Friday, September 21, 2018

Meet the Author: Brenda B. Taylor, Author of A Highland Emerald

The desire to write historical fiction has long been a passion with Brenda B. Taylor. Since elementary school, she has written stories in her spare time. Brenda earned three degrees: a BSE from Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas; a MEd from Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas; and an EdD from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas; then worked as a teacher and administrator in the Texas Public School system. Only after retirement could she fulfill the dream of publication.

Brenda and her husband make their home in beautiful East Texas where they enjoy spending time with family and friends, traveling, and working in Bethabara Faith Ministry, Inc. She crafts stories about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people in her favorite place overlooking bird feeders, bird houses, and a variety of blooming trees and flowers. She sincerely thanks all who purchase and read her books. Her desire is that the message in each book will touch the heart of the reader as it did hers in the writing.

Her latest book is the Scottish Historical Romance A Highland Emerald.

Author Contact Information:
Historical Heartbeats
Amazon Author's Page
BookBub Author Page

Author: Brenda Taylor
Publisher: Bethabara Press
Pages: 268
Genre: Scottish Historical Romance

Aine MacLean is forced into an arranged marriage with Sir William, Chief of Clan Munro, yet her heart belongs to a handsome young warrior in her father’s guard. She must leave Durant Castle, the home of her birth on the Isle of Mull, and travel across Scotland in a perilous journey to her husband’s home on Cromarty Firth. William agrees to a year and day of handfasting, giving Aine an opportunity to accept him and his clan. He promises her the protection of Clan Munro, however, Aine experiences kidnapping, pirates, and almost loses her life in the River Moriston. She doubts the sincerity of William’s promises and decides to return to Durant Castle when the handfasting ends. William determines to win Aine’s heart. Will the brave knight triumph in his fight for the bonnie lass?

A Highland Emerald is the third book in the award-winning Highland Treasures series. The novel tells the story of Aine MacLean and William Munro and is the prequel to A Highland Pearl.


Amazon | Barnes & Noble

At what age did you know you wanted to be a writer?

As a young girl, I made up all kinds of stories. Some I wrote on paper and some I crafted only in my imagination. During my college years, I earned certification to teach history and loved to delve into the past, thinking about the characters who actually lived during a historical period and the extraordinary experiences in their lives. Stories and characters began forming in my mind, so I took a creative writing course. However, obligations of work and family kept me from sitting down and writing a story. Not until I retired from the Texas Public Schools did I have time to actually study the art of historical fiction writing and create a complete novel.

Can you name three writing tips to pass on to aspiring authors?

Three writing tips I can pass on to aspiring authors from my experience are: (1) Study the art of creative writing then get that first word on paper. I found that I could spend many hours studying, outlining, and plotting, and never put a word of the story on paper. (2) Have a certain writing time each day so you will be in the same frame of mind throughout the story. I like to write the first thing every morning while my mind is fresh and not clogged with the cares of the day. (3) Save yourself for the story. Don’t spend your energies on trivial pursuits. If you blog, set aside some time during the afternoon while you aren’t working on the story to write a post. Don’t get lost in social media. You can waste countless hours in Facebook, etc. Have a set time to post to your sites and stick by the time frame.

What hours do you write best?

I write the first thing each morning before the cares of the day fill my mind. I want to be in the same frame of mind throughout the writing process so the story is consistent. My blogging, social media posting, etc. must wait for the afternoon or early evening hours.

How often do you write?

I write or work on a writing project, such as plotting, outlining, etc., every day.

Are you an avid reader?

I love to read and keep a story going with the reading apps on my tablet at all times. I take time to read and rest in the afternoon, then I read at night before falling asleep. Sometimes I wake in the middle of the night to find my tablet resting on my nose. I like to listen to the stories also, either with voiceover or audio books.

What are you reading now?

I am reading Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy. Maeve writes stories about Ireland, and I so enjoyed visiting the beautiful country last year. Hopefully, I will experience the Emerald Isle again through her book.

What are you currently working on?

