November 30, 2013

Cover Love: Second Chance @m_osullivan26 #RLFblog #contemporary

Second Chance 
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 Second Chance by Martha O'Sullivan.

Everything was fine until Brian Rembrandt came back to town. Lindsay Foster was finally getting her life back together and planning a future with the ever-indulging Paul Webster. How dare Brian think he could waltz back into her life and pick up where they left off!
But he does.
And that's a problem.
Because Brian is used to getting what he wants. So when Lindsay won't come to him, he goes to her. But little do they know that the torrid night they share puts a lot more than Lindsay's impending marriage in jeopardy. This love triangle has an extra side. And it alters the course of four lives forever.

Buy Link:

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Martha O'Sullivan

November 29, 2013

Cover Love: Playing Doctor @JanMeredith21 #RLFblog #contemporary

Playing Doctor
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 Playing Doctor by Jan Meredith.

Publisher Entangled Publishing
Word count: ~35k
Genre Mainstream Contemporary
When a fellow RN jokingly predicts that Beth Roberts will meet a tall, ripped and totally lick-o-licious stranger who will fulfill her deepest desires, it's supposed to be from across a crowded room, not giving CPR to a wedding guest. Given her tragic love life, Beth has no desire to become involved again, but who could have predicted the ponytailed doctor with the mischievous smile would break through her defenses?
Dr. Gabriel North blamed himself for his wife's death. Now, after two years of battling guilt and meaningless hookups, he's ready to move on. When he sees the sexy brunette at his friend's wedding, his attraction is swift and strong, and he wastes no time in pressing his advantage. One night with the woman who makes him feel alive again isn't enough, but gaining her trust is going to take more than medical school has prepared him for.

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November 27, 2013

Fantasy: Glamourhai @msjessmahler | Interview #RLFblog #serial

Jess Mahler, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, Glamourhai.
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Publisher: Self published
Cover artist:
Length: 80,000
Heat rating: Moderate
Tagline: He bartered his freedom to save his sister, and got more than he bargained for.
When the fae lord, Oeloeff, takes his sister, Mattin seeks out Countess Jahlene n'Erida, a fae noble who is Oeloff's enemy, and begs her to help free his sister. In return for her help, he offers the only thing he has–himself. Lady Jahlene accepts Mattin's offer, and he finds himself an initiate of a strange world where pain is pleasure, cruelty is love, and nothing is as it seems.
Mattin hates being a slave, almost as much as he hates and fears the fae. But as he learns more about Jahlene, he finds himself drawn to her, and her sadistic pleasures. As they race to prepare their trap for Oeloff, Mattin fights to reconcile his desires with his fears. Until he makes a mistake that costs him everything...
Buy links:
Fantasy Romance Serial
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Mattin is a 22 year old human. He is Jahlene's slave and personal attendent.
Jahlene n'Erida is a 50 year old fae. She is the Countess of Erida.


...he had time to think.
The lady and Brit were angry with Parlen for some reason, but that didn't concern him. He shoved his confusion aside to focus on what mattered.
The word still stuck in his throat, heavy with meaning. Why did it matter? As Parlen said, it was just a word. He couldn't say it.
If he could say it, he would be hurting her.
He didn't understand that. Didn't understand why his feelings affected the lady. He had heard her sorrow, but he didn't understand...
A voice echoed in his memory, "My people serve me willingly, Mattin Brenson. Each one came to me, and asked to be taken into my service. I do not use coercion or glamour on my family."
My family, she had said. He had derided it at the time, yet hadn't he been thinking the same earlier?
A flash of insight came to him. She wanted him as part of her family, and saw his resentment and fear as rejection. He couldn't explain to himself why they weren't. Why he could hate the collar, and her power over him, so much, and yet... love... his family here. Which included Lady Jahlene.
Some instinct interrupted his thoughts, and he started filling the bath. Just in time, she entered the suite as he turned the water off.
She started stripping off her clothes, not waiting for his assistance. Her hair, which had been neatly styled when he left, was a mess. He tried to pick out her hair pins without pulling. From her occasional wince, he didn't think he succeeded, but she didn't say anything. As he worked, he tried, somehow, to turn his confused thoughts into words.
After her hair was down, he got his first good look at her face. She was drawn and pale, her eyes glassy. Her smile, when she caught his eyes, seemed forced. He winced. Her sorrow earlier had been bad enough, but this? His chest grow tight—had he hurt her this badly?
"Are... are you alright, lady?"
She tipped her hand back and forth, like a see-saw.
Mattin bit his lip, and plunged ahead, "Lady, I know I have not—I mean—"
She looked up, "Oh. Not you Mattin. Yes, you cause problems at times, but isn't that part of being alive? Court and its protocol are annoyances. We'll find a way to deal with them."
"Will... will you tell me what upsets you?"
She shrugged, "I expect you can guess part of it. Parlen should have brought her concerns to me, in private or with Brit. Not ambushed both of us. She was trying to control me."
Mattin led her to the bath, and tried to absorb this sudden change in focus. He'd known Parlen had done something to displease the lady, but... "How could she expect to control you? You have all the power here." His normal resentment of her power didn't stand a chance against his astonishment. Thankfully—the lady was hurting enough without his adding to it.
Jahlene laughed, "You put too much stock in legends, Mattin. Nobles have been controlled by the humans in their household in the past. It will happen again. There is more than one form of power."
"That doesn't make sense."
Jahlene stepped into the bath and stretched. "To you. Don't worry about it. She won't try again."
Mattin didn't reply. Instead he began soaping up her hair. For a few minutes, neither said anything. Communal baths had been a part of Mattin's life for as long as he could remember. Being around a naked female was nothing new or uncomfortable. But there was something especially intimate about helping her wash like this. She preferred soaps scented of pine. Their crisp smell was a sharp contrast to her hair slipping through his hands. Most nights he hated himself for how much he enjoyed touching her. Tonight...tonight his fears and mistrust seemed small and foolish besides her pain.
Cautiously, he worked his hands down to her shoulders. She stiffened, but didn't say anything. He began rubbing at the muscles of her neck and shoulders, willing her to relax. Instead of pulling away as he feared, she gradually leaned back into his hands. He ignored the way his shaft grew hard between his legs, and pushed aside his self-doubts. For a few minutes, he focused on her needs.
She relaxed a bit at a time. When he finished, she reached up and touched his hand. "Thank you."


