Spotlight on Morgan O’Neill’s Elizabethan Time Travel Series

While I was waiting for the sequel to THE THORNLESS ROSE, the amazing writing duo of Morgan O’Neill (Deborah O’Neill Cordes and Cary Morgan Frates) have thrilled and surprised readers with a prequel – BEGUN BY TIME! I am very happy to welcome these two wonderful women to my blog to share with us their Elizabethan Time Travel Series. I have read both these books and absolutely loved them. I am now waiting for the third in the series.

The Thorness Rose_1600

The Thornless Rose

An Elizabethan Time Travel Novel

Morgan O’Neill

Publisher: Entangled/Macmillan Select Historical

Publication Date: December 29, 2014

Genre: Historical/Time Travel Fiction

About the Book:

No one ever knew what really happened to Dr. Jonathan Brandon back in 1945. He simply disappeared from a London pub, leaving behind an unsolved mystery and his fiancée—Anne Howard’s grandmother. Seventy years later, Anne herself is haunted by the strange tale, along with inexplicable hallucinations straight out of Elizabethan England. Including a scarred, handsome man whose deep blue eyes seem to touch her very soul….

Anne wonders if there isn’t something more to the story. Is it even possible that Jonathan disappeared into England’s dark past? And why does Anne keep hearing him whisper her name? Because now she too feels the inexorable pull of the past, not to mention an undeniable attraction for a man she doesn’t even know.

It’s just a matter of time before Anne will step back into history, and face a destiny―and a love―beyond imagining…







Begun by Time

The Prequel to The Thornless Rose

Author: Morgan O’Neill

Publisher: Entangled/Macmillan Select Historical

Publication Date: August 24, 2015

Genre: Historical/Time Travel Fiction

About the Book:

In 1945, a man disappeared into thin air… In the final days of World War II, Catherine Hastings meets the man she wants to marry. Flight surgeon Jonathan Brandon isn’t just handsome—he’s everything Catherine could hope for in her betrothed. But her dream of a happily ever after is shattered when Jonnie disappears shortly before their wedding…leaving Catherine bereft, broken-hearted, and with a lifetime of unanswered questions. Arthur Howard is smitten with the lovely Catherine the moment he sees her. He’s certain he’s found the woman he wants to marry. Yet behind Catherine’s sparkling green eyes is a haunted look—the look of a woman who has known loss. But can he love a woman who still grieves the loss of her fiancé? Now Arthur wants answers about the man Catherine intended to marry.

But the truth about Jonnie’s disappearance is far stranger than fiction…

Excerpt from Begun by Time, the Prequel to The Thornless Rose, by Morgan O’Neill:

In this scene, Catherine Hastings and Jonathan Brandon get to know one another and set up their first date

After Catherine and Jonnie set off, she walked her bike alongside him, chatting about ordinary things like music and the cinema. She found he had quite a dry wit, which she fully enjoyed.

Handsome and funny. He’s such a dreamand so tall!

She found herself wishing the evening wouldn’t end. When they reached her street, she had the sudden urge to ask him in for a cuppa.

But she sensed watchful eyes. She glanced at a neighboring house and saw Mrs. Brown peeking out from behind a blackout curtain.

I can’t invite him in, she thought. It would cause a scandal with Mum and Dad out of town.

With a sigh, she unlocked her front door and turned to face Jonnie. “I had a lovely time. Thank you.”

“The pleasure is all mine, I assure you, Catherine. It was very kind of you to bring the gifts.”

She hesitated, but when he said nothing more, she smiled and moved to step inside. She felt his hand touch her elbow and spun around, her heart full of hope.

“I, er, might I see you again sometime?” he asked. “Actually, now that I think of it, I’ve planned a day trip out to the country for my father before my leave ends. We’ve planned a day at Hatfield House, to be precise. I’ve arranged to borrow a mate’s car for Saturday week. Would you like to come along? My father is a very competent chaperone, so you needn’t worry I’ll misbehave.”

He laughed at the absurdity of his words, and so did she, taken by how his face lit up when he did so.

“I’d love to, Jonnie. I will make sure my schedule is clear.”

“Jolly good.” He backed up a step and paused as he held her gaze. Then, as though coming to a decision, he leaned in and kissed her cheek.

The softness of his lips against her skin entranced her, and she yearned for more. He smelled wonderful, too, of Pears’ soap with its scent of thyme, and something she couldn’t quite place—a wholly masculine scent that made her knees tremble.

“I shall look forward to seeing you again, Catherine. I shall look forward to it very much indeed.”

He pivoted and left with a bounce in his step, his fine figure caught in the sunset’s golden glow.

She shut the door when he was finally out of sight, then leaned against it and let out a squeal of delight.






Morgan O'Neill authorpic

About the Authors:

Two authors writing as one, Cary Morgan Frates and Deborah O’Neill Cordes specialize in recreating pivotal moments in history, epic adventure, and romance—with a time travel twist.

Author Links:







New Release for Nancy C. Weekes

I am very excited to welcome the very lovely and talented Nancy C. Weekes to my blog today. Nancy’s five book bundle called, Shadows and Light: The Complete Series released on June 1st. The series is a fascinating mix of mystery, suspense and romance with intriguing elements of the supernatural.

nancy Weekes - Shadows and Light




Thanks for taking the time to tell us about your new book bundle, Nancy.

Joanna, it is my pleasure to be a guest on your lovely blog. Thank you so much for inviting me.

I’d love to know more about the titles in your bundle.

I have brought along a short blurb of each of the books. The seed that spouted Shadows and Light: The Complete Series came from a common, but powerful adage: love conquers all. From In the Shadow of Greed to In the Shadow of Vengeance, I engulf my heroes and heroines in one conflict after another and demand they learn to trust each other and love follows.

As law enforcement officers, my five brothers’ lives constantly intersect with the worst that mankind has to offer. While each brother feels his world is too dangerous to share with that one special woman, fate butts in and gives an extra hard push. But falling in love for any one of the McNeil brothers isn’t your typical fall-in-love. It changes their understanding of the world. I have also surrounded them with a large family of secondary characters who give their all to help my couples reach their well deserved happy-ever-after.

What was the best part about writing the series?

