Friday, November 30, 2012

Interview with Author ALEXA BOURNE

Thank you to Sarah for inviting me to post here today!

The holidays are upon us! Can you believe it? Have you started decorating for Christmas? I haven't, but I'm looking forward to it. I love everything about the holidays. Do you go all out and get crazy with your decorating or are you more the subtle type? I love to decorate the inside of my home with all sorts of decorations I’ve received or purchased over the years. I usually wait until the first weekend in December to do my decorating, and of course the holiday music comes on, but that gets started just after Thanksgiving. (I’ve got the Christmas List playing on my iPod as I type this!)

The heroines of my books love to decorate, and their heroes would say the lasses go a bit crazy with their decorating. The men, of course, go along with the heroines' ideas, but they try to get out of a lot of the work. Yes, the lads like the outcome, but they want as little work as possible.

Heather, the heroine from Her Highland Champion, has a lot to think about. She and Malcolm own The Kierlain House, a bed and breakfast in the Highlands of Scotland, so she needs to keep the guests in mind. She wants the decorations to be perfect for their guests, complete with traditional British decorations. They decorate a tree in the front room of the B & B and if they have any children staying there, she hangs a stocking for them and offers the parents the chance to include their gifts under the tree. On Christmas morning, Heather forces Malcolm to hand out gifts that “Father Christmas” left for everyone. Usually, Heather also includes a small gift from the staff at the Kierlain House to each of the guests. Later in the day, they have a Christmas dinner and she includes Christmas crackers for the table.

Rachel, the heroine from Fractured Paradise, is a bit eccentric. She is the type who has odd decorations- some from when she was a child, some she bought, some she was given as gifts, and nothing matches. She has many “New Age” type decorations, complete with a Santa checking his list twice on a laptop and elves working online on sleigh improvements. She likes sparkly decorations and colorful lights. She decorates her office at work as much as they allow, and she decorates the flat in Edinburgh too. She and Aidan spend the holiday in Sunderland, England where they met and he’s from, and then they return to their home in Edinburgh for New Year’s. In Sunderland, they stay in what used to be Aidan’s flat. They rent it out during the tourist season, but they always use it around Christmas. In early December, they travel down to Sunderland and put up decorations so it’s ready for when they arrive. Aidan thinks it’s too much time and effort to decorate two homes, but Rachel wouldn’t have it any other way.

Joanna, the heroine from my December book Simple Treasures, is thrilled to be alive. She wants to celebrate every aspect of the holidays, to appreciate the simple things in life. But she goes all out for decorating her flat. Colin is often out of town and Joanna likes to surprise him with a fully decorated home. She chooses to decorate in one weekend, usually the weekend after Thanksgiving. Most of the time she’s done with her Christmas shopping by then, but she will always also buy one new ornament for their tree each year, an ornament that has some special meaning for her. From that point on, she makes a point of enjoying all the holiday festivities around Edinburgh. The city gets crowded in December, especially around New Year’s, but she loves to experience it all…to a point. Of course, she also loves to spend time snuggling up to Colin as they watch holiday shows and ring in the New Year.

Obviously, each of the women has a bit of me in them, but I think I'm most like Rachel when it comes to getting ready for the holidays. Which heroine are you most like?



Twitter: @AlexaBourne




Friday, November 16, 2012

Interview with Author PATRICIA W. FISCHER

***Leave a comment below to win a free copy of Patricia's book!***

Flawed, Funny, and Fabulous

One of my favorite movies of all time is Romancing the Stone.

Romancing the Stone trailer (  

I mean, who doesn’t love the idea of a dull life being turned upside down with adventure, love, and treasure with a hot, bad boy who only has eyes for you?

Of course, I’m not so sure if I’m game about running for my life from drug runners in Columbia, but the idea of adventure does have its merits. That’s one of the many reasons I wanted to be a writer. To create worlds that would be escapes from everyday reality and why not? The world can be a stressful place, full of uncertainty, especially when you add in that upcoming Mayan Apocalypse thingy, but I don’t want it to be a perfect world. Just a world full of great characters and wonderful scenarios. For years I’d avoid many homework assignments and zone out during lectures as stories ran through my brain. I’ve got boxes of journals of ideas, half written stories, life experiences, and complaints about why my social calendar wasn’t full my entire four years in high school and the size of my thighs.

During nursing school, I kept asking if particular drugs were traceable if you gave them certain ways. My instructor became very distressed that I kept asking this, until my classmates said, “Oh, don’t mind her. She’s a writer.”

But I digress…back to Romancing the Stone. This was one of the reasons I wanted to write romance.

When I watch this movie, it’s a classic take on what romances were thought to be at the time: silly stories of girls in distress, waiting for a man to rescue her and make it all better.

