talking about!

A genie grants you one wish. What is it?

A:  If a genie could grant anything I want, I would wish for people to slow down and enjoy life’s treasures, like reading books, listening to music, playing with their pet, or spending time with a good friend. I wish that people would focus on one thing at a time--without phone distractions.

S:   (Nods.) Personally, my one wish would be to ban cell phones for a day and force them to talk one another. Technology has really impacted the quality of human interaction!

Complete this sentence:  When one of my books is released, I. . .”

A:  When one of my books is released, I host a giant party! When Tirgearr Publishing released Becker Circle in 2018, I hosted a party in an arts-friendly bar in the Deep Ellum area of Dallas. Friends, neighbors, family, and clients were invited and a local Dallas band, PriMadonna, played amazing Madonna music. The sequel, which is almost complete, will have an equally amazing debut!

S:  Wow, that's impressive! 

Tell me about Your book, "Becker Circle."

A:  Sure. Here's the blurb--

My first and only boyfriend believed I was too gutless to leave. He was dead wrong. My name’s Gillian, and I graduated Harvard early and left his hot temper and everyone else behind for Dallas. Determined to make it on my own, I land a second job bartending at the neighborhood pub smack in drama central where most every jerk in the neighborhood hits on me—at a huge price.

A week into the job, the neighborhood’s very popular drug dealer falls to his death a few feet from the table I’m serving. The cops say suicide, but the hot guitar player in the house band and I suspect foul play, and I intend to prove it. We dig deeper, grow closer, and make a shocking discovery. We know the murderer. 

The book trailer is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mf-GlfxPzdY&feature=youtu.be.



S:  I love a mystery! Where can readers buy your book?

A:  It's available at all major booksellers, including

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Becker-Circle-Addison-Brae-ebook/dp/B07B3HT15Y/

S:  Addison, thanks so much for joining me today!  If you'd like to learn more about Addison and her books, visit--

Twitter:  @AddisonBrae1

Next week in The Loft:  Author Helen Henderson!

Friday, June 14, 2019

This week in The Loft: Author Jana Richards!

Visiting me this week in The Loft is Canadian author Jana Richards! Jana is the author of more than 20 books in a broad range of romance genres, including contemporary, comedy, paranormal, World War II, and suspense. By day, she's an accountant/administrative assistant, a wife and mother to two grown daughters, and the caregiver of a spoiled Terrier/Pug named Lou and several unnamed goldfish. Jana lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.


Author Jana Richards

S:  Jana, thanks so much for joining me today! 

I am impressed with your list of published books! Complete this sentence: “Writing is….”

J:  Hard but so fulfilling. To make something out of nothing is like a little piece of magic. If someone enjoys one of my stories, all the hard work has been worthwhile.

S:  Do you consider your books your greatest achievement?

J:  (Shakes head.) Without question my greatest achievement is my children. I have two grown daughters who are beautiful, amazing, accomplished human beings, and I couldn’t be prouder of them.

S:  (Nods.) I hope we all feel that way about our children! 

Where do you do your best thinking?

J:  Often while doing some mundane task like washing dishes or vacuuming, the answer to a question I’ve been pondering will come to me. Same thing happens when I’m driving or in the shower. I guess my brain is working on solutions to my questions even when I’m not aware of it. But I’ve also done some of my best writing/thinking sitting at my kitchen island with my laptop.

S:  A paranormal invites you to host a dinner with five guests, all prominent figures in history who are now deceased. Who would you invite and why?

J:  I would assemble a group of inspiring women for dinner. I’d invite women writers like Maya Angelou and Jane Austen to learn what writing was like for them and how they got their ideas. I’d love to meet women of great courage like the suffragist Emmeline Pankhurst, and journalist Nelly Bly, who wrote an expos√© about the mental institutions of her time by pretending to be insane. They could teach me to fight for what I believe in. And I’d love to meet Anne Frank, to let her know she’s been remembered and loved, and her suffering was not in vain.

S:  Wow, that's a pretty incredible list! I imagine that would be a very enlightening evening. 

A genie grants you one wish. What is it?

J:  Twenty more wishes? (Laughs.) I’m guessing he wouldn’t go for that. As much as I’d love to wish for my books to all be best sellers and earn me millions, I hope I wouldn’t be quite so selfish. I think I’d have to wish for my family to be healthy in body and mind, and happy in their careers and relationships.

S:  (Smiles.) I imagine happiness is an oft-requested wish. Just not sure a genie's definition of happiness is the same as ours. Heck, he just wants to be let out of his bottle! 

You are offered one of the following gifts: A day back in time, a glimpse into heaven, or perfect health. Which would you take and why?

J:  That’s a tough question because each choice is so meaningful and interesting. But I think I’d have to go with perfect health. I can’t live in the past or in the future. I have to live in here and now. So I’d like my present to be as good as it can be. Especially if by perfect health you mean “perfect weight!" 

S:  (Laughs.) That would be ideal, wouldn't it?