I recently finished the novella, A Highland Bride, the fourth book in the Highland Treasures series. Now I plan to write a novel or novella in the Wades of Crawford County series. The Wades series is set in post-Civil War Missouri. Hopefully, I can begin the basic outlining and plotting in the fall.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Guest Post: Bravery at the Heart of a Romance Story by Charlene Whitman

Bravery at the Heart of a Romance Story
What would a Western romance be without bravery? We expect our heroes to be brave, but, really, so many characters can show bravery and in many ways.
Bravery lies at the heart of my Western romance stories. I've mentioned in earlier email blasts how those who ventured west to carve out new lives on the frontier had to muster a lot of courage. Settling in newly founded towns, amid many dangers, was not for the fainthearted.
But there are other types of bravery, and sometimes the hardest is summoning courage to face your inner demons and fears.
Gennie Champlain, in Wild Secret, Wild Longing, harbors a lot of fear. She's suffered greatly, and  living alone tucked deep in the Rockies in isolation is no walk in the park.
It takes tremendous skill and inner strength to survive day to day alone in the wilderness. But that isn't the hardest challenge for Gennie. The far greater challenge for her is in not losing her mind, or her will to live. She is utterly lonely and miserable, and facing the approaching winter and being stuck inside her cabin for months, with hardly any food reserves, has brought her to the brink of despair.
Yet, she needs courage to do more than face another lonely winter. And this kind of bravery is even harder for Gennie to muster.
And that's summoning the courage to step out of her tiny "safe" world and into the bigger world of society. Nothing seems more impossible to her than that.
Facing down a grizzly? No problem? But leaving the mountain to join other humans, become a part of society, even in a small way? Not gonna happen.
This is LeRoy's challenge, then. How can he convince a woman who's lived years of her life sequestered in the mountains away from other people to break out of her shell of fear and take one scary step after another down the mountain of her fear?
How do you get someone who has been wholly beaten down and abused to trust again, when there are no grounds for trusting?
It's not easy. But Gennie has such a need for love, for human touch, for companionship. And that need trumps her fears. Still, it takes tremendous bravery for her to even consider leaving the familiarity of her little cabin and the routines that have kept her alive thus far.
But what kind of life does she have? A terribly lonely one. A life without fellowship with other humans is agony. We are social creatures, and we need companionship.
Gennie's story is unique, but not unbelievable. I was inspired to write this story because of a movie I saw years ago (based on a true story) called The Ballad of Little Jo. If you find the story of Wild Secret, Wild Longing a compelling one, you might enjoy watching that film to get a better idea of the difficulties single women faced in the Wild West.
Charlene Whitman is the author of The Front Range Series of heart-thumping romance. Colorado Hope is the second book in the series, although the books can be read in any order. Get the thrilling prequel novella Wild Horses, Wild Hearts for free when you sign up HERE for Charlene’s mailing list. Learn all about the Front Range in the 1870s and get deep into Charlene’s characters and plot. You’ll be the first to hear of new books, as well as receive sneak peeks and insights into her riveting stores. Don’t miss her new release! Get Wyoming Tryst here!

About the Author:

Charlene Whitman is the author of The Front Range Series of heart-thumping romance. Colorado Hope is the second book in the series, although the books can be read in any order. Get the thrilling prequel novella Wild Horses, Wild Hearts for free when you sign up HERE for Charlene’s mailing list. Learn all about the Front Range in the 1870s and get deep into Charlene’s characters and plot. You’ll be the first to hear of new books, as well as receive sneak peeks and insights into her riveting stores. Don’t miss her new release! Get Wyoming Tryst here!

The author of "heart-thumping" Western romance, Charlene Whitman spent many years living on Colorado's Front Range. She grew up riding and raising horses, and loves to read, write, and hike the mountains. She attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins as an English major. She has two daughters and is married to George "Dix" Whitman, her love of thirty years. 

Front Range series of sweet historical Western romance novels (set in the 1870s) includes Wild Horses, Wild Hearts, set in Laporte and Greeley. Colorado Promise, set in Greeley, Colorado; Colorado Hope, set in Fort Collins; Wild Secret, Wild Longing, which takes readers up into the Rockies, Colorado Dream (Greeley), and Wyoming Tryst, set in Laramie, WY.



