Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Please Welcome Author Amy Mullen

Today's featured author is Amy Mullen, who's celebrating her latest release with Astraea Press. Redefining Rayne is a Medieval Romance, and I find the premise absolutely fascinating. Please read on:

Tag Line: Will her most painful secret be the key to her greatest joy?

Rayne de Latham, cousin to King William Rufus, should be enjoying a life of privilege. Instead, she has only known misery. Her disastrous first marriage yielded nothing but pain, suffering, and three stillborn children. She believes she is cursed and is certain another pregnancy will end in another tragedy. When the king seeks to get rid of her by sending her to marry one of his knights, she will do just about anything to get out of her betrothal.
Widower Andre de Grelle is father to two small boys who came to him by marriage. When his first wife jumps off the castle walls in a fit of madness, he keeps the boys he has grown to love as his own. When king sends him a new bride, the lovely but troubled Rayne, he vows to have more patience with her than he had with his first wife.
Once Rayne arrives at Cuxton Castle, Andre realizes there is much more to her than meets the eye. She does everything she can to force him to send her away, but nothing works. Frustration grows as Andre discovers his betrothed is hiding something from him about her past, something so devastating she cannot speak the words out loud.
In the midst of a siege on nearby Pevensey Castle, a truth comes to light that changes everything. As the real story of Rayne’s past emerges, lives change forever. Will love be enough, or will it be easier to walk away?

Andre moved closer to her. His body was mere inches from hers as he lifted his other hand and slowly tilted her face toward his. Cupping her cheek, he wiped away a tear with his thumb. "You have no idea how fascinating you are," he whispered.
Involuntarily, her eyes closed and she tilted her chin up. She felt his soft lips brush hers and she started to tremble. The short, light touch of his mouth stirred something in her. A young maiden's dream of love, of being loved and cherished, welled up from a place where she had hidden her hopes a long time ago. She returned his kiss, but just for a moment.
Her eyes flew open, and she pulled her head back. This was all wrong. This was not how this was supposed to happen. In a rush to break the spell, she stammered out the first thing she thought of, "Someone will see us! Odo may come."
An expression of disbelief washed across his features and was replaced by irritation. "Odo? What has he to do with this? He is my guest but hardly has a say in what I do with you."
"You…" she stumbled over her words, "you… he is your…"
Andre stood and stepped away from her. He stared down at her, but she could no longer read his face. "Do your affections lie with Odo, Lady Rayne?"

Redefining Rayne can be found at Astraea Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and most other ebook outlets.

Amy Mullen is a freelance writer and romance author living in Corning, NY, with her husband, Patrick, her two children, and an orange cat named Steve. She has written two medieval romances called A Stormy Knight and Redefining Rayne.
Amy has been writing about love both lost and regained since she was old enough to have her first broken heart. Her love of history and her intermittent jaunts into amateur genealogy led her to a love affair with writing historical fiction. When not writing, she snaps pictures, gets nutty over football, enjoys the company of her family, and when time allows, loves to bury her nose in a good book.

Amy can be found at her website, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Best-Selling Author Sherry Gloag: Winter

Fellow Astraea Press author Sherry Gloag has been a past guest here at Creative Hodgepodge. Today we are trading places, so to speak, because we each have a Christmas book we want to share. Sherry's new book, Name the Day, was released a few weeks ago and it sounds as wonderful as her other romances. Please welcome Sherry as she shares her thoughts on the seasons:

Don’t get me wrong. I love the springtime when everything begins to waken and the birds start arriving from Africa, and the snowdrop, crocuses and daffodils appear. And the snow disappears! I love the summer warmth, and the colourful flowers, and the chance to spend as much time as possible out of doors. I love the autumn/fall because of nature’s gift of abundance, whether it for the spectacular colours as the trees turn from green to gold to red and to brown before they finally hibernate for the winter.
While I don’t like the cold that comes with winter, I do enjoy it when the birds congregate in the garden waiting for their food. I like giving myself permission to snuggle up with a good book in front of a cosy fire. And, of course, I can also give myself permission to get lost in my writing without feeling guilty because of all the other distractions calling for my attention… And then there is December – a month of celebrations, including a wedding anniversary, birthdays and Christmas.
Winter feels like a cloak that wraps around me when I am in front of my computer. I can forget about the outside world and immerse myself in my characters and their adventures. At least that’s my excuse!
What is your favourite season, and why?


