Wednesday, October 19, 2016

~ Just Call It A Raven Thing ~ A CONSPIRACY OF RAVENS by Lila Bowen ~

It seems I have a bird thing going on this week! First, A RAVEN'S HEART. Now, A CONSPIRACY OF RAVENS. Actually, it's more than just a bird thing, it's a raven thing. Next I'll be becoming a Baltimore Ravens fan! Well, enough babble. Let's find out a bit more about Lila Bowen's A CONSPIRACY OF RAVENS...

Blurb ~

The sequel to Wake of Vultures, where a rich, secret world is hiding beneath the surface.

Nettie Lonesome made a leap -- not knowing what she'd become. But now her destiny as the Shadow is calling.

A powerful alchemist is leaving a trail of dead across the prairie. And Nettie must face the ultimate challenge: side with her friends and the badge on her chest or take off alone on a dangerous mission that is pulling her inexorably toward the fight of her life.

When it comes to monsters and men, the world isn't black and white. What good are two wings and a gun when your enemy can command a conspiracy of ravens?



Lila Bowen is a pseudonym for Delilah S. Dawson, who writes fantasy, horror, young adult, comics, and romance. She recently won the Steampunk Book of the Year and May Seal of Excellence from RT Book Reviews. Delilah loves fancy boots, trail rides, adventures, and cupcakes and lives in the North Georgia mountains with her husband, children, a Tennessee Walking Horse named Polly, and a floppy mutt named Merle.

You can find Lila here: 


You can buy CONSPIRACY OF RAVENS here:

Amazon Kindle:
B&N Nook:
Google Play:

Previous/Other books in the Shadow series

Wake of Vultures 
The Shadow Book I

Blurb ~
A rich, dark fantasy of destiny, death, and the supernatural world hiding beneath the surface.

Nettie Lonesome lives in a land of hard people and hard ground dusted with sand. She's a half-breed who dresses like a boy, raised by folks who don't call her a slave but use her like one. She knows of nothing else. That is, until the day a stranger attacks her. When nothing, not even a sickle to the eye can stop him, Nettie stabs him through the heart with a chunk of wood, and he turns into black sand.

And just like that, Nettie can see.

But her newfound sight is a blessing and a curse. Even if she doesn't understand what's under her own skin, she can sense what everyone else is hiding -- at least physically. The world is full of evil, and now she knows the source of all the sand in the desert. Haunted by the spirits, Nettie has no choice but to set out on a quest that might lead to her true kin... if the monsters along the way don't kill her first.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

~ You Need to Know the Way to A RAVEN'S HEART! ~

So happy to have my friend K.C. Bateman back! Kate is one of the most talented writers I've ever met, and you'll love her "kick ass heroines with interesting jobs," as she liked to describe them. She was on a few weeks ago, sharing an interview with us and the first in her Secrets and Spies Series, TO STEAL A HEART. Now she's back with Five Fun Facts about herself and the second in the series, A RAVEN'S HEART, released today!

Five Fun Facts

1) I have a not-so-secret double life as a TV antiques expert. In addition to writing historical romance, I am also a Director of my own auction house in the UK - Batemans. Many people know me from my work as an antiques expert / appraiser on several British antiques-related TV shows; Bargain Hunt, Flog it! and Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is.

2) I once kissed the policeman guarding the door of No 10 Downing Street after attending a reception with the Prime Minister. I’m not saying any more about that!

3) I couldn’t live without teabags and a kettle. I really like a nice cup of English tea!

4) If I could live anywhere in the world I’d go to Italy. The landscape! The food! The wine! The art! I’d choose to live in a massive crumbling Italian castle perched on the edge of a cliff with a view of the sea and a lovely garden, scattered with good-looking Italian groundsmen and gardeners, of course! The fact that I don’t speak Italian would only be a minor inconvenience.

5) I can’t touch dry cotton wool – it sets my teeth on edge. And I hate writing on lined paper. I only buy square paper to make notes for my novels on; somehow the pages never seem quite as empty and daunting!

Now let's hear some more about A RAVEN'S HEART!

Blurb ~

When a bookish codebreaker and a dashing spy are reunited in this steamy historical romance from the author of To Steal a Heart, their lives depend on their ability to resist temptation. But fate is a mistress who cannot be denied. . .

England, 1815.

