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Today I am so happy to be visiting with author Susan Roebuck on the seventh stop of our Summer Blog Tour! This week you can find me visiting with Corinne Davies at her blog, www.daviesromance.blogspot.com

Welcome, Susan!

Two Truths and a Lie
I love this game – it’s a great ice-breaker. If you’re a teacher, try it in the classroom on the first day of classes.
So, which one of these is my lie?
1.    I’ve been on a ship that hit an ice-berg.
I was on an ice-breaker that sailed up the coast of Norway, visiting the beautiful fjords and bird islands that abound in that area. The ship continued up past the Arctic Circle before it went around the Svalbard archipelago. It was June and so the sun never set which was a little upsetting to my body clock because I don’t think I’ve gone to bed in daylight since I was about six years old.
I was overawed by the stark landscape of black rocky mountains with patches of snow and the sapphire colored glaciers, alarming in their retreat. It was disturbing to know that if for some reason I was abandoned on land, I wouldn’t survive for long.
The days were never boring, as the ship continually encountered an assortment of wildlife.  However, the captain said that if they spotted a polar bear at night, they’d wake me up whatever the time. And that’s just what happened – 3am with the sun in the sky and a polar bear with two cubs sniffing around on the ice less than a quarter of a mile away.
Later that day the captain wanted to show off his prowess at maneuvering the ship and he approached a beautiful blue iceberg, slowly inching along until the ship’s bow was actually touching it. Then the first mate leaned over and hacked off a lump of ice for our evening drinks.
2.     My novel, Perfect Score, was originally set at the 1969 Woodstock Festival. My inspiration came after a trip I had to the Catskills in Upstate New York. I stayed in a wooden ski lodge that reminded me of The Munsters’ Mansion with its huge towering turrets where bats flew about at sunset. The local village had a pall of suspicious-smelling smoke over it and the tiny shops sold homemade handicraft, while their owners wafted about in open sandals and long dirndl skirts with spaced-out expressions.
A local tennis pro believed in the success of levitation – which he didn’t, unfortunately, manage to demonstrate. And I thought, “This is full of the quirky characters that I want to populate my novel.”
3.     I once saw a ghost. I must have been about 11 years old and I went with my sister and parents to spend a holiday in a converted school-house in Galway, Ireland. The place dated back to the 1700s (according to a plaque above the main doorway) and smelt of chalkdust. The window in my bedroom was on the floor (not half-way up the wall as is normal) and you had to lie down to look out at the donkey in the field outside. One night, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, I saw a figure at the foot of my iron bed (which creaked horribly, by the way). The figure, which I believe was a man wearing a large hat, was wispy like smoke, holding a glowing lantern and peering at me in its strangely golden light. I remember becoming sweaty and shivery at the same time, and being unable to utter a word. We stared at each other for what seemed like hours, but was probably only seconds, before I dived under the bedclothes (I was only 11, remember). I didn’t sleep much that night, too scared to move a muscle and so didn’t emerge from the sheets until morning. I never saw the apparition again – but that might have been because I slept under the bedclothes from then on until the end of the holiday. But, even so, being under the sheets didn’t prevent the feeling that something or someone was checking me out.
Find Susan Roebuck here:
Feckless, exasperating Alex Finch is a rich, handsome and talented singer/songwriter who longs for two things: a career as a professional rock singer, and to have his love for Sam Barrowdale reciprocated.  But drifter Sam’s two aims are simply to earn enough money to pay his sister’s medical bills and to hide from the world his reading/writing and speech disability.  At this time the word “dyslexia” is generally unknown so to most people he’s just a “retard”.  From the severe knocks life’s dealt him, Sam’s developed a tough outer coating and he has no time for a spoilt, selfish guitar player. Despite his defects, Alex’s love for Sam never wavers and when Sam unexpectedly disappears, Alex begins a somewhat bungling quest to find him, only to discover that Sam has a fearful enemy: Alex’s powerful and influential yet sociopathic uncle. As Alex spirals downwards towards alcoholism, many questions need answering.  Just why did Alex’s evil uncle adopt him at age eleven yet deny him any affection?  And what’s the mystery behind Alex’s father’s death? Both seem to face unbeatable odds.  Are they doomed to follow separate paths forever?
Perfect Score by Susan Roebuck.