After reading one of my books, readers might come to the conclusion that I just love to blow things up. Well, that’s true, but what I really loved about this series was writing my hero and heroine’s love story. The romance that begins in chapter one and follows my characters through to the last page is such a joy to write. The external dangers and evil surrounding them will keep readers turning the page, but it’s their internal emotions that will tug at the heart strings. (JL: I have to say, you do blow things up spectacularly!)

What’s next up for you?

By the time I turn in a book to my editor, another story is churning around in my self-conscious, begging to be told. My next project will be another romantic suspense series about three siblings whose worlds’ fall apart the night their father is murdered. This series will have an interesting supernatural element based on the proverbial principle to ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.’ The first book [working title: Marked by Visions] forces my heroine to work with her father’s partner, a man she swore she would hate forever to discover who ordered her father’s assassination. I wish I could share more but I’m still working out the synopsis for all three books.

Where can we find Shadows and Light: The Complete Series?





Meet five Irish brothers, all sworn to protect and serve – and the smart women who help them take down the terrorists gunning for their family. Lock up your heart: when it comes to love, the sexy McNeils know how to walk this beat.

  • In the Shadow of Greed: Brilliant cryptologist Dr. Sarah Tu races against time to block the most dangerous Internet malware ever created – and it’s up to FBI agent Jason McNeil to make sure she stays alive long enough to do it.
  • In the Shadow of Evil: After ten years with Maryland’s Special Crime Unit, very little rattles Jared McNeil. Then his nemesis resurfaces, with his sights set on the woman Jared is honor bound to protect.
  • In the Shadow of Malice: Adam Blake, ex-CIA operative, has gone to great lengths to keep his identity a secret, but his cover’s blown when he ends up on the run with waitress Calista Martin to protect his little girl.
  • In the Shadow of Pride: When Lexie Trevena’s matchmaking friends accidentally place her smack in the path of a terrorist who intends to use her as his pawn, the only person who can help her is Special Agent-in-Charge Luke “Mac” McNeil – the man she holds responsible for her husband’s death.
  • In the Shadow of Vengeance: Elizabeth Merlot can’t afford to let handsome Detective Noah McNeil discover her secret past. But when trouble finds her son, Noah may be the only one who can save their lives.

Sensuality Level: Sensual




Bio: Nancy C. Weeks lives in suburban Maryland with her husband of more than thirty years. With her two grown children out of the nest, she loves spending her days on her deck writing as the local bird population keeps her company.

Nancy C Weeks profile picture

I love to interact with readers. Please keep up with what’s going on here:



Twitter: @NancyCWeeks




To get a little tease of my stories, free chapters from SHADOWS AND LIGHT: THE COMPLETE SERIES can be found here: BOOK PREVIEWS

Joanna, it has been a joy spending time with you. I would be happy to answer any questions your readers might have. Please don’t be shy.

Hugs to all,

Nancy C. Weeks

Spotlight on Eva Scott

I am very excited to welcome fellow Queenslander and author, Eva Scott. She has just released her newest Australian Rural Romance – Red Dust Dreaming and has agreed to subject herself to my barrage of questions. First a little about Eva.

Eva Scott Web   Eva Scott writes contemporary romance set in her homeland of Australia and historical fiction set in the Ancient World. Her books offer passion and adventure in some of the most beautiful and intriguing places in the world. Her heroes and heroines are strong, sassy and ready to rise to their challenges, and learn a little bit about themselves along the way.

Having lived overseas for several years, Eva returned to study Anthropology before heading off to live in Papua New Guinea for a year. There she met the love of her life, author G.W. Gibson, who was stationed there with the Australian Defence Force. The rest is history, romantic history.  She now lives on the Redcliffe peninsula with her husband, small son and an assortment of animals. When Eva is not writing she enjoys mentoring first-time authors, cooking up a story, practising yoga and getting out on the bay on her stand-up paddle board.

Now for my questions:

Whether or not you loved or hated it, is there a book that has grabbed you by the throat and changed the way you write?

I remember reading Kaui Hart Hemmings “Descendants” and wandering about for a week with the blues. She captured perfectly the internal turmoil of a man whose life is not what he thought it was. I thought I will never write like that. I guess it remains to be seen! (JL: It’s true! Once you become a writer, instead of enjoying amazing writing, you lament your own inadequacies in comparison.)

I see you are an anthropologist who then worked in the area of health. As a fellow Queenslander, I do know how wild the Queensland health department has been lately. How did life take that turn?

I worked in Patient Safety so you can imagine what a giggle fest that was! I met so many amazing people whose lives had been touched by tragedy. I met some amazing indigenous health workers whose enthusiasm and drive made me feel as if I was trundling about in the slow lane. I got to assist in developing some ground breaking training and implement the Patient Health Care Rights Charter as part of a National project. Then I was “set loose” in the very first round of redundancies right when I was due to come back from maternity leave. The timing was priceless and I’ve never looked back.

I was very interested to read that you spent time in Papua New Guinea. Madang, in PNG, is where I was born and grew up. Do you think you will ever set a book there?

Wow! Madang is amazing – all those bats! I’ve never seen so many in my life. I have very fond memories of a trip there. I lived in Port Moresby but travelled about a bit. I learned a lot from my staff who were all funny, warm, delightful folk. I think we laughed more than the boss would like – especially when I tried out my terrible Tok Pisin. My husband speaks it fluently. It’s so much fun as it’s absolutely literal. (JL: I spoke Pisin before I spoke English, much to my mother’s dismay.)

PNG is such an eclectic place with so many different cultures and tribes. It also comes with a great many security issues for everyone. I couldn’t imagine setting a story there – at least one that didn’t make all the people down at the Royal Papua Yacht Club very nervous.

I am fascinated with your eclectic writing journey. Roman historicals, contemporary rural romance and spicy romance. I am also intrigued by the titles of two of your works in progress – The Audrey Hepburn Appreciation Society and The Funeral Club. Tell us about what draws you to the different stories you write.

I have no idea where my ideas come from. I kind of wake up with them. Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) said inspiration/ideas are like things with feathers which alight on you. If you don’t honour them and bring them into the world they fly off and roost with someone else. I can totally relate to that.

The cover and title of your newest rural romance, Red Dust Dreaming, grabbed me immediately I saw it. I have just finished reading it and loved the story, setting and characters. Talk about where the idea for the story and the setting came from.