In the war against France, Heloise Hampden is a high-value asset to the Crown. When she cracks the enemy’s most recent communication, French agents are sent to kill her. But it’s the agent assigned to protect Heloise who poses the greatest threat to her heart: William de l’Isle, Viscount Ravenwood. Heloise has quarreled with the man they call Raven since childhood, yet always maintained a chaste distance. She’s sure nothing will change, thanks to the disfiguring scar on her face.

Nothing has changed. Raven still wonders how Hell-cat Hampden’s lithe body would feel pressed against his, but for the mission he must remind himself that the woman takes more pleasure in ancient languages than she does in seduction.

His imprisonment six years ago broke him in a way that makes the prospect of love impossible—he’s a shadowed Hades pining for sun-kissed Persephone. Still, his heart beats like mad whenever he’s within ten paces of Heloise, and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her safe—even if that means taking her to Spain as an unwilling hostage. Protecting her from danger will be a challenge; protecting her from desire will be pure agony.

Excerpt ~

England, June 1816

“I’m a spy, not a bloody nursemaid!”

William de l’Isle, Viscount Ravenwood, glared across the desk at his mentor, Lord Castlereagh.

The older man shook his head, supremely unmoved by his outburst. “Miss Hampden needs immediate protection. Someone’s targeting my code breakers and whoever killed Edward could also have discovered her identity. I can’t afford to lose her, too.”

Raven narrowed his eyes. “Use another agent.”

Castlereagh gave him one of those level, penetrating looks he so excelled at. “Who? Neither of her brothers are here; Nic’s in Paris, and Richard’s following a lead on that French forger he’s been after for months. Who else is left?” He pinched the bridge of his nose. “We’ve lost too many good men. First Tony got himself killed in France, then Kit disappeared. There’s been no news of him for months.”

Raven frowned. He refused to consider the distasteful probability that his friend was dead. Kit was like him, a master of survival. He could be deep undercover. But with every week that went by with no word it became harder and harder to stay positive.

“And now another good man, Edward Lamb, had been murdered,” Castlereagh sighed. “I don’t want Miss Hampden to be next.”

The older man was a master of applying just the right amount of pressure and guilt. He hadn’t made it to head of the Foreign Office without knowing how to manipulate people.

“You think I should entrust her to a less competent operative?” Castlereagh mused softly. “You’re not burdened by false modesty, Ravenwood. You know you’re the best I have. I was hoping you’d use your exceptional talent for survival to keep Miss Hampden alive, too.”

Raven sighed, well aware he was being backed into a corner. If it had been anyone else he wouldn’t have hesitated. But Heloise Hampden was the fly in his ointment. The spoke in his wheel.

A total bloody menace.

Hellcat Hampden had been the subject of his guilty daydreams for years. What had started out as adolescent musings had matured into fevered erotic fantasies that showed absolutely no sign of abating. He’d told himself the attraction was because she was forbidden, tried to lose himself in other, far more available women. Nothing had worked. And while he’d rarely paid much attention to the monotonous sermons preached by the clergy, he was fairly sure there was something in the bible that said “thou shalt not covet thy best friend’s little sister.” Or words to that effect.

He was the last person she should be entrusted to. He’d sworn to stay away from her. Had avoided her quite successfully—give or take a few blessedly brief skirmishes—for the past six years. Hell, he’d traveled to the far corners of war torn Europe to try to forget her.

And now here he was, drawn back to her by some malevolent twist of fate.

As if his life wasn’t cursed enough already.

Over the past few years they’d settled into an uneasy, albeit barbed, truce; it was a sad reflection on his twisted nature that he preferred sparring with her to holding a reasonable conversation with anyone else.

His blood thrummed at the prospect of seeing her again and he smiled in self-directed mockery. Few things increased his heartbeat anymore. In combat he was a master of his emotions, sleek and deadly and efficient. Fighting barely elevated his pulse. He could kill a man without breaking a sweat. But put him ten paces away from that slip of a girl and a furious drummer took up residence in his chest, battering away against his ribs.

He shook his head. Being near her was a torture he both craved and abhorred, but he had a duty to keep her safe. A duty to her family, to Castlereagh, to the whole damn country . Much as he’d like someone else to deal with her, he didn’t trust anyone else. She was his to torment.