But nothing could be further from the truth. Romance novels and movies are about empowerment for both the man and woman. They are about these characters liking each other at their worst and encouraging each other to be their best.

Are there stories where the woman flakes out and gives it all up for the man she “just can’t live without?” Sure and I could name a few hear, but I won’t. I don’t read those books or watch those movies because I think they are ridiculous to see a woman be a vapid, shell of a person, and overrun by a dominate male. Regardless, they fill a niche for someone out there. It’s just not my thing.

I like movies and books where I see both characters grow.

Let’s go back to Romancing the Stone for a second. Where do they begin?

Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) starts out as a clueless, shut-in who lives her life through her writing and a good bottle of booze, but a turn of events forces her out of her sheltered life and immediately into adventure with Jack T. Colton (Michael Douglas).

With very little prep, Joan Wilder quickly finds a way to survive in the jungle and eventually become an equal to Colton, which only gets him interested in her more.

Isn’t that what we want for our own characters? To immediately throw them outside their worlds of comfort and give them some other path to take?

Half the time, Joan has no idea what she’s doing and Jack can’t fight the feelings he has for her. It’s romantic chemistry at its finest and one of the most fun rom-coms to watch because in the end, they both discover who they really are as individuals and as a couple. Basically, they rescue each other. Love it!

In my debut novel, Weighting for Mr. Right, Megan Sayla starts off a lot like Joan Wilder—confused, frustrated with her life, and a wallflower who winds up in a place she’s never been as she tries to navigate out of there without totally embarrassing herself. That’s where she unexpectantly meets Jacob Dante, a guy who’s all but given up on finding happily ever after or just a woman who’s worth dating once. He’s decided to focus on himself by making good money, kind of like Jack T. Colton.

Geez, I didn’t realize I’d written it like this movie until I wrote this article. I must really like this film, but honestly, this is the idea behind so many romance novels. Give the characters room to grow because no one wants to read about people who have it all figured out. How boring would that be?

Page One:

She says hi.

He says hi.

They fall in love, get married, and live happily ever after.

The end.

Epilogue: He makes a whole lot of money. The live in a mansion, have three children in four years, her boobs don’t sag from breastfeeding and she’s still a size two. They vacation in the south of France every summer and she never has to worry about wrinkles.

No thanks. I want characters that are flawed, funny, and fabulous. The more real than they are, the better the fantasy world of the writer because the best romances are the ones we can relate to. The ones who have us look at those in our lives and realize that many of our adventures are simply waiting for us to start. We just have to be willing to take that leap of faith and jump.

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For more from Patricia W. Fischer, you can find her on her website, Facebook, Pintrest, and Twitter. Her debut novel Weighting for Mr. Right is available at Soul Mate Publishing, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble . To read the first chapter, click here.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Interview with Author LINDA ENGMAN

~Romance, Holidays, and Hot Heroes~ by Linda Engman

I think I must be a frustrated party planner. With the upcoming release of my fourth book, My Sexiest Wedding, in January of 2013, I’m starting to see a trend in my book plots (besides including sexy, rugged heroes) such as: weddings, parties, and holiday celebrations. Within each sexy-fun plot there is always an opportunity for the heroine to dress up and clink glasses of champagne with a tall, handsome hero. Whether it be at midnight on New Year’s Eve, on a sultry tropical beach, or while attending a romantic wedding. Sometimes even at their own wedding—if the hero plays his cards right.

It could be that I just love holidays and celebrating special occasions with champagne. Bubbly and sparkly, the classic romantic drink immediately puts you in a good mood and makes a person feel like celebrating something-anything. I had so much fun including champagne in a steamy midnight scene in my holiday romance, Manhattan Holiday. Within the scene the heroine, April Sutton, a somewhat stuffy law assistant, finds herself in the hero, Roman Vasquez’s Manhattan penthouse condo, dressed only in one of his white dress shirts, a little tipsy, while she lets her inhibitions down and does an unplanned sexy lap dance for him. I couldn’t have wrote that scene without her drinking a little too much pricy French champagne on his New Year’s Day birthday. And the hero? Yes, he enjoyed it too.

Champagne isn’t just for holidays and romance. My heroines, Amber Bradley and Heather Grant, from my Cedar Point series, I’ve Got You and Falling For You, never hesitate to pop open a bottle of bubbly while commiserating with their BFF’s regarding their man problems and love lives. When I wrote those scenes it brought me back to my single days doing the same exact thing with my girlfriends after work. Thank goodness for best friends who show up with a bottle of something sparkly when you need a good girl chat.

And romantic candlelit weddings never fail to be an opportunity to showcase my heroes in a new light. In My Sexiest Wedding, the hero Rafael Quintero, a Spanish cowboy, is more used to riding the pampas grasslands of Argentina and drinking tequila, so having him outfitted in a suit and attending a wedding in the small town of Bernie, Ohio, while drinking champagne, was too much of temptation for me to pass up. The man cleans up well too! And after a few glasses of the effervescent bubbly stuff, this hero is more than ready for some serious romance.

