Thursday, 17 September 2015

Can you speak camel?

It's amazing what you find out when you write a novel! While researching the background and setting of my historical romance THE LION'S EMBRACE, I came across fascinating material about North Africa - enchanting Tuareg poems and legends, accounts of expeditions in the Sahara, beautiful photos of the most breathtaking scenery...and this fabulous snippet of information about camels, taken from the anthology 'Contes et Légendes du Niger' by Pierre-Marie Decoudras and Laurence Rivaille and published by Karthala, Paris.
Why was I so interested in camels? Because much of the story is set in Southern Algeria where my hero Lucas Saintclair takes the heroine Harriet Montague in the hope of finding her missing father. On the way, they encounter danger and treason, adventure and passion - it is a romance after all! They also hook up with a Tuareg tribe to travel to Tamanrasset, and Harriet gets to find out a little about the nomads' way of life.

Image courtesy of Photokanok at
Camels aren't only essential to local tribes as a means of transport. They are also companions and 'an inexhaustible source of information'[1]. Not only do they know where to find pastures and water holes, but they also warn their owners of dangers and trouble ahead. Some nomads even claim that their camel can talk!

Here are a few examples recorded by the authors. When a camel walks around the campsite several times at dawn then kneels down in front of its master's tent and grunts, it is warning about unwelcome visitors. When it stands looking to the East sniffing the air for several hours, it announces a storm. And if a camel refuses to stand up whilst being harnessed, it's a sign that its owner shouldn't travel that day, but stay in his tent and drink tea.

I completely empathise with that camel. I often feel like that in the morning too!



[1] 'Contes et Légendes du Niger', Pierre-Marie Decoudras et Laurence Rivaille, Editions Karthala, Paris

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Elaine Violette's Regencies

I am delighted to welcome another great romance writer today - Elaine Violette.

Hello Marie and thank you for inviting me to your blog!  What a lovely place to visit and share my two recent Regency Romance Kindle releases, Regal Reward on August 27th and A Convenient Pretense on September 1st. 

Can you tell us about your novels?

       I’d love to tell you about both.

In Regal Reward, my hero, York Blackstone, is virile, reckless, and obsessed. He lived as the privileged first son of an Earl until his father is falsely accused of treason, imprisoned, and his family tossed to the streets of London. As a mere child, he turns to thievery to live and care for his grieving mother and sickly younger brother. His inherited aristocratic bearing makes him a leader in his world of thieves. He becomes obsessed with clearing his father’s name, reclaiming the title and lands lost, and making the villain who destroyed his family pay for his misdeeds. His ruthless occupation as a highwayman, leads him, one night, to discover the beautiful Lady Marielle Henley asleep in the woods with her dog Beatrice and her newborn pups. He is disbelieving of his find. What is a prim and proper miss doing asleep against and old Oak tree in the dead of night with only a dog and her brood? Fearful, but defiant, Marielle struggles with her captor who tosses his prim package on his horse with her bundle of squirming animals and steals her away to his seclude cottage.  York won’t let his captive’s allure turn him from his goal when he realizes he can use her as a pawn in his vengeance.
Regal Reward can be purchased on Amazon at

 In A Convenient Pretense, my second Regency release, my lovely heroine, Emily Grace, is independent, stubborn, and a self-declared poetess. I enjoyed being able to include a bit of poetry as she sits and ponders her craft. Emily observed her father and mother’s failed marriage and has chosen a single life much to her widowed father’s dismay. Here’s a snippet of an opening poem which is a self-proclamation of her views on marriage.

          Foolish is a maiden who sets her heart a flight    

   With dreams of wedded bliss that surely lead to strife.

         She might best consider a single life…

When her father forces her to go to London for the Season, she must obey.  Aunt Delia is given the task of finding her niece a suitable husband. Her aunt’s best friend Agatha has been anxious to find her disinclined nephew, Lord Marcus Deming, a suitable wife. The two spirited aunts conspire together and set up a meeting. When Emily and Marcus are introduced, Emily can’t deny her attraction to his startling good looks but she refuses to be drawn in to his charm.  When she discovers that Marcus has an aversion to marriage, she boldly suggests a convenient pretense of courtship. He agrees it will save them both from their aunts’ badgering and their parade of candidates. Emily didn’t expect to fall in love with her collaborator. Little does she know when she escapes London and returns home, a more sinister pretense is afoot, one that will destroy her family.  Only Marcus, the man she’s run from, can untangle the deception. Are Emily and Marcus too much alike to realize they belong together? 
A Convenient Pretense is available on Amazon at

Both novels sound absolutely wonderful. Just the kind of stories I love to read! I need - but rarely get - quiet to write. What about you? What is the one thing you absolutely need to write?

