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The Ideal Location For My Love Story

Susan Rounds Author Interview

The Winds of Autumn follows a young woman newly married who accompanies her husband on the Oregon Trail while realizing her feelings for another man. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

During my childhood, I remember visiting the fairytale castle, Neuschwanstein, and watching the musical fantasy, Cinderella, on television. Both sparked my imagination and inspired the kind of dream world I would later write about. Jane Austen’s influence would too. The prince becomes the consummate gentleman. The castle becomes a grand mansion. But I also wanted to explore those idyllic notions during the difficult events in America’s past and see how love, like the characters, would find a way to survive the hardships. And, since the city of St. Louis was the starting point of America’s westward expansion, I felt it was the ideal location for my love story to begin.

What were some of the emotional and moral guidelines you followed when developing your characters?

My historical romance novel, The Winds of Autumn, takes place in the 19th century during a tumultuous period in America’s history. This setting allowed me to take readers on a narrative journey set against the backdrop of epic events during that time—the Trail of Tears, the War of the Rebellion (Civil War), and the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. These external events were also important catalysts for creating emotional conflict in my novel and between the characters. So much of a fictional story relies on creating characters that feel real to the reader. I wanted to make that real connection by immersing myself into the mind of my characters so I could feel every emotion they felt and what might happen if they acted on those emotions. Pain is a key motivator that can morph into resentment, or hope and love. I asked myself, what did my protagonist, Mariah, feel when she lost her sister, or Mariah’s mother when she lost her daughter? Those feelings run deep, and my personal experience growing up played a part in developing those characters. My antagonist, Nathan Lawton, faces a moral decision, one he justifies from a traumatic moment in his childhood that fuels his resentment with far-reaching consequences. It was important to raise the emotional stakes by forcing the characters to make choices, right or wrong. But the marriage customs of the 19th century left Mariah no choice when she realizes, too late, that marrying Nathan was a mistake. She suddenly finds herself trapped in her marriage which made me wonder, how was it even possible for a woman to follow her heart? Mariah’s internal struggles propel the story forward, forcing her into unimaginable situations but ones that ultimately transform her into the woman she was meant to be.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The title of my novel, The Winds of Autumn, uses the word “winds” as a metaphor for change, the main theme throughout the storyline. That transformational change is most evident in Mariah’s character, a refined young lady abruptly turned pioneer woman enduring the harsh plains of the American West. The theme, the sins of the father, was important to convey in Nathan’s character, giving the reader a clear understanding of his motivations. I found this to be a powerful theme because of its consequences to carry over generation to generation. After I finished writing my manuscript, I realized how central the meaning of home was in my novel, and how even a relationship can feel like coming home. And since my novel is about happily ever after, I wanted to exploit the theme of forbidden love as much as the hope that readers yearn for with the possibility of second chances.

What is the next story that you’re writing and when will it be published?

I’m researching the Gilded Age, a fascinating period in America’s history. I like the idea of that setting for a love story.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website | Instagram

A captivating love story transcending the American West, where secrets hide unknown consequences and true love fights for a second chance.
At the end of the War of the Rebellion, Mariah Renwick is still haunted by the memory of her late sister as she tries to piece together the remnants of an innocent time lost. All she wants is to bring happiness home again. Then dashing Lieutenant Nathan Lawton rushes into her life and becomes her new husband. But Nathan’s dark and tormented past hides revenge and betrayal as he stakes his claim to the Renwick fortune and his future out West.
Railroad magnate, Julian Marquette, has just returned to St. Louis to secure another bank loan from Mariah’s father. A brilliant mastermind, Julian orchestrates the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad, not for the sake of his own vanity but for the people of America. He’s a man borne of conviction for what he believes in, a passionate man who’s secretly been in love with Mariah since he first saw her two years ago. But now it’s too late . . . until an intimate moment together takes them by storm.
“It was there again, in that infinitesimal space between them, the subtle tremor of attraction, at once forbidden but about to collide.”
Torn between desire and duty, Mariah is caught in a crossfire as she faces unimaginable struggles on an epic westward journey that shows no mercy. Can Julian fight against impossible odds for the woman he loves, or is all hope lost?
Sweeping landscapes. Passionate characters. The consummate gentleman is back.

