April 29, 2013

Heartstrings by Sara Walter Ellwood @sara_w_ellwood #RLFblog


Cover Love at Romance Lives Forever is a short intro to a book and includes a cover, blurb, buy links, and social media contacts for the author. Today's featured book is Heartstrings by Sara Walter Ellwood.

He’s determined to set things right, no matter the cost.
The last person Abby Crawford wants to face down is country music superstar Seth Kendall. Last time she did, she flat-out lied so he’d go to Nashville without her. She’s never understood why their mutual best friend proposed, but she went with it so her baby wouldn’t be fatherless. Now she’s a divorced mother of a teenager, and secretly Seth’s biggest fan.

Seth is home in McAllister, Texas for his father’s funeral...and a chance to meet the daughter he’s never known. He’s willing to face the music of his own making and admit he’s known about his little girl all along. For fifteen years he’s kept his distance because Abby told him to follow his dreams without her, insisting she didn’t love him. But now he won’t leave until he knows his daughter and she knows him, even if it means facing the woman who broke his heart for good.

Confessing she’s lied about her daughter’s paternity all these years won’t be easy for Abby, especially with her ex blackmailing her to keep the secret. And Seth doesn’t know the hardest truth of all: Every love song he plays on his guitar still plucks her heartstrings.

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April 28, 2013

Wonderful Undead Life @REMullins #RLFblog

It's A Wonderful Undead Life. 

Cover Love at Romance Lives Forever is a short intro to a book and includes a cover, blurb, buy links, and social media contacts for the author. Today's featured book is It's A Wonderful Undead Life by RE Mullins.

It's been a rough couple of years for Cailey Kantor. Now she's not only facing her first Christmas season alone she's also received some bad financial news. In desperation, she prays for an angel to come fix her problems. Instead, a sadistic, sociopathic vampire named Vincent who is working for the evil Toltecs confronts her. Trying to start a war between the two rivaling factions of vampires, he bites Cailey then forces her to drink blood stolen from the Nosferatu Gabriel Blautsauger.
Now dying she must protect Gabe and his family by allowing him to finish her transformation. Just when she is adjusting to life as a vampire, the Toltecs return and again she becomes the bait to destroy the Blautsauger family.
Trying to protect those she loves, Cailey is faces with lies, abduction and betrayal yet somewhere along the lines she manages to fall in love.

Buy Links:
Wild Rose Publishing http://is.gd/NXFA9k

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April 27, 2013

Cover Love: Take Me @authortbrooks #RLFblog #LGBT

Take Me 

Cover Love at Romance Lives Forever is a short intro to a book and includes a cover, blurb, buy links, and social media contacts for the author. Today's featured book is Take Me [Sultry SoCal 1] by Taylor Brooks.

Genre: Gay Romance, Erotic Romance, MM
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Clint Rodham has spent years being a loyal employee to Elite Imports. Despite being one of their top salesmen, his boss no longer sees him as the golden boy. Now being ostracized for his sexuality, he fights to keep the job that he not only loves, but is a natural at.
Rick Tanner just moved to Southern California from Kansas. Being a homosexual personal trainer in a small town filled with old-fashioned people who didn’t understand his way of life left him with little career opportunities.
One hot summer night, Rick is locked on the rooftop and Clint comes to his rescue. As a thank-you, he offers his hero a cold beer. With the California heat rising and desires building, the two find themselves in a storm of passion. Neither of them are able to resist. Neither of them want to. They both want to take what is within their reach, just beyond their fingertips.
Buy links:

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April 26, 2013

Cover Love: Cat Who Got Married @NeilPlakcy #RLFblog

The Cat Who Got Married 

Cover Love at Romance Lives Forever is a short intro to a book and includes a cover, blurb, buy links, and social media contacts for the author. Today's featured book is The Cat Who Got Married, and other Purr-fectly Romantic Stories by Neil S Plakcy.

Pilar is a six-toed Abyssinian cat, whose forebears lived with Ernest Hemingway at his house in Key West. When she and her owner, Ryan, move up north, they both have a hard time getting accustomed to the cold weather—until Ryan starts to get pointers from his lovely coworker, Lisa.

In true feline fashion, Pilar can't resist sticking her six-toed paw into the budding romance between Ryan and Lisa—with charming, and sometimes surprising, results, in the first two stories in this collection.

In "The Temple of Lights," efficiency expert Robert Lehmann discovers just how much havoc a woman can bring to his life, while the funny-naïve heroine of "You're Pretty When You Smile, Ima Jean" goes out in search of her life and finds something she wasn't looking for. And in the final story, "The Cat Who Ran Away," the sleek, regal Rajah leads Susan to figure out that perhaps you really can go home again.