Hewhay Hall by Susan Roebuck

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This is a stop on the Best Ever Summer Blog Tour.

Eight authors in mixed genres trading blog space for eight weeks for your enjoyment. Someone on the blog tour is giving a prize every week – this week find me, Regina Andrews, visiting Corinne Davies at

www.daviesromance.blogspot.com

There will be a grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift certificate awarded at the end of the tour. Enjoy the blogs and leave comments for the opportunity to be the grand prize winner. One entry ticket per comment!

Want to continue the tour? Here’s a list of the blogs:

Ann Tracy Marr –

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ann-Tracy-Marr/114711658247?ref=ts

Susan Roebuck – http://lauracea.blogspot.com

Sharon Poppen –http://poppensthoughtsonwritingandstuff.blogspot.com

Regan Taylor – http://regantaylorsworld.blogspot.com

Corinne Davies – www.daviesromance.blogspot.com

Regina Andrews – https://reginaandrews.wordpress.com

Christine London – www.christinelondon.com

Lynn Hones – lynnhones.wordpress.com

This week you can find me visiting with Corinne Davies at her blog, www.daviesromance.blogspot.com


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This week I am so very thrilled and excited that the fabulous author Christine London will be visiting on my blog as part of the Best Ever Summer Blog Tour!

You can find me this week visiting with author Lynn Hones at her blog:   lynnhones.wordpress.com

Welcome, Christine!

Here’s this week’s topic:

July 8th –Week 6 – “If you could organize a dinner party, which fictional characters (choose some from your own books too) would you invite and what would you cook?”

It is a pleasure to be on your blog this week Regina. Such a great topic too.

I would dip into my favorite books and invite Jamie Fraser of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Jamie is a charming, faithful, young alpha rogue when we meet him in the first book, ‘Outlander’. In the rest of the series (which is promised to continue) Jamie is a mature man of forty plus. His years of struggle without his beloved Claire have not embittered him. Rather, he has grown into a man sensitive to the needs and desires of all he meets. He overcomes the mandates of his time (eighteenth century Scotland and New World) to take under his wing those of low social status, questionable morals, racial underdogs and even those who have wronged his beloved Highlanders. As a time travel piece, Jamie is called upon to accept the sensibilities of a far future time in which he will never feel comfortable.

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If I could bring along two characters from my contemporary novels Shadows Steal the Light and its spin off, Hog Wild, I would invite rock star recovering alcoholic Colin Dulow and his manager and childhood friend, Kyle Matthews. Both these men have demons that require them to stretch the very fabric of their beings to grow into the men they want to be. Both men fall in love with the same women. One is not allowed to pursue her; the other knows he should not. These life long friends have that friendship severely tested. Each is strong beyond even his private imaginings. Both are proud Englishmen who have grown into international celebrity, handling the super human restraint required to remain ethical and intact in the spotlight. As is truly said of power, fame too corrupts absolutely.

It would not matter what I served these men as they are so much more interested in the woman before them. Each of them are consummate gentlemen. Each knows it is well worth his time to display genuine interest in his hostess. Each knows that patience and attention to detail will win respect. Each is charming in his unique way. We could be eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches–it would not matter. The conversation would be fascinating.

Sharp wit and pervasive intelligence would run as undercurrent. Each the definition of Alpha, none would take advantage of that strength.

Jamie’s rendition of the ‘45 and the aftermath of the disastrous Culloden massacre would be riveting. Colin and Kyle, through their modern paradigm, might provide perspective across the centuries and convey the healthy respect in which present day England holds the proud and powerful Scot.

And I—I would revel in the magnetic presence of these men.

You can find Diana’s Outlander series worldwide in brick and mortar bookstores as well as online. It is a powerful legacy that shall live in the hearts of its readers for generations to come.

