Many of you probably know from my own Facebook feed that I love Shanna's work. I've had her on my blog before and now she's here again with a new release, Garden of Her Heart, guaranteed to tug your heartstrings and tickle your funny bone. This is different from anything else I've read by Shanna. In fact, it took away the much vied-for position of "favorite" from The Christmas Crusade which I fell in love with from the first page. Set in World War II during the Japanese internment, Garden of Her Heart shows once again the power of love is stronger than the power of hate.
One of the things I love about Shanna's writing is her attention to detail and historical accuracy. It can be easy when writing about the unpleasant aspects of our history to vilify our predecessors. But Shanna doesn't do that. She doesn't sugarcoat history either, which is the other side of the pendulum. Instead she writes things the way they were but without the sense of passing judgment. She took a very difficult time in our nation's history and handled it with grace. Not an easy task, but one she managed to perfection.
Now that I've told you how wonderful it is, how about I let Shanna share with you what it's all about?
Can forbidden love blossom amid the constraints of war?
The moment the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, life shifted for Miko Nishimura. Desperate to reach the Portland Assembly Center for Japanese-Americans, she’s kicked off the bus miles from town. Every tick of the clock pushes her closer to becoming a fugitive in the land of her birth. Exhausted, she stumbles to her grandparents’ abandoned farm only to find a dying soldier sprawled across the step. Unable to leave him, she forsakes all else to keep him alive.
After crashing his plane in the Battle of the Atlantic, the doctors condemn Captain Rock Laroux to die. Determined to meet his maker beneath a blue sky at his family home, he sneaks out of the hospital. Weary and half out of his mind, he makes it as far as a produce stand he remembers from his youth. Rather than surrender to death, Rock fights a battle of the heart as he falls in love with the beautiful Japanese woman who saves his life.
A poignant, sweet romance, Garden of Her Heart proves love can bloom in unlikely places even under the most challenging circumstances.
Don't miss out on this beautiful happy ever after. Get your copy today!
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1125098241
“Please, Miko? Would you at least consider marrying me?”
She shook her head and tried to pull away from him, but he drew her closer, wrapping his arms around her and holding her. His breath tantalized her ear as he bent his head near hers. “Please?”
“I can’t, Rock. I don’t want to be the cause of you missing out on the love of a lifetime.” She turned her head to the side and pressed it against his neck. Unintentionally, she heightened the yearning that already pulsed between them. Forcibly, he relaxed his hold on her.
“Miko,” he whispered. “Look at me, sweetheart.”
Unhurried, she tipped her head back, drawn into the bright warmth of his eyes.
“Miko, if I didn’t want to marry you, I wouldn’t offer. I rather like the idea of spending my future with you. We have more going for us than many couples who wed. There is no doubt in my mind at all about your ability to be a good wife. Me, on the other hand…” His cocky grin brought an amused light to her eyes. “It might be challenging to be married to someone like me.”
A smile curved her mouth upward and Rock tamped down the desire to kiss her again, even with the pastor watching their every move.
Sounds good, doesn't it? To celebrate this new release, Shanna is having a Facebook party with great prizes including, I'm told, a prize pack from Bésame Cosmetics (if you like Agent Carter, you may recognize this as the brand Haylee Atwell wears on the show). And she has graciously invited me to be one of the guest authors during the festivities! Today from 4 - 7 EST, we will be celebrating this fabulous new novel. We'll hope to see you there!
USA Today Bestselling Author Shanna Hatfield writes character-driven romances with relatable heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.”
Convinced everyone deserves a happy ending, this hopeless romantic is out to make it happen, one story at a time. When she isn’t writing or indulging in chocolate (dark and decadent, please), Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.
Find Shanna’s books at:
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Shanna-Hatfield/e/B0056HPPM0/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1391485546&sr=8-1
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/shanna-hatfield
Shanna loves to hear from readers. Follow her online at:
You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ShannaHatfield?feature=watch
It's release day for Fellowship of Fantasy's first ever anthology: Fantastic Creatures! Twenty authors, including yours truly, got together to write short stories about various fantastic creatures from dragons, to mermaids, to goblins. It's a delightful collection with stories for every type of fantasy reader. Are you excited to learn more? Keep reading!