Men and women meet, fall in love and stumble over obstacles in the five charming stories included here from award-winning romance author Neil S. Plakcy , but the ending is always a happy one.

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April 25, 2013

Rogue's Hostage historical #romance @LyndiLamont #RLFblog

Rogue's Hostage 
His hostage ...
In 1758 the Pennsylvania frontier is wild, primitive and dangerous, where safety often lies at the end of a gun. Mara Dupre's life crumbles when a French and Indian war party attacks her cabin, kills her husband, and takes her captive. Marching through the wilderness strengthens her resolve to flee, but she doesn't count on her captor teaching her the meaning of courage and the tempting call of desire.
Her destiny ...
French lieutenant Jacques Corbeau's desire for his captive threatens what little honor he has left. But when Mara desperately offers herself to him in exchange for her freedom, he finds the strength to refuse and reclaims his lost self-respect. As the shadows of his past catch up to him, Jacques realizes that Mara, despite the odds, is the one true key to reclaiming his soul and banishing his past misdeeds forever.
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April 24, 2013

Cover Love: Misrule's Mistress @nhurleymoore #RLFblog

Misrule's Mistress 

Cover Love at Romance Lives Forever is a short intro to a book and includes a cover, blurb, buy links, and social media contacts for the author. Today's featured book is Misrule's Mistress by Nicole Hurley-Moore.

Lord Barric Cranley wants Lady Ellette for his wife but she has already refused once. He knows that Ellette loves him...it’s just she hasn’t realized it yet. With a little help, cunning and the Feast of Misrule, Barric plans to capture his bride and make it a Christmas she’ll never forget.
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April 22, 2013

Cover Love: Shotgun Bride @Karen_lopp #RLFblog

Shotgun Bride

Cover Love at Romance Lives Forever is a short intro to a book and includes a cover, blurb, buy links, and social media contacts for the author. Today's featured book is Shotgun Bride by Karen Lopp

Orphaned young, Kathleen Barns has struggled to survive only to end up in a New York mill, when an unexpected inheritance gives her a glimpse of freedom. But becoming the landowner of a coveted piece of land with precious water rights in New Mexico Territory threatens to destroy her only chance at love. Forced into a marriage to a man who believes she planned the shotgun wedding to gain control of his ranch, Kathleen flees into the wilderness. Yet it is her unwanted husband that keeps saving her life and threatening to steal her heart.
Mike Baca had finally reached his goal, his fighting days were far behind him now that the war was over, he owned a ranch and he was on his way home to marry the richest girl in the New Mexico Territory. A shotgun in his back had him married to a green-eyed girl who wanted his ranch! Furious with her trickery, Mike made sure she wouldn’t want to keep him. It was only after she had run, with her big-eyed gaze haunting him that he discovered she was innocent, and there was a plot on her life. Now he must race the clock and the wild badlands to try and save his wife – and convince her to stay.
Buy links

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April 20, 2013

Sometimes Writing Can be Like Pulling Teeth #Writing #Blogging @Selena_Illyria #RLFblog

Hidden Diversions

Romance Lives Forever welcomes Selena Illyria to the blog for an article on writing and writer’s block. This article could have come from my own heart – after reading it, I felt I knew my friend Selena much better. If you’re a writer, you owe it to yourself to read this. If you’re a reader, this might make you appreciate writers a little bit more.