The story was a combined inspiration that ignited when three elements came together – a story a friend told me, a trip to the art gallery and an old Sophia Loren/Clark Gable film. The story is set deep in the heart of Australia where the Aboriginal art gallery is located, the community which inspired me in the first place. Such colour! Just gorgeous. My next story was inspired by a friend of a horse doctor I know. She used to be a dancer at the Moulin Rouge then she married a farmer. So I got to wondering what would happen if a showgirl inherited a farm she thought could run by Google and Youtube….

What is your favorite sentence or quote in your new release?

What a great question… I’m going to cheat and give you an entire section that I love. Elizabeth (our heroine) has arrived at the outback station but isnt making a great first impression on our hero, Caden….

He reached into the tray of the Ute and wrenched another piece of luggage out, dropping it unceremoniously on the ground. If Miss Elizabeth Langtree thought she was going to be waited on hand and foot she’d better have another think! He heard the screen door slam behind him. Thelma’s voice wafted across the yard.

              “Did you get her?”

              “Yep,” he said, not turning around as he unloaded a small case, depositing it with the rest of the growing pile.

              “So is she getting out of the car or planning to stay there for the entire time?”

“Dunno. Why don’t you ask her?” he muttered.

              “Caden Carlyle where are you manners!” He knew that tone. Thelma expected him to be a gracious host regardless of the circumstances, or the guest. Right now the last thing he felt like doing was extending Kirrkalan hospitality to a woman determined to tear his life apart.

              Sighing heavily he wiped his hands on his jeans and walked deliberately to the front of the Ute. Elizabeth sat huddled on the passenger seat. She wasn’t very tall and somehow she’d managed to make herself look even smaller. Okay so this wasn’t swanky New York she was used to but it wasn’t exactly a rat-infested corrugated shack either. The sooner they got this visit over and done with the sooner she could go home and he could get on with the business of rebuilding his life.

              He waited a heartbeat before wrenching the door opened. She jumped, turning a pale face towards him.

              “Sorry to startle you,” he said trying to keep the sarcasm out of his voice, at least while Thelma was in earshot. “My housekeeper wishes to know if you’d like to come inside for tea.”

              She blinked at him as if he’d spoken Swahili. “Tea?”

              “Yes, tea. I’m sure coffee will be available if you’d prefer.” He held out his hand. She flinched slightly as if expecting him to manhandle her. “For goodness sake!” His anger exploded. “No one is going to hurt you. Please get out of the car and into the house before we all get another year older.”

              His words had the desired effect. She shot out of the car and up the steps of the homestead in a flash, clutching her handbag to her chest. He shook his head and slammed the car door shut. Bloody city women! Next she’d be worried about spiders in her bed or being attacked by Drop Bears. Caden returned to the task of unloading the car. He’d carry the luggage up the steps and Miss Langtree could take it to her room herself.

How much trouble did your characters give you while writing your new release? Which one gave you the most trouble and why?

Elizabeth’s father, Gerald, gave me the most trouble. I wanted to make him a perfect balance of warmth, charm and evil self-centeredness. Rather hard so I hope I managed to pull it off! (JL: You sure did! I started to like him and then wanted to slap him.)

So all that remains is to show off your wonderful new book!

Red Dust Dreaming Cover


Elizabeth Langtree has her life in order – safe, organised, planned. Sure, she has her troubles, but they are nothing she can’t handle. Then everything is turned upside down when her family send her to Australia to collect her orphaned nephew.

It all seemed so simple in New York, but Australia is nothing like she expected, and she soon falls under the spell of the Outback – the station, the lifestyle, and the seriously sexy owner who has been caring for Luke since the death of his mother.

Elizabeth soon discovers that what seemed simple a world away is anything but, and her duty is at odds with the dictates of her heart. She must choose, knowing that a mistake will not only cost her everything, but destroy the future of a devastated little boy.

Thanks so much for taking the time to talk about your books and yourself, Eva. Good luck with the new release.

To buy this and other books by Eva Scott:

Buy Link

Escape Publishing:

Amazon US:

Amazon Aus:


Spotlight on Ann B Harrison

Ann B Harrison author pic

A warm welcome to the wonderful Aussie Outback romance author, Ann B Harrison, who lives in the beautiful Hunter Valley with her own handsome hero of many years. Ann has always loved the ups and downs of life in small communities and she shares this with readers in her rural romances. Thank you for visiting my blog today and Congratulations on the release of your fabulous new book Outback in Stilettos. Now some questions so readers can get to know you better.

1.  Whether or not you loved or hated it, is there a book that has grabbed you by the throat and changed the way you write?

I’d have to say no. I think there are a lot of books I read and thought, that was a great idea. I’d hazard a guess and say most writers take a little of something from a lot of books that they read.

2.  I was interested to see you had been a Family Daycare mum – surely you would be off writing children’s books with all that fodder.  What originally influenced you to choose the genres in which you write?

Children’s books just aren’t my thing I guess. I grew up on farms and still live on acreage so that is what I know the best.

3.  Have you ever written a book you didn’t like? Why didn’t you like it? (Don’t have to name it J)

Yes I have. I ended up putting it away and ignoring it. For some reason by the time I finished it, I was luke warm toward it. Maybe one day I’ll pull it out and rethink it. (JL: Yep, I’ve got one of those in the bottom drawer, too!)

4.  JK Rowling spoke about the moment Harry Potter took form in her mind. But she had no pen and had to sit in a train for four hours so she sat and stared and let the ideas tumble around in her thoughts. How do you capture the first ideas for a story?

It can be as simple as a word someone says or a name I hear. My best ideas bloom when I’m out walking by myself with no distractions.

5.  Do you write your first draft with your head or your heart?

My heart definitely.

6.  Tell us about your newest release and the inspiration behind it.

Outback in Stilettos was a challenge for me. I wanted to pit a very girly girl who was used to all modern cons into the rugged outback and see how she would cope. I have to admit, she did well!

7.  What is your favourite sentence or quote in your new release?

I love this bit where the lambs are getting ear tags and Delilah is freaking out over it.

“Oh, the poor thing.” Delilah held her hand over her chest, eyes watering as the animal cried. Within seconds it stopped, and she tilted her head looking at Blake. “That’s it? It’s all okay now?” She was puzzled by the lamb’s short-lived reaction.

8.  How much trouble did your characters give you while writing your new release? Which one gave you the most trouble and why?

