#FF Flashback Friday – Meet author Missouri Vaun

Hello friends, today is #FF Flashback Friday and I am featuring an interview from Missouri Vaun, originally posted on Feb-27-15. With the arrival of her new book, ‘Crossing the Wide Forever’ (debuting Jun-01-17), here you can get to know her. Come stop by and meet this magnificent multi creative woman. Enjoy.

‘Crossing the Wide Forever’ excerpt

 

Crossing the Wide Forever Cover

Purchase ‘Crossing the Wide Forever’

 

Good afternoon and welcome my friends.  I have had a very busy two weeks.  During this time, I got to chat with author Missouri Vaun.  Her most recent work is her upcoming novel, ‘All Things Rise,’ from Bold Stroke Books, which she will be discussing today.  It is a f/f romance and is planned to be released this May.

All Things Rise 150 DPI

“Feeling unable to let Audrey go, Cole pulled her close and kissed her. It was as if the two of them together were able to create a space that only they inhabited, from which the world fell away, the sea of pedestrians separating to move around their embrace as if they were a craft upon the open sea.”

Missouri Vaun grew up in rural southern Mississippi, where she spent lazy summers conjuring characters and imagining the worlds they might inhabit. It might be a little-known fact that Mississippi breeds eccentrics, and eccentrics make for good storytelling. Missouri spent twelve years finding her voice as a working journalist in places as disparate as Chicago and Jackson, Mississippi, all along filing away characters and concepts until they seemed to rise up, fully formed. Her stories are heartfelt, earthy, and speak of loyalty and our responsibility to others. She and her wife will celebrate their sixth anniversary this summer.

Missour_Vaun.jpg

What is ‘All Things Rise’ about?

Cole rescues Ava, a pilot from the Cloud City of Easton who crash-lands near her farm, setting in motion events that will alter the course of her life. It’s a hundred years after peak oil and the rich have risen above the Earth, inhabiting great Cloud Cities, while those left behind live a rural existence, off the grid. After suffering a vicious attack, Cole is transported to the Cloud City of Easton for emergency surgery. While recuperating and adrift in the unfamiliar social landscape of Easton, Cole begins a journey of discovery. When she meets Audrey, a beautiful doctor, the attraction they share is penetrating and possibly life altering. Explosions, staged by a ruthless underground movement, nearly bring Easton to the brink of collapse. The crisis that rocks the city forces Cole and Audrey to weigh what truly holds meaning and what each is willing to sacrifice for love.

Because of an injury, the main character, Cole (featured on the cover), who is from a rural area is transported to a city for medical care. She finds herself in a world that she’s never experienced. But she’s not the only one changed by the encounters she has there. Those she comes in contact with are changed as well because, by just being who she is, Cole challenges long held stereotypes.

What or who inspired you to write ‘All Things Rise?’

Initially I think it was coming to the realization that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. We are living in a time of increasing disparity. And I thought, what if this keeps moving in the same direction until the rich leave all of us behind altogether? In my future world, the super rich have completely separated from everyone else. So the elite live separated from the ground in these big urban centers. The middle class and lower classes have been left on the ground for a hundred years basically living a 19th century existence because oil has peaked and the power grid no longer exists. (And I had this idea on paper two years before that lame movie, “Elysium” came out.)

After I submitted my manuscript there was actually an article in Vanity Fair about these new super high, very narrow skyscrapers for the extremely rich in NYC. In the article they said something about the rich separating from the earth and living in the clouds and I thought, wow… that’s basically what happens in my book.

I don’t want the future setting to make this book seem like it’s pure science fiction. It’s really not. In fact, a lot of the book takes place where Cole lives so those parts are almost like reading a story set at the turn of the 20th century. The “science” in this book is a minor character. The book is really about the relationships that develop between the three main characters.

What was the deciding factor for you book title?  Did it just come to you or did you try different ones?

The title is a tribute to a book by Flannery O’Connor, “Everything That Rises Must Converge.” It was really my first idea and it just sort of stuck.

What traits were you looking for when you were creating the main character for this story?

I tried to create a trio of very different characters. In the beginning they had more of a love triangle but as the story evolved that thread dropped away and while all three characters have very strong feelings for each other the primary romance ended up developing between Cole and Audrey, even though Ava is the person who brought them together.

Did you do any types of writing while you were in school?  If so did you receive any awards or recognition for your work?

I didn’t do much writing in school. I was a fine art major. I actually did the illustration of Cole that Bold Strokes Books ended up using on the cover. After graduation I worked for a string of newspapers for about 12 years, both as an illustrator and as a staff writer. But if anyone does a search for Missouri Vaun they won’t find the name listed on these projects because that is a pen name. Missiouri Vaun was my great-grandmother’s name. All my other writing has been published under Paige Braddock.

Was there anyone, in your life who was an inspiration for you to write?  If so what did they do?

I think great writers inspire me, although, my own work doesn’t come anywhere close to theirs. In my favorites list I would put: Eudora Welty, James Agee, Cormac McCarthy

I think of myself as more of a storyteller than a writer.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?  Can you elaborate on what has worked for you?

My goal would be for readers to emotionally connect with the characters I’ve created. That would be my wish. That these characters seem real to the readers in such a way that readers become invested in what happens to Cole and Audrey and Ava.

Do you have a favorite quote from a favorite author?  What does it mean to you?

I have a few… from Cormac McCarthy: “Between the wish and the thing the world lies waiting.” This quote actually inspired the second book in this series, which will be released later this year.

What hobbies do you have?

My biggest hobby is drawing. I probably spend every spare minute either writing or drawing.

What has been your favorite part of being an author?  The least fave?

I think my favourite part of being a writer is the freedom it gives you to create characters and worlds. There’s nothing more fun that starting with a blank slate and building a world. In terms of least favourite, I don’t think I have anything yet… ask me again next year.

What was the last movie (theatre or dvd) you saw?  Would you recommend it?

‘I Origins’ was the last movie I watched. And I would recommend it.

Where would you go for your dream vacation?  Would you ever use that location as the main location in a future story?

I love the desert of southern California. Joshua Tree is one of my favorite places as is Death Valley. I would definitely set a story there at some point. I actually have a western on the back burner at the moment, some of which would take place in the arid places in northern New Mexico. Cormac McCarthy wrote “Blood Meridian” and set it in the same borderlands area. That’s a great book if you’re into that genre.

What is in the works next for you?  If you can’t share, I totally understand and respect this.

My second book is titled “The Ground Beneath.” It’s a novella that focuses on one of the secondary characters that I really liked from the first book. I wanted to give her a happy ending. This novella will be a digital release in August.

The third novel, “The Time Before Now,” will be out in October. It’s a prequel of the first book. After one of my beta readers finished the first manuscript, she said she’d love to know more about two of the older characters in the story, so book two is their story. It takes place twenty years prior to the first book and focuses on the story of how they met and fell in love.

Missouri’s hard work and dedication is really evident.  In addition to working on her next book, she has done some really incredible interviews. This one is a live chat with Liz McMullen and if you haven’t checked her out, you are in for a real treat.  Liz is the creator of The Liz McMullen Show and Lizzy’s Bedtime Stories.

Live Chat With Liz McMullen

Also, take some time to check out Missouri’s blog.  Here she writes about fun things, including her story, “Jane’s World” and other news in her life.  While there, feel free to add comments and join in her conversations.  Also don’t forget to like the blog.  If you want to connect with Missouri, sign up to receive blog updates.

Missouri’s Blog

Missouri has been kind enough to provide an exciting excerpt from “All Things Rise.”

Cole placed the basket and fishing rod on the ground and walked slowly toward the ridge where she’d noticed the glowing object. Dry twigs snapped underfoot despite her best efforts. She didn’t want to make too much noise, not knowing what to expect. And then Cole saw it clearly. It was a shiny capsule of some sort. The glow was coming from a glass window in the center of what looked like an oval door. For what seemed like longer than a minute, Cole stared at the gleaming object. It was all slick metal and glass, the only modern thing for miles in any direction, and here it was, less than half a mile from her family’s cabin. 

Cole took a few steps closer and saw the dark shape of someone inside. The cruiser must have crashed, but it looked none the worse for wear. There was a pile of upturned dirt at the front of the vehicle. The crash landing had cut a ditch of sorts through the brush before it abruptly stopped right next to a giant oak. There were scratches all along its sides, probably from tree limbs, but no punctures were easily visible. Cole had never been this close to an aircraft, but had seen photos of various kinds in old books. She’d always wondered what it would be like to fly one, to get a bird’s eye view from something higher than the old fire tower on Black Mountain.

There was a handle on the exterior of the vehicle that seemed like it would open the door. It was colored red as if to say, “Open here.” Cole reached for it and then stopped her hand midair. She had a momentary thought that this felt like one of those times when you knew you were doing something that you couldn’t take back. When you knew you were doing something that would change everything that came after this one action. Ignoring her fears, she pulled the release.

Here are Missouri’s links where you can follow her.

Missouri’s Facebook Page (Don’t forget to like the page)

Missouri’s Twitter Page

I want to thank Missouri for stopping by today.  It was a pleasure speaking with you and we are looking forward to the release of ‘All Things Rise.’  I can’t wait to read this incredible story!

Facebook-20151001-100958

haven

Thank you for joining us today. Like I mentioned above, Missouri’s new book, ‘Crossing the Wide’ is now available for purchase. Feel free to use the comments to talk about both of these books, as I am looking for discussion. In the meanwhile, check out her website under Paige Braddock displaying her artwork. It is very amazing as you can see from the above pictures.

Paige Braddock Art

Until Next Time,

Lynn

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Copyright 2015/2017

#FF #Flashback Friday! My review for Jenny Frame’s ‘A Royal Romance’

Hello Friends and welcome. Today is #FF #Flashback Friday and with the arrival of Jenny Frame’s new book, ‘Royal Rebel,’ the sequel to ‘A Royal Romance’, I’m sharing with you my review for ‘A Royal Romance.’  It was originally posted on 12-Aug-16.

Good afternoon, everyone and a warm welcome to all of you.  Today I have a special treat for you!  I am reviewing Jenny Frame’s ‘A Royal Romance.’  If you love British royalty, this is a must read!  The main characters themselves will draw at your heartstrings.  Jenny really nailed it on the head and this story is a true champion.  Let’s read on!Author Photo

“Maybe we can’t always get what we want, Miss Elliot, but sometimes you have to be brave enough to take what is offered freely to you.”