I’ve been meaning to write this blog for quite some time but something or other always came up. Over the past few months I’ve been having computer issues so that didn’t help. Those issues made both editing and writing difficult. I was in panic mode during those times; it was a fight to get in every edit or finish a sentence. After I turned in my edits, which was a relief, I still had a book to finish but soon it became evident that my old laptop wasn’t up to the task. Recently, I was able to get a new laptop that would allow me to continue with writing and other things, which was a relief. That sentiment didn’t last long.
As I waded back into the world of writing it became clear that I was in trouble. For weeks I’d been going around in manic mode to get things done. And once my edits were done, I started to seep into depression with every day that I didn’t get to write or I didn’t get to write enough. That depression turned to anger and stress. I became mired in frustration at my inability to get anything done. I thought that getting a new computer would help with all those emotions. It didn’t.
Now I was in a new form of hell. One where every word was like pulling teeth or mucking through molasses. No word was right or enough. I found myself falling backward into old bad habits that I’d been trying to break after my burnout a year before. I became angry at myself, frustrated that it wasn’t as easy at it once was. That my mind, fingers and brain didn’t seem to want to cooperate or work with each other like they used to. Even though I knew I couldn’t go back, I still wanted to recapture that hubristic little shit that I was when I first started. When you finish your first book and get it published you’re on a high. You can do anything, write anything. Book after book can pour out of you like water. Phrases like writer’s block or burnout don’t even apply. They’re like distant lands you’ll never visit and have no intention of stopping in, not even for a moment. Those two things would never happen to you, because you’re kick-ass, you’re made of so much awesome sauce that it comes out of your pores.
Yeah right. Then they both come and you get your ass handed to you, even if it’s temporary or lasts longer than a week or month. The first time burnout happened to me, I needed a few weeks to recover. Then those periods lasted longer and longer until it seem never-ending. Now, I find myself in a new kind of Hades, one where I can finally write but the words aren’t coming. Everything I put down sucks and my internal editor is playing kickball with every sentence, comma, and my confidence.
The one thing you never truly understand until you become a writer is that it’s truly a solitary career. No one else can write what you write. Your editors can clean up your work, improve your voice, and your publishers can put out your books, but in the end, they can’t write them for you. They don’t have your voice or vision or phrasing. You can write with a partner but you still have to pull your own weight. And none of those people can give you confidence when you fall down or start to wonder how you could ever have gotten published in the first place. Things get doubled or tripled if you have people in your life that question why you write or make you feel like crap because you don’t have “a real job.”
After much wallowing, hiding in reading "comfort books" and pretending that I’d get to writing the next day, eventually I had to stop hiding. So, I opened my story and got back to work. Unfortunately I’d ended with a sex scene. Nothing says sexy like depression. *rolls eyes* And that’s when the self-doubt and self-hatred started. Writing the sex scene was painful and I’m still not done with it. Nothing about it screamed emotional or enticing. I had to stop before I sabotaged myself, but I still had to write. So, I put away that story, for now, to try a palate cleanser, to write something that wasn’t contracted and something that wasn’t paranormal (which the other story was). It wasn’t perfect, if an editor saw it there would be lots of knuckle wrapping and tsk, tsk, tsking, but in the end I’d written something, anything and it was pretty good. I had accomplished something.
Recovering from all the pain, heartache, self-doubt, frustration, writer’s block, and writer’s fear will take time, and baby steps. But in the end I am a writer and damn it, this is what I’m meant to do. Even if it is painful, it’s my job and I love it even if it can be a pain in the ass at times. Also, I know that I’ll make it through this patch because I’m surrounded by awesome people. One more thing: I’m stubborn.
For more information about Selena’s latest release:
Their passion may be the death of them…
Werewolf Chief of Police Torger, is running into walls while tracking the Draven’s Crossing serial killer. No matter what he tries to do, he can’t find the clues needed to stop the terror that stalks the streets of his city. Things aren’t helped by his attraction to the dragon shifter and Draven City News Reporter, Isadora Jones. With political pressure and bodies mounting, can he get through all these distractions and find the truth before it’s too late?
Reporter Isadora Jones wants to help with the investigation into the serial killer but Torger refuses to let her. She decides to do it on her own, but her world goes upside down when the killer sets his sights on her. Under Torger’s protection, they start to put the pieces together but will it be too late for them?
Things go from bad to worse when another killer appears. Draven’s Crossing just got a whole lot more dangerous.
Buy Links:
Purple Sword Publications:
Barnes and Noble