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In a world where love is the ultimate conqueror, navigating the complexities of merging one’s life with another’s can prove to be a daunting task. Alas, the scarcity of outstanding and eligible partners only adds to the challenge. Nevertheless, the quest for a compatible mate should never be abandoned, as destiny may have it that one’s soulmate is out there waiting for them.

Snowfall, a novel penned by the talented Hermione Lee, transports readers to a world where Pristina Cardin, an ice witch, resides in her solitary ice manor on a mountaintop. With little interaction with the outside world, Pristina found solace in the confines of her icy abode. Unbeknownst to her, a nefarious character lurked in the shadows, waiting for the opportune moment to rid the world of her presence.

It was not until another witch was hired to eliminate her that Pristina’s life was forever altered. Instead of carrying out the original plan, the witch cursed her with a timeline of one year, after which she would meet her demise by melting into the floor of her manor. Isolated and resigned to her fate, Pristina never envisioned the possibility of love or companionship until Gabriel, a wealthy wizard engaged to a manipulative woman named Marleigh, entered her life.

The novel’s enchanting storyline and portrayal of true love restores hope to those yearning for their soulmate. Hermione Lee’s vivid and engaging writing style effortlessly draws readers into the story, while the plot’s fast-paced twists and turns keep them guessing. The author’s ability to craft well-rounded characters with whom readers can connect emotionally is particularly noteworthy.

Pristina, the novel’s compelling protagonist, is a character that readers will undoubtedly adore. I highly recommend this book to fans of fantasy and romance, as Hermione’s writing is exceptional, and the story is both charming and engaging. It is with great anticipation that I look forward to reading more books by this incredible author.

Pages: 204 | ASIN: B0BWFQDD59

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He’s Bound For Termination

Victoria Saccenti Author Interview

Titanium Warrior follows a man and woman whose lives are intertwined by fate and their destiny that could destroy the world. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?

I’ve been a lover of Greek mythology all my life. The concept of the Titanian universe sprouted from the Greek Titans and what could happen to the world if Kronos’s magic was misused. The Titanian race, descendants of the Titans, was created to protect humans and creatures with god-like powers, but that ability carries a high price. Hagen the main character in Titanian Warrior appeared in an earlier book. At that point in the Chronicles, he was impulsive and too anxious to demonstrate his powers. He’s matured in Titanian Warrior. The weight of his rash actions weigh heavily on him and if he doesn’t atone and find his eternal mate, he’s bound for termination.

What was your process in writing the characters interactions to develop the bond they have?

I’m an instinctual writer. In the business that’s called being a pantser. I allow my muse to invite the characters in and speak their story. Faiza came to me naturally. Her loyalty to her family was an inspiration for Hagen and a source of frustration at times. Their bond is best explained in the pages of the book.

What were some of your inspirations as a writer?

Dame Dorothy Dunnett, J.R.R. Tolkien, Laura Esquivel, Jody Hill, and Isabel Allende, to name a few have been a source of inspiration. Whenever I hit the doldrums, I read a few passages from a favorite book and that sets the writing muse on fire.

What is the next book that you are working on and when can your fans expect it to be out?

My next book is a contemporary romance, with dark themes in the Central Florida Stories. The manuscript is with the editor and I hope to release it in May. Meanwhile, I’m working on another Central Florida Story. I’m planning on an end-of-the-year release.

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One woman holds the key to his destiny—and his people’s salvation.

Hagen drags himself to the gates of Hell, body and soul shredded by the bloodlust that consumes all the unmated of his kind. Awaiting the painful atonement that will buy him ten more years to find his eternal mate—or face oblivion. But Hades himself kicks him out with the bloodlust still prowling, unsatisfied, in his veins.

Bargained away by her parents to Master O, a mysterious and cruel wizard, Faiza serves in his household, keeping her small magic a secret, plagued by wild, confusing visions of a strange suffering male. Then her master brings home a wounded Titanian warrior whose touch sends ice, fire, and desire through her body.

