Happy Memorial Day! It’s a day to reflect and relax. I hope you’re comforted by memories of those you have lost and are able to be with the ones you still have. And if you are in the armed service or are a family member of one of our heroes, I’m thinking of you especially today.

FBNeedBooksThank you for spending some time with me and my guest, Gina Conkle. She writes wonderful Viking stories as well as hot Regencies. I know you’re going to love her! Pour yourself a cup of coffee and listen in to our cyber-chat.

Mia: As summer starts, ’tis the season for writers conferences. It’s a chance for us to hobnob with others who play with imaginary people all day. As an author have you ever been star struck by meeting one of your favorite authors? If so who was it?

Gina: I “almost” met Josie Litton, pseudonym for Maura Seger. I looked across a wide walk way and she was sitting in a window seat at a conference. She smiled at me but looked like she was concentrating on something and didn’t want to be disturbed. Now I kick myself for not approaching her. She’s published under 5 or 6 names and is a lyrical, talented writer.

Mia: I’m sure like me you’ve been a rabid reader forever. What were your favorite books growing up?

Gina: Yes! And here they are in the order I met these books:

1. “The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyes (the poem, I “met” when I was 5)
2. Corduroy by Don Freeman (now I could read and the book love began)
3. Cinderella – Disney’s golden book
4. My Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary (a Christmas gift in 3rd grade)
5.101 Dalmatians (the chapter book)
6. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls (I met him in 4th grade!)
7. Gone with the Wind (read it in 5th grade…BIG jump in reading material)
8. A box full of my grandma’s Barbara Cartland books and I was hooked on romance

Mia: Oh! I remember feeling so sad the first time I read The Highwayman, so hopelessly, dare I say morbidly, romantic. And I still tear up when I think of Ol’Dan and Little Anne from Where the Red Fern Grows. Why does the dog always have to die in fiction? When I add a pet to my stories (like I did in my upcoming Once Upon a Plaid) they make it to the last page still wagging. That’s one of the joys of being a writer–making sure the dog lives. How about you? What is the best thing about being an author?

Gina: My head is a veritable Netflix. Putting these mind movies down on paper and having others enjoy them (and some loving them!) is great. I still get the occasional email or private message on Facebook about my first hero, the Viking chieftain Hakan of Norse Jewel. When will the next book come? Will Hakan be in it? That’s really nice when readers fall in love like that. I hope this keeps happening!

And now for our lightning round of questions!
– Favorite Quote? “The writer must be in it; he can’t be to one side of it, ever. He has to be endangered by it. His own attitudes have to be tested in it. The best work that anybody ever writes is the work that is on the verge of embarrassing him, always.” Arthur Miller
– Favorite Food? Mexican food (chicken and cheese enchiladas)
– Favorite Vacation Spot? A cozy mountain cabin with river or lake nearby
– Favorite TV Show? History Channel’s “Vikings”
– Favorite Paranormal? (witch, vampire, zombie etc) Hmmm…none, but I did like World War Z. Does that mean I like zombies?
– Coffee, Tea or Hot Chocolate? Coffee
– Favorite Ice Cream Flavor? Coconut

Meet the Earl at Midnight by Gina Conkle

The Phantom of London…the Enigma Earl. Lord Edward’s heard them all, but the reclusive Earl of Greenwich needs an heir — quickly. A deadline looms, and the hasty offering of Lydia Montgomery works.

Lydia has plans of her own: she’s an artist, striving to get her work into London’s art salons. Both forge a midnight bargain, but the best laid plans fade in the light of day from distracting chemistry and secrets revealed. Even worse, his saucy bride-to-be insinuates herself in his scientific work: the domain where no wife should mix.

Soon, Lydia’s illustrations speak volumes…of his work to the outside world and hers to London’s art world – a place reserved for men only. Will their greatest discovery be each other before time runs out?

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon Canada | B&N | Kobo | iTunes | Google Play

 

 

Find Gina at these Social Media Links!

Gina ConkleWebsite: http://ginaconkle.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ginaconkle
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GinaConkleWriter
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/gloveshistory/
Newsletter: http://ginaconkle.com/contact/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7105783.