Renowned portrait artist Samantha Brown is through with men. After dealing with an overbearing father and cheating ex-fiance, Samantha is not in the market for romance, of any kind. Give her a blank canvas, some paints and brushes and she’s in charge of her life. There was no room in her life for love, so why did she find herself giving in to Rafael Santini’s outrageous demand that she paint his portrait?
Satisfied with his upcoming marriage of convenience Rafael Santini isn’t in the market for love. So, how come he finds the pint-sized artist stirring up emotions he didn’t have time for?
An accident forces Rafael to re-evaluate his life and wonder whether he can teach Samantha the art of love.


Why couldn’t the stubborn man get it? She wasn’t giving him any favours at the expense of her other clients. In his case, money would not talk. Almost all her clients were well-heeled, but most understood the time restraints. After all, as she told each person, including Rafael Santini, who contracted a commission they wouldn’t want her to rush their painting and offer them a sub-standard product, would they?
“Give me the names of your clients and I will arrange to exchange places in your queue.” His unequivocal belief pulsed across the airwaves. Did the stupid man expect her to break the confidences of her clients?
“Tell me, Mr. Santini,” she asked in her most dulcet tone, “if I asked for a list of your clients would you hand them over, simply because I wanted something?”
“Don’t be stupid woman. It’s not the same thing at all. I’m a businessman.”
Would someone please save me from stupid arrogant men, Samantha offered in silent plea to the ether without expecting any response.
“I may not deal in electronics and communications systems, or equipment for the world of espionage, secret agents, and private investigators, Mr. Santini, but I do maintain a strict code of integrity and honour and customer confidentiality.”
“Why would you need confidentiality to daub a few colours on a piece of paper?”
Is this guy for real? Does he think insults and condemnation will get him what he wants?
“Let me get this straight. You want my agreement to let you queue jump the rest of my clients, who, incidentally have all signed contracts to be here on specified dates at specific times, and then you will be quite happy for me to go around publicising the fact you are not only having your portrait done, but that you bullied, harassed and threatened me into agreeing to your terms? I don’t think so. Not to mention that in many cases the commission is usually a gift for someone special and total secrecy is not only expected it is essential.”
The silence at the other end of the phone was almost deafening.


Author Bio
Best-selling author Sherry Gloag is a transplanted Scot now living in the beautiful coastal countryside of Norfolk, England.  She considers the surrounding countryside as extension of her own garden, to which she escapes when she needs "thinking time" and solitude to work out the plots for her next novel.  While out walking she enjoys talking to her characters, as long as there are no other walkers close by.
Apart from writing, Sherry enjoys gardening, walking, reading and cheerfully admits her books tend to take over most of the shelf and floor space in her workroom-cum-office.  She also finds crystal craft work therapeutic.
Sherry loves to hear from her readers.  sherrygloag@gmail.com


You can find Sherry at her website, blog, Facebook, Amazon, Goodreads, and Twitter


To Purchase Name the Day, simply click on any of the company names below:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Character Interview: Once by M. S. Kaye

Today I am thrilled to introduce you to romantic suspense author M. S. Kaye. She's brought with her Jonathan and Rebecca, the two main characters from her recent release Once. Let's find out a little about them:

What do you do for a living?
I’m in seminary. I have three days before I take vows.
What is your vivid memory of your mother and father?
I grew up in foster care and have no knowledge of my biological parents, but I consider Father Thomas to be the only father I’d want. I remember the day we met. I was a child in the hospital with a badly broken leg. He saw I was alone and came in to sit with me. I didn’t understand what he expected of me, what he wanted me to say, but he didn’t make me talk. He allowed my silence as I watched the autumn leaves outside the window. It was the most comfortable I’d ever been with an adult. I couldn’t understand how he did that.
What is your greatest fear?
That people will discover the circumstances behind the scar on the side of my face.
What is something no one knows about you?  Why do you keep it a secret?  And what would happen if everyone found out about it?
I want to be a writer. My father wants me to be a lawyer and take over the family law firm—he doesn’t believe writing is a worthwhile career.
What embarrasses you?
How I sometimes control men to get what I want.
What do you find most appealing in men?
I hadn’t really thought about it until I met Jonathan. I admire how strong he is—he’s tortured by his past but has decided to dedicate his life to others.

