New Release from Jenn Langston

I’m pleased to welcome my fellow Soul Mate author, Jenn Langston here today to celebrate the release of her historical romance, Embracing the Knight. First, a little about the story:

embracingtheknight2_200Miss Claire Ashford knows exactly what she wants out of life – to marry for love. When she finds herself alone in the woods with none other than notorious rake, Ian Michael Caldwell, Viscount Knightly, her chances of a proper match are ruined. He is willing to sacrifice himself for the sake of her reputation, but she is determined not to marry anyone out of obligation.
For years, Ian has wanted nothing more than, one day, to marry Miss Claire Ashford. When fate forces them into a compromising situation, he vows to do just that. In spite of every effort, she refuses his suit. Not one to easily give up, Ian drafts assistance from an unlikely source.
As her first season continues, Claire finds it increasingly difficult to keep her distance from Ian. His charm, and ability to stir feelings inside of her she didn’t know existed, makes it hard to remember why she refused him in the first place. With his relentless pursuit and her weakening resolve, she desperately wants to give in to him. However, after seeing he hasn’t changed his rakish ways, how can she trust him not to break her heart, again?

You can find Embracing the Knight here on Amazon.

Now I’d like us all to get to know a little about the author behind the book.

Claire: Were you already a great writer? Have you always liked to write?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJenn: I wouldn’t say I was already a great writer, as my writing improves with every word, but I have always loved to write. When I was in high school I had a notebook I would write short stories in. Definitely not my best work there.

Claire: What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?

Jenn: Keep writing. If this is something you are passionate about, stick with it. You may not make it on your first book, or the second, but if you keep improving your craft, you will reach your goals.

Claire: Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad or perhaps do not read your reviews?

Jenn: Ah, yes. Reviews. I do read every single review I receive on Amazon and Goodreads. Sometimes I wish I could resist, but I’m powerless against the temptation. Sometimes I find something in the bad reviews that help me improve in my future books. And the good reviews give me a reason to keep on writing. Regardless if the review makes my heart melt or tears prick my eyes, I do not respond. Remember this is all subjective and every person has their own opinion. Agree or disagree and move on to reread your favorite five-star review.

Claire: If you could have any accents from anywhere in the world, where would you choose?

Jenn: Give me a British accent any day of the week. Or maybe not. I’d spend so much time talking to myself I’d never get anything done.

Claire: Ha! I have to admit, I’m a bit fond of the British accent myself. Grew up on the Beatles, love Adele, so how could I help it? But tell us, how long did it take you to realize your dream of publication?

Jenn: I didn’t begin seriously writing until 2008. Once I finished that first book, entitled Unwanted Bride, I started sending it out to publishers and agents. It wasn’t until I wrote my third regency romance (my forth finished book), His Perfect Bride, that I was offered a contract from a publisher. I signed in 2012 and the book was released in 2013.

Claire: How about background music while you write? Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? If so, what kind?

Jenn: I am a huge music lover. Alternative Rock, Christian, Country, Pop, R&B, and a number of other genres are on my MP3 player. However, I just can’t write with it on. I get so caught up in the music, the next thing I know, I’m singing along with a pen in my hand.

Claire: I hear you! That’s why I choose instrumental music for background. Can’t sing along if there are no words. So tell us, what is you are working on now? What is your next project?

Jenn: I am working on the second novel in the Touched by Fire series. It’s called Enslaving the Day. I am really excited about this new series. It’s very interesting to work with heroes who have suffered burns in a fire when they were young. In book two, my hero, Gordon, has burns on the palms of his hands and has no feeling in two fingers. It adds a whole new dimension to the book.

You can buy Embracing the Knight on Amazon here, and you can find out more about Jenn Langston here:

Website, FacebookTwitterGoodreads

Amazon Author Page

Thanks so much for being my guest today, Jenn. I wish you much success with what sounds like an intriguing and captivating journey!

~~~

Claire Gem is the author of four romantic novels in the genres of paranormal, romantic suspense, and women’s fiction. You can find Claire here:

WebsiteFacebookTwitterGoodreads

Amazon Author Page

 

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Haunting Halloween Blog Hop!

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Welcome to our Blog Hop!

There’s no doubt, Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I live in New England, where the colorful autumn leaves and crisp chill in the air really get me in the mood for Halloween. But where am I headed? To Florida!

Yes, that’s right–ever since my grandson was born four years ago, I fly down every year for Halloween. It’s our family tradition, one we all look forward to. My grandson, daughter, and I all dress up and do the door to door thing. There’s also a cool neighborhood near her in Tampa where the decorations are over top–almost like a trip to Halloween Horror Nights!

img_8634The big decision every year is “what will we dress up as”? This year was easy, after my grandson took the lead. He’s going as Jack from the Nightmare before Christmas. Here he is, all dressed up and ready to go.

So now the rest is easy: my daughter is going as Sally, and I as Shock the Witch!

As part of this fun Halloween Hop, I’m giving away a free eCopy of my Award Winning, spooky, haunted romantic suspense, Hearts Unloched.

hul-cover61-500x800A pyschic interior designer reluctantly agrees to renovate a sexy investor’s crumbling hotel on Loch Sheldrake, a lake rumored to have once been the Mafia’s body dumping ground.

For the giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Enter Here!

For more about Hearts Unloched, which will soon also be available in audiobook on Audible, click Here.

Now I’d like to tag the next participant in our Haunting Halloween Blog Hop, Sorchia Dubois.

Take it away, Sorchia!

~~~

Claire Gem writes intensely emotional romantic novels about strong women, starting over ~ redefining Romance

You can find Claire at her Website or Amazon Author page

Fire and . . . Nice

fire-1241199_1280Bonfires. Fire pits. The open hearth. Obviously, I’m not the only one who’s drawn to fire—and not in a weird or unusual way (i.e., I’m not pyromaniac!). But I will admit, I’ve always been drawn to the magic of fire. A controlled, planned, contained arrangement of dancing flames.

An ever-changing screen-saver for my life.

The house I grew up in had a big, open, fieldstone fireplace. Early on, even before oil began its inevitable rise to unaffordable, my father would light a fire in the hearth on special occasions: family gatherings, holidays, nights when the blowing wind and snow took our power out. And I, even as a small child, would plant myself just beyond the uncomfortable zone of the heat and snapping embers to stare, in wonder, at the light show.

Fire has fascinated man since the Early Stone Age. It frightened him, challenged him, and eventually became his best friend. His ally against man-eating foes, as well as his tool. Many cultures still worship fire, and have rituals and celebrations built around it.

Fast forward a dozen years, to my senior year in high school when the annual bonfire celebrated the homecoming game. I was the geeky, shy, bookworm nerd who never attended any school events (I went to one football game during my entire high school career—and hated it). But I went to the bonfire. There just seemed something magical about this tradition. I stood on the outer edges of the “cool-kid crowd,” and stared mesmerized at the leaping orange and red tongues licking toward the black night sky. Although I did nothing you could even remotely call social that night, I went home feeling renewed, and somehow more complete.

candle-498037_1280Later, when I set up household with my husband, we had no fireplace, but we did have a woodstove. Now, these are nifty gadgets with which to heat a home during brutal upstate New York winters. But their steel doors must remain closed in order for the unit to operate properly. So not fair. In retaliation, I found myself collecting candles, lighting one in almost every room of the house as the short days cloaked our home in darkness even before the supper table was set.

Over the years we’ve had a number of fireplaces, and I eagerly accepted the role of fire-builder. And I got very, very good at it.

I think I’ve passed the obsession on. I recently spent a week visiting my son in Florida (we now live in Massachusetts). He’d just purchased a fire pit. As we sat on his back porch, he tried night after night to get that blasted fire going. But no matter what he did, the fire just wouldn’t catch.

So, at the risk of bruising his male pride, I demonstrated my technique of starting the perfect fire. Within minutes, it was roaring. The grim set of his lips told me he wasn’t happy to have been outdone (especially by Mom), but I know one thing for sure—he’ll use my method from here on in.camping-700215_1280

This past weekend my husband and I spent a magical night in Lake George, N.Y., one of my favorite places to be, and the setting for my Love at Lake George Series. This trip, though, was for R&R. When our usual accommodations announced they were closing down for the season, we ended up at a Best Western up the road. We lucked into a premium suite at a fabulous rate—complete with fireplace, Duraflame log, and pack of matches.

Can you say *sigh*?

img_1031Now, starting a Duraflame log makes my usual process of fire-making look like brain surgery. But I’m not complaining. One match, forty-five seconds, and we had a gorgeous fire casting its warmth and glow over the entire suite. And while my husband sat on the sofa and watched TV, where was I? Sitting on the floor, wine glass in hand (it was actually a plastic cup, but no matter), gazing at the flames.