April 19, 2013

Familial #DNA: Death of Anyone @MelangeBooks #RLFblog

Death of Anyone

Romance Lives Forever welcomes DJ Swykert to the blog. Here’s his article about writing The Death of Anyone.
The underlying theme in my latest book, The Death of Anyone, poses the Machiavellian question: Does the end justify the means? I developed this story around an impulsive homicide detective, Bonnie Benham, who wants to use Familial DNA, a search technique not in common use in the United States. Only two states even have a written policy regarding its use, Colorado and California.
Bonnie is a no nonsense cop who describes herself as a blond with a badge and a gun. She has her own answer to the ethical use of Familial DNA, but the actual legality of its use will be determined in a real life courtroom in the California trial of a serial killer dubbed by the media: The Grim Sleeper.
Lonnie David Franklin, the Grim Sleeper, was caught because his son’s DNA was the closest match to DNA collected at the crime scenes in the database. Investigating Franklin’s son led them to investigate Lonnie Franklin. But there was no direct DNA evidence that linked Lonnie to the crime scene until they obtained a sample from him after his arrest. Lonnie Franklin will be the first person in the U.S. to ever stand trial based on Familial DNA evidence, and its admissibility issues in court will be thoroughly tested by defense attorneys. These are the very same issues that face Detroit Homicide Detective Bonnie Benham and form the plot of my story.
I’m a blue collar person from Detroit. I’ve worked as a truck driver, dispatcher, logistics analyst, operations manager, and ten years as a 911 operator, which was the very best job of them all. I have a pretty straight forward style of telling a story. I write a book like you’d watch a movie and put it down on paper.
Detroit Detective Bonnie Benham has been transferred from narcotics to homicide for using more than arresting and is working the case of a killer of adolescent girls. CSI collects DNA evidence from the scene of the latest victim, which had not been detected on the other victims. But no suspect turns up in the FBI database. Due to the notoriety of the crimes a task force is put together with Bonnie as the lead detective, and she implores the D.A. to use an as yet unapproved type of a DNA Search in an effort to identify the killer. Homicide Detective Neil Jensen, with his own history of drug and alcohol problems understands Bonnie's frailty and the two detectives become inseparable as they track this killer of children.
I first heard about the use of Familial DNA working as a 911 operator in 2006. It came up in a conversation with officers working a case. I thought at the time it would make an interesting premise for a book. I began writing the mystery some three years later after leaving the department. I had just finished editing a first draft of The Death of Anyone in the summer 2010 when news of The Grim Sleeper’s capture in Los Angeles was released. I read with interest all the information pouring out of L.A. regarding the investigation and the problems confronting prosecutors. All of which are explored in The Death of Anyone.
DJ Swykert

About the Author

DJ Swykert is a former 911 operator. His work has appeared in The Tampa Review, Detroit News, Monarch Review, Zodiac Review, Scissors& Spackle, Spittoon, Barbaric Yawp and Bull. His books include Children of the Enemy, a novel from Cambridge
Books; Alpha Wolves, a novel from Noble Publishing, and The Death of Anyone is his third novel, just released by Melange Books. You can find out more about him and how to buy his books on the blogspot: www.magicmasterminds.com, they are also available at Melange Books, Amazon and at select mystery bookstores. He is a wolf expert.
Buy links

Previous Books

Maggie Elizabeth Harrington (also titled as The Place Between.)
(I Live in Two Worlds)
Children of the Enemy

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April 18, 2013

Marketing as a Professional Author @MargaretRChurch #RLFblog

Today's article is "Punching a Hole in the Literary Universe" by Margie Church.
Thanks for hosting me today, Kayelle. As a marketing professional, I really appreciate your approach to book marketing. A lot of authors don't realize that the moment they sign their book contract (or self-pub their book), that they have opened a small business. For the majority of us, the lion's share of the promotional work falls on our own shoulders. Often, we're really unprepared for this to happen. Even those of us with a significant back list know that we cannot rely on past accomplishments to ensure our future success.
Here's a key sentence to remember:  Plan for success.
What does that mean? You need to create a little marketing plan for your new book to give it the best possible chances of success. Here are 10 tips to help you.

  • Write a solid blurb, no more than 200 words long, to attract readers.
  • Have a 25-30 word version of the blurb ready for Twitter and casual conversations about the book.
  • Put your web/blog/buy links on everything.
  • Hunt for readers in your genre. Conventional thinking is to just sign up for a whole bunch of blogs, give away amazing prizes, and wait for success. Don't count on that. Readers are getting very fed up with having our books and promotions shoved down their throats. Choose your blog locations carefully. Match those blogs to your genre. Write short, punchy pieces that engage readers – remember, they're choosing to spend time on you – don't waste that chance!
  • I don't recommend giving away huge prizes if you haven't squirreled away the royalties from previous months to pay for them. I always determine how many books I must sell to recoup the cost of my prize AND make a profit. I also don't like giving away gift cards that allow readers to buy books that aren't mine. I prefer to give prizes unique to me and my work so they will remember me. This is a business.
  • Don't pay for reviews. Consider how many books you'll need to sell to recover the cost, and be honestly prepared to suck it up if you get a less favorable review. Keep reviews current on your website, with hyperlinks to the full source. Always cite the reviewer.
  • Insert a hyperlink from your book cover to the buy link. Always.
  • Consider an ad, but recognize that ads are passive forms of advertising. Pick your
    Desire's Edge.
    location to match the audience you're seeking. I don't always follow the crowd. If I have a spectacular cover, and the chance to caption that cover or link it to more information, those get stronger purchase consideration from me.
  • Be available. If you post in yahoo loops, Facebook groups, have a fan page, hold a blog hop, etc., show up to say hello and respond to comments even a day or two after your appearance. Spread your announcements out to avoid a morning flood that disappears by evening when many people might have more time to focus on social media. Twitter is a very valuable tool to help share your information globally. Please don't forget to thank your blog hosts!
  • Realize this activity is ongoing. It takes time, patience, and hard work to build a readership.