Gina Conkle, a history nerd to the core, loves castles and museums. Her motto is “the older and moldier, the better.” When not enjoying relics of the past, she lives in the present, dabbling in organic gardening. Gina married her favorite alpha male, Brian. The two live with their boys in San Diego, CA.

Rafflecopter Giveaway: (US/Canada only) a Rafflecopter giveaway

FOR FOREIGN FOLLOWERS: If you have foreign followers, then I’ll offer a print copy of Meet the Earl at Midnight (I’ll send snail mail to anywhere :-D) and pick the random winner from the comments. The question prompt: Since Meet the Earl at Midnight is a loose spin on Beauty and the Beast, what’s your favorite fairy tale? Please share why.

Mia: Thanks for that generous offer, Gina. And just to sweeten the pot, I’ll add a digital copy of my first Viking romance since Gina loves and writes about Vikings too! One randomly chose commenter will receive Maidensong in their choice of Kindle or Nook format!

So spill it, gang! What’s your favorite fairytale?

P.S. Just FYI, your comment may not show up immediately unless you’ve made a previously approved comment on my blog. But don’t worry. I appreciate your input and check frequently to approve comments. It’ll be up soon. I promise!

Things are still crazy with our move. Our renovation is finished, mostly. There are a few more tweaks, but we’re in. However, all our stuff is still somewhere between Boston and the Midwest and won’t arrive for a few more days. Then I’ll be hip deep in boxes for the forseeable future, but at least things are returning to normal here at my cyber home!

My guest author today is the talented Ally Broadfield! Since she and I are both dog lovers, we had an instant connection. Here’s a fun trailer about her book featuring her furry friends!

 

And now I’d like to invite you to listen in on a little cyber-chat Ally and I had recently.

Mia: As writers, we read a little differently than most. I tend to dissect books, studying how the other author handles writerly issues. But there are a few authors who make me forget I’m a writer too and I am swept into their fictive dreams. I treasure them. Have you ever been star struck by meeting one of your favorite authors? If so who was it? ;)

Ally: Yes! It was the fabulous Sherry Thomas. I’ve met her twice. The first time she gave a wonderful presentation to my local RWA chapter and was so gracious and friendly. The second was during a signing at my local bookstore. I’m afraid I fan-girled all over her, but I happened to catch her during a lull in the event so we had chance to talk.

Mia: Oh! Sherry is one of the aforementioned treasured ones! Her use of language is exquisite and you’re right. She’s very gracious. 

I’m sure like all writers, you’ve been a lifelong reader. What were your favorite books growing up?

Ally: The first book I remember loving was Where the Wild Things Are. I tore through the Encyclopedia Brown series in first grade, and I loved anything by Madeliene L’Engle. Her young adult book, A Ring of Endless Light, is still one of my favorite books.

Mia: Wow, we must have been separated at birth. L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time rocked my third grade world! What book/book series would you love to see be made into a movie?

Ally: C.J. Sansom’s Matthew Shardlake Tudor mystery series, which is skillfully plotted and full of period detail.

Mia: I need to look into that. I love period mysteries. I tend to write to movie sound tracks–something without lyrics since someone else’s words can get in the way of my own. Do you have a playlist of songs you listen to when writing?

Ally: I can’t listen to music while writing because it distracts me, but I do have a song for each book. For Just a Kiss it is Ne-Yo’s Closer. The lyrics ran through my mind every time my hero and heroine were on the page together.

Mia: When it’s time to write, I need my laptop, thesaurus, headphones for the sound track, Mack the WonderDog snugged to my hip and my writing chair. What 5 things do you have to have with you when you are writing?

Ally: I have five dogs, but I’ll count them as one unit. After our morning walk, they all settle down to nap while I write.

A cat (usually attempting to balance on my lap).

A cup of tea (hot during the winter months and iced during the rest of year).

My laptop.

The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary.

Mia: 5 dogs! Wow! Your dogly needs are all met, aren’t they? And now for our lightning round–

– Favorite Food? Cheese popcorn

– Favorite Vacation Spot? Platte Lake, Michigan

– Favorite TV Show? Psych. I watch it with my kids and we’re all devastated that the series is over.