          An empty house is best when I’m typing away and inventing characters and plots. My writing space is a bedroom turned into an office. Only the occasional interruption from my husband, wondering if I’m still alive, breaks my concentration.  I need total quiet when I’m writing though I do miss my dear Cocker Spaniel’s breathing when she used to be stretched out on the rug by my chair. She passed away and I still haven’t convinced my dear husband to rescue another pet.  I’m working on it.

I'm sorry to hear that, Elaine. We do get very attached to pets. They make wonderful companions...

What are you working on at the moment?

Presently I’m polishing up my fourth Historical Romance. The Journal of Narcissa Dunn is a departure from my previous books. It takes place in New England and has inspirational elements.  The idea of this story came from a walk in a cemetery a few years back.  I read the epitaph of a girl that passed away at eighteen in 1808. I never forgot it. Once I finished my third novel, I knew my story for her had to be written.   I look forward to its release in a few months. 

Another great read I musn't miss!

And now for the word association fun test!

           Pick 5? Here are flash responses.

                   Day -         Sunshine, writing, busyness

                   Night-       A glass of wine and TV with hubby

                   Winter-    Too cold for comfort. Furry slippers

                   Summer- Beach time. Lobster. My favorite time of year

                   Travel-      Gaining new perspectives. Love new places

It was such a pleasure visiting, Marie, Thank you for your gracious hospitality.  I’d like to invite readers to my Facebook page at where they can subscribe to my monthly newsletter for news on upcoming releases, contests, and recipes too.  (I love to bake!)
You are very welcome, Elaine. It was a pleasure talking to you!

Author Bio

Elaine is a veteran English teacher and holds a BS in English Education from the University of CT and an MS in Educational Leadership from Central CT State University.  She presently teaches public speaking part time at a local community college. She is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America, CT Romance Writers (CTRWA) and Charter Oak Romance writers (CORW). She resides on the Connecticut shoreline and especially enjoys being a wife, mother, and grandmother.


Wednesday, 9 September 2015

RACING HEART by June Moonbridge

I am delighted to welcome June Moonbridge and her novel RACING HEART today. There is a giveaway at the end of the post, so don't forget to click on the link!

Hello June, and thank you for coming on the blog today. What can you tell us about RACING HEART?

Racing Heart is a Romantic Suspense novel, set against the glamorous backdrops of Monaco, Paris and Nice. It mixes romance and mystery as Desirée Hart struggles to come to terms with her past to be able to embrace her future and love into her life.

The Riviera is a wonderfully glamorous setting for a romance! I would like to know more about your characters. In three words - What kind of man is your hero?

Lorcan Shore is an international F1 star, with golden heart and misunderstood behaviour.

In three words - What kind of woman is your heroine?

Désirée Hart is a young woman trusts no one, especially when love is in question, she also has too many skeletons in her closet.

And what did Lorcan think the first time he saw Désirée?

After realising that the car collision could be his fault and after his driving skills were brutally verbally attacked by her, he realises she likes to be in control of her life. After turning his invitation for a drink down he’s certain of it. 

What about Désirée? What did she think of Lorcan the first time she saw him? 

Before she recognises him, Désirée thinks Lorcan is one idiot of a driver.

What is the one thing you absolutely need to write? (quiet, music, an empty house?)

A mug of coffee, music and a time past midnight. I’m a night owl… and most of my writing is done at that time.

I would probably fall asleep! I'm more of a early morning person. Give me a silent house and lots of tea or coffee, and cake, of course, and I am very happy!

Do you find it difficult to come up with titles for your novels?

Somewhat difficult. Although I found the title quite soon, the publisher (Safkhet Soul) decided with me agreeing, to change its current one.

I absolutely love the names of your hero and heroine - Désirée is such a romantic name... How do you pick the names of your characters?

