March 31, 2013

Character Interview: Charlotte - Byzantine Gold @BookstoGoNow #RLFblog



Byzantine Gold
Chris Karlsen, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. We're excited to interview your character, Charlotte Dashiell from the book, Byzantine Gold.
Genre: Romantic Thriller
Publisher: Books to Go Now
Cover artist: Elaina Lee at For the Muse Design
Length: 72K words
Heat rating: 4
Tagline: A Turkish agent and an American archaeologist find themselves in the crosshairs of dangerous enemies in this undersea thriller.
Blurb:
A sunken warship from the Byzantine Era carrying an unusual cargo of gold has been found off the coast of Northern Cyprus. News of the valuable cache has attracted the attention of a terrorist cell. They plan to attack the recovery team’s campsite and steal the artifacts. On the Black Market, the sale of the relics will buy them additional weapons.
Charlotte Dashiell, an American archaeologist, and her lover, Atakan Vadim, a Turkish government agent, are scheduled to be part of the recovery team that brings up the artifacts. While en route to Cyprus, they find themselves caught in the crosshairs of Maksym Tischenko, a Ukrainian contract killer bent on revenge. Charlotte, Atakan and Tischenko share a grim history. As a result, Tischenko is a man who will stop at nothing to achieve his goal--seeing them both dead.
Buy links:
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Charlotte Dashiell, 30, nautical archaeologist
Atakan Vadim, 38, Agent for the Turkish Ministry of Culture
Maksym Tischenko, 40, contract killer
Darav Binici, 27, PKK terrorist

Excerpt:

Charlotte answered on the fourth ring. Caller I.D. showed “restricted.”
“Hello.”
“They are called, Angelique tulips. You admired them in the hospital garden in Paris.”
Charlotte froze, holding her breath as she listened to the nightmare voice, remembering how his Eastern European accent rounded certain sounds and how he stressed the last syllables in his words. Called became cawl-d.
Tischenko.
“Everything in time,” he said and hung up.
Charlotte dropped the phone on the table. She turned to Atakan.
The shock must’ve shown on her face. “What is wrong?”
“That was Tischenko,” she said, finding her voice. “The flowers are from him. He was watching me in Paris when I was at the hospital. He--”
Atakan didn’t wait for her to finish. He rushed into the living room, grabbed his gun from the bookshelf, and ran out of the apartment.
Charlotte followed as he flew down the four flights of stairs to the street.
“Stop.” Catching up to him on the sidewalk, she hooked his elbow with her hand. Fearful an armed Tischenko hid nearby, she positioned herself in front of Atakan, thinking to shield him. “We can’t stand here. He could be anywhere taking aim at you right now.”
“Go back inside.”
“Not without you.” She tugged on his shirt, pulling him toward their building. “Atakan please, let’s leave. Call the Director.”
Atakan shoved her behind him. Silent, his eyes searched the dark doorways of neighboring apartment buildings and parked cars.
“Atakan please.”
“Get inside.”
She stepped in front of him again. “We stay here together or we leave together.”
An eternity of seconds passed. Neither moved or blinked.
They both jumped and turned at the bellow from the horn of a passing truck. Thankfully, the driver was waving to another coming the opposite direction. He never saw the man in the sling pointing a gun at him.
“Please,” she repeated.
Atakan nodded. He stopped at the building’s entry door and took a last look, surveying the street. “He moves us around like pawns in a private game.”

Interview with Charlotte Dashiell

Tell us about yourself.
I’m a nautical archaeologist who recently received my PHD in the subject. While working on my doctorate, I met Atakan. We were dive partners last year on the recovery team of a Bronze Age ship wrecked off the coast of Turkey. I had a controversial theory regarding the Trojan War and hoped the ship carried the proof of that theory.
I come from a family of police officers. My father was a Chicago policeman, my step mother was a policewoman in Chicago and my brother is a SWAT team member for Chicago P.D. My mother is a housewife and remarried to a wealthy businessman.
I currently live in Istanbul with Atakan. Our next project is a Byzantine shipwreck off the coast of Cyprus.
When the dive season ends, I’m employed at a lab in Istanbul where I work on the preservation of artifacts, which includes cleaning, identifying, tagging and cataloging.
Atakan and I share a love of history, like to travel and enjoy skiing and water sports.
Tell us about Atakan Vadim.
He’s also an archaeologist and is an agent for the government. He works in the Ministry of Culture. His job is to oversee the legitimate archaeological sites and make sure the artifacts are processed safely and correctly. Site preservation and safety is part of the job in addition to proper handling of relics. When not in the field, he monitors smuggling operations and persons or groups involved in the illegal sale of artifacts to the Black Market.
He is 38, the consummate professional in his job and very reserved. People tend to see him as always serious and perhaps a bit cold, but to those who know him, we see his humorous side and he does have a wicked sense of humor.
Although we live in Istanbul now, he grew up in the southwestern part of Turkey, in the Izmir area. His mother tends to orchards on their land. His father is retired military. Like me, he’s close to his family but doesn’t get to see them often due to his job and the fact they live several hours away as does his married sister and her family.
He is one of the most honorable men I’ve ever met with an unshakeable code of ethics.
He’s also a pretty darn good cook.
What do you think is your strongest point?
My intelligence.
What would Atakan say is your strongest point?
I imagine he’s likely to say my love for him. I’d agree with that, but I suspect, knowing how reserved he is, he’ll say my determination.
What would Atakan say is your biggest weakness?
I’m too secretive at times.
What was it like where you grew up?
I grew up in Chicago on the northwest side. I love that city. It has everything: great restaurants, theatre, fabulous museums, fun to watch sports teams, friendly people, and the best skyline anywhere.
When my parents were still married, we lived in a brick bungalow typical for Chicago in a lovely neighborhood with nice lawns and good sidewalks for riding our bikes. We had a smallish fenced backyard with a fancy BBQ because my dad liked to grill and a colorful flower bed for my mom. We always had dogs adopted from the shelter. The smaller ones slept with me, the bigger ones slept with my brother, Nick.
My parents divorced when I was a teenager. Then, I split time between my dad’s house in the city and my mom and step father’s in the suburbs.
What do you wish was different about your life?
I’m pretty happy but if I had to change one thing, it would be for Atakan’s mother to like me.
If you were given your fondest wish, what would it be?
I think this is where I should say world peace but I’m going to wish for an end to the extinction of animals everywhere and an end to the slaughter of elephants and rhinos etc. for their ivory and horns.
Describe a place of perfect refuge.
Home--our place in Istanbul. We have a covered, half-moon shaped patio with a view of the Bosphorus. When the weather is warm, we like to sit there with a glass of wine and watch the ferries cross the Strait. Some of the private boats coming and going are stunning to see. They’re sleek and elegant as they skim along the water. You’d think working wrecks I’d get my fill of looking out over water but I don’t. I love the sea.
                                               