Castlereagh, the old devil, smiled, as if he already sensed Raven’s grudging acceptance. “That’s settled, then. She’s safe at home right now. You can go over and get her in the morning.”

He rose and strode to the door of the study, then flashed an amused glance at Raven’s immaculate evening attire and the mask resting on the desk. “I apologize for interrupting your evening, Ravenwood. I’ll leave you to your entertainments.” 

What The Critics Are Saying ~
“The chemistry between Heloise and Raven is completely off the charts and their dialogue is just to die for. The highest compliment I can probably pay Ms. Bateman here is to say that many of these exchanges reminded me of Loretta Chase; they’re quick, snappy, witty, flirtatious, often quite revealing and, most importantly, feel completely natural and unforced.” Caz – All About Romance.

“Once you start reading it you do not want to put it down. I just can't wait for the next new book to come out by Ms. Bateman!! – Sissy’s Romance Book Review for You.

“Heloise and Raven make a fantastic pair -- the electricity is just zapping between them. I love that Heloise (Raven calls her Hellcat) is a code breaker and seems to be the brains while Raven is obviously the brawn. The juxtaposition of her light and his dark makes for a great story. This one sucked me right in and held me prisoner until the very end. A fun, sexy read.” Lisa – Goodreads Reviewer.

Author Bio ~

Kate Bateman (writing as K. C. Bateman) wrote her first historical romance in response to a $1 bet with her husband who rashly claimed she’d ‘never finish the thing.’ She gleefully proved him wrong with a historical set in the Italian Renaissance. Now writing for Random House Loveswept, her latest ‘Secrets & Spies Regency-era trilogy features her trademark feisty, intelligent heroines, wickedly inappropriate banter, and heroes you want to alternately strangle and kiss—all mixed up in the intrigue and turmoil of the Napoleonic wars.

When not traveling to exotic locations ‘for research’, Kate leads a double life as a fine art appraiser and on-screen antiques expert for several TV shows in the UK. She splits her time between Illinois and her native England and writes despite three inexhaustible children and a husband who has flatly refused to read any of her books ‘unless she hits the NY Times Bestseller list.’ It is—naturally—her fervent desire to force the semi-illiterate, number-loving cynic to do so. He still owes her that dollar.


You can find Kate here:

Author email:

Author website:

Amazon Author Page:


Facebook Author Page:

Twitter: @katebateman


You can buy A RAVEN'S HEART here:

Barnes & Noble



Google Play

All Romance: 

It was a pleasure having you, Kate! 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

~ This Book Will Be BETTER Than Your Last! ~

Please welcome guest blogger author Melanie Jaynes!


By Melanie Jayne

Many years ago, I met my friend at a reader’s con. We were both there to meet one of the authors and became immediate friends. I thought she was full of life and so bubbly. I swore that I could hear a giggle in her voice whenever she spoke. We continued our connection after the con, sharing life’s ups and downs.

I noticed over time that she didn’t seem as bubbly and her sunny outlook had become greyer. I hoped that she would confide in me what was troubling her, if something was troubling her. This past spring I received a text saying that her husband was leaving her and their two children for another woman. He didn’t love her anymore.

I was worried, and she was devastated. I knew that many times couples separate and get back together so I was very careful about my comments. If the couple reconciled then I didn’t want to be the friend who said terrible things about him. I spent hours listening and hurting for my friend. I held countless conversations with my husband about whether or not I should book a flight to see her.

I listened as she went through the various phases of grief. Being a confidant as she began to examine how her life had been in the recent past, how she had given up so much of herself in order to appease her husband’s needs. She became the smoother, if she could keep things the way he liked it then their life ran better. If he became upset, then everybody paid.

I cannot begin to fathom how difficult that life must have been. I was a part of her life, I considered myself her friend and yet, I had no idea how badly things were going, how trapped she must have felt, if she had the spare moment to feel. It physically hurt to know that I had been clueless.

Throughout the summer, she shared more and more about what their marriage had been. How mental illness and addiction had stolen the man she had fallen in love with. The worst part was that she still loved that man, but she was starting to accept that he was no more.

Slowly there were little signs that my old friend was returning. One Friday night she sent me a text. She was enraged over a Facebook post, and I knew that she was hurting, but I was happy to hear her anger. No more hoping for his return, no thoughts on how she could change things so that their love could be rekindled. She then started to slowly make plans for her future. Changes small and large were itemized and she decided that their marriage was over.