To celebrate our release, some of us have gotten together for a fun scavenger hunt with delightful prizes. The grand prize winner will receive a Kindle Fire along with eBooks from each of the participating authors. The instructions are simple: Visit each blog to learn about a different story and author in the anthology (nope, you won't find mine here), look for a number in the blog and remember that number when you go to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway. Links to each of the blogs will follow, so stop by each one! Easy peasy, right?
So, now I have the great honor of introducing Lea Doué to my blog.
Guest Author - Lea Doué
Hello! My name is Lea Doué, and I'm the author of The Firethorn Chronicles, a fantasy series drawn from The Twelve Dancing Princesses and other classic fairy tales. I live with my husband and two boys in Nova Scotia, and I'm so excited to have my story included in the Fellowship of Fantasy Fantastic Creatures anthology.
My story is titled Snapdragon, and it was inspired by The Frog Prince by the Brothers Grimm. It's set in the world of The Firethorn Chronicles, where dragons are as common as any other wildlife and come in all shapes and sizes. Some are fierce, some are friendly, and some are just plain annoying. (You can read more about some of the varieties in the Dragon Dictionary on my website.)
Snapdragon is set hundreds of years before the first book in the series. It gives a peek into the life of the man who later became the soldier-king and started the Dragon Wars, which cleansed the lands of ravaging razor-tail dragons and destructive sorcerers. And here's a little Easter egg for you: In The Midsummer Captives (Firethorn Chronicles 2), one of the characters can be seen reading a book titled The Soldier-King and the Lady of Thorns, which is essentially the story of Snapdragon under a different name.
The Firethorn Crown (Firethorn Chronicles 1) is currently available on Amazon. (An aside from Jessica, if you enjoyed my fairy tale retellings I promise you that you will LOVE Lea's book! It is fabulous!)
The Midsummer Captives (Firethorn Chronicles 2) will release later this month/early December. You can read the first chapter on my website.
Red Orchid: A Firethorn Chronicles Novelette (a prologue to book three, due out in 2017) is available to download for free when you sign up for my newsletter.
And Snapdragon is available in Fantastic Creatures: A Fellowship of Fantasy Anthology. Be sure to check it out, along with all the other fantastic stories!
Just for fun, Lea is hosting a little giveaway! Be sure to enter to win an eBook copy of The Midsummer Captives.
Fantastic Creatures: A Fellowship of Fantasy Anthology
Thanks for joining us, Lea! Now to tell you a little about our anthology and where to get it. The anthology is free to download from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and others. You can also add it to your To-Read list on Goodreads. Curious yet? Here's the blurb to tempt you more:
Here be dragons ... and selkies and griffins and maybe even a mermaid or two.
Twenty fantasy authors band together to bring you a collection of thrilling tales and magical monsters. Do you like to slay dragons? Or befriend them? Do you prefer to meet cephalopods as gigantic kraken or adorable tree octopuses?
Each story focuses around a fantastic creature from folklore or mythology, and they range from light and playful tales for the whole family to darker stories that may make you wish to leave the lights on. These stories carry the Fellowship of Fantasy seal of approval. While our monsters may be horrifying, you won't stumble into graphic sex and constant swearing.
Perfect for the fantasy lover who can't get enough of mythical beasts.
Have you ever had one of those moments where you're la-tee-dah-ing on your Facebook and you suddenly realize today is your friend's release day? And you promised her a blog post? Yep, just had that moment. So my apologies, Missy, that this is going up later in the day than I intended. And without further ado, I present Missy Sheldrake who is here to tell us about her new release and the series it is a part of.
I’m excited to announce that the third book in the Keepers of the Wellsprings series, Call of Brindelier, is now available on Amazon! If you haven’t read the previous books yet, read on for a super-quick crash course.
When I started writing this series, I really wanted to tell a story that was rich with fantasy, but not overly dark or mired with war and violence. I wanted to show the light side of fantasy: the cheerful, magical, uplifting side which I always drink up whenever it emerges in a story, and which always seems to be so fleeting in fantasy tales. I wanted to tell a story that would capture the hearts of young and old alike. Don’t get me wrong, my books aren’t void of conflict and evil. They tell of uncomfortable moments. There is violence and wickedness, but it’s those moments in my stories which are the fleeting ones. In the pages of my books, you will find fairies, Mages, Paladins, Elves, Dreamwalkers, Princes and Princesses, and even dragons. You’ll travel through a world rich with magic and wonder.