Not a lot actually. Royce, the young boy on the farm tried to avoid me more than anything. I don’t think he wanted to be part of the story but I talked him around in the end.

9.  What’s next for Ann B Harrison? Your output makes me dizzy, so I’m sure there’s at least one more book heading for publication as we speak.

Well, I have a book already to go next month called Hawk. It’s a novella. Then I have ‘Sassie,’ book two in my Outback Heritage series for release in April. I’m working on May’s release right now.

Love the cover of your new book, Ann! Good luck with it and I look forward to reading it. If you want to know more about Ann and for links to buy her book, we’ve put the details below.

Ann Harrison OutbackStiletto_CVR_MED

Blurb:  The most popular soap on television hangs in the balance because Delilah Connors has lost her mojo. Her agent decides she needs a break.
Delilah disagrees but when her agent says jump, she jumps! She heads for the outback on a bus tour from hell. The coach smells, her seating partner is an octopus and the road leads nowhere she wants to go. It’s all too much.
She grabs her bags and hits the track. The trouble is the track leads to two small children and a widowed farmer. The kids are cute but not cute enough to compensate for an archaic kitchen and the filthy flies. Just when she’s getting the hang of the outback, the flies and that sexy farmer she’s summoned back to the big smoke.
Blake makes a last ditch attempt to plead his case but amongst the glitter and glamour of the Sydney film elite, he is way out of his depth.

Buy Link

website –


Spotlight on The Thornless Rose by Morgan O’Neill

Morgan O'Neill authorpic

Two authors writing as one, Cary Morgan Frates and Deborah O’Neill Cordes specialize in recreating pivotal moments in history, epic adventure, and romance—with a time travel twist.  Cary and Deborah’s backgrounds are uniquely suited to writing stories steeped in atmosphere and history: Deborah has a Master’s Degree in history and is a dedicated genealogist; Cary is a talented linguist in French and is currently a student of Latin. They’ve traveled to Europe’s ancient and medieval sites many times, with Cary living on the Continent for five years.  The Morgan O’Neill time travel novels have received a number of literary awards, including two finalist wins in the Booksellers’ Best Awards, two semifinalist wins in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, first, second, and third place wins for the Mainstream Novel with Strong Romantic Elements category of the Golden Rose Contest, a top ten finalist award in the Pacific Northwest Writers’ Conference Zola Awards Literary Contest, and a top ten finalist win in the Orange Rose Contest.

I’m so excited to have snagged the writing duo of Morgan O’Neill as guests on my blog yet again. This time to celebrate Book One of the fabulous Elizabethan series, The Thornless Rose. But it’s not all champagne and happy dancing. First they have to answer some questions!

I have read all your time travel series and each one has a brilliant plot and grips the reader from beginning to end. How do you keep coming up with such wonderful ideas and adventures? What is your process?    Two of the series – the Roman and the medieval Italian – were created based on Deborah’s genealogical research, while the Elizabethan series initially came from Cary’s interest in Queen Elizabeth I. A key factor in the creation of any Morgan O’Neill novel is the blending of two tales: the modern time traveler’s story with that of an actual historical couple. In the case of the Elizabethan series, we have two time travelers, Anne Howard from 2014 and Jonathan Brandon from 1945, who meet in 1560 in London. The fictionalized love story of Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley is woven into the novels (fictionalized in that no one will ever, truly, know what happened between those two – but we did speculate!). 🙂

When I read your books, I try to pick who wrote which bit. But it is all so  seamless and appears to be written by one mind. Tell us how that works. How do you decide who writes what?    We’ve been writing together since 2002, and it’s still sometimes challenging to make our collaborative works a “seamless” blend, although the passage of time has given us a method to our madness. At first, it was difficult to get our individual brains to “join together” for the creation of something as intimate and personal as a novel. Frankly, it took several years for the finished product to emerge to our satisfaction. Nowadays, we approach scenes in a diverse fashion, by working together on some, or divvying up others so we can tackle that which interests us the most. Of course, after the writing comes editing, and we’ve found it imperative that egos be jettisoned during this process. We always keep an ultimate goal in mind – for the reader to be unable to tell where Deborah’s writing ends and Cary’s begins, or vice versa.

Do you set yourselves a deadline for each book in your series? I understand Entangled Publishing has already contracted you for the three books in this series. When do we see the next one? (Not that I’m impatient!)    We do have deadlines, but Entangled always wants a quality product ahead of a timely product, so there can be some leeway, if needed. With that in mind, the prequel to The Thornless Rose will be published in late 2015. It involves the story of Catherine, Jonathan, and Arthur Howard in 1945-47. The sequel to The Thornless Rose will be published in 2016. It follows the tale of Anne, Jonathan, Queen Elizabeth I, Robert Dudley, and our bevy of other characters from 1561 – on. We also promise to include some twists in time, as our characters from 2014 must change the path of history to avoid disaster. Fun stuff!

Before we go any further, here is the cover and blurb for their fabulous new book, The Thornless Rose!


No one ever knew what really happened to Dr. Jonathan Brandon back in 1945. He simply disappeared from a London pub, leaving behind an unsolved mystery and his fiancée—Anne Howard’s grandmother. Seventy years later, Anne herself is haunted by the strange tale, along with inexplicable hallucinations straight out of Elizabethan England. Including a scarred, handsome man whose deep blue eyes seem to touch her very soul…

Anne wonders if there isn’t something more to the story. Is it even possible that Jonathan disappeared into England’s dark past? And why does Anne keep hearing him whisper her name? Because now she too feels the inexorable pull of the past, not to mention an undeniable attraction for a man she doesn’t even know.

 It’s just a matter of time before Anne will step back into history, and face a destiny―and a love―beyond imagining…

What is next for Morgan O’Neill?    We’ve recently gotten the rights back to our Roman series, and we plan to re-release the trilogy in the near future. Our new covers are gorgeous, and we can’t wait to reveal them to the world. This is a very exciting time for us!

Thank you, Joanna, for hosting us on your blog. Our very best wishes to you and your readers ~ Deborah and Cary.