George from A Royal Romance

This story takes place in the future 2053-4.  Britain has changed and now the country is having their first gay monarchy.  In the beginning of the story, the author showed us a  traditional ceremony to set the tone.  Immediately, this gave me a connection to the Royal Family.   As an American I’m not familiar with these traditions and it was delightful experiencing them.  It was refreshing seeing the players being loving towards each other as opposed to the coldness of the old British sovereignty.

George is a member of the royal family and is next in line for the throne.  Her father, the king, passes and now she is now head of Britain, hence the new queen.  Her gentleness is felt from the first page and I was touched in one scene where she receives a letter from a young girl.

As I read on, I felt compassion for George and understood her role as Queen.  She is a real woman with real desires.  As much as she loves her country at times she feels stifled.  She longs to do things that many people take for granted such as walking into an establishment without security and a mob scene.  In her eyes, very few people can “see under the crown” as the author states.

Book Cover Photo

I fell in love with George. The author showed some sensitive issues that made me feel admiration for her.  George finds “common ground” with everyone she meets and leaves a positive influence on them.  Even more, she is kind to her staff, treating them with respect.  It was beautiful watching George unfold and her kindness never ceased.

Beatrice is the head of a hospice charity and loves her work.  The new queen takes an interest in her and makes Bea her escort to visit all of the hospices’ branches in England.  Bea is very professional in her manner is no-nonsense. She is a republican and disagrees with the monarchy and isn’t afraid to voice her opinions.  She has a past that could destroy her if put into the wrong hands.  The fire in her really fuels the story.

The family relations between Bea and her family are priceless and the reader can feel the love and sincerity. Bea and her mom are able to have heart to heart talks that filled my eyes with tears.  I love mother-daughter relationships in books because it is beautiful to see two grown adults understanding each other as well as helping one another.

George looked at her picture and the image of the beautiful woman did not look like trouble to her. “Cammy, does this young lady look like trouble to you? Major Fairfax thinks so.”

Captain Cameron looked over the young woman’s picture. “No, Ma’am. She looks like a bonnie wee lassie.”

Hmm…intriguing, thought George.

The dance between the new queen and Beatrice is breathtaking.  There are some really beautifully sculpted scenes.  Beatrice was able to put herself aside and be present for the Queen, who at times does shows us another side of her.

There is plenty of drama in this story.  One supporting character is so wrapped up in her jealousy for another person that she can’t see that she is broadcasting her insecurities.   The conflict between these characters is very intense to the point that it kept me on the edge of my seat.  I wanted to scream out, “Stop!”  At the same time, it added depth to the story.  Not to mention I got to see the behind the scenes, some of which were not so pretty.

The sensual scenes were tasteful and well thought out.

The players are marvelous and I could clearly see them; this blurred the line between fantasy and reality.  The author really grabbed my attention right away and got me emotionally involved with the story.  Needless to say there are page turning scenes throughout.  You are going to need to carve out some time for this story as it is on the long side.  At the end, I wanted more of the action.  I’m ready for a sequel!

Five Stars

Purchase ‘A Royal Romance’

Here is an excerpt:

Beatrice Elliot ran downstairs as quickly as she could. She checked her appearance in the mirror at the bottom. Her long dark-blond hair looked unruly. I’m going to be so late, and I look a mess. She quickly gathered her hair up into a ponytail, making herself a bit more presentable.

From the living room, she heard her mum shout, “Bea?”

Beatrice popped her head round the door and said, “Yes, Mum?”

Her mother, Sarah, sat on the couch facing the large TV projection on the wall. “Are you coming to watch with me? It’s Princess Georgina’s investiture as Princess of Wales.”

Beatrice gave her mother a scowl. “Mum, you know I have absolutely no interest in that shower of spongers.”

Sarah pointed towards the TV and said, “But Bea, the pageantry, the tradition, and she’s going to be the first woman to become Queen ahead of her brother, and the first openly gay monarch. Surely you of all people should understand that.”

Bea sighed. She was getting fed up having this argument with people and hearing the name of Princess Georgina. “They take money away from our country’s essential services. You and Dad should know why that makes me angry.”

Her mother nodded, but not before Bea caught a look of pain on her mother’s face, and she felt guilty for causing that. She walked behind the couch and put her arms around her mother’s neck. “I’m sorry, Mum, but I have my student union meeting. Remember I told you about it last night? It’s our last meeting before the charity fundraiser.”

Sarah patted her daughter’s hand. “Oh yes, I remember, sweetheart, be careful then.”

“I will. Will Dad be in soon?”

“Yes, another half hour or so. He hoped he would be back in time to see the ceremony. Off you go then, and leave me to my pageant.”

Bea laughed softly and gave her mother a kiss. “Enjoy it then. See you later, Mum.”

***

Before you go, I have included a teaser for ‘Royal Rebel,’ which is debuting on Monday, 01-May-17.

Royal Rebel Cover

Bea chuckled and slipped back into bed and into George’s arms. “I think I’m the lucky one, Georgie.”

They lay in silence for a few moments, drinking in the warmth of the afterglow. It was five thirty on a Monday morning at the start of a busy week at Buckingham Palace. George was always up well before Bea, so she had time to work out with her personal dresser and close protection officer, Captain Cameron, in the gym before starting her workday. This morning she’d returned from the gym and was going to dress when Bea enticed her back to bed.

“What inspired your accosting me and taking advantage of me?” George asked with a smile.

Bea ran her fingers from George’s cheekbone down her shoulders and arms. “The way you looked, fresh from the shower earlier. Your muscles were pumped from your exercise and your hair was wet and sexy, and that made me feel wet and sexy.”

George kissed her head. “You’re always sexy.”

“I love this. Just lying with you,” Bea said, burrowing her head further into George’s neck. “I can almost make believe we aren’t in a palace, and the whole world isn’t waiting for us outside those bedroom doors.”

“You do feel at home here, don’t you? You would tell me if you weren’t happy here.” George recognised what a huge change it had been for Bea to go from her small family home with her mum and dad to a big impersonal palace.

Bea said, “Of course I’m happy, but this isn’t home. Windsor is home. It’s where we go every weekend to be together, where Mum and Dad live, where we fell in love, and where I can be just your wife, just Mrs. Buckingham, not the Consort. Buckingham Palace is our office.”

“You’re right, of course,” George said.

 

Until Next Time,

Lynn

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Copyright 2016/2017

My Review of Jenny Frame’s ‘A Royal Romance.’

Good afternoon, everyone and a warm welcome to all of you.  Today I have a special treat for you!  I am reviewing Jenny Frame’s ‘A Royal Romance.’  If you love British royalty, this is a must read!  The main characters themselves will draw at your heartstrings.  Jenny really nailed it on the head and this story is a true champion.  Let’s read on!

 

Author Photo

“Maybe we can’t always get what we want, Miss Elliot, but sometimes you have to be brave enough to take what is offered freely to you.”

George from A Royal Romance

This story takes place in the future 2053-4.  Britain has changed and now the country is having their first gay monarchy.  In the beginning of the story, the author showed us a  traditional ceremony to set the tone.  Immediately, this gave me a connection to the Royal Family.   As an American I’m not familiar with these traditions and it was delightful experiencing them.  It was refreshing seeing the players being loving towards each other as opposed to the coldness of the old British sovereignty.

George is a member of the royal family and is next in line for the throne.  Her father, the king, passes and now she is now head of Britain, hence the new queen.  Her gentleness is felt from the first page and I was touched in one scene where she receives a letter from a young girl.

As I read on, I felt compassion for George and understood her role as Queen.  She is a real woman with real desires.  As much as she loves her country at times she feels stifled.  She longs to do things that many people take for granted such as walking into an establishment without security and a mob scene.  In her eyes, very few people can “see under the crown” as the author states.

Book Cover Photo

I fell in love with George. The author showed some sensitive issues that made me feel admiration for her.  George finds “common ground” with everyone she meets and leaves a positive influence on them.  Even more, she is kind to her staff, treating them with respect.  It was beautiful watching George unfold and her kindness never ceased.

Beatrice is the head of a hospice charity and loves her work.  The new queen takes an interest in her and makes Bea her escort to visit all of the hospices’ branches in England.  Bea is very professional in her manner is no-nonsense. She is a republican and disagrees with the monarchy and isn’t afraid to voice her opinions.  She has a past that could destroy her if put into the wrong hands.  The fire in her really fuels the story.

The family relations between Bea and her family are priceless and the reader can feel the love and sincerity. Bea and her mom are able to have heart to heart talks that filled my eyes with tears.  I love mother-daughter relationships in books because it is beautiful to see two grown adults understanding each other as well as helping one another.

George looked at her picture and the image of the beautiful woman did not look like trouble to her. “Cammy, does this young lady look like trouble to you? Major Fairfax thinks so.”

Captain Cameron looked over the young woman’s picture. “No, Ma’am. She looks like a bonnie wee lassie.”

Hmm…intriguing, thought George.

The dance between the new queen and Beatrice is breathtaking.  There are some really beautifully sculpted scenes.  Beatrice was able to put herself aside and be present for the Queen, who at times does shows us another side of her.

There is plenty of drama in this story.  One supporting character is so wrapped up in her jealousy for another person that she can’t see that she is broadcasting her insecurities.   The conflict between these characters is very intense to the point that it kept me on the edge of my seat.  I wanted to scream out, “Stop!”  At the same time, it added depth to the story.  Not to mention I got to see the behind the scenes, some of which were not so pretty.

The sensual scenes were tasteful and well thought out.

The players are marvelous and I could clearly see them; this blurred the line between fantasy and reality.  The author really grabbed my attention right away and got me emotionally involved with the story.  Needless to say there are page turning scenes throughout.  You are going to need to carve out some time for this story as it is on the long side.  At the end, I wanted more of the action.  I’m ready for a sequel!

Five Stars

 

Until Next Time,

Lynn

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Spring Fun 2016

Hello, Everyone and a warm welcome to you all.  How have you been?  I have been busy at work with my manuscripts as well as read a few great books.  The latest is ‘A Royal Romance’ by Bold Strokes Books author, Jenny Frame.  This story takes place in 2052 with the first gay monarch.  This is a must read for anyone who loves romance, castles, and the British monarchy.  She paints a great picture filled with emotions and secrets and all about the new queen.  Even if you’re not a fan of the monarchy, this story will grab your heart and hold on.  The story is mesmerizing and gave me an appreciation for people who are so much in the limelight.  The romance is addicting.  I would like to know who else has read this book so we can discuss.