About the Author

Chris Karlsen
I was born and raised in Chicago. My father was a history professor and my mother was, and is, a voracious reader. I grew up with a love of history and books.
My parents also love traveling, a passion they passed onto me. I wanted to see the places I read about, see the land and monuments from the time periods that fascinated me. I’ve had the good fortune to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Near East, and North Africa.
I am a retired police detective. I spent twenty-five years in law enforcement with two different agencies. My desire to write came in my early teens. After I retired, I decided to pursue that dream.
I currently live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband, four rescue dogs and a rescue horse.
I’m close to finishing the first draft of book 3 in my Knights in Time series. After that, I hope to start book 3 in my Dangerous Waters series, which the series Golden Chariot and Byzantine Gold are from.

Contest

The history of what place intrigues you as a reader?

Answer this question for Chris, and win a download of Golden Chariot, the prequel to Byzantine Gold. You can email Chris directly at chriskarlsenwriterATgmailDOTcom or leave a comment and your email on the blog. She will contact the winner personally.

Previous Books

Heroes Live Forever (book 1 in Knights in Time series)
Journey in Time (book 2 in Knights in Time series)
Golden Chariot (book 1 in Dangerous Waters series)

Books Coming Soon

Knight Blindness (Knights in Time series)

Find Me Here


March 30, 2013

Character Interview: Bennett Saville @SusanMacNicol7 #RLFblog


Together in Starlight

In a departure from our usual interview today, author Susan Mac Nicol is sharing a written “newspaper” article with her character, Bennett Saville.
News Article from The Cambridge Chat:
Interview: Bennett Saville, star of Gabriel, bares it all!
I’m waiting for my guest for the evening, Bennett Saville, to get ready for his interview. He arrived a few minutes ago and is now busy being fitted for the mike and dusted with the powder that takes the sweaty shine off our faces under the glaring lights. His curly auburn hair is being styled and I see him grimacing as they try to tame it. It’s fairly long, apparently in preparation for his latest appearance as the sexy, cavalier, and slightly sinful professor turned wizard in his TV series Gabriel. He smiles at me as I watch him, appreciating the figure he cuts in his tailored grey suit, looking for the entire world as if he’s just stepped out of a fashion magazine. He certainly wears clothes well, and it—dare I say—looks effortless. I suppose his stylist put it all together. Very, “Darling, what? This old thing?”
God, I envy his tailor at being able to have their hands all over that well-developed and what looks like a pretty muscular body. I chide myself for sounding like some sort of middle-aged groupie, feeling my face flush as he grins at me. He has the greenest eyes I’ve ever seen on a man, like emerald chips—
Leslie MacIntyre, for God’s sake, contain yourself, woman!
Cassandra by Starlight
That is easier said than done. I’m about to interview an up-and-coming film star, a young man who’s handsome, sexy, rich, successful, has seen his fair share of trouble and trauma, and is engaged to a woman ten years older than he is and seven years older than me. His fiancée, Cassie Wallace, is a beautiful woman. I’ve seen pictures of her on his arm in the tabloid magazines and the glossies, and she looks nowhere near her reputed age; classy, refined, and always has a rather mischievous smile on her face, as if she’s saying, “Ladies, he’s mine. Eat your heart out.”
I want to ask him about his relationship with her, but this man has a definite no-fly policy on discussions about his personal life and his fiancée in particular. I once saw him walk out of an interview when the interviewer wouldn’t stop prying. He’d been extremely polite about it, but his resolve was unwavering.
He’s finally sorted to the satisfaction of Mona, the makeup artist. She grins and gives me the thumbs up. Bennett Saville walks over to the stage, settles himself down very elegantly into the rather uncomfortable tub chair. I notice his plain black socks leading down into a rather recently shined pair of what look like Armani shoes. Nice. The man has big feet, and that sends me wandering along a path I really shouldn’t travel at this precise moment.
He looks at me enquiringly.
“You have a fascination with my socks?” he drawls in amusement, in that voice like melted chocolate. I shiver.
“Better than your underwear,” I say without thinking. Then I blush crimson.
He laughs loudly, his eyes crinkling at the corners as he leans back and settles comfortably into the chair. “Touché. At least I’m wearing some tonight,” he murmurs. When my jaw drops open, he chuckles and then adjusts the mike on his lapel. His eyes gaze at me in challenge, and for the life of me I can think of no smart-mouthed rejoinder.
I see Henry wave at me from behind the camera, and I know we’re ready to rock and roll. The lights in the small studio dim, the chattering ceases and there’s an air of expectancy. I’m ready. The intro music cues to introduce the programme, and a minute later I’m sitting with my notepad on my lap, leaning in to address the camera that’s beaming my face and Bennett’s out into the world beyond. I’m also trying not to think about the man in front of me with no underwear on....
To see the rest of the Cambridge Chat interview, check out either:
Buy links:
Together in Starlight – book two in the Starlight Trilogy