Tell us about your story's world. What is it like in this period or place?
Glamourhai is set in an original fantasy world that is culturally a mash up of Germany during the Renaissance and colonial America. The empire that county Erida is part of is made up of humans and fae, but ruled entirely by the fae, who conquered the humans in what for most people is ancient history.
The fae have a power called glamour that allows them to sense the emotions of people around them and to control people by taking over their will. They need to feed on emotions to power their glamour. And, as Mattin eventually observes, it's a lot easy to create negative emotioins, like pain, fear and anger, than positive ones. Which has led to the development of some sadistic customs in fae culture.
Most humans live 'normal' lives and try to avoid the fae as much as possible, but fae nobles have the right to take humans from their lands as slaves. Which is how Mattin gets into trouble...
What inspired you to write this book?
I got an image in my head one day, of a man, on his knees and utterly devastated. He had just failed and betrayed his Mistress, his love, and knew that what he had done was so horrible, she could never forgive him.
Writing this story was really the process of discovering what had led up to that moment, and what happened after.
Why do you write?
Because I love too. I have stories in my head and I want to share them with the world.
I also hope, in some small ways, to help change the world. I remember the authors who shaped my view of the world, from Lackey, whose books helped me see past my family's rejection of homosexuality, to Heinlein, who challenged my ideas of what society is and can become, and many others. And I hope that in some small way, someone might read my books about a black fae woman, and a man who chooses to submit to her, and see the people around them a little bit differently.
When you write, what things do you want close at hand? (Coffee, water, chocolate... pictures of gorgeous hunks for inspiration...?)
Water and music. On good writing days, I'm listening to Blackmore's Night, Voltaire, Trixie Pixie, Heather Dale and Rockapella. On bad writing days, I have a play list called 'energizing' that's all songs to get my blood moving and help me get past the doldrums.
When you're not writing, what would we find you doing?
Reading, playing with my kids, chatting on twitter, or taking long walks. I'm a homebody.
Are you a plotter, or do you prefer to make it up on the spur of the moment?
Somewhere in between. I actually start out writing a brief synopsis (about one page long) that covers most of the major plot points. Then I expand it, and expand it again, adding more details and subplots and scenes each time. About half way through I'll have a dozen fully fleshed out scenes, and a whole bunch of "this happens, and then this happens, and then this person needs to do this, but I don't know how yet..."
So I guess you could say I've 'plotted' the bones of the story ahead of time, but I make up a whole bunch of stuff on the spur with each expansion.
What's your writing schedule like?
Whenever time allows!
Any advice for new authors?
Keep writing, and watch out for Dunning-Kreuger. If you are a new writer and aren't seeing lots of problems in your work, you don't know enough to be a good writer.
When an idea hits you, what do you do to capture it?
I have a folder on my computer labelled 'mason jar.' New ideas get saved in there with as much detail as I can come up with—usually the one scene that caught my imagination and synopsis of anything else i've come up with.
What other jobs have you held besides writing?
I've worked in massage therapy, customer service, retail, freelance writing and been a house-spouse.
What's the best gift you ever received?
It's not the usual sort of gift, but after sending letters and phone calls for a few years, I was going to meet my biological family and spend a week with them. I got of the bus, and my mother and sister met me. I think we were all feeling awkward—I certainly was! And I wasn't entirely sure that I wasn't making a mistake. We went to dinner and as we were walking out of the restaurant we started—I don't remember who started it or why, but suddenly we were all singing together, one of my favorite songs. In perfect harmony, no less. And I knew, just knew, that everything would be great. (I was right, too!)
What kind of music do you listen to while driving? Same question when writing?
Driving I usually listen to classic rock. Sometime folk, musicals or classical. Writing...I think I answered that already ;^)
Do you play any musical instruments?
Piano, but I'm horribly out of practice. I learned flute in school, but I've forgotten almost all of. I can still play a high C.
Are you the eldest, middle, baby, or only child?
I'm the eldest twice over. I'm the eldest of both my adoptive and biological families.
What do you wish I had asked you?
So what's this I hear about a webserial?
I'm doing a bit of an experiment and releasing the entire novel as a free webserial. The Glamourhai webserial began posting on Nov 1, and the book will be released on Dec 1. Anyone who wants can read the entire story for free—as long as they don't mind waiting until June or July (and enduring multiple cliffhangers) to get to the ending.

Please complete the sentences.

I love pizza with chicken.
I'm always ready for a good book.
When I'm alone, I pace while working out the next road block in my story.
You'd never be able to tell, but in my own way, I am very traditional.
If I had a halo it would be hanging on a hook out of the way somewhere.
If I could never read again I'd go crazy
I can never watch horror movies because I'm a fraidy cat!

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November 26, 2013

Cover Love: Unexpected Find @Nancy_Corrigan #RLFblog #paranormal

Unexpected Find 
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 Unexpected Find by Nancy Corrigan.

Unexpected Find, book 1 of the Royal Pride series
Since the murder of her best friend, Jazz is stuck in a safe but lonely way of life. She's willing to sacrifice everything to keep her family safe from the shifter world. The sexy stranger who struts into her friend's bar changes everything. From the first glance Jazz knows she's sunk—their chemistry sizzles from across the room, it'll be undeniable up close.
Rafe wants Jazz from the second he sets eyes on her. The depth of the need that swamps him every time he's near her surprises him. It takes every last ounce of his self-control not to pounce on Jazz and make her his. Only her distrust of his shifter nature holds him back. He counts it as a win every time his beloved human gives in to their passion and takes him to her bed. But Rafe's patience isn't infinite and he'll do whatever it takes, face any danger—past or present—to ensure that Jazz becomes his. Forever.
A Romantica® Paranormal erotic romance from Ellora's Cave
Buy Link:

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November 25, 2013

Sisters, Veterans, Authors: @DelilahDevlin and @ellejamesauthor #RLFblog

Uniform Desires 
Please join me in welcoming military author and former military woman Elle James to the Romance Lives Forever blog. She's going to share with you today about her sister, author Delilah Devlin, also a former military woman. Take it away, Elle! And thank you for your service. As a former Navy vet myself, I know the sacrifice it took.
Born and raised as children of a career Air Force man, it was only natural that my sister and I would follow in my father's footsteps and join the military. Because my father retired in a small town with a public university that only had Army ROTC, my sister and I joined the Army ROTC program. We loved the discipline and challenge of being a part of the military and fully embraced the lifestyle.
My sister graduated and went right into the U.S. Army. I married in college and joined the U.S. Army Reserves and later branch transferred to the U.S. Air Force Reserves. We are now both retired and writing full time, but the military is still very near and dear to our hearts. We loved being a part of something bigger than ourselves, serving this great country and protecting our freedom.
This veterans day we teamed with a great group of authors who write military romances to produce a boxed set of military romances in honor of Veterans Day and all the brave men and women who help to protect our nation. 