To find out more about these authors go to Author Links:

Website –

Newsletter –

Goodreads –

Facebook –

Twitter –

Buy Links:

Entangled –

Amazon –

iTunes –

Kobo –

B&N –

A Season to Remember – Christmas Anthology

Eva Scott combined_author_pic[1]

I am so happy to welcome to my blog four talented Australian authors, who have banded together to produce a wonderful Christmas anthology – Eva Scott, Susanne Bellamy, Elizabeth Ellen Carter, and Noelle Clark. This beautiful publication will be released on November 28th, 2014, and will be available for free download from Amazon.

Four short stories on the Christmas theme, spanning time, places. Uplifting, funny, thought-provoking, heart-warming, ‘A Season to Remember’ will make your heart sing.

‘Three Ships’ by Elizabeth Ellen Carter


An adventure romance set in the early 19th century on the Devon Coast.

Excerpt from Three Ships

“Why doesn’t the lieutenant do something?” Laura whispered tautly.

“Just wait,” her father insisted.

Blackwell too had stopped running as he watched his two men close the gap. They were now only ten yards away when Renten picked up the lantern, pulled out the candle and dropped it in the cauldron.

The blackguards closed in – five yards, two yards – then the powder in the cauldron ignited. Renten disappeared in a flash of light and billowing smoke.

The two men ran into the miasma and, a moment later, their cries of distress were heard as they ran right off the edge of the cliff.

Laura gripped her father’s hand at the sound and the sight.

When the white-blue smoke cleared, the cliff edge was deserted, save for the cauldron.


‘Sands of Time’ by Noelle Clark


Kitty faces her first Christmas without the love of her life. She looks back with fondness on the memories of Christmases past and, with the love and support of her grandson Joe, finds inner strength to face the future with anticipation. Kitty realises that, as she gets older, time passes so quickly. Although sad and happy memories flood through her on this special Christmas day, she chooses to embrace every moment of life.

Excerpts: Sands of Time

Excerpt 1

They were nearing Kingfisher Island. Not a grain of the tract that joined the small sandy cay to the mainland was visible. A couple of small boats were moored along the deep channel on the southern side of the causeway, with people fishing from them. The boats bobbed up and down on the whitecaps, sometimes disappearing from view, then emerging again.

“Just over there, please, Joe. Near that clump of mangroves.”

Joe pulled on one oar, turning the bow of the boat towards where she pointed. Within a minute, she heard the sand scraping against the keel under the boat. Clamping her hand on the gunwale for support, she stood carefully and jumped over the side, landing in knee-deep water. Joe shipped the oars and joined her, the water not even reaching halfway to his knees. He grabbed the pointy prow and pulled the boat up onto the beach.

She gazed around her, the familiar sight of the few remaining stumpy mangrove trees, and the covering of pigface on the small dunes bringing a lump to her throat. The mauve star-shaped blossoms of the coastal succulent groundcover looked exactly as they had done for all these years. Nature’s legacy, constant and predictable, unlike humans, whose term on this planet was fleeting. For a moment she recalled the faint, salty perfume of the little dune succulents whose strong roots helped the sandy hillocks from washing away with each tide. When crushed, they emitted a soft waft of delicate scent. Not for the first time, she wondered why they’d been given the hideous name of pigface.

Joe’s outstretched hand appeared before her eyes, inviting her to take it. She refocused her vision, reached out, grasped it, and took a few steps through the water and up towards the sandy beach. Joe tugged gently on her hand, helping her to stand upright in the choppy waters which made the little boat bob roughly. A cascade of spray caught them both in the face as it slapped against the side of the wooden boat with a thud. They laughed in unison, blinking at each other through salt-filled eyes.

“Gotcha, Nan.” Joe’s smile, always so generous, beamed at her. She smiled back, raised her arm, and wiped her face with the sleeve of her blouse.

He held on to her hand until she reached the dry beach, then he stretched into the prow of the dinghy and pulled out an anchor attached to a sturdy rope, walked further up the beach, and buried it firmly into the sand. When it was secured, Joe turned and retrieved the picnic basket and the rest of the things they needed for their visit to the island, and deposited them where the low dunes met the beach. She walked to the picnic basket, leaned over and opened it, took out an old blue blanket, and spread it down on the sparse tufts of grass. Ignoring her sand-encrusted feet, she stepped onto the blanket, sank back on her elbows and gazed dreamily up at the cobalt sky.

Excerpt 2

“Merry Christmas.” He reached into a small canvas tote and pulled out a small, square box wrapped in Christmas paper and tied with red and green ribbon.

She took his face in her hands and kissed him tenderly.

He pulled away, his face as eager as a child’s. “Here, open it.”

She ripped off the ribbon and tore at the paper. Inside was a dark red velvet box. She flipped open the lid, revealing two gold earrings set with dark blue sapphires. Love swelled inside her, almost making her swoon. Unshed tears stung the backs of her eyes.

“They’re beautiful!” Her words were barely audible. She kissed him again, deeply, lovingly. When they broke their embrace, Billy rose and walked over to his wooden dinghy, untied the plastic mistletoe, and returned, attaching it to a stumpy mangrove bush next to where they were lying on their towels.

He lay down next to her again. She still remembered how his eyes looked that day—deep, dark pools exuding love. He bent his head and kissed her. “I love you so much, Kathryn. I adore you.”

Their embrace, fuelled by their love, fanned the flames of passion. There, on the sandy crescent of beach on Kingfisher Island, with no witnesses save some gulls and a few waterbirds, they consummated their love for the first time, pledging their devotion—and their lives—to each other.


‘All That Glitters’ by Eva Scott


Molly is a modern day Cinderella, second best to her half-sister Aimee and never measuring up to her step-mother’s expectations. Now Aimee has the chance to marry an elderly millionaire and Molly is expected to keep the man’s grandson, Connor Rathmore, from sabotaging the event. Handsome, charismatic and very, very sexy – how is she going to keep him from sabotaging her heart?

Excerpt: All That Glitters

“Well, are you ready?” She sounded rude but it was all she could manage to say. On the way over to pick him up she’d been too preoccupied to consider him at all. Instead she replayed the conversation she’d had with her stepmother. After receiving a reprimand for arriving late, Maria had grilled her over Connor Rathmore and found her answers less than satisfactory. Then the lecture started on her appearance. Where were the shoes? She’d kicked off those horrible expensive shoes at the airport and hadn’t given them another thought. An unforgivable act in her stepmother’s eyes. It was impressed upon her that she must try harder and remember her sister’s happiness. Of course. Molly loved her half-sister, Aimee, despite the fact the girl was spoilt rotten. Underneath all the embellishments she really did have a good heart. It wasn’t Aimee’s fault she’d been raised to be a life-sized doll.