Previous Books

Cassandra by Starlight – book one in the Starlight Trilogy
Confounding Cupid
The Magick of Christmas

About the Author

Susan Mac Nicol
Susan Mac Nicol (Sue to most people) was born in Headingly, Leeds in the United Kingdom. When she was eight years old, her family emigrated to Johannesburg in South Africa, where she remained until her and her family¹s return, with husband and two children, to the UK in December 2000.
Sue¹s career as a professional business woman was mainly in the operational side of the Financial Services and Vehicle Leasing markets. Currently her responsibilities have evolved to being the Regulatory Compliance Officer at a financial services company in Cambridge.
Having written all her life, since her first short story was published in a local youth competition when she was just eleven, in between the day job and daily life, the inspiration for the Starlight series of romance novels was born. Her characters, Cassie and Bennett, finally made their debut on the flickering screen of a laptop. The character of Bennett was inspired by someone very special and perhaps one day, if you get the chance to ask her or meet her, over a cup of good coffee, Sue might just explain who this was. She will probably smile wryly and say, "Hopefully without sounding like a teenage groupie."
Her first novel was submitted to various publishers and Boroughs Publishing Group liked what they saw. Sue was offered a contract for her novels and that, as they say in the classics, was that.
Sue is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Romantic Novelists Association here in the UK. She lives in a town house in the rural village of Bocking, in Essex, with her husband, two children and a mixed collie mongrel called Blu, so named because of his two different colour eyes ­blue and brown. Sue is a voracious e book reader and a self confessed geek and Android phone fan. Her office is in her bag most days and without all her gadgets, she confesses she could barely function.

Find Me Here


March 28, 2013

Contemporary: Only You | Interview @PeelLorna #RLFblog


Only You

Lorna Peel, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, Only You.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Entranced Publishing
Cover artist: Suzannah Safi
Length: 52,000 words
Heat rating: Sweet Romance
Tagline: Only You follows divorced thirty-something, Jane Hollinger, as she is shoved back into the dating world by family and friends, and discovers that her fantasy love is more attainable than she ever imagined.
Blurb: Jane Hollinger is single, divorced, and the wrong side of thirty – as she puts it. Her friends are pressuring her to dive back into London’s dating pool, but she’s content with her quiet life as a genealogy teacher.
Robert Armstrong is every woman’s fantasy: handsome, charming, rich and famous. When he asks her to meet him, she convinces herself it’s because he needs her help with a mystery in his family tree. Soon she realizes he’s interested in more than her genealogical expertise. Now the paparazzi want a piece of Jane too.
Can Jane handle living -- and loving -- in the spotlight?
Buy links:
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Jane Hollinger, aged 31, genealogy teacher
Robert Armstrong, aged 38, actor

Excerpt:

An hour and twenty minutes later, Jane was sitting in The Crown -- a pub she had never been in before -- nursing a pineapple juice. Five minutes passed. Then five more. She was on the verge of leaving when she saw Mitch weaving his way through the tables towards her.
“Sorry, Jane. I don’t think I’ll ever be used to contact lenses.” No trace of the Cockney accent. “Let me get you a drink. Same again?”
“Pineapple juice, thank you.”
He returned with two pineapple juices. As he sat down, he went to rub his bloodshot eyes, then clearly thought better of it, and grimaced.
“I’m sorry for deceiving you,” he began. “And I’m even more sorry for frightening you the way I did. I come to the classes straight off the set. Frighten myself sometimes when I look in the mirror.”
“You frighten the hell out of me…” Her voice trailed off as she realized she still didn’t know his real name.
“Robert. Robert Armstrong.” He extended an arm to shake her hand.
Jane stared at his outstretched hand. No, it couldn’t be. He, or rather, the character he played in her favorite TV series, had been the first man to make her blush since Tom had left her. Both Mags and Carol had teased her unmercifully over it.
She continued to stare at his hand. There was something not quite natural about it. Then the penny dropped. It was make-up! Her eyes traveled up his arm. Make-up there, too. Bloody hell, he was covered in the stuff! Every bare patch of skin was lathered in what looked like very pale foundation. Relieved that it was only make-up and not some kind of bizarre skin disease, she reached out and shook it.
“The other night…I was watching The Lady of the Woods.” For the ten millionth time.
“I see. Good. I hope you enjoyed it?”
“It is you, isn’t it – as Simon Moore?”
“Yes, it’s me.”
“Your make up person deserves an Oscar.”
He laughed. “I’ll tell her that!”
“Because you look atrocious.”
“Thank you,” he replied and she flushed.