I’m in the middle of finishing another sexy-fun romance. I can’t wait to see what holiday or how the characters will celebrate. Or maybe I’ll include another romantic moonlit wedding? I’m pretty sure my heroine won’t mind.


*PS. I thought I’d share my favorite champagnes with you. Enjoy the upcoming holidays!

*My Champagne Picks for the Holidays*

-FREIXENET. Elegant, edgy Freixenet is unlike any other champagne I’ve tasted. The price is affordable.

-MUMMS. Pricier but worth it.

-ANDRE’S. Extra Dry, Brut, Blush and Asti. Inexpensive with a high price taste. (I love the plastic cork. Pour a glass, re-cork, and the next day it’s still bubbly.)

-MARTINI and ROSSI. Another mid-priced champagne/Asti to ring in the New Year.

Very Special Occasions and Celebrating Book Releases: Veuve Clicquot, Moet & Chandon, Taittinger.

Blush: Pink, Sweet and Sparkly

Extra Dry: Medium Dry

Brut : Very Dry

Asti: Very Sweet and Bubbly

Book Blurb: Manhattan Holiday

Recently jilted, legal assistant April Sutton is ready to find a way to forget her ex-fiancé and the heartache she’s been carrying around snowy Manhattan. With the New Year holiday approaching she’s determined to restart her life. Never in her wildest dreams does she expect a last minute marriage to dynamic Roman Vasquez, along with a sultry weekend trip and a romantic dream wedding, to do the trick.

In order to meet the New Year’s Eve deadline of his grandfather’s will, successful developer Roman Vasquez will do whatever it takes. Even if it means giving up his bachelor status and convincing an unwilling April Sutton to tie the knot. Although he finds all it takes to persuade her is—one kiss, a contract, and the wedding of her dreams.

Will Roman and April keep it all business...or let the magic of the holiday season, along with meddling friends, family, and hidden feelings turn their temporary whirlwind marriage into everlasting love?

You can find me at

*Available in

Print/eBook at:


Barnes and Noble

The Wild Rose Press

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Interview with Author PATY JAGER

Today I’m interviewing Paty Jager . Her book, Secrets of a Mayan Moon is an Action Adventurer Romance and was released on August 4th.

Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.

Sarah, thank you for having me here today!

Doctor Isabella Mumphrey has a genius IQ and a fascination for Native American studies because she is one eighth Hopi. This fascination and near photographic memory has made her an authority on the artifacts and hieroglyphs of the People. Part of her interest is in connecting the tribes of Central America to those in North America. She is losing her funding at the university when her mentor archeologist Virgil Martin calls and dangles not only the money she needs to keep her department open but also the chance to decipher an ancient Mayan ceremony.

Describe the genre of this particular title, and is the only genre you write in?

This book is an action adventure romance. The story takes place in the Guatemalan Jungle at an archeological dig. There are artifact thieves, drug traffickers, and someone out to reenact a human sacrifice. Amid all this danger an attraction and romance build between Isabella and Tino, a DEA agent.

I have books out in the genres of historical western romance, contemporary western romance, and historical paranormal romance.

How did this story come to be?

This story came about after I complained to a friend that I was disappointed in a book that was dubbed an action adventure romance. She dared me to write what I thought an action adventure book should be, and we brainstormed the basics of the book while driving to a writing retreat.

Did you have several manuscripts finished before you sold? If so, did you send them out yourself?

I wrote six manuscripts before I sold. It was the sixth one that was contracted by Wild Rose Press. Yes, I sent them to agents and editors and now after being published I can see why they were all turned down. While myself and family and friends thought they were good, I had a lot to learn about craft- goals, motivation, and conflict and just writing an interesting sentence.

What is your writing routine like?

When I’m in direct writing mode(not busy with promotion) I’m at the computer by 7am answer e-mails, drop by a few blogs, and FB. I have breakfast about 8-8:30 and do outside chores. Then I’m back at the computer by 9-9:30 and write until noon. I take a break for about an hour again eating lunch and doing household chores. Then I’m back at the computer by 1pm and work until 4 or 5 depending on what I have to make for dinner. In the winter I may go back on the computer an hour or two after dinner but that’s to socialize and do promotion. In the summer my hours aren’t as strict because I have haying and irrigating to do along with the usual. And I try to get in an hour horse ride. The thing I’ve learned is you HAVE to sit in the chair and turn the computer on if you want to write. A book can’t be published if it’s sitting in your head.

What sort of promo do you do? Do you have help?