In Call of Kythshire, you’ll learn all about Cerion, a seaside kingdom which has celebrated peace for over a century. You’ll meet His Majesty’s Elite, a guild that is the right hand adventuring team of King Tirnon Plethore, and you’ll join Azi Hammerfel, a young squire who has grown up within the guild’s halls, through disappointments and triumphs. By her side is Rian, her childhood friend, an Apprentice of the Mage Academy. You’ll meet Flit, a fairy from Kythshire, who is as tricky as any fairy you might imagine, but has a depth of character and a sense of purpose uncommon for a typical fairy. You’ll see her world unfold, and feel the evil threat of Sorcery that looms, waiting to destroy it. You’ll learn a little about the Wellsprings, but not too much, for their existence and workings are a well-protected secret. (Click here to read an excerpt from Call of Kythshire.)
In Call of Sunteri, you’ll meet the strong-willed slave boy, Tib, who makes his first appearance as he escapes from the grips of Sorcery in the desert continent of Sunteri. He has help crossing the vast oceans to reach Cerion, but he doesn’t realize it at first. A mysterious being speaks to his mind, controlling his thoughts and making suggestions to ensure his own survival. In the meantime, Azi has been given the task of escorting the Prince of Cerion and his wife-with-child to the lakeside Kordelya Castle as the prince faces suspicion and ridicule after the events of Call of Kythshire. But a darker force emerges from the Dreaming, whose wicked intent is to use any means necessary to escape its prison and claim the magic of the Wellsprings for his own. In this book, you’ll see the devastating effects of the overuse of magic, and what it does to the Wellsprings and the creatures who thrive around them. (Click here to read an excerpt from Call of Sunteri.)
In Call of Brindelier, a dark force looms, more powerful and destructive than any threat Azi and her guild have yet faced. You’ll follow Celli, a scrappy street fighter, as she is enticed into the grips of a powerful Sorcerer. You’ll watch Tib come into his own as he sneaks through the streets of Cerion, uncovering the darkness while also working on a mysterious project. You’ll follow Azi on a quest set by Princess Margary to find proof of Brindelier, a city in the clouds which is the key to all of the Wellsprings in the Known Lands. But Margy is not the only one interested in Brindelier. A dark force has been gathering, poised to claim it for their own. Control over the Wellsprings hangs in the balance. (Click here to read an excerpt from Call of Brindelier.)
This series is appropriate for all ages, but I recommend 13 and up due to some violent themes. There is no sex, swearing, or excessively graphic violence in the Keepers of the Wellsprings. Throughout the series, you’ll encounter daring sword fights, violent magical moments, and a few quick deaths.
Call of Brindelier, the third book in the Keepers of the Wellsprings series, is now available on Amazon. This weekend, I’m offering book one of the series, Call of Kythshire, for free, and book two, Call of Sunteri, for just 99 cents. Click here to download your ebooks while they’re on sale!
Onward to Brindelier…
A selfish prince on trial for treason. A beloved princess hiding a talent for forbidden magic. The race between Dawn and Dusk to claim Brindelier, a hidden city in the clouds with a promise of ultimate control over the source of power in the Known Lands: The Wellsprings.
Azi and Rian are back! The newly-betrothed couple once again find themselves drawn into the plots of fairy-kind, bestowed with gifts of new titles and strange, powerful abilities. A threat is revealed; one which Flitt insists is worse than anything they have yet faced. Is she referring to the gathering of Sorcerers who call themselves the Circle of Spires, or is a darker, more sinister force at play? Tib knows. He’s seen the might of the Dusk firsthand.
The fates of Cerion, Kythshire, and all the Known Lands hang in the balance in the third installment of the Keepers of the Wellsprings series: Call of Brindelier.
About the Author
Missy Sheldrake is an author/illustrator who has been conjuring images of fairies in one form or another since she was very young. The wind in the trees and the rich scent of forest earth are her most treasured sources of inspiration, and on most mornings you will find her wandering the wooded paths, dreaming of the next adventure she hopes to put to the page.