Interview

How did you get your start in the industry?
I’ve always had quite an lively imagination. When I was little I made up stories in my head for my dolls to act out. I’ve been writing those stories down since I was nineteen.I had a contemporary short story published in Woman’s Way (an Irish women’s magazine) back in 1996. A scan of it is now up on my Facebook Page and blog. I was doing a writing course at the time and had to submit a number of short stories to magazines and I was lucky enough to get one published. The course was interesting but it made me realize that I prefer to write longer prose and I decided to try and see if I could get a novel published.
What websites do you visit daily?
My website and blog, Facebook, Twitter, and various news websites as I’m a bit of a news junkie!
What do you enjoy most about writing?
Being able to create new characters and the worlds they inhabit. And then being able to play God with them! *evil laugh*
What is your work ethic when it comes to writing?
Try and write something every day, even if it’s only random notes or bits of dialogue in a notebook.
How do you cope with stress as an author?
As a new author, I haven’t really encountered author stress yet, but I’d try and cope by taking regular breaks.
What kind of books do you read when taking a break from your own writing?
Historical novels, crime novels, and historical crime novels, like the Matthew Shardlake series by C.J. Sansom.
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?
Either Canada or Australia. I have relatives in both countries and I’d love to visit some day, so I’d have to buy summer clothes for Australia (I live in Ireland and we don’t get summers anymore!) and summer/winter clothes for Canada, depending on the time of year.
What good book have you read recently?
Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman and The Secrets of Pain by Phil Rickman.
What do you like to do when you're bored?
If I’m not writing or surfing the internet, and if it happens to be dry outside, then go for a long walk.
If you were a color, what color would you be?
Purple – I love it, it is such a vibrant colour.
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

Lorna Peel
I love pizza with vegan cheese. Well, I don’t actually love it, and I’m not a vegan either, but I can’t eat ordinary cheese so I make do with the vegan stuff. It’s a bit like old window putty as it doesn’t melt properly so it just looks like an orange blob but I can’t imagine pizza without some kind of cheese on it!
I'm always ready for another mug of coffee!
When I'm alone, I either write, or plot, or both!
You'd never be able to tell, but I have a torn medial ligament in my right knee. It flares up from time to time if I do too much walking.
If I had a halo it would be a bit wonky! I played an angel in a Nativity Play when I was small, but that was the end of my association with angels!
If I could find the time I'd buy a camper van and explore more of Ireland and the UK.
I can never have too many books because I’m a bit of a book hoarder!

Find Me Here

March 26, 2013

Paranormal: Wizard’s Shield @kgmccullough #RLFblog


The Wizard's Shield

The Wizard’s Shield by Karen McCullough
Originally Published As: Magic, Murder, and Microcircuits
Genre: Contemporary Paranormal Mystery/Romantic Suspense
ISBNS:
Length: Novel (90,000 words; 234 pages)
Tagline: To solve a murder and retrieve a stolen magical shield, a pair of wizards journey into a dangerous, magical underworld, where the weapons of choice might be guns... or lightning bolts.
Blurb:
A powerful wizard with a physics degree and a checkered past invents a shield to ensure he'll never again be tortured almost to death.
The wizarding powers-that-be fear the repercussions of such a device and send his former girlfriend, an accomplished wizard herself, to retrieve the device or destroy it.
When the shield is stolen by the magical mafia, Ilene McConnell and Michael Morgan have to set aside their differences and work together to recover it. Michael claims he needs the device as insurance against the kind of injury and injustice he suffered once before. Ilene maintains its potential to upset the delicate balance of power makes it too dangerous and that it needs to be destroyed. But none of that will matter if they can’t retrieve it before a ruthless, powerful wizard learns how to use it for his own ends.
Buy links:
Trade Paperback: http://amzn.com/148118296X
Excerpt:
The rush of a sudden, fierce wind outside drew her to a window to watch the shrubs and palm trees flapping wildly. Sand blew over the pavement and splattered against walls and trees. Dead leaves, loose papers, and other debris danced in the air. A livid, purple-tinged darkness turned the day grotesque. Tendrils of indigo-shaded power floated along with the dark storm clouds.
A flash of lightning seared its way from sky to ground just beyond a row of houses across the street, followed closely by a crack of thunder that rattled the windows.
A man and woman hurried three small children along the boardwalk that led over the dune from the beach to the street. They toted coolers, bags, boogie boards, and buckets. The youngest trailed a towel flapping behind him in the wind. More lightning zig-zagged from sky to ground, not far away. Ilene sucked in a sharp breath.
The father looked up and flinched. Fear tightened his muscles as he dropped a cooler and turned around to snatch up the straggling toddler. His voice carried over the rushing wind. "Get to the van. Quick!"
He nodded toward a vehicle parked down the street. His wife and two older children raced on ahead.
Ilene’s hands clenched into fists. Too much energy crackled in the air. It wasn’t directed at the family, but that didn’t guarantee they wouldn’t get hurt by it. Collateral damage. Some of the more ruthless mages cared little for who else was affected by their activities.
Two flashes hit nearby, one right after the other. The child let out a frightened wail as his father, bent low over him, dashed off the wooden walkway and down the street. Even they could sense the danger building.
Ilene couldn’t trust their fate to chance. She roused her own power, feeling for charged particles in the area. Gathering them in, she rolled and pushed them into position, building a lattice of force around the family. It wouldn’t keep out the wind or the rain--she could have done that with air, too, if she’d had time--but it should keep the lightning from reaching them. For the moment, that mattered most.
Even at a distance, the rush of oppositely charged particles prickled in her brain. The growing polarization signaled an impending strike.
What formed out there made her gut clench in fear. It was so close to the father and child the hair on their bodies must have been standing on end. The man looked around wildly, searching for shelter. The panic in his eyes radiated across the fifty feet or so that separated them.
Would her barrier be enough to protect them? The ground charge was forming so close it could jump right through it if she’d left even a small opening. Ilene reached out toward the building charge differential. Playing with lightning was tricky business. Choosing her positions carefully, she pushed in various weak spots to move the polarizing field.
It sucked a lot of energy out of her to divert its course. Her ribs and head ached as she herded protons in a subatomic cattle drive to get the charge well away from the family. Those minuscule bits of potential energy were every bit as ornery and uncooperative as cows were reputed to be.
Even as the bolt formed, she didn’t know if she’d succeeded. Her breath stopped in her throat for a long, long moment as she waited.
The streak of lightning followed the diverted path to the beach, a safe distance away.
The man ran to the van, getting there just moments behind his wife and older children. He pushed the toddler into the back seat and ran around to the other side, while his wife slammed the rear door and got into the front. Ilene didn’t let out the breath she held until they were all safely inside the vehicle. She released the protective field. The van’s headlights flicked on and moments later it chugged off down the street.
More lightning singed the sky. An inflatable ring rolled down the street like a runaway tire. Ilene shuddered, though it wasn’t entirely the weather that set it off. The storm was a natural thing, but someone--a powerful wizard--was using it.
Using it to attack. The island or the house or its occupants. Brilliant, livid streaks of orange and red mixed with violet and deep blue swirls riding with the clouds. The smells of ammonia and ozone and peppers burned her nostrils.
Lightning flashed brighter and closer. Dangerously closer.
The grumble of thunder grew almost constant. The rushing downpour of rain added to the chaos and noise. Driven by the wind to blow almost horizontally, it splattered against the window in big drops that spread out, then slid down the glass like groping hands trying to claw their way in.
Something was out there. The swirls of lividly hued power grew deeper and more intense. It rode on the storm in frightening concentrations. Why here, though?
Additional Excerpt: http://kmccullough.com/Shield.php