The year is 1945. Claire Randall is traveling with her husband when she touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is hurled back in time to a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of our Lord 1743. Catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, she soon realizes that an alliance with James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, might be the only way to survive. Thus begins a work of unrivaled storytelling that has become a modern classic.

http://www.amazon.com/Outlander-20th-Anniversary-Diana-Gabaldon/dp/0440423201/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1341623737&sr=1-1&keywords=outlander+series+in+order

Shadows Steal the Light is available thorough Amazon and other fine book purveyors everywhere in both electronic and print format.

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It’s love at first sight for rock star Colin Dunlow when he runs into sultry jazz singer, Jenna Lindstrom, with a few complications. The woman of his dreams hates rockers and there’s someone who wants him dead.

http://www.amazon.com/Shadows-Steal-Light-Christine-London/dp/1927085942/ref=la_B003MX4AW6_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1341622367&sr=1-4

Hog Wild is a fast, fun and sexy electronic read downloadable through e-book distributors everywhere.

Kyle Matthews might have the music world by the horns, but when he loses out in love to his most famous client and best friend, he escapes into the wilds of the desert southwest on a restorative motorcycle trip. Will the hard driving, salty tongued gorgeous mechanic he relies upon to fix his Harley be able to mend his heart, as well?

http://www.amazon.com/Hog-Wild-ebook/dp/B0057AGFSY/ref=la_B003MX4AW6_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1341622367&sr=1-7

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Other places Christine comes out to play:

Website : www.christinelondon.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Christine-London/71009389201

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/ChristineLondon

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/christinelondon/

Google plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/114588027061857681170/posts

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Christine-London/e/B003MX4AW6/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1339640330&sr=8-1

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Christine London

Author of 100 Romance’s Best of the Year –  When We Were Amazing
AMAZING photos at my PINTEREST page: http://pinterest.com/christinelondon/
Sample or Purchase When We Were Amazing http://amzn.to/J3iU11
Christine At Amazon Author Central https://www.amazon.com/author/christinelondon

 

If you’ve read this far, please take the time to leave a comment. You might just win a book by one of the Best Summer Reading Blog Tour authors and qualify for a $50 Amazon gift certificate to be awarded at the end of tour near the end of July.

This is a stop on the Best Ever Summer Blog Tour.

Eight authors in mixed genres trading blog space for eight weeks for your enjoyment. Someone on the blog tour is giving a prize every week – this week find me, Regina Andrews, with Lynn Hones at her blog:  lynnhones.wordpress.com

There will be a grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift certificate awarded at the end of the tour. Enjoy the blogs and leave comments for the opportunity to be the grand prize winner. One entry ticket per comment!

Want to continue the tour? Here’s a list of the blogs:

Ann Tracy Marr –

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ann-Tracy-Marr/114711658247?ref=ts

Susan Roebuck – http://lauracea.blogspot.com

Sharon Poppen –http://poppensthoughtsonwritingandstuff.blogspot.com

Regan Taylor – http://regantaylorsworld.blogspot.com

Corinne Davies – www.daviesromance.blogspot.com

Regina Andrews – https://reginaandrews.wordpress.com

Christine London – www.christinelondon.com

Lynn Hones – lynnhones.wordpress.com

 

Thank you, Christine, for a fabulous visit!!

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Today I am visiting with Haley Hawthorne, the main character in my Inspirational Romance novel, In Good Faith. As part of the Best Ever Summer Blog Tour, Author (and some characters!) are talking about what inspires them today. I am also appearing on Christine LOndon’s blog this week at http://www.christinelondon.blogspot.com

Let’s hear what Haley has to share with us today!

RA: Welcome, Haley and thank you for your time today.

HH: My pleasure, thank you for having me, Regina.

RA: Tell us a little about yourself.