The Yule Log. Are you familiar with it? I mean, the TV version. Beginning in 1966, WPIX began airing an uninterrupted, static clip of a brightly burning fireplace log for several hours during the holiday season. It has since spread to other stations, and as far as I know (and hope), the program will continue to air, complete with traditional carols playing. In fact, the end scene of my women’s fiction, The Phoenix Syndrome, features the Yule Log accompanied by Carol of the Bells on Christmas Eve.

In recent years, I haven’t needed the TV version. In my home office, I have a lovely brick fireplace. My daughter and I have made it a tradition to wrap gifts here, sitting on the floor in our PJs, wine glasses nearby, with a fire crackling in the background. But after this weekend’s experience with the ease of a Duraflame, I don’t think I’ll be hoarding newspapers or scouting up kindling this year.

Do you love to watch a fire? Light candles to set a mood? Share with me your rituals that have to do with dancing flames. And make me feel like less of a closet pyromaniac.

~~~

Claire Gem is a multi-published, award winning author of emotional romance—contemporary, paranormal, romantic suspense, and women’s fiction. She writes about strong, resilient women who won’t give up their quest for a happy-ever-after—and the men lucky enough to earn their love. Visit her at her website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another #RomanticTravel Destination!

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Join me in welcoming Rachelle Paige today for another segment of #RomanticTravel destinations. She’ll be sharing with us some more about her new release, inspirational romance novel, Coastal Erosion.

ebBlurb: Civil engineer Kim Meyers has built a solid career on establishing order in the midst of construction chaos. Living off the coast of Georgia as a Midwest transplant, she’s made a life for herself amidst the waves, tourists, and palm trees of the Golden Isles. Keeping her focus on her work and her community, she hasn’t had time to stop and consider how much she’s already lost. Until her former flame, Landon Beau IV, swoops in and snatches up her next project.

Excerpt: Clack clack clack, the head council member’s gavel slapped against the folding table bringing order back to the room. The hum of murmured conversations shared between the locals dimmed. Planning commissions meetings had grown into increasingly crowded affairs as development of St. Simons Island exploded.

Suddenly, a familiar set of aqua eyes caught her attention.

What on earth was he doing here?

A spark electrified her, shooting down her back and through her limbs. No one could instantly make her crackle with awareness like Landon Beau could. For some reason the sizzle had lasted for more than ten years.

Kim didn’t know if she wanted to laugh or scream or cry.

But today she couldn’t let him distract her from her mission. She understood what she had to do. She needed to help the Society of Coastal Living, aka SCL, to save the stretch of land on the north end of the island near her grandmother’s house. She wouldn’t rest until the island had no more room for development.

Control. Order. Efficiency.

She had to stay focused.

The council member cleared his throat to address the crowded room. “We will be moving forward with LB Holdings, granting a preliminary rezoning permit for a subdivision. They have proposed a development that meets all the necessary specifications and requirements, and this committee feels will be a benefit to the island.”

Her chest seized as the words reached her. She had failed. An even worse, she’d let down her Grandma Rose.

Her vision blurred. She didn’t see the council members conclude the meeting or her fellow volunteers from the SCL get up and leave. The scrape of metal folding chairs being dragged against the floor echoed in her ears drowning out all other sounds.

LB Holdings would be tearing apart the land just down the street from Grandma Rose. Her quality of life would be destroyed. The rumble of trucks and crash of machinery would become a constant soundtrack for the next year on Grandma Rose’s wraparound porch, blocking out the sounds of the marsh. And the reward at the end would be a congested nightmare to get to and from her grandmother’s home. How could she have let her best friend down?

Why hadn’t she pushed harder? Why hadn’t she gone door to door to get support? Why hadn’t she done more?

Questions and regrets circled in her mind, keeping her gaze hazy and unfocused until a warm palm on her shoulder suddenly made her flinch. She jerked her hands up to a defensive position, palms out in front of her face, and then froze.

Standing before her, he was impossibly handsome with his chiseled features and sandy blonde hair styled without a strand out of place. His piercing blue eyes locked onto hers. She opened her mouth but nothing came out. Her gaze drifted to his lips, transfixed by the easy smile that made his mouth off-center.

Buy Coastal Erosions on Amazon Here

Rachelle’s favorite Fall #RomanticTravel Destination:

img_5374I love Georgia’s Golden Isles, the setting for this book series. Jekyll Island is an especially romantic place with beautiful stretches of sandy beach begging for a lover’s stroll, bike paths galore perfect for bicycles built for two, and lodging at the Jekyll Island Club built by the millionaires of the Victorian Era.

And here’s a little more about Rachelle Paige, Author:

headshotRachelle stumbled into the world of romance novels in college; as a way to help speed up reading through Art History textbooks. After years in the professional world writing dry grant proposals and auction descriptions, she started writing the contemporary romance stories she wanted to read. Setting her books in some of her favorite destinations was her inspired way to require plenty of research trips every year with her family.

You can connect with Rachelle here:

WebsiteGoodreads, Twitter, Facebook, & at her

Amazon Author Page

Shedding Summer

Although I mourn the passing of the long, languid days of summer, autumn has its own unique effect on me. I guess it’s the sense of change. Very much like spring, fall incites me to do things. Clean out my closet, reorganize cabinets, tidy up my desk (a monumental task that really should take place weekly, not seasonally!). Spring fever doesn’t only hit me in the springtime. bucket-303265_640

This year I’ve already accomplished so much—I dusted surfaces that haven’t seen the light of day since May.    I weeded out my cosmetics drawer. My desk is embarrassingly orderly. I still have the task of switching out my wardrobe, since my bureau & closet aren’t four seasons big.

Later today, I’ve promised myself.

There’s a sense of urgency about the season that keeps me motivated. Maybe it’s because the days are shorter. Since I’m one of those people who dozes off the minute it gets dark, I know I have less time to get things done.
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Autumn also revives my love of baking (much to my family’s joy!). We have an apple tree in our back yard that usually supplies me with multiple bushels to be transformed into pies, crisps, cakes, and applesauce. This year, because of a late spring freeze, the tree produced only one apple. ONE. That isn’t going very far in the recipe department.

But I thought I’d share with you a special recipe for AppleFest Cake, which is one of my family’s favorites. It combines two of the season’s specialties—apples & pumpkin—into a moist deliciousness I’m sure is chock-full of calories.

But winter’s coming right? Time to pump up those fat stores 😉

AppleFest Cake

1 stick butter

1 ½ cups sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 ½ cups diced, peeled apples (about 2 medium—& 1 more than my tree gave me this year!)

1 cup canned pumpkin

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking Powder (not soda)

¾ teaspoon baking Soda (not powder)

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon each of nutmeg, ginger, & ground cloves

2 teaspoons orange or lemon zest (this is the dried stuff in the spice section)

Sift dry ingredients in one bowl together. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add eggs one at a time (I always have to laugh when the recipe says this. Do you know anybody that could possibly break two eggs and add them AT THE SAME TIME??? I guess they mean beat after adding each one.)

Anyway, after that’s all beaten smooth, add the vanilla and pumpkin and beat. Stir in the diced apples. Now blend in the dry ingredients and orange or lemon peel stuff. Turn into greased Bundt pan. Bake in 350 degree oven for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (Ok, if you’re using a Bundt pan, and you put the toothpick in the center, it will fall through the hole. So just stick it somewhere INTO the cake part…)

Allow to cool for 15 minutes, then remove from pan. Great with cream cheese icing, vanilla ice cream, or whipped cream. Or all three!

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~~~

Claire Gem writes romance novels about strong women, starting over, and the men lucky enough to earn their love. Visit her at www.clairegem.com.

Multiple Personality Disorder—or Pen Names

banner-982162_640I am often asked this question: “All of your nonfiction (magazine features, essays, memoir) were published under your real name. Why did you choose to write fiction under a pseudonym?” It’s a simple answer, and yet quite a complex one. The more I’ve pondered on the subject, the more the real answers rise to the surface.

My knee-jerk response is, “I work for a prestigious university, and am often cited on scientific journal papers and grant proposals. My fiction has to be under a different name.” This seems logical. But honestly, what are the chances that a high-brow research scientist reading a paper in the American Journal of Clinical Pathology will see my name in the credits and think (lips pursed, shaking their head), “Oh, I know her! She writes sexy romance, too. Tut-tut.”

Possible, but not likely. I know, I’m probably profiling here, but most of the research professionals…

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