My newest book, Love's Storm, is co-authored with K.B. Cutter. We used several fun tools to help us reach readers and increase excitement for the entire series. Those included creating a QR code to our Facebookseries fan page, and partnering with a company to feature their product as a give-away item as part of a very sexy prize package. We also did a blog talk radio interview. There are lots of other things we did and will do through the end of May.
Get creative, stay focused, and keep track of your results so you know what worked and what didn't. I bet you'll see some great sales numbers, too.
I'd love to show off our new book now!

About the Books

Razor: Love's Storm by Margie Church and K.B. Cutter
Their delicious, naughty secret is out, and it's open season on Amy and Bryce's decision to add a third person to their marriage.
All the talking in the world can't convince critics that Amy and Bryce's marriage is rock-solid, and there are no secrets between them. Others meddle to undermine Bryce's business and marriage. Even Raine's Master thinks she's making a huge mistake.
With no allies, and scorn coming from every direction, love and determination must lead Amy, Bryce, and Raine through love's storm.
Their journey began in Razor: Desire's Edge and continues after Love's Storm in Love's Reflection.
Margie Church
Love's Storm is the second book in the Razor trilogy. It's a polyamorous love story written for 21st century romance readers. We hope you'll find the premise fascinating and take a chance on this book. You won't be disappointed. It contains strong BDSM elements and plenty of erotic love scenes, but at its core, Love's Storm is a marvelous romance.
Available in eBook and print, get Love's Storm at Amazon and Barnesand Noble Get Desire's Edge, the first book in the series, at Amazon and Barnesand Noble Learn more about our amazing RazorRomances Booty giveaway here.

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April 17, 2013

Cover Love: Surrounded by Roses @mornic1 #RLFblog

Surrounded by Roses

Cover Love at Romance Lives Forever is a short intro to a book and includes only a cover, blurb, buy links, and social media contacts for the author. Today's featured book is Surrounded by Roses by Nicole Morgan.

After years of working on submarines and loving what he does, a training exercise goes horribly wrong. Suffering from the loss of his best friend, Trevor Purlington comes home to try and get past the demons which keep him awake at night.
Emily Dennis spends her days working as a nurse and her nights anticipating correspondence from her deployed submariner boyfriend. The last thing she expected was to find him at home waiting for her after a long shift at the clinic where she works. After being apart for so long, she was ecstatic to finally have him home.
Trevor came home to Emily a different man, one who was starting to overshadow the man she once knew. Overwhelmed and confused, she refuses to give up on the man that she loves and vows to do whatever it takes to knock down his walls and bring back the Trevor she once knew.
Buy link:

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April 16, 2013

Suspense: Legally Undercover | Interview @rachelkall #RLFblog

Legally Undercover
Rachel Kall, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, Legally Undercover.
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Entranced Publishing
Cover artist: Suzannah Safi
Length: 78,500
Heat rating: Sensual
Tagline: An ambitious lawyer's quest for partnership is threatened by a top secret government investigation and the mysterious man invading her heart.
Blurb: Attorney Alex Popov’s dream of partnership is put to the test when she’s pulled into a top-secret investigation involving arms dealers and one of her clients, Rodrigues Capital. The only good part about her association with the secretive organization is her client contact, Pedro Martín. She’s drawn to him, but he’s hiding something.
When Jacob shows up as a new attorney at Alex’s firm, it’s clear Pedro isn’t the only one with secrets. As Alex tries to determine Jacob’s true identity, she’s drawn closer to Pedro and deeper into the mystery of Rodrigues Capital and its shadowy networks.
Everyone has an agenda. In a world of lies, where no one is what they seem, Alex puts everything -- even her dreams of partnership -- on the line for love.
Buy links:
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Alex Popov is a thirty two year old attorney
Pedro Martín is a thirty five year told businessman.