About the Author

Karen McCullough is the author of more than a dozen published novels in the mystery, romantic suspense, and fantasy genres and has won numerous awards, including an Eppie Award for fantasy. She’s also been a four-time Eppie finalist, and a finalist in the Prism, Dream Realm, Rising Star, Lories, Scarlett Letter, and Vixen Awards contests. Her short fiction has appeared in several anthologies and numerous small press publications in the fantasy, science fiction, and romance genres. She has three children, three grandchildren, and lives in Greensboro, NC, with her husband of many years.

Find Me Here


March 24, 2013

Cover Love: Coinage of Commitment @r_costelloe #RLFblog


Coinage of Commitment

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 Coinage of Commitment by Robert Costelloe.

Tagline: Each must have love stronger, higher, longer lasting than others will settle for.
Blurb:
Wayne and Nancy grow up on opposite sides of the country, each certain they must have love better than what others will settle for. Something stronger, something richer, something worth searching for. During the turbulent nineteen-sixties, they meet while he is attending blue-collar Drexel, and she is at neighboring, Ivy League Penn. Although irresistibly drawn to each other, they must overcome obstacles posed by the class and social differences that separate them, as well as opposition from both families, and later, a twist of fate that will be the cruelest test of all. Can they reach the emotional heights they seek? Can they overcome time's downward pulling inertia? Coinage of Commitment is dedicated to all who ever wondered about the altitude love might soar to.
Buy links:

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March 23, 2013

Romantic Suspense: Bad Traffick @dvberkom #RLFblog


Bad Traffick

DV Berkom, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, Bad Traffick.
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: DV Berkom
Cover artist: DV Berkom
Length: 242 pages
Heat rating: R
Tagline: Dangerous obsessions abound when an ex-assassin and a homicide detective race against the clock to find a missing girl before she's lost forever.
Blurb:
Bad Traffick was named a 2012 Top 5 Indie Pick by BloodWrites and a Top Pick by Night Owl Reviews.
Although Bad Traffick is part of a series, it is a standalone novel and can be read by itself. That being said, if you like the characters, then be sure to pick up Serial Date, the critically-acclaimed first novel in the Leine Basso series.
Identified as a person of interest in three cold case murders she didn't commit and required to stay in L.A., ex-assassin Leine Basso accepts a temporary position as a security specialist for A-list actor Miles Fournier, who believes he is the target of kidnappers. Leine finds she has her hands full trying to protect the head-strong celebrity, while at the same time fighting her desire for Detective Santiago Jensen; a game she knows she won't win.
Soon, a woman contacts Miles, claiming to be his long-lost sister. She confesses her twelve-year-old daughter, Mara, has been abducted by sex-traffickers and she's desperate to get her back, hoping that Miles will use his considerable resources to find her.
Leine learns from a contact at a rescue organization that Mara escaped and is alone on the streets in the sprawling city of Los Angeles. The traffickers are determined to track her down and deliver her to the powerful client who purchased her for his twisted ends. Running out of time, Leine must find Mara before they do, or she will be lost forever.
Buy links:
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Madeleine (Leine) Basso – Occupation: ex-assassin and security specialist – Age: 37
Santiago Jensen – Occupation: Detective, LAPD Robbery Homicide Division – Age: 42
Mara Quigg – Age: 12 Occupation: Running from traffickers intent on selling her to the highest bidder.
Excerpt:
The gentleman in the impeccable Armani suit watched the images flash by on the screen, a glass of Macallan single malt on the gold inlay table beside him. Two additional men, shrouded in darkness and unknown to each other, were also taking part in the video conference from different areas of the world, watching the same images. Several times one or the other would raise his hand, platinum or gold watch flashing in the darkened rooms, signaling for the Seller to pause the presentation so they could look more closely at the photographs.
The Seller was visibly sweating in the air conditioned comfort of the massive hotel suite. If he didn't make the sale this time, these clients would look elsewhere for their pleasures. His reputation as the go-to guy in the business was balancing on a knife's edge. Ever since the fiasco with the televangelist two months prior, he'd kept a sharp eye on the operational side of things.
One of the executives was fidgeting, apparently bored, and the Seller's anxiety level skyrocketed. He didn't have to find a mirror to know his appearance was giving his discomfort away. He could feel the cold sweat flowing down his back and armpits, running between his buttocks. What the hell do these guys want? Am I losing my touch? Usually it wasn't this hard to match the client to the product.
The Seller was down to his last two photographs when all three men simultaneously motioned for him to stop. The client in Saudi Arabia rose from his chair and walked to the screen, gazing at the delicate visage.
The Seller's shoulders relaxed. He shouldn't have been worried, should've known the eyes would close the deal: jade green flecked with gold surrounding deep black pupils. Everyone who saw her stopped in their tracks. She'd reminded the Seller of a famous photo he'd seen years before in an issue of National Geographic. She wore the same enigmatic expression. The silence of the buyers signaled it was time for the hard sell.
"Gentleman. I see you have exquisite taste. Mara is newly acquired and in pristine condition. I guarantee she will delight you with her generous charms. As I'm sure you'll agree, she has no equal. I always save the best for last. Mustn't trot out the most sublime too quickly, eh?"
There were murmurs of agreement between the men. The Seller's anxiety morphed to excitement as he prepared to set the hook. My God, look at them. They're practically salivating. A bidding war would be a welcome relief.
The client in the room waved him to his side. His unusual gold pinkie ring flashed, catching the Seller's eye. He'd seen the symbol before, but was unaware of its significance.
"Her age?" he asked.
The Seller turned and glanced at the picture of the girl. Her expression still held a trace of innocence, although churning through the American foster care system for two years had taken its toll. The photographer had captured the picture before Mara realized she wasn't going home.
"Twelve years, sir."
"Pure?"
"Most assuredly."
The man nodded his approval. He glanced back at the screen and steepled his fingers, bringing them to his lips to mask his words.
"Make sure she's mine," he whispered.
The quiet statement held the promise of a lucrative payday tinged with strong warning. The Seller's mouth ran dry. He nodded as he straightened and walked to the front of the room. The cameraman panned with him, framing his head and shoulders with Mara's photograph in the background. The other two clients would see only the Seller with the girl's face behind him on screen. Taking a sip of water from a glass nearby, he cleared his throat.
"Shall we start the bidding at fifty-thousand?"

Download an extended excerpt here.

Interview

What inspired you to write this book?
Bad Traffick deals with the pervasive issue of child sex-trafficking in the United States. I was inspired to write this book after watching a documentary shown at a local community college regarding the trafficking of children in the U.S. It's not something that only happens "somewhere else" - children are forced into the sex trade every day, from California to Iowa to Alaska.
The deeper I went into the research, the more I realized I needed to tell Mara's story. Most people are aware human trafficking exists, but a large majority don't realize it's so prevalent in this country.
Which character in your current book do you think readers will like the most? Why?
I've gotten emails from readers telling me they love Leine and Santiago's love story and want to see more. Mara, the twelve year old who is the subject of the search, is a close second.
Why do you write?
I've written since I was seven. Along with photography, it's been my favorite way of making sense of the world.
When you're not writing, what would we find you doing?
Other than reading, I love the outdoors, so hiking, camping, kayaking, gardening, traveling, etc. I am also an avid photographer and cook.
Are you a plotter, or do you prefer to make it up on the spur of the moment?
I started out as a 'pantser', or someone who makes up stories on the fly, but after I took a fabulous workshop on plotting, I now use a hybrid style that incorporates both when I write.
Looking back at your first book, what do you wish you had done differently?
Put it away and gone on to the next book sooner.
What's your writing schedule like?
I like to get administrative stuff done in the morning, such as interviews, answering emails, blog posts, etc., then sit down and write in the afternoon. If I'm really in the zone, I'll continue into the evening.
Serial Date
Any advice for new authors?
Show your writing to other people than your family and friends to get a more balanced sense of how well you write and what your strengths and weaknesses are. Your mother or best friend will not want to hurt your feelings (usually), so won't be a lot of help. Join a critique group with writers of varying abilities. Learn, learn, learn and write, write, write. Until you learn to look forward to criticism, you won't be detached enough from your writing to really excel at it.
When an idea hits you, what do you do to capture it?
Write it down on anything handy. If there's nothing available, I repeat it to myself several times until I'm sure I won't forget it, or tell it to whomever I'm with.
What other jobs have you held besides writing?
I've worked as a massage therapist, a certified Feng Shui consultant, managed the tasting room at a winery in California, fileted fish at a fish market on the coast, sold hot air balloon rides in Napa Valley (and worked as crew), and worked in the mud baths of Calistoga. All that, along with several 9-5 jobs in higher education, shipping and the banking industry. Obviously, I tend to get bored easily :-)
What are you currently reading for fun? Anything for research?
For fun: Harbor Nocturne by Joseph Wambaugh. For research: I just got back from a trip to the Yucatan and am currently deep into writing the next Kate Jones thriller (#6). I've been researching Mayan culture and jaguars.
If you could time travel what era would be your first stop?
Paris in the 1920s. I would love to be a part of the ex-pat crowd of artists who spent time there.
Do you believe in luck?
As a writer, you have to.
What kind of music do you listen to while driving? Same question when writing?
I'm partial to jazz and the Blues, but like alternative stuff, too.
What's your favorite movie?
Out of Africa. It's one of the best, heart-breaking love stories, and the cinematography is stunning.
Are you the eldest, middle, baby, or only child?
I'm the baby. I have an older sister.
DV Berkom