I’m proud to say that as I stood by, I watched my friend be torn down, broken, and then build herself up. She is not only responsible for her life, but that of her two teens. She is the epitome of the Mama Lion, a protector and proud. Today the divorce papers were served upon him. I hope that she gets everything that she deserves, especially happiness and self-worth, because she is truly a phoenix.


I should have known better. Women like me, average and unseen, don't have our dreams come true. And the one chance I had for my dreams, I watched die in our doorway while I hid on the stairs.

Now I spend my days terrified for my life and my nights resigned to the fact that I'll be dead soon.

He can protect me. Forde has the reputation for handling cases that blur the line between right and wrong. Yes, he can help me, but he's asking for too much from me – my trust, my body and for the chance to make my dreams come true.

If I could… everything would be Better.


(Link forthcoming)
Links ~ 

Amazon Kindle:

Author Bio ~ 

I live on a grain farm southeast of Indianapolis, Indiana with my very patient husband of twenty-five years and our two English Mastiffs, Buster Brown and Ginger. I graduated from Indiana University when it was the #1 party school in the country and I took great pride in helping the school achieve that ranking.

I haven't figured out what I want to be when I grow up. I change careers every decade. I have worked in retail, a federal courtroom, travelled across the state closing loans, and behind the scenes in a casino.

I've always had an active imagination so when a good friend suggested that I try writing a book, I thought why not, it should be fun. It has, but I have had to work very hard to learn how to do it. I am so lucky for the outpouring of advice and education from so many in the industry, plus the hand-holding and cheerleading from My Gurls. I also have an incredible Ad-man-istrative Assistant, who tries to keep me under control. He rolls his eyes so much that I worry about a permanent condition.

When I ‘m not working or writing type stuff, I sleep, watch courtroom TV shows, and sports. I was a competitive pro-am ballroom dancer for ten years and I read as many books as I can.

I love to attend Author-Reader Conventions and look forward to meeting you.







Previous/Other books in the A Change Series

A Change For the Good
Blurb ~ 

Two people starting over, making much needed changes in their lives.

Zoe Crawford has moved to a new city after being humiliated by her ex-husband. She is going to put her wants and needs first.

Tony Alessi has returned to his hometown to rehab his body and his soul, leaving his ATF career behind.

When Tony meets Zoe, he likes what he sees. Zoe is flattered but doesn’t want to pursue a cougar challenge. As she grows to trust Tony, she tells him some odd happenings about cars following her, call hang-ups, and a break-in.

When Zoe’s life is threatened, the couple hides in Tony’s cabin. They soon grow closer as they learn who they are and who they hope to be.

Will Zoe’s past ruin her chance to change her life for the good?

Links ~ 

Amazon Kindle:

Friday, October 14, 2016

~ This Billionaire Bad Boy is Going Down Fast! ~

A stand-alone Billionaire Bad Boys novel.

Billionaire Bad Boys: Rich, Powerful and sexy as hell.

Lucas Monroe dropped out of college only to become a multi-billionaire and tech world God. He can have any woman he desires in his bed, but the only woman he's ever wanted is off limits and always has been. When Maxie Sullivan finds herself in dire straits, the only man she can turn to is the one she's always secretly loved: her childhood best friend. Can they trust their hearts and make a future, or will their complicated pasts stand in the way?

This bad boy is going down fast …

And going down fast has never felt so right.


Links ~

Amazon Kindle:

B&N Nook:



Google Play:

Author Bio ~

After a successful fifteen-year career with various New York publishing houses, and over 40 sexy contemporary romance novels published, N.Y. Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Carly Phillips is now an Indie author who writes to her own expectations and that of her readers. She continues the tradition of hot men and strong women and plans to publish many more sizzling stories. Carly lives in Purchase, NY with her family, two nearly adult daughters and two crazy dogs who star on her Facebook Fan Page and website. She's a writer, a knitter of sorts, a wife, and a mom. In addition, she's a Twitter and Internet junkie and is always around to interact with her readers. You can find out more about Carly at
Links ~







Previous/Other books in the Billionaire Bad Boys series

Going Down Easy ~

Billionaire Bad Boys #1

Blurb ~

Billionaire Bad Boys: Rich, Powerful and sexy as hell.