Uniform Desires

Six Military Romances from
National Best-selling Authors
Infatuation by Melissa Schroeder
SEAL's Honor by Elle James
SEAL the Deal by Sharon Hamilton
Dangerous Liaison by Delilah Devlin
Her Forever Hero by JM Madden
Cinderella Liberty by Cat Johnson

Infatuation by Melissa Schroeder

USA Today Bestselling Author
To prove her love and save her man, she has to go above and beyond the call of duty. SEAL Francis McKade never acted on his feelings for his best friend's sister. All that changes at a wedding in Hawaii, but the next morning, he's called for a mission-one that leaves his world in shambles. Months later, Kade shows up in her bar a changed man. When he pushes her to her limits in the bedroom, Shannon refuses to back down. One way or another, he'll learn there's no walking away from love—not while she still has breath in her body.

SEAL's Honor by Elle James

Award-winning Author
Two Navy SEALs jeopardize their lives and hearts in a battle-torn land when they vie for the love of one sexy Night Stalker helicopter pilot. SEAL Reed Tucker doesn't believe in commitment, until he tangles the sheets with one hot pilot, Delaney O'Connell. His phobia against commitment is challenged when his best friend asks Delaney to marry him. As a helicopter pilot for the 160th Night Stalkers, Delaney knows the risks of loving a SEAL. When her lover's friend loses an arm in battle, she can't refuse his marriage proposal when he's already lost so much. In love with one man, pledged to marry another, she's torn. Tuck and Delaney must come to grips with the happiness they owe themselves and the happiness of their friend who has lost so much.

SEAL the Deal by Sharon Hamilton

Bestselling Author
A SEAL's nightmare of a promise given at his sister's deathbed gives him the woman of his dreams. Special Operator Nick Dunn promises his dying sister that he will help shut down her business and settle her affairs. He must work with his sister's best friend he vaguely remembers. But boy has she grown up. Though Devon Brandeburg created a small fortune in real estate, she has a total lack of experience with men. Who needs their testosterone-stuffed egos sucking the air out of the room, like Nick's does? The promise turns into a hot affair neither expected with Nick the teacher in Devon's journey to womanhood. As she comes alive in his arms, the student brings the teacher something he's never allowed himself to want, and now needs.

Dangerous Liaison by Delilah Devlin

Award-winning Author
A pampered travel agent escapes through the jungle with an undercover DEA agent when a drug lord mistakes her for a rival's daughter. After surviving a week of anti-terrorist training in a Central American jungle, Maya Cordoba is ready to kick off the mud from her designer boots after she hijacks her sexy driving instructor. Instead, she finds herself staring down the barrel of an AK-47and being kidnapped! Mistaken for a rival drug lord's daughter she knows if they learn she's not who they think she is—she's dead. Rescue comes from ex-marine and undercover DEA agent, Angel Rickman. He promises to get her out as long as she does everything he tells her to. Together, they make a mad dash through the jungle with the drug cartel's army on their tails.

Her Forever Hero by JM Madden

Bestselling Author
When the boss's pregnant, unwed daughter needs rescuing, disabled Marine Grafton Parks proves he's still a hero. Kendall Herrington is drawn to her handsome new security guard, prosthetic hand and all. The man is totally wrong for her, but on a lonely Christmas night, she gives in to her body's demands, regret setting in on the morning after. Former EOD Marine Grafton Parks knows Kendall is resisting admitting she's pregnant and that the board won't allow an unwed, pregnant female to run the multi-billion dollar Herrington Corporation. Even if she is the boss's daughter. As they struggle to come to terms with each other, an unexpected danger threatens their lives. Will they survive long enough for him to be...Her Forever Hero?

Cinderella Liberty by Cat Johnson

NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author
A weekend liberty leads to unexpected passion between a Marine and his best friend's sister, but he must survive seven months in Afghanistan to get back to her. Marine Gunnery Sergeant John "Crash" O'Malley has two goals. Enjoy his liberty in New York City, and survive his deployment to Afghanistan. What he didn't plan on is Trish. A guy can't have a one-night stand with his best friend's sister and then abandon her at midnight when his liberty ends, but starting a new relationship days before shipping out would be crazy. Crash doesn't realize his friend's displeasure is nothing compared to what the insurgents have in store for them in the Helmand Province. Now, Crash's new objective is to get home alive and make Trish his.

About the Author

Elle James spent twenty years livin' and lovin' in South Texas, ranching horses, cattle, goats, ostriches and emus. Retired Lt Colonel U.S Air Force Reserves and former IT professional, Elle is proud to be writing full-time, penning intrigues and paranormal adventures that keep her readers on the edge of their seats. She has 39 works with Harlequin, self published works under pen name Elle James, over 40 works with other publishers including Samhain, Elloras' Cave, Kensington and Avon and 18 works self-published under pen name Myla Jackson. Now living in northwest Arkansas, she isn't wrangling cattle, she's wrangling her muses, a malti-poo and yorkie. When she's not at her computer, she's traveling, out snow-skiing, boating, or riding her ATV, dreaming up new stories.