HH: Sure! I am an Art Director at a high-powered greeting card company in Manhattan. I was orphaned at a young age, and grew up in rural Dunbar Falls. My Uncle Nelson took me in. I felt like Heidi. It was a town of  pasture lands and a clear sense of the things that matter most in life.

RA: Including God?

HH: Absolutely.

RA: Why would you ever leave there? It sounds perfect.

HH: Part of me never wanted to leave. But as UNcle Nelson always said, “A bird’s gotta fly.” He thought I should try new things. He was right.

RA: How did you change when you left?

HH: I became more confident after rising to so many challenges. The flip side of that, though was that I lost touch a little with the values that made me who I was. All the background of Dunbar Falls gave me all the research I needed for a great career in greeting cards, because there was so much caring and so much sincerity.

RA: Then?

HH: Then ironically, I lost a lot of what made me, ME, by getting caught up in the material trappings of what was all aounds me. My cards stopped selling.

RA: So what did you do?

HH: I would have kept going on that way, but Uncle Nelson died and I went back to Dunbar Falls to take care of things. That’s where I reconnected with my roots – did more research, if you will, to find myself again.

RA: What else did you find?

HH: Love, with an old friend, Aaron Carrier. Also, friends and a lot of new adventures. There’s more about that in “Act of Faith” which continues the story of “In Good Faith”.

RA: I heard that was in the wind! Very exciting 🙂 Thanks for being here today, Haley.  Talk to you again soon.

HH: Thanks, Regina! Take care.

Here’s an excerpt fom “In Good Faith” by Regina Andrews:

CHAPTER ONE

“Ms. Hawthorne, could you look at these proofs?”

“Do you have a minute to go over this copy together, Ms. Hawthorne?”

“A call for you from Grace on line three, Ms. Hawthorne!”

Haley Hawthorne tossed her long red curls over her shoulder as she swept through the Creative Area of Sterling Greeting Cards. She carried a designer bag in one hand and a steaming latté in the other.

As Senior Art Director for the largest greeting card company in the world, these early morning entrances refreshed her enough to get through the day ahead. They were her redemption. But I can remember a time when I didn’t feel like that, and it wasn’t so very long ago.

A hush fell over the flock of artists and interns following behind her as she passed. With a frown she accepted a stack of messages from the leathery, outstretched hands of her receptionist Bernice, a fixture at Sterling’s for over forty years.

“I’m already carrying too much, Bernice,” she murmured.

“There, there.” With a motherly pat, Bernice tucked the papers under Haley’s arm. “Toting a heavy load can weigh you down, Haley. Maybe it’s time to think about what you really need to carry and what you can let go.” She gave Haley a look.

“Maybe you’re right, Bernice.” As if I haven’t already tried! That’s what was keeping her awake most nights. The old Haley used to travel light and breezy, her heart and soul as free as a bird. But lately she felt heavy in her heart and she couldn’t put her finger on why. How had things changed so much?

Ignoring the chirp of her cell phone, Haley walked down the corridor to her office, glancing at the framed collections of award-winning cards on the walls and the shelves crowded with shining trophies she’d won over the years. When would she get a chance to start her own company?

The fact that all her talent was padding someone else’s profit column wasn’t the only thing bothering her these days. There was something else that had been nagging at her for some time now, an emptiness she couldn’t fill with work…or with her boyfriend, Derek, either. All she knew was that she had to get through each day.

Her young assistant, Suzie, unlatched the chrome double doors to her office for her and Haley flashed the smile that had been opening doors for her all her life.

She called over her shoulder, “I’ll get to all of you in a minute.” The entourage scattered, leaving her and Suzie in the peaceful calm of her office.

And then she saw him.

“Aaron Carrier! I can’t believe it! What are you doing here?”

She put down her bag and her coffee and reached her hands out to him after smoothing her lemon yellow designer suit.

She gave him a warm hug, then turned to her assistant.”I’ve known this guy since we were kids. He and his two brothers were like triplets, they were so alike. I’ll never forget when he insisted we start calling him Carrier, to be different from his brothers Adam and Austin. Boy, were they mad…”

With his broad, six-foot frame blocking the Manhattan skyline in the window behind him, Haley noticed how his glinting azure eyes and thick hair had grown more imposing in the ten years that had passed since she had last seen him.