Billionaire Kaden Barnes has a reputation for being difficult and always getting his way.

Enigmatic and exacting, he's unable to keep an assistant for long. Enter his newest hire, Lexie Parker. She's no-nonsense, efficient and all business… She's also hot as sin and soon starring in Kaden's dirtiest fantasies.

As their passion for each other reaches a boiling point, neither can control the explosive outcome when they finally give in to their desires. He may think he's calling the shots, but for this bad boy, going down easy has never felt so good.


Amazon Kindle:

B&N Nook:



Google Play:

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

~ Go Out and Get Ya Some BLOOD STAINED MEMORIES! ~

I'd like to welcome Kathy L Wheeler to the blog with her latest release, part of the A World of Gothic Series, BLOOD STAINED MEMORIES. If that doesn't sound eerie enough, wait to you read the blurb! But first, let's find out a little bit more about Kathy...

What is the best thing you’ve learned about writing and/or the publishing business? 

The best thing I’ve learned about writing and the publishing business is that I could finish something. I started with a 13,000 word Cinderella story called The Shoe the Other Foot Fit. Not an ideal title, right? Another 40,000 words later and a new title The Wronged Princess, and voila! I had the beginnings of an exciting new series.

Do you have hobbies that you’d like to share? 

I used to have a job outside of writing. For sixteen years, I was a computer programmer with the Hertz Corporation. But like many big companies, they went the skeleton, and overseas route. I had a couple of other positions since, but the sudden dip in oil prices hit the Oklahoma City market hard and I was once again laid off. My husband has his own business. Right at the time I was laid off from Devon Energy, he had hip replacement surgery and was out of the office for a couple of months. I helped out by answering the phones, running mail and typing documents for him, at the same time, completing The Mapmaker’s Wife, which incidentally, won 1st place in the Historical Short Category of the International Digital Awards. So now, I focus on my writing. I also took on the acclaimed 25th Annual National Readers’ Choice Awards as the Contest Chair for 2015. A rousing success! Now, I will be giving my first RWA Workshop at the New Jersey’s Put Your Book in a Heart conference on formatting for self-publishing. I’m very excited.

Where do you live, family, pets? Where would you love to live? 

Currently, I live in the Oklahoma City area. I was season ticket holder with the OKC Thunder NBA since 2009, but sadly, recently sold my season ticket package because we will soon be migrating to the northwest. I have a daughter in the San Francisco area, she has the cutest baby boy, and shockingly, another on the way. By the time, the 2nd baby arrives, baby # 1 will just have turned 2. I’m looking forward to seeing them on a much more regular basis!

What CD is in your CD player right now? 

Funny, funny question. Okay, for me, maybe not you. I graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma, which I recently learned is #23 in regional colleges. My degree is a BA in Management Information Systems with a vocal minor. I was almost 40 when I graduated. Too old to do anything truly spectacular with my vocal music except for, well.... karaoke. Okay, so I go the the bar and sing and am usually one of the better singers. Oh, right. You were asking what is in the CD player... Beauty and the Beast. It’s my vocal practice CD when I need to get my voice in shape. I use 3 songs from that particular cd: Home; Something There; End Duet / Transformation. I also love to sing Jewel’s Down So Long and Foolish Games. I also won $300 in a contest with Foolish Games and Celine Dion’s Titanic song: My Heart Will Go On. I doubt I could come close to singing that today. 

I actually karaoke "Foolish Games," too! And I LOVE "Home" from Beauty and the Beast! Beautiful song! Thanks for joining us, Kathy, and for sharing a bit of yourself with us. Now let's learn a little bit more about BLOOD STAINED MEMORIES...

Blurb ~

There on the Gulf Coast in the Florida Panhandle lies the ruins of a haunted, old armory...

Helena Abigail Evans-Ross remembers nothing from her past except the sting of her Aunt Lydia's hand almost knocking her head from her shoulders. "Don't look!" she screamed, just as Abby's gaze meets her father's blank stare, and the realization that she is holding the bloody knife that ended his life. She's home to learn the truth—but can she live with a truth is she is the one who murdered her own father? 

Excerpt ~

I glanced over to my handsome chauffeur. Water from his hair dribbled down a strong neck that disappeared into the collar of his rain-soaked shirt. He and Adam must be somewhere in their mid-to-late thirties by now. I knew his dry hair would resemble burnished gold. The light from the dashboard didn’t reflect the tone of his skin. 