– Favorite Paranormal? (witch, vampire, zombie etc) Does Thor count?

– Coffee, Tea or Hot Chocolate? Hot chocolate

– Favorite Ice Cream Flavor? Chocolate chip cookie dough

Just a Kiss

Just a KissCharlotte Lightwood has one season to find a husband or she’ll be forced to marry her guardian’s loathsome cousin. With no title or dowry, she doesn’t have much hope of making a good match. Sebastian Wilkinson, the Earl of Marley, has been the most eligible bachelor on the marriage mart for more years than he cares to count and is very aware of his duty to marry a woman who will add to the wealth and stature of his title.

Sebastian makes Charlotte an offer she can’t refuse: he will pretend to court her to help her attract more suitors in exchange for her advice about which ladies he should pursue. As they work together, their mutual attraction grows. When they realize they just might be perfect for one another, they must decide whether to bow to the dictates of society or follow their hearts.

Buy links:   Amazon B&N iBooksKobo 

:

Ally BroadfieldAll about Ally

Ally lives in Texas and is convinced her house is shrinking, possibly because she shares it with three kids, five dogs, a cat, a rabbit, and several reptiles. Oh, and her husband.  She likes to curse in Russian and spends most of her time letting dogs in and out of the house and shuttling kids around. She writes historical romance set in Regency England and Imperial Russia.

 

The Prize

A Duke for All SeasonsAlly SwagAlly is offering a swag bag to a random commenter–lip balm, a note pad, and a dog themed magnet and gum. Sounds fun, right?

And who doesn’t love a free read?

I always like to offer one of my backlist books to a commenter. This time, I’ll be giving away a digital copy of A Duke for All Seasons in winner’s choice of either Kindle or Nook formats. To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment or question for Ally or me. If you don’t have a question about our books, maybe you’re a pet lover like we are. Tell us about your furry, finned or feathered friend.

We look forward to hearing from YOU! 

 

Order of the MUSESince my blog guest today writes for Entangled Publishing, I’m thrilled to confirm that I just signed a 3 book deal with Entangled for my Order of the M.U.S.E. series. It’s sort of a “Psychic Leverage team meets Jane Austen in King George’s Court.” (Check out the blurbs on my Coming Next page for the details. And don’t worry. I still have books coming from Kensington & Sourcebooks!)

One of the loveliest things about writing for multiple publishers is getting to know a new group of fellow authors. When I joined the Entangled family, debut author Stacy Reid was one of the first to welcome me. I know you’ll love her!

Listen in on our cyber-chat:

Mia: Hey Stacy! I know making stuff up for a living is the best job on earth, but if you could be anything but a writer what would you want to be?

Andrew LincolnStacy: An actress working beside Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes) in The Walking Dead, but my character would have to be Rick Grimes love interest. The characters would need to get a lot of smooch time and in the contract they shouldn’t be able to kill off my character. Of course, I would also be casted in major action blockbusters, such as, Avengers, Fast and the furious, and wanted, as a kickass heroine or major supporting character.  

Mia: I’m always fascinated by how other authors work. What can you tell us about your workspace/writing process?

Stacy: I so wish I was one of those writers that listened to music and went into writer’s space. I tried it once and ended up singing and jamming for hours (I am a horrible singer by the way). I work best in silence of the night. So when it comes on to my workspace I am a bit of a vampire. I write when all is quiet, in the bed! My pillows tucked behind me and my laptop on my lap with the only noise being my hubby’s snoring. And when I see the sun rising and hear my neighbor’s cock crow, I shut off and go to bed. Of course there are times I write in the days, but I am way less productive when I have distractions.

Mia: Wow! I’m in awe. My brain shuts down after a certain hour at night and I’m sure all I’d produce would be gibberish. I’m a bit of a lark myself. The hours before the sun rises are my most productive. What do you think is the hardest thing about being an author?