She appraised the man before her. She steeled herself not to react to him. When he’d opened the hotel room door, more primal male than any man she had ever encountered, something unexpected happened to her. Bam! Right to the heart. Very inconvenient and impossible, the idea could not be entertained. Not for a millisecond. The consequences would be devastating.

“Good evening to you too.” He bestowed what she assumed was his best killer smile. “Shall we go?”

He stepped through the door, so close the heat radiating off his body hit her like a furnace. Her natural reserve began to melt. The scent of him was so… masculine and her knees wobbled as she caught her breath. Moving away wasn’t an option, even if she tried.

He smiled as if aware of the effect he had on her. Without looking back he strode towards the elevator and pushed the button. They stood in silence side by side while they waited. The animal magnetism between them shimmered, increasing with every passing second.

Molly’s senses scrambled. She stumbled into the lift. This situation would need careful handling. The man beside her must not guess his presence caused a meltdown. Her attraction to him created a complication she did not need. Just one week. Please help me make it through this one week. If her stepmother suspected an attraction between Molly and Connor, all hell would break loose.

‘A Touch of Christmas’ by Susanne Bellamy


As Starship Bluefire settles into orbit around Earth, Captain Andra Veluthian anticipates meeting her favourite human, Colonel Nick Madigan. Have his efforts to save the planet succeeded? And if so, will she lose any chance to be with him?

Knowing Andra’s fascination with all things Terran, Nick has planned a surprise for her. After all, it is Christmas, the season of giving. But when Earth’s leader and the Gravlarian captain spend time planet side, the temperature soars.

Excerpts: A Touch of Christmas

Excerpt 1

Starship Bluefire – Log entry #1878 Orbit established around Planet Earth. Local time: 0715 – 22 December 2525 AD

“Reverse thruster off. Docking complete, Captain.”

Captain Andra Veluthian ordered her viewing screen to retract, rolled her shoulders then rested her head against the padded headrest of her Conforma-chair and looked at the view. Framed by a huge window on the bridge, planet Earth appeared close and surprisingly whiter than on her last stopover two years earlier. Through breaks in the dense cloud cover she could even discern the long coastline of what Earth dwellers used to call South America and, just appearing on the western edge across an expanse of ocean, was the island continent they called Australia. Home of the wombat, wallaroo and one handsome colonel.

Colonel Nicholas Madigan, political leader and guiding hand in Earth’s struggle against extinction.

Last visit, the fair-haired colonel had set more than a few hearts pounding among her crew. Including hers.

Excerpt 2

Beyond a set of double doors, a large, round, backlit table occupied the centre of the conference room. Patterned with galaxies and distant star systems, it was a thing of beauty in an otherwise utilitarian space. As a symbol, it was priceless. Gravlarian attitudes were rather like the Arthurian legends he’d read about. As in the fabled court of Camelot, their round table accorded all attendees the same right to speak as equals.

Light refreshments were served as a preliminary to the serious business ahead of them and his delegation intermingled with the Gravlarians. Diplomacy demanded he chatted with members of her staff but when they assembled at the round meeting table, Nick made sure he was beside Andra. She stopped beside two vacant seats. Was the starship captain’s inclination the same as his?

At the touch of his hands, a seat automatically unclamped from the table. He held it, knowing the gesture would not be lost on her. Her tawny eyes widened and their colour deepened, rivalling a desert sunset. Basking in the glow, he almost forgot the reason for their meeting today, the report cached in his wrist-corder.

Clearing his throat, he keyed in his guest access code on the reader embedded in the table, followed by his palm print. “I’m ready.”

Author Profiles:

Elizabeth Ellen Carter

A future with words was always on the books for Elizabeth Ellen Carter who started writing her own stories when she ran out of Nancy Drew mysteries to read at the age of ten. Using her mother’s Olivetti typewriter with all italic keys, she spent endless school holidays making up her own (italicised) stories and then using the Dewey Decimal System to arrange and categorise her bookshelf.

Somewhere around the age of 13, she determined to become a journalist and at 17 was awarded a newspaper cadetship. She covered news, council, education and health but had the most fun as an entertainment and features reporter covering film, TV and music.

Best of all, she met her husband at the newspaper and, together, they started a small award-winning media, marketing and advertising agency. Today, she works as marketing manager for an international organic skin care company.

In 2012, Elizabeth also returned to the keyboard to write stories (and found laptops are so much better than manual typewriters).

Her debut novel, Moonstone Obsession, was shortlisted for the 2013 Romance Writers of Australia’s Emerald Awards for unpublished manuscripts.

Elizabeth is a member of the Romance Writers of Australia, the Australian Romance Readers Association and the Gold Coast Writers Association. She is currently published by Etopia Press.


Noelle Clark

Noelle Clark is an Australian author of contemporary romance and commercial historical fiction novels. Her books weave romance, intrigue, and adventure into colourful, exotic, and interesting locations around the world. Widely travelled, Noelle uses real life experience of places, culture, and people as a backdrop to her stories, giving the reader an authentic taste of the location. Her novels feature strong, mature heroines and heroes, who—often without knowing it—are ready for new beginnings. She lives close to the sea and shares her home with two cats and two dogs. She has two grown up children, and five very small grandchildren. When Noelle’s not writing and travelling, she plays guitar, tends her vegetable garden, enjoys the company of family and friends, and—of course—reading. Noelle is a member of Queensland Writers Centre; YON Beyond Writing Group; Romance Writers of Australia; and Australian Romance Readers Association, and is currently published by Etopia Press and Secret Cravings Publishing.


Eva Scott

Eva Scott writes contemporary romance set in her homeland of Australia and historical fiction set in the Ancient World. Her books offer passion and adventure in some of the most beautiful and intriguing places in the world. Her heroes and heroines are strong, sassy and ready to rise to their challenges, and learn a little bit about themselves along the way.

Having lived overseas for several years, Eva returned to study Anthropology before heading off to live in Papua New Guinea for a year. There she met the love of her life, author G.W. Gibson, who was stationed there with the Australian Defence Force. The rest is history, romantic history.