He jammed his fists deep into the pockets of his jeans. “Hey. We have to talk, Haley. It’s about Nelson.”

Her heartbeat quickened. “You’ve come all the way here from Dunbar Falls to tell me something about Uncle Nelson?” She glanced at Suzie, then back at him. “It must be bad news.”

“I’ll have Bernice hold all of your calls.” Suzie hustled off in a cloud of expensive perfume, latching the door behind her with a solid ‘click’.

“Tell me what’s wrong, Carrier. Is it bad?”

“Yeah. The worst.”

“He’s -”

Carrier nodded. “Last night.” His piercing blue eyes, steely as two sapphires, searched her face. But they didn’t stop there; they burned into her soul.

“Oh,” she sank into a chair. Closing her eyes, she did something she hadn’t done in ages; she said a prayer. Bless him, Lord, and keep him in Your eternal care.

Only she wasn’t sure how much of it was for Uncle Nelson and how much of it was for her. After a moment she opened her eyes, focusing on the carpet. “How did he-?”

“In his sleep.”

“So it was peaceful.”

“You actually care?”

Startled by his tone, she looked up at him, only to find him regarding her as if he smelled a vat of rancid egg salad.

“Of course I care!”

He continued accusingly: “You haven’t seen him or been back home to Dunbar Falls in ten years.”

Her heartbeat quickened again. “Well, um,…That’s not quite exactly true. I’ve been back. I’ve seen him.”

“You have?”

She nodded as Carrier approached her so closely that she could smell his cologne. Could it be that same fantastic stuff he had been wearing that night on Johnnycake Hill? The memories flashed back into her mind, and so did her embarrassment.

“When were you back?” He looked at her in disbelief.

“Not too long ago.”

“Just that once?”

She shrugged. “Not really. More like, once in a while.”

“I don’t understand.” He looked closely at her. “Why don’t you want to tell me?” His tone eased. “We go way back.”

“I know.”

“You don’t just throw away your old childhood friends.”

“That’s not what I’m doing. Did. Things just change and people move on, that’s all. I don’t remember getting any messages from you. It goes both ways.”

“You left without saying goodbye. I knew you couldn’t wait to get out of Dunbar Falls! I respected that.”

She stood up.” I thought you came here to talk about Uncle Nelson.”

He wagged an index finger through the air towards her. “You’re trying to change the subject, Haley.”

“Carrier! Uncle Nelson died last night! That is what you came here for, isn’t it? To tell me?” Taking a deep breath, she smoothed her curls. Give me strength, Lord! “When is the service?”

“Actually, Watson’s needs to speak with you about that.”

“I’ll call them right away.” Noticing that his hand was on the doorknob, Haley suddenly felt that if she let him walk out now, she’d lose a part of herself and a part of her past forever. Help me, please, Lord! What do I say?

She quickly slipped herself between him and the door. “Listen, Uncle Nelson raised me. He understood that it was natural for me to leave. Being part-owner with his friend William Tyler, he gave me this entrée here at Sterling Cards. Nelson’s air conditioning company was a great business, but it’s black and white, Carrier, not creative.”

She waved her hand around the office. “Look at what I’ve created here! This kind of vision is what I put into my greeting cards. There’s texture, there’s color. It’s evocative and emotional. I couldn’t do this with condensing units at Hawthorne Mechanicals, as much as I loved Uncle Nelson. And I couldn’t do it in the vacuum that is Dunbar Falls. Nelson understood that.”

“You don’t have to defend your decision, or explain anything to me, Haley.”

“I know. I’m not.”

“But I know the real you. And you were running away, Haley.”

“I was headed for college,” she murmured.

“And what about Brandon Winterbottom?”

She felt the color flood her cheeks as she recalled the gang of kids laughing at her after the prom. “Ancient history. I was over him that night when he dumped me.”