When she learns Master O plans to use Hagen as a weapon to conquer all races, she devises a desperate plan to free him—a plan that opens a portal to a world she’s never known. And a destiny entwined with danger that could destroy them all.

Excitement, Danger, And Romance

Author Interview
Steven Donahue Author Interview

Unfriendly Fire follows two firefighters in a small town who find romance while trying to catch an arsonist. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

I like the metaphor of fire to show the passion between two people. I wanted to examine how that passion can motivate people to do good or bad deeds and how far someone will go to protect the ones they love. I chose the firefighting profession for its excitement, danger, and romance. 

What was your approach to writing the interactions between characters?

I wanted to have a near 50-50 split with the main characters’ POVs to illustrate how and why they reacted to the events in the story. I tried to get inside the minds of Wyatt and Kasey to fully explore their desires, fears, and aspirations.  

What was the hardest part about writing a mystery story, where you constantly have to give just enough to keep the mystery alive until the big reveal?

Providing just enough clues to the reader without giving too much away is a tricky tightrope for any writer. Pacing is important as you want to dish out important details at a proper rate. The other big challenge is keeping everything consistant throughout the story. Adding surprising twists and turns to a story is the most exciting challenge of writing a mystery. 

What is the next book that you are working on, and when will it be available?

I am working on a novel about JFK’s assassination that I plan to self-publish later in 2023. This coincides with the 60th anniversary of the event. 

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook

A Load Of Fear And Shame

Courtney Maguire Author Interview

Drive follows a gay man living in a conservative town who has to decide how much he is willing to risk to find love. What was your inspiration for the setup of the story, and how did that help you create the ending?

A lot of the setup is informed by personal experience. I grew up in a small town in Texas, not quite as extreme in views as Black Creek, but still not a safe place to talk about or explore queerness. In that situation, it can be very easy to latch onto the first person that shows you any kind of acceptance, even if it’s not a healthy one. While Victor may not have been the most ideal relationship parnter for Red, I don’t think he would have had the courage to approach Sean, even in a platonic capacity, without experiencing that acceptance.

What was your approach to writing the interactions between characters?

The main thing I tried to keep in mind is that they are all carrying around a load of fear and shame. Even Victor who seems so confident in himself is terrified of being outed and ostrasized by his community. The way they interact with each other and the world reflects this. Victor comes off as cold because of the walls he’s put up, Sean is deeply lonely, and Red walks around on eggshells between them.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

One of the major themes of the book is self-acceptance. At the beginning, Red believes that there is something wrong with him because that’s what he’s been told by his abusive father and by his community. He hides it away from everyone, even his sister who he adores, out of shame. It’s through his relationships with Victor and Sean that he realizes that there’s nothing to be ashamed of.

What is the next book that you are working on and when can your fans expect it to be out?

My next book is a dystopian sci-fi called A Perfect Heresy. It follows Jax, a soldier now branded a heretic trying to make it home, and Koi, a sick Outsider who’s is trying to find xyr sibling who was abducted, as they navigate through a city and society broken by war. It can currently be read in its raw form on Kindle Vella and I hope to release it in paperback by mid year.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Red has all but resigned himself to a life in the closet when he’s propositioned by the dashing, wealthy Victor Itachi. The small East Texas town of Black Creek isn’t the most hospitable environment for those who are different.
His secrets keep him–and more importantly, his sixteen-year-old half-sister, Katie–safe. But Victor’s dominance challenges everything Red thinks he knows and he finds himself swept up in an intense sexual relationship that forces him to confront his deepest desires, both in and out of the bedroom.
When an unlikely friendship with the only out gay man in town triggers Victor’s jealousy, Red must make a choice: submit fully to the relative safety of Victor’s control or risk it all for a chance at something real.

He Became My Muse

Patricia Elliott Author Interview

Her Lover’s Face follows the widow of an abusive man who starts putting her life back together only to discover her new boss looks like her late husband. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

“I used to work the night shift and it was often very quiet, so I started reading romance novels to help quell the boredom when I was in my mid twenties. After reading one, I was like, “hey, I can do that.” Writing was always a passion of mine, but I hadn’t yet written a full-fledged novel.