I leaned back in the seat and let his accent wash over me. Its familiarity settled nerves drawn so tight I felt I would shatter with a sudden move. I cleared my throat. “Where do you call home, Mr. Creighton?” There wasn’t much of him that reminded me of that long ago young man, just the clipped British words, making it easier to remember to refer to him as Mr. Creighton.

He grinned. Most likely relieved I’d finally joined the conversation. “Call me, Ian. Manchester, mostly. I’ve been here since spring assisting Adam with his research. I spent summers here on the island as a younger man until—” He tossed a quick glance in my direction. “Well, I’d planned on returning home by now.” His gaze dropped to my ringless fingers before he shifted his attention back to the road. “Though I may find my stay here pleasantly extended.”

Until what? I wanted to scream. Instead, heat flamed my cheeks at his not-so-subtle regard. I curled my fingers beneath my tote and out of sight, at a loss for words. My goal on this quiet Gulf Coast island was not to find romance. My sole agenda dealt with the bland contents of the letter stowed in my bag. A letter stained with my own bloody prints.


Amz preorder buy link (won’t have the rest until the 8th):

A World of Gothic Facebook page:

Author Bio ~

Kathy L Wheeler (aka Kae Elle Wheeler) is the author of fourteen contemporary and historical novels and novellas that range from sweet to spicy. She has a BA in Management Information Systems from the University of Central Oklahoma that includes a vocal minor. She loves the NFL, the NBA, musical theater, travel, reading, writing and just to scratch the singing itch.... karaoke. She is a member Romance Writers of American and The Beau Monde chapter. She currently serves as editor of both, the Regency Reader and Novel Notes Authors newsletters. Kathy lives in Edmond, OK with her attorney and musically talented husband, Al. She has one grown daughter with an adorable baby boy and another on the way, and one bossy cat, who acts as if she were the rescuer rather than the rescue-e!!







Amazon page





Friday, September 30, 2016

~ K.C. Bateman ~ Writing Kickass Heroines With Interesting Jobs! ~

I'm thrilled to have my friend Kate, who writes as K.C. Bateman, in the spotlight today! Kate and I met at a local Romance Writers of America meeting, and from the first day that she brought pages in, 
it was clear that she is an extremely talented author. Kate's wit and clever turn-of-phrases make for a delightful read. I hope you'll all pick up a copy of her latest and I know after that she'll be an automatic buy for you. 

Kate used to joke that her Secrets and Spies Series was all about kickass heroines with interesting jobs. And she's right.  Book One, To Steal a Heart, has a heroine that is a tightwalking thief! Book Two's heroine is a codebreaker. You don't meet those everyday.

Whenever we brought pages into our RWA meeting, we all wanted Kate to read them because of her lovely English accent, so try to imagine her voice in her answers. And without further ado...let's find out more about K.C. Bateman...

When did your love for writing start?

I’ve always loved reading, but I stumbled across the romance genre quite late. I distinctly remember the occasion – I was taking a train into London, about an hour on the slow train (which as a 22 year-old graduate was all I could afford), and I randomly picked up a book at the station. The cover was subtle – not your usual wind-blown Fabio, and I didn’t really know what genre it was. The book was Ransom by Julie Garwood. One train ride later, and I was completely hooked on historical romance. But I never really considered writing a book myself – I was busy running my own auction house, being a fine art appraiser, and juggling work and small kids. It was only after I followed by husband to the US that I realized I would go crazy if I didn’t do something other than keep house and taxi the kids around all day. I’d studied English at University, so I knew I could put a coherent sentence together, and I’d read plenty of really awful historicals by this point, and I figured well, if they can get published, why shouldn’t I have a go. . . ? At least my historical facts will be accurate . . .

What is the best thing you’ve learned about writing and/or the publishing business?

You have to write the books you want to read. Don’t try to copy someone else’s style because you think it will sell. It will come across as forced. And always remember that you can improve your writing. The best thing I ever did was join my local RWA (Romance Writers of America) local chapter. It helped me connect with other authors whose support, encouragement, teaching and constructive criticism have been invaluable. I’m always learning ways to better my craft.

What is something you struggle with when you write?