 

For more on Jenny and this outstanding story please check out her website at:  http://www.jennyframe.com/.  You are going to love her and feel free to share your reading experience in my comments section.

*****

In addition to reading and editing, we’ve been busy this spring and want to share with you some of our excursions.

This spring we went with another couple to the Broad Museum in downtown LA.  It has been some time since I was last in a museum. This is a brand new museum that debuted this past January.  The admission was free, but we had to book reservations in advance.  Then we were put on a self-guided tour of The Broads massive collection of eclectic art.  The above picture was taken in the foyer of the museum.  The exterior of the building boasts it’s elegance and draws the viewer in.

The interior was massive and had high ceilings.  On the ground level was a very large escalator that showed how tall the building really was on the inside.  Off to the side was a long line of people waiting for one exhibit that was in another room.  Since we didn’t want to wait, we decided we could check that one out on our next visit.  We headed up the large escalator to the third floor where there were very unique and some obscure pieces.  One piece that caught my attention is the one below.  As you can see, it looks like large blown up balloons.

The Broads were twentieth century collectors who spent a lifetime accumilating their works. They wanted to create a ‘vibrant’ cultural center in our city.  The museum features two floors from the works of over 200 artists. What I liked was that each piece was spaced out and perfectly placed.  Unlike some other museums we’ve been to, this one wasn’t crowded so I didn’t have this rushed feeling as I was admiring them.  I spent time looking at a few pieces that really caught my attention.  I’m a fan of chess and they had a few exhibits regarding this incredible game.

For more on this spectacular display, you can check out their website at:  www.thebroad.org.

There they have more information about the Broads as well as their collection.  If you are in L.A., this is a place that you need to visit.

*****

Last year my wife and I took the day off of work to go to Opening Day at Dodger Stadium. They were playing the Padres and won.  This year it happened that Opening Day was against the Padres again, but was down in San Diego.  We decided to go to the second game during Opening Week since the prices were a lot cheaper than Opening Day seats.

The drive itself was only about 3 hours and thankfully we didn’t encounter too much traffic.

Our seats  had an incredible view of the field.  We always like to sit along the third base side and was able to watch our third baseman, Justin Turner, guard the bag.  A few fly balls came our way, but we were not fortunate to catch one.  The crowd was cool with no one yelling obscenities at either team.  It was quite surprising to see that about half of the stadium were Dodger fans.  The weather was perfect with no hints of rain.  Like always, the game was exciting.  That night the Dodgers beat the Padres.

Petco Park is a really nice venue to watch a baseball game.  In our section they had wait staff available to take orders so that you didn’t have to leave your seats.  This was a nice touch and people weren’t constantly getting up and moving around in front of us.  For more information you can check out:  http://www.petcoparkevents.com/.  For more on the Padres see:  MLB San Diego Padres.

*****

In another adventure, we went down to our favorite venue for live music, The Coach House in San Juan Capristrano, CA, which is in the southern part of Orange County.  This is a funky venue that is located in an industrial park.  It has a cozy feeling and is the perfect place to see a live band perform.

Last year we saw the reggae group, Third World and had a great time.  This time we went to see 1970’s grammy award voice, Ann Wilson who was the lead singer of the great rock group, Heart.  This time she was on her own with her own band calling it the “Ann Wilson Thing.”

We arrived late and were delighted to see that the concert hadn’t started yet.  We got settled and found a small table that had a really great view of the stage.

Ann came out and sang her own music, aside from Heart, with her new band members, who really belted out the sound.  I was hoping that she was going sing her cover for Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” since it is a favorite of mine.  This song plus others are on her “Hope and Glory” album, which is her first self titled collection.  That night she also sang newer songs that are available on a mini CD.  She played others from that CD that rocked the house.

I felt like I got to know the band on a personal level and Ann really made the audience feel welcome.  The rocky sounds penetrated my heart and I felt at one with the music at times.  It was a perfect evening and we really had a ball.  Ann really knows how to grab the attention of an audience and reach their soul.

For more on the Coach House, check out this link:  http://thecoachhouse.com/.  I highly recommend this venue as it is on the smaller side and the bands really rock there.

For more on Ann Wilson, you can visit her site at: http://www.theannwilsonthing.com/.  Check out her newsletter at:  Ann Wilson’s Newletter.

*****

These three adventures are only part of our spring entertainment.  I would love to hear more about what fun things you’ve been up to.  We are planning to go to Seattle this fall and would love to hear from my Seattle readers/authors so we can meet up.

In other news, please stay tuned as I have some book reviews that I will be publishing very soon from some awesome authors.  Their books touched my heart in such a way that I feel different about things since reading them.  I know you will too.  Many thanks to Suzie Carr, Jenny Frame, and Annette Mori.

 

Until Next Time,
Lynn

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Copyright 2016.

Meet Author Aurora Rey (‘Winter’s Harbor’)

Good Afternoon Everybody!  Today author Aurora Rey, Winter’s Harbor is here to chat with us about her work as well as herself.  She is an energetic woman who has created works of art in written form.  Be prepared to be ‘wowed’.  Pull up a chair and join in.

 Author Photo

 Ay, there’s the rub.

                                                                                              -Hamlet

 Who is Aurora Rey?  Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.

I’m a college administrator by day and a writer by, well, mostly early morning. I thought I wanted to be a biochemist for a while, then decided I wanted to be a writer. I started working after college and forgot that for a while, but fortunately I remembered. In the interim, I thought I wanted to be a cake designer. I still love to bake, but it’s nice not to have the pressure of someone’s wedding every other weekend. I grew up in Louisiana and, even though I can’t imagine living there again, it will always be home. I’ve probably watched You’ve Got Mail a hundred times and I never get tired of it. My favorite form of exercise is belly dancing, even though I’m not very good at it.

What is Winter’s Harbor about?

Winter’s Harbor is the story of Lia and Alex. Alex is a pastry chef who lives in Provincetown. She enjoys her work at the café she owns and the company of beautiful women. When Lia appears in her shop in the beginning of November, Alex thinks she may have found the perfect company for the cold nights of winter. Lia arrives in Provincetown looking to escape her ex, but also a New York City lifestyle that never felt quite right. She’s more than a little unsure of herself and finds Alex’s attentions both thrilling and disconcerting. They’ve got great chemistry, but also some baggage that makes them loathe to take emotional risks. I like to think they grapple with the kind of uncertainty and self-doubt most of us can relate to. To find a way to be together, they have to overcome that.

Book Cover Photo

What was the deciding factor for your book title?

Lia goes to Provincetown to regroup after her relationship, and the life she’s built around it, fall apart. She’s looking for a safe haven. Provincetown, complete with its off-season quiet, provides that both literally and figuratively.

What is your process for character building?  Can you expand on what influences your creativity?

I love watching people—at work, at the airport, at a dinner party. I try to absorb mannerisms, suss out their motivations. Characters are a great way to explore traits that are completely out of my comfort zone. Of course, sometimes, I throw in details or experiences that are close to my heart. Like Lia, for example, I listen to Evita when cleaning the house. Also like Lia, I get teased about it pretty badly.

Can you share with us your inspiration for Winter’s Harbor?

When I gave myself permission to write the kind of story I wanted to read, I started with one of my favorite places in the world—Provincetown. I’d just finished reading Michael Cunningham’s Land’s End. His description of the off season is both beautiful and compelling. And I spent a few years moonlighting as a baker, so it wasn’t much of a leap to feature a café and a pastry chef.

Me:  Always follow your heart, especially with your work.  This makes the story even more enticing.

Here is a five review from one of Aurora’s readers:

5.0 out of 5 stars Sequel Please!

By JBaker on November 25, 2015

Format: Paperback

I loved this novel. Drawn to the setting of Provincetown, I thought the book captured the off season of my favorite resort town perfectly. I loved the scenes in some of my favorite spots – the Governor Bradford, The Squealing Pig – and felt like the energy of winter Provincetown really came through. The chemistry between Alex and Lia was what set the book apart from other romance novels for me. Yes, the steamy scenes are hot, but the build up and flirtation between the two characters made the first part of the book fly – I found myself trying to slow down to prolong the anticipation. The friend relationships between Lia and Sally, Alex and Stuart felt realistic and filled out the main characters nicely. I can’t wait for Rey’s next novel – here’s hoping we get more Alex and Lia!

What gets you into the zone when writing?

I love the idea of writing outside with a glass of wine, but I get a hell of a lot more done at the kitchen island with a cup of coffee. My writing music of choice is jazz, but when I really need to focus, I use this app called Coffeetivity. It mimics the background noise in a café. It’s kind of ridiculous, but it works.

Kicking Back

Tell us a bit about your blog and what you like about blogging.

It’s mostly musings about writing and life. I also feature recipes for dishes featured in my books. I enjoy it because blog posts only require about half an hour of an attention span to write. It’s also a fun way to connect with readers.

Me:  Here is the link to the blog.  Feel free to share and leave comments.

Aurora’s Blog

 

Here is a blog interview that Aurora had with Bold Stroke Books.  Check it out!

Aurora’s Blog Interview

Where would you go on a dream vacation?  Have you ever drawn from a vacation to inspire a storyline?

In a lot of ways, Provincetown is my dream vacation. I’ve never been anywhere else that feels so much like home, even more than actual home at times. I adore London and Paris and would love to see more of the world’s great cities, but there is something about the ocean, the restaurants, and all the queerness that keeps pulling me back.

 Provincetown Pride

What is the easiest part of writing for you?  What is the most difficult?

I really enjoy the dialog. It’s easy for me to hear conversations in my mind, so much so that I often have to go back and fill in things like thoughts and gestures and whatnot. Like a lot of writers, I struggle with conflict. When you create characters that you love, it can be hard to have them make bad choices and suffer.

I understand you love gardening.  What plants do you like to grow?

Mostly vegetables, and herbs. We tilled a new garden from scratch last year after buying a house. The soil wasn’t great, but the one thing that took off was the tomato patch. There were days when I ate a tomato sandwich and a tomato salad for lunch and dinner. Or bruschetta. It was heaven. I have fantasies of a fruit orchard, too, but, my partner says we have to focus on one thing at a time. She says the same thing about getting bees. And sheep.

 Author Photo 4

Would you tell us about how you got into fostering dogs?

Classic breakup story—former couple remains friendly, but only one keeps the dog. I’d never been solely responsible for a dog before and was nervous, so fostering felt like a good option. I helped Jessie find her forever home, then fell hard for Daisy. (You can read her story on my blog). I adopted her and then fostered a few more. It’s an amazing way to help dogs without the permanence or financial commitment; I recommend it to anyone.