I like to do blog tours like this one when a book comes out. Then I pop on other friends’ blogs now and then. I have book marks, calendars, and a tri-fold flyer with all my books. I do book signings, teach workshops at conferences, and have a monthly contest on my website. The only help I have is my daughter who designs my covers and helps me with bookmark designs and posters.

Having achieved your goal to be a published author, what is the most rewarding thing?

The most rewarding thing about being a published author is receiving e-mails from a reader and hearing how much they enjoyed the book. As a child I read to experience new places and cultures in an enjoyable way and that’s what I hope my books do for others. Maybe teach them one thing they didn’t know and have an enjoyable ride along the way.

Are you a member of any writing organizations and, if so, have they helped?

Yes, I’ve been a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA) since 1998. It has been the catalyst that helped me hone my writing and put me in contact with other writers who have helped me along the way. It’s a great organization for someone starting out in this profession. I’m also a member for several RWA chapters, again, the camaraderie with other writers is so valuable. I also belong to a local writing group Central Oregon Writers Guild. It’s nice to have

some local writers to visit with now and then. Writing is a lonely profession and when you first start out and have the characters in your head you think you might be crazy, but then you meet and talk with other writers and you realize you aren’t alone. There are other people walking around with characters in their heads too. ;0)

What’s next for you?

I’m just about finished with the second Isabella Mumphrey book and then I’m going to start a mystery series set at a ski area in Northern Idaho. A half Nez Perce artist will be the protagonist who helps solve crimes through dreams from her dead grandmother.


Child prodigy and now Doctor of Anthropology, Isabella Mumphrey, is about to lose her job at the university. In the world of publish or perish, her mentor’s request for her assistance on a dig is just the opportunity she’s been seeking. If she can decipher an ancient stone table—and she can—she’ll keep her department. She heads to Guatemala, but drug trafficking bad guys, artifact thieves, and her infatuation for her handsome guide wreak havoc on her scholarly intentions.

DEA agent Tino Kosta, is out to avenge the deaths of his family. He’s deep undercover as a jaguar tracker and sometimes jungle guide, but the appearance of a beautiful, brainy anthropologist heats his Latin blood taking him on a dangerous detour that could leave them both casualties of the jungle.

A little bit about the author

Wife, mother, grandmother, and the one who cleans pens and delivers the hay; award winning author Paty Jager and her husband currently ranch 350 acres when not dashing around visiting their children and grandchildren. She not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.

Her contemporary Western, Perfectly Good Nanny won the 2008 Eppie for Best Contemporary Romance, Spirit of the Mountain, a historical paranormal set among the Nez Perce, garnered 1st place in the paranormal category of the Lories Best Published Book Contest, and Spirit of the Lake, the second book of the spirit trilogy, was a finalist in the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence.


Isabella climbed out of the boat, keeping as much distance between her and Tino as possible. He’d humiliated her, and she couldn’t get away from him. They were stuck together tonight and all of tomorrow until he delivered her to the dig. His taunting her with a kiss and then drawing away as if she were some vile creature hurt as deeply as the things Darrell Rutley had said to her face in grad school.

She walked into the forest, hunting for a place to have a few moments to herself.

“Do not go far,” Tino called in his seductive Latin accent.

She cursed her reaction to his voice, raised a hand acknowledging his order, and tromped deeper into the trees. The murmur of the river faded away in the steady drone of mosquitoes. She slapped at the leaves on the plants and wandered deeper. Rustling in the underbrush shot her heart into her throat. Jaguars were nocturnal weren’t they? A small, furry, pig-like animal trotted across her path, followed by five smaller versions.

She giggled at her jumpy nerves and the animals’ comical parade as she watched the last one disappear through the greenery. The waning light enlarged the shadows. Reluctance played war with her logical self. She should return to the boat before darkness descended and she couldn’t find her way back. But her pride, something she usually didn’t consider, wouldn’t let her face Tino.

Not yet.

It was stupid to believe he wanted to kiss her. Tino was handsome, virile, and so unlike any of the men she’d met during her college days or professionally. Exactly the type who toy with women like me. His chivalry and her attraction to him made her feel attractive, something she rarely experienced. But the way he brushed her off after he’d initiated the kiss... He’d only proved he could kiss her and not that he wanted her. She mentally slapped herself at her stupidity and virginal cravings.

The walk hadn’t settled her anger. Reliving the event only escalated her rage.

How could one be a genius yet stupid about life lessons?

She pulled out what she now considered her knife and hacked at the plants along the way. With each swing she lopped off something of Tino’s. Blue penetrating eyes. Devastating smile. A hand, so good at soothing her. The other hand. Her smile grew, and her frustration turned to the healthy exhaustion of an extensive taekwondo class.

Isabella wiped a sleeve across her sweaty brow and heaved a sigh of contentment. The vigorous exercise worked wonders on her disposition.

A fierce roar vibrated through the trees.

How can my readers buy your book?
Secrets of a Mayan Moon is available at Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.