What is the most important thing you do for your career now, as compared to when you first started writing?
Constantly working on craft. When I first started, I really had no sense of what it took to write a book. Now I’m constantly trying to learn more about craft.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
I love the sense of fulfillment I get from writing. When I write, I’m not focused on anything else but the story and being transported to another place.
What is your work ethic when it comes to writing?
I believe hard work is the key to success in writing and in any other endeavor. Discipline and time management are key to making it work as a writer.
How do you cope with stress as an author?
I enjoy writing so much that so far I haven’t felt much stress. If anything I write as a mechanism to de-stress.
Do things your family or friends do ever end up in a book?
All of my characters are purely fictional—except for the furry ones.
What kind of books do you read when taking a break from your own writing?
Romantic suspense if my favorite genre. I believe that to write in a genre you really need to read in it. I also really enjoy contemporary romance.
Imagine you get to go on a dream vacation, but you have only one hour to pack and leave, and it starts as soon as you finish this interview. What will you take with you and where will you go?
I think Grand Cayman is the most amazing place on earth. I’d pack light—as long as I have bathing suits, my Kindle, and laptop, that’s all I’d need.
What is your favorite holiday and why?
I love Christmas. I have so many fond childhood memories of that holiday. I believe it’s better to give than to receive, and the Christmas season really embodies that for me.
What good book have you read recently?
I read all the time, so it’s hard to limit it to one. But I loved The Marshal’s Witness by Lena Diaz.
If you were a color, what color would you be?
Please underline which statement is more like you:
"I am a vacation spa because I am laid back and relaxed."
"I am a ten-countries in ten-days tour vacation, because I do things as fast as possible."

Please complete the sentences

I love pizza with pineapples.
I'm always ready for a long walk with my dogs.
When I'm alone, I belt out tunes.
You'd never be able to tell, but I’m a bit of a comedian.
If I had a halo it would be sparkly.
If I could be a cat for a day I'd love it_
I can never jump out of a plane because I'm too much of a wimp.

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April 13, 2013

Character Interview: Leonardo from Loving Leonardo @roseanderson_ #RLFblog

Loving Leonardo
Loving Leonardo - The Quest

Rose Anderson, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. We're excited to interview your character, Nicolas Halstead from the book, Loving Leonardo – The Quest
Genre: Erotic Romance/Historical m/m/f
Publisher: Calliope’s Writing Tablet
Cover artist: Kim Van Meter
Length: Approximately 200 pages
Heat rating: Scorching
Tagline: Love transcends all barriers.
Never in his wildest imaginings as an art historian, could Nicolas Halstead conceive the book Leonardo da Vinci created for his lover Salai existed, let alone lead to the discovery of hidden declarations of love worked into da Vinci masterpieces.
Happy and content in their polyamorous relationship, Nicolas, Ellie and Luca embark on a quest to learn all they can about the greatest mind of the Renaissance. But their world takes a devastating and deadly turn that sends Nicolas into the deviant underworld of Victorian London. It becomes clear that Conte Acario Bruno lives, and the madman wants far more than Leonardo's book. He desires Nicolas’ death, and Luca for himself.
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Nicolas Halstead 11th Earl of Halstead: 31 years old. House of Lords, Art Historian for the famed Ashmolean Museum. He acquires and manages her Majesty’s art collections.
Elenora Schwaab Halstead: 24 years old. The new Lady Halstead. Student of philosophy, Suffragette, and American Progressive. Daughter of the American Consul to her Majesty Queen Victoria.
Luca Franco: 32 years old. The new Professor of Antiquities at the Ashmolean Museum. Son of a Venetian merchant. Head of the Franco family. He acquires items of history to add to the vast museum collections.
Buy links: Coming April 2013. Here is the buy link for Loving Leonardo Book 1 http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009LS3H6Q