Me:  Here is a touching story that Aurora shares with us.

For Daisy

 

Have you ever done work for an animal rescue group in addition to fostering?

I volunteer with Cayuga Dog Rescue.  There’s always somewhere to pitch in—baking cookies to thank the vets who help us, making “Adopt Me” caps for foster dogs to wear at events, doing home visits with potential adopters. I also occasionally drive for rescue transports. Rescue groups in the Northeast pull dogs from overcrowded shelters in the South. The dogs make their way north on coordinated transports where volunteers drive one or two-hour legs. It’s a lot of fun and an easy way to make a difference. (Am I making a good sell? I hope so. Contact the rescue groups in your area to see if there’s a transport near you!)

Aurora's Dog Aurora's Dog 2

 

 

 

 

 

Tell us about your ‘Vintage Queer’ board on Pinterest.

I use Pinterest to find inspiration for books, including characters. I happened upon a few really cool images of women together, women in men’s clothes. They’re so handsome and striking. I haven’t written a historical romance yet, but these women might just inspire me to.

Vintage Queer Board

Me:  Take a few minutes to check this one out.  There is some interesting history here. 

We share a common interest – cooking.  Do you have a favorite recipe you’d like to share with us?

I’m always a little hesitant to share savory recipes because I’m terrible at writing them down. In the spirit of my Louisiana roots, then, I’ll share my family’s recipe for French Market Donuts. I’d put them up against Café du Monde’s any day of the week. (You can read the story behind the recipe on my now-defunct baking blog).

The Literate Baker

French Market Doughnuts

Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1/4 cup shortening.  Add 1/2 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 cup powdered milk.  When lukewarm, add 1 pack yeast dissolved in 1/2 cup lukewarm water.  Add 2 beaten eggs and 2 cups all-purpose flour and beat well.  Then add 2 1/2-3 cups more flour.  Knead a few times and put in a greased bowl.  Grease top and put in refrigerator for at least one hour. To make the beignets, roll the dough on a floured surface to approximately 1/4 inch thick.  Cut into 2-ish inch squares.  Slightly irregular shapes are okay. Place about an inch of vegetable oil in a pot over medium-high heat.  I’ve never used a thermometer, but I’m guessing it’s between 350 and 375 degrees.  To test the oil, drop in a very small bit of dough.  It should bubble immediately and float within five seconds.  Carefully drop the beignets into the hot oil.  Flip after 1-2 minutes; they’ll be puffed in the middle and golden brown.

French Market Donuts

 

Remove the beignets and drop immediately into a paper bag containing 1-2 cups of powdered sugar.  Close the bag and shake vigorously.  This is a lot of fun and offers superior coverage to the (albeit generous) sprinkling of sugar espoused by Cafe du Monde and most beignet shops.

What is next for you?

My second book, Built to Last, comes out in April from Bold Stroke Books. (See second excerpt below). I’m working on my third novel now, a romantic intrigue set in New Orleans. It will be available in early 2017. My day job keeps me plenty busy and I’ve got some fun Pinterest projects lined up (like building a hoop house and making felted wool dryer balls). I think we’re going to get chickens in the spring, so there will be coop-building and roost constructing and other fowl-focused activity. I’m also really looking forward to weather just warm enough to drink wine around a bonfire.

 Book Cover Photo

Aurora has provided a nice excerpt from this exciting story.  Read on!

Excerpt 1

About two hours, and three beers, after they’d arrived, Lia and Alex emerged from the bar. There were snowflakes falling around them and everything in sight was covered with a light dusting of snow.

“Oh.” Lia threw her arms out and turned in a slow circle.

Alex couldn’t tell whether Lia’s enthusiasm was genuine or more the result of the drinking. Either way, it was charming, and sexy. Lia had a way of being at once a deeply complicated woman and a disarmingly simple one. It made her want to test the taste of her, the feel of her skin, the response of her body to kiss and touch. Alex readily embraced the desire she felt, but remained unsettled by the additional stirring that seemed both exciting and a little dangerous.

“Can I walk you home?”

Lia turned toward her. She seemed to remember where she was, walked the two steps back to where Alex was standing. “I don’t want to put you out.”

“You’re not, I promise. And it would make me feel better knowing you were home safely.”

Lia poked her lightly on the chest. “You’re one of those chivalrous types.”

Alex had been called a lot of things by a lot of women, but she was pretty sure that chivalrous had never been one of them. “Neighborly. You’re still new to town, and I fear I’ve gotten you a little drunk.”

“I’m not drunk. Tipsy, but not drunk. I will, however, accept your offer, because it’s nice, and I’m usually bad at letting people do nice things for me.”

Alex wanted to ask for an explanation, but didn’t. Instead, she bowed dramatically and gestured for Lia to lead the way. Lia laughed and tucked her hand into the crook of Alex’s arm and the two of them started walking toward the West End. It was hard not to like tipsy Lia. They walked in companionable silence. Lia leaned into her slightly and the proximity allowed her to just catch the scent of Lia’s perfume, the same one she discovered on Lia’s forgotten scarf.

When they arrived at Lia’s, Alex flipped on the flashlight function of her phone while Lia dug out her keys and unlocked the door.

“Thank you so much. I feel more like a local already.”

“It was my pleasure, both to introduce you to a neighborhood hangout and to spend the evening with you.”

Lia turned to Alex. Through the light haze clouding her brain, she had a flash of Alex’s hands in her hair, her mouth taking hers. Lia had to shake off the wave of desire that washed over her. “The, ah, the feeling is mutual.”

Unbeknownst to Lia, Alex was having the exact same thoughts. Her brain, however, was clear. And as much as she wanted to pull Lia against her and kiss her senseless, Alex sensed it was too soon. And if Lia’s judgment was impaired, it could ruin everything. She settled for keeping it light. “Will I see you tomorrow, then?”

 Book Cover Photo

Lia smiled. “Absolutely.”

Alex walked the short distance back to her place. She mulled over the decision not to kiss Lia. It was unlike her to be hesitant. Of course, Lia wasn’t like the women she was used to—women who knew what they wanted and had no qualms expressing it. That said, Lia might be exactly the kind of woman who waited for the other person to make the first move.

When she got home, Murphy was curled up on the couch. He got up and stretched, trotted over to the door when Alex motioned for him to go outside to do his nightly business. “Should I have kissed her? I keep thinking I should have kissed her.” Murphy looked at her intently, then lifted his paw. He placed it on her thigh at the exact place her phone sat in her pocket. Alex pulled out the phone, then scratched the dog’s ears. “Genius, my friend. Genius.”

Lia was about to climb into the tub when her phone buzzed. She picked it up and read the text from Alex.

I really wanted to kiss you. Just saying.

Lia felt a flutter in her stomach that then migrated decidedly south. Whether it was from the beer or Sally’s pep talk, she felt suddenly brave. She bit her lip and thought for a moment before replying.

I really wanted you to. Just saying.

She slid into the hot, sudsy water and thought again about what it would be like to have Alex’s lips on hers. Her phone buzzed again almost instantly.

Duly noted.

 

Don’t go away, yet!  Aurora has provided a sneak preview of her next book, Built to Last!

Built To Last cover

Excerpt 2: 

Built to Last

Joss pulled up to the house and smiled. She loved old houses. In part, she simply preferred the look and feel of them. Really, though, she appreciated the craftsmanship. More often than not, old houses were well-built. Even ones that appeared to be crumbling usually boasted more structural integrity and attention to detail than those built in the last thirty years.

This one was no different. If she had to guess, Joss would peg it as having been built between 1890 and 1910. The porch appeared to be falling off, a fact she would have spotted even without the yellow caution tape. The roof looked old, but the parts she could see didn’t seem to have any holes—a good sign, since water damage was the single biggest enemy of old houses.

She pulled her truck into the gravel driveway and parked behind a red hybrid hatchback. She shook her head and chuckled. Only in Ithaca did people simultaneously buy hybrid cars and drafty old houses. That wasn’t fair; they probably did that in Portland, too.

Joss climbed out and studied the exterior of the house. The windows looked original, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. The yard was unkempt, but it had a good slope. Hopefully, that meant the basement was dry.

She made her way to the back door and peered in. The kitchen was just as she’d expected—a bit of a mess, but not a lost cause. The floors and trim looked original and, thankfully, hadn’t been painted. It was just the sort of house she’d love to get her hands on. If she played her cards right, maybe she’d get the chance.

Joss turned her attention to the woman who was standing in the middle of the room with her back turned. She wore a navy blue sun dress and matching shoes, the kind with ribbons that went around her ankles and tied in neat little bows. Her hair was a fiery red, pulled up into some sort of twist that exposed her neck.

Joss wasn’t a monk by any means, but the intensity of her reaction took her by surprise. Maybe it was the contrast of the tired space that made the woman seem so striking. That had to be it. Of course, it didn’t help that she was dancing. It was subtle, for sure, but there was definitely a sway in her hips. Joss’s fingers itched to feel the movement.

Get a hold of yourself. She’s a client, and likely married. Deciding she needed to get out more, Joss shook off the strange surge of desire and knocked firmly on the door.

 

I want to thank Aurora for stopping by.  I am excited about her book and would love for you all to tell me your experience.  Feel free to share in the comments.  Before you leave, be sure to check out Aurora’s links for more exciting news.

 

Aurora’s Facebook Page

Aurora’s Twitter Page

Aurora’s Goodreads Page

Aurora’s Amazon Profile Page

Aurora’s Instagram Page

 

Until Next Time,

Lynn

 

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Printed With Permission 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Review of Amy Dunne’s, ‘The Renegade’

Hello Everyone and good afternoon to you all.  Today I am sharing my review for Amy Dunne’s ‘The Renegade.’  For those of you who are new, I recently interviewed Amy.  Since then she’s been hard at work with her next project.

Amy Dunne’s Interview.

Renegade Cover

This story takes place in the future, involving a deadly epidemic.  Right from the start the author’s descriptions draw in the reader. I loved how she described one of the main character’s father. He was a positive inspiration for Alex, despite his own destiny.  A chill ran through me at her wise choice of words that clearly defined the situation.

Alex is a young woman determined not to let fate destroy who she is. Unfortunately because of this epidemic she has shut down socially and has become somewhat apathetic to others.