Tell me about your book, "Burning Love."

J:  Sure. Here's the blurb--


After causing three cooking fires in her apartment, Iris Jensen finds herself evicted and homeless. She lands on Riley Benson's doorstep, looking to rent a room in the beautiful old home he's restoring. It's only for six weeks until Iris leaves Portland, Oregon for her new job on a cruise ship. Firefighter Riley knows firsthand what a bad tenant she can be. But he needs money to finish the work on the house he loves. And something about Iris pulls at his heart…

Meanwhile, in Heaven, two angels watch over the young lovers. Angelica and Hildegard work in Heaven's Relationship Division, where angels match mortals with their soul mates. The angels believe so strongly in Iris and Riley’s love that they break Heaven's rules to help them. Can the angels convince them their love will last a lifetime?


S: Wow! What a delightful twist! 

Where can readers buy "Burning Love?"

J:  It's available at all major booksellers, including--


S:  Jana, thanks so much for joining me today! To learn more about Jana and her books, please visit--

Website:  http://www.janarichards.com

Next week in The Loft: Author Addison Brae!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Congratulations to Lisabet Sarai on the release of "The Heart of the Deal!"


Blurb:

Ruby Maxwell Chen, the lovely and ruthless CEO of a sprawling British business empire, has no qualms about playing dirty – very dirty. She’s happy to use sex to help her close a deal, especially when she’s the one on top. Ruby loves the game, and she expects to win. When she encounters the inexplicably charismatic American entrepreneur Rick Martell, though, she wonders if she hasn't finally met her match.

From the trendy clubs of London to the Hollywood Hills, Ruby and Rick compete for ownership of a strategic factory in Malaysia. As their struggle for dominance escalates and their mutual lust flares, they draw their employees and associates into their outrageous power games. The stakes could scarcely be higher, as Ruby and Rick play for the ultimate prize: a night of total physical surrender.

Note: This book was previously published under the titles Ruby’s Rules and Nasty Business. It has been re-edited, revised and updated for this release.

Excerpt:

"I hear the door open, but for half a minute, I do not look up from the tablet on my desk. Let him understand that he is not my most important business.

When I finally do raise my head, it takes every shred of my self-control not to betray my shock. Before me stands my arrogant seducer from last night. His hair is neatly combed, true. He is wearing an Armani suit and there is a flash of gold at his cuffs. But there is no mistaking that pirate mustache or those intelligent, audacious eyes.

Once again, I sense the sexual force that emanates from him. I will not succumb this time. I will not even acknowledge our previous meeting.

I summon every ounce of power and pride. Rising from my chair, I offer him my hand. “Mr. Martell? I am Ruby Maxwell Chen.”

My skin must be cold, for his feels burning hot. I release him as quickly as politeness allows. “Please sit down.” My voice is cool, measured, completely neutral. Even I am amazed, and I see grudging admiration in Martell’s eyes.

“Thank you for making time to see me, Ms. Chen.” He has decided to participate in the charade. Good, that should make things easier.

“If you had not contacted me, I would have sought a meeting with you. I understand that we have some common interests.”

Am I deliberately baiting him? He wonders, and so do I.

“Quite so,” he says seriously, “and I believe that we can resolve the situation to our mutual benefit.”

I make my face a mask. “Please proceed.”

“I need that fabrication plant in Malaysia. Etymologics needs it.” His eyes never leave my face. “We have several designs nearing completion, and we cannot risk manufacturing them in the States.”

“Risk?” I ask, caught up in his intensity.

“Industrial espionage,” he says. “In the U.S. we could not afford our own fab plant—we would have to contract as a third party. It would be all too easy for our competitors to steal our designs. We have applied for several patents, but as you know, that takes a long time, and provides only the smallest measure of security.

“Malaysia, Baktar’s plant, is perfect for our needs. A foundry that we can own and control. And I know the country, know the people and how things work.”

“So I gather. You grew up there, did you not? In fact, your mother is Malay, I believe.”

Martell grins. “You’ve done your research. Yes, Malaysia is my second home.”

He does not say any more, but somehow I know that he is aware of my background as well, my part-British, part-Asian heritage. What a strange coincidence, that we should have such a similar history.

“I gather that you have persuaded Mr. Baktar that your company would serve his interests better than the Maxwell Companies as proprietors of his chip foundry. Presumably by offering him a higher price.”
Martell does not speak, but I read assent on his face.

“And if the Maxwell Companies should meet or exceed your offer, what then?” I lean forward to make my point. “We are a far larger enterprise than your Etymologics, Mr. Martell. We have deep pockets.”

Martell grins, most incongruous given the tension in the air. “I am very much aware of the size and power of your company, Ms. Chen. However, you may not know that Ahmed Nasruddin Baktar is a distant cousin on my mother’s side. There are ties of blood to consider.”

And favors, and counter-favors, I think bitterly. Martell is animated and relaxed. He seems not the least cowed by me, though he continues his respectful form of address. From half a room away, I feel the force of his presence, willing me to melt, to accede to his desires."