You can find more information about Paty Jager and my book, Secrets of a Mayan Moon by visiting my website, or my blog at

Just a few fun questions to answer if you don’t mind.

1) What’s your favorite movie?

It’s a toss up between Burlesque and The Proposal

2) What is your favorite TV show?


3) What is your favorite drink?

Hot Chocolate

4) Who is your favorite author to read?

There are too many to name just one.

5) What’s your favorite vacation spot?

Anywhere my husband or family are.

6) What’s the best piece of advice you have been given?

When you get feedback on a story let it sit a day and think about what they said. Sometimes it hurts or makes you angry but usually if you step away from your feelings and take a good look you can see that maybe they were right and there are ways to make the story better.


This post is part of a two week blog tour. I love to give and you could be the winner! I will be giving away a $5 egift card to a commenter at each blog stop and will give a bag full of goodies to the person who follows me to the most blogs and a gift to the host who gets the most commenters. You can find the blog tour hosts at my blog:

 or my website:

Thank you for having me here today!


Monday, November 12, 2012

Interview with Author CYNTHIA OWENS

Hello to everyone, and especially Sarah, my Celtic Hearts Clan sister and friend. Thanks so much for having me here, and thank you for allowing me to talk about my historical romance novel, Coming Home, the second book in my Claddagh Series. I’m so pleased to be here. AND I’ll be giving away an autographed paperback copy of Coming Home to one lucky commenter. So put the kettle on the hob, settle into your favorite chair, and share some of my memories of Ireland.

Coming Home is the unintentional sequel to my first book, In Sunshine or in Shadow. I hadn’t planned to write a sequel, but the characters called me back to Ballycashel, the tiny, wind-swept West-of-Ireland village where both books are set.

Visiting Ireland was a long-held dream of mine, not just for research purposes, but because I’ve always felt connected to the country somehow. And on July 11, 2009, when the ferry docked in Dublin, I felt I’d arrived at my heart’s true home.

We drove off the ferry and into a curtain of magical mist that turned into a true Irish downpour. It rained steadily throughout the day, as we drove from Dublin to the village of Feakle, in County Clare. Our cottage there could have belonged to Ashleen and Cavan Callaghan, hero and heroine of Coming Home. Its stone walls, thatched roof, and the lovely warm hearth sizzling with sods of turf made me feel as if I’d gone back in time. That night, I sat in a rocking chair before the turf fire, listening to Irish music and just absorbing the Irish atmosphere.

And I felt like a character from one of my own stories.

Naturally a visit to Ireland isn’t complete without touring at least one castle. The first one we visited was Bunratty Castle, located in County Clare. It’s a spectacularly beautiful castle dating back to Medieval times, complete with winding staircases and amazing views from the battlements. It was also a gold mine of research opportunities because it has a folk park designed to look like a Nineteenth Century Irish village. It was at Bunratty Castle that I found Tom Flynn’s cottage. Loop Head House was the cottage of a farmer/fisherman, just like Tom Flynn, one of my favorite characters in Coming Home, and one of my favorite secondary characters in the Claddagh Series. A minor character in In Sunshine or in Shadow, Tom plays a major part in the love story in Coming Home.

On another day, we had the great good fortune to visit Thoor Ballylee, a fortified 13th Century Norman tower, once home to the great Irish poet, William Butler Yeats. The grounds were lovely, the “Winding Stair” dizzying, and the view from the very top of the tower was both breathtaking and terrifying – at least for me, as I’ve always been afraid of heights. We even got to see Yeats’s bed! Three years later, I feel incredibly lucky to have visited Ballylee. The autumn and winter of 2009 were severe, and the tower was damaged by heavy flooding. Sadly, the tower remains closed to visitors to this day.

It was hard to leave Ireland. The green fields, the soft mist, the incredibly friendly people, the atmosphere, was sheer magic. Ireland is like a lover, and once you meet her, she’s impossible to forget. She takes your hand in a gentle clasp, urging you forward into a world of mist and magic. She touches your heart, fires your spirit, and fills your soul with a yearning to remain always.

And I can’t wait to go back!

Sarah, thanks so much for hosting me on your beautiful blog!

Leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of Coming Home.

And watch for Playing For Keeps, Book III of the Claddagh Series, coming soon from Highland Press!

Book Blurb:
“A woman’s love is strong, more powerful than all the ghosts in Ireland..”

Daughter of an Irish village girl, step-daughter of the landlord, Ashleen O’Brien has lived between two very different worlds. But after a year in America, she yearns to return to the green land that is her heart’s home.

War and betrayal have taken everything from Cavan Callaghan – his home, his family, and the woman he loved. A hero of the Irish Brigade at Antietam, he’s searching for the family he never knew.