After learning how to survive on her own, she took the reins on fear and used it in her favor. It was amazing how well she handled herself. True bravery was shown here and she was not afraid to fight for her own life.

Alex didn’t want to love again.  It was too painful.

I loved the way the strong woman emerged and grew as she transformed.  During the story, we are led to believe that she is only going along with the motions.  The descriptions of the scenes and the overall character building made me appreciate and admire her.

Then there is Evelyn, a woman living hostage in a survivor’s camp. She is forced against her will to marry the camp’s leader, a man claiming to channel the word of God.  She is the community’s doctor and goes well beyond her duties.  The author shows examples of Evelyn’s selfless-like qualities throughout.

Evelyn is sweet and caring, which is shown right from her introduction.  Immediately the reader will feel connected to her.  I admired her strength in that she never gave up.  I applaud the author for showing Evelyn’s maternal side as well.

As I was reading, I could feel the emotions of both main characters. I really had distain for one supporting character for being emotionally abusive. You will find this emotional roller coaster and very interesting and hard to put down.

There is a romance in the story that was very well thought out and believable.

The story is easy reading and the pages themselves will lead you along the journey of Alex and Evelyn to a climax that you’d never think about.

Renegade Cover

I have included a touching excerpt from this page turner.  Enjoy!

Evelyn Bennett dried her hands on paper towels as she watched Tanya leave the medical room. She dropped the crumpled towels into the bin and tried to quell her anger.

“Bastard,” she whispered.

Tanya disappeared out of sight and Evelyn rushed to lock the door. The blinds were already drawn, so she took advantage of the limited privacy to hide her stash of tablets. Kneeling on the floor, she pried the small iron grate with her fingernails to remove it. The packets of tablets were wrapped in cloth and zipped inside a black waterproof makeup bag. She pushed them deep into the narrow gap, scraping her knuckles on the brickwork in the process.

 A loud knock sounded on the door.

“Just a moment,” she said, trying to sound casual. She fumbled with the grate and eventually managed to get it back in place. Scrambling to her feet, she shoved the heavy cabinet with her shoulder, moving it in front of the grate.

The pounding continued to rattle the wooden door.

Evelyn scanned around the room to make sure she hadn’t left any of the contraband out. She couldn’t see any and didn’t dare to waste any more time. As she walked to the door, she ran her hands over her curly red hair tied in a ponytail. She swept the plastic apron aside and brushed down the scuffed knees of her jeans.

She braced herself, flicked the lock, and opened the door.

“Hi, Mum,” Jamie said, beaming a smile that showed the gap where his left lateral incisor was missing.

She blew out a shaky breath and wrapped her arms around him, drawing him close. “What was all that banging about?”

He looked up at her. His brown eyes sparkled with vitality but were also wise beyond their years. The unprecedented horrors he’d witnessed had left their marks. There was no such thing as innocence anymore.

“I missed you,” he said simply.

“You did?” she asked. She ruffled his sandy hair affectionately.

“Yeah.”

“I missed you, too.” She hugged him tightly.

Purchase ‘The Renegade’

Purchase ‘The Renegade’ Amazon UK

 

Until Next Time,

Lynn

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Meet Author Jenny Frame

Good afternoon Everyone.  It is great to see your smiling faces.  Today author Jenny Frame, author of ‘A Royal Romance’ (#boldstrokebooks ) has stopped to chat.  Come see why this story is receiving raving reviews and hear more about who Jenny Frame is.

 

Book Cover Photo

 

 

“How do you spell ‘love’?” – Piglet

“You don’t spell it…you feel it.” – Pooh”

                ― A.A. Milne

 

Author Photo

 

Who is Jenny Frame?  Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.

I’m from a small town in Scotland called Motherwell, which is just outside Glasgow. I live with my partner Lou, and our dog Barney.

I started writing about six years ago, when spinal problems forced me to medically retire from my job. I was looking for something to occupy my mind and my time, and I stumbled across some websites that hosted lesbian romance fiction. After reading everything I could, I thought I might give it go, and I’ve been writing every day since.

What is ‘A Royal Romance’ about?

‘A Royal Romance’ is at its heart a fairytale, but a modern fairytale. The handsome prince is a handsome butch, and the poor village girl is a working class woman from Bethnal Green, East London.

Most people are fascinated by royalty, and their sometimes strange and antiquated ways of doing things. I wanted to explore this royal world, and explore what it would be like to be the first lesbian Queen of the United Kingdom.

This is the blurb – 

Georgina, Princess of Wales, has always known her destiny, but she never expected duty to call so soon. When her father dies suddenly, she is called back from her Royal Navy post to assume the crown. While the people acclaim their new Queen, Great Britain’s first openly gay monarch, all George feels is the isolation of her station. Beatrice Elliot’s staunch anti-monarchist views have always been a point of gentle contention with her working class, royalty-loving parents. When Bea—director of a hospice charity—must spend six months working with Queen Georgina, her charity’s new patron, sparks fly and passion blooms. But is love enough to bridge the gap between Bethnal Green and Buckingham Palace?

What was the deciding factor for your book title? 

At this point I have to declare I am notoriously bad at choosing book titles, and full credit has to go to Radclyffe and my editor Ruth for the title. I think it’s a great title that gives you the pure romantic feel of the book.

What traits were you looking for when you were creating the main characters?

When I was creating Queen Georgina (George) I wanted a character who absolutely believes in the institution of a constitutional monarchy, and places her duty as the head of her family and the nation above all else. Everyone on the outside sees her as this thoroughly modern person, because she is the first openly gay monarch, and the first to ascend to the throne ahead of her brother, but in contrast to that view, she is in fact a very traditional person.

Her greatest wish is to meet someone who can see past her royal position, and understand the person she truly is.

From the start I knew I wanted to make George’s love interest a staunch anti-monarchist. After all, someone who doesn’t have the reverence for the position of Queen is the perfect person to see the woman and not her lofty position. Beatrice Elliot sees that woman behind the crown and George loves the fact that she talks to her like a normal person.

Book Cover Photo

Who or what was your inspiration to write ‘A Royal Romance?’

In 2013 the British government changed the laws regarding the act of succession to the British throne. It meant that males would no longer take precedence over females in line to the throne. When I first saw a news item on this new law coming into force, I immediately began to think about whom the first woman would be, and then it occurred that she could be the first openly gay monarch as well. The character of George quickly came to my mind, and the story then followed.

 

Let’s give a shout-out to your home town, Motherwell.  What is your favorite attraction there?

In Scotland we are surrounded by history. Castles, stately homes, even Roman remains.

In my small town of Motherwell, our local country park was the site of a roman fort, and the fort’s roman bathhouse is on display there. A few miles away there is the hunting lodge, called Chatelherault, which was built for the Dukes of Hamilton, our local lord of the manor, and the premier peer of Scotland. The large hunting lodge was small fry compared to their estate home, Hamilton Palace, which sat ten minutes away from where I live, and which was demolished in 1927 because of undermining. It was all very Downton Abbey in my local area.

Hunting Lodge

 

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thank you for your continued support. I’ve had some wonderful messages from readers and made some good friends from all over the world, but above all I’m very grateful to anyone who takes the time to read my books.

Who is your favorite football team?  Can you tell a little bit about the sport and what you like about it?

Football (soccer) is the top sport in the UK, and in Scotland we are fanatical about it, despite our national team perpetually failing to reach the world cup finals. I support my local team Motherwell F.C, and I went to see them religiously from aged seven years old until my health made it impossible. Motherwell play in the top Scottish division but never win anything, In contrast my partner Lou’s team, Celtic F.C are the top team in Scotland and win EVERYTHING. So it’s safe to say that tempers are frayed in our house when Celtic play Motherwell.

 Celtic+v+Motherwell+Scottish+Cup+Final+kLc_9JsQeWwl

What does this quote mean to you and why?

“Once in a while, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale.”

When I first read that quote it really resonated with me. I’ve always loved fairytales, and the type of stories I write have elements of fairytales to a varying degree. As a romance writer, you have to believe in happy ever afters and I think deep down everyone needs hope that a fairytale could be around the corner.

On your website, you feature free stories.  Can you tell us more about ‘The Dylan Morgan Show?’ 

‘The Dylan Morgan Show’ was the second story I posted online, and I wrote it in an episodic form to give it a TV show feel, with cliffhangers from season to season. When I first came up with Morgan show, it was the around the time when people were using You Tube and the new social media outlets to build a career, and it was also when the term celesbian first began to be used.

My main character, Dylan Morgan, is an Olympic gold winning athlete, and all action woman who gains notoriety and fame for her You Tube stunts. Her popularity eventually gets her onto TV and propels her to stardom.

The story starts when she is at the height of her fame, but with no family to speak of, she is starting to feel very lonely in the shallow world of show business.

One night after a show, she walks into a diner on Times Square and meets a waitress who changes her life. There are definitely fairytale elements about this story, and despite a few dark moments, it’s a light story with plenty of funny moments.

Me:  Readers, please be respectful of Jenny’s copyrights and do not use without permission.

 

Tell us a bit about your blog and what you like about blogging.

I’m far from an active blogger, and generally use it for writing updates, and keeping readers updated on any new stories in the offing. My new year’s resolution is to become a more regular blogger.

Me:  Check out Jenny’s blog and feel free to leave comments or leave questions.

Jenny’s Blog

Book Cover Photo

What types of music do you like to listen to when you are writing? Or – do you prefer silence?

Music is a huge part of my life. I can’t play an instrument but I always have music playing, whatever I’m doing. My dad is a great guitar player and singer, and played in local bands. So I was given a great love of music and as a youngster I was always creating worlds or characters as I listened to it.

When I started writing, music quite naturally became part of the process. I have a different playlist for each book, which reflects the general theme of the book. On each list there’s one or two go to songs that say everything about the characters and what their relationship with each other is about.

For ‘A Royal Romance’ Only You by Sinead O’Connor, and for my forthcoming book ‘Heart of The Pack’, She wolf by David Guetta ft Sia.

Only You by Sinead O’Connor – http://youtube/5TsnODPwJ1o

She wolf by David Guetta ft Sia –

http://youtu.be/PVzljDmoPVshttp://youtu.be/PVzljDmoPVs

The music I choose is a huge part of the planning stage for the book too. If I’m having a problem with the story and not sure where I’m going next,I get away from the manuscript, listen to music while I’m doing something else and the idea or solution always comes to mind.

Me:  This is excellent advice that I’ve used.

What is your favorite part of being an author?  The least fave?