Basically I choose a name and a surname. After that the research is done – if there is anyone in the world that has that name… If I find that there is a real person who owns that name, then I try to combine it with middle name if not – the name is born… ;)

What are you working on at the moment?

It’s another romantic suspense, set mostly in a different climate zone and culture.

And now for the word association fun test!

Day            day job                                   

Night          writing                 

nature        peace

books          escape

music          relaxation

Thank you so much June for coming on the blog today. I wish you lots of luck with RACING HEART.

Here is a little bit about the story...

Desiree Hart in desperate search for her kidnapped son, does everything in her power possible to find him. Due to a letter she receives after official search was closed, she changes everything; her appearance, her hometown and even her name.

When she meets Lorcan Shore, the Five Times F1 World Campion, their encounter is everything but ordinary. Out of pure fear for her life, she loses her temper and spits over everything he is absolutely certain he can do the best; how to drive.

Leaving him alone on Grand Corniche she is certain she would never see him again. But the next morning proves her being totally wrong. He was no quitter and no matter how she tries to run and hide, her heart desires at the end come back to the surface…

Will the man of her dreams be able to fulfil them all? Including the most important will he help her find her missing son?

The person behind the name of June Moonbridge, has many names and many faces too. Although living in the same area, she was born and raised in one country  and now living in another.

She studied economics, and quickly realised she hated it. Afterwards, she found herself working in mainly male businesses; at first in automotive and later - steel products productions. She can choose for you the best steel you need, but don't, please don't, ask her which lipstick to use.

She started to write in her high school and was negatively criticised by her teacher. Stubborn as she is that didn't stop her. Under different pen names for her stories she tried to get some independent opinions, which came back as good reviews in magazines and later she published three books.

Giving birth to two children, and learning that her second child has Autism, she married the father of them and continued to work. All that together took all of her free time. But the desire to write didn't die. When life somehow sorted itself out, she decided to write her novel in English and her first submission to Safkhet was rejected… 

For what happened later… read third paragraph, second sentence.


GIVEAWAY: 2 e-copies of the book!

Stick with me! A Post for Rhoda Baxter 'Release Me' splash

Let's start this post with a riddle.
I come in different shapes and sizes, but I am usually small and square.
I am very colourful and easily spotted.
I have a sticky bit at the top.
You can scribble or doodle all over me, or just use me to mark a page.

I make sure you don't forget that brilliant idea or the beautiful words that just popped into your mind.

What am I?

Yes, you guessed. I am a Post-it note.

I'm sure I am not the only writer who loves Post-it notes. In fact, bestselling author Julie Cohen gave a brilliant, fun and informative presentation about them and the 'Art of the Rewrite' at the latest Romantic Novelists Association Conference which was held in July at Queen Mary University, London.

According to Julie, once you have completed the first draft of your novel and after a celebratory glass of champagne (a cup of tea will do too!) and a little break, it is time to start the rewriting process. For this she uses Post-it notes...lots and lots of them, that she sticks on a board, a wall or even on the back of a door.

She finds them an invaluable visual aid to highlight the structure of the novel. Not only do they help her map out the development of the plot and sub-plot, but she also uses colour-coded Post-its for different characters so that she can see exactly where and how often they feature in the story and how they interact with one another. By placing some Post-it notes slightly higher or lower than other, she can also spot the novel's high and low points. In short, she creates 'a Post-it plan' of the novel.

I am not in any way as well organised in my use of Post-it notes as Julie Cohen, but I do love them. I have tiny ones, long ones, large ones, square ones. Some have flowers or fancy romantic borders, others are just plain and boring! I stick them on every surface available in my dining room since this is where I usually write. They are sometimes so full of scribbles I can't read them at all, but most of the time they help me pin down an idea or a passing thought, remember a question or and point to further research for my work in progress.

So I will be sticking with them!

This post is part of the PLEASE RELEASE ME blog splash!



What if you could only watch as your bright future slipped away from you?
Sally Cummings has had it tougher than most but, if nothing else, it’s taught her to grab opportunity with both hands. And, when she stands looking into the eyes of her new husband Peter on her perfect wedding day, it seems her life is finally on the up.

That is until the car crash that puts her in a coma and throws her entire future into question.

In the following months, a small part of Sally’s consciousness begins to return, allowing her to listen in on the world around her – although she has no way to communicate.

But Sally was never going to let a little thing like a coma get in the way of her happily ever after …