Love and deception await Cavan and Ashleen along those emerald shores, as the ghosts of a past that can never quite be forgotten rise to threaten their newfound happiness.

You can find me at my website:
On Facebook:

Follow me on Twitter: @Cynwrites1 Buy Coming Home here:

Friday, November 9, 2012

Interview with Author NANCY LEE BADGER

Highland Game Traditions-Fur, Feathers, & Kilts

Heart of Romance Blog

Nov 9, 2012 by Nancy Lee Badger

The Highlands of Scotland are some of the most weather-beaten, chilly, and wide-open spaces on this planet. A harsh climate has grown a people of diverse origins. Picts, Brits, Irish, and Nordic Vikings came and went, but many stayed and thrived, and built a country. Luckily for America, many decided to join the citizens of the brave new world across the sea, settling here and in neighboring Canada in the 17th century.

Americans and Canadians remember their Scottish roots by attending Highland Games. Held in many parts of both countries, these games are open to any and all for the price of a ticket. Shorts-clad or in full Highland dress, people come together for one to four days and eat Scottish food and drink whisky. (Fact: Whisky bottled in Scotland has no ‘e’)

Visitors and volunteers, demonstrators and athletes parade around in their plaids and armor. Where else can one watch young men (and women!) toss a caber, a heavy hammer, stones, and sacks of hay? Music of the Highlands fills the air. Bagpipers, drummers, and lassies in their dancing finery grab people's attention. Men strut with a dirk at their side, a sgian dubh in their sock, and a Claymore on their backs while women cock an eyebrow and enjoy the view.

I love animals, and when I visit games that have animals as part of the festivities, I can’t help but smile. In fact, the sheep dog trials at the New Hampshire games are a favorite and I enjoyed them last September. When I visited the Stone Mountain Highland Games in Atlanta last October, sheepdogs topped the list of demonstrations I vowed not to miss. Five dogs performed this year. One herded a flock of mallard ducks. Another herded sheep through a slalom where kids were the poles!

Another favorite of mine are the heavily-furred, orange-coated Highland Cow. (Fact: they can be red, yellow, dun, black, or brindled) One small calf was in a corral, and I loved its sweet face.

A more impressive group was the falconers. Men and one woman stood or walked through the encampment with a bird of prey are their gloved arms. The birds were of various ages and dispositions, and I loved listening as the falconers gave their talks. Each bird had the most intelligent glint as they stared right back at me. (Fact: using a method of measuring avian intelligence in terms of a bird's innovation in feeding habits, the falcon and the crow family scored highest on this scale according to Louis Lefebvre.)

I cannot close my thoughts without discussing kilts. Ancient Highland Scots did not wear what we, today, call kilts. They wore long, heavy, blankets that they belted on and rolled up and over a shoulder. Clasps kept them in place, and the heavy wool could also convert into a hooded garment and a bedroll. Modern kilts display the ‘colors’ of a clan. Banners, shirts, sashes…this is how modern folks, who want to feel a part of a Scottish clan, wear to ‘belong’. Love the colors,

and made sure I included kilted hunks on my book covers. (Fact: many clans have more than one official tartan: ancient, hunting, modern, etc.)

WANT TO WIN MY BOOK? Do you have a family surname you think could be of Scottish ancestry? Clans are compiled of dozens of septs. These surnames are listed on charts and in books. People visit the tents at Clan Villages to see who they might belong to. Share a name with me, and I will choose one winner to receive an ebook of my latest release, My Banished Highlander.

Want to visit Scottish Highland Games? Check out these websites: Grandfather Mountain Highland games- North Carolina  New Hampshire Highland games and Festival  Stone Mountain Highland Games- Atlanta GA

Loch Norman Scottish Highland Games- Huntersville NC / Pugwash Gathering of the Clans, Nova Scotia

Book Blurb

When his clan convicts Cameron Robeson of thievery, kidnapping, and treason in 1598 Scotland, the last thing he thought his cousin would do was banish him to the future. With revenge against Laird Kirkwall Gunn fresh on his mind, and the image of a woman left behind weighing on his heart, he passes the time doing an old woman’s bidding. Surrounded by the sights and sounds of the New England Highland Games, he dreams of returning to his time, alone. His plans go awry when a comely lass wearing the Mackenzie plaid lands at his feet.

Worried about her friend lost in the past, Iona Mackenzie searches for answers among the tents and vendors at the New England Highland Games. She needs help, but who can she trust? Her father? The handsome blacksmith? Or, the Viking look-a-like. The tall, golden-haired Highlander makes her legs turn to jelly. Too bad she’s shoved romance to a back seat. Saving her friend, Haven, is her only priority, no matter how sweet the man can kiss.