Find Me Here

November 24, 2013

Historical: Legend of the Mist @VeronicaBale1 #RLFblog #contest

Legend of the Mist 
Veronica Bale, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, Legend of the Mist.
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Self
Cover artist: Viola Estrella Cover Art
Length: 224 pages
Heat rating: 18+
Tagline: An island rises from mist; a destiny rises from legend
There is a legend familiar to those who call the island of Fara their home. It is one that is passed down through the generations. From mothers who whisper the tale to their bairns as they float into dreams each night. From starry-eyed lasses who pray to find for themselves the undying love of which it speaks. From elders who know the magic of the thick and inexplicable mist surrounding this, and no other, of Orkney's islands which rise from the sea off Scotland's northern coast.
As the daughter of Clan Gallach's chief, Norah knows the legend better than anyone on the island. It tells of a lady who waits in the mists of Fara for her long lost love to return to her. It's an entertaining story, to be sure. But it is no more than fantasy. Or so the islanders say. But Norah is not so certain. All her life she's felt that the legend is more than simple folklore, that the lady of the mist is more real than anyone wishes to believe.
But these are turbulent times, marked by the very real tales of Norse invaders and their brutality. When her people are conquered by a band of fearsome Vikings, one among them will blur the lines between reality and legend like never before. For Norah cannot help but feel that she knows him ... from some other time ... from some other life ...
Buy links:
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Legend of the Mist is the story of Norah, daughter of the chief of Clan Gallach, and Torsten, a Viking raider whose men conquer the clan's island, Fara, off the northern coast of Scotland. Among the people of Clan Gallach exists a legend which tells of a Lady of the Mist. It is said that the lady, who when her warrior love was killed in battle cast herself into the sea, waits in the mists of Fara for a time when her love will return to her. Norah had always thought the legend was just a story, but when Torsten appears on the island, she begins to wonder whether the legend may, in fact, be true. Is she the Lady of the Mist, and is Torsten her warrior love? As for their ages, I wrote Norah at 19 years, but did not really identify Torsten's age. When writing him, I pictured him to be between 25 and 30.


There is a legend familiar to those who call the island of Fara their home. It is one that is passed down through the generations. From mothers who whisper the tale to their bairns as they float into dreams each night. From starry-eyed lasses who pray to find for themselves the undying love of which it speaks. From elders who know the magic of the thick and inexplicable mist surrounding this, and no other, of Orkney's islands which rise from the sea off Scotland's northern coast.
According to the tale, many centuries ago (just how many no one knows with any certainty), there was a lovely young maid who lived on Fara. Her beauty, it is said, was unparalleled. Her lips were as red and full as an English rose; her skin as smooth and fresh as cream. And her eyes were the colour of the sea before a storm.
It was the most handsome of warriors ever to land on Fara that fell in love with this beautiful maid of the isles, and he was fortunate enough to earn her love in return. For a short while their love blossomed, undisturbed in a time of peace and prosperity brought about by the wise reign of the island's chief.
But their bliss was not to last, for there was a great battle which took place on the island, and the warrior, defending his lady and her land, was killed. Heartbroken, the maid cast herself into the sea, unable to bear the thought of a life without her love.
Here, tale turns to legend. It is said among the islanders that, to this day, the lady drifts in the mists of Fara, her spirit hovering over its rocky shores and gentle hills. In this ethereal form she shrouds her island, waiting for her lost love to return to her.
And he will return. In time. When that time comes, the lady of the mist will be reborn, and the two lovers will be reunited.
Or so it is said ..."How did the warrior die, my Lady?" said Cinead, interrupting the story to which the children were listening with rapt attention. Overcome by his excitement, the boy of only seven summers had risen to his knees where he sat in the middle of the group.
"Cinead, sit down. I canna see," whined Aibhlin, tugging on Cinead's sleeve. The unfortunate five year old, the youngest child of one of the island's crofters, had found herself seated directly behind the older, larger boy.
"Aye, Cinead, on yer bum, eh? That's a good lad," encouraged Lady Iseabal gently. Ensconced at the head of the group on a battered wooden stool, she smiled as Cinead reluctantly lowered himself. "Now, what d'ye mean, how did he die? Were ye no' listening? There were a battle, and he were killed—"
"I heard that, my Lady. Nay, I mean how did he die? Were he cut through wi' a sword, or were his head lopped off? Like that."
From where she sat, beside Cook on a bench behind the children, Norah caught her mother's eye. Iseabal responded with a knowing glance, her exasperation tempered by understanding. Cinead, as everyone on the island well knew, was a rambunctious boy. His wild games of make-believe typically featured monstrous beasts and daring warriors; more often than not they ended in minor damage to property, often with a dose of bumps and bruises to his playmates for good measure.
But neither Iseabal nor Norah could bear to reprimand him. Not today, not when the loss of Cinead's father was so fresh a wound upon his poor little heart. It had only been two days since the raid on Fara by the Norse invaders, and Cinead was not the only child to be left fatherless and the end of it.
The Norsemen were notorious for their ruthlessness. There was no mercy in their hearts, and they spared no one, not even women and children—if the reports that reached the island were to be believed. They honoured not the sanctity of holy structures, and tales flitted from island to island about helpless monks, nuns and other holy persons being cut down, slaughtered in the places to where they fled for refuge.
The Viking beasts. They had no conscience, no soul.
Norah supposed that her people should consider themselves lucky, for no women or children had died in this, Fara's first raid. Only men. It was little consolation, though, especially to the children gathered there in the kitchens that night. Most of them had lost someone: a father, a brother, an uncle or grandfather. In fact, they were gathered together that evening, enticed by the promise of a story from the lady of the castle, to spare them having to watch their dead as they were prepared for burial.
"I reckon 'tis not the best time to be speaking of such things, d'ye?" Iseabal answered Cinead, giving him a reproving but gentle look.
"Was the maid beautiful, my Lady," queried Greine, the seneschal's daughter.
"Of course she were," admonished her younger sister beside her. "Wi' hair as fine as silk and eyes the colour of the sea before a storm, isna that so, my Lady?"
"I wanted Lady Iseabal to tell it," Greine protested, shooting her sister an angry glare.
"Aye, that's right," Iseabal agreed, smiling. Instinctively she ran her hand over her belly, which was large with child. "She were a beautiful lass, the maid, and her eyes were as the sea before a storm. A deep green, changeful as the rolling waves. Not unlike our Norah's there."
At this point in the story, even though Iseabal said the same thing each time she told it, the children gasped and turned to see for themselves the colour of the maid's eyes reflected in Norah. With a wicked grin, Norah covered her eyes with her hands, and when the children sent up a general cry of protest, she lowered them again, opening her lids wide that an ordinary pair of green eyes may be seen.
"And how does the maid wait in the mist?" Cinead continued. "She canna. Someone will see her sooner or later."
"She is the mist ye daft fool," sassed Aibhlin from behind him.
Cinead turned and regarded Aibhlin over his shoulder through narrowed eyes. Then he gave her a malicious shove in the shoulder. Aibhlin toppled sideways into the boy next to her, and immediately began to bawl.
"Cinead, why dinna ye come sit wi' me?" Norah called to the boy.
Glowering at the whimpering Aibhlin, Cinead huffed in frustration. "Go on, then. I dinna want to be in amongst all these children anyway."
Pushing himself off the stone floor, he sauntered around the group and to the back of the kitchens. Beside Norah, Cook leaned into her slightly with his small, beefy shoulder; an acknowledgement. Norah did not need to see his face to imagine the grin he must be stifling, nor the glint in his pale eyes. Despite his unruly behaviour, Cinead was one of Cook's favourites.
Norah did not find it difficult to be patient; she knew Cinead was a good boy ... at heart, at least. It was never with ill intentions that his play was so wild and destructive. He was only enthusiastic. Cinead's mother had died when he was only four, having taken her stillborn daughter to the grave with her. The lack of a tempering female presence in his life gave Cinead a small measure of immunity in the eyes of many of the islanders.
Now his father was gone, too. Everyone handled their grief differently. Aibhlin would get over it.
"Stupid brats," Cinead muttered as he plunked himself next to Norah, crossing his arms tightly over his breast.
"Be that as it may, ye've a duty to be an example to the younger ones, d'ye no'?"
Cinead pouted briefly, unwilling at first to acknowledge that she might be right. Begrudgingly, he shrugged. "Aye, perhaps. And I suppose I am a man now that my da's ... now that he's gone."
A battle of emotion warred in the set of the boy's features: grief; pride; fear. It made Norah want to pull him close, to cradle him protectively and shelter him from the world and its cruelties. But he would not thank her for embarrassing him in front of the others like that.
"Our island needs ye," she answered solemnly. "We willna let ye bear yer responsibilities alone."
Cinead declined to answer, not wanting her to see how her promise had affected him. Just the same, the slight inward turn of his shoulders as he pretended to listen to the Lady Iseabal's story betrayed him.