About the Book:

Author: Charlene Whitman
Publisher: Ubiquitous Press
Pages: 360
Genre: Sweet Historical Western Romance

Two ranching tycoons. A decades-old feud. A sheriff bent on ridding the town of lawlessness . . .
In the midst of the trouble brewing in Laramie City in 1878, Julia Carson yearns to be free of her parents’ smothering and wonders whether she’ll ever find a man worthy to love in such a violent town rife with outlaws.
But when Robert Morrison sneaks onto her ranch the night of her sixteenth birthday party, Cupid shoots his arrows straight and true. Aware that their courtship would be anathema to their fathers, who are sworn enemies, Robert and Julia arrange a tryst.
Yet, their clandestine dalliance does not go unnoticed, and forces seek to destroy what little hope their romance has to bloom. The star-crossed lovers face heartache and danger as violence erupts. When all hope is lost, Joseph Tuttle, the new doctor at the penitentiary, is given a letter and a glass vial from Cheyenne medicine woman Sarah Banks.
The way of escape poses deadly dangers, but it is the only way for Robert and Julia to be together. It will take the greatest measure of faith and courage to come through unscathed, but love always conquers fear.



Meet the Author: Shawn M. Beasley, Author of Killing the Rougarou

Author Shawn Beasley was born and raised in small town Louisiana. She has a BSRN and has traveled the world only to return to the same small town where she was raised. Shawn has three grown children, one girl and two sons. She lives with her oldest son and grandson and has three other grandchildren that she adores. She has two fur babies, Pete and Taz. Killing the Rougarou is her debut novel and is the first book in a series of five. She is a member of Romance Writers of America.



Author: Shawn M. Beasley
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 492
Genre: Romantic Suspense

Author Shawn Beasley captivates readers with the enthralling saga of two southern families-the Gauthiers from the South Louisiana bayou country and the Thomases from rural Texas-and the nightmare that will ultimately touch them both. In her sweeping and richly evocative novel, Beasley unfolds two remarkable family histories, populated by unforgettable, deeply human characters, and then rocks their worlds with tragedy and true horror. A novel that succeeds brilliantly on many levels, Killing the Rougarou is, at once, moving and terrifying, tense and thrilling, while capturing the sights, sounds, and vibrant life of Louisiana's Cajun country and Brazos County, Texas.


Amazon / iUniverse / B&N

At what age did you know you wanted to be a writer? 48

Do you take notes when reading or watching a movie? Never

Has writing always been a passion for you or did you discover it years later? I decided to become a writer later in life.

Do you have a day job?  What do you do? I am a nurse by trade but I do not practice right now. I have my BS from Northwestern State University. I use my medical knowledge in my story.

Can you name three writing tips to pass on to aspiring authors? don’t take things personally, write every day, and breathe.

Do you let unimportant things get in the way of your writing? Constantly!

What hours do you write best? I am most productive in the mornings.

How often do you write? daily

Are you an avid reader? Yes...I love to read.

What are you reading now? Every Breathe you Take by Judith McNaught (My favorite author!)

What are you currently working on? The Rougarou Series books 2-5, I have 2 more WIPs that are currently barely formed ideas...

Interview with Margaret Mizushima, Author of 'Burning Ridge'