Buy links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Smashwords

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

Friday, June 7, 2019

This week in The Loft: Author Luanna Stewart!

Joining me today in The Loft is Canadian author Luanna Stewart. Like so many of us, Luanna embraced her love of romance after she discovered a stash of romance novels as a teen--her grandmother's. She writes sexy and spicy romantic suspense, and paranormal and historical romance. Luanna lives in Nova Scotia with her husband and two spoiled cats!


Author Luanna Stewart

S:  Welcome, Luanna!

Complete this sentence--“Writing is…”

L:  Writing is primarily an escape – into another time, another world, another life. I get to know the characters I create. I inhabit their world while I write their stories and for months afterward. I become them as I explore their dreams and regrets, laughing and crying as they do.

S:  And when one of your books is released?

L:  (Smiles.) I’m usually knee deep in writing the next one, particularly if I’m working on a series. My non-writing work time is filled with either marketing and promotion or studying the writing craft – there’s always something to learn. On the actual book launch day, I’ll reward my hard work with a glass or two of sparkling wine and one of my favorite chocolate bars, a Cherry Blossom--a giant chocolate-covered cherry.

S:  (Laughs.)  That sounds pretty amazing!

Tell me, where do you do your best thinking?

L:  It varies with the season and my mood, and the sort of thinking required. If I’ve got a plot hole to fill, I leave my office and do something physical and distracting. My default activity is housework. If my floors gleam, my windows sparkle, and there’s not a fibre of cat hair anywhere --we have two black cats--then you know the current book is giving me fits. During the summer months, you’d be hard-pressed to find a weed in my garden. If I’m searching for a blog topic, I’ll sit at my desk, stare out the window at the fir and spruce forest, and hope for inspiration to strike.

S:  (Grins.) When I'm stuck, I bake. Unfortunately, nothing moves me to clean my house! 

If you could live in any time period, when would it be?

L:  I’ve always been a reader of history, both non-fiction and fiction, and I’ve found many time periods fascinating. While I’m intrigued by life in ancient Greece and medieval France, I do require a certain level of comfort and convenience, such as indoor plumbing. The Edwardian era checks many boxes when it comes to living in the olden times but with the necessary mod-cons. And I’d choose England as my location. Automobiles were in wide use, but the roads weren’t so crowded that I couldn’t safely drive my buggy into the village. Many of the middle and upper classes had telephones. Oh, did I mention that I’d be a young woman of independent means who lives in a lovely cottage in the Cotswolds with a bevy of eccentric friends and a curmudgeonly, but lovable, butler? 

S:  Hmmm. And that's sparks all sorts of flights of fantasy! I think I would make the butler TDH--tall, dark, and handsome! Perhaps one skilled at warming the... (Chuckles.) Sorry, I digress...

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

L:  Raising our sons, with my husband, and seeing them become intelligent, thoughtful, and loving men.

S:  (Nods.) Amen.

What do you crave?

L:  I crave an extra 24 hours in the week that I can devote to reading, nothing but reading. I’ve been a habitual reader my whole life but I don’t read nearly as much as I used to. I’m too busy writing my own books!

S:  I know what you mean. My Kindle and Nook are crammed full of unread books. I think I need a month on a deserted island to catch up!

You are offered a day back in time, a glimpse of heaven, or perfect health. Which would you choose?

L:  (Grins.) I would choose perfect health – no headaches, no sore fingers, no seasonal allergies. Just imagine all I’d accomplish if I could spring from my bed, fully rested and raring to go, instead of staggering to the coffee pot with a fuzzy head.

S:  I so get the fuzzy head! (Laughs.)

Tell me about your book, "Love Proof."  

L:  "Love Proof " is part of the Deerbourne Inn Series and it's currently on preorder. Here's the blurb--

Unemployed photojournalist Raynor Elliot stops at a bakery near the famous Deerbourne Inn. Not only does he get a lead on a job but the bakery’s owner is that awkward kid he knew in high school, only now she has fabulous curves and an irreverent sense of humor. The cozy bakery, with its aroma of sugar, vanilla and spice, has more to offer than tasty cookies.

Fiona MacLeod has been plagued for years by the need to make amends for telling The Big Lie. When the lie’s victim strolls into her bakery with his icy blue stare and killer charm, she feels like she’s standing too close to a hot oven.

Between running her bakery and frosting cupcakes for the Mad River Garden Party, she's pretty sure she's falling in love with this infuriating, sexy man. Can Fiona dredge up the courage to confess, face the consequences, and hope for forgiveness?


S:  Ah, who wouldn't want to go back and correct some of the mistakes they made in high school?

Where can readers preorder your book?

L:  They can preorder from the following booksellers--

Amazon US:  
Amazon CA: 
Amazon AU: 
Nook:  

S:  Luanna, thanks so much for joining me today! If you would like to learn more about Luanna and her books, please visit--


Next week in The Loft:  Author Jana Richards!