A full day of travel had gotten us to Parma. Tired and hungry, Father Tioretto led us to a sizable and surprisingly well-appointed inn. Even if he didn’t know the area well, by the delicious aroma wafting in the street our noses would have eventually led us there. I paid to have our belongings taken inside and made arrangements for the coachman to come gather us the next morning. We asked for baths and the serving maids hurried up the stairs to ready our rooms. We found a quiet corner and ate our fill of the fabulous cuisine. Father Tioretto explained that Parma was famous for its hard flavorful cheese. Luca added that the Renaissance Humanist, Boccaccio, praised the cheese of Parma in his literary Decameron. Well-read as she was, Ellie had already made the connection. I once more counted my lucky stars to have found these two who not only stimulated my heart and body, but my mind as well.
As he poured our dessert wine, the sociable innkeeper gave directions to the Galleria Nazionale di Parma. The man just so happened to belong to the Farnese family, the original owners of many of the artworks there. According to our host, his line came from Alessandro Farnese. We showed no recognition at the name, spurring him to explain in detail how the world came to know Alessandro as Pope Paul III, and who, as pope, fathered the innkeeper’s grandmother several generations back. Father Tioretto apparently didn’t care for the conversation and wolfing down his torta, he wished us well and bid us a hasty good night. The innkeeper’s ensuing chuckle made me wonder if he’d elaborated the papal bastardy of his lineage on purpose.
When the maid informed us our rooms were ready, we took our wine and glasses and made our way upstairs to our separate rooms to freshen up. Two steaming copper hipbaths on wheels sat near the stove with a towel-draped folding screen between them. Seeing no need for the screen, I hauled it off to the corner. There wasn’t much water in the tubs, but certainly enough with which to wash the travel dust away.
I watched my wife prepare herself, standing before the wall mirror, her tongue poking in concentration as she arranged the pins in her hair and tightened the curls that were want to spill free. Several cinnamon strands wouldn’t cooperate and these she rolled around and around her finger until they were tight curls to be tucked under the rest. I was transfixed by the deliberate feminine processes whose end results were suggestive of the coifs of Degas’ ballerinas. Thomas was correct. Women were a breed apart, but as the French said, Vive La Différence!
She removed her blouse, skirts, and bustle, and for some reason my mind took a different turn. In my mind’s eye I saw her naked and gagged with a burlap sack over her head. For two days now my mind had been intermittently taken by that terrible image, followed by an instantaneous albeit short-lived feeling of dread. I couldn’t say why, but for some reason I felt it now. The sensation that Thomas often referred to as “a goose walking over a grave.”’ Kneeling, I helped her from her shoes and stockings. Lifting the hem of her camisole, I pressed my forehead to her bare belly and hugged her to me. How I loved this precious nymph.
I’d felt such panic when Conte Bruno abducted her. Perhaps the image was just residual emotion that hadn’t time to drain away. Whatever it was, Ellie seemed unfazed by her experience. She was, without doubt, a most intrepid little thing. She’d taken the kidnapping in stride. I, on the other hand, was privy to information she didn’t have. Namely, the gang rape Bruno had planned for her. A shiver ran up my spine. In my mind, I pictured the face of the man I’d killed, the moment of surprise on his face just before I’d hit him with the statue of Apollo. I didn’t regret the act, but I couldn’t deny that had Bruno had more men there that night, her rescue could have gone terribly wrong.
When I glanced up, she was gazing down upon me. Her soft hands swept back my hair. I’d noticed in the past few weeks that we’d developed an unspoken language between us. This undoubtedly came about from our close contact and soul baring conversation, and the fact we had similar minds. Her next words proved how well she’d come to know me.
“What is it, Nicolas? Something is troubling you, I feel it.”
I lied. “No, my sweet, I’m only thinking of tomorrow.” Her raised eyebrow declared her doubt. Determined not to let her see the dark cloud in my mind, I sought redirection. I kissed her navel then circled it with the tip of my tongue. Meeting her gaze once more, I could see she believed me. I saw something else as well. Indeed I could, for her nipples had gone hard under the cotton of her camisole and her clear blue eyes had turned sultry. She wanted something. My grey thoughts evaporated when she pulled the camisole over her head, an act that left her wearing only her pantalets.
As a newly-wedded man who’d so recently discovered women, I found myself appreciating the mystery of their fashion. Of course I was aware of the structured framework of their undergarments. The artwork of Lovis Corinth and washday at home and all around London told me of pantalets, bloomers, and corsets. But Ellie didn’t corset herself. She was such a petite little thing there was no need to artificially hold her figure.
I ran my hands over her cotton-covered thighs and my cock rose in anticipation of what lay beneath. In my life prior to my bisexual self-discovery, I could never have imagined that going through the flounces of lace and frills of a woman’s undergarments would make me as giddy as a small child opening a gift on Christmas morning.