It wasn’t long after that, that an idea hit me full force. What if a woman’s abusive husband died, and she ran into a man who looked exactly like him? What would she do and how would she respond? The inspiration for the idea came from my high school days where I dated someone who was a twin. He became my muse as I wrote the story.”

Laryssa and Alex both have a lot of baggage to work through in this novel. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

“For Alex, he’s a gentle honorable man. Honor drives him to do what’s right even if that puts him in harm’s way. Honor and need were what drove him to provide for Laryssa, even if that meant stepping into a hospital for the first time since he lost someone special in the past. He’s a gentle soul, even though much of his soul is tormented, and he responds to his pain in ways that could be mistaken for callousness.

Laryssa spent so many years suppressed by a cruel man and vows to never be treated that way again. So she’s learning how to make her own choices again, but ends up having to do that around a man who looks like her abusive husband. This causes her to find strength and power in her convictions to never ever be treated like she was before. But like every mother out there, sometimes you don’t learn how to grow for yourself in your mindset, until you have someone you’d give your whole life for. In an attempt to give her kids a good life, it forces her to grow in her own self-worth.”

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

“The biggest theme that I based my novel around was to never let pain define you, your life, or your decisions. That pain doesn’t have to control you and you can rise above it. People have a tendency to close themselves off to things that can make them happy when they don’t think they can handle any more pain if things don’t work out.

Some people throw themselves into their work, becoming work-a-holics, to avoid the pain of their past and never truly facing what they went through…never growing as a person, choosing rather to avoid life. So this was the concept that I decided to explore because life is wrought with pain, but it can also be full of beauty if we know how to look for it and be willing to step outside the cocoon that we sometimes build around us.”

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

“I’m currently working on a psychological thriller romance duology which follows a young woman as she experiences just how horrible the world can be at the age of 19th when she gets pulled into a nasty game in the middle of the woods. The working blurb for book one is as follows:

“In the middle of a forest, in an unknown location, is a game. A psychological game designed to play with the mind until it breaks.

The man responsible wants fresh meat. Someone who hasn’t experienced the horrors of the real world. He wants to see how long it would take to make them fall apart, to make them wish for death.

Combing the city of Surrey, he spots his next target…a young librarian named Jenna McCay.”

The cover has been created and the story is going through its last round of editing, so I’m aiming to have the first story out June 1st. Book One is called “Her Prison, His Game,” and Book two is called, “Beneath His Hands.”

I do have a number of irons in the fire, including book two of “Her Lover’s Face,” which is currently with my publisher and will hopefully be released in the near future as well. It’s called “His Sweet Addiction,” which follows the lovely Joanne from the first book.”

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Website

Laryssa Mitchell is one of the lucky ones. The death of her abusive husband finally allows her to live again on her own terms, making her own choices. Her first official decision is to take back what was lost – her independence and her old job. But she soon finds herself in a living nightmare when she meets her new boss. If her husband is rotting in hell, then who is the man standing in front of her with a dead man’s face?

Alexander Richards doesn’t expect to catch an unconscious woman in his arms on his first day of work, nor does he envision himself willingly setting foot in a hospital again, reliving his painful loss. But that’s exactly what he chooses to do when Laryssa needs his help. Why?

She has a story to tell. He has a mystery to solve. In the midst of danger, passion sizzles between them, taking them by surprise. What will happen when all is brought to light? Will they be able to overcome their traumatic pasts and find love in each other, or will their ghosts have the final say?

Her Warrior Spirit Rises

Phyllis A. Still Author Interview

Palisades of the Heart follows a troubled young woman in 1776 who moves to Western Virginia and falls in love for the first time. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

Returning Mary and her family to the Cooks Fort settlement merges the fictional story with the factual location where William’s and Mary’s love story began.