How did you get your start in the industry?
I started as a freelance writer, ghostwriting short stories and novellas for a number of different clients. At some point I decided to write the story that I wanted to tell, and released my first novel, Bride of Dunloch (book 1 of my Highland Loyalties trilogy), in August, 2012.
What is the most important thing you do for your career now, as compared to when you first started writing?
Social media. Since releasing Bride of Dunloch I've discovered how much self-marketing authors, especially indie authors, need to do. I'm slowly improving my presence on the web; I'm leaps and bounds ahead of where I started, at least.
What websites do you visit daily?
I'm on twitter every day, of course. That's actually my go-to spot for a lot of industry information (romance news, writing tips, publishing help, etc.). Not knowing much about it when I joined, I was surprised to see how useful a resource twitter is. So many great people are sharing so much great stuff, it's an amazing community.
If you could change something about your first book, what would it be?
There are a ton of things I would change … but I'll never say what they are (insert devious laugh here).
What do you enjoy most about writing?
I like meeting my characters. That probably sounds strange, but for me, my characters already exist. I didn't make them up, they came into being on their own, and the only difference between them and me is that I live in the real world, whereas they live in my head. It's exciting, I never know which character I'm going to meet next.
If you could choose anyone to be your mentor who would it be?
I wish I could give you one great name, like Salman Rushdie or Margaret Atwood, but really I would love to have as a mentor someone who works in the publishing industry. Just someone with a wealth of knowledge about good writing, good publishing, good marketing, all that. Those individuals are just as important as the actual authors; I'd love the opportunity to learn from those who make a career out of helping authors be successful.
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?
I would say, "Hey, Veronica, get started on that first book. Don't wait like I did."
What is your work ethic when it comes to writing?
I'm not sure I have a work ethic, because I don't consider writing work. I write because I love to write, I love to create stories and discover the lives of my characters. For me, writing is like reading. I no more have a writing ethic than a reading ethic. I read and write wherever and whenever I can.
How do you cope with stress as an author?
Again, I wouldn't so much call it stress as excitement. This is a fast-paced world, this indie-author place, and as frightening and labour-intensive as it can be, it's also incredibly rewarding.
Do things your family or friends do ever end up in a book?
For the purpose of this interview I'm going to say no. My friends and family might be reading this, and I wouldn't want to let the cat out of the bag … if there was a cat to let out of the bag, that is (insert another devious laugh here).
What are some jobs you've done before (or while) you were a writer?
Believe it or not, I actually have a background in finance and accounting. Nothing like staring at numbers all day to get your creative juices flowing.
Which of your books would you recommend to someone who doesn't normally read your genre, and why?
I would recommend any one of them. There is sometimes a stigma associated with romance novels, I think. Those who don't read them are more likely to dismiss them because of the provocative covers, or because of what romance novels were thirty and forty years ago. But today's romance novels have evolved. They're sources of historical information; the writing is often superb; character and plot development are top-notch. These are all things I've paid attention to and worked hard on. I think a non-romance reader would be surprised to discover how enjoyable and worth-while romance novels can be.
What kind of books do you read when taking a break from your own writing?
Reading is an integral part of my writing, so I never "take a break" to read. I make time for both. My tastes are eclectic. Every book provides me with the opportunity to learn, and I read a wide range. I will finish up a Jayne Ann Krentz one day, and take up a Charles Dickens classic the next. I am as eager to read futuristic fantasy as historical non-fiction. It's all fascinating.
What do you think is the future of traditional publishing?
Bride of Dunloch 
It's not going anywhere; It will always have its place. The difference today is that the paradigm of twenty years ago is gone – advances, multi-million dollar deals, dedicated marketing and promotion, etc. But that doesn't mean traditional publishing has gone with it. It will always be there, and it will always be something authors (I use the term non-exhaustively) strive for, whether going the indie author route first or not. We're starting to see a shift now where indie authors are proving to agents and publishers that they can be successful, and that is persuading publishers to take them on. The difference today is that, even if traditional publishers decline to publish, that author still has a place to make his or her voice heard and books available to the public.
What do you wish I had asked you? Please ask and answer it now.
What kind of reader response have you seen so far?
I am amazed by how many people have connected with me to let me know what they thought about my books. Each time a reader contacts me, leaves me a message on my facebook page, tweets something about me, etc., I'm not only flattered, I'm honoured. I'm reminded of why I write in the first place – because I want to share something, and I want to inspire, entertain, and reach people with something I think they'll enjoy. It's such a great thing to see that I'm accomplishing that goal.
What was the proudest moment of your life so far?
Besides the day my son was born? I'd say getting that first positive response from a reader. Just knowing that I'd reached someone, that I'd made an impression on them, that was a great moment.
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?
Laptop, thermals and sturdy footwear. Why? I'd be going to Scotland, of course! I can buy the flagon of whiskey when I get there.
What good book have you read recently?
I've read a lot of good books, but lately I have become a fan of Kate Morton. I love her style, and the way she describes things. She creates an atmosphere with her novels, a very haunting one. I admire that.
Where were you at midnight, on December 31st when the new century started?
I was in Northern Ontario at a friend's cottage, panicking over whether or not anything would happen to my family back in the city. At 12:15 am when the television stations were still airing I figured nothing catastrophic had happened and went to bed.
What do you like to do when you're bored?
Daydream. Isn't that what all writers do? Of course that sometimes gets me into hot water, like if I'm bored and start daydreaming when I should be paying attention to something … that happens a lot, unfortunately.
If your life became a movie, who would you want to play you?
Honestly? I think I'd like to be surprised. I would love to see what someone does with that role. I wouldn't want to have any pre-conceived notions about who would be best to play me and exclude all others. That assumes my life is interesting enough to make a movie out of … which it's not, and that's why I write in the first place.
If you were a color, what color would you be?
Chameleon-coloured. I'm so indecisive, I'd never be happy with just one colour.
What do you wish I had asked you? Please ask and answer it now.
What is the next book you plan to write?
I've got a basic storyline in mind, but no title yet. In a historical context, I'm moving a little ahead of where Highland Loyalties and Legend of the Mist were, to the mid-15th century. I've become rather intrigued by the story of the Black Douglasses and their feud with King James II of Scotland. I'd like to try and write a story that is more defined by actual recorded history, and plan to craft one around the Douglas clan.
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 milk.
I'm always ready for Coronation Street.
When I'm alone, I talk to myself. A lot!
You'd never be able to tell, but I write romance novels. I tend to keep that quiet in my day-to-day life, just because I'm not big on talking about myself, much less bragging about my accomplishments. When I do tell people I'm an author, I get "I never would have guessed that," or "it's always the quiet ones."
If I had a halo it would be quickly taken away, because I'm no angel, just a flawed human being trying my best to be a good person.
If I could live anywhere in the world I'd live in a small, stone cottage in the Highlands of Scotland. Is that predictable? Yeah, probably …
I can never go skydiving with my husband like he wants me to because I am a complete scaredy-cat when it comes to things like that. I like it when my head is in the clouds, not my whole body.