Please complete the sentence

I love pizza with goat cheese.
I'm always ready for new things.
When I'm alone, I love to sing at the top of my lungs and totally off key while dancing to the radio.
You'd never be able to tell, but I was once super shy.
If I had a halo it would be in my back pocket. I hate hats.
If I could fly under my own power I'd travel a LOT more.
I can never go back to wearing big shoulder pads because they're really ugly.

Previous Books              

The Kate Jones Thriller series:
Bad Spirits Books 1-5
Dead of Winter
Death Rites
Touring for Death
Cruising for Death
The Leine Basso Series:
Serial Date
Bad Traffick

Books Coming Soon

Untitled Kate Jones #6
Untitled Leine Basso #3

Contest

I'm giving away one print copy (US only) and 3 ebook copies of Serial Date, the first in the Leine Basso series. Leave a comment to be entered. Please write out your email.

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March 22, 2013

Cover Love: Stage Fright @pendermackie #RLFblog #GLBT


Stage Fright

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 Stage Fright, by Pender Mackie.
A closeted male stripper falls for an out-and-proud bartender. Jesse Snowe has no trouble taking his clothes off for an audience, but if he wants a lasting relationship with his new lover, he’ll need to reveal more than just his body.
Blurb:
After six months dancing in a Las Vegas all-male revue, Jesse Snowe is used to being groped by enthusiastic females, but he's more interested in Val, the sexy new bartender. Jesse's tired of the closet, but when he thinks of coming out he gets stage fright. The thought of telling his fellow dancers he's gay makes his palms sweat and his heart race and not in a good way. Dating Val under the watchful eyes of the dance captain could reveal Jesse's secret and might be more of a gamble than Jesse's willing to take.
For Val Tremain the glamor of Vegas is wearing thin. He's even less enamored with his new job, but knowing he'll see Jesse's beautiful body makes it easier to go to work. When Jesse hints he's interested Val can't believe his luck. But Jesse's latest dance routine encourages a little too much audience participation and Val struggles with jealousy.
Jesse knows his job's hard on their relationship and being closeted doesn't help. Strangers slap his butt every night, yet he's afraid to touch his lover in public. If he wants this relationship to work Jesse may have to reveal more than just his body.
Buy links:

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March 21, 2013

Character Interview: Dutch Trahern @RueAllyn #RLFblog


One Moment's Pleasure.
Rue Allyn, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. We're excited to interview your character, Dutch Trahern from the book, One Moment’s Pleasure ~ Wildfire Love # 1.
Genre: Western Historical Romance
Publisher: Crimson Romance Publishing
Length: 142 pages
Heat rating: 4-5 on a scale of 5
Tagline: Everything for love ~ nothing for lust.
Blurb:
One Moment’s Pleasure will become a lifetime’s passion when spinster, Edith Alden, embarks on a search for her missing sister. Pretending to be a rich bored woman looking for an interlude with an anonymous male Edith enters the San Francisco bordello where her sister was last seen. She escapes the bordello almost too easily, but she can’t escape the passion ignited by a stranger’s kiss.
Born and raised in the brothels of the California gold rush, Dutch Trahern worked for years to erase a childhood spent committing petty crimes and worse in order to survive. That past comes back to haunt him in the form of a woman he rescues from prostitution. Now his hard won respectability is threatened by an irresistible desire for a woman he shouldn’t want.
Buy links:
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Hero ~ Dutch Trahern is a business man in the import-export trade based out of San Francisco. He is in his late twenties.
Heroine ~ Edith Marietta Alden of the Boston Aldens is a spinster because her guardian grandfather doesn’t believe women should work or participate in any activity outside the home. At approximately 24 years of age Edith is the oldest of the three Alden sisters.
Villainess ~ Madam Cerise Duval would never reveal her age as she would like all of her clients to believe her ageless. She owns San Francisco’s finest bordello and would kill without qualm if it were to her advantage. She is Dutch Trahern’s nemisis.