Margaret Mizushima is the author of the critically acclaimed Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries. Her books have garnered a Reader’s Favorite gold medal and have been listed as finalists in the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, the Colorado Book Awards, and the International Book Awards. Margaret serves on the board for the Rocky Mountain chapter of Mystery Writers of America, and she lives in Colorado where she assists her husband with their veterinary practice and Angus cattle herd. She can be found on Facebook/AuthorMargaretMizushima, on Twitter @margmizu, on Instagram at margmizu, and on her website at
Find out more about Margaret's book on Amazon.
Mayra Calvani: Please tell us about Burning Ridge, and what compelled you to write it.
Author: Burning Ridge is fourth in the Timber Creek K-9 mystery series which features Deputy Mattie Cobb, her K-9 partner Robo, and veterinarian Cole Walker. Since I’ve been married to a veterinarian for decades, I wanted to create a mystery with a male vet as a character. I also wanted to write a police procedural and for the law enforcement officer to be a love interest for the vet, so it made sense to include a crime-fighting duo of a female K-9 handler and her dog to round out the cast. The plot for Burning Ridge was inspired by Mattie’s past. I imagined this twist in her character development while writing book three in the series, Hunting Hour.
M.C.: What is your book about?
Author: It’s a meshing of setting and mystery in a fictional place in the Colorado Rockies. Redstone Ridge is a place of extraordinary beauty, but this rugged mountain wilderness harbors a horrifying secret. When a charred body is discovered in a shallow grave on the ridge, officer Mattie Cobb and her K-9 partner Robo are called in to spearhead the investigation. But this is no ordinary crime—and it soon becomes clear that Mattie has a close personal connection to the dead man.
Joined by local veterinarian Cole Walker, the pair scours the mountaintop for evidence and makes another gruesome discovery: the skeletonized remains of two adults and a child. And then, the unthinkable happens. Mattie and Robo are attacked. While a deadly blaze sweeps the ridge, Cole and Robo search for the missing Mattie, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

M.C.:  What themes do you explore in Burning Ridge?
Author: I explore themes about relationships, family, and what ties a family together. Family themes are woven throughout the entire series, and Burning Ridge forces Mattie to examine some special considerations about hers.
M.C.:  Why do you write?
Author: Above all, I want to be a storyteller. I want to create stories about good people going through tough times who learn something valuable in the process. At the same time, I strive to entertain folks and give them the type of story that offers a mini-vacation.
M.C.:  When do you feel the most creative?
Author: Definitely in the morning. I try to dedicate that time of day to my writing and save the afternoon for appointments and my day job.
M.C.:  How picky are you with language?
Author: This is a great question. My primary goal is to provide a smooth read that flows. I want plenty of action that propels the mystery investigation forward, and I want to make sure that my subplots interweave with my main plot. I like to use language that is easily accessible to a wide variety of readers, and even to people who don’t particularly like to read. I’m thrilled when I get an email from someone who says they don’t usually read for entertainment, but they love my books. Makes my day!
M.C.:  When you write, do you sometimes feel as though you were being manipulated from afar?
Author: Good way to say it! I like to begin writing a scene with specific goals in mind, but about half the time, the characters take a turn I never expected!
M.C.:  What is your worst time as a writer?
Author: The hardest time is slogging through the first draft of a new book. I try to write every day for a four-month period. It can be a tough climb! As I’ve heard novelist Peter Heller say, “Writing a novel is a marathon, not a sprint.” And after completing the first draft, there is that rugged road called revision.
M.C.:  Your best?
Author: I think my favorite time is when I receive a new cover from my publisher. Crooked Lane produces fabulous covers, and each time it’s like opening up a birthday present!
M.C.:  Is there anything that would stop you from writing?
Author: I suppose I’ll always be writing something.
M.C.: What’s the happiest moment you’ve lived as an author?
Author: When I was offered a contract for my first two books. I had the flu and was driving home from a medical appointment when my agent called. She told me to find a place to park, and after I did, she gave me the news. Illness forgotten! Party on!
M.C.:  Is writing an obsession to you?
Author: If having a story play out in your mind almost any hour of the day or night and thinking of character development, plot, and the perfect way to word something is an indication of obsession, I would have to say yes.
M.C.:  Are the stories you create connected with you in some way?
Author: Even though Timber Creek is fictional, it reminds me of my hometown. The small town and rural lives the characters lead have many elements in common with mine, and Cole’s mixed animal veterinary practice is similar to my husband’s. But Deputy Mattie Cobb is a creation all to herself; except for the search and rescue work she does with Robo, her characteristics and work come strictly from my imagination and research.
M.C.:  Ray Bradbury once said, “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” Thoughts?
Author: I feel that the business of writing is not for the faint of heart. It’s best for me to stay focused on what’s important—my writing—and to try to keep all the other stuff in perspective.
M.C.:  Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more about you and your work?
Author: My website is at Readers can connect with me there for my blog and to sign up for my newsletter. Thanks so much for hosting me here on your blog today!