Previous Books

Bride of Dunloch (Highland Loyalties volume 1)
Uniting the Clans (Highland Loyalties volume 2)
The Laird Returns (Highland Loyalties volume 3)

Books Coming Soon

Soon? None. Eventually? Yep … not sure of the details, but I'll get there.


As a special occasion to mark this interview with Romance Lives Forever, tweet this: 
Win Legend of the Mist by @VeronicaBale1 #RLFblog 

for a chance to be entered to win one of two free Kindle copies of Legend of the Mist. I will contact the winners via twitter, and will also tweet the results of the contest. The close date for this contest will be November 26th, 2013.

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November 23, 2013

Highlander: Her Savage Scott @christinaPh_Ash #RLFblog

Her Savage Scott 
Christina Phillips, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, Her Savage Scott.

The Highland Warrior Chronicles
From the Kingdom of Dal Riada, Scots warriors Connor MacKenzie, Cameron MacNeil and Ewan MacKinnon pledge to keep the peace in the wild Highlands of Pictland. But each man is destined to fall in love with a Pictish princess - three cousins who are determined to save their beloved land from the savage invaders. Instead they lose their hearts to their wild foreign warriors.
Book 1 ~ Her Savage Scot
Book 2 ~ Her Vengeful Scot
Book 3 ~ Her Defiant Scot
When tough Scot warrior Connor MacKenzie rides into the barbaric lands of the Picts on a mission for his king, he never expects to be captivated by a beautiful Pictish widow. Drawn under her spell, yet unaware of her true identity, he risks everything for one passionate night in her arms.
Aila, princess of Pictland, swore long ago she would do anything within her power to help defeat the Vikings who invaded her land and murdered her husband. But after meeting Connor, her frozen heart thaws and once again she imagines a future filled with love and passion.
When Connor delivers the message from his king, Aila becomes a pawn in a deadly game of politics. Her heart belongs to Connor, but she must marry the prince of Dal Riada – Connor's half-brother. But the fates have other plans for the star-crossed lovers as they fight their enemies and themselves to find true love.
A Romantica® historical erotic romance from Ellora's Cave
Read Chapter One of Her Savage Scot
ISBN: 9781419940446
Release date: 20th November 2013