My favourite part is creating worlds and getting to experience life vicariously through the characters I create.

The least favourite is a hard one, because I really do enjoy each part of the writing process, from research to editing, to getting feedback from readers. Probably I would say my least favourite is working to a deadline. I don’t handle stress that well, and I can be known to panic, even when there’s nothing really to panic about.

Me:  One thing that authors love are interviews.  Click below for hers with Bold Stroke Books.  You don’t want to miss these.

Interview with Jenny Frame

Do You Get More Conservative as You Grow Older?

Can you give us a sneak preview of your next book, ‘Heart of the Pack – A Wolfgang County Novel,’ which will debut in 2016 by Bold Stroke Books? 

‘Heart of the Pack’ is a paranormal romance, and a little different to the world of A’ Royal Romance.’ Although I will be returning to the aristocracy theme in my third book, ‘Courting the Countess,’ which will be out late 2016.

I’ve always been fascinated by paranormal romance, and more specifically werewolves, over the vampire genre. The appeal of werewolves to me is the pack mentality, the unbreakable family and mate bond which I think would be what we wish for in our own lives.

The wolves of Wolfgang County are not so different from us. They are simply extraordinary creatures living in an ordinary world.

Blurb –

Selena Miller accepts a job in Wolfgang County, jumping at the chance to get away from her overbearing family. Crippled by anxiety, she’s determined to start a new, independent life.

As Second of the Wolfgang pack, Caden Wolfgang is used to having her orders followed without question. When the Alpha allows a human to work in the heart of their business, Caden is horrified. Haunted by a childhood tragedy at the hands of a human, Caden makes it her mission to keep Selena from threatening everything they’ve built.

When contempt turns into attraction and passion flares, can their love survive Selena learning the truth of what the Wolfgangs really are?

Heart of the Pack cover

 

Now here is an excerpt from ‘A Royal Romance’.

Prologue

Bethnal Green, London

2044

 

Beatrice Elliot ran downstairs as quickly as she could. She checked her appearance in the mirror at the bottom. Her long dark-blond hair looked unruly. I’m going to be so late, and I look a mess. She quickly gathered her hair up into a ponytail, making herself a bit more presentable.

From the living room, she heard her mum shout, “Bea?”

Beatrice popped her head round the door and said, “Yes, Mum?”

Her mother, Sarah, sat on the couch facing the large TV projection on the wall. “Are you coming to watch with me? It’s Princess Georgina’s investiture as Princess of Wales.”

Beatrice gave her mother a scowl. “Mum, you know I have absolutely no interest in that shower of spongers.”

Sarah pointed towards the TV and said, “But Bea, the pageantry, the tradition, and she’s going to be the first woman to become Queen ahead of her brother, and the first openly gay monarch. Surely you of all people should understand that.”

Bea sighed. She was getting fed up having this argument with people and hearing the name of Princess Georgina. “They take money away from our country’s essential services. You and Dad should know why that makes me angry.”

Her mother nodded, but not before Bea caught a look of pain on her mother’s face, and she felt guilty for causing that. She walked behind the couch and put her arms around her mother’s neck. “I’m sorry, Mum, but I have my student union meeting. Remember I told you about it last night? It’s our last meeting before the charity fundraiser.”

Sarah patted her daughter’s hand. “Oh yes, I remember, sweetheart, be careful then.”

“I will. Will Dad be in soon?”

“Yes, another half hour or so. He hoped he would be back in time to see the ceremony. Off you go then, and leave me to my pageant.”

Bea laughed softly and gave her mother a kiss. “Enjoy it then. See you later, Mum.”

After Bea left and Sarah heard the front door close, she picked up her cup of tea and settled down to watch the TV special that the country had been buzzing about.

She watched the cameras span the grounds of Caernarfon Castle in Wales. The castle surrounded a triangular area of grass. In the middle of the grass sat a dais made of Welsh slate, on which the ceremony would take place, and around the three sides were the raised seating areas for spectators.

Book Cover Photo

On the dais sat three thrones, while to the side sat the members of the extended royal family. The royal fanfare began and Sarah said to the TV, “Volume, up five.” The fanfare filled the room and she could almost feel like she was sitting there among the spectators.

“Reg is going to be mad he missed this.”

The voice-over began…

And we see the King and Queen emerge from the castle and make their way up, past the spectators, towards the dais. They are escorted by heralds, resplendent in their ancient dress, the first minister of Wales, and senior peers of the principality and are guarded by men and women of the Household Cavalry. The Welsh National Choir is providing the choral accompaniment to the occasion, and it sounds magnificent, I think you’ll all agree. What an atmosphere. The crowd is applauding King Edward and Queen Sofia as they walk past. There is a joyous feeling amongst the crowd, a feeling of celebration and hope for the future. 

Sarah watched the tall, imposing-looking King, dressed in his ceremonial Royal Navy uniform, escort his elegant wife into her seat on the dais, and then take his own seat. To Sarah this was what Britain did best—tradition, ceremony, and pageantry—and she wished her daughter could see that. She understood her hostility. Beatrice believed the monarchy took money away from much-needed organizations such as the National Health Service, schools, and community groups.

The Elliot family knew first-hand what it was to be at the mercy of an underfunded health service.

She had always been a fan of the royals, and especially the very popular King Edward and Queen Sofia. King Edward was a few years older than herself, and so she grew up watching the friendly boy prince become a man and meet his true love, Sofia.

Sarah, along with the nation and two and a half billion people around the world, fell in love with the couple as they watched their fairy tale wedding. Now it was his firstborn daughter and heir’s turn to be invested as Princess of Wales and recognized as heir apparent to the throne.

 

I want to thank Jenny for stopping by.  It was a pleasure having her.  Don’t forget to check out Jenny’s links for more exciting news, including her upcoming book, ‘Heart of the Pack.’  Also click on the link below to get your copy of ‘A Royal Romance.’   Authors love reviews so please leave one when you are finished.  Also feel free to leave a comment here.  We’d love to hear how you liked ‘A Royal Romance.’

Jenny’s Facebook Page

Jenny’s Twitter – @jennyframe91

Jenny’s Website

Jenny’s Bold Strokes Books Profile

 

Purchase ‘A Royal Romance’

 

 

Until Next Time,

Lynn

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Printed With Permission. 2015

Meet Author Amy Dunne

Good afternoon, Everyone and welcome!  It has been a busy few weeks, but I haven’t forgotten about you.  Today I have an author whom you are going to love!  Amy Dunne is the author of “The Renegade” which debuted on 14-Sept-15 by Bold Stroke Books.  She is here to chat with us all and has a giveaway to these of you who would like to leave a comment or question.  Let’s all give Amy a warm welcome.

Author Photo

“The worst thing you’ve ever written is better than the best thing you’ve never written,” –Unknown

Renegade Cover

 

What is “The Renegade” about?

“The Renegade” is a speculative fiction romance. The story starts with the aftermath of the Red Death pandemic that has wiped out most of the human population.  We meet Alex and experience how much she has lost because of the Red Death.  She has no one left alive, no plans or destination, only a rucksack full of belongings, and the promise she made to try and survive.  We join Alex on her journey as she meets other survivors all with their own agendas and fights to stay alive. The new world is dangerous and unforgiving, but over time Alex begins to trust and care for her two companions.

We also meet Evelyn, a medic in the Rapture’s Haven Camp. It quickly becomes apparent that there is something dark and disturbing lurking beneath the camp’s friendly exterior. Evelyn and the other women are trapped inside the camp and are nothing more than slaves. There’s no way out and worse still, many of the camp members have willingly embraced their roles. With a son to protect and the camp leader’s jealous unrequited lust to deal with, Evelyn is desperate and will do whatever it takes to keep her son safe.

When Alex’s companion is attacked there is no choice but to pledge allegiance to Rapture’s Haven Camp and its deranged cult leader. Instinctively drawn to one another Evelyn tries to warn Alex of the terrible danger they’re in. Unable to deny their desire they desperately try to keep their relationship a secret, for fear of the potentially fatal repercussions. As the stakes change and their situation deescalates, their lives and the lives of their loved ones are thrown into deadly jeopardy. Escape is no longer possible. They must fight for their freedom—or die trying.

What or who inspired you to write “The Renegade?”

I’ve always been a huge fan of reading speculative fiction and watching TV shows and films of the same genre.  The concept for the story had been developing in my head for some time. I wanted to know what it would be like to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. I didn’t want zombies or mass destruction on a grand scale, because they don’t offer out much hope for the survivors. I wanted nature to take back what was once its own and there be a reasonable chance of survival and living off the land. Would we adhere to the laws of the old world or make new ones? What would become of religion, sociology, medicine, morality, technology, agriculture, and knowledge? How would this new world affect and develop the emotional, psychological, physiological, and spiritual aspects of the survivors? Could we survive or have we lost the basic knowledge and practical skills to develop communities and relationships, hunt, forage, fish, build, produce medicine, protect, teach, farm the land, and tend livestock? What of roles within a community? Would we uphold the same values regarding equality, race, gender, religion, rights, diversity, and sexuality? Are we morally obligated to procreate in order to save the human race? These questions were the driving force.

UNity-in-Diversity

The biggest problem I encountered was fear. My own fear. Fear of writing a first attempt at a new genre. The fear that the story was too big for little old me to do it the justice it deserved. The fear of letting my publisher and readers down. Fortunately, my beautiful wife soothed all of those fears away with her unwavering belief in my writing abilities. Whenever I came close to giving up, she would insist I sit back down and do another hour or two of writing. She would listen to my worries and fears and give me the encouragement I needed. Without her, I don’t think The Renegade would ever have seen the light of day. She is my inspiration.

What traits were you looking for when you were creating the main character for your story?

In all of my stories, I try to insist that both main characters are of equal importance to the story. They both show a unique set of emotions, thoughts, fears, actions, and ambitions that are integral to them as a character. I like that we see the relationship from both of their points of view.

I knew I wanted Alex to be physically fit, powerful, practical, a problem solver, able to protect herself and others, self-righteous, stubborn, and a fiercely loyal person.  Surviving comes naturally to her. Her flaws, like Evelyn’s, are just as vital to the story as her positive traits. She is very wary of others, reluctant to create relationships, and doesn’t trust easily because she’s been hurt so much by the affects of the Red Death. I like that she’s a bit of a loner and is fiercely independent.

Evelyn is a medic and a mother. Her character traits are very different to Alex’s. She’s empathetic, caring, feisty, maternal, protective, loving, resourceful, brave, invested in others, selfless, highly emotional, quick to anger, social, intelligent, funny.