Missy was born in Connecticut and attended Western Connecticut State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Art with a concentration in painting and illustration. Even then, in her free time, she was writing. She moved to Northern Virginia several years ago and lives there now, on the outskirts of Washington D.C., with her true love and their son. She published her first novel, Call of Kythshire, in March of 2015 and intends to keep writing as long as the fairies allow it.
Call of Kythshire (Book One):
Call of Sunteri (Book Two):
Call of Brindelier (Book Three):
Snowberry Blossom (Perma-free holiday short story):
Amazon Author Page:
I'm so excited to have Heidi on my blog today and even more fun, she's doing a giveaway! I had the great privilege of reading Cora and the Nurse Dragon as a beta reader. Let me just say, this book is awesome! The characters are fun, the story engaging and fun for the whole family. My kiddos were able to beta with me and they loved it every bit as much as I did! So if you like dragons, fantasy and free books, keep reading! Directions to her giveaway will be posted at the end of the blog.
Welcome, Heidi, to my blog! Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm an obsessive personality. I'm almost always obsessed with something, and while that changes from time to time (I have a couple of ongoing obsessions--Lord of the Rings and my husband, mainly) chances are there is something, a TV show, a book, my own writing, something … that I'm obsessing about at that moment. I also really love cats. I love every kind of cat. I just want to hug them, but I can't hug every cat … that is sad.
It is. When you're not writing, what do you enjoy doing?
I'm a casual gamer. I love puzzle games like Myst or the Nancy Drew series … and sometimes MMORPGs like World of Warcraft. I also crochet and I have a cat and two rambunctious daughters, so if I have free time, it's usually short. I wish I could fit in more reading, too. I've been trying to do better about that, but if my daughters' see me reading, they take that as a sign that I can read TO them and we end up reading “Go Dog Go” for the fifth time in an hour
We love Nancy Drew here! You've been given a Time-Turner (Harry Potter). When do you go back to and how many turns does it take?
This sounds suspiciously like it might involve math. Is there math involved? I'm just going to say 42 for the numbers part. That usually works. Honestly, though, I'm not particularly nostalgic and there is no historical event I'd want to go to for fear of causing some sort of paradox and accidentally saving rather than assassinating Hitler. I might go back and tell teenage me that happily ever after is just around the corner, but she managed to stumble through all right with only a vague faith that this was true, so it isn't an urgent message.
Yes, that sneaky math. Tell us a little about Cora and the Nurse Dragon.
In Cora's world, dragons have been “domesticated.” They're bred in factories to be pets, or racers, or used in other human pursuits. Cora's obsessed with them. She wants a pet dragon. She wants to be a dragon jockey, riding a racing dragon, when she grows up. However, her father believes dragons are meant to be free in the wild, not exploited by humans. One day Cora gets a hold of a dragon egg which hatches into something that changes everything for her. That something is a nurse dragon named Cricket.
I loved that about the story! What inspired you to write this story?
Cora kind of came out of no where. I was NOT planning to write it. I'd just finished the second book in my “Elemental Realms” series and was planning to spend November editing rather than writing … then right before NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) started, I got this idea that wouldn't leave my head about a little girl living in a world where kids could get dragon egg packs, and how usually the packs would be worthless, like lottery tickets or crackerjack prizes, but sometimes, very very rarely, there would be something exceptional. And the story just sort of wrote itself from there.
Every author's dream, and sometimes nightmare. What is your favorite dragon book (yes, your own count)?
Gosh … this is so so hard … like The Hobbit is amazing, but really the dragon is only in the very last bit (though he's awesome). And Farmer Giles of Ham is hilarious but it isn't in my top ten for books … and my own book Dragon's Curse (and the rest in the Dragon and the Scholar Series) is a very personal story because I drew very heavily on my own love story between myself and my sarcastic but awesome husband, Matt, to create the characters … I'm going to go ahead and go back to basics: The Reluctant Dragon was one of the first to show dragons in a different light, to show that sometimes knowledge and understanding trumps first impressions and brawn, and that sometimes dragons can be your best friends.