Buy Links


She looked at him and he imagined he could see tension seeping from her. As though his words reassured. He clawed through his mind for other such words.
"It would never occur to me," he said, "that you would ever intentionally cause distress by word or action."
"I certainly would never wish to cause you any distress, Connor." And then she smiled, a small, tentative smile as though unsure of his reaction.
His chest tightened, the pain jagged yet not wholly unpleasant. Strange. And as he focused on the slight tremble of her lower lip, raw protectiveness seared through him, a primitive urge to pull her close and claim her as his own to the world.
Unnerved by the power of the image, the suddenness of its overwhelming demand, his first reaction was to recoil. But instead he remained rooted to the spot, unable to tear his gaze from her, unable to sever the tenuous connection that shimmered, beyond mortal sight, in the air between them.
The fanciful notion shattered the moment of paralysis, but not the sense of protectiveness that, if anything, gathered momentum by the second. And although a distant sliver of sanity urged caution, he held out his hand.
With only a moment's hesitation Aila placed her hand in his, and he curled his fingers around her. Such a small gesture. Yet somehow, incomprehensibly, significant.
He picked up her abandoned circlet and they began the long walk back to Ce-eviot.
Cover Reveal

About the Author

Christina loves writing dark tales set in the 9th century featuring tough Highland warriors who are brought to their knees by their brave Pictish princesses. She is published by Ellora's Cave and Berkley Heat and has dipped her toe in the indie pub waters. She is a member of the Romance Writers of Australia, Romance Writers of America, the DarkSide Down Under Group Blog and Historical Hearts Group Blog.
Christina is an ex-pat Brit who now lives in sunny Western Australia with her family. She is also owned by three gorgeous cats who are convinced the universe revolves around their needs. They are not wrong.


This contest is held on another site. Please click the link to learn more. Her Savage Scot Cover Reveal

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November 22, 2013

Regency: A Twelfth Night Tale @susanaauthor #RLFblog #giveaway

A Twelfth Night Tale 
Susana Ellis, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, A Twelfth Night Tale.
Genre: Traditional Regency Romance
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Cover artist: Ellora's Cave staff
Length: 25,000 words (about 81 pages)
Heat rating: sweet
Tagline:A wounded soldier and the girl next door find peace and love amidst a backdrop of rural Christmas traditions.
Without dowries and the opportunity to meet eligible gentlemen, the five Barlow sisters stand little chance of making advantageous marriages. But when the eldest attracts the attention of a wealthy viscount, suddenly it seems as though Fate is smiling upon them.
Lucy knows that she owes it to her younger sisters to encourage Lord Bexley's attentions, since marriage to a peer will secure their futures as well as hers. The man of her dreams has always looked like Andrew Livingston, her best friend's brother. But he's always treated her like a child, and, in any case, is betrothed to another. Perhaps the time has come to put away childhood dreams and accept reality...and Lord Bexley.
Andrew has returned from the Peninsula with more emotional scars to deal with than just the lame arm. Surprisingly, it's his sister's friend "Little Lucy" who shows him the way out of his melancholy. He can't help noticing that Lucy's grown up into a lovely young woman, but with an eligible viscount courting her, he'll need a little Christmas magic to win her for himself.
Buy links:
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Lucy Barlow is 18 and the oldest of five sisters.
Andrew Livingston is 25 and recently returned from serving in the Peninsula to settle down and prepare to manage the family estate.


Chapter One
The Barlow Home, near Charlbury, Oxfordshire
23 December 1813
"It's so kind of you to call, Lord Bexley. The flowers you sent are simply lovely, are they not, Lucy?"
Unable to miss the warning tone in her mother's voice, Lucy sat up straight in her chair and smiled sweetly at their caller.
"Oh yes indeed. They are undoubtedly the most beautiful I've ever received, my lord."
Of course, she did not mention that they were the first flowers she'd ever been sent by a gentleman. And considering that there were few opportunities to meet eligible gentlemen in the quiet little neck of the woods where the Barlows resided, the arrangement was quite likely to remain the only floral tribute to come her way.
Her caller beamed with pleasure. "They were the best I could find at the florist, but of course they cannot hold a candle to your beauty and sweetness, Miss Barlow."
Lucy swallowed and forced herself to reply. "You embarrass me with your flattery, my lord."
"Not at all," he insisted. "You were quite the belle of the Christmas Ball last evening, Miss Barlow. I was much envied to be allowed the honor of two dances with you when so many gentlemen had to be turned away."
The "Christmas Ball" was merely a small celebration at the local assembly rooms. Her mother had encouraged her to favor Lord Bexley, but in truth, Lucy herself had not found him objectionable. He was an accomplished dancer and quite distinguished-looking, in spite of the fact that he had at least twenty years over her.
At eighteen, she was of an age to be out in society, and Lord Bexley, a wealthy widower from Warwickshire, was undoubtedly the most eligible gentleman in the county. Recently out of mourning, he was seeking a new wife and a mother to his three children, and as Mrs. Barlow kept telling her, Lucy should be flattered that he seemed to be favoring her for the role.
Well, she was flattered. Wasn't she? The number of young ladies far exceeded that of eligible gentlemen, and she didn't wish to be left on the shelf. With her family in financial difficulties and four younger sisters to be married off, Lucy knew she owed it to them to marry well and do what she could to find her sisters suitable matches as well.
She was prepared to do her duty and make the best of it, but somehow, when she thought of marriage and children, it was not the kindly Lord Bexley who came to mind. It was the face of the strapping, dark-haired Adonis with laughing gray eyes who lived on an adjoining estate with his younger sister—her bosom friend Jane—who had teased her unmercifully from the time she learned to walk. She couldn't remember a time when she hadn't been in love with Andrew Livingston—she'd even asked him to marry her at the age of five when he'd been twelve and about to leave for Eton. He'd laughed and quipped that it would be like marrying his sister, and she'd nursed a broken heart ever since.
She sighed as she frequently did when she thought of Andrew and his affianced wife, and her mother glared at her. Fortunately, Phillips wheeled in the tea cart and Mrs. Barlow's attention was mercifully diverted.
"Please do the honors, Lucy. An excellent opportunity to practice your housewifely skills."
Lucy flushed. Could her mother's intentions be more obvious? But Lord Bexley did not seem to notice. He smiled kindly at her somewhat shaky inquiry as to his preferences, and thanked her graciously when she brought him his tea and a plate of cherry tarts.
"Quite charming," he commented as he regarded her with obvious approval. It was unclear whether he was speaking to her or to her mother, and Lucy wasn't sure how to respond.
Fortunately, there was a shriek followed by the sound of fierce arguing from the back rooms of the house. Lucy turned instinctively to the door, which was promptly thrust open and filled by the figure of her sister Lydia, who was breathing hard and wringing her hands in agitation.
"Do come, Lucy! Lila and Louisa are having one of their rows again, in the kitchen of all places. Lila broke one of Cook's mixing bowls, and Cook swears she'll leave if someone doesn't stop them and you know you're the only one who can, Lucy!" She flushed when she saw Lord Bexley and her mother's angry face.
"Oh...pardon me, I didn't realize we had a guest." She backed out into the hall, shooting Lucy a pleading look as she did so.
Relieved for an excuse to terminate the social call, Lucy muttered her excuses and scrambled out of the room. But not before she heard her mother's mortified apology and Lord Bexley's soothing reply that he found it quite agreeable to discover a young lady so accomplished in the maternal skills.
Goodness, he really was intent on courting her! She should be flattered. She was a sensible girl, and it was pointless to set her cap at Andrew Livingston, in any case. Lord Bexley would be an excellent match for her. His three daughters could not possibly be as troublesome as her two youngest sisters, after all.
She gritted her teeth and hurried to the kitchen, the ineffectual Lydia as usual trailing behind her. The second eldest Barlow daughter was as helpless as their mother at controlling the two youngest children. When Lucy married and left the house, as she would in time, her bookish middle sister Laura was going to have to take up the reins.