Interview with Nicolas Halstead

Tell us about yourself.
Nicolas seated himself and crossed his legs comfortably before him. “Well, let me see…My name is Nicolas Halstead, 11th Earl of Halstead. I’ve assumed my deceased father’s seat in House of Lords. Though my travels puts me hardly ever there. As a young man I was educated at Eaton, and then finished my art history education at Oxford. From there I did my internship at the Ashmolean, where I recently became a fellow. It falls to me to add to her Majesty’s collections of state, and to do so, I acquire artworks from private holdings and collections.
I’m an exceedingly private person. To maintain that desired privacy, I live in London, away from the family estate. Mrs. Fletcher, my housekeeper, looks after me and has since the accident that killed my parents. My grandmother, Lady Augusta Halstead did me immeasurable kindness when she gave me over to her trusted servant’s care all those years ago. She has no idea of the bond between Mrs. Fletcher and me, or what we truly share. You see, my Grandmother comes from a time of little deviation from the path society placed before you. The old dear would come undone in knowing the truth of me.”
Nicolas’ lips twitch. “Until recently, I lived a quiet, somewhat content, life.”
Tell us about Ellie and Luca.
The twitch transformed into a wide smile. “I’ll assume by the question, you are aware of my nature. Therefore, to phrase it simply, we three are lovers and I love them. It’s trite to say, but we complete one another in ways we hardly realized were incomplete. Through them, I’ve discovered and accepted myself.
Were I to describe my new wife, I’d say she’s unlike anyone, male or female, of my acquaintance. Bold as brass in speaking plainly…in attitude and affections as well. She’s a suffragette, a progressive in the truest sense. If any woman deserved the vote it would be she. Her mind is extraordinary, her heart fiercely loving and protective. She’s American, you know. In general, Americans reminded me of impressionist artists. The Impressionists violated the rules of academic painting, and Americans violate the rules of conventionality. As a student of nuance, I very much like her. That on top of the love I feel. I consider Ellie to be a true partner in life and love.
Luca? He and I are cut from the same cloth in our interests and we share compatible views. I see Luca as one of the world’s purest souls. He’s kind and sensitive, loving and thoughtful. And I’ll add to that -- he’s compassionate and self-sacrificing to a fault. Luca is also bold and brave, far braver than I. He’s been through a lot in the last ten years. Were I able, I’d take the heartache onto myself to free him of it. I know he would do the same for me. He’s a man anyone would be proud to know, let alone love.”
What do you think is your strongest point?
“Modesty?” He laughed. “How does one consider their strongest attributes without sounding conceited? Let’s see…I’m a loyal friend and devoted to those I love. I have empathy. Consequently, the unfortunate and hungry souls in Rome laid me quite low when we were there. Admitting to that, I’d have to add that I’m more than soft-hearted, I’m painfully aware. I suppose that is my strongest and weakest attribute -- my attention to detail. I simply do not possess a blind eye. Given my training and interest in the artworks of the ages, I readily grasp nuance. I see the subtle shading of life in those small details often missed by others. It allows me to read situations quickly. Not a bad skill for a man with a deviate’s proclivity in an intolerant world!”
As a child, who was your best friend? Tell us about him/her.
“When I was a lad of twelve or so, Mrs. Fletcher’s orphaned nephew Thomas came to Halstead. He was a few years older than I and possessing a ready talent with horses, took a position working in the stables. I got to spend time with him when my Grandmother was out and about. I found him witty and fun and although our stations in life divided us, we enjoyed one another’s company. I went away to school and we stayed in touch through letters. When I returned home, I went to the stable to find my friend, and instead found him with his lover, the farrier’s son. Thom and I became lovers shortly after. Our relationship changed. And so had I.”
What do you wish was different about your life?
“I was born to a world divided by class structure and limitations. My mind sees the outward trappings of this divide daily, especially at Halstead. But my relationships with Mrs. Fletcher and her nephew Thomas transcend such boundaries. They mean the world to me, and my heart rebels at the very idea that I must keep my love for them a secret. I love Luca as well. It wasn’t all that long ago, loving him would cost us our lives. There’s no longer a death penalty for homosexual Englishmen, but we are still not free to love. I wish I was able to openly show my affections.”
If you were given your fondest wish, what would it be?
“I’d wish to turn back the clock to see my dear Thom living a full and happy life. We’d been together nearly thirteen years before I married Ellie. It was he who ended our relationship out of respect for her. I miss him.”
What do you wish I had asked you? Please ask and answer it now.
“I would have asked, Will we ever live in a tolerant world?
My answer would be, yes. It’s 1887. Look how far we’ve come. Women will be voting side by side with men shortly, and are soon to be equal in every way. Especially if my wife has her say! With such social progress broadening our understanding of ourselves, I can’t imagine it taking long for prejudice, bigotry, and hatred to fall by the wayside. Love and kindness, tolerance and charity – these are precepts of faith around the world. But we don’t need our faith to tell us this is best. Like water, mankind eventually follows the path of least resistance. I have every confidence that before long, we’ll do what makes sense.”

About the Author

I love words and choose them as carefully as an artist might choose a color. My active imagination compels me to write everything from children’s stories to historical nonfiction. As a persnickety leisure reader, I especially enjoy novels that feel like they were written just for me. It's hard to explain, but if you've ever read one of those, then you know what I mean. I tend to sneak symbolism and metaphor into my writing. You might say it's a game I play with myself when I write. And I so love when readers email to say they've found something. I’d like people to feel my stories were written just for them, for that’s the truth. These hidden insights are my gift to my readers.

Previous Books

Loving Leonardo
The Witchy Wolf and the Wendigo Book 1 Askewheteasu
The Witchy Wolf and the Wendigo Book 2 Eluwilussit
Hermes Online

Books Coming Soon

Loving Leonardo – The Quest (release -- late April 2013)


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