I hate plotting. As my engineer-husband will tell you, I really hate organizing, timetables and planning, but I know it’s just stupid to start writing a book with no idea of your overall story arc, or major plot points. So every time I come to plot a new book I pretend to myself that I’m just ‘jotting down ideas’. I keep a notebook and write down a couple of key scenes or snatches of dialogue. I type them up. I work out the order they have to go in to make sense. I work out what scenes I need to slot in between the big scenes to join them together. And hey-presto! It’s turned into an outline / plot without me noticing! By the time I’ve turned all my scribbled notes into actual, readable sentences, the book’s almost half done. Hurray!

I love how you trick yourself to get the job done! How do you balance the demands of your everyday life and your writing life?

It’s tough. I have three kids under the age of ten, and it’s only this year that they’ve all been in full-time school. A good day is when I drop them at school and manage a solid block of writing before pickup. But I also think it’s really important to keep a work-life balance. You can’t stay slumped over a hot computer monitor all day, so I don’t let myself feel guilty for having lunch out with my girlfriends or meeting for coffee. Since I don’t watch a lot of TV, I sometimes get a couple of hours of writing done when the kids are all in bed – accompanied by just one small glass of wine . . .

Give us a brief glimpse at your road to publication.

Well, my first historical romance was set in the Italian Renaissance, which is, according to most publishers, a completely unsaleable time period. So I received numerous rejections, (ouch!) but took on board the fact that editors and agents liked my writing, but kept suggesting that I try writing a regency romance that would sell better. So I wrote another, straight Regency. I entered a couple of the RWA contests, and finalled in several, and from that I got a full MS request from my now-editor at Random House, Junessa Viloria. There was a terrifying moment when I sent her the full manuscript and immediately received a return email saying that she’d gone off on maternity leave – just my luck! – but one of her senior colleagues was checking her submissions and also liked the story, so I was offered a deal with Random House. I immediately shopped around to find a literary agent to represent me (having had lots of rejections from them too, I might add!), and strangely enough, it turns out it’s much easier to get an agent if you already have an offer from one of the Big Five publishing houses in your pocket! (classic chicken and egg scenario there). I am now represented by Patricia Nelson, at the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, who did an excellent job negotiating the contracts for me, and managed to secure a three book deal with Random House. She’s also just sold French Foreign print and e-book rights for To Steal A Heart to J’ai Lu, the French Publisher. I can’t wait to read my own book in French! Oh la la!

And I'll have you know that Italian Renaissance romance is awesome, and I hope it will be published some day. You talked about being an auctioneer earlier. Tell us a little bit more about that.

Before I came to the USA and started writing, I was actually an antiques appraiser with my own auction house in the UK. I also appeared on several British antiques-related TV shows (Bargain Hunt, Flog it! and Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is,) as an on-screen expert. I’ve always loved history – which is really just a whole bunch of stories - so it was a natural sidestep to use my historical knowledge to write historical romance.

Where do you live? Where would you love to live?

I currently live in Peoria IL, due to my husband’s work. I used to live near Cambridge in England (which is very lovely) and on the south-east coast of Spain. As to where I’d like to live, I love most places in Italy – the landscape! The food! The wine! The art! — so I’d choose to live in a massive crumbling Italian castle perched on the edge of a cliff with a view of the sea and a lovely garden, scattered with good-looking Italian groundsmen and gardeners, of course! The fact that I don’t speak Italian would only be a minor inconvenience.

I'm sure you could put up with it! If you owned a CB radio what would your "handle" be?

I think it would have to be ‘Auction fembot.’ It’s a name my husband gave me as a joke online alias years ago (I think just after Austin Powers films were released!) and I kinda like it! It sounds pretty kick-ass. No other truckers would mess with me.

No. Surely not. Once they saw your intimidating photo above, they'd want nothing to do with you, I'm certain. Name your favorite children's story.

It’s Goodnight Moon. I read it to my own kids now, and they love the ‘Goodnight nobody!’ page as much as I did when I was a kid.

What one thing (modern convenience) could you not live without?

A kettle and teabags. Without a doubt. Life’s just not worth living without a cup of tea!

That's the first time I've had that answer, but it's a good one. Thank you for joining us, Kate, and best wishes for To Steal a Heart and A Raven's Heart. 

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And Kate will be back on October 18th to share A Raven's Heart with us. So tune in! 

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