All good choices. If you were to get one of the pet dragons in your book, what type would you want?
Nurse dragons are cool, but they are a lot of responsibility. I'd probably go with a steamer. The strikers and sparkers are cool, but they cause a lot of accidental fires, and steamers are blue. Blue is my favorite color. Steamers shoot out hot water vapor which would also be helpful if I had a cold.
That would be helpful! You're having a giveaway with this release. Care to share any details?
I'm giving away a paperback copy of Cora and the Nurse Dragon. It's open to international entries because I'm excited to get this book into the hands of readers. You can enter by following me on social media accounts where I'm very active and post a lot of dragon pictures.
I love your dragon pictures. Where can readers go to learn more about you and your books? I have a website www.hlburkeauthor.com and am active on Facebook and Twitter.
Because I love and miss Alan Rickman, if you had been able to cast him in one of your books, which role would he have?
Hmm … this depends on whether or not I can pluck him from any decade of my choice. It's not a huge part, but Captain Goodly in Beggar Magic deserves a sensitive but strong portrayal. He's a man with a shattered past who triumphed over adversity and uses his position to help others.
Thank you for joining us today, Heidi. Good luck with your release!
Cora and the Nurse Dragon is a new middle grade fantasy adventure by author H. L. Burke. It follows the adventures of Cora Harrison in a world where Dragons no longer live in nature but are a resource exploited by humans.
Ages 9 and Up.
The book releases January 31st and is available for pre-order at the special price of 99 cents.
Cora's a young girl with two dreams: to be a dragon jockey when she grows up and to own a pet dragon now. She constantly buys "egg packs" at the dragon emporium in hopes that one will hatch into a rare pet-sized dragon, but only gets short-lived mayflies. However, when an unexpected egg does develop into something new, Cora may be over her head.
Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and was always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic.
An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture.
Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes that home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.
She is the author of a four part fantasy/romance series entitled "The Scholar and the Dragon", featuring the books Dragon's Curse, Dragon's Debt, Dragon's Rival, and Dragon's Bride as well as the YA/Fantasy Beggar Magic. Her current projects are a young adult steampunk fantasy and an epic fantasy trilogy.
Sign up for her monthly newsletter at www.hlburkeauthor.com
Author social media links
I've had the opportunity to meet lots of other indie authors and one of the things I love most about them is the willingness to help out a fellow writer. Meet Sarah Daley, a talented author working on a mermaid series that is both unique and fun! She has graciously donated a digital copy of her novella Drowning Sandy for the release party of Prince Charming's Quest.
Welcome, Sarah! Tell us a little about yourself.
I have no clue where to begin with this question. Hahahaha! I’m a mother, wife, aunt, and daughter. My family is super important to me, which is why I’m so slow getting my books out. I love to camp, bake, read, and paint. I’ve been a total book nerd for as long as I can remember, and it is truly realizing one of my biggest dreams to have Drowning Sandy published.
I think you and I need to get together! Those are some of my favorite activities. What inspired you to become a writer?
This may sound kind of weird, but I was inspired to write by the books I’ve read. I read for the escape from reality, and the magnificent worlds they’ve created inspire my imagination. It just made sense to start writing down the ideas and dreams that kept invading my thoughts.
Reading and writing do seem to go hand-in-hand. When you're not writing, what do you enjoy doing?
I love to spend time with my family. My husband has a very difficult schedule, so when ever we can we do something fun with our 5 year old that is what I enjoy most. When that’s not possible, I love to either read to my son or paint.
Family time is precious. Who is your favorite author?
This is an impossible question to answer. I have sooooooo many favorite authors! I’d say my recently discovered new favorite authors would have to be C J Hill, Joyce Di Pastena, and Jennifer Griffeth.
Tell us about the books you write.
I write a little bit of everything. While Drowning Sandy is the only thing I’ve managed to finish, I have an LDS Perspective Historical Fiction that I’m currently undergoing edits for a potential publisher, I have a Contemporary Paranormal that I’m hoping to have done by the end of the year, and loads of other ideas just waiting for the chance to be paid attention too.
I'll have to keep watching. Where can readers go to learn more about you and your books?