Excerpt:

He saw it coming, and if he'd believed she'd follow through, he might have stopped her.
"How dare you question my virginity! You don't even know me. I, sir, am no whore!"
He put his hand to his stinging cheek and checked to make certain he could still move his jaw.
Widow's Revenge
The slap re-lit his simmering temper, and he advanced on her, retribution his primary goal. She cradled the hand she used to hit him against her waist, using the other to fight a losing battle with her décolletage as step for step she backed away.
The raw panic on her face cooled his ire a bit.
The sinking dress dragged the floor. She caught a heel in the hem, pulling the dress half off her body.
He put out his hands to keep her from falling.
"No!" She raised her arms as if to protect her face from his fists, giving up all hold on the recalcitrant bodice.
He let his hands drop and closed his eyes to get a mental grip. Finally he got it. He understood what the woman had been saying all along. She wasn't a whore. No whore behaved like this woman-well except for dropping her clothes. Whores did that all the time but not when running away from a client. Whores ran toward clients not away, and drugged up or not they didn't act in ways guaranteed to make a client angry.
He opened his eyes.
"I'm not gonna hurt . . ." His jaw opened and shut. He couldn't pull his eyes from her naked form. "For petesakes put your clothes back on."
He bent, tugging at the cloth around her feet.
"No. Don't do that." She batted at his arms and twisted downward, trying to rescue the dress.
"Stop fighting me," he growled. "You'll tear it."
She succeeded in getting a grip on the dress but cracked her head against his. She staggered into him.
"Ow." He jerked upward, the dress still in his hands.
"Noo!" Already off balance, her tangled feet slid out from under her along with the cloth. Then her head hit the floor.
For the third time in almost as many days, Dutch had a female at his feet. He stared at the woman sprawled before him. She was beautiful. Naked and beautiful and not moving. How had he gotten into this situation, and who would believe it if he told them?

Interview with Mr. Dutch Trahern part owner of Trahern – Smiley Import and Export

Tell us about yourself.
I was born in a hell on the Barbary Coast. My father, who forced my mother into prostitution to keep him in gambling money, deserted us when the vigilantes ran him out of town in 1851. I was too young and didn’t know any other life, so when my mother died her madam, Cerise Duval offered to let me work for her as her personal ‘toy.’ I did it to give my brother a place to live, clothes to wear and food to eat. As I grew older, I understood how wrong it was to allow Cerise to abuse me, and when I saw her eying my brother, I swore I’d find a way to escape and build a respectable life for the two of us. I’d almost succeeded before I met Edith Alden.
Tell us about Edith.
She’s the most beautiful and most exasperating woman on earth, and when we met I believed she was a prostitute. The type of woman I despise most. I discovered very quickly that she wasn’t, but it took me a long time to realize what a truly honorable soul she is. She had her troubles--a misogynistic grandfather and a totally absurd will--and her secrets, and both of those caused us problems. I’m not certain how, but in the process of helping her solve those problems, she helped me find the pieces of my heart that I thought dead as a result of my years on the Barbary Coast.
What do you think is your strongest point?
I don’t quit.
What would Edith say is your strongest point?
I’m stubborn to a fault.
What would Edith say is your biggest weakness?
I’m judgmental and stubborn.
What was it like where you grew up?
It wasn’t very pleasant, so I’ve already said everything I want to say on the topic of my childhood.
What do you wish was different about your life?
I wish I’d grown up somewhere else with two loving parents. Of course if I’d gotten that, I would never have been in Duval’s bordello where I met Edith.
If you were given your fondest wish, what would it be?
That no one--man, woman or child--should ever have to sell themselves to survive.
Describe a place of perfect refuge.
Edith.
As a child, who was your best friend? Tell us about him/her.
That would be my brother Trey. We only had each other. As the oldest, I did my best to protect him, which wasn’t easy. Trey’s got a bit of a wild streak, and I’m certain that’s going to cause him heartache someday. Right now, he’s turning his wild side to advantage by pursuing a career as a US Marshal.
What do you wish I had asked you? Please ask and answer it now.
Too many personal invasions as a child has made me a fairly private person, so this entire interview isn’t easy for me. Let’s just say I wish you’d asked me if I have any bad habits. The answer is yes, I do. I like chocolate way too much. We never had any treats as children. I met the Ghirardelli Brothers when they were looking for a firm to import cocoa beans for their chocolate business. I made them a very good deal, so they discount their products for me. I’m able to afford all the chocolate I want, which really isn’t good for me. Thank goodness, I have Edith to tell me when I’m over-indulging.
Off Limits

About the Author

Author of historical, contemporary, and erotic romances, Rue Allyn fell in love with happily ever after the day she heard her first story. She is deliriously married to her sweetheart of many years and loves to hear from readers about their favorite books and real life adventures. Learn more about Rue at http://RueAllyn.com

Previous Books

The Widow’s Revenge and Off Limits ~ Sexy Sailors # 1 both are erotic romances from Red Sage Publishing.

Books Coming Soon

One Night’s Desire ~ Wildfire Love # 2, another western historical romance coming in July 2013 from Crimson Romance Publishing
Hazard Duty ~ Sexy Sailors # 2, another erotic romance, coming July 1, 2013 from Red Sage Publishing
Deal of a Lifetime, a contemporary romance, release date TBA, coming from The Wild Rose Press
One Day’s Loving ~ Wildfire Love # 3, an historical romance, release date TBA, coming from Crimson Romance Publishing

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