She now lives on the Redcliffe peninsula with her husband, small son and an assortment of animals. When Eva is not writing she enjoys mentoring first-time authors, cooking up a story, practising yoga and getting out on the bay on her stand-up paddle board.

Eva is a member of Romance Writers of Australia; North Lakes Writers Group; Queensland Writers Centre and Australian Romance Readers Association. She is published by Musa Publishing and Harlequin Escape.


Susanne Bellamy

Susanne is an Australian author of contemporary and suspense romances set in exciting and often exotic locations. Her heroes have to be pretty special to live up to the real life one she married. He saved her life then married her. They live on the edge of bush land on a mountain in beautiful sunny Queensland, Australia with two children and their dog.

Paris will always be one of her top spots, and she fell in love with Scotland when they visited the west coast (nothing to do with fine single malts!), and recently had her first real trip to Italy–tick off one Bucket List item!  She has enjoyed New Year in Kathmandu and trekked in the Annapurnas, sailed in Ha Long Bay on a junk, and stayed on a floating hotel beside a tethered elephant in Thailand. The Peak in Hong Kong and Mt Faber cable car ride in Singapore are favourite spots. Susanne loves travelling to new places and exploring the culture and history, and meeting new people. These experiences are gradually being incorporated into her stories.

Her as yet unrealised dream is a trip into Earth’s orbit.

Susanne is a member of RWA and enjoys mentoring new authors. She is published with Escape Publishing, and will be a 2015 release author with Entangled Publishing.


Spotlight on Morgan O’Neill – Italian Time Travel Series

What a pleasure it is to shine my spotlight on the very talented writing duo, Morgan O’Neill.

Bio:      Morgan O'Neill authorpic

Two authors writing as one, Cary Morgan Frates and Deborah O’Neill Cordes specialize in recreating pivotal moments in history, epic adventure, and romance – with a time travel twist. They are the award-winning authors of the medieval Italian time travel duo, The Other Side of Heaven, and its sequel, Time Enough for Love, and the forthcoming Elizabethan time travel series, which will debut with The Thornless Rose, from Entangled Publishing, LLC, in November, 2014. They are also the authors of the Roman time travel series, which will be re-released in 2015.

Book Blurbs:


The Other Side of Heaven, Book One of the Italian Time Travel Series

Californian Gwendolyn Godwyn seeks to learn her family’s history and hopes to restore the bond that once existed between her Italian forebearers and those who live in America. While visiting her ancestral Italian town, Gwen is caught in a violent earthquake and inexplicably thrust through time. At first refusing to believe what has happened, she nevertheless uses her wits to survive, donning a monk’s cowl to hide her identity as a woman. Ripped apart from all she has ever known, Gwen finds herself in the midst of brutal territorial battles in an era she once blithely called “The Dark Ages.” When the golden Italian summer of 951 emerges from the strife and gloom, Gwen joins forces with a cadre of gallant men, allies in the struggle against the evil nobles, Willa of Tuscany and Count Berengar, kidnappers of Italy’s rightful queen, Adelaide. Along with Father Warinus and Lord Alberto Uzzo, Gwen seeks to rescue Adelaide and restore her kingdom. In the midst of this great adventure, Gwen falls in love with the complex and passionate Alberto, to whom she reveals her identity as a woman. But can Alberto learn to love her strong and independent nature and help Gwen in her quest to discover her rightful place in time?


Time Enough for Love, Book Two of the Italian Time Travel Series

Through dark magic, Californian Gwendolyn Godwyn has been swept back in time to medieval Italy. There, she finds herself in the midst of a war between Italy’s rightful queen, Adelaide, and those who have kidnapped her and seek to usurp her crown. Risking her life, Gwen elects to play a pivotal role in the planned rescue. In the midst of the chaos, she is drawn to the queen’s champion, Lord Alberto Uzzo, who battles not only their military foes, but also his personal demons. Tested to the limit when he discovers Gwen’s true identity as a time traveler, Alberto nevertheless fights through his doubt and the whirl of superstition that surrounds this intriguing and strong-willed woman. Time is of the essence as the lovers seek to overcome the evil forces rallying against the queen they’ve vowed to save. Will Gwen and Alberto be able to overcome the groundswell of danger to find time enough for love?

Review Quotes:

What an amazing adventure… These two books will have a very treasured place on my bookshelf. ~ Review by Hitherandthee of Night Owl Reviews. Both novels were given Top Picks, 4.5 stars for The Other Side of Heaven, 5 stars for Time Enough for Love.

Alberto and Gwen’s relationship was one of the most touching and heartfelt romances, that I’ve read in a long time. ~ Review by Angela Searles, Satin Sheets Romance Reviews. 


The Duplicitous Debutante – interview with Becky Lower

Today we celebrate the release of Book Six of Becky Lower’s Cotillion Ball Series- The Duplicitous Debutante released on September 1. The Cotillion Ball Series follows the lives of the nine Fitzpatrick children as they deal with coming of age in the tumultuous years leading up to and including the Civil War in America. I’ve just finished reading this book and absolutely loved it. There’ll be a taste below.

  roses2        Becky Lower author pic 

Welcome Becky, so nice to have you visit. Now I’m going to delve shamelessly into your life:

1. Each of your books in this series deals with social issues, especially for women of the time. What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them? I’ve always been an advocate of women obtaining equal footing as men in the workplace, and feel I was an early pioneer toward that goal. That’s the whole premise behind The Duplicitous Debutante. Rosemary wants the praise for her books to come to her, but feels she has to hide behind a male pseudonym. I mentioned this on an earlier guest blog and someone wrote that this behaviour is still prevalent today, even with all our advances. So, there’s still work to do.

2. Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book? My favourite person was a gentleman named Andy. I never did get his last name, but he works as curator for the Museum of American Fencing in Shreveport, LA. He told me where I would need to place my hero if he was to be a fencer in America in the 1850s. We went back and forth with emails as he helped me pick my location and heritage for the hero. He’s the one who told me I needed to mention the good food in New Orleans as well, and I make several references to it throughout the book. (JL: the fencing scenes were excellent so he taught you well!)

3. Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book? I think this period of time in America was so exciting, and full of adventure. I like to think of my books as mini-history lessons, but the history is merely the backdrop for a great love story. Anyone who loves to read stories about two people finding their happy-ever-after is my target audience, and if I can teach them a little something about what life was like in 1850s America, that’s icing on the cake.