Stacy: I think for me it is wondering if my work is good enough. Even though people have heaped on praises, I still have that ugly doubt sometimes. I do tend to kick it in the butt, but it always resurfaces. I was told by many other awesome authors that it’s quite normal. But I wish to be abnormal and not have any doubts at all….simply be confident and unaffected by negative reviews if or when they come, because I know there are going to be uber awesome ones as well.

Mia: Humans tend to retain negatives more than positives. Writers tend to be a little “other-centric” when it comes to judging our work because we’re too close to it to be unbiased. However, if we use that insecurity to goad us to always delivering the best story we can, we can turn the negative into a positive. Now, what have you found is the best thing about being an author?

Stacy: Wow. There are so many awesome things. While I love when readers adore my work, I think I am just crazy over writing the stories I dream about. I feel like I have the best life in the world…being able to put on paper what is in my head…and having people love it! Ummm yeah awesome stuff.

Mia: And now for our lightning round:

Favorite Food? Ackee and saltfish. I will eat this everyday and with any sides. Yum.
– Favorite Vacation Spot? I have only ever vacationed in my home country. This is a hard one. Anywhere in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
– Favorite TV Show? The Walking Dead!! And Vikings is second runner up.
– Favorite Paranormal? (witch, vampire, zombie etc)  Definitely shape shifters.
– Coffee, Tea or Hot Chocolate? Hot chocolate
– Favorite Ice Cream Flavor? Rum and Raisin!
– Favorite author? I have several. I love C S Lewis, Jim Butcher, Lora Leigh, Gena Showalter, Kresley Cole, Laurell K Hamilton, James Patterson, Amanda quick, Elizabeth Lowell…I have too many and I cannot just pick one, cause I have equal love for them all!

Stacy Reid

Stacy’s Bio:

Stacy is an avid reader of novels with a deep passion for writing. She especially loves romance and adores writing about people falling in love. Stacy lives a lot in the worlds she creates and actively speaks to her characters (out loud). She has a warrior way, never give up on her dreams. When Stacy is not writing, she spends a copious amount of time drooling over Rick Grimes from Walking Dead, watching Japanese anime and playing video games with her love, Dusean Nelson.

 

 

And now for Stacy’s newest release:

The Duke’s Shotgun Wedding

DukesShotgunVictorian Era England…

As far as rash decisions go, it was formidable. But Lady Jocelyn Rathbourne’s will remains strong. If the only way to save her family’s estate and reputation is by aiming a small pistol at the Duke of Calydon, then so be it. For Lady Jocelyn demands satisfaction – and she will have it at any cost. Even if it means demanding the hand of the intense and foreboding Duke himself…

But she’s made the first move against a very dangerous opponent…

For Sebastian Thornton is no stripling to be trifled with. The lady has played her hand. Now it’s his turn. For Sebastian is in need of a wife. And to find a wife with spirit and fire – even if she means to only marry for his money – would be a great prize indeed. And he intends to thoroughly take his pleasure with her… and demands his own satisfaction in return.

 

Buy Links:  Amazon | Barnes and Noble Amazon UK |   Amazon Canada Kobo 

Stacy: Thank you, Mia!

Mia: My pleasure, Stacy.

The Prize

And now, dear reader, you get a chance at Stacy’s big drawing for a $50 gift card. Here’s the link to enter: Stacy Reid’s Shotgun Book Tour! If you leave a comment or question for Stacy and me here today, you’ll also be entered to win a digital copy of one of my backlist books–Winner’s Choice! I’d offer a print one, but frankly, I’m in the middle of boxing up the condo in preparation for our move in early May. All my books are packed. Heavy sigh! And since I left my Kindle at my parents’ house in MO, I’m reduced to reading on my phone. But, that’s ok. I’m so swamped, I’m going to have to start listening to books on tape.

But enough about me. Let’s talk about YOU! Stacy mentioned the joy of feeling encouraged by readers who enjoy her work. Share the last time you felt encouraged by someone or something. Or maybe you’re the encourager! Either way, you’ll be entered in my drawing. Be sure to check back on Sunday for the results–or you can sign up to receive my blog posts via FeedBurner. Just click to subscribe to our RS feed and type in your email address. (Be sure to confirm when you get an email letting you know your request has been received.) That way, you’ll never miss a moment!