by M.S. Kaye
Her first and also her Once.
 Jonathan is studying to become a priest. He is three days from taking vows. He will not be a priest.
 Rebecca’s major is pre-law. She is supposed to take over her father’s law firm. She will not be lawyer.
Their paths cross at exactly the right moment, when each most needs to hear what the other has to say. Jonathan’s structured life is turned sideways, but Rebecca also helps him learn how to forgive himself. It was self-defense, not murder.
Rebecca finds the strength to stand up to her father, to be the real her. If Jonathan likes her writing, it must be worth pursuing.
They must each struggle to forge a new path without each other’s comfort and strength, with only memories of the one day that changed everything.

Once Excerpt:
"What's the answer?"
He paused. "A switchblade."
With my fingertips, I reached out and traced the scar across his cheek. “Did you win?”
He removed my hand and closed his eyes. “Yes.”
I slid his Book back to him. “This says we can find forgiveness.”
His eyes still closed, his jaw clenched. He bowed his head. “It also says ‘Thou shalt not kill.’”
I took his hand in both of mine, petted his rough skin, and then brought it to my lips. He had a talent for guiding invisibly, but I didn’t know how to do that.
He watched me again. His eyes were intense, like the black of the night sky, and his forehead was furrowed, as if his emotions were scattered, as if he was shocked at my reaction, as if he had been sure his answer would drive me away. But I knew him. Already, I knew him.
“You’re still a good person,” I said.
His jaw clenched. “I’ve been trying to believe that.”
“I have faith in you.”
He continued to watch me. His forehead never smoothed, as if he was fighting for strength, but his eyes softened. He slid around the booth, closer to me.
I didn’t move, not sure what to do, what was right, what he wanted.
He leaned closer.
I only watched him.
He touched his lips to my cheek, the faintest pressure. I struggled to sit still, to keep my hands in my lap, not to grab hold of him. And then his lips were gone, such brief contact that I couldn’t be sure if he had actually kissed my cheek or if I wanted his contact so much that I imagined it.
He spoke in my ear. “You must be some kind of final test.”
My heart pounded into my ribs, against the point of the blade. “Are you going to pass?”
His lips brushed against my jaw. “I don’t know.”
He trailed to my neck, his mouth softly pressing. My hand curled into his hair, the other on his shoulder, holding, clutching. His mouth found mine, barely touching. His warmth invaded my head.
“God give me strength,” he murmured.
The door slid open, and the compartment filled with laughter.
He closed his eyes. Then he slid away from me.

Buy Link:

Author Bio
M. S. Kaye is a 4th degree black belt and certified instructor of Songahm Taekwondo. A transplant from Ohio, she resides with her husband Corey in Jacksonville, FL, where she does her best not to melt in the sun.
Contact M. S. Kaye at:
Twitter: @mskosciuszko

Also available from M.S. Kaye:
Fight Princess: Caught in an investigation of a mysterious murder, a female underground fighter from a high society family learns how to accept love.
iBooks - http://bit.ly/17Asczv
Barnes & Noble - http://bit.ly/1abP1LC
Liquid Silver Books (publisher – all formats) - http://bit.ly/172SszA

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Rue Allyn: Procrastination and the Author (well, this author)

I am honored to have fellow Michigan author Rue Allyn here as a guest today. She addresses one of my worst habits—procrastination!

Thank you very much Patricia for allowing me to share some thoughts with you and your followers. I like to slant my guest blog posts in the direction of the host’s blog. That wasn’t as easy as I expected here at Creative HodgePodge. I have personal reasons for not wishing to review other author’s books or even comment on them casually. I’m not a crafter (although I have done a crafty thing or two in my life). My lack of skill as a seamstress is only exceeded by my lack of talent in the kitchen. (I managed to scrape through with a D the sewing semester of Home Ec when I was in high school. I flunked the cooking semester completely.) I began to wonder if this blog would be a good fit. Then I noticed procrastination. Now that I am an expert at. So, Procrastination and the Author.