Mary has shown great growth from the earlier novels; what were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Thank You. I’ve shown Mary’s developing survival skills throughout the series, but now she is weary and vulnerable. Her lifelong goal of security hasn’t changed, but her love for William challenges her determination to remain safe. When the danger she fears comes for her and those she loves, her warrior spirit rises and solidifies her destiny.

What is your background and experience in writing, and how did it help you write the Dangerous Loyalties series?

A Junior High teacher identified my writing talent, but my outdoor adventures as a child developed my imagination. When I learned of the tribulations Mary and William endured during the American Revolutionary War, the spark to write a fictional account of Mary’s teen years ignited.

With this series ending, what is the next book project you are working on? 

I’ve ended the young adult series as happy for now, and I’ve explored how young Mary developed the survival skills needed as an eighteen-year-old to keep herself and young son alive in the future. Now I’m writing her biography, The Story She Couldn’t Tell: The True Account of DAR Patriot Mary Shirley McGuire.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

“A curse on your firstborn son if you return.”
Loud Hawk’s warning gripped Mary Shirley by the throat and wrenched her heart.She vowed she’d never settle in Kentucky.
When fifteen-year-old Mary and her family arrive at Cooks Fort in the Greenbrier Valley of Western Virginia in August 1776, she is strong-willed and resilient but in need of peace from traumatic events. She hopes for a fresh start and courtship from William McGuire.
William is a rugged, no-nonsense scout for Cooks Fort, who dreams of raising fast horses on the fertile meadows of Kentucky with Mary by his side—when she’s ready to trust in his and God’s protection. Yet his love for Mary remains travel-through-blizzards boundless.

Another man seeks her affections, but only William’s love can conquer the palisade of fear protecting Mary’s heart.

When a vengeful shaman’s lie endangers all she holds dear, her warrior spirit rises into action. She will no longer live in fear.

Inspired by Daughters of the American Revolution Patriot Mary Shirley-McGuire.
Palisades of the Heart is a sweet emotionally riveting Young Adult Historical Romance is the fourth and final book of the thrilling award-winning Dangerous Loyalties Series.

If you enjoy an emotion-packed romantic story packed with heart-racing and gritty scenes of life or death, this Young Adult Historical Romance is for you.

Buy Palisades of Heart and enjoy your dangerous adventure … Let me know you survived.

My Own Disastrous Dating Life

Gracie Cooper Author Interview

Loving Whiskey follows a successful bar owner who crosses paths with a busy single dad who challenges her self-imposed love ban. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

I’m a huge fan of romantic comedies and though being a single parent or running a busy is nothing to laugh about, sometimes life throws you a funny bone and gives you something to chuckle over. I can’t really say what in particular inspired the storyline. Maybe it was my own disastrous dating life. What I do know is finding your person, is not always easy, but when you do, it is so worth the wait. 

Willow and Colton are interesting and well-developed characters. What were some driving ideals behind their character’s relationship?

I love the idea of friends supporting friends. Being loyal, truthful, independent and honest with each other even if it hurts. That to me is the value of friendship. It doesn’t matter their background, race or how they identify. “Ride or Die” like the saying goes. I believe both Willow and Colton have this trait for both their friends and family and for each other. 

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Besides the instant attraction between Willow and Colton, I wanted to explore the idea of sun-plots with the story itself. It would give the readers an idea of what the next possible book would be. I also like the idea of “Easter Eggs” hidden within the book…like they do in the movies. Did you catch on to Wes playing scrabble with a certain nurse? Know who the nurse could be? (Wink wink)

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am wrapping up Book 2 of Martini Girl Bar (Luna & Levi) and have started a few scenes on Book 3 (Mila & Beck). I hope to have book 2 out later this year. 

I’ve also have two other stand-alones that I am excited about (paranormal rom-com). More on those at a later date.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Tired of dating, Willow Lawson gives up on love and focuses on the expansion of Martini Girl Bar. She is officially on a man-strike – until she meets Colt. Colton Royce has his hands full raising his four-year-old niece and seventy-two-year-old grandmother. But when a chance encounter to play music again knocks on his door, he takes it. Lightning strikes when Willow and Colt are around, proving love enters when they least expect it.
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