Although Evelyn doesn’t necessarily have the same practical skill set as Alex to make surviving easier, she is strong willed and determined. They compliment each other by making up for what the other person lacks. That I think is the beauty of watching characters and their relationships develop.

 

 

Did you do any types of writing while you were at school? If so, did you receive any awards or recognition of your work?            

English was my favourite lesson at school. I enjoyed reading books but also having a go at writing my own stories. My debut novel, “Secret Lies” is based on the short story I wrote for my GCSE coursework. I always knew that if I was going to have a story published that would be the first one.  Other than coursework, I never really wrote with the intention of others reading it. I was shy and didn’t have much confidence in my writing at that time.

Secret Lies

Although, I must admit that I was good at public speaking. I enjoyed writing speeches to entertain and inspire others. I was elected Head Girl of my secondary school by the students and staff. I was even invited back and presented with the Robinson’s Public Speaking Award in 2002. So I suppose you could say that I always enjoyed entertaining others.

Was there anyone, in your life who was an inspiration for you to write? If so, what did they do?

My wife is the biggest inspiration. She encouraged me to pursue my dream of becoming an author. She believed in me every step of the way. When I received rejection e-mails, she comforted me. When I wanted to give up, she gave me the push I needed to carry on. When I succeeded, she praised me and told me how proud I made her. When I go to book events, she’s by my side supporting me (often wearing a t-shirt with my book covers on). She’s incredible. And I don’t think I can ever repay her selflessness, unconditional love, and support, but I’m going to spend the rest of my life trying.

Amy with Wife

Another inspiration, was my Irish gran, Mama Bridie, She passed away in 2007 and I still feel her loss as acutely today as I did on the day I found out. She was short (like me), caring, funny, strong, a great storyteller, fiercely protective, had a wicked sense of humour, and believed my sister and I could do anything. Sadly, she never got to see me play rugby, graduate from university, meet my amazing wife, watch us get married, see my books get published, or win a Golden Crown Literary Award. But I think she would’ve been proud of me. And there’s not a day goes by when I don’t miss her or think about her.

Amy's Gran

“In this world, you have a choice: survive as a slave or fight for your freedom.” What do these words mean to you?

These words embody what “The Renegade” is about. In this dangerous new world everything has changed and not necessarily for the better.  It’s the beginning of a new dawn of human existence. Every decision that is made and put into motion is going to affect if and how the human race survive. All it takes is one deranged self-appointed leader to wreak havoc on our future. It is the time to stand up against what is wrong and fight for what is right. There are no second chances. You have to fight tooth and nail for what you want this new world to be. It would be easy to stand back and accept the world that is given to you. There’s no risk of punishment or death if you do what you’re told to. But ultimately, the lasting affect and consequences of choosing to be passively subservient will taint the future of generations to come. It’s my hope that if ever such an occurrence should happen, there will be strong women and strong men who will fight for equality and diversity, rather than taking the easier options.

Do you have anything in specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thank you for your support and wonderful messages. It means so much that you’re prepared to embark on the different literary explorations of genres with my characters and I. I know that in some instances sticking with one genre would make marketing easier, but the characters and stories in my head refuse to conform. Every time you buy and read one of my books, there’s a different set of characters and storyline compared to the previous books and I’m thrilled that this doesn’t put you off. Thank you for sticking with me. I hope that you gain as much enjoyment out of reading the stories, as I do from writing them. Without you, writing would be pointless.

Amy’s WordPress Blog

Thank you so much!  Amy’s debut novel, “Secret Lies” won a Golden Crown Literary Award in 2014 in the Young Adult Category.

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What has been your favourite part of being an author? The least fave?

Honestly, I’ve enjoyed every part of the writing, editing, and publishing process. I love learning new information, and every book brings a whole host of new experiences and lessons. Writing, is more than a hobby. It’s a bit like an addiction, because it takes over your life. I eat, sleep, and think constantly about characters and stories. If I didn’t write them down, I don’t think I’d get any peace. But my absolute favourite parts are growing to care about the characters as if they were family and friends, and hearing feedback from readers about how the story and characters have impacted on them. I’ve had reader’s write to me to say that because of Secret Lies they now have a better understanding of self-harm and abuse. That they manage to access resources for themselves or a loved one. That Season’s Meetings has given a new meaning to Christmas, and for the first time since a personal tragedy, those readers are going to celebrate Christmas and make the most of it because life is precious.  How incredible are those message? To have been able to write something that emotionally moves people and helps them, is by far the best part about being an author.

My least favourite part is writing sex scenes. I’m a huge prude in real life (I blame my Catholic background) and so writing those scenes is something I really struggle with.  I’ve been told on many occasions, “just don’t write them then.” If only it was that easy. Let’s be honest, sex is a hugely important part of our relationships. So to not include it, seems firstly, unfair to the characters and secondly, it hinders the character, story, and relationship development. It’s in no way gratuitous, to put it quite simply it’s vital. But that doesn’t make it any easier for me. I have to psyche myself up and drink—a fair bit of alcohol. To make matters worse, in Season’s Meetings and The Renegade both sets of characters insisted on another sex scene when I’d originally only planned one. We had a heated debate, but ultimately, they won—they always do.

Leave A Review

Me:  One thing that all authors love are book reviews, so please leave one when you are through.  It shows the author that you care.  Here is a Five Star review from a reader on Amazon:

Another good book from an award winning author.

By RLynne on September 27, 2015

Format: Paperback

“The Renegade” is set in what’s left of a world ravaged by The Red Death. Survivor Alex Clarke has been prepared by her father to survive on her own. And, with his death, which was preceded by her mother’s death and the death of her lover, Alex has set off to find a place that will be safe. She meets Murphy, an Irish survivor, who joins her on the journey as does Paddy, a puppy she rescued. The three of them are rescued and taken to Rapture’s Haven Camp. The camp medic, Evelyn, warns Alex of the dangers in the camp, particularly for women.

Dunne has done a wonderful job of world building, providing plenty of details to help readers visualize Rapture’s Haven Camp. There is much that is dark and sinister, but Dunne has provided readers with lovable Paddy, and Jamie, Evelyn’s son, to add to add warmth and lightness. She has also given the camp some good people along with those who are cruel and mean. This is a very good read which gripped me until I turned the last page!

What other authors do you follow?

I have so many authors that I follow. I’m a huge fan of the following: Stephen King, Dean Koontz, James Dashner, Stephanie Meyers, Veronica Roth, Philip Pullman, Suzanne Collins, Robin Hobb, L. J. Smith, Anne Rice, J. K. Rowling, Gerri Hill, Gill McKnight, Katherine V, Forrest, Meghan O’Brien, Kim Baldwin, Radclyffe, Kiki Archer, Clare Ashton, and to be honest, this list could quite easily be never ending.

How has the artist Dolly Parton been an inspiration to you? What does your favourite song of hers mean to you?

I remember from a very early age loving Dolly’s voice and music. As I grew older, that love for her music remained and I’ve never been ashamed of admitting it. I’ve seen many interviews and films with her in and she’s just such an incredible woman. She successful, a brilliant business woman, a gifted musician and songstress, but also so genuine, down-to-earth, and funny. What’s not to like?

Dolly-Parton-Social-Media

And how did I know I‘d found my true love and soul mate? I found someone who likes Dolly as much as me. Our first date was front row tickets to see Dolly live in concert. It was awesome and Dolly even winked at me. At our wedding, our first dance was “Think About Love” by Dolly and I’ve set it as my wife’s ringtone and as my alarm clock. It reminds me every time she rings and every morning of how lucky I am.

On the day you are featured on “Ellen” what is the first thing you are going to say to her in person?

“Thank you for being awesome, Ellen. And, err…are you sure I’m meant to be here? Just checking.”

What is of local interest of yours that you’d like to brag about?

Living very near to the city of Nottingham is a privilege. As a student I worked as a costume performer in the authentic real old gaol, prison, and underground caves. I learnt about all of the history and the people who lived there. It was one of the best jobs ever. It was so rich in history and to be fair, gory and spooky accounts. I now work in the Theatre Royal and the Royal Concert Hall. The Theatre Royal was built 1865 and is stunningly beautiful and historic. It’s a pleasure to work in such regal settings.

theatreroyal

 

Can you describe your love of Irish rugby?

Yes, even though it pains me greatly after our defeat in the knockout matches of the 2015 Rugby Union World Cup two days ago. I’m still disappointed.

I discovered a passion for rugby at university. I joined the team and then later got elected as the Team Captain and led us to the university finals in London. It’s such a great sport. It’s physical, fast paced, skilful, and a great team sport. My family are Irish, so that’s where the support of Irish rugby comes from. My whole family support Ireland and we watch the Six Nations and Rugby World Cup with passion.

My favourite sport and my favourite place.

Rugby

Let’s give a shout out to Keele University. What would you like to say?

I will always be a fan of Keele University. Some of my happiest memories and life-long friendships were made there. There were tough times, but there were far more wonderful times. Over my four years, I came to realise who I was as a person and accepted my sexuality. Without Keele University, the experiences, the friendships, and memories, I have no idea what my life would be like now. So thank you. And as all Keele students new and past will know…”Never Forget.”

Keele University

 

What is in the works for you?

There are two stories that are fighting for attention at the moment. A romantic comedy and a sequel to “The Renegade.”  I’m not sure which one will win and be written first, but I imagine it will come down to which one shouts the loudest. Either way, I’m looking forward to both.

Don’t forget to leave a comment or question as you will be entered to win a copy of this fab book! 

Below I have an exciting except:

Renegade Cover

Chapter One

Alex Clarke tried to keep her composure, afraid that if her true emotions surfaced they would only add to her dad’s suffering. She bit down painfully on her tongue, silencing the hysteria clawing up her throat. A hot trickle of coppery blood was enough to keep her screams at bay.

She watched as her dad suffered yet another violent coughing fit, his gaunt face contorted with pain as he struggled to catch each labouring breath. The rattling sound from his chest had grown louder. His bulky frame was misleading, as his body was helplessly weak and frail. His clothes were saturated with sweat and bloody mucus. A thick layer of perspiration coated his skin, while his body shivered as the raging fever continued to ravage him.

Alex looked away. She knew he hated her to see him so weak. In truth, he no longer resembled the strong and powerful protector of their family. The anguish of remembering him as the gentle giant who’d taught her how to ride a bike, told exciting bedtime stories, and taken her on adventures hurt more than she’d believed possible.