“It was a pretty public dumping. And after the prom.”

“Thanks for reminding me! He dumped me in front of everyone. If it weren’t for you, I would have walked home. So thanks again, Carrier.” She changed her tone, trying to lighten things up between them and added: “Hey, I lived.”

He nodded. “And Nelson knew the way you felt about things?”

Haley’s thoughts went back to her uncle’s cozy study; their prayer times and their endless talks by the hearth with a comforting blaze crackling in the fireplace. Haley always thought of her Uncle Nelson, at seventy-five, as a spry and vigorous man who would just go on forever. What will I ever do without him?

“He never mentioned your visits or anything to me.”

“I asked him not to.”

“Why?”

Her voice was barely above a whisper. “I was too embarrassed.” All the familiar humiliation came flooding back.

“But there was nothing to be embarrassed about, Haley.”

“Maybe that’s not how I saw it,” she said. “The whole town was laughing at me that night.”

He shook her head. “I couldn’t believe it. You never even said good-bye to me. We were friends.”

“I’m sorry about that. I just had to go.”

“You wanted to go.”

“Whatever.” Her cell phone chirped again. She was grateful for the interruption. This talk with Carrier was getting way too close to her core. Glancing at the sender, she saw it was another call from Derek and muted the ringer. She couldn’t deal with him right now. Not when she was dealing with her past. “Sorry about that, too.”

“Typical big city stuff, huh?” Carrier raised an eyebrow.

“Right. Pretty empty, though, all of it. With the news you just brought me, Carrier, my big city stuff and the card industry really don’t seem that important right now.”

Reaching for her designer case, she moved from the doors. She could feel Carrier’s eyes blazing through her like a high-tech core-boring machine. Right through her impeccable facade and deep into her less than perfect heart, just like she knew he would.

Yet, for all the confusion he created in her, the heaviness she had been feeling had lifted since he had been there, too. What did that mean?

“There’s no reason to run from me now, Haley. A lot of time has passed. Things have changed for both of us.”

Her lips were parted to reply, but the look in his eyes stopped her short. His forlorn expression tugged at a very special part of her, the part that designed greeting cards so loaded with feeling that they flew off the store shelves as quickly as she could pump them out. She hadn’t felt this in a long, long time.

His expression was filling a gap in her, for he was filling her with exactly the kind of emotion that was so totally absent from her own life. How had that emptiness happened?

She shook her head. It was too much for now. Her thoughts turned back to the present, with Carrier. He was hurting from this loss, too.

She moistened her lips. “You’re right, Carrier, things have changed for both of us. This is a lot for me to digest now. I wasn’t planning on seeing you, it’s a shock. Just give me some time, that’s all. I know you’ll miss him, too.”

Something in his eyes went cold. It seemed to take forever before he answered her.

“Nelson was a phenomenal man, a pioneer in business and a trailblazing entrepreneur. But in the end, he was just another Hawthorne who never said good-bye to me,” he finally said.

 

Links to Regina Andrews’ sites:

Blog address: http://www.reginaandrews.wordpress.com

My website: http://www.reginaandrews.com

Awe-Struck Mundania link to “In Good Faith”: http://bit.ly/KSEfdv

 

 

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It’s a joy to welcome author Ann Tracy Marr today!   I am convinced you’ll be as enthralled as I was when you hear about “To His Mistress”, one of her romances. Welcome!

Thank you to Regina Andrews for offering me this spot in her Blog-String Fest. I like meeting people and consider this a great opportunity to do so. I assume you are a mix of writers and readers (as if writers don’t read). How shall I virtually bend your ears? Would you like to know how I conceived the plot of To His Mistress, one of my books?

I started with the hero, Alexander Stanton, the Earl of Shelton. He lives in England in 1814 when women wear romantic long gowns and unromantic corsets. Gentlemen gamble, ride horses, and have mistresses, as in prostitutes, to take care of their, ahem, needs. Prostitutes are for fun, not marriage.