My blog is the best place. I frequently post promos and reviews for clean reads on the home page, but you can keep tabs on what’s coming out here: http://semishort.blogspot.com/p/books-by-s-e-daley.html
Tell us a little about Drowning Sandy.
Well, Drowning Sandy is all about a half mermaid who makes one tiny mistake that will effect the rest of her life.
What was your inspiration for this story?
Growing up only a few miles from Lake Ontario, we spent most of our summers either out on the lake, or along the shore. For a few years my dad owned a small sail boat. My favorite part of sailing around Lake Ontario, was sitting on the edge of the boat, my feet dangling in the water. The water isn’t super clear, so only a few feet down all you can see are the shadows of fish. I used to imagine what it’d be like if there were mermaids in the lake, fantasizing that some of those shadows were tail flicks from mermaids or mermen who’d swum to close to the surface. So when I was invited to contribute to a summer/beach themed compilation it was the only thing I could think of.
I have a little girl who likes to imagine that same thing. I don't think I've ever seen a mermaid story that took place in a lake rather than the ocean before. How did that decision come about?
We all know about the ocean mermaids. It’s the lake ones who have managed to hide the longest.
Tell us a bit about the world your mermaids live in. There are a lot of interesting technologies mentioned.
I’m not sure which came first, ocean mermaids or lake mermaids, but either way they’ve been around for centuries. I think I’m still learning about the fascinating city of Ario. Bioluminescent bacteria are their main source of light, and a special waterproof film is used to waterproof the few modern land-lubber things they want to bring into the lake. Like phones, books, and pretty much anything else they want too. The issue there is not upsetting the council.
Oh, yes, the council is a little scary. What kind of research did you do?
I’ve read lots of mermaid books over the years. The most recent, and my current absolute favorite would be the Avenging series by Holly Kelly.
I was just about to ask that. Do you have a favorite book within that series?
Oops. Guess I got a head of myself there. I think the second book in the Avenging Series is my favorite. Descending.
The characters in this book are so easy to love and relate to. Was one of them your favorite to write? (We won't tell the others.)
Dylan. Hands down, I LOVED writing Dylan. Though I bet Sandy knew that.
He is a fun character. I absolutely loved your description of Sandy's parade. What was your favorite scene to write?
The very beginning. It was so much fun writing her transformation. Imagining it, and wishing I could grow a fin myself.
The beginning is great. Like many good books, this one ends too soon! Are there plans for another and if so, when will it be available?
The hope is that this is just a prequel to a super awesome series of books featuring funny little romances stories based in the Lake Ontario/ Pulaski, NY area with a sprinkle of fantasy. It’d be a ripple effect type of series. Mermaids, to fairies, maybe some brownies, definitely will have to have some trolls, and who knows what other fantastic creatures may pop in.
Where can readers go to order Drowning Sandy?
Drowning Sandy is available in most stores, though the only way to get it in paperback is through Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
Thank you for joining us today! And thank you for offering a digital copy of Drowning Sandy for the giveaways during my release party on the 31st. Good luck in your writing!
Sarah Daley lives in Arizona with her best friend and husband, Chris, their adorable monster child, and neurotic dog.
At the age of six, she became a reading machine. Devouring everything she could possibly get her hands on. In high school she almost failed English three times because of her detest for writing book reports. Today, Sarah writes whatever stories haunt her dreams, and struggles to focus on one idea at a time. When she isn’t enjoying time with her family, or writing, you will find her nose stuck in a book, or out walking and enjoying the sunshine.
Drowning Sandy is her debut novella!