As an only child, she’d never wanted for anything or been lonely. The three of them had been content and happy with their little family unit. Her parents wholeheartedly supported her in whatever she’d endeavoured to do. At sixteen, she’d finally gathered enough courage to tell them she was a lesbian and they’d accepted her without judgement. In later years, her partner Dianne had been warmly welcomed into their family, and for eighteen months they’d all been happy together.

Things had been perfect.

The perfect days they shared had turned into perfect months and had passed by quickly. In the blink of an eye, all hell broke loose. Within months, everything had gone to shit. Everyone and everything she loved, except for her dad, was gone. Soon he’d leave her, too.

She sensed the coughing fit subside and reluctantly returned her gaze to him. Besides herself, he was the only living person that remained.

“You’ve everything packed…like I showed you?” he asked, his voice nothing more than an audible rasp.

“Yes.” She grimaced at the pain it caused him to speak.

He gave a weak nod and his gaze met hers for a fleeting second before she looked away. The familiar blue rings of his eyes were set against the startling red backdrop that had once been white. Although his eyes had been this way for two days now, she still found it impossible to bear. The cause of the unnatural red eyes hadn’t been properly explained. It’d been listed as one of the main symptoms of the strain. She guessed it probably had something to do with the pressure caused from the violent coughing. Regardless of its cause, it was another indicator of the final stages of the Red Death. The sensational name was first used by the media, and by the time scientists had come up with an official name for it, the Red Death had already stuck.

She’d witnessed its devastating course from beginning until end twice before—first with Dianne, then only days later, with her mum. She was certain her dad was in the last and most horrific stages. Worse still was the knowledge there was nothing she could do to help or even mildly relieve his suffering.

He coughed again and thick bloody mucus, more black than red, spilt down his chin. With a trembling hand, he wiped himself with his soiled cloth.

Alex fought hard against the urge to heave and clenched her hands into painfully tight fists. Her nails cut into her palms, verging on breaking the skin. Hysteria stalked close to the brink again, and she mustered what little resolve she had left to swallow it down.

“Your mum and I love you—” Another coughing fit cut him off. The pain was obvious, but a few moments later, he continued, “You’re destined for something big, Alex. I’ve known it since the day I held you in the hospital. I’m just sorry I can’t be with you.”

A searing lump of emotion lodged in her throat. She forced her words over it. “I’m destined to die like Dianne, Mum, and the rest of the world. In a few days, I’ll start with the symptoms.”

He shook his head. Pink tears tainted with blood streamed from his burgundy eyes. “You’re immune.”

She glared defiantly and tried to swallow, but the lump made her wince. Boiling tears welled in her eyes. “That doesn’t make sense. Just because you’ve always said I was your miracle baby doesn’t mean I’m immune to this. You only started with it a few days ago.”

“I was lucky to last this long. It allowed me to teach you how to survive. I’m ready to be with your mum and Dianne. There isn’t time to go over this again.” Another coughing fit tore through his body, crippling him with pain.

Alex couldn’t hold back the tears. “I don’t want to be alone. I can’t go on without you. I can’t…I’m not this special person you think I am. I’m just me.”

“Alexandra,” he said, his lips and teeth coated with rank blood. “You will go on. You swore to me on your mum’s and Dianne’s graves that you would go when I told you to and never come back. We didn’t raise you to be a liar or a coward.”

She felt like a berated child, which made her sobbing worse. “Dad…please—”

“Promise me again, now.” His voice was raspy and disjointed because of his shallow breathing, but she still heard his steel determination. He wouldn’t back down.

In desperation she tried to get him to see sense. “I’ve nowhere to go. And I need to look after you—”

He lifted a weak hand, immediately silencing her. “I don’t need looking after. There’s nothing you can do for me. You know it. You’re not going to watch me turn into a corpse.”

Alex knelt before him. “I need to be with you until the end. I can’t just leave you. I won’t do it.”

“We went through this with Dianne and your mum. We both know what happens in the end. Soon, I won’t even know you’re here.”

“But I have to bury you with Mum.”

He sighed, which turned into another coughing fit. When it lessened he whispered, “I’ve made my own plans. This pathetic excuse for a body is nothing more than a slab of rotting meat. Burying it is pointless. Your mother and I will be reunited in whatever comes after this life. Now, promise me that you will go on living and never return.”

Alex couldn’t speak. The words were stuck behind the lump that choked her.

“Please?” He reached out and gently held one of her hands. “Promise me.”

His huge hand felt clammy as it trembled in hers. His desperation was so urgent and intense, it was claustrophobically palpable.

“I won’t come back here,” she said, swiping tears away. “I promise.”

He closed his eyes for a moment. “Thank you. Now take your things and leave. You’ll need to find somewhere away from the town to set up camp before dark. Try to remember everything I’ve taught you. Keep your wits sharp and avoid people.”

“Everyone’s dead!” She felt guilty for shouting, but her frustration and anger at their situation was too much. “We haven’t seen anyone in weeks. Months even.”

survivor

He gave her hand a gentle squeeze. “You’re still alive and there will be other survivors. Everything’s changed now. Survival and self-preservation will rule people’s minds and hearts. You must be wary, sweetheart. Now, please pass me my box.” He indicated to the silver box resting on the coffee table.

Her stomach lurched as she got to her feet and picked it up. Inside was his Beretta handgun. She had the exact same model upstairs. They’d spent many hours practicing with them in recent weeks. Confused, she offered the box out. He’d emptied the fifteen-round magazine the previous day, ordering her to pack it with the rest of her ammunition.

“Thank you. Your mum and I couldn’t have loved you any more even if we’d tried. We’re so proud of you. We’ll be with you, watching every step. You’ve got to be brave. It’s going to be hard, really hard, but I know you’ll make it.”

Unable to speak, she tried to convey everything she felt and wanted to say in the fierce hug she gave him. His fevered flesh shook beneath her touch. She could already smell the familiar sickly sweet and pungent stench that came with the last stages. He didn’t have long.

“I love you,” she said, choking through muffled sobs.

“I love you, too. Now leave me.” His voice strained trying to remain strong and commanding.

She held on all the tighter, not ready to let go of him. When she did finally pull away, she refused to meet his eyes. She’d be strong for him. She’d gather her things, leave, and then when she was far enough away, she’d allow herself to break down. But not one second before, because she was brave, just like her dad.

She went to her room and checked everything one final time. It was hard to resist the urge to take more. Her bag was packed solid and heavy. But as she longingly surveyed the room, she saw photos and other sentimental belongings that she’d always taken for granted. Every single one of those items now seemed invaluable.

She laced her boots with trembling hands, shouldered her large rucksack, the weight pinning her. She slung the shotgun over her left shoulder and checked the gun holster on her right hip. Her own handgun was safely in place. She adjusted the leather sheath attached to her belt, allowing her fingertips to briefly caress the familiar smooth hilt of the six-inch hunting knife. In theory, she was ready to leave. The stark realization that she was ignorant and unprepared for what lay ahead was enough to physically paralyze her.

courage

The sound of her dad coughing downstairs snapped her from her thoughts. It was time to go. She gave one last longing look around the room that had been hers for her entire life. Even when she’d moved into a flat with Dianne, her parents had remained adamant that this room would always belong to her. They’d never changed a single thing. She stepped onto the landing and closed the door behind her, resigning herself to the knowledge she’d never enter again.

Downstairs, she lingered at the front door. She could hear the sound of her dad’s gasping breaths from inside the living room. She waited silently. A sharp pain stabbed through her heart. Neither spoke. The foreboding filled the silence between them. She racked her brain for something to tell him, desperate to initiate one final conversation or to just hear one more word from him. But there was nothing left to say. It’d all been said, and there were no words that could voice her heartbreak and grief. She refused to make this harder for him. She knew intuitively that however unbearable and painful this was for her, it’d be worse for him.

She gripped the door handle, pressed it down, and pulled open the door. She stepped over the threshold like she’d done thousands of times before and was greeted by the warm June morning. With bated breath, she paused one final time, her ears straining for the familiar voice. After a few long torturous seconds of silence, she closed the door behind her. She followed the orders he’d given her; she engaged the lock, pushed her keys through the letter box, and heard their jingle as they landed on the welcome mat.

She took her first tentative step away from the house, her heart tearing in her chest. She took another step, leading her away from the home and burial place of her mum and girlfriend. She wanted to go back to the garden one last time and say good-bye, even though she knew it was useless. There would never be enough time to grieve fully, or enough ways—or words—to say good-bye. Although the solitary future she now faced would probably offer her ample opportunity to try.

She reached the end of the driveway and closed the creaky iron gate behind her. Without purpose she allowed her feet to carry her down the familiar but deserted street. Cars lined most of the driveways and pavements. She numbly passed by each house, remembering the familiar faces of those who used to live there. She’d babysat for most of the kids on their street at one time or another. She’d laughed and danced with them during their street parties only a few years ago. They’d celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the 2012 Olympic Games with quintessential homemade buffets, plastic cups, patriotic bunting, and a mismatched variety of tables and chairs.

She rounded the corner as a sudden loud bang erupted, causing her to flinch in shock and grab for her gun. The silent morning echoed with the resounding sound of the single gunshot. Familiar. She knew it’d come from her dad’s handgun. With startling clarity, she knew if she checked the rounds in the magazine he’d given her yesterday, there would be one missing.

A single renegade tear escaped. She briskly wiped it away with the back of her hand. Inconsolable hurt filled her to the brim, but there was also a flicker of relief. He wouldn’t suffer the same excruciating, degrading, and horrific fate that her mum and Dianne had.

She’d never return to the house and break her promise.

There was nothing to go back for now.

“I love you,” she whispered, looking up to the sky, then bitterly chastised herself. Whispering was pointless when there wasn’t another living soul around to hear. Truly alone for the first time in her life, she began walking again.

No destination in mind.

No end in sight.

Renegade Cover

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I want to thank Amy for stopping by to chat.  It was fun getting to know her and her book is one that I don’t want to miss, and neither do you.  Don’t forget to leave a comment or question for a chance to win a copy of “The Renegade.”

For more about Amy, check out her links below:

Amy’s Facebook Page – She’d love to hear from you so stop by.

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Amy’s Goodreads Page

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authoramydunne@hotmail.com – She’d love to hear from you!

Amy’s Instagram Page – Like her photos.

Until Next Time,

Lynn

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Printed With Permission 2015