When a magical amulet, an ancient book of spells, and an angry sorcerer send this unlikely couple back through time, more than one heart will be broken. When danger, intrigue, and threats surround them, feelings between Iona and Cameron grow hot and steamy. They team up with Cameron’s enemies to fight the sorcerer and search for Haven—Iona’s friend and the woman Cameron plans to steal from his cousin to make his own. Will the strong-willed Highlander and the present day witch stop fighting long enough to listen to their hearts?

Buy Links for My Banished Highlander

Amazon Buy link Barnes & Noble: AllRomanceEBooks: Smashwords: KOBO: Now Available in Print!

More About the Author:

Nancy Lee Badger loves chocolate-chip shortbread, wool plaids wrapped around the trim waist of a Scottish Highlander, the clang of dirks and broadswords, and the sound of bagpipes in the air. After growing up in Huntington, New York, and raising two handsome sons in New Hampshire, Nancy moved to North Carolina where she writes full-time.

Nancy is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, and the Celtic Heart Romance Writers. Nancy and her family volunteer each fall at the New Hampshire Highland Games. She also writes as Nancy Lennea, and is a proud Army Mom.

Website Blog:

Thanks Nancy for joining me here at Heart of Romance!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Interview with Author CALLIE HUTTON

Conflict: Contrived or Real?
By: Callie Hutton

Whatever genre you’re writing in, a reader expects conflict in the story. I mean, if there was no conflict, if everything was coming up roses, who would read the book? The hero and heroine have to be tortured. They have to suffer. Tears, recriminations, betrayal. Ah, the basis of any good love story.

In my recent release, A Prescription For Love, I tortured Heidi and Michael so much, tears came to my eyes as I read it over. Oh, did I make them suffer! Hehe. But, because it was a romance there was the typical HEA, even though I made them crawl through fire to get there.

As much as I love to read romance, there are a few types of conflict that cause me to throw the book across the room. Hmm. Well, not exactly anymore, since I read most of my books on my Kindle. They don’t tend to hold up well when you smack them against something hard.

The Let’s Talk conflict. When you have a conflict where a five minute conversation will end the angst, and neither one will instigate the conversation that will end it, I get annoyed. Unless there’s a good reason why they can’t talk. I mean, if one character is in a coma, all right. I won’t toss the book. If one of them is being blackmailed—as in A Prescription For Love—I’ll allow that. And if the misunderstanding is cleared up quickly, no problem there either.

Sometimes I want to scream at the heroine. “Just ask him!” I read one book where a two word sentence would have cleared up the conflict. Sigh. No patience for that.

Another type of conflict that drives me crazy is the one where the heroine knows someone (usually another woman) has an agenda, but the heroine believes what the nasty person tells her about the hero. It’s usually something horrible that makes the heroine cringe. Hello? Haven’t you noticed Miss I’m telling you this for your own good wants the hero, and hasn’t made a secret of it? So why would you believe this?

Again, if it only goes on for a page or two, I’ll suffer through. But if the conflict goes on for chapter after chapter, watch out for flying objects.

In my recently released Christmas novella, Miss Merry’s Christmas, the heroine overhears a conversation, and misunderstand what she hears. Nosey woman pays price. Because I didn’t want to lose my readers, as an author might have lost me, I resolved it all quickly.

For some bizarre reason, betrayal causes me anxiety in a book. If it appears a hero or heroine has been betrayed by the other, I get very upset. “No, no.” I shout at the page (sorry—Kindle screen). “He didn’t really do that. It only looks that way.”

I have been known to put aside a book with a strong betrayal conflict because it genuinely upsets me. Don’t tell me I’m nuts because I’ve reached that conclusion long before you read this.

Well now that you know my likes and dislikes. What about you? How do you feel about conflict? Are there any that annoy you? Or cause you anxiety?

Thank you so much for having me today. Here is the blurb for my release, A Prescription For Love:

Guthrie, Oklahoma, 1903. Betrayed by his fiancée’s infidelity eight years ago, pharmacist Michael Henderson vowed he'd never risk his heart again. But he doesn't anticipate the tug of attraction he shares with his new employee.

Heidi Lester flees her home, determined to prove to her overprotective parents she can conquer her debilitating asthma, to make a life of her own. However, her unscrupulous fiancé has no intention of letting her go. He has his own plans for Heidi and her inheritance.

Will a scheme to ruin Michael's family force Heidi to marry her fiancé, or will assistance arrive from a surprising source to allow her to be with the man she truly loves?

Buy links: Amazon: , Barnes &Noble , Soul Mate Publishing

** Callie will give away to one winner their choice of a either A Run for Love (the first book in the series) or A Wife by Christmas (second book).***

Callie has been making up stories since elementary school, and writing gave her a way to turn off the voices in her head. She’s had a number of articles and interviews published over the years, and finally decided to put her writing skills to the test and write novels.

Oklahoma is where she hangs her hat with her husband of thirty-six years, two young adult children, and three dogs. You can catch her hanging out at Facebook, Twitter- @CallieHutton, and her home base, Stop by sometime and say hello.