That is how I began. Shelton has lots of experience with women, all of the whorish persuasion. Ladies — sisters, mothers, friends’ sisters and mothers — are set on a pedestal. Shelton stays far away from them because one step wrong and you end up married to them. Ladies are strictly chaperoned. They probably haven’t been kissed; God forbid some guy has touched them other than on the hand. They are to be as pure (and as sexually ignorant) as the white dresses they wear. Shelton has a mother and a budding desire to marry Lady Clarissa, daughter of another earl. He hasn’t done anything about it yet, because Shelton doesn’t really want to get married, but Clarissa looks pretty good.

Staying at an inn (think hotel off the interstate), Shelton goes to his room and finds a female in his bed. Like the guy on that TV commercial for Caesar’s Palace, he thinks he has gotten lucky, and wakes her up. Instead of snuggling, the female (her name is Katherine) screams, bringing her uncle on the scene. Uncle makes such a fuss he wakes the house and creates a scandal.

“Have you hear the latest scandal?” Gossipy old ladies will twitter. Everyone will have a field day talking about him. Laughing at him. You don’t think Shelton will like that, do you? Especially when it turns out that screaming meemie Katherine is not a whore; Uncle is a baron, there is no money to boast of, but she is still a lady, as in a never been kissed, stay away from or else you’ll end up married to her lady.

And that is what happens. Shelton has to marry her.

This is a pretty standard setup for a Regency — the forced marriage. What I did differently is that Shelton remains convinced Katherine is the next best thing to a whore. Her background isn’t distinguished; her uncle skates on the rim of disreputable. Not Katherine, but her uncle. Katherine is a perfectly nice, should be on a pedestal girl, but not to Shelton. Her uncle made such a vulgar stink at the inn, Shelton is sure it was deliberate. Katherine set him up, took advantage, forced him to marry her. Of course, she did it for his money. He doesn’t get happy with the marriage; he doesn’t fall in love and decide they can live happily ever after.

No, he wants a divorce. Then he can have the best of all possible worlds: marry rich Lady Clarissa and make Katherine his mistress. With all the Regencies I have read, I have never seen that plot.

Part of what is unique to the plot is the way Shelton treats Katherine. Remember, ladies and mistresses are not treated the same. A hero can slap a whore without the reader batting an eye, but he can’t raise a finger to a lady. Don’t swear in front of a lady, don’t stare at her breasts. Treat her like a nun or precious Waterford crystal. Have fun with the mistress — have lots of hot, steamy sex, don’t mind your tongue, relax and enjoy.

Shelton treats Katherine like a mistress. He plays with her body, acts out fantasies, and insults her, paying her back for tricking him into marriage. For the first part of the book, he is the villain. It isn’t until Katherine begins to understand the man that the reader begins to see that Shelton can be a hero. You are cheering for Katherine to win and she insists that you include Shelton in your prayers.

The result is a Regency that veers in a different direction. If you thirst for reality in books, Shelton and Katherine fill the bill. The characters are real people in a realistic situation fueled by misconceptions that fit their personal bugaboos. To satisfy those who want a little fantasy with their story, I incorporated two magicians — Shelton’s not-so-fond Mama and her butler — wagering on the success of the marriage. No spells barred, they do what they can to influence Katherine and Shelton, but they do it so subtly, you can read the book again and again without identifying the magical twists (or misidentify twists as magical).

Through it all, Shelton stubbornly insists on divorce. Oh, yes, Shelton is stubborn. He gets that trait from my husband.