Links to find out what is coming next:
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/S.E.DaleyAuthor
Blog Subscription: http://goo.gl/forms/dKI4guPSwt
Or contact her at SEDaley22@gmail.com
Being an author can sometimes be a lonely business. While you may run across a lot of people who enjoy reading and maybe even dabble in writing, it can be rare to run across someone who is also an author. (By the way, if you dabble in writing, keep on dabbling!) I was blessed this year to run across Shanna at a friend of a friend's release party. Shanna writes sweet romance, a genre which perfectly fits my craving for hopeless romance without making me skip pages of blush-worthy scenes. Shanna has written a wonderful story, The Christmas Crusade as part of a new boxed set by 19 talented authors called Sweet Christmas Kisses 2 being released today. Shanna offered me an advance copy of her story and I absolutely loved it! The characters were so real and the story so fun. I laughed out loud so many times and had my heart touched. And yes, I cried a little too. She agreed to join us today for an interview so you can find out how to make this charming story part of your holiday collection.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Shanna - I grew up on a farm where my family raised cattle, wheat, alfalfa hay, and me. After going away to college, I returned home, went to work for a daily newspaper as a reporter, and fell head-over-heels in love with a boy I met on a blind date (set up by our dads). Captain Cavedweller and I have been happily married for more than two decades. Although we no longer live on a farm, we do live out in the country, which provides a perfect setting for my active imagination to conjure up ideas for my sweet romances. My favorite things in the world (besides Captain Cavedweller) are roses, chocolate (the really good stuff), and the heavenly scent of babies.
Can't think of much that top those three. What inspired you to become a writer?
Shanna: I’ve always loved to read. My mother shared her love of books with me early on. The first story I recall writing was in the third grade about a raccoon (my brother had a pet one at the time). In addition, my dad frequently told stories. I used to listen to him spin a tale and see the amusement and enjoyment on the faces of others. The combination of my love of books, my interest in writing, and knowing someone who shared stories helped point me in the direction of becoming a writer.
Story-telling parents are the best! When you're not writing, what do you enjoy doing?
Shanna: I enjoying cooking and love baking. Yesterday I made a banana cake that made the whole house smell so yummy, I wasn’t sure Captain Cavedweller was going to make it through dinner before he cut a piece. Once in a while, I like to do craft projects, but nothing that requires a lot of time, supplies or attention. I’m more of a whip out my glue gun and go to town kind of girl.
I know a new recipe I'll need to try. My sweetie loves banana. Who is your favorite author?
Shanna: I can’t pick just one. Honest. There are just too many wonderful authors out there. But I’ll give you a list of some I’ve enjoyed the past few weeks and they include Melanie D. Snitker, Lia London, Marcia Lynn McClure, and Karen Witemeyer.
Too many favorites is a common predicament with readers. Tell us about the books you write.
Shanna: My fiction books are all sweet romances. I write both historical and contemporary. I don’t have a favorite of one type over the other. Because I love history and research is something I enjoy (yes, I’m weird), the historicals are fun to write. It’s fun to envision all the beautiful clothes of yesteryear and the polished manners. On the flip side of that coin, the contemporary stories allow me to incorporate sassier, sarcastic characters. When the bug bites, I also write humorous stories and a random cookbook or two.
Where can readers go to learn more about you and your books?
Shanna: I would love it if they’d pop on by my website: http://shannahatfield.com/books
They can browse through all my books there and find fun extras like character info sheets with the “faces” I used as visual inspiration for the stories as well as little tidbits about the characters.
Congrats on your new release! Tell us about your contribution to Sweet Christmas Kisses 2, The Christmas Crusade.
Shanna: In the story, Levi Clarke has recently taken over as the director of Center For Hope — a community outreach center that helps families in the Portland, Oregon, area. Desperate for funding to help bring Christmas to the needy families, Levi seeks support for a large corporation in the city and ends up face-to-face with Kathleen Kingsley. Kat and Levi have a bit of history. He fell in love with her, she dumped him because she needed to focus on her career, and neither one of them have gotten past their attraction to each other.
What was your inspiration for this story?
Shanna: A few years ago, I wrote a sweet romance called The Coffee Girl. The hero had a friend named Levi. The heroine’s best friend was a girl named Kat. In the story, when Kat and Levi meet, sparks fly… but then we don’t really know what happened to them because they were only secondary characters in the story. They became increasingly insistent that their story needed to be written — so here we are.
Those minor characters have a habit of doing that. I know some of your books have snippets from your life experiences in them. Were there any true experiences in The Christmas Crusade?
Shanna: Several years ago, I served on the board of a philanthropic organization. We collected toys, clothing, food and monetary donations for families in need. Generally, we were able to bring Christmas cheer to about three hundred needy families. Seeing how our combined efforts brought so much joy to others always touched my heart. That’s where the inspiration for Levi’s crusade for Center for Hope came to life.