If you aren’t an author, or you’re just starting out, let me tell you that procrastination is a career killer. Publishing used to move at a glacial pace. An author would contract for a book with a publisher and it might be three years or more before that book made was released for sale. (Some publishers still operate this way, most have seen the electronic light.) With the advent of e-books and e-readers and the increasing costs of producing ‘paper’ books, publishing (and thus authoring) has moved into the 21st century and now operates at the speed of the internet. All of which means an author who does not have a large established readership may no longer indulge in procrastination.

Thank heaven I’ve been in this business to figure out what kind of damage procrastination can do before I contracted to write One Day’s Loving for Crimson Romance Publishing. One Day’s Loving is the first book I’ve ever contracted for before it was written. Yep. I signed on the dotted line with no more than a short blurb and 4 page synopsis to indicate what the story would be.
Crimson’s production timeline is extremely tight. I signed in February. They wanted to book for editing in June. Five months sounds like a long time right? Believe me it isn’t. I spent 30 days drafting the book. I spent sixty days revising that draft into shape good enough to send in for edits and I just made it. You’d think I still had sixty days left. Not so. In between drafting and revising One Day’s Loving, I went through edits on two other books, did at least three blog tours, took two short trips (2-5 days) with my hubby to show him I still loved him, and procrastinated (I discovered Jigsaw World on FB and I love Jigsaw Puzzles). 

I did turn my contracted manuscript in on time. However, I had moments—as I searched for the right piece to complete a puzzle—when I wondered if I was serious about my author career. It was that thought which got me through on time. I take my career very seriously. That doesn’t mean I never procrastinate. It does mean that I recognize my bad habits and allow for it when I schedule things. I knew that life activities and procrastination together would eat up a good two months of writing time. When I signed that contract for One Day’s Loving, I made sure I had a minimum of five months to deliver the book. By the way, procrastination isn’t bad (or not completely so). My mind is very active when I’m working puzzles which helps me work out story problems. What is bad is not understanding yourself and making commitments that you fail to fulfill as a result.

Leave a comment and tell me about procrastination in your life.

One Day’s Loving

Persephone Mae Alden is the invisible Alden sister, quiet, industrious, generous, kind-hearted, loyal and reliable.  The words used to describe Mae remind her of a well-trained dog.  She’s not happy about it, but what can she do?  She likes her quiet life and would be seriously upset if she had to defy convention like Edith or act on instinct like Kiera. But everything changes when necessity forces her to bravery and she must choose between love and family.
A horrifying bequest convinces Boston attorney James W. Collins V that Mae Alden needs a husband, and she’s just the type of wife he wants. The two of them will be a perfect match. Refusing his offer makes no sense, so why won’t the woman accept?

About Rue Allyn

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

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Please Welcome Author Lindsay Downs

Today my guest is author Lindsay Downs. I met Lindsay a few years ago through online author support groups when I first started publishing my romances, and have watched as he quickly made a name for himself as a romance author, especially in regency romance. He was kind enough to answer a few questions about himself and his writing, and share a bit about his new release, Don't Cross the Countess. Read on to find out how you can win a free copy!

PK: What do you do when you're not writing?
LD: When I’m not writing, which isn’t very often, I watch TV or read. Even then I’m thinking about either the book I’m working on or the next one.
PK: That's dedication! What would your fans be surprised to know about you?
LD: Now that everyone knows I’m a guy, check photo, I guess there aren’t too many secrets left except it turns out I really love writing regency.
PK: It's good to write what you love. What's your idea of an ideal vacation?
LD: To start with someplace in England where I can relax in a modest country inn where there’s no distractions except the beauty of the land. TV no, radio yes and internet would be good also.
PK: What was your favorite chapter (or scene) to write and why?
LD: Chapter Nine as it shows the hero, James, several different sides of the heroine, Lady Sophia Gardner.
PK: How did you come up with the title?
LD: I wish I knew. All I know is one day while driving, after starting the book, it just came to me.
PK: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
LD: You should give up trying to be a writer. As you can see I didn’t listen to the person.
PK: What has been the best compliment?
LD: “I couldn’t put the book down..” this was from a review and it made my week.
PK: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
LD: Write. Write. Then write some more. Take workshops either online or with a writing group. Most importantly, don’t give up. Oh, and keep writing.
PK: Do you ever experience writer’s block?
LD: Yes I have and it’s not fun to have. The last major time, about a month, occurred several years ago. Since then I’m had minor occurrences but since then I’ve found my solution-work on more than one book at a time. This way if I get blocked with one I’ve got another to work on.
PK: Do you work with an outline, or just write?
LD: I’m a panster and have always written this way. Once though, I did try writing from an outline and it was a disaster.