4. How much trouble did your characters give you while writing your new release? Which one gave you the most trouble and why? Henry was difficult at the outset, since I really didn’t know which way to go. I had a crush in college with a man on the fencing team, and his weapon of choice was the epee sword. Once I decided to model Henry after my college crush, his story line unfolded fairly easily. Rosemary, being an author, was a no-brainer, since her moments of drifting off during conversations and creating scenes for her books is something I do frequently.

5. What is your favorite sentence or quote in your new release? The line that cracks me up every time is part of the dime novel I wrote to accompany the book. It’s when Harry Hawk faces off in a sword fight with the one-eyed pirate and pulls out his gun to shoot him. “Between eye and patch.” I don’t care how many times I read it, it still elicits a chuckle. (JL: I laughed at most of Harry Hawk’s language but that one created a great visual)

But some of my most poignant lines come from conversations between Rosemary and her mother. Here’s a sampling of Charlotte Fitzpatrick’s advice: “But a good book won’t keep you warm at night, unless you rip the pages out and feed them to a fire.” I’m talking about what marriage will give you. It is a gift you give yourself, or it can be, if you choose wisely.” “Harry Hawk can’t keep you warm at night, though, Rosemary. Or provide me with another grandchild.” (JL: We’d all love a mother like Charlotte)

6. How does your book relate to your spiritual practice or other life path?  My life’s path has been strewn with obstacles, mostly on my career path. I always seemed to be in the midst of a battle for equality, and I never felt comfortable in my chosen profession of marketing. It wasn’t until I began taking myself seriously as a writer that I discovered how rewarding one’s life work could be. I’m glad Rosemary found her path when she was just a young teenager, and acted on it.

7. Do you find choosing titles easy or difficult. How do you do it? The titles for this series have been a lucky fluke. The first one, The Reluctant Debutante, was originally titled Mother Made Me Do It. The publisher wanted something that sounded more historical, so a friend suggested the title to me. Then came The Abolitionist’s Secret. I had to change my original title for that one, too. When I got to the third one, I realized I had some consistency going with three-word titles. In this latest book, Crimson Romance has put together a family tree for the Fitzpatrick clan, and wanted me to create titles for books seven through nine to go on the tree. So, book seven will be Expressly Yours, Samantha. It’s about the last male sibling in the family, Valerian, who is a rider for the Pony Express. All the books featuring male leads now have the heroine’s name in the title (Banking On Temperance, Blinded By Grace). Book eight will be about Pepper, who was introduced in Book one as the only married sibling. Her husband’s about to die in the early days of the Civil War, and she will find another love a year later. That book is A Widow’s Salvation. The last book in the series is about young Saffron, who enters her teen years just as the Civil War takes all the men her age from her. She’s The Forgotten Debutante. I think the use of the word Debutante wraps up the series nicely. (JL: I always have trouble with titles and yours are all perfect for the stories.)

8. You’ve written this series and a number of stand-alone novels. Which do you prefer? I prefer a series, be it historical or contemporary. It’s fun to have the characters hop in and out of the first books in the series while they’re waiting for their big moment. I love it when readers email me saying they want to read a book about a secondary character, or they can’t wait until it’s so-and-so’s turn. And series seem to sell better than stand-alone novels. The contemporary side of my brain is now crafting a series, but on a much smaller scale than my historicals. The contemporary series will be a trilogy.

9. What is next for Becky Lower fans? I’m working right now on Expressly Yours, Samantha. The Pony Express was a fascinating part of American history, and I really enjoyed doing the research for it. My sister and I made a mad dash across the country last winter, and despite the fact we had a blizzard bearing down on us, we pulled off the highway every time we saw a sign for anything to do with the Pony Express. I recently finished a novella, a prequel to the series, about Charlotte and George’s courtship. And the first book in my contemporary series, Barnswallow Summer, is nearly done.

Here is an excerpt from The Duplicitous Debutante:

Out of the corner of her eye, she spied a familiar head of long, dark hair tied into a stylish queue. The room began to tilt on its axis and she couldn’t catch her breath. There could not be another person in New York who wore his hair in such a fashion. Rosemary’s steps faltered, and she turned to run back to her chair. Mrs. Cabot motioned to him.

“And I’m pleased to introduce our company, recently moved here from Boston. Henry Cooper, please say hello to one of the finest families in New York. May I introduce you to Charlotte Fitzpatrick, her daughter, and a friend.”

Henry turned from the group of people he was talking to and faced the ladies, confusion overtaking his features. “Miss Wyatt? Phoebe?”

Rosemary’s stomach dropped as she stared at her publisher. Her hand came to her mouth, which gaped openly, as her surprise mounted. What was Henry doing here? And why, in the mad crush of people, did they have to come face to face? If she thought Henry seemed confused, it was nothing compared to her own reaction. Her carefully crafted world was crashing down around her. What should she do? Correct her mother? Correct Henry? How could she now conduct her business with him? The room began to spin uncontrollably, and her legs shook. Charlotte seemed not to notice Rosemary’s reaction to the man. “I’m afraid you have the wrong woman, Mr. Cooper. This is my daughter, Rosemary Fitzpatrick. And the other young lovely is Rosemary’s best friend, Dorcas Winchester.” Henry extended his hand to take Rosemary’s, just as she fainted and dropped into his arms.

To find out more about Becky and to buy her books here are some links: Amazon buy link: Author website:

How to Intensify Conflict & Deepen Characters—The Wound

Such important information to consider … did I heal my character’s wounds credibly?

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Screen Shot 2012-12-20 at 10.17.54 AM Hmmm, what’s the story behind THIS?

There are all kinds of arguments about which area of craft is the most important for creating great fiction. Plot? Character? Voice? Theme? My opinion. They’re all organs in one body. Our brains will still work if our lungs have bronchitis, but maybe not at an optimal level. Similarly, there are people with brain injuries who have a strong heart. A body can “live” without everything operating in concert, and so can any story.

It’s ideal to hone our skills in all areas, and our goal is to be skilled at all of them. Can we be equally skilled? That’s another debate for another post.

I will say that plot (skeleton/brain) is very important. Our characters (heart) are only as strong as the crucible. Ultimately, all stories are about people. We might not recall every detail of a plot, but we DO remember characters…

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