Books by Callie Hutton:

Oklahoma Lovers series, #1, #2, #3

A Run For Love (Tori & Jesse)

A Wife By Christmas (Ellie & Max)

A Prescription For Love (Michael & Heidi)

An Angel in the Mail

Tessa’s Treasures

Miss Merry’s Christmas, coming October 31st

Daniel’s Desire, coming November 19th

All of Callie Hutton’s books can be found at  and

Author Callie Hutton

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Kilted Muse Photo Contest

The Kilted Muse Photo Contest opens Today!

We got off to a bit of a late start, ensuring that everyone who wanted a kilted muse, got their muse. Now we are ready for you to show us the most creative way to display or wear your Kilted Muse paraphernalia!

Take a photo of your kilted muse T-shirt or button, or both, showing us the most creative way your muse inspires you. Send it to us via e-mail during the contest period of November 6th - 20th. Send the photos to me at, I will send a confirmation e-mail for every photo I receive. On November 21st, we will post all the photos on the blog for voting by our members. They will pick the most creative photos and three top winners will be chosen.

Grand Prize will be a KINDLE FIRE, Second Prize will be a Muse Clock, and Third Prize will be a Muse Mug!

Additionally, one lucky Celtic Hearts member will win a free membership for 2013 for promoting the contest the most on his/her blog and twitteraccount! Use Hashtag #KILTEDMUSE and spread the word, we will be watching! Send us your blog announcement so we can keep track of your promotions on the blogs.

Rules for the contest:

  • No purchase necessary. You don’t have to have your own shirt or button (Use the image above). Although, you know you really want to own your own!
  • Please keep photo entries Rated PG-14 or below. No triple X photos, please. ;o)
  • No entries will be accepted before the start date or after the deadline. Contest entry dates are as follows: November 6 - November 20. Voting will take place from November 21- 30.
  • Anyone can enter, members or non-members.
  • Members will only be voting.

Extra Thanks to our very own Kim Killion and her company Hot Damn Designs which took our slogan and vision and created the fantastic artwork above.

Please e-mail me with any questions you may have.
Kimberly Wooten
CHRW VP- Communications

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Interview with Author, MARY GILLGANNON

***NOTE*** Mary will be giving away a copy of The Dragon Prince, the third book in the series, to one lucky commenter.

When I decided to write my first historical romance, I knew exactly what time period I wanted to set it in. Inspired by Mary Stewart’s Merlin books and the movie Excalibur, there seemed to me to be no era quite as compelling as the Arthurian age. I envisioned evocative landscapes of deep forests, mysterious mists, gleaming valleys and wild coasts. Manly, long-haired heroes on horseback wielding swords, fighting for ladies clad in long romantic gowns. I imagined smoky halls filled with stirring music and lively banquets and dramatic hilltop pagan rituals. Conflict, passion and enchantment—this era had it all.

I began researching the historical time of King Arthur, digging through dusty books on dark age and medieval history and literature at the local libraries. It was there I found my hero, a Welsh king known as Maelgwn the Great. In one of the few written histories of the era, the monk Gildas rants on and on about Maelgwn, calling him a “tyrant of tyrants” and also referring to him as the Dragon of the Island. In a time of upheaval, he is a larger than life figure. Indeed, to this day, places all over Wales are named for Maelgwn.

Somehow reading about this long-ago king triggered in my mind images of a fierce, dark-haired warlord with a haunted past. The rest of the story flowed from that and soon I had my passionate but vulnerable Roman British heroine Aurora and the rest of my plot. I wrote the book in less than a year, and having barely finished it, realized Maelgwn’s story wasn’t finished and that I’d have to write another book. A second novel came to be, Dragon’s Dream. Then Maelgwn’s sons appeared and demanded their own stories be told. A few years later I wrote The Dragon Prince to tell Rhun’s tale, in which King Arthur himself plays a fairly large part. Finally, I finished The Dragon Bard, Bridei’s story, set mostly in Ireland and just released this year in print and ebook formats.

I’ve been to Wales three times now and have found the place to be as beautiful and inspiring as I imagined. I know I’ll have to go back to this world, and at the end of The Dragon’s Bard, one of Bridei’s sisters appeared, practically demanding her story be told. (I have a sneaking suspicion she’s going to end up in Scotland, so the book might have to wait until I visit there.)

Dark age Britain doesn’t naturally come to mind as a setting for romance. But I promise you this world has all the ingredients for gripping tales of love, adventure and intrigue, with a bit of magic and some hot sex thrown in as well.

Welcome to the world of the Dragon of the Island, a place you’ll want to visit, as I have, again and again!

You can find Mary at

Thank you Mary for coming to Heart of Romance and sharing your books with us!