More about Lindsay:
What does it take to be a bestselling author? Determination, skill, talent, luck or taking a risk with a venture into a totally new genre. For me it was a little of some and a lot of the others.
In 2008 when I got two books published I thought it was due to skill; little did I know it was more luck than anything. Over the next three years I wrote, submitted, got rejected. I then did what I tell everyone who asks; I wrote some more. I didn’t give up.
More on a dare than anything I tried my hand at a regency, one of the most difficult genres because of the rules, which I might add I broke almost every one. Within two days of its release the book was on a best seller list and stayed there for two months.
Turns out it is all of the aforementioned.
After two failed marriages, one from divorce while with the other died unexpectedly I decided upon retirement to move. That opportunity came in September 2012 when I migrated to Texas.
For me, as a multipublished author, it was one of the best things I’ve done to date. Now, every day I can write, creating stories to take my readers to places they can only dream about.
I’m also a member of the Published Authors Network (PAN) by the Romance Writers of America (RWA).

Excerpt from Don't Cross the Countess:
In there were several rounds of venison, beef and even two pheasants of which she took one off the hook. That along with some fresh vegetables from the garden, which she’d collect next, and baked potatoes would make a marvelous and simple meal for them.
Stepping out she noticed he cocked his head to the side, raised brows telling her he wondered about the bird she had.
“Oh good. You get to clean the bird then I can finish preparing it for dinner,” she said, handing over the fowl to him.
“What? You don’t have someone cook for you?”
“Heaven’s no. Why should I? I’m perfectly capable of preparing a meal or two. Now, I’d suggest you do it outside in the backyard while I heat water for tea, which I’ll bring out when it’s ready along with some shortbreads.”
“Sophia, you continue to amaze and astound me,” he said before exiting to the rear of the house with the bird in hand.
Twenty minutes later she stepped out, tea tray in hand, and set it on the wrought iron table. Glancing around she saw James sitting cross-legged on the ground resting against an oak. On his lap was a plucked pheasant.
“Ready for tea?” she called out.
“Yes. Perfect timing as I only finished defeathering the fowl,” he answered as she watched him rise easily to his feet, pinfeathers fluttering everywhere.
“Good, would you put it in the sink so I can finish preparing it for dinner?”
A minute later he returned to a cup of tea and several biscuits.
“What else will we be dining on this evening? I did notice a nice little kitchen garden with several different vegetables along with tomatoes and lettuce.”
“Yes, thank you. When I’m not in town Mrs. Sullivan maintains it for me. In return she gets to keep what she wants for herself and the staff. Anyway, I thought baked potatoes and then I’ll see what looks best. I’m hoping there are enough green beans? One thing I like to do is barely cook them then make a simple dressing to go over them.”
“And the pheasant? I’m guessing you’ll roast it.”
“Yes but first I’ll stuff it with lemons and oranges to give a sweet and savory flavor to the meat. I’ll then slide some rosemary under the skin to act as a balance.”
“Again I must say, you amaze and astound me. I wonder what the ladies of the ton would say if they knew you cooked a meal for a Marquess.”
“Kind sir, if I was to hazard a guess, to a lady they’d faint and for your information I’m doing it for the man I love, who with me will defeat the traitors to the Crown.”
“Then, shall we finish our tea so I can assist you in preparing dinner as the hour is getting late. I also look forward to beating you in a game of chess.”
“Never,” she said, collecting the cups and with the tray in hand returned inside.
Together they worked in harmony on the preparation of the meal and cleaning up. Later they tied two games apiece in chess before fatigue overtook them and they retired to bed. This time sleep was somewhat foremost on both their minds as the morrow would and could set unexpected dangers on them.

Lindsay's books can be purchased at Secret Cravings at this LINK. OR leave a comment below to be entered for a free copy! One commenter will be chosen via a random generator to receive a pdf of this book. The winner will be announced on Friday, November 8!

You can find Lindsay at the following links:
Twitter- @ldowns2966
Lindsay Downs-Romance Author- http://lindsaydowns-romanceauthor.weebly.com/