What a wonderful Christmas gift to give! You mention several popular Christmas carols in your book. Is one of them your favorite?
Shanna: I love (LOVE) Christmas carols and would play them year round if no one would complain. And I have so many of them that touch my heart or make me smile, or evoke a sweet memory. One of my all-time favorites, though, is Mary Did You Know? Makes me cry every time I hear it.
My children would join you in playing Christmas songs year-round. Sometimes I humor them. Do you have a favorite holiday tradition?
Shanna: Throughout my growing up years, my family always went to the wood to cut down a Christmas tree. We lived in a part of Oregon that grew sagebrush, not lush fir trees, so we’d pile into trucks and drive almost two hours to the woods then spend the day. One year, my brother brought different flavors of soda pop and made us all snow cones. Another time I went with a cast on my foot. A few weeks later when the doctor removed the cast, it contained an ample supply of pine needles. It wasn’t just picking out the trees and bringing them home, it was spending the day doing something fun with all of our family.
I love family fun too. What great memories! What is your favorite Christmas story?
Shanna: My favorite all-time Christmas story is one of drama, disappointment, perseverance, surrender, and love beyond comprehension… the birth of Jesus. My favorite holiday romance is a wonderful little story written by Kathleen Morgan called The Christkindl’s Gift. And reading it always makes me crave German food.
The story of Christ's birth is one of my favorites too. The characters in this book are so easy to love and relate to. Was one of them your favorite to write? (We won't tell the others.)
Shanna: (LOL!) I didn’t plan on it, but I became quite attached to Levi’s brother, Mike. He’s been hinting that he’d like his own story next year. We shall see… Of the two main characters, though, I’d probably say Levi is my favorite just because he grew up in a middle class home with a “normal” family structure which is easier for me to relate to than Kat’s background.
Ooh, I'll have to keep watching to see if Mike gets his wish. There are so many beautiful and fun scenes in The Christmas Crusade. I'd share mine, but I don't want to spoil the ending. What was your favorite scene to write?
Shanna: The ending is one of my favorites, but I also got a kick out of writing the scene where Kat shows up for a meeting with Levi wearing a One Direction T-shirt. Normally, she’s so professional and the T-shirt is so far out of Kat’s realm… I think that’s what made it so fun. I think anytime we can take characters out of their comfort zone, it makes them seem more realistic, more relatable.
That was one of the scenes I laughed the hardest at! I understand there's a Facebook party celebrating the release of Sweet Christmas Kisses 2 today. What can you tell us about it?
Shanna: All nineteen authors are joining in the fun… so there will be many giveaways, prizes, games and tomfoolery. Anyone interested is welcome to attend. The party runs from noon to 10 p.m. (ET) and I’ll take over hosting duties from 2:30-3p.m.
I'm definitely going to be there! Right now The Christmas Crusade is an eBook in the anthology. Are there plans to release it in print?
Shanna: Yes! Kat and Levi’s story will be available in paperback next week.
Yay! That will be exciting. Where can readers go to order Sweet Christmas Kisses 2?
Thank you for joining us today! Good luck with your release.
Shanna: Thank you so much for hosting me today! It’s a pleasure to be here!
Be sure to check out all the fun at the release party on Facebook and definitely add this sweet story to your reading list. It's a fun Christmas tale you won't want to miss!
The Christmas Crusade by Shanna Hatfield
Levi Clarke is on a crusade to create a merry Christmas for the patrons of Center for Hope community center. He’ll do whatever it takes to make it happen, even if it means seeking a sponsorship from Kat Kingsley, the woman too stubborn to realize she’s still in love with him.
Levi pulled her to a halt. “Are you limping?”
“It’s nothing. I know better than to wear such high heels to an event like this, but they matched my dress.”
Levi bent over and placed his shoulder against Kat’s midsection, lifting her like a sack of potatoes.
She shrieked and grabbed onto the first thing she could reach, which just happened to be his firm rear end. He jumped at the unexpected touch, but didn’t set her down, continuing to the front door of her building. The doorman grinned so broadly, Levi thought the old gent might drop his dentures.
Jessica L. Elliott
Author, artist, mom and super-genius