How did you get your start in the industry?
I've been a voracious reader all my life, and when I retired from teaching, I decided to follow a lifelong dream and become a romance writer. I joined a writers' group and eventually was persuaded to submit a short story to Ellora's Cave's Blush Cotillion line, and was astonished when they picked it up in FOUR DAYS! Since Treasuring Theresa was released last January, my life has become a dream come true!
What is the most important thing you do for your career now, as compared to when you first started writing?
Social media. I confess I knew very little about it when I first started, but when I knew I would have a story to promote, I became motivated to learn, beginning with two blogs (each posting twice weekly), a Facebook profile, Twitter account, etc. Through these avenues I have become acquainted with lots of people—many of them authors I have met at conferences. It's become a lot of fun, but does take more of my time than it probably should!
If you could change something about your first book, what would it be?
When I wrote Treasuring Theresa, I meant to submit it to a publisher with a 12,000 word limit, so I was somewhat constricted in what I could include. In retrospect—since it went to Ellora's Cave instead and they don't have such a limit—I wish I had made it longer. So before it was released, I wrote an epilogue to the story that is available free on my website:
What do you enjoy most about writing?
I've always visualized characters and stories in my mind, and it's such a release to get them out for other people to read and—hopefully—enjoy. Equally, I enjoy writing stories that I myself would like to read. For example, I like a good romantic triangle, where the hero has a little competition in winning the heroine. I didn't have space enough in Treasuring Theresa, but there is one in A Twelfth Night Tale.
If you could choose anyone to be your mentor who would it be?
Diana Gabaldon. True, she doesn't write sweet Regencies, but she is a master at characterization. I will do anything to find out what Jamie and Claire get up to next. I'd love to get in her head and learn how she creates such compelling characters.
Incidentally, I had lunch with her last month (the result of a Brenda Novak auction win). A dream come true, for sure! You can read more about that here:
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?
Write! Don't let doubts and fears make you think it's a waste of time. Just do it!
Frankly, in the past, though, all the writing books and magazines seemed to indicate that becoming a published author was nearly impossible. Things are much different now that you don't have to wait for the big New York publisher to find your masterpiece in the slush pile. There's no excuse anymore for anyone who wants to write not doing it.
Do things your family or friends do ever end up in a book?
No, because I write historicals and I can't imagine my family or friends in the sort of situations my characters fall into. But I have noticed that I have a tendency to focus on rural settings—I come from a farming family even though I've lived in the city for over 20 years—so I think my background has a strong influence on my writing.
What are some jobs you've done before (or while) you were a writer?
I was a foreign language teacher for 30 years. Before that, I worked as a secretary in Quito, Ecuador, did "Kelly Girl" sort of work during the summers, and worked in desktop publishing at Kinko's before everyone got their own computers and learned how to do it themselves. In college I worked as a nurse aide at a nursing home.
What kind of books do you read when taking a break from your own writing?
Mostly historicals, but I also enjoy paranormals, romantic suspense, contemporaries, futuristics, and just about any type of romance out there, all heat levels. I've heard some authors say they can't read their own sub-genre while writing, but I do. It helps me stay in the period, with language and behavior, etc. I can't have my characters sounding too 21st-century-ish!
Susana Ellis
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'll throw a few clothes in a suitcase, grab my laptop, and take off for London. I'd love to rent an apartment for a couple of months and soak in the historical atmosphere as I visit castles and cathedrals and museums throughout the UK and let my imagination go wild.
What is your favorite holiday and why?
New Year's. Because it represents a brand new start and gives me the impetus to evaluate the past year and reflect on what I'd like the new year to look like.
What good book have you read recently?
C.W. Gortner's The Last Queen. As a former Spanish teacher, I was fascinated with his take on Juana la Loca. Was she truly mad, or simply a victim of her husband's and father's ambitions? Did she suffer from postpartum depression? Historically, women who fought against their husbands' dictates could be institutionalized as "mad." But Juana was Queen of Castille and her husband merely her consort. How could this happen? I'm thinking Elizabeth I was a wise woman indeed to remain single; she is known for frequent outbursts!
What do you like to do when you're bored?
Oh dear. I must be honest. I play Candy Crush on Facebook. And I'm addicted to Law and Order reruns (in all its incarnations). And read, of course.
If you were a color, what color would you be?
I love pink. It's a happy, feminine color and it suits my coloring. I almost painted my kitchen pink, but was convinced to go with slate blue instead. (Blue is my second favorite color.)
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 sausage.
I'm always ready for a new story idea.
When I'm alone, I feel happy and peaceful.
You'd never be able to tell, but I sometimes procrastinate.
If I had a halo it would be a pink sapphire tiara.
If I could afford it I'd live in Paris.
I can never dance because I'm too uncoordinated.

Previous Books:

Treasuring Theresa

Books Coming Soon:

A Twelfth Night Tale


I'm giving away one A Twelfth Night Tale bracelet to one commenter chosen at random from the commenters on this blog.

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