When he can no longer deny that Katherine is a dyed in the wool lady — when he has to admit that he should not have treated her like a whore — Shelton has dug a pit so deep he might never manage to crawl out. How many times has a man you know done the same?

~~~
Ann Tracy Marr writes fantasy Regency romance. To His Mistress, the third book in her Banshee Brigade series, debuted in paperback October 25. Keeper of the Grail is in the works. A computer consultant in the Midwest, Marr lives with her husband, two cats, and plots that bounce off the wall.

Visit her at http://www.anntracymarr.com
Buy her books at http://www.awe-struck.net/authors/ann_tracy_marr.html

To His Mistress Ebook ISBN: 978-1-587497209
Round Table Magician Ebook ISBN: 978-1-587496066
Thwarting Magic Ebook ISBN: 978-1-587496479
Keeper of the Grail Awaiting release


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Today I am so happy to welcome the wonderful Gail Pallotta to the 2011 Summer Blog-String Fest! She is a fantastic writer and a kind, caring friend – understanding, too, when my computer crisis delayed getting her posting up ! Thanks for being you, Gail and thanks for visiting today!

The July 4th Spectacular at My House
by
Gail Pallotta

This past July 4th, I got up and dressed in blue jeans and a three-quarter-length shirt, attire a bit warm for the day. But perfect for the fireworks display that night, because there was less of me exposed for the bugs to bite.

During the afternoon it rained, but my husband, Rick, said, “It’s supposed to clear up. I don’t think we’ll have a problem going to the show tonight.”

We’d been to the fireworks before when it rained, even got caught in a storm there one year and waited an hour or so for the event to start.

The rain stopped. Rick and our daughter, Laurie, who always comes home to go to the July 4th fireworks, dressed in jeans. At twilight we grabbed a can of bug spray and our stadium seats and started out the door. A loud crack of thunder roared. We slinked back inside like wet puppies to wait until the sky cleared. It grew darker and the thunder louder. Lightning danced around our front yard.

Rick turned the television to a weather station. The radar showed red and yellow patches in a line of dark green headed right for us. “This should be gone soon. We’ll leave then.” More thunder boomed and lightning flashed.

In the background of the thunderous roar I detected faint pops. “Did you hear that? One of our neighbors must be shooting fire crackers.”

“Yes, but the thunder’s so loud I can barely hear them,” Laurie said. “I wonder if we’re going to make the show.”

“We still have time. When it lets up, we’ll leave,” Rick said.

But another line of storms showed up on the weather station. Rick’s lips turned down. “I’m not sure when this storm’s going to end.”

Trees fell in the neighborhood. It wasn’t safe to go out. We watched a clip of the fireworks show on the eleven o’clock news. I couldn’t help but wonder if this was God’s way of saying He wants to be part of our country.

BIO
Gail’s husband, Rick, says she’s the only person he knows who can go in the grocery for a loaf of bread and come out with the cashier’s life story. That’s probably because she enjoys talking to people. In her spare time she swims or bargain shops with her daughter. Sometimes they try on garments so wrong for them, they laugh for fifteen minutes. When they finally find a treasure, they’re so pleased.
After writing articles for years Gail’s friends and family encouraged her to write books. In 2004, the year her first book, Now Is the Time, was released, the American Christian Writers Association named her a regional writer of the year. Last year a scene from Love Turns the Tide won the Clash of the Titles competition in the best setting / weather category.

Now Gail is on the staff of Clash of the Titles. She wants to write books of faith that show God’s love.

About Gail’s Book, Love Turns the Tide

Feature writer Cammie O’Shea suffers through a heartbreaking split-up with her fiancé. She wants no new relationships when she moves to Destin, Florida, to take a job at a newspaper. But she has to interview real estate developer Vic Deleona. He’s quite smitten with her and arranges extra meetings in an attempt to court her. Cammie resists his advances. However, after several mysterious break-ins occur, including one at Cammie’s condo, she and Vic launch their own investigation into the crimes. Then Cammie grows fond of him. She gets an opportunity to return home to her old job. Will Vic solve the crimes and win Cammie’s heart or will she leave Destin?

Read more about Love Turns the Tide on Gail’s Web site at http://www.gailpallotta.com and visit Gail’s blog at http://wwwgailpallotta.blogspot.com

Love Turns the Tide is available at http://www.awe-struck.net in the inspirational category.

Check out the latest review of Love Turns the Tide at http://gabixlerreviews-bookreadersheaven.blogspot.com/2011/07/heartwarming